Sunday, August 28, 2016

Reminder! Wash your dog's toys and nylabones

Weekends make for good days to wash all of your dog's nylabones and toys. After all, who wants to keep putting stuff in your mouth that has been on the floor a lot? 