Posts Tagged ‘Patti’s 1880s’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 10, 2017

It’s the weekend and the countdown is on for next weekend.  I must be crazy!

Well, maybe.  But, the reason I’m excited about March 17th — the live action “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters.  I can’t wait!

After very warm temperatures and Midwestern tornadoes last week and, again, this week, we’re looking at a snowstorm later this weekend!

IOWA & ILLINOIS WEEKEND SNOW

Updated Snow Details:  Saturday, March 11, 2017, 5:30 a.m.

I got up at 3:30 a.m. to analyze the data on our late weekend winter storm and here it is.

The snow will be heaviest Sunday night and early Monday.  This is the forecast map for 6 a.m. Monday.

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For snow forecast amounts and a complete update on the winter storm, click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/spring-forward-into-snow/

Updated Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 4:10 p.m.

The snowstorm for Sunday evening into Monday night looks much more potent.  I’m now thinking that we could easily see 3-6″of snow with that storm!

We’ll know much more this weekend and I’ll have another update Saturday morning.

Original Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 6:15 a.m.

The last two winters in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa were lame.

Snowfall amounts for the season were well below average and a far cry from the 65.1″ of snow we saw in the winter of 2013-2014.  That was the second snowiest winter on record.

It snowed all the time that winter!

The first system late Friday night and early Saturday morning could drop up to an inch mainly to the southwest of the Quad Cities.

We’ll see a more widespread snow Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday.  This one could blanket the area with three inches or more.

I’ll continue to update you this weekend when the data is better once the storm comes ashore from the Pacific.

There could finally be some winter weather and cold — in MARCH!

SILENT OSCAR PROTEST AGAINST AFFLECK

Last week, I reviewed “Manchester By The Sea” (I gave it an “B”).  The movie earned Casey Affleck the Oscar for Best Actor.

Before he walked away with the gold statuette, there was speculation that two sexual harassment allegations against him in 2010 would cause Academy voters not to vote for him.  (Both cases were settled out of court.)

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As you probably know, the previous year’s Best Actress announces the new Best Actor category.

When Brie Larson (“Room”) announced Affleck as the winner, she handed him the trophy and envelope without clapping or hugging him.

Larson, who is an advocate for victims of sexual abuse and played one in her Oscar winning role, told Vanity Fair, “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself.”

She added, “I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”

REMEMBERING TOMMY PAGE

If you were a New Kids on the Block fan in the late 1980s, the name Tommy Page may ring a bell with you.

Before he was a music industry executive, he was a teen pop star.  While he gained exposure with “A Zillion Kisses”, it was 1990’s “I’ll Be Your Everything” that topped the Billboard Hot 100 with back-up assistance with several members of NKOTB.

Last Friday, Tommy was found dead of an apparent suicide.  He was 46 and is survived by his partner, Charlie, and their three kids.

I saw him open for the New Kids in 1988 in Du Quion, Illinois and I saw him again at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1990.

R.I.P. Tommy

“MARIAH’S WORLD”

I’m not a fan of reality television, but I finally broke down and watched my first full reality show for two reasons — it was only eight episodes and it was Mariah Carey.

“Mariah’s World” took us backstage during Mariah’s European “Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour”.  It was also during this time that Mariah was engaged to billionaire James Packer.

If you followed that story, you know how it ended.  But, in “Mariah’s World”, you see how it unfolds.

Yes, the series was over-the-top and many times you get the impression that the drama was played up for the cameras!  Shocking!

It’s great to see more of Mariah — her humor, her thoughts, and her insecurities.  It did sadden me to think that she’s such an icon that she seems out of touch with the world, at times, because she can’t experience things that the average person can because of her celebrity.

It also cracked me up that Mariah would be interviewed lying on a chaise lounge in very sexy negligee and it was funny to see her wheeled down the corridor back stage on a chair to go on stage.

One final note that I came away with is that Mariah loves her champagne and wine.  We’d get along fab-lamb-ulously!

LIONEL RICHIE-MARIAH CAREY BUMMER

When Lionel Richie announced his “All The Hits Tour” with special guest Mariah Carey, I immediately snapped up tickets for Nashville, Tennessee, in May.

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This would give me a chance to take a road trip and eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

A few weeks ago, the tour was postponed because Lionel’s knee surgery recovery was taking longer than expected.

Those plans are cancelled now!  Nashville was one of a dozen cities that was dropped when the new summer dates were announced.  Others include Saint Paul, St. Louis, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.

While I know that Lionel had surgery and the recovery may have taken longer to heal, it’s also very clear that ticket sales were very “soft” in many cities and Lionel and Mariah would have been playing to half-empty venues!

It won’t be this time, but I still want to be one of those “Dancing on the Ceiling” with Lionel.

And, I still long to share “Emotions” and a “sweet sweet fantasy baby” with Mariah!  Maybe in December in New York at her annual Christmas show?

