Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In the News: Everything you need to know about the changes happening at Dunkin’ Donuts

There are changes happening to one of our favorite restaurants... Dunkin' Donuts! 
Here's an article about the big changes from the Boston Globe. ..

Everything you need to know about the changes happening at Dunkin’ Donuts
Or should we simply say Dunkin'?
The Boston Globe
By Nik DeCosta-Klipa  November 16, 2017
It’s not just in the name.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ decision to drop “Donuts” from its name at select locations has jarred some longtime customers. But the superficial change also belies the Canton-based company’s more sweeping attempt to reinvent its image and menu.

For now, Dunkin’ Donuts says many of the changes to its brand are limited tests. But permanent ones are coming.

Why are they shortening the name?

The first location to go by simply Dunkin’ opened in Pasadena, California, in August, with promises of more to come. Later that month, news broke that an experimental location in Quincy, which will open in December, would also use the truncated name. And this week, the first Dunkin’-only sign in Boston was raised at a soon-to-open location at 147 Tremont St.

Michelle King, a company spokeswoman, says the tests are part of an effort to “reinforce that Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage-led brand and coffee leader.” (More on this below.) King also noted that the shortened name isn’t anything particularly new.

“We have been referring to ourselves simply as Dunkin’ in our advertising for more than a decade, ever since we introduced our “America Runs on Dunkin’” campaign,” she said in a statement in August.

Likewise, Dunkin’ Donuts is already often colloquially referred to by customers by less than its full name.

“Most of us already call it Dunkin’ — or Dunks, or Dunkies, or some other abbreviated moniker,” The Boston Globe‘s Jon Chesto wrote in August. Chesto additionally reported that franchise owners aren’t particularly concerned by the potential change.

According to King, no permanent changes to the overall brand would be made until late next year.

“We do not anticipate making decisions regarding our branding until the latter half of 2018 when we begin rolling out our new store image,” she said.

Beyond the name

The move to make Dunkin’ Donuts quicker to pronounce also comes amid a shift to streamline its services to primarily serve those who literally run on Dunkin’ — coffee addicts.

Look no further than the forthcoming experimental location in Quincy, Mass. Located on the north side of Route 3A with an emphasis on mobile ordering and beverage sales, the new location is designed to cater to morning commuters to Boston in need of their daily fix.

According to the Patriot Ledger, it will feature four drive-thru lanes: one more-or-less conventional lane with a microphone to speak into and a window to pay at, two lanes with touch-screen kiosks that drivers use to order and pay by card, and one lane for people who ordered and paid online.

Dunkin’ Donuts also began paring down its menu at many locations this past summer in an effort to streamline its menu and service.

“We have conducted extensive consumer research and our customers have told us that our menu was too complex and confusing,” King told the Globe in July.

The reduced menu — which affected 1,000 of its 8,900 locations nationwide, including 100 in Massachusetts, and the entire Providence market — eliminates a wide array of sandwiches and baked goods. The company says the changes will not affect the Boston market.

A list of the products that would be phased out, which was confirmed accurate to the Globe, included all afternoon sandwiches, the majority of bagels, and several other bakery items.

 “It’s one of the most aggressive simplification efforts I’ve ever been part of,” David Hoffmann, the company’s president in the United States and Canada told Nation’s Restaurant News in July. “We’re eliminating close to a third of our menu items with minimal sales resistance.”

What’s happening to the doughnuts?

King stresses that Dunkin’ Donuts remains the country’s number one retailer of doughnuts and the company’s CEO Nigel Travis has said they want to keep that position.

However, Hoffman told NRN that the company needs to get its “doughnut mojo back” by decreasing the variety of doughnuts it offers from more than 30 to the 18-to-24 range. Hoffman said the company has seen “a lift” in the markets than have already done so. Concurrently, Dunkin’ Donuts is looking at how to replicate upscale doughnut shops, which have recently boomed in popularly, at “half the price.”

