Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Franklin Post-Surgery Week 6 / and Dog pics

Franklin and Tom looking outside
Tyler happy Franklin is running again

We're now entering week 7 after our 10 year old Dachshund Franklin's spinal surgery for a herniated disk, and he's walking and has even learned to run, although somewhat sideways (before he drops down on his butt after a minute or two).
   We continue to do his leg stretching exercises daily, and have noticed that his back leg muscles have become somewhat more tense. So, I massage his back legs to relieve the muscle tension.



Warner Bros. Announce Upcoming Superhero Movies

As a huge DC Comics superhero fan- this announcement from Warner Brothers is really exciting to me! - Rob
L to R: Aquaman, Green Lantern,Wonder Woman, Superman,Batman, Flash, Cyborg
Warner Bros. Announce Upcoming Superhero Movies

Warner Bros.   announced plans to release 10 D.C. Comics movies between 2016 and 2020. 

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016), “Suicide Squad” (2016), Justice League (2017) “The Flash” (2018), Aquaman (2018) and a new “Green Lantern” in 2020. Zack Snyder is slated to direct the The Justice League films, of which there will be two, and the movie will star Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Amy Adams. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will star in “Shazam”, to be released in 2019.
If you can handle more excitement, Warner Bros. also announced plans to release three new lego films in the next in the next four years. “The Lego Batman Movie” will be released in 2017 followed by a sequel to the hugely successful “The Lego Movie” in 2018, aptly named “The Lego Movie 2.”
Here are the DC and Marvel Superhero Movies as of 10/20/14
May 1: Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17: Ant-Man
August 7: Fantastic Four (Fox)

February 12: Deadpool (Fox)
March 25: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
May 6: Captain America 3 (not official title, reportedly "Civil War")
May 27: X-Men: Apocalypse (Fox)
July 8: Untitled Marvel film unofficially widely believed to be Doctor Strange (new addition) August 5: Suicide Squad (new addition)
November 11: Sinister Six (Sony)

March 3: Untitled Wolverine sequel (Fox)
May 5: Untitled Marvel Film
June 23: Wonder Woman (new addition)
July 14: Fantastic Four 2 (Fox)
July 28: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
November 3: Untitled Marvel film
November 17: Justice League, Part 1 (new addition)
(unspecified date): Untitled Sony female Spider-Man spin-off
(unspecified tentative date): Sony Venom: Carnage Spider-Man spin-off (rumored to be dead)

2018: March 23: The Flash (new addition)
May 4: Untitled Marvel film
July 6: Untitled Marvel film
July 13: Untitled Fox Mystery Marvel film
July 27: Aquaman (new addition)
November 2: Untitled Marvel film
(unspecified date): Amazing Spider-Man 3

2019: April 5: Shazam (new addition)
May 3: Untitled Marvel film
June 14: Justice League, Part 2 (new addition)

2020: April 3: Cyborg (new addition) June 19: Green Lantern (new addition)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Cast Out By Families/Rise in Suicides

Here are 2 articles that just came out from Rolling Stone Magazine. For those who think that gay people don't face discrimination from churches, religions and families - these will be eye opening, infuriating and make you sick.  - Michelle Bachmann's hometown became so insane with religion that there are a high rate of teen suicides. REALLY. Read the excerpt of the 2nd article below and TEACH TOLERANCE, WELCOME ALL PEOPLE. - Rob and Tom 

Another Educational Post: Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Cast Out By Families

This is a sick and serious issue that so many (not all) religious families have thrown their gay teenage children out on the streets. These are really heartbreaking, horrifying stories- and the people that do this to their own children in the name of any religion are sick and unfit to be parents. - Just read some of these kids' experiences.  http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-forsaken-a-rising-number-of-homeless-gay-teens-are-being-cast-out-by-religious-families-20140903?page=4

This gay teen took his own life

EVEN MORE INFURIATING- Michele Bachmann's town has sparked many Teen suicides:   One Town's War on Gay Teens

In Michele Bachmann's home district, evangelicals have created an extreme anti-gay climate. After a rash of suicides, the kids are fighting back

