Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Great Xmas Mystery: Murder, She Wrote: a Little Yuletide Murder

With the holiday season here, I (Rob) decided to re-read a classic mystery in a Christmas setting: Murder, She Wrote: a Little Yuletide Murder" by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. 
    I've read most in the series (there are almost 30) and I re-read them. It's my all -time favorite mystery series, and this one is a great read. It's about the town Santa found murdered in his barn and there are some odd characters as suspects. There are a lot of twists and turns to the story and it's solved as only Jessica Fletcher can solve it.  So, if you're looking for a great christmas-time murder mystery, get a copy of this one!

Jessica Fletcher is planning to spend a cozy Christmas in Cabot Cove. But when Rory Brent is found shot to death on his farm, there will be no peace on earth until his killer is found. Snooping into the small town's past for a motive, Jessica is determined to deliver the killer before Christmas. The trouble is, the next sound she hears this silent night may be a scream--her own?


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fun Video: Be Greater Stories: Harlow, Indiana, Reese, Brittni, Jeff & FLONASE

Our family mirrors that of photographers Brittni and Jeff, who have a Weimaraner and 2 Dachshunds.
Their dogs have achieved world-wide fame as "Harlow, Reese and Indiana" and we follow them on Facebook and have their 2 books and calendars. - Here's a short video about their story with video and great pictures of their kids (which will make you think of our Dolly, Franklin and Tyler).
- This is a 1 + min. ad for Flonase (which Rob uses and benefits from ).
You can also follow them at

Idiot purposely Shoots 2 Dogs/ Pets are as Intelligent as Human Children

In Ohio last week a deer hunter decided to brutally murder 2 dogs who got loose from their pet parent just because they approached his "deer stand" in the woods. (I have no issue with hunters).  BUT then, he posted a photo of the 2 dead dogs and boasted on his facebook post that they were "an easy kill."  We are infuriated.
   Fortunately, there's a new law in that county where this bastard can be jailed, fined and convicted as a felon. The story is below.
  TO PEOPLE WHO SAY "DOGS ARE NOT THE SAME AS HUMAN CHILDREN" - WRONG.  Science proves you wrong.   Those people  obviously value some lives less than others. Every life is precious. Every human or dog or cat that we are responsible for in our family should be looked at as family. They look at us as their parents. **It's just that pets don't grow up, marry someone you don't like and move away. -
   I'm not taking anything away from someone who lost a human child. Yes, it's also horrific, and tragic and you NEVER get over it. My dog Buzz was KILLED by a speeding car in Feb 2005 when his leash opened. I have NEVER gotten over it. 

   AS FOR THE IDIOT -The hunter needs to go to jail, lose his house, job and life. He should have his hunting license revoked and be banned from hunting. People lose driver's licenses for killing people while drunk driving and they go to jail. It's the same thing   It's cold blooded murder. 
There is something mentally wrong with people like him who will purposely murder someone's pets. 
   SCIENTIFICALLY, PETS ARE JUST LIKE HUMAN CHILDREN  (proof)-  pets have the same emotions as people do. Read Dr. Gregory Burns (Emory Univ.) study (book- How Dogs Love Us) where he did MRIs on their brain activity (in the caudate of the brain) and proved they have the same emotions as people. Dr. Stanley Coren has also analyzed the intelligence of dogs (in a book of the same name) and has concluded they have the intelligence of a 3-5 year old human child. 
** We've lost 2 dogs to death, so no one can tell me they're not the same as losing a human child. In fact, psychological studies have proven we grieve MORE for our pets than other humans because they rely on us 100%. 


Hunter accused of killing man’s beloved dogs is charged, loses job

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio — The hunter accused of shooting and killing a Belmont County man’s two beloved dogs now faces charges, and he’s lost his job.
According to court records, Michael Chedester, of St. Clairsville, faces two counts of cruelty to animals. His arraignment is set for Dec. 8.
The charges are the first of their kind in Belmont County under the newly-passed Goddard’s Law.
Pete Byers, the owner of the dogs named Bella and Emmy, first posted about the situation on Monday — and it quickly spread on social media. 
Byers told WTOV that he was getting ready to head to Pittsburgh with his dogs for a work trip when they disappeared Monday.
A search group assembled and eventually found Chedester, who had a tree stand in the area. Byers said he asked Chedester if he killed the dogs. He said the hunter admitted to shooting them and offered to “buy him two new ones.”
Byers said he found his dogs in a brush pile near the tree stand after spotting Emmy’s paw sticking out from under the logs.
According to WTOV, Chedester told authorities that the dogs had chased a deer past his stand at least three times. The third time, he said, they stopped under his stand.
Chedester then allegedly shot one of the dogs. Belmont County Prosecutor Dan Fry said he believes the bullet that hit that dog also hit the second dog. Then Chedester allegedly shot the second dog.
The charges were filed Wednesday.
WTOV reports that Chedester has also been fired from his forestry supervisor job with American Electric Power.
A statement from AEP to WTOV says: “AEP expects the highest level of conduct from our employees, both on the job and outside of work. We are saddened by the situation that unfolded this week involving an off-duty AEP Ohio employee and the death of the two dogs. This individual is no longer employed by AEP.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tom's Quote of the Week

