Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 15, 2013

Greetings, my friends.  Can you believe it’s already the middle of November!  Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and Christmas will be here before you know it.

Last weekend, we put some outdoors lights up and we’ll add more this weekend despite the rainy forecast.  Here are my random thoughts this week.

STORES OPENING ON THANKSGIVING

I’ve been hearing a lot of uproar about Kmart opening at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

KMart

Since then, Best Buy announced it will be opening at the same time and remaining open until 10 p.m. Friday!  Also, Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and others plan on opening their doors Thanksgiving evening.

People are complaining that this is keeping employees from spending time with their families on Thanksgiving.

It is.  However, for much of my career, I’ve worked the holidays.  This year, I’ll be working Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, but I’ll still make sure that I get to celebrate with my family.

Our Turkey 2012

And, the way I look at it is that there are people who don’t have families or someone to spend the holidays with and they welcome the stores being open to have something to do!

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

I’ll just going to keep walking on the treadmill and telling myself that I’m going to eat healthy to prepare for the feast that is Thanksgiving!

However, thanks to Pringles and Lay’s — fat chance!

lays_chocolate_potato_chips_630x420 Limited Time Only Pringles

Here are their new holiday offerings.  Let me know if you’ve tried either the “Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips dipped in Milk Chocolate”and Pringles’ “Pecan Pie” and how they taste.

Last year, I liked the “Cinnamon & Sugar”, but I didn’t really care for the “Pumpkin Pie”.  Also, in 2012, there was the “Peppermint White Chocolate”, which I didn’t get to try.

A DARKER SIDE TO CHRISTMAS

I’ve a huge fan of Erasure and the English duo just released their first Christmas album, “Snow Globe” this week.

Erasure Snow Globe

I previewed the album yesterday.

Here’s the link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/erasure-takes-us-to-the-dark-side-of-christmas-back/

It’s not your traditional Christmas album!  If you don’t believe me, there’s a song on the album called “Blood on the Snow”.

On “Snow Globe”, you’ll also find songs that may make you forget it is a Christmas album, but you won’t care.  There are many Christmas classics with the trademark Erasure sound.  Here’s a preview of “Silent Night”.

“Snow Globe” is a great addition to any Christmas or dance collection.  My full review and grade are in the blog from yesterday.

And, it’s exciting that Erasure retweeted my blog tweet!

Erasure Retweet

ANOTHER “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?”

Joel Osteen is a televangelist out of Houston, Texas, and his ministry, through broadcast media, reaches millions of people each week in over 100 nations around the world.

Seriously!

As a writer, I’ve made typos.  There are times when I’m editing my blog and I change a few words that I may leave an old word in there or the subject and verb may not agree after editing, but I can’t recall having anything like this go public.

If this is real and this was a quote on social media or if it was a verbal quote, it definitely went astray.  Religion isn’t the first thing that went through my mind!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Fish Be You

Today's Forecast What Will Happen -- Gay Marriage

A NEW CAREER POSSIBILITY

There is more and more talk in our household about retirement as I enjoy my last year in my 40s and now that Ray has hit the big 5-0.

Unfortunately, my current position is paying me slightly more than I was making eight years ago and considerably less than I was making at my last job.  So, if I don’t win the lottery, I think I’ve found a new career that might even give me the flexibility to relocate!

Air Ttraffic Control

“Time” magazine recently reported that by the end of 2016, about one-third of the nation’s air-traffic controllers will be retiring — that’s about 4,500 job openings!

Various websites report that the middle 50% of controllers make anywhere from $85,000-140,000!  But, the wind was knocked out of my sails when I read that rookies only make anywhere from $16,000-35,000, depending on location!

SOME MUSICIANS SHOW A SENSE OF HUMOR

With Facebook and Twitter, people can instantly share their thoughts, right or wrong, nice or vicious.  Jimmy Kimmel asked some in the music industry to read tweets about them.

This is too funny and Ke$ha is just amazing!

I’VE FOUND MY NEW LOVE STORY

I don’t care that Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) was a prostitute in “Pretty Woman”.  Obviously, neither did Edward Lewis.

That is my one of my favorite movie love stories, along with “Latter Days”, “Shelter”, and “Weekend”.  Chances are that you’ve never heard of those last three, but you should definitely search them out if you’re open-minded and feel that love is love.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

I can now add “Out In The Dark” to that small list.