Like many 13-year-olds, Brittany knew seventh grade was a living hell. But what she didn't know was that she was caught in the crossfire of a culture war being waged by local evangelicals inspired by their high-profile congressional representative Michele Bachmann, who
David Phan, gay 14-year-old boy- suicide victim
graduated from Anoka High School and, until recently, was a member of one of the most conservative churches in the area. When Christian activists who considered gays an abomination forced a measure through the school board forbidding the discussion of homosexuality in the district's public schools, kids like Brittany were unknowingly thrust into the heart of a clash that was about to become intertwined with tragedy.
Like Brittany, eighth-grader Samantha Johnson was a husky tomboy too, outgoing with a big smile and a silly streak to match Brittany's own. Sam was also bullied for her look – short hair, dark clothing, lack of girly affect – but she merrily shrugged off the abuse. When Sam's volleyball teammates' taunting got rough – barring her from the girls' locker room, yelling, "You're a guy!" – she simply stopped going to practice. After school, Sam would encourage Brittany to join her in privately mocking their tormentors, and the girls would parade around Brittany's house speaking in Valley Girl squeals, wearing bras over their shirts, collapsing in laughter. They'd become as close as sisters in the year since Sam had moved from North Dakota following her parents' divorce, and Sam had quickly become Brittany's beacon. Sam was even helping to start a Gay Straight Alliance club, as a safe haven for misfits like them, although the club's progress was stalled by the school district that, among other things, was queasy about the club's flagrant use of the word "gay." Religious conservatives have called GSAs "sex clubs," and sure enough, the local religious right loudly objected to them. "This is an assault on moral standards," read one recent letter to the community paper. "Let's stop this dangerous nonsense before it's too late and more young boys and girls are encouraged to 'come out' and practice their 'gayness' right in their own school's homosexual club."
this gay teen took his own life

Brittany admired Sam's courage, and tried to mimic her insouciance and stoicism. So Brittany was bewildered when one day in November 2009, on the school bus home, a sixth-grade boy slid in next to her and asked quaveringly, "Did you hear Sam said she's going to kill herself?"

Brittany considered the question. No way. How many times had she seen Sam roll her eyes and announce, "Ugh, I'm gonna kill myself" over some insignificant thing? "Don't worry, you'll see Sam tomorrow," Brittany reassured her friend as they got off the bus. But as she trudged toward her house, she couldn't stop turning it over in her mind. A boy in the district had already committed suicide just days into the school year – TJ Hayes, a 16-year-old at Blaine High School – so she knew such things were possible. But Sam Johnson? Brittany tried to keep the thought at bay. Finally, she confided in her mother.

"This isn't something you kid about, Brittany," her mom scolded, snatching the kitchen cordless and taking it down the hall to call the Johnsons. A minute later she returned, her face a mask of shock and terror. "Honey, I'm so sorry. We're too late," she said tonelessly as Brittany's knees buckled; 13-year-old Sam had climbed into the bathtub after school and shot herself in the mouth with her own hunting rifle. No one at school had seen her suicide coming.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Watch! 1 Hour BBC TV Special: Dolly Parton Platinum Blonde

While I was on You Tube, I searched on my favorite singer, Dolly Parton and came across this 1 hour Biography special from BBC TV! It was really enjoyable. If you're a Dolly fan, (you don't have to love country music to love Dolly), sit down and enjoy this great special highlighting her history, stories, fun, music and great sense of humor! 
Release Date:   6 January 2003 (UK)


Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Dog-Oriented Mystery: Teacup Turbulence!

I (Rob) recently read a "Pet Rescue Mystery" called "Teacup Turbulence by Linda O. Johnston. It was the second in the
series about a dog and cat rescue manager who gets into solving murders.
  The first in the series was so enjoyable it made me want to read the next! This book was just as entertaining as the the first The characters were interesting and you really get to know them.
The lead character, Lauren, manages pet rescue operations and works in trying to solve a murder case, The victim is  a nasty character that was rude to everyone, so the suspect list is long.
  Enjoyable and recommended for any pet lover and mystery lover.

BTW- Speaking as a writer of 3 books, After you read a book please RATE them on Amazon.com. - it helps!! - Rob

BOOK SUMMARY: Thanks to a savvy ad campaign featuring teacup pups sporting HotPets Bling—a new line of faux jewelry dog collars—small dog adoptions have skyrocketed across the city. So when Lauren discovers a shelter in the Midwest with more toy dogs than it can handle, she arranges a private plane to swoop in and fly the pups back to LA.
   But Lauren didn’t count on rescue worker Teresa Kantrim coming along for the ride. Teresa has cared for the dogs since they were found and doesn’t trust anyone from La-La Land to take over the job. Her biting comments clearly haven’t earned Teresa any new friends, but when she turns up murdered, it’s time for Lauren to dig into Teresa’s past and find out who wanted her put down.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Photo Fun: Goofing Around with Rob's Nephew Brian!

Brian and Doug
One of life's simple pleasures is acting goofy and we know how to do that well.
  Just look at our pictures! When I (Rob) visited Boston for the Pet Expo in September, I got to stay with my younger brother Doug, sister-in-law Sue, and nephews Brian (11) and Scotty (10). Even though it was just a short weekend visit we always have fun.  Here are some pictures I took with Brian (and some with Doug) that speak for themselves.  

