Posts Tagged ‘weekend’

Severe Storm Threat Today; Snow By The Weekend?

UPDATED POST:  Monday, March 6, 2017, 4:15 p.m.

After another balmy day with highs near 70° in the Quad Cities, conditions are favorable for severe storms tonight with damaging winds being the biggest threat.  We could also see large hail and a few tornadoes.

A “Tornado Watch” remains in effect through 10 p.m. for much of Iowa.  This includes our western counties of Jefferson, Johnson, and Washington.

TW4.jpg

The line of strong to severe storms is firing up over western and central Iowa this afternoon.  This radar image is from around 4 p.m.

358.jpg

 

 

 

This line of storms will race across Iowa and should be in eastern Iowa by 8-10 p.m. and east of the Mississippi around midnight.

I’ll continue monitoring the situation and let you know if the “Tornado Watch” is expanded eastward to include more of our counties and the Quad Cities.

If severe storms are not your thing, it’s looking more and more likely that we could be in for a decent accumulating snow starting Friday night into Saturday.

This is the latest GFS forecast map for noon Saturday!

Sat Noon.jpg

I’ll have more on that tomorrow and the rest of the week.

Let’s get through tonight first.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Monday, March 6, 2017, 5:37 a.m.

Very warm temperatures are in the forecast again today with highs approaching 70°.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we could be seeing a repeat of last Tuesday’s weather with severe storms later today.

monday-severe-threat

Like last week, the biggest threat from the severe storms later this afternoon and early tonight will be damaging winds of 60 miles-per-hour or higher, large hail, and even a few tornadoes.

A line of storms will be forming across central Iowa this afternoon and will be moving into eastern Iowa by evening.

That line of storms will be crossing the Mississippi River by about 10 p.m.

severe-storms-later-monday

The threat of severe weather should exit our eastern hometowns by midnight.

Temperatures will remain mild through Thursday in the 50s.

However, winter may return later Friday into Saturday.

It’s possible that we could be seeing an accumulating snow to kick off the weekend.

Snow Saturday Morning

There’s plenty of time to fine tune the forecast for the snow this upcoming weekend.

But, the big story today is the severe weather threat later this afternoon and early tonight.

Anthony

Best Movies of 2016

It’s that time of the year when critics rank the best and worst movies of the year.  They get to see movies before the rest of us, so they’ll have Oscar contenders on the list that many of us will see in 2017 and so they’ll likely be on my list next year.

That means you’ll see some movies that won at the Oscars last winter on my “best of” list for 2016.

2016-movies

Additionally, you’ll see a couple of movies on this year’s list that are several years old. When I rank my movies, I include movies that I see for the first time in 2016 regardless of the year it was released.

So, before I start counting down my 20 favorite movies of the year, I want to share my favorites from the past few years.

My favorite movie of 2010 was “The Kids Are All Right” with Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.  In 2011, my favorite was “Children of God”.

Weekend

“Weekend” was my favorite movie of 2012 and “Out of the Dark” topped my list in 2013.

My favorite movie of 2014 was “Bridegroom” and last year, it was “Lilting”.

You may have noticed that most of the top movies I listed from 2010 through 2015 were not mainstream.  Sadly, LGBT movies don’t get the same distribution and promotion.

It’s now time to start the countdown and I’ll let you in on a secret.  While my #1 movie this year is not LGBT, it wasn’t a widely seen movie either (in the U.S).

#20

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION YEAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.4 MILLION

#19

“BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $400,000

*WARNING:  R-RATED TRAILER*

18

“MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $25.1 MILLION

#17

“STONEWALL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $187,674

Note:  This movie was reviled by the LGBT community because it loosely fictionalized the Stonewall events through the character of Danny, a white Midwestern boy (Jeremy Irvine).

However, I know the story of Stonewall and I’ve written about it many times.  I know that drag queens, transgender, and people of color were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots back in 1969.  I’ve done my homework.

With that being said, I still enjoyed the movie for what it was — a movie.

I hope that the few people that saw it and weren’t familiar with Stonewall took the time to Google the real story.  We should never get our news or learn about history from headlines, social media, or Hollywood.

And, finally, just because I crush on Irvine, that alone doesn’t justify a place in the Top 20.