This 2012 Israeli gem features an amazing storyline and stunning performances from lead actors Nicholas Jacob and Michael Aloni.

out-in-the-dark

“Out In The Dark” begins when Palestinian student, Nimr, sneaks across the border into Tel Aviv, Israel to party with his friends at a bar.  There he strikes up a conversation with Israeli lawyer, Roy.  They share a fun evening talking at the club and promise to keep in touch when he leaves to go back to Palestine later that night.

Nimr finds out from his friend, Mustafa, that Roy was asking about him.  Roy and Nimr start dating when Nimr gets papers allowing him to be in Tel Aviv once a week for an internship.

While the two fall in love, homophobia in the very religious West Bank threatens to tear them apart when Nimr’s family finds out his secret.  Meanwhile, back in Israel, Nimr has to confront hatred because he’s Arab.

It’s a beautiful love story that may or may not end in happiness.

Both gorgeous actors make the love story very realistic and touching.

Aloni (Roy) is an established film and movie actor and television host and was nominated in 2011 for an Israeli Academy Award for portraying a platoon commander in “Infiltration”.

Michael Aloni

And, “Out In The Dark” marks the acting debut for Israeli born Nicholas Jacob.  Interestingly, he spent about half of his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee, where he fell in love with music.  Now, he follows both dreams — acting and music.

Nicholas Jacob

So, how much did I love this movie?  I gave it a grade that I rarely give a movie!

GRADE:  A+  

GAGA’S WORLD DOMINATION

If you follow my blog, you already know that “ARTPOP”, the latest Lady Gaga album came out earlier this week and it’s expected to sell about 275,000 copies.

ARTPOP

On first listen, it definitely is a rockier version of dance music.

I’ll get the bad news out of the way.  I doubt that I’ll ever really like “Jewels N’ Drugs” featuring T.I., Too Short and Twista!

Since the album is new to me and my favorites will likely change over time, here are the ones that excite me the most right now:  “Do What U Want” (the new single featuring R. Kelly), “Donatella”, “Applause”, “Artpop” and “Swine”.

In addition to her hosting “Saturday Night Live” and also performing this weekend, her first 90-minute Christmas special, “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular” will air on ABC Thanksgiving night.

ABC Lady Gaga Muppets

Two years ago, “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” aired on ABC and featured acoustic version of songs from her second album, “Born This Way”.  It also featured “White Christmas”.

INTERESTING TEXAS TRIVIA

While you may or may not find it scary that Rick Perry and Ted Cruz are both successful politicians in the “Lone Star” state, here’s something that may be even scarier.

Chuck Norris Kickboxing

A recent “Time” magazine article stated that the FBI reports that Texas leads the nation for the most people who were either punched or kicked to death in 2012!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

“Work Bitch”, the first single from the upcoming album, “Britney Jean”, by Britney Spears reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a moderate hit at pop radio.

britney-spears-perfume

The second single, “Perfume”, is now racing up the charts and will likely make Britney a Top Ten hit maker one more time!

The new song is stripped of the electronic sound and is more like a 1980s arena ballad.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

New York singer-songwriter and actress Melissa Manchester has only scored seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  However, the three of those hits that have reached the Top Ten are still memorable more than three decades later.

Melissa Manchester

Her first hit, “Midnight Blue” reached #6 in 1975.  After a couple of modest hits, she reached #10 in 1978 with “Don’t Cry Out Loud”.  That was followed by a couple more modest hits before she scored the biggest hit of her career.

In 1982, “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” reached #5.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you’ve enjoy this week’s random thoughts.  If you agree, let me know.  If you disagree, I welcome that discussion, too.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Enjoy Your Weekend, But Let’s Quickly Talk Upcoming Snow

AFTERNOON UPDATE:  Saturday, February 23, 4:40 p.m.

The afternoon GFS model has shifted the low pressure system that will be moving out of the southern Plains northward.  If this trend verifies and continues over the next day or so, it looks as though snow totals Monday night and Tuesday will be higher than previously thought this morning.

This is the map for Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.  That blue and green indicates moderate to heavier snow.

I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on this one!

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Saturday, February 23, 2013 8:39 a.m.