Back by popular demand is Tom's quote of the week.
  This weekend we were taking with his mother, and we told her that the original Shakespeare portfolio from 1537 was on display at St. John's College in Annapolis. Tom wants to see it sometime, and his mom said "That would be interesting to see." Tom said "You better hurry up. At your age, this is likely the only chance you'll get." 
  Fortunately, his mom has a great sense of humor like Tom. :) She laughed and agreed.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Best Prices on Dog or Cat Medications

The cost of flea and tick medications as well as other supplements for our dogs (and those with cats) is high, which is why some people don't get them. However, it's IMPERATIVE that dogs are on heartworm preventative (our Dachshund Tyler came to us from a rescue with heartworm, and the cure took 6 months, and we think it affected his heart and his lungs).
  So, to save YOU money, order from these:

VETSHOPMAX from Australia to order Heartguard and Frontline.
This website does not need to fax or email your vet.  *and even with shipping charges, it's a lot less expensive than getting them from your vet in the U.S.*

This website will fax or email your Vet to get approval

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How To Recognize A Fake News Story

An important article from the Huffington Post, especially considering how many people believed fake news stories about the liberal candidate during the election. Check your sources!!!!
If you’ve been looking at Facebook lately, you may have seen that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump, a town in Texas was quarantined due to a deadly disease and Germany just approved child marriage. To be clear, none of these events really happened ― but that didn’t stop news of them from spreading like a virus.
    Fake news articles ― especially throughout this election year ― have increasingly become a fixture on social media. These posts, designed to deceive, run rampant across the internet. Only later, if ever, do readers discover that the stories they shared may have been false.
     The publication of blatantly inaccurate stories is certainly not new to the digital age, or even the analog era ― just check your local supermarket aisle for tabloids ― but what is new is how easy it is for a reader to scan a headline on Facebook, hit share and watch his 500 followers do the same.
     In the final three months before the election, 20 top-performing fake news stories on Facebook outperformed 20 top-performing factual stories from 19 major media outlets in terms of engagement, according to a BuzzFeed study published last week.

 A Facebook post from The Event Chronicle falsely claiming that George Soros died.
    As it stands, there are few checks and balances to prevent any outlet from posting an article that is made up of false facts. In the coming months social media platforms will need to address many broader questions, including what level of editorial control sites like Facebook should exercise over the content on their platforms.
    After initially downplaying the problem, Facebook announced on Friday that it would begin seeking out ways to weed out some kinds of fake news from feeds. Google, too, said it plans to stop fake news sites from using its ad-selling service.
But part of stopping the spread of hoaxes and misinformation also falls on readers who email these articles to friends and family or post them on social media, lending these stories their own credibility.
In order to prevent the spread of fake news, here is a quick guide to spotting it.

1. Read Past The Headline

One way that fake news gets amplified is that busy readers may not look past the headline or opening paragraph before they decide to share an article. Fake news publishers sometimes exploit this tendency, writing the beginning of a story in a straightforward way before filling in the rest with obviously false information.
In other cases, clicking through to the article will reveal that the story really has nothing to do with the headline at all or provides nothing to back it up.

2. Check What News Outlet Published It

Unfamiliar websites plastered with ads and all-caps headlines should draw immediate skepticism. Googling a site’s name and checking out other articles it posts should also help determine whether it’s trustworthy.
Many fake news sites will outright say that they are satire or don’t contain factual information, but others are made to mimic major news outlets. Check the URL names of pages that look suspect, making sure that it’s not a hoax site that is pretending to be a trusted source.

 3. Check The Publish Date And Time

Another common element in fake news is that old articles or events can resurface and lead people to believe they just happened. Checking the publish time stamp is something readers can quickly do to prevent being misled.
Sometimes, however, finding out when an event happened can take a bit more work ― such as when the date of an article is current, but the events described within it are old. Click through links and read carefully to determine when the event described actually happened.

4. Who Is The Author?

Looking at who wrote the article can reveal a lot of information about the news source. Searching through the author’s previous articles can show whether they are a legitimate journalist or have a history of hoaxes.

5. Look At What Links And Sources Are Used

A lack of links or sources for claims in an article is an obvious warning sign that the post is likely false. Fake sites may also provide numerous links to sites that appear to back up their claims, but are themselves spreading misinformation. Check to see that claims supported by links actually come from reliable sources.