16

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  unknown

15

“BROOKLYN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $62.1 MILLION

14

“BURNT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $36.6 MILLION

#13

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

12

“STEVE JOBS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.4 MILLION

11

“THE WALK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $61.2 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“HOLDING THE MAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $909,122

#9 MOVIE

“FORCE MAJEURE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.4 MILLION +

#8 CD

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $171.7 MILLION

#7 CD

“MR. HOLMES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $29.4 MILLION

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“ROOM”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $35.4 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JOY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $101.1 MILLION

red-number-4

“THE REVENANT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $533 MILLION

#3 MOVIE

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $27.4 MILLION +

#2 CD

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.9 MILLION

Before revealing my favorite movie of 2016, it’s time for the worst movie I saw this year.

Gag Me

Let me say that Dan Stevens has a chance for redemption in March 2017 with the live action “Beauty and the Beast” movie and John Travolta was incredible in “Saturday Night Live”, “Grease”, and “Swordfish”.

But, “Criminal Activities” was not the movie to see!  It was so bad that I won’t even torture you with the trailer.

Bonus

For much of 2016, I had a five-part BBC America miniseries as my second favorite movie of the year. I mean, if “American Horror Story” can brand itself as this or that to qualify and win Emmy Awards, why can’t I call a miniseries a movie?

But, I decided to share “London Spy” as a must-see bonus!

Ben-Whishaw

It’s also a chance to mention the adorable and very talented Ben Whishaw and the amazing Charlotte Rampling.

Okay, focus Anthony!

#1 CD

My favorite movie I saw in 2016 was an Austrian film from 2015 starring the incredible Susanne Wuest and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.2 MILLION +

So, there’s my list.

What are your favorite and least favorite movies you saw in 2016.  Let me know.

Anthony

Warm Weekend, But Then Snow?

UPDATED POST:  WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 4:39 p.m.

Nice sunshine this afternoon warmed our high temperature in the Quad Cities to 40°, easily surpassing the forecast high.

Warmer weather is expected through the weekend with some hometowns approaching 50° Saturday.

Then, all eyes focus on a storm coming in early next week.  Today, that storm is way out in the Pacific.

Looking at the latest afternoon NOAA GFS model, I still expect light snow to develop Monday night and then change over to rain Tuesday as the low pressure system tracks close to the Quad Cities.

A transition over to snow Tuesday evening into Wednesday will bring us accumulating snow.  How much?  It’s way too early to say and if you see a forecast with amounts, they’re just trying to get you excited.  Ignore it!

It’s still almost a week away, so there’ll be many changes to the forecast.

This is just an informational blog for planning purposes to give you a heads up.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 7:31 a.m.

While we may see a few snow flurries later today, a rather tranquil weather pattern is in place through the first half of the weekend.

We’ll also see a warming trend that will take us from the mid-30s today to near 40° tomorrow and the mid-to-upper-40s for the weekend in the Quad Cities!

By Sunday, some light rain moves in during the afternoon and that’ll change over to light snow Sunday night.  This will not be a big deal.

However, there is a big deal on the way to the Midwest next Tuesday and Wednesday.

6pm Tuesday GFS

This is the forecast weather map from NOAA at 6 p.m. Tuesday.  We see two areas of low pressure — one moving into Missouri and the other over Oklahoma.

That storm system will bring copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

Depending on the path this storm takes across the Midwest, we could be seeing moderate to heavy rain and/or snow.

At this point in the game, parts of Iowa could be seeing heavy snow.

In the Quad Cities, we’ll definitely see snow, it’s just a matter of whether it starts out as rain Tuesday and changes to snow Tuesday night and Wednesday.  Or, if the storm tracks more to our east and south, we’ll be on the cold side and could see more snow.

It’s way too early to pinpoint who gets the most and how much.  However, it’s not too early to get the word out that a big storm could be moving in early next week.

Anthony

Losing Weight & Degrading Women Is Torture In “Dietland”

When it comes to recommendations, you expect me to suggest movies (you still need to see “Lilting”, “Bridegroom”,”Weekend”, and “Mr. Holmes”), music (“Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder, “Communion” by Years & Years, and “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen were tops last year), or television shows (loving “The Man In The High Castle” and “Quantico” while I wait for my regulars to return.)

Last year, I even suggested a couple of books — the incredible “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz — both debut novels.