“HACKSAW RIDGE”

This Mel Gibson-directed motion picture was nominated for six Academy Awards this year including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Andrew Garfield.

While it didn’t win any of those, it did win two Oscars — Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.

Whether you’re a fan of war movies or not, this one is phenomenal.

The first half of the movie focuses on character development and is even a cute love story.

Oscar nominee Garfield is adorable and awkward as Desmond Doss, especially when he meets a nurse at the hospital after his quick thinking saves a man’s life.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Doss enlists to fight for his country, but because of his religion and the commandment “thou shalt not kill”, Doss refuses to carry a gun.  He went to war to save lives and take them.

Needless to say, this doesn’t go over well with his superiors.

The second half of the movie is a full-on war movie.  It’s gory and heartbreaking, but realistic and amazing.

Garfield and Teresa Palmer are incredible.

GRADE:  A

“MOONLIGHT”

After this year’s Oscar debacle when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope and “La La Land” was announced as Best Picture, when it was actually “Moonlight”, the little seen, but well received movie got more press than it could have without the mix-up.

The little movie that could, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, ended up not only winning the biggest prize of the night, but it also earned Mahershala Ali (“House of Cards”) the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, making him the first Muslim to win the gold statute.

It also won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Moonlight” also became the first LGBT movie to win Oscars’ biggest prize  (that honor should have gone to 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain”) and the first movie with an all-black cast to win Best Picture.

“Moonlight” tells the story of a poor, lonely Miami kid, Chiron, with a drug addicted and abusive mother.  One day, while hiding out from bullies, the kid befriends a drug dealer (Ali), who nicknamed him “Little”.

The movie is played out in the three chapters of Chiron’s life:  childhood, teenager, and adult.  It’s a beautiful and sad “coming of age” story.

All three actors playing Chiron were great.  However, I think Trevante Rhodes, as adult Chiron (nicknamed “Black”) stole the show with his vulnerability, loneliness, and withdrawn look at life.

You just wanted to wrap your arms around him and tell him it’ll be okay.  That has nothing to do with the fact that he was gorgeous and had the physique of a Greek God.

Ali was good in his short time on screen, but it’s a shame that Rhodes wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor!

“Moonlight” was so brutally honest in its portrayal of life on the streets and life as an outsider.

A must see!

GRADE:  A

TREVANTE RHODES EXTRA!

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“EDGE OF WINTER”

Don’t bother!

I’ve been a fan of Joel Kinnaman since “The Killing” and I like him on “House of Cards”.

Tom Holland was great in the tsunami-survival movie, “The Impossible” and he’ll be the next Spiderman in this summer’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

However, this movie doesn’t do anything for either actor or me.

Kinnaman plays a down on his luck father being visited by his two sons, while their mother and new husband are away on a cruise.

Well, a simple trip into the wilderness to practice shooting goes astray and not everyone comes back.

The premise and the trailer makes more sense than the movie.

GRADE: C-

ONE MORE TOMMY PAGE 

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 — September 16, 2016

It’s Friday and another weekend is almost here.  This one is the last weekend of summer 2016 as fall officially begins on September 22nd!

After enjoying my getaway to South Carolina and Georgia, it was back to work this week and it wasn’t bad.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” and, as always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically.

COUGHING, “OVERHEATED”, AND PNEUMONIA

Last Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton left an event commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary of “9/11” because she felt “overheated”.  She went to her daughter’s apartment in New York City and came out a short time later looking much better and waving to the crowd.

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That evening, her doctor released a statement saying that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier and was finally going to take doctor’s order and rest a few days before carrying on with the presidential campaign.

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All of this comes at a critical time in the race when some started questioning whether she’s healthy enough to run the country.

My final thoughts:  I wish Clinton’s camp had just come out last Friday and said she had pneumonia instead of adding fire to the conspiracy theories.

However, pneumonia is very common with more than three million Americans getting it each year.  As Clinton said, she tried to work through it and it got the best of her and that’s why she didn’t reveal it.  I see the point.  Would you want to know if she had a yeast infection or if Donald Trump had a urinary track infection?

HEAT EXHAUSTION

While summer is winding down, we may still have some very warm days with humidity.  So, I’ll talk about getting “overheated”, particularly since Clinton’s health scare was front and center last week.

Here are the facts and these aren’t political party facts, it’s science.

While temperatures in Central Park were around 80° at the time Clinton felt “overheated” last Sunday, New York City and Central Park had been dealing with stifling heat and humidity.  Here are the actual high temperatures leading into last Sunday.

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Once you factor in the humidity, those highs around 90° felt more like 95°-102° to the human body.