“Let’s not try to outdo a boutique shop, but let’s take their variety,” Hoffman said.

In truth, Dunkin’ Donuts’ shift away from its namesake product has been long-running; the flip side being its attempt to compete with and provide a cheaper alternative to Starbucks and similar chain cafes (and it’s not the only one).

The “America Runs on Dunkin'” slogan, a nod to coffee, was unveiled in 2006. In 2013, CFO Paul Carbone reportedly told investors that Dunkin’ Donuts was now definitely “a beverage company.”

“Fred the Baker is not coming back,” Carbone said, referring to the company’s classic “Time to Make the Donuts” commercial, which touted their then-vast assortment of yeasty treats.

Rather, the last several years have consisted of Dunkin’ Donuts expanding their coffee menu — from new high-end espresso drinks to dark roast and cold brew. The company is also pushing new premium hot and iced teas. Earlier this year, they even replaced the Coffee Coolatta, a menu staple since 1994, with a new lineup of smoothies and frozen drinks. The company also actively promotes its mobile app, rewards program, and on-the-go ordering.

It’s still unclear what Dunkin’ Donuts’ “new store image” will look like when it is rolled out next year. But one thing that is almost certain is that it will look far more like a Starbucks than the modest Quincy doughnut shop that opened in 1950.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Your Health: New Blood Pressure Guidelines, What it causes, How to Reduce it

There are revised guidelines to determine if you have high blood pressure, so please read this update! Then get your blood pressure taken (you can get it done at supermarkets or pharmacies that have sit-down equipment). In today's blog you'll read about the new blood pressure guidelines, What it causes, How to Reduce it

There’s a new way to classify blood pressure readings, and the biggest change is for anyone who’s been described as “prehypertensive” or “high normal.”

Millions of Americans earned those labels for having a top number of 120-139 or a bottom number of 80-89. They were encouraged to make lifestyle changes that would drop those numbers into the comfort zone of being below 120/80. Under new guidelines released Monday, the warning zone for adults, now called “elevated blood pressure,” is trimmed to 120-129 for the top number. Anyone with 130-139 on top or in the 80s on the bottom is now considered to have high blood pressure.

WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE?  Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels. When it’s consistently too high, it can damage the delicate tissues inside the arteries – reducing their ability to help the vessels widen or dilate when they need to, and further raising the blood pressure.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CONSISTENTLY HIGH - It’s a vicious cycle than can lead to all sorts of devastating complications: heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, problems with blood flow to your legs and your kidneys, and vision problems. It can even lead to sexual dysfunction.   

Poor Diet: “If you worry at the gas station about what goes into your car, you should also worry about what you eat,” Whelton said. In general, this means consuming less sodium and more fiber and potassium. The DASH diet is a popular solution; after all, the acronym stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Another good one is the Mediterranean diet.

Lack of Physical Activity: Getting active can mean walking, running or cycling, which happens to be Whelton’s favorite. Find the exercise that best fits your lifestyle.

Alcohol consumption: Moderate how many alcoholic drinks you have with an eye toward abstaining. “If you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, no more than two drinks per day in men and one in women is a standard recommendation,” Whelton said. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Wonderful Musical! The Pajama Game at Arena Stage

Yesterday Tom and I went to see "The Pajama Game" musical at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and it was so much fun! I didn't know anything about the show, and Tom surprised me with the tickets. All of the performers were AMAZING. The Music was fun, the voices perfect, the dancing and acting were incredible. I could certainly see it again! 

AMAZING ACTORS (AND 2 WHO RESEMBLED FRIENDS) Britney Coleman and Tim Rogan were amazing leads in the show (and Tim has an amazing bod). Some of the other performers resembled friends of ours so we were drawn to them: Tony Neidenbach resembled our friend Ed (who passed in 1996) and Nancy Anderson resembled our friend Sarah (who passed in 2011), so we felt like both of them were with us during the performance. What a great feeling. Of course, I watched Tony and Nancy a bit more than some of the other dancers and singers because they looked familiar, and they were both incredible, too, as were the entire cast. 