Normally, I read non-fiction books, autobiographies, and biographies.  Since it’s an election year, I’m going to devour political books this year and I’m starting off with “It Takes A Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, thanks to “Entertainment Weekly”, I had to get one more book in before polluting my mind with politics.

It named “Dietland” by Sarai Walker as one of the ten best books of 2015.

Dietland

And, I totally agree.  I devoured the stellar 307-page novel like Plum would choke down greasy cheeseburgers, cupcakes, and homemade lady fingers.

Okay, I need to back up because there’s also Alicia and we definitely can’t forget Jennifer!

“Dietland” is centered around Plum, a reclusive woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to women.  Actually, her job, that allows her to work at home or from the cafe she frequents, is to answer emails from young women that think they’re writing to the editor of the magazine, Kitty, for advice.

And, she’s likely not working from the Austen Media Tower high rise in Manhattan because she doesn’t fit the editor’s or the magazine’s ideal woman mold — Plum is very overweight, clocking in at over 300 pounds.

Although she’s tried dieting and weight loss programs since she was young, her weight keeps going up.

She feels her only alternative is to have gastric bypass surgery.  That’ll allow “Alicia” (her given birth name and the skinny woman deep down inside her overweight body) a chance to shine — a chance to live life, wear fun clothes, date, and fall in love.  Those are the things that Plum feels she’ll never have.

One day, she realizes that she’s being followed.  This eventually leads to a confrontation with the person tailing her and Plum meeting other people including a woman with ties to a weight loss program Plum tried and failed at when she was younger.

In the meantime, a series of high profile events involving men suspected of rape, domestic violence, and other acts against women — directly or indirectly — are starting and gaining national and international attention.

These are not court cases.  No, I’m talking about men being dropped from a plane to their deaths in the desert and much more.

But, who’s doing this?

Is Jennifer the mastermind behind the series of attacks on men and the media that objectify women.  Is Jennifer an alias of one of the main characters or an underground group?  And, how long will it take before she starts a whole revolution of women lashing out at men and institutions that demean them with unrealistic expectations?

And, then the big question is how does this all tie into Plum and her aversion to saying the one word, the f-word, that she’s never been able to say about herself — that’s she fat!

Sarai Walker

“Dietland” is a stellar debut novel from Sarai (pronounced sa-RAY) Walker and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Walker has mastered what it feels like to be an outsider.  An outsider that learns if you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what other small-minded people think — since killing them is still against the law!

In a perfect world and if Hollywood took real chances, this book would be optioned for a movie — like five minutes ago!

Anthony

Best of 2010-2014 — Flashback

Beginning tomorrow, I’ll be posting my favorite albums, songs, and movies of 2015!

I love lists and creating them, so I hope you check them out and in doing so, you might find some new songs or movies that you didn’t know about before my countdowns.

So, to prepare, here are my favorites from the past few years — just for fun.

2014

Last year, my favorite song of the year was Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”.

If you’re curious and want see the other 19 favorites, click here and listen away!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/my-top-20-songs-of-2014/

For album of the year, there was a tie for my top album.

Enrique Iglesias’ “Sex and Love”

Enrique SEX AND LOVE

and Erasure’s “The Violet Flame”.

The Violet Flame

Here’s the complete Top 14 list of my favorite albums from 2014.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/my-14-favorite-albums-of-2014/

And, in 2014, my favorite movie was “Bridegroom”.

Here’s are the others in the Top Ten last year.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/my-ten-favorite-movies-of-2014/

In 2013, my favorite album was “Push Remind” by Chris Wallace.

Push Rewind

Here’s the rest of 2013’s album countdown.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/my-top-ten-favorite-albums-of-2013/

My favorite song of 2013 was Hailey Rowe’s “My Boyfriend Is Gay” featuring the hilarious and gorgeous Blake Peyrot.

Here are my other favorite songs of 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/i-love-that-song-but-skip-that-one/

And, my favorite movie in 2013 was “Out In The Dark”.

Here’s the rest of my movie favorites in 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/my-ten-favorite-movies-of-2013/

In 2012, my favorite movie was “Weekend”.

Here’s the rest of my favorite movies three years ago.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/anthonys-2012-favorite-movies/

And, my 2012 favorite album was “MDNA” by Madonna.