If you’re even somewhat familiar with heat, humidity, and the human body (and you don’t have to be a doctor or meteorologist), you know that heat exhaustion cases really rise after days of excessive heat and humidity, which was encountered in New York City — not just on the first hot day.

It’s less relevant that it was only 80° at the time.

FAVORITE.AMERICAN.ENTREE.EVER.

As you know, I love food and writing about it.

My favorite restaurant is Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Their Flowering Colossal Onion and Dark Beer-Battered Cheese Sticks appetizers are so tasty.

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Their two-inch specialty pork chops are amazing and their desserts, especially the Sawdust Pie, make the seven-hour drive from the Quad Cities worth every bite.

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My favorite meal ever was in Tel Aviv, Israel, right on the Mediterranean Sea, two years ago during my 50th birthday week at Benny the Fisherman.

This was just the “salad” part of the experience!

Benny The Fisherman

Now, I have a favorite entree to add to the list.

Last week, we walked an hour from our downtown hotel to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the “Chihuly in the Garden” exhibit, which was phenomenal.

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I bought a Groupon for a four-course meal at Tavernpointe.  It was roughly another hour’s walk from the Botanical Garden through the Ansley Park neighborhood to the Sherwood Forest restaurant and it was worth every step!

From the incredible service from Joey, the bartender who doubled as our waiter, to each of the four courses and the beer and wine pairing for each course, it was the most perfect evening.

My sensational entree was Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

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Thank you, Tavernpointe (and Groupon — otherwise, we would have missed out on this culinary experience)!

WHY EAT AT PAULA DEEN’S?

I know that food mogul Paula Deen would love to put the talk about using the “n-word” and the accusations of racism behind her.

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Two blogs ago, I wrote about Paula and shared my 2014 thoughts when her empire came crashing down.

Last week, I stated that I ate at her Savannah, Georgia, restaurant “The Lady and Sons” and it was amazing for good southern cooking.

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Someone asked me on Facebook after reading the blog, “Can I ask why you went to Paula Deen’s restaurant after all the publicity about her racism and discrimination? Asked respectfully.”

Here’s my reply:  “Because I wanted to. I know about her use of the n-word and the circumstances around her usage of it. However, “racism” is a whole new can of worms.”

But, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that I had more to say about the lawsuit, race, and the use of that ugly “n-word”.

I am appalled by that word and I don’t care what race is using it. As I’ve written before, if the woman [Deen] was a “racist” (and I don’t know her to know, but I suspect she is NOT), you can’t tell me that people would not have already come out of the wood works to back up Lisa Jackson’s claims.”

I concluded with this, “I was even thinking of this the day I was eating there. There were many African-Americans working that day, including our server. I cannot imagine that any one of them would value that job so much if they really thought that she felt that way about them. There are other restaurants in Savannah and I honestly don’t think they’d be there.

JIMMY CARTER

Ever since I was an 11-year-old boy that got to pull the lever for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election (with my grandmother), I’ve idolized the former president and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.

While in Atlanta last week, I just missed seeing the Carters by mere days, but I did check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

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The tour at the museum started with a movie of his life from his childhood in Plains, Georgia, to joining the U.S. Navy, heading back to Plains, and then entering the political arena (from Georgia State Senator to Georgia’s Governor to becoming the 39th President of the United States).

The amount of memorabilia displayed in the museum is incredible.  It’s definitely a labor of love — not only to President Carter, but to his fans and the United States as a country.

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It’s also nice to see all the displays of what the Carters have accomplished in life after they left the White House in 1981.

What an amazing couple!

CALLING OUT THE “MAINSTREAM MEDIA”

I’ve known of Canadian comedian Samantha Bee for some time.

She was on Comedy Central’s  “The Daily Show” before leaving to host her own satirical news show on TBS, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.

I finally caught her act criticizing the mainstream media for not calling out Donald Trump on his blatant lies.  Kudos to you, Samantha.

If you’ve never watched Bee, check this out and, by the way, shame on you Matt Lauer!

Warning: language!

I’ll definitely feature more of Bee in the future because she’s on to something.

Gallap reports thats only one in three Americans trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”.  This is the lowest level since tracking started in 1972.

DIXIE CHICKS

The Dixie Chicks put on an amazing show last night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

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This was the second time I’ve seen them perform.  The first was back in 2006, in Chicago, on the “Accidents and Accusations Tour”.

It was so great partying with Natalie, Martie, and Emily again!

“SULLY”

On the afternoon of January 15, 2009, if you had your television on, you were likely watching the incredible, real life events unfolding on a bitterly cold afternoon in New York City.

US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport.

Flight 1549

Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese causing engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

It’s now a #1 box office movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as “Sully” and Aaron Eckhart as Skiles.

As always, Hanks is incredible and while the movie covers the landing on the cold, icy waters, it focuses more on the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and whether Sully made the right decision on the water landing instead of trying to make it back to the airport.

