Sunday, September 21, 2014

Seeing the Tall ships in Baltimore

huge crowd at the Inner Harbor
The Tall ships arrived in Baltimore the weekend of Sept. 13-14 and we joined our friends Steve and Jane for a walk around the Inner Harbor of the city where the ships were docked.
  The day was perfect- with a blue sky and temperatures in the low 70s. After a nice walk around the harbor we saw a few Blue Angels fly overhead!
We love the carved wooden dog on this ship

The events celebrating the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore — and of Francis Scott Key's writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as he watched the British fail in their attack on Fort McHenry this week in 1814 — kicked off with the ships' arrival and received an unexpected boost from leaked word of the president's planned visit Friday.

another Tall Ship

Tom at a Tall Ship

Tom, Jane and Steve 
WHAT WAS THE EVENT? - Star-Spangled Spectacular is a free festival that celebrates the 200th anniversary of our national anthem. Tall ships, Navy gray hulls and the Blue Angels will come to Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor to celebrate “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Landside festivals include living history demonstrations, a family fun zone, live musical performances, and Chesapeake food and beverage. Events crescendo on September 13 with a star-studded patriotic concert and extraordinary fireworks display over Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor.  More info:

Rob, Steve, Jane, Tom 

An ornamental ship

Interesting carrier ship


Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Report: Where the Fattest Live vs. Most Healthy

The State of Obesity report has just come out and  Massachusetts is currently the 48th most obese state in the United States. The only states with lower rates of obesity are Hawaii and Colorado, according to the report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health. 
     The State of Obesity observes studies collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although all states showed obesity rates between 20 and 35 percent, Massachusetts was on the lower end of the spectrum, with only 23.6 percent of residents being characterized as obese. 
    According to the report, Northeastern and Western states had the lowest rates of obesity, while the highest rates are in the South and Midwest.  
   There are a variety of factors that contribute to Massachusetts’s overall health. According to America’s Health Rankings, only 16.4 percent of adults still smoke, and only 19.7 percent of adults are physically inactive—both low statistics compared to the rest of the United States. Additionally, the American Psychological Association found that Northeast residents are known for having lower average stress levels than any other region, another factor that contributes to weight gain and overall wellbeing. 
  Mississippi and West Virginia have the highest rates of obesity at 35.1 percent, while Colorado have the lowest rate at 21.3 percent. All 10 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South or Midwest.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rob Narrates a Hurricane Science Video

One of the fun things I get asked to do from time to time is narrate a science video for NASA. I love working with producer Ryan Fitzgibbons, he comes up with the best science videos.
   I'm helping manage the outreach and write stories about the current hurricane mission (HS3) flying unmanned (remotely piloted) aircraft out of NASA Wallops in Virginia, and I write all the updates for the NASA hurricane page (it's on facebook and Twitter, too, at NASAHurricane). So, Ryan asked if I'd narrate the video posted below. Hope you enjoy it and learn something! 
  The story that accompanies it can be found here:
NASA HS3 Instrument Views 2 Dimensions of Clouds


Thursday, September 18, 2014

LEARN: short Video:Scottish referendum explained for non-Brits

We visited Scotland last year and wanted to understand the history of n animated explanation of some fundamental questions prior to the referendum on Scottish independence today. Where is Scotland, what is Scotland and what does it mean to be Scottish? And what is the history of Scotland's relationship with England? But the real question is, will Scotland be better off as an independent country?
Scotland and how it went from an independent country to part of the U.K., and why there's a vote to make it its own county again - the vote is TODAY, Sept. 18th. So, here's a

In the News: German Scientists Prove There is Life After Death

As a meteorologist, I (Rob) love it when science helps explain what we consider the "paranormal." The paranormal is only "beyond normal" until science catches up with it, and now it seems that it finally has in respect to life after death. 
 - You don't have to be of a religion to believe in life after death. You simply have to understand the science of energy. Energy cannot be destroyed only transformed and the physical energies that course through our bodies couple with our memories and personalities to become spirits that cross over, or earth-bound ghosts.  
 NOW- new research from German scientists has proven an afterlife exists. 
ere's the article:
Berlin| A team of psychologists and medical doctors associated with the Technische Universit├Ąt of Berlin, have announced this morning that they had proven by clinical experimentation, the existence of some form of life after death. This astonishing announcement is based on the conclusions of a study using a new type of medically supervised near-death experiences, that allow patients to be clinically dead for almost 20 minutes before being brought back to life.
This controversial process that was repeated on 944 volunteers over that last four years, necessitates a complex mixture of drugs including epinephrine and dimethyltryptamine, destined to allow the body to survive the state of clinical death and the reanimation process without damage. The body of the subject was then put into a temporary comatic state induced by a mixture of other drugs which had to be filtered by ozone from his blood during the reanimation process 18 minutes later.
The extremely long duration of the experience was only recently made possible by the development of a new cardiopulmonary recitation (CPR) machine called the AutoPulse. This type of equipment has already been used over the last few years, to reanimate people who had been dead for somewhere between 40 minutes to an hour.
Near-death experiences have been hypothesized in various medical journals in the past, as having the characteristics of hallucinations, but Dr Ackermann and his team, on the contrary, consider them as evidence for the existence of the afterlife and of a form of dualism between mind and body.
Near-death experiences have been hypothesized in various medical journals in the past, as having the characteristics of hallucinations, but Dr Ackermann and his team, on the contrary, consider them as evidence for the existence of the afterlife and of a form of dualism between mind and body.
The team of scientists led by Dr Berthold Ackermann, has monitored the operations and have compiled the testimonies of the subjects. Although there are some slight variations from one individual to another, all of the subjects have some memories of their period of clinical death. and a vast majority of them described some very similar sensations.
Most common memories include a feeling of detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of an overwhelming light.
The scientists say that they are well aware the many of their conclusions could shock a lot of people, like the fact that the religious beliefs of the various subjects seems to have held no incidence at all, on the sensations and experiences that they described at the end of the experiment. Indeed, the volunteers counted in their ranks some members are a variety of Christian churches, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and atheists.
“I know our results could disturb the beliefs of many people” says Mr Ackermann. “But in a way, we have just answered one of the greatest questions in the history of mankind, so I hope these people will be able to forgive us. Yes, there is life after death and it looks like this applies to everyone.”
- See more at:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Doggy Adventure of the Day: Hydrant Time!