MDNA

Here’s the rest of the 2012 favorites.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/my-2012-favorites-cds/

Now, this is so much fun.  If you’re still looking, you’re curious, too. 🙂

My favorite album in 2011 was “Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

Here are the others that made the list in 2011.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/favorite-albums-of-2011/

In 2011, my favorite movie was “Children of God”.

The rest that made the list in 2011…

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/favorite-movies-of-2011/

And, while we’re at it, let’s finish out this decade.  In 2010, my favorite album was “Night Work” by Scissor Sisters.

SCISSOR SISTERS NIGHT WORK

Here’s the rest of 2010 list of favorites.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/favorite-movies-albums-of-2010/

And, my favorite movie was “The Kids Are All Right”.

The rest of my favorites in 2010!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/favorite-movies-of-2010/

So, now I’m excited to start sharing my favorites of 2015 with you starting tomorrow.  Thanks again for checking out my blogs.

Anthony

Winter 2015-2016 Kicks Off Friday Night

UPDATES POST:  Thursday, November 19, 2015, 4:35 a.m.

Happy Snowstorm Eve!

More data is in and it’s looking very wintry Friday night and early Saturday and this will likely turn into a moderate snow event (a heavy snow event to the north of the Quad Cities).

Snow Forecast

Remember that the first flakes will not arrive until Friday afternoon or evening, so this forecast could change many times before then with the snow forecast totals shifting north or south and the numbers could go up or down.

Keep up on the latest forecast.  That’s why you have me!

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 4:40 p.m.

The first half of this week featured temperatures in the 60s and over two inches of rain.  After a sunny day Thursday and for part of Friday, our first measurable snow of the new winter season arrives Friday evening and Friday night.

The quick-moving snow maker will not only whiten the ground with possibly several inches of snow, but it’ll bring in the coldest air of the season.   By Sunday morning, low temperatures will be dropping into the lower-teens with a few single digits possible.

A rain/snow mix will develop Friday afternoon across eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois.  Temperatures will be around 40°-45°.

By evening, as the air cools into the 30s, the wintry mix will change over to all snow and continue into the early part of Saturday.

If you’ve been following my forecast and analysis of this system, I said the snow will have to come down hard enough Friday night to overcome the warm and wet ground.  I’m thinking that will happen and we could see the snow fall at a nice pace for about six to nine hours Friday night.  Lows in the 20s will help the snow to accumulate.

Snow Friday Night

This map shows that the highest chances of seeing snow accumulations of two inches Friday night into Saturday morning will be north of Interstate 80.  Where you see light blue and peach, chances are 70-90%.

In the Quad Cities, those chances are at 30-60%.

At this point in the game, remember that the storm that will race across the Rockies and Plains Friday and into Iowa and Illinois Friday night and early Saturday is still out in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska.

Once it comes ashore, we’ll have a very good data to help forecast this snow event.

The bottom line is that (1) we’ll pretty much see our first snow of the 2014-2015 winter season, (2) accumulations are likely in our area and heavy snow will likely fall in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, (3) the coldest air of the season arrives this weekend in the wake of the snow, and, most importantly, (4) the forecast will change some Thursday as sampled data from the storm comes in and we’ll have a solid forecast for snow amounts.

Have those shovels ready in case you need them.  At the very least, be ready to sweep off your steps, sidewalks, and driveways with a broom.

Anthony

Heavy Snow Arrives Saturday Night & Sunday

Happy Saturday!

I hope you’re stocked up on whatever you might need to wait out this weekend’s snowstorm.  If not, you still have until early Saturday afternoon.

This is going to short and sweet if you like snow.

Heavy snow is on the way Saturday evening through Sunday evening and some hometowns may have a foot of new snow on the ground by the time it ends late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

A “Winter Storm Warning” has been issued for all of eastern Iowa and northern Illinois from Saturday evening through early Sunday night for heavy snow this weekend and gusty winds, considerable blowing and drifting snow, and falling temperatures Sunday.

A rain and snow mix will begin early Saturday afternoon across our southern hometowns and it will move northward and quickly change over to snow.

Moderate to heavy snow is likely for about a 12-hour period Saturday night into early Sunday.

This is the where the GFS has the storm system at 6 a.m. Sunday.  The darker shades of green show where the moderate to heavy snow will be falling.

Now, let’s talk snow amounts.

The storm has made another shift to the north in the overnight hours, so that means that the heaviest snow will also shift northward out of central Illinois, which was the thinking Friday night.

For simplicity’s sake, 6-12″ of snow are possible with this storm from Saturday evening through late Sunday night or early Monday morning!

In the Quad Cities, I’m expecting around 10″ of snow.

Right along Interstate 80 and to the north, that’s where the heaviest snow will fall.  Amounts of 8-12″ are likely.

If you live south of I-80, you’re still going to be heavy snow.  Amounts of 6-10″ will fall there.

Remember that with any snow event, there could be isolated higher totals in any of these ranges.

LAST TIME WE SAW THIS MUCH

If we pick up more than 8.3″ of snow in the Quad Cities from this storm, it’ll be the biggest storm since that much fell back on February 26 and 27, 2013.

And, it was four years ago today (on the calendar) that a three-day snowstorm started in the Quad Cities that would bring 18.4″ of snow to the area, tying a 1979 snowstorm for the biggest snow event in Quad Cities history.

Groundhog Blizzard of 2011

In that 2011 storm, 14.8″ of that 18.4″ total fell on February 1st alone.

BOTTOM LINE…

This is a dangerous situation unfolding with heavy snow, strong winds Sunday approaching 40 miles-per-hour, and considerable blowing and drifting snow.

Additionally, by Monday morning, temperatures will be near zero and wind chills will be much colder.  Monday’s highs will only be in the teens.

Since all of the pieces of the puzzle are in place, this is my only post today — unless something drastic and unforeseen happens.

Be safe and have a great weekend!

Anthony

P.S.  I’d like to thank my friends at the National Weather Service offices for the “Winter Storm Warning” base maps. 🙂

Possible Ice Before The Weekend Snow

I’m on vacation, but I wanted to give you a no-frills update on the two weather systems that will be affecting us through the weekend.

First up, fog will develop later tonight and on Thursday, it’ll likely become dense.

Fog

Light rain will be breaking out in the afternoon hours with highs around 40°, which will continue melting the snow we have on the ground now.  As temperatures fall Thursday night and early Friday morning, freezing rain and slick driving conditions will be a problem.

IMG_4635

A “Winter Weather Advisory” might be issued for the possible icing situation.

After that, our attention then shifts to a potential snow event later Saturday into Sunday.

Based on the latest American computer models, the storm is taking a more northerly track.  The more consistent European model has been showing this for days.  The more to the north this low tracks, the better chance that warmer air will be pulled into the storm.  That could mean more rain and freezing rain, which would limit the snow at the beginning of the event.

Saturday

For now and this is subject to change many times between now and Saturday, rain develops later Saturday afternoon from south to north across Illinois.  By late evening, this becomes a wintry mix of rain, sleet, freezing rain, and snow as temperatures start falling.

Overnight Saturday night and Sunday, this will become a moderate to heavy snow event.

Here is the GFS model map at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

SUNDAY 6 AM GFS

The blue line behind the low shows us in the cold air and the darker green is in the heavier snow across eastern Iowa, northwestern Illinois, and the Quad Cities.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, we’re still in the heavy snow.

Sunday 9 AM GFS

And, finally at noon Sunday, we’re still seeing moderate snow.  However, it will quickly exit our area by early afternoon.

SUNDAY NOON GFS

Remember, this is a developing situation and I ask you to keep up on the latest forecast and updates.  It will change!

What is safe to say Wednesday evening, about 72 hours before the onset of the weekend winter storm, is this could be a significant accumulating snow for the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys.  With so many variables to be determined, throwing potential snow accumulation totals out there would still be somewhat irresponsible.

I expect to have some numbers for you Thursday for potential snow.  I also think that the Quad Cities’ National Weather Service office will be issuing a “Winter Storm Watch” for the weekend storm.

There are still many pieces of the puzzle to put together before a concrete forecast is made on this weekend’s storm.

Along with my blog, CBS4 chief meteorologist Andy McCray and meteorologist Kyle Kiel, who is filling in for me Thursday and Friday on “CBS4 News This Morning” from 5-7 a.m., will have the latest on the television.  I may be partial, but I trust them the most.

And, since my buddy Greg Dutra is on vacation, give us a chance to forecast for you!

So, as they say in television, stay tuned…

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.

Anthony Reba

These are various “Fancy” performance dresses.

Reba Fancy Dresses

IT LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS AT OUR HOTEL

Opryland Hotel

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

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