In the conversation after the model, we debated and decided that while it was a strong and compelling role for Hanks, it probably won’t garner an Oscar nomination for Hanks.  However, the Academy does like actors playing real-life heroes.

GRADE: B+

PICK HIT

This summer, late-80s English pop star Rick Astley released his eighth studio album (his seventh was never released) conveniently called “50” since he turned 50 earlier this year.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and will be released here in the U.S. on October 7th.

Three singles have already been released in European markets and I’m featuring “Dance” as my pick hit today.

FLASHBACK!

I have to admit that I crushed on Rick when I was in my early-20s and I have to say that he’s aging rather well at almost 51. (I’m slightly older — I turn 52 in October.)

Rick topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart here in the U.S. with his first two songs, “Never Gonna Give You Up” (March 1988) and “Together Forever” (June 1988).

He went on to score three more Top Ten hits, “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man” (#10, 1988), “She Wants To Dance With Me” (#6, 1988), and “Cry For Help” (#7, 1991).

Here’s a little music trivia for you.  He also sang backing vocals on Elton John’s 1994 Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy winning song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King”!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

I’m Ready To Move!

I can’t believe that I’ve already been back to work four days now from our mini-vacation.

Last Wednesday after I got off work, we headed south.  Ray and I were going to spend a few days at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, and my sister, Tammy, rode along with us to spend three days with her two kids and her two granddaughters, just northwest of Nashville.

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Driving down, the weather was incredible with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low-to-mid-70s.

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Our first stop for the night was in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s, which was lit up with a million lights.

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We started off with Patti’s whole milk mozzarella cheese sticks dipped in a dark beer batter and deep-fried and the flowering colossal onion.

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I had “Ella Mae’s Chicken”, which is a grilled chicken breast topped with slices of black forest ham with sautéed mushroom and freshly grilled asparagus and smothered in a homemade cheese sauce!

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And, for dessert, we had Bill’s Boatsinker pie (a rich, dark double fudge pie topped with coffee ice cream, piled high with whipped cream, “drizzled” with chocolate syrup and topped with a cherry) and a piece of coconut cake.

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The food at Patti’s 1880s is so delicious.  And, I got to see my old college roommate, Perry, who is the executive chef there.  I last saw him in 1986!

On Thursday, we visited the “Reba:  All The Women I Am” exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame, which featured career mementos including awards, records, rodeo clothing, and many of Reba’s most famous outfits, including several red “Fancy” dresses.

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We also saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes, but pictures weren’t allowed.  That’s a bummer because the sets and the costumes were incredible.

On Friday, we visited the most incredible display, “ICE!” featuring “Frosty The Snowman”.  Everyone’s favorite snowman comes alive with hand-sculpted characters from the television classic made from more than two million pounds of ice created by 40 ice artists from China this fall.

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This exhibit took me back to my childhood and I really felt like I was on the refrigerated boxcar with Frosty since the temperature inside the exhibit was 8°!

Ray and I also went down the ice slide!

 

Friday night, we spent the evening at “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show”.

While she performed mainly Christmas standards and hits from her 1993 album, “Merry Christmas From London”, she opened the show with her country hits “Something in Red”, Except For Monday” (my favorite Lorrie song), and “Watch Me”.

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Lorrie looked flawless and her voice was so crystal clear.  I can’t wait to see her again and I may get my chance in the summer.  I’ve read that she and Pam Tillis will be playing two nights in Clinton, Iowa, next June.

 

On Saturday, we had a lunch cruise aboard the General Jackson Showboat on the Cumberland River.  Our lunch was turkey and all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings and since I didn’t get enough last month, it was perfect.

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The entertainment on the cruise was comedian/singer Steve Hall and the Shotgun Red Band.  Steve was hilarious and his female vocalist, Jennifer Bruce was fantastic.

Steve was even funny when they walked through the crowds shaking hands after the show.  He shook my hand, looked at my shirt and said, “they can make anything out of a shower curtain!” 🙂

This is the shirt and yes, we fell for the photography sales trap of buying tourist pictures.  In retrospective, I wish we had done the same for the Lorrie Morgan show.

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Saturday night, we attended the historic Grand Ole Opry show at the Ryman.

Country legends Bill Anderson, Connie Smith, and Jean Shepard hosted and performed with up and comers Greg Bates and Sunny Sweeney.

Pictured below are Chris Carmack (“Will Lexington” on the ABC show, “Nashville”), Kathy Mattea, and Vince Gill  and his wife, Amy Grant, and their daughter.

 

It was fun to finally experience the Opry, which supplied the music that I grew up on in Kentucky.

 

The scariest moment of the show was when 80-year-old country legend Jean Shepard fell backwards off a stool and almost hit her head on the piano.  However, she was a true sport and entertainer.  She sat on stage and finished hosting her 30-minute segment of the Opry, performed another song, and even cracked jokes about her misfortune.