ABOUT THE SHOW: The Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory is a tiptop model of efficiency — so why are things getting so steamy? It could have something to do with how hard new superintendent Sid Sorokin has fallen for Babe Williams, the trouble-making head of the union grievance committee. Sparks really start to fly when a workers’ strike pits management against labor and ignites an outrageous battle of the sexes. Packed with seductive dance numbers like “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway,” the best way to ensure a good night’s rest during the hectic holiday season is to play The Pajama Game
The Sleep-Tite Factory workers go on strike

BASED ON THE NOVEL: 7½ Cent by Richard Bissell
RUNS FROM October 27 TO December 24, 2017 On the Fichandler Stage in the Arena Stage Building

THE CAST: click to learn about them all here..

Book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell
Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
Directed by Alan Paul
Choreographed by Parker Esse
Music Direction by James Cunningham

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Food for thought: Origin Dates of Some World Religions

Here are some observations from our friend Richard H about religions in the world. 
1) The oldest religion on earth is Hinduism. It’s a polytheistic religion, they believe in multiple Gods. The religion is approximately 9,000 years old.
2) The 2nd oldest religion (at about 7,000 years) is was the first monotheistic religion..they believe in one God.
3) The 3rd oldest in line would be Islam at around 5,000 years. Also a monotheistic religion. One God, Allah.
*4) Roman and Greek Gods date back over 4,000 years.
5) At 2,000 years old is Christianity.
Bottom Line: Before you judge other people for their religion, understand where you are in this line up....
Neptune (Roman) or Poseidon (Greek) God of the Sea
*Interesting note from about Roman religion: From the beginning Roman religion was polytheistic. From an initial array of gods and spirits, Rome added to this collection to include both Greek gods as well as a number of foreign cults. As the empire expanded, the Romans refrained from imposing their own religious beliefs upon those they conquered; however, this inclusion must not be misinterpreted as tolerance - this can be seen with their early reaction to the Jewish and Christian population. Eventually, all of their gods would be washed away, gradually replaced by Christianity, and in the eyes of some, this change brought about the decline of the western empire. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hero of the Month: Groom Saves Drowning Boy!

We like to spotlight people who make a difference in the lives of others and act as heroes. Here's a  story about a man who jumped off a bridge to rescue a drowning boy. It all happened at the man's wedding, during his wedding photo shoot. He didn't hesitate to dive off a bridge to save the child.

Groom Heroically Saves Drowning Boy During Wedding Photo Shoot


This heroic groom probably didn’t expect to play the role of Superman on his wedding day. 
Canadian newlyweds Clayton and Brittany Cook were posing for photos in a park in Kitchener, Ontario after their ceremony on Friday when Clayton noticed a young boy struggling to swim in the park’s pond. He promptly jumped down to the water’s edge and helped the boy out.
Photographer Darren Hatt posted photos of the incident to his Facebook page, where they’ve been shared over five hundred times.

A group of kids followed the couple around while they took photos in Victoria Park, Brittany told HuffPost. Neither she nor Hatt noticed that one boy had fallen into the water until Clayton sprang into action.

Canadian newlyweds Clayton and Brittany Cook
“It was my turn to get my solo pictures taken so Clay was hanging out by the pond waiting,” Brittany told HuffPost. “We had three kids following us around [and] Clay noticed there was only two kids he could see... he walked over to check on them and noticed the kids looking at the water and one kid was struggling to swim, so Clay jumped down on a rock ledge closer to the water and pulled him out.”
The kids continued hanging out in the park after the incident, and the Cooks enjoyed the rest of their wedding night, Brittany added. The couple didn’t think much of the incident at first but later realized the value of Clayton’s quick thinking.
“Now it’s hitting us more that if we weren’t in the right place at the right time, things may have gone differently and perhaps even tragically,” Brittany said.