  The bottom line: By goofy, enjoy your day. Life is short!
#1- Rob and Brian

#2-Rob and Brian

#3- Rob and Brian

#4- Rob and Brian

Brian ready for Dunkin' Donuts

Getting ready for donuts!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NOAA Issues Winter Outlook for U.S.!

Here it is: NOAA has issued the winter outlook! 

NOAA: Another warm winter likely for western U.S., South may see colder weather
Repeat of last year’s extremely cold, snowy winter east of Rockies unlikely

Below average temperatures are favored in parts of the south-central and southeastern United States, while above-average temperatures are most likely in the western U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and New England, according to the U.S. Winter Outlook, issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center
While drought may improve in some portions of the U.S. this winter, California's record-setting drought will likely persist or intensify in large parts of the state. Nearly 60 percent of California is suffering from exceptional drought – the worst category – with 2013 being the driest year on record. Also, 2012 and 2013 rank in the top 10 of California’s warmest years on record, and 2014 is shaping up to be California’s warmest year on record. Winter is the wet season in California, so mountainous snowfall will prove crucial for drought recovery. Drought is expected to improve in California’s southern and northwestern regions, but improvement is not expected until December or January. 
“Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely. While we’re predicting at least a 2 in 3 chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “This outlook gives the public valuable information, allowing them to make informed decisions and plans for the season. It's an important tool as we build a Weather-Ready Nation.” 

FACT CHECK: What is the Employment Rate in the U.S.?

It's the season when lots of political ads come out, and we've seen a couple
saying that "No jobs have been created in 6 years."  - Which is actually the BIGGEST untruth. Here are the cold, hard, non-partisan facts. 

Here are a couple of sources: POLITICO just published this story:  Unemployment hits 6-year low

By MJ LEE | 10/3/14 8:35 AM EDT Updated: 10/5/14 5:17 PM EDT

Unemployment fell below 6 percent for the first time in more than six years, dipping to 5.9 percent in September with the economy adding 248,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The last time unemployment was below 6 percent was in July 2008, when it was 5.8 percent.
The number of new jobs easily surpassed expectations — analysts had predicted 215,000 jobs created last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Friday’s robust jobs report comes at an opportune time for the White House as it makes a final push ahead the midterm elections to highlight the economic recovery during the Obama administration. This is the last jobs report before voters go to the polls on Nov. 4.

Here's the report from the U.S. Govt Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 248,000 in September, and the 
unemployment rate declined to 5.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, 
retail trade, and health care.  FULL REPORT: 

 Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:34 AM PDT

 (BTW- Learn about Medicare here and getting help with costs: http://www.medicare.gov/)

An added benefit!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In the news: Everything You Wanted To Know About How They Make 'The Amazing Race'

We LOVE the Amazing Race on CBS and never miss it. In fact, this year we have several teams we're rooting for: the husband and wife surfers, the mom/daughter team, the 2 scientists and the 2 gay boyfriends.  - We were SO glad when the blonde realtors lost on the first leg after stealing the sign in pen from one of the firefighters. :) - Anyway, this is a cool article from the Huffington Post about how the show is put together. 

Enjoy! Rob and Tom

Everything You Wanted To Know About How They Make 'The Amazing Race'
Posted: Updated:  
Cameraman Alan Weeks films two contestants at Eastnor Castle, England
In the often dodgy realm of reality television, "The Amazing Race" is a shining beacon of quality. While other shows tend to turn tangled, tacky or just downright scripted, "The Amazing Race" holds to a standard that few have matched. The televised race around the world -- now in its twenty-fifth season! -- has won 15 Emmys, including 10 for "Outstanding Reality-Competition" -- a reality program's top honor.
Elise Doganieri accidentally birthed the idea for the show while complaining to her now-husband, producer Bertram van Munster, about how "there were no good shows on TV." He challenged her to come up with something better. She remembered the pains and joys of backpacking Europe after college with a best friend. Why don't we do something like that?
A star was born -- one that would permanently change how we perceive travel.