I admit that I did feel a little uncomfortable a couple of times during the show and it got me to thinking about something that irks me about the Opry.  However, since this is a fun-filled blog, I’ll explain it in details in tomorrow’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.

During our stay in Nashville, we spent a lot of time walking around the beautiful Opryland Hotel, took many pictures, and enjoyed some nice bubbly!

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And, I did meet one celebrity while in Nashville and, sadly, it wasn’t Lorrie Morgan.

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On our next visit, we plan on visiting the Loveless Cafe for a meal. But, our favorite culinary treat on this trip was the first night in Nashville at Solario, a Mexican buffet, located in the Opryland Hotel.

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The two cheesecakes on the plate were mojito (left) and strawberry margarita.  The second set of desserts were individual pecan pie, key lime pie shooters, and goat cheese cheesecake.  And, of course, a strawberry margarita.

So, needless to say, I loved this trip and I’ve always wanted to move to Nashville.  Could that be where we retire in a few years?

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 6, 2013

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope you’re having a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.  Here are my random Friday thoughts.

GREETINGS FROM “MUSIC CITY USA”!

When we left the Quad Cities Wednesday, it was 47° and we drove seven hours to Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to check out the Christmas lights and have dinner at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880’s and the temperature there was 72°.

Lights at Patti'sAnthony's Dinner

That’s my dinner.  It’s called “Ella Mae’s Chicken”:  freshly grilled asparagus over grilled chicken breast topped with black forest ham and sautéed mushrooms covered in homemade cheese sauce.  This was after appetizers of homemade cheese sticks and a blossoming onion and before we ate dessert!

On Thursday, we drove the final two hours to Nashville, Tennessee, dropping my sister off in Clarksville, about an hour northwest of Nashville, so she could spend the weekend with her kids and two granddaughters.

REBA EXHIBIT

Our first stop in Nashville before checking into the Opryland Hotel was a visit to the Reba McEntire exhibit, “All The Women I Am”, at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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These are various “Fancy” performance dresses.

Reba Fancy Dresses

IT LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS AT OUR HOTEL

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THE ROCKETTES’

Last night, we saw the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes”.  The sets were incredible and the dancing was festive and fun.  Sadly, no pictures were allowed!

REST OF THE WEEKEND PLANS

Tonight, in a major ice storm, we’ll see “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas & Dinner Show”.  Tomorrow, it’s a lunch cruise on the Cumberland River on the General Jackson and tomorrow night, Opry at the Ryman, with Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Chris Carmack (who plays Will Lexington on ABC’s “Nashville”) and many others.

Chris Carmack

SINGER BECOMES BIG TIME SONG WRITER

Shane McAnally

25-year-old Texan Shane McAnally was signed to Curb Records and released his first single, “Say Anything” in 1999, which peaked at #41.  The follow-up single, “Are Your Eyes Still Blue” was his only Top 40 country hit, peaking at #31.

I loved both of those songs and I was probably one of the few people who took a chance on the newcomer and bought his debut and only album. After that, Shane dropped off the radar and moved to West Hollywood, California, and started bartending and performing as “Shane Mack”.

Shane Mack

In California, Shane was able to be openly gay.  Since he started living his life openly, he married his partner of six years, Michael Baum, in September 2012, and the couple welcomed a daughter and a son in December of last year.

I was pleasantly surprised this fall to see “Entertainment Weekly” give Shane the much overdue recognition that he deserves.

Shane returned to Nashville in a big way in 2008 as a co-writer of LeAnn Womack’s Top 15 hit, “Last Call”.  Since then, he has written #1 songs for Kenny Chesney, Jake Owens, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert.  He also penned three songs for Reba McEntire’s 2010 album, “All The Women I Am” album.

Music Review Kacey Musgraves

And, this year, he co-produced my favorite country album 0f 2013, the #1 “Same Trailer Different Park” by Kacey Musgraves.

Shane, I wish you, Michael, and your children much happiness in 2014 and here’s to continued success in country music.  I hope to hear more of your singing in the future, too.

MEANWHILE, NOT SO GOOD TENNESSEE NEWS

While we’re having a good time in Nashville, a recent report from “24/7 Wall Street” doesn’t paint a rosy picture of Tennessee, ranking it as “the most dangerous state” in the United States.

It’s followed by Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, and Oklahoma!

Tennessee Violent Crimes

The site ranks Tennessee #1 for aggravated assaults and in the top ten for murders and robbery.  In 2012, there were 388 murders, which is up for the second straight year.

Across the nation, Memphis ranks fifth and Nashville is at #18 for violent crimes.