Friday, November 17, 2017

News you don't hear: from CA: A Man Tortured, Killed 8-Year-Old Boy For Being Gay

This 8 year old was murdered for "being gay."

Although hate crimes have increased in the last year, many are still not reported. In Oct. the President said the VP would prefer to see all gay people hanged.  Gay people face hate crimes DAILY and in California on Oct. 18 a trial began for a man who allegedly tortured and killed an 8-year-old for being gay. 

UPDATE on Nov. 17 at 10am ET:   California man has been convicted of torturing and killing his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son, driven the prosecution argued by his belief that the boy was gay. Isauro Aguirre was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in the May 2013 death of Gabriel Fernandez. A jury must now decide whether Aguirre, 37, should receive the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering Gabriel, who was declared brain dead and taken off life support two days after paramedics arrived at his home in Palmdale, California. 

Trial Begins For Man Who Allegedly Tortured, Killed 8-Year-Old Boy For Being Gay

Source: link to hate crimes story

  The murder trial of a man accused of brutally abusing and then killing an 8-year-old boy because the boy was thought to be gay has begun in Los Angeles, with a prosecutor detailing the “systematic torture” of the boy.
Gabriel Fernandez was repeatedly beaten, sustaining a fractured skull and broken ribs, and suffered burn marks, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami told a jury Monday. The child was starved, fed cat feces and his own vomit, sprayed with pepper stray and tied up and forced to sleep in a closet, the prosecutor said in his opening statement.
Isauro Aguirre, 37, the boyfriend of the boy’s mother, is charged with murder and facing the death penalty in the case. The mother, 32-year-old Pearl Fernandez, also is charged with capital murder and will be tried separately.
Gabriel Fernandez was found gagged and bound in a cabinet in the couple’s home in Palmdale, California, when first responders discovered him on May 22, 2013. He was declared brain dead and taken off life support two days later. 
UPDATED STORY: Man Pleads Guilty of Murdering 8 Year Old

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Point Lookout State Park Part 4: The Haunted Lighthouse

Point Lookout's Lighthouse
In this final blog about Maryland's Point Lookout State Park, we'll tell you about the lighthouse and it's ghost! 

Point Lookout State Park is located at 11175 Point Lookout Road, Scotland, MD 20687. It's part of the Maryland Park Service. 

THE LIGHTHOUSE Point Lookout Light is a lighthouse that began operation on Sept. 20,1830. It marks the entrance to the Potomac River at the southernmost tip of Maryland's western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. There were numerous lighthouse keepers and you can find the entire history here:
Tom and Rob at the lighthouse

ROB'S EXPERIENCES - Since the lighthouse was closed when we visited, we could only get as close as the fence that surrounded it. It was enough to make my legs feel shaky and unsteady. The energy in the house also gave me a headache (I get one when I'm around a ghost or spirit) so I knew there was a ghost or ghosts (intelligent haunt) inside. When we returned home we researched findings from paranormal teams who investigated and there was a lot of experiences. 

George Gatton, the last civilian lighthouse keeper at Point Lookout Lighthouse stated in an interview that he did not believe in ghosts. The lighthouse was tended by Raymond Hartzel until January 11, 1966, when the light was extinguished for the last time. Once the Navy and subsequently the State of Maryland took possession of the lighthouse and rehabilitated it, tenants of the lighthouse began reporting their experiences of unexplained voices, sightings and other phenomena. 