The weekend is here!  Did you get to sleep in this morning?  I was wide awake at 7 a.m., which is a good thing because beginning Monday, March 4th, I’ll be waking up at 1:30 a.m. to get ready to go to work.  Time to make the doughnuts.

It’s not really that bad outside early this Saturday morning.

I went out and checked on the fish and they’re doing just fine.  Today, I’m going to scoop more snow into the fish pond to keep the water level up (although there isn’t a lot of evaporation taking place).  Don’t worry that putting snow in the pond might freeze them or cause them to go into shock, the de-icer keep the water warm enough to prevent that and the snow melts pretty quickly!

Quiet weather is expected this weekend with nothing more than a few stray snow flurries today with highs near 30°.  Sunday will feature more sunshine and highs 30-35°.

Now, let’s talk about this “Mega Storm” coming in early next week.  Oh, did I get your attention there?  My apologies for scaring you like that.  There’s some snow on the way, but it’s the Midwest and I know we can handle it.  Kidding aside, here’s how things should play out two to three days out.

Low pressure will be coming out of Texas Monday.  It now looks as though the rain and snow mix on Monday will not develop until late Monday night.

The latest data coming in does take this storm out of the Southern Plains to Indiana to the eastern Great Lakes Wednesday.  This path would keep the biggest threat of more significant snows mainly to the east of the Quad Cities. Parts of northeastern Iowa may miss out on snow altogether!

The bottom line three days out is that we’re going to have snow late Monday night, but a better chance Tuesday and more light snow is possible into Wednesday.  At this point, a few inches of snow are possible, but I’m just going to watch it and I’ll alert you if the track veers more to the northwest.  If that were to happen (and tracks always seem to change closer to the storm), we could see more snow than I expect now.

As of Saturday morning, the only “Winter Storm Watch” for Sunday night and Monday is well to the southwest of the Quad Cities.

So, the eggs, milk, bread, and toilet paper supply that you bought for the last storm should keep you in good shape with the system coming in early next week.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

It’s an Obama Nation, Not an Abomination!

Our trip to Houston is now down to the last 24 hours.

 

Both of my visits to the largest city in Texas have been in politically charged years.  When I was first here in the fall of 1992, those great Democrats wrestled the White House away from George H.W. Bush.  And, in about a month, the Republicans will try to do the same to President Barack Obama.

While the national polls (from Real Clear Politics) show the President with an increasing 3.4% lead over Republican Mitt Romney, it’s almost certain that Texas will be painted red come election night.  A new Texas Lyceum poll shows Romney with a commanding 58-39% lead over President Obama.

 

But, hey it’s only Texas.  While the state has picked seven out of the last ten presidential elections correctly, I salute the Lone Star State with helping to elect Jimmy Carter president in 1976!  Hats off!

In all fairness, I’ve looked high and low since I arrived and I haven’t seen one Romney sign or bumper sticker anywhere.  When we arrived Saturday, we rented a car to drive down to Kemah, Texas, to check out the Boardwalk and the Balloon Show at the Johnson Space Center that was cancelled due to the rain.

Before we returned the car Sunday, we drove around to check out the neighborhood and I spotted it.  No, silly, not a Romney sign.  But, it sure made my day.  So, my new goal was to set out on foot on a scavenger hunt to find the colorful wall that gave me hope.

When we got back to the hotel room, I couldn’t remember where it was located.  Thank goodness for this little thing called Google.  Not only did it supply me with an address, but a picture to verify that it was what I was looking for.

Tuesday, I walked miles from downtown Houston to the Midtown neighborhood to the intersection of Travis and Alabama Street and there it was — hope!

I found President Obama and I didn’t even have to travel to Denver, Colorado, the site of the first presidential debate tonight.

Hold up Republican friends, before you click off this blog post in disgust.  I’m sure you don’t advocate vandalism because I’d never deface a Mitt Romney sign, but someone defaced this mural with paint in early 2011.

A “Houston Press” blogger calls it the work of a “splasher” and this photo by Monica Fuentes shows that person’s handywork.

The mural was defaced several times in 2011.  But, as you can tell from my visit, it’s as good as new now.

I promise that if I find a Romney sign, I will take a picture of it to be fair and balanced and I will not deface it like some coward.  If you’re not happy with this president or any president, there’s a simple solution.  It’s called voting.

Anthony