Take this ranking and the information from “24/7 Wall Street” with a grain of salt, since the “Crime in Chicago” website reported 537 murders in the “Windy City” in 2012.  (As of December 1st, the site reports there have been 422 murders in Chicago in 2013.)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ice Hole Deer  squirrelSnow's a comin'

ICE STORM SOUTH, SNOW IN THE QUAD CITIES

Two rounds of ice will be heavily glazing the Nashville, Tennessee, area tonight and, again, Saturday night.  It’s going to get scary down here.  Meanwhile, on Sunday, several inches of snow are expected in the Quad Cities.  It looks like, at least, two inches are likely.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow to keep you ahead of the snow in Illinois and Iowa.

FRESH VENDING MACHINE SALAD

I know it’s easy to grab fast food or something out a vending machine when you’re working and eat it at your desk.  However, if you had the option, would you choose a fresh salad from a vending machine for a healthy alternative?

That is the option for people living or working near the Loop in Chicago near Clark and Lake.

Farmers Fridge Chicago

Farmer’s Fridge has installed its first vending machine salad, fruits, and vegetables prepared fresh daily and packaged in recyclable plastic jar.

The $8 salads are available at 10 a.m. and come in seven varieties including North Napa, Mediterranean, Crunchy Thai, The Cheater, and three other flavors.  The dressings include lemon tahini, spicy soy peanut, red wine vinaigrette, and four other flavors.

ISRAELIS TAKE A STAND AGAINST RUSSIA

As you know from reading my blog, I’ve been very outspoken against Russia’s homophobic laws and the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which are two months away.  There’s now a new Israeli campaign speaking out about the bloodshed and violence against the LGBT community in Russia.

Red Flag

“Red Flag”, similar to the American NOH8 campaign, was started by David and Jonathan, the publisher of the international lifestyle magazine, “F.O.D.”, for the Tel-Aviv gay man community.

Actors, singers, activists, drag queens, and the LGBT community were encouraged to take part in the photo shoot wearing Russian army uniforms with blood coming out of their mouths to bring attention to the violence brought against Russian and Ukrainian LGBT people.

Red Flag2

Organizers say, “Russia 2013 is a death trap for the LGBT community. This discriminating law is backed up with aggressive enforcement by the army and the police. Arresting activists in the LGBT community or any person suspected of being involved in “propaganda” has become a normal routine. This law refers to tourists from out-of-state and even athletes participating in the winter Olympics.”

PICK HIT

Earlier in the blog, I profiled Shane McAnally and mentioned that he co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ debut album.

He also co-wrote nine of the album’s twelve songs, including the first three singles:  “Merry Go Round” (#14), “Blowin’ Smoke” (#31 peak), and her current single, “Follow Your Arrow”,which is at #28.

“Follow Your Arrow” is witty and poignant.  Here’s a sample of the lyrics:  “You’re damned if you do/and you’re damned if you don’t/so you might as well do whatever you want, so make lots of noise/kiss lots of boys/kiss lots of girls/if that’s something you’re into”

Cheers, Kacey & Shane!

DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB

“And, the Academy Award for Best Actor Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”.

Dallas Buyers Club

The movie is based on a true story.  Ron Woodruff was a homophobic, hard-living, good ol’ Texas boy who loved his liquor, drugs, and women.  In 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had 30 days to live.

He tried to get on the AZT trials that were being rushed onto the market to fight the AIDS pandemic.  Since he was denied that opportunity, Woodruff started buying it on the black market.  When he almost died, he came up with a plan to smuggle medications out of Mexico to try to stay alive.  Since Ron couldn’t sell the drugs, he started a membership only “buyers club” to distribute the Food & Drug Administration-unapproved medication.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

McConaughey, who plays Woodruff, lost about 50 pounds for the role and his co-star, Jared Leto, who plays transgender AIDS patient, Rayon, who befriends Woodruff, lost about 40 pounds for the role.

Both actors were electrifying and sold the story.  After initially gasping at McConaughey’s first appearance in the movie, I was sold for the next two hours that both actors were HIV-positive people fighting for their lives, while the government dragged its feet.

If you lived through the 1980s and saw friends getting sick and dying, you saw those friends in Ron and Rayon.  If you know people who have become HIV-positive in the past decade, where with medication, healthier living, diet, and exercise, it’s become a manageable disease, there’s a sense of relief that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.

GRADE:  A

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

I just added “A Mary Christmas” by Mary J. Blige and “Christmas, With Love” by British singer Leona Lewis to my holiday collection this week.

Leona Lewis  Christmas With Love

Leona’s fourth album and her first Christmas colelction featured seven classics and three new songs, including the first single, “One More Sleep”.

Many of you probably remember Leona from her debut #1 single in 2008, “Bleeding Love” and its followup, “Better In Time”.

“SHELTER”

While I love “Dexter”, “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story”, love stories are at the top of my list, too.  “Pretty Woman” (1990), “Latter Days” (2003), “Shelter” (2007), “Weekend” (2011), and “Out in the Dark” (2012) are the ones that I can watch over and over and over.