A RESIDENT'S GHOSTLY EXPERIENCES - Gerald (Gerry) Sword lived in the northern side of the lighthouse. Gerry invited Dr. Hans Holzer, a renowned parapsychologist based in New York, to investigate. Gerry's experiences included:
* The kitchen wall started to glow one night for about 10 minutes
* Every night for 2 weeks he heard someone snoring in the kitchen
* During storms, he often heard voices outside and inside the lighthouse
* Frequently heard someone walking up and down the hallway and stairs
* Heard loud voices outside and no one was there.
* His dog was locked in the screen-in porch in the evenings. One night he heard the dog barking and came outside to find the dog outside the porch but the door was still locked from the inside
* Smelled an odor in the living room
* Lights turned on and off and doors banged

On January 14, 1980 - A medium felt sick; she had chills and felt cold and weak. She felt that someone had experienced agony in this room and had been held against their will: Some Civil War prisoners likely had been held there.
- Top of the Stairs The medium felt a woman's presence and felt that this woman had contemplated throwing herself down the steps many times.
- Steps to Cupola Medium felt a young blond man with blue eyes had been murdered within the last 50 years
- Feb. 1980 Investigation: in the Basement -Several investigators saw a figure in the farthest back room and recorded a voice that stated either let me out or get out.
- Dining Room Held a séance in this room - many photos revealed spirit lights. Many other unexplained voices were recorded  
- August 22, 1980.  Ghost photo in front bedroom, whispered voices on the tape. Again, another figure was seen in the basement. We all heard breathing and felt cold spots throughout the lighthouse.  
- Ghost of man paced up and down hallways

NOTE FOR PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS - For information about investigating claims of the paranormal at the lighthouse, please see the paranormal program on the website at:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Point Lookout State Park Part 3: The Destroyed Resort

A 1930s photo of the resort 
In blog #3 about Point Lookout State Park, Md we'll tell you about a once-popular resort that thrived (long after the civil war that we talked about in yesterday's blog), and has since been destroyed.

ABOUT THE RESORT- A popular bay-side resort once stood in the 1930s and served some of the elite.  

The 2 wheels that remain of the resort 
REMNANTS - All that's left of the resort today are 2 large geared wheels. 
  These wheels, one half buried, is all that remains a system that provided power in a power plant (also gone) and water (from a destroyed water treatment plant) to the former resort. 

TORN DOWN - Coastal erosion was one reason the once popular beachfront resort was torn down. 
The other reason was that the building was in poor condition after 60 years. 
  Continuing erosion on the peninsula has also swallowed up most of the land that the resort sat on.

NEXT: Point Lookout's Haunted Lighthouse! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Point Lookout State Park, Md.: Part 2: Civil War Prison and ties to Tom

In today's second blog about Point Lookout State Park we'll tell you about the former Civil War Prison and Tom's quest about it.  
Point Lookout State Park's peaceful surroundings belie its history as the location of a prison camp which imprisoned as many as 52,264 Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. A museum on site recounts this vivid history. 

Tom learned that his great-great grandfather on his mother's side was imprisoned there and survived. After the war, his great-great grandfather returned to his wife and children in Virginia   It was pretty moving to stand on the soil where his great-great grandfather "lived" while imprisoned. 

WHAT WAS CAMP HOFFMAN? Point Lookout was the largest and one of the worst Union prisoner-of-war camps, established on August 1, 1863 on the Chesapeake Bay side of Point Lookout. 
According to, the conditions were pretty bad. 

LIVING CONDITIONS - All prisoners lived in the overcrowded tents and shacks, with no barracks to protect them from heat and coastal storms. There were several different kinds of tents that the prisoners used. Each row of tents were labeled as a division and would hold 1,000 or more prisoners. The majority of the different types were: A-tents (5 men), Sibley tents (13-14 men), Hospital tents (15-18 men), Wall tents (3-8 men), Hospital flys (10-13 men), Wall-tent flys (3-8 men), and Shelter tents (3 men).
BATHING, WASHING, LIMITED DRINKING WATER - The back of the prison was next to the bay. Here, the prisoners were allowed a certain area to bathe, wash clothes, and find additional food, such as clams, lobsters, and fish. Fresh water for drinking was scarce and polluted. Wells supplied the water for the camp, but they proved too shallow and had iron and alkaline salts in it. Later on, a boat was arranged to bring in fresh water for the prison.