Cowboys- another of our favs

"The Amazing Race" has visited an estimated 82 countries on six continents over the years. And with one host, 22 contestants per season and as many as 2,000 crew members around the world working on the show at any given time, there is a lot to coordinate. HuffPost Travel talked with Elise Doganieri, now the show's executive producer and a co-creator along with her husband, about the logistics of weaving such an intricate, time-sensitive and travel-heavy program.
Turns out the system is a lot more nonchalant -- but no less complex -- than you might think. Here's how they do it.
To plan the route, they literally just play with a massive map on the wall.
Doganieri and van Munster start as any masterminds of a 30-day world tour would: in a place they call The War Room, with a wall-size map of the planet. And very little is off-limits. "We think, 'what's exciting?,'" Doganieri says. "'Where haven't we been?'" To that end, the couple has multiple shoeboxes of old passports -- Doganieri estimates her husband has filled more than 25 of the extra-large kind.
They visit EVERYWHERE first.
Joey and Meaghan - 1 of our favs
After mapping out a basic route, van Munster scouts the actual locations while Doganieri stays home to cast the teams. On his scouting tour, van Munster might talk with hotels, meet with local producers or survey spots for the show's famous Roadblock challenges. When he comes back, Doganieri has a slate of contestants ready to go. That's when the couple heads to The War Room, where every episode of the season gets mapped out on a wall along with Roadblocks, challenges and Pit Stops. It's a giant puzzle of the most exhilarating kind.
Crews are staked out in every country ahead of time...
After being in the media business for decades, van Munster has production contacts all over the world. The show works with "local facilitators" in each season's host countries to coordinate filming permits, hotel rooms, translators and hire local cameramen, who take extra shots to supplement the cameramen that travel with the teams. By this point, "each country has all the details about what we have to do," Doganieri says. "It's kind of like a military operation."
Luke and Margie- Another fav team
...but the cameramen must be within 20 feet of contestants, no exceptions.
Doganieri is adamant that "The Amazing Race"'s traveling camera and sound crew is the show's secret weapon. "They don't get enough credit," she says. "They're running with a camera. They're the best at what they do." This involves staying within 20 feet of the contestants at all times -- every team of two contestants is assigned a cameraman and sound technician, who must be present with them for all plane flights, cab rides and mad roadside foot races. The show's story team follows too, to keep track of emerging plot lines and start the editing process even as the race continues to unfold.
Sometimes, they have to pull last-minute location swaps in the middle of the desert.
Yup, like when a sandstorm hit Tunisia during Season 1. "We had this beautiful Pit Stop, and everyone was dancing around the campfire," Doganieri remembers. "Then we got an alert for a sandstorm, and tents starting to wobble." The crew and contestants were forced to pack up in the middle of the night, drive 50 miles to a tiny hotel, and double-bunk until morning. THAT became the episode's new, impromptu Pit Stop. Whatever pops up, there's no stopping in a race as meticulously planned as this. "When nature happens, you just have to change plans," Doganieri says.
The crew has missed flights before, putting them behind the contestants.
The Beekman Boys- another of our fav teams
About 10 seasons ago, Doganieri recalls, the contestants were on their way to Italy when the production crew's flight was cancelled. The crew had no flight and only hours to traverse Europe before filming resumed. After quick work with the show's travel coordinator, they hopped a bus, rode for 11 hours and made it to the location just in time. "We've been very lucky," Doganieri says. But contestants haven't always been so charmed. "Once, a team missed a flight and got so far behind that the show had to eliminate them in the airport," she says. Another took nine hours to complete a challenge in Switzerland -- and the production schedule just didn't allow enough time for them to keep trying. "We had to go out in the field in the dark and say, 'You're done.' It was really sad."
The crew gets to test every stunt.
dWhile the camera and sound crew travels with the contestants, the production team usually gets to each pit stop about two days before, Doganieri says. They'll do run-throughs at each location and test Roadblock challenges so they're ready to go -- this includes physically assembling desks in the world's largest IKEA, boating, biking and even bungee jumping in New Zealand.
Contestants are truly booking their own flights, in real time.
Producers will reserve tickets for the first episode, but after that contestants are on their own. You'd think producers would give them a little help -- but Doganieri says all her team does is monitor flights to anticipate which ones contestants are likely to take. After reading a clue, contestants will search on computers or run straight to the airport ticket counter, begging for the speediest route. "It's completely organic," Doganieri says. "Sometimes they'll find deals that get them there 20 minutes earlier by hopping from flight to flight. And we're just like, 'Wow.'"
Contestants are terrible at reading clues.
Doganieri says she's routinely surprised at how contestants rush through clues -- even though producers might tweak them for clarity on location after running through the challenges. "Contestants will read two lines and just start running," Doganieri says. "We're always saying to each other, 'Read your clue!'"
And the secret to winning? Be nice.
Doganieri says her favorite contestants -- and those that tend to be most successful -- take time to smile at locals, ask politely for help and show respect for the culture of the country they're racing through. This can result in game-changing advantages. "If you give just a little respect," Doganieri says, "you will get it back tenfold."
For more behind-the-scenes peeks, follow @EliseDoganieri on Twitter. "The Amazing Race 25" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on CBS. 

SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/13/the-amazing-race_n_5946176.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000032

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)