Shane Mack (Shane McAnally) performed five songs on the “Shelter” soundtrack and since I’m in Nashville and I’m a strong advocate for being out and proud, here’s another one from Shane.

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND

Have a fantastic weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts this week.  Let me know what you think.

Bundle up if you live across the eastern part of the country.  It’s going to be cold.

Anthony

My Own Personal Reba Exhibit

This past March, the Country Music Hall of Fame announced that Reba:  All the Women I Am”, an exhibit showing off memorabilia from Reba’s almost 40-year career, would be on display from August 2013 through June 2014.

Reba Exhibit

A few weeks ago, with a couple of extra vacation days left, I asked Ray if he’d like to take a quick trip back to Nashville to see the exhibit.

On the way, we could stop in my neck of the woods of western Kentucky and eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880’s in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, while it was decorated for Christmas.  I hear it’s really pretty there this time of the year.  It’s been a couple of years since we last dined there and from this picture, you can tell that it was fall.

Pattis Fall 2011

I’m excited about the food and seeing my old college roommate, P-Byrd, who is the Executive Chef there.

As you know from reading my “Random Friday Thoughts” blog last week, that simple, quick trip is now going to be over the top. 🙂  We purchased the a Gaylord/Opryland Hotel package that includes Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas show, a night at the Opry, the Rockettes’ Christmas show, a lunch cruise on the General Jackson showboat on the Cumberland River, and much more.

But, this trip all started with a trip to Patti’s and the Reba exhibit.  So, this got me to thinking about my own Reba exhibit that I want to share with you.

This is the “Meet & Greet” pass that got me backstage to meet my Idol back in 2005, which led to…

Reba Meet Greet

my most prized Reba possession!

Reba Art

I met Reba in April 2005 when she kicked off her tour that year on a very cold and blustery night in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Reba Anthony 2005

I had my ticket, the two pictures of us together, and the shirt I was wearing that she autographed framed, along with the 45 rpm single of my favorite Reba song.

Also, dear to my heart is this painting of the “Read My Mind” album cover from 1994.  It was painted for me as a going away present when I lived in Chicago from 1994-1996 and worked at Charlie’s.  This beautiful piece was painted by my friend, David Krumwiede.  Drop in at Charlie’s and say hello to Fifi for me!

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Yes, my bedroom wall is a bright “Autumn Harvest” and there is a reason.

After leaving my television job in Salisbury, Maryland, in late 2005, my old news director, Dawn Mitchell, emailed me one day and asked for my new address.  Since she was instrumental to me meeting Reba in early 2005, I thought she was sending me a promotional poster for Reba’s WB “Reba” show since we were the ABC and WB affiliate.

Days later, a delivery truck showed up with a box that looked like a door!  The delivery man said, “it isn’t heavy”.  I thought, “what could it be”?

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And, this is what it is and it’s absolutely gorgeous!  So, other than orange and yellow being my favorite colors, this is the reason my bedroom is so bright.

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Two more friends, Christopher and Betty, were visiting Nashville back in the early 2000s when Reba was playing Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun” in her Broadway debut that ran from January 26-June 22, 2001.

This “Annie” promotional poster was in the bathroom of a Nashville establishment and Christopher talked the manager out of it and it’s now matted and framed on my wall.

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Also, back in the 1990s, I started collecting Reba 45s.  As you recall, those are the things we used to play on record players and that were in jukeboxes. 🙂  My thought process, at the time, was to collect all of Reba’s 45s and have them framed for my wall for a real personal exhibit.

I have many of them, but I still must search out the others.

Reba 45s

And, I have found a few Reba albums.  Now, I need to get at least one 8-track Reba recording!

Reba Albums

I also have tour guides, calendars, Reba bears, clocks, fan club magazines, Reba Visa credit cards and more.

Reba Fun Stuff

Also, I cherish this Christmas card that Reba sent to her fan club members in the 1990s.

Reba Christmas Card

And, since we’re talking about Christmas.  Of course, I have the Reba ornament that plays “The Secret of Giving” that is already placed on our Christmas tree this year.

Reba Ornament

There is still another thing that I want and have yet to get for my Reba collection.

Anthony Twitter

Yes, I want the doll and this could be the year!

While I’m talking about my love and admiration of Reba, there’s the saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

Back in the mid-1990s, at Charlie’s, a country bar and nightclub in Boystown, I performed as Reba first for an employee talent night, then for an AIDS benefit, and a third and final time, at my going away party in Chicago.  Fifi, thank you for doing the hair and make-up!

Anthony as Reba

Thank you for taking the time to check out my tribute to my idol, Reba.  I can’t wait to see the Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit Thursday afternoon!