HORRIBLE CONDITIONS - Because of the topography, drainage was poor, and the area was subject to extreme heat in the summer and cold in the winter. This exacerbated the problems created by inadequate food, clothing, fuel, housing, and medical care. As a result, approximately 3,000 prisoners died there over 22 months. Besides chronic diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid fever had become epidemic at the camp while smallpox, scurvy, and the itch had become quite common. 
The general area where Camp Hoffman was located on the Chesapeake Bay
PRISONER STATISTICS - In April 1865 at the end of the Civil War, there were still 22,000 prisoners there..They were release in alphabetical order and reverse order of states that seceded from the Union. By June 30, all of the prisoners had been transferred out of the camp. At least 3,584 prisoners died at the prison. It is estimated that a total of 52,264 prisoners, both military and civilian, were held prisoner there. Only 50 escaped successfully. 
NEXT: The Destroyed Resort 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Point Lookout State Park, Md.: Part 1: Civil War's Hammond Hospital

In October, we visited Maryland's Point Lookout State Park and in the next couple of blogs we'll talk about the war-related buildings, the civil war prison, the haunted lighthouse, and the former resort (now gone). In this blog you'll explore the Civil War Hospital and many things to do at the park.

ABOUT THE PARK - Point Lookout State Park is a Maryland state park occupying Point Lookout, the southernmost tip of a peninsula formed by the confluence of Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River in St. Mary's County, Maryland.

Hospital looks like spokes on a wheel
CIVIL WAR'S HAMMOND GENERAL HOSPITAL -  In 1862, after the start of the Civil War, the U. S. government leased the land to build a military hospital for war casualties according to The hospital was constructed on pilings and had 16 buildings arranged like the spokes of a wheel with four small buildings in the center. 
 It was completed in the spring of 1863. Hammond Hospital could handle 1,400 patients. Union casualties were transported by water on steamers.  

After the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the federal government set up a POW camp on the same peninsula. Hammond started taking in injured and sick Confederate prisoners in addition to Federal soldiers, and the hospital soon became overcrowded.

The location
HOSPITAL TORN DOWN 3 YEARS LATER - After the Civil War ended, the government closed Hammond Hospital in 1865. The buildings were demolished or sold. Today, a monument marks the general location of Hammond Hospital. It is in the middle of the traffic circle at the end of Point Lookout State Park near the lighthouse. To the east of the monument across the road, there is a historical sign with the history of Hammond Hospital and a single piling, the only evidence a huge war hospital once existed here.

Spending A Day At Point Lookout
Beach Picnic Area - Open daily (6 a.m. – Sunset) starting Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Open year round with pedestrian access only during the winter season from sunrise to sunset.
Pavilion/Shelter - The pavilion contains a large open grill and picnic tables. Water and electric are available. The pavilion is located in the Beach Picnic Area with the swimming area and a small playing field nearby.
Park Store - The park store is open May - September. The park store offers snacks, ice cream, drinks, bait, ice, souvenirs and boating, picnicking and camping supplies.  
Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center - located within the Campground. Open to the general public, day visitors as well as campers. Museum and Nature Center are open seasonally, closed during the winter.  
A panoramic shot we took of the road to the lighthouse. 
Boating - A boat launch facility and fish-cleaning station are available for boaters. Canoe rentals and supplies are also available at the camp store.   
Fort Lincoln - Open year round sunrise to sunset (self-guided). Re-enactments and special events are held at Fort Lincoln throughout the year.  
Lighthouse - Open for tours the first Saturday of each month from April-November  
Hunting - There are 200 acres set aside for deer hunting.
Hiking - Periwinkle Point Trail, a self-guided nature trail located at the back entrance of the Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center.

For the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources Park Webpage: 

NEXT: The Civil War Prison and ties to Tom's family

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