A neighborhood hydrant flush
Water rushes down a drain
Last week, we had a dog adventure with the fire hydrants in our
neighborhood, but it's not what you're likely thinking! :) 
  In the city we reside, they usually open hydrants once or twice a year to remove deposits of rusty water that build up over the summertime and winter-time.
    These rust accumulations They also affect our drinking water (when rust builds up, sometimes the water turns yellow-orange). 
The water is gushing out!
Dolly and Tyler notice the truck arrive
 So, one day while I (Rob) was teleworking, Dolly and Tyler joined me for a walk (really, the walk was for them) and we found some hydrants being flushed out.
    The flush usually leaves a big red smear of rust on the street.
    At one point, we approached a city
utility truck that just parked and Dolly and Tyler stopped and watched as one of the men got out of the truck and opened the hydrant.
    Of course, water gushed out quickly so we had to run to the other side of the street and walk on a couple of lawns to avoid getting soaked on our way home!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy birthday to Tom's Mom, Ruth!

Mom Ruth
Happy birthday, Mom Ruth! 
Today is Tom's mom's birthday and we wanted to let her know publicly how special she is to us.
  She spoils our canine kids something awful, and is always here when we need her. She takes morning walks daily, and has been involved in choirs, acting in plays, book clubs, yard sales and many other things.
  We love calling her on the weekend mornings and catching up and cornering her for dinner.
  Since my (Rob) mom and dad have both passed, it's a pleasure to know that I still have a mom! Love you, Mom!!
Happy Birthday!


This is from some TV show (obviously on cable) but if you like Awkward family photos- this may give you a couple of smiles. (Note: there is some language here- from the three comedians giving quips about them).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Dog Franklin's Surgery for Herniated Disc - Video/ What to Expect

Franklin ready to come home
On Sunday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. we came home from a dinner out (gone 90 minutes) to find our older Dachshund, Franklin (10 years old) on the kitchen floor with his back legs paralyzed and sitting in a pool of drool. We thought it was either a spinal injury or a stroke so we rushed him to Dogs & Cats Emergency Vet in Bowie. (See below for video a couple of days after surgery) 
    As we were waiting a couple of minutes, I felt his back and noticed one area that was raised. The doctor confirmed that that was the area where the disc herniated.

Daddy Tom and Franklin coming home
SURGERY RECOMMENDED IMMEDIATELY -  The doctor recommended surgery immediately for the best chance of regaining mobility, so of course we agreed. The hospital called in a neurosurgeon and the doctor called me at 10:30pm and told me the surgery would begin at 11:30 p.m. He called me at 1:30 a.m. after the surgery and said it went very well. Franklin had decompressive surgery of a herniated disc T13-L1.

COMING HOME - CAN'T WALK -  Franklin was in the hospital for 6 days and came home this past Friday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m. EDT. He cannot walk on his back legs, so we "tail walk" him by holding his tail (at its base) so he can do his business. His back legs cross, so it's going to take weeks / months of therapy, corrections, and movements to get him walking again - if we can. His right leg is stronger, but his left leg is very weak and crosses over his right leg. He's on 4 weeks crated bed rest except for being carried outside. His appetite never wavered, though. :)

Franklin held by Tom post-surgery
GOOD SIGNS- On Thursday, the day before Franklin came home, our friend and huge dog lover, Elvina, met us at the hospital. Franklin wagged is tail for Elvina and that's a great sign- it means he has feeling there again! After working the weekend with his legs, he is now trying to walk on his back right leg, but it's going to be a long road of recovery.

OUR NOTE TO THE STAFF OF DOGS AND CATS ANIMAL HOSPITAL: Thank you for all you have done for our 10 year old Dachshund Franklin who had a herniated disc. Dr. Neravanda is amazing. The vet tech who worked with us is also amazing. The staff was always helpful, patient and attentive. We were so amazed by the daily phone calls from the doctor with updates, and the amazing care. - This staff and facility wonderful and the care is great. Everyone was patient and kind with explanations, too. We would love to share this review for all. Thank you Dogs & Cats! Rob and Tom 
Confined to a crate w/pee pad for 4 weeks
1) Get the surgery done immediately
2) Your dog is in pain- get them to an emergency room ASAP
3) Understand that the cost will be between five and six thousand dollars
4) Get VPI Pet Insurance NOW (especially if you have a Dachshund) - they'll pay some portion
5) After surgery the dog requires bed rest for 3-4 weeks and will be on pain meds for a week (which may constipate them).
6) After surgery dogs bladders need to be expressed (pushing gently on sides of bladder to help them pee until they can pee on their own.
7) During the first week, put pee pads in their crates until the regain bladder control.
8) Carry the dog outside to pee and poop. Do NOT let the dog try to walk outside by themselves. You can always put a sheet under the tummy of bigger dogs.
8) Pooping is no issue, btw. - Hold the dog by the tail to do so (close to the butt, NOT tip of tail)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Super Yawn from Krypto (Dolly)

Super Yawn from Krypto (Dolly)