Oh, by the way, earlier when I mentioned that I had the 45 rpm single of my favorite Reba song framed in that my most prized art possession, I didn’t mention the song.

There’s a reason.  In my continuing tribute to Reba, I’m featuring my 20 favorite Reba album tracks and singles that were never officially released tomorrow and then on Thursday, I’m sharing my 20 favorite Reba hit songs of all time.

Anthony

I’m Having More Random Thoughts

You know what it’s like to have random thoughts much of time.  Seriously, tell me that I’m not alone. 🙂  My mind works all the time and sometimes it’s a picture that prompts me to think.  At other times, its entertainment, a magazine, or Facebook.  And, today’s blog is about sharing some of those thoughts with you.

Miss Betty, “Mom”, is with us through Tuesday morning.  We’ve already been to the casino and we’re going back tonight.  She says she has to win her money back.  Last night, we grilled out and enjoyed the beautiful, cool weather.  With the exception of the casino tonight, we’re going to continue to chill out.

‘SAWDUST PIE” & BANANAS

Last weekend, when we had dinner guests, I made Patti’s 1880s’ (my favorite restaurant in Grand Rivers, Kentucky) “Sawdust Pie”.  Actually, I made two and froze one for Betty’s visit.  You serve them warm with cool whip and sliced bananas.

I didn’t know that bananas are the most purchased grocery item in the United States!

While that surprised me, here’s the shocker that I learned from “Time” magazine:  Bananas “are picked immature, shipped in special boats and then taken to ripening rooms that use ethylene gas to complete the job.”  So since the boats use fuel, the price of bananas increase when gas prices are high.  Stick with me and you might learn all kinds of interesting (or useless) information.

ASIAN CARP, WHILE BAD FOR OUR AREA LAKES AND STREAMS, DON’T LOOK SO BAD NOW!

PUTTING MARRIAGE  AND FAMILY INTO PERSPECTIVE

LINCOLN” & “ZERO DARK THIRTY” TRAILERS

Earlier this summer, I blogged about the movies that have my attention as we head into the fall.  I still want to see “Looper” and “The Paperboy”, but I’ll probably wait to see them in the cheap theater or on DVD.

There’s also “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” and “Argo”.  “Argo”, directed by Ben Affleck, is my most heavily anticipated movie this fall.  It’s based on a true story of a rescue effort to free American hostages from Iran back in 1979.  It comes out October 12th and I’ll be seeing it in Las Vegas, one day before my birthday and Madonna.  I’ve never gone to a movie in Vegas and to be honest, do tourists even do that? 🙂

Also, the trailers for two more movies that I want to see later this year were finally released.  Both “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” will likely have a date with Oscar in early 2013.

REMEMBERING 9/11

Since “Zero Dark Thirty” is about the search for Al-Qaeda learder Osama bin Laden and last Tuesday marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks when terrorists flew four planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing more than 3, 000 Americans, I’ll reflect by showing some of my favorites pictures posted that day on Facebook.

FORGETTING OSAMA BIN LADEN

While President Barack Obama gave the order for the brave U.S. Navy Seals to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in its successful mission in killing the terrorist leader in May 2011, we’ll always live with the threat that jihadists or other terrorists will attack Americans here at home or abroad.  We saw that last Tuesday in Libya when Islamic jihadis killed an American ambassador and three others.

As I read more about the man who had so much hatred for western civilizations and especially, the United States, it makes me happy that bin Laden was killed and buried deep below the North Arabian Sea.

In 1996, bin Laden said “O Lord, shatter their gathering, divide them among themselves, shake the earth under their feet and give us control over them” and then in December 2001, “We calculated in advance the number of casualties.”

It’s also very interesting that President Barack Obama announced that bin Laden was dead on May 1st.  That is also the same date back in 1945 when the German government announced that Adolf Hitler, the man responsible for the mass murder of more than six million people, most of them Jewish people, was also dead.

bin Laden and his terrorist group won the battle on 9/11, but we’ll win the war.  It may take us the rest of our lifetime and the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren, but there’s hope that one day “the world will live as one” as John Lennon so eloquently sang in “Imagine”.

POINSETTIAS

The plant that grows in the wild in its native Mexico and Central America is my favorite plant.  Over the years, I’ve collected misfit poinsettias that were either marked down in the  stores because they weren’t beautiful enough or had a broken stem or from friends that just wanted to get rid of them after the holiday.  My poinsettias are huge now and I can’t wait for them to turn from green to red, white, and pink.  Here’s just one my four potted poinsettias.

My goal this year is to locate a very hard to find variety called “Harvest Orange”.  Last year, a California grower was producing them.  So, I’ll have to keep my eyes open to find that poinsettia in my favorite color!  This is what it looks like.

I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.  What’s on your mind?

Here’s a closing thought.

Anthony