6. Look Out For Questionable Quotes And Photos

It’s incredible easy for fake news writers to invent false quotes, even attributing them to major public figures. Be skeptical of shocking or suspicious quotes, and search to see if they have been reported elsewhere.
Likewise, it’s easy to take a photo from one event and say it’s from another. Images can also be altered for a certain story. Reverse image searches, either through Google or tools like TinEye, can help you find where an image originated.

7. Beware Confirmation Bias 

People are often drawn to stories that reinforce the way they see the world and how they feel about certain issues. Fake news is no exception, and many of the articles that fall under its umbrella are designed to stir up emotion in readers and prey on their biases.
It’s important to check that news stories are based in fact, rather than sharing them because they support one side of an argument or bolster pre-existing political beliefs.
A Facebook post on the page of American News linking to a false story.
AMERICAN NEWS is a Right-wing FAKE news page.  

8. Search If Other News Outlets Are Reporting It

If a story looks suspicious or claims to reveal major news, search to see if other news outlets are also reporting the story. A single article from a suspicious source making a grand claim should be viewed with heavy skepticism. If no reliable news outlets are also reporting the story, then it’s very likely fake.

9. Think Before You Share

Fake news sites rely on readers to share and engage with their articles in order for them to spread. In extreme cases, these fake articles can balloon out of control and have unintended consequences for those involved in the stories.
After fake news stories claimed that Hillary Clinton was sexually abusing children at a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, the business owner and his employees received death threats and vicious online harassment. The staff is still under attack even though these false claims have been debunked.

More Resources For Spotting Fake News:


Friday, December 2, 2016

Italy Blog #64: The Pantheon and Pizza Connection

Margherita Pizza
In this Italy blog of Rome, we're still focused on the famous Pantheon, but we'll explain how it's related to pizza.

Queen Margherita of Savoy is buried in the Pantheon with her husband King Umberto 1. While visiting, we were told the story about her contribution to the famous "Margherita Pizza." 


ItalyMagazine said: According to popular tradition, in 1889, 28 years after the unification of Italy, during a visit to Naples of Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created  a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). They named it after the Queen - Pizza Margherita.

Legend has it that the queen, while staying in Naples' Capodimonte Palace, got sick of French gourmet food that was the royal standard across Europe at the time.
She summoned the most famous pizza-maker in Naples, Raffaele Esposito, and had him bake her three pizzas in the palace kitchen.
She did not like the one with garlic (pizza marinara) or anchovies (pizza Napoli), but she loved the pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and a sprig of basil. 
Esposito immediately named his invention after the queen - whose name was Margherita - and asked only to put the royal seal on his pizzeria.


Died: January 4, 1926, Bordighera, Italy
Spouse: Umberto I of Italy (m. 1868–1900)


- See more at:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Italy Blog #63: Rome: Pantheon - Temple of the Gods

The Pantheon
Back in May we visited Rome, and one of the highlights was the Pantheon.

WHAT IS THE PANTHEON? The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus.
The Roman Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. It is a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome.

WHERE IS IT?  Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma, Italy
Emperor Hadrian

HOW OLD IS IT? As the brick stamps on the side of the building reveal it was built and dedicated between A.D 118 and 125.

WHO BUILT THE PANTHEON? - According to Rome.Info, The emperor Hadrian (A.D 117-138) built the Pantheon to replace Augustus’ friend and Commander Marcus Agrippa’s Pantheon of 27 B.C. which burnt to the ground in 80 A.D.

When approaching the front of the Pantheon one can see the inscription above still reads in Latin the original dedication by Marcus Agrippa. The inscription reads:

“Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius, having been consul three times made it”.

Despite all the marvelous building projects that the emperor Hadrian produced during his reign, he never inscribed his name to any, but one, the temple of his father Trajan. That is why the Roman Pantheon bears the inscription of Marcus Agrippa, and not the emperor Hadrian.

2000 year old Marble floors
ADMIRING THE AMAZING ARCHITECTURE -  The structure of the Pantheon is comprised of a series of intersecting arches. The arches rest on eight piers which support eight round-headed arches which run through the drum from its inner to its outer face. The arches correspond to the eight bays on the floor level that house statues.
   The dome itself is supported by a series of arches that run horizontally round. Romans had perfected the use of arches which helped sustain the weight of their magnanimous buildings. The Romans were aware of the heavy nature of their building materials. So they used lighter materials toward the top of the dome

DIFFERENT MATERIALS USED - On the lowest level travertine, the heaviest material was used, then a mixture of travertine and tufa, then tufa and brick, then all brick was used around the drum section of the dome, and finally pumice, the lightest and most porous of materials on the ceiling of the dome.
This use of lighter materials on top alleviated the immense weight of the dome.

WHO IS BURIED IN THE PANTHEON? - The Italian kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I as well as the famous Renaissance painter Raphael and his fiancée are buried in the Pantheon.  

NEXT: The Pantheon and Pizza 
THEN: Roman Gods in the Pantheon

A 2 Minute Video View:

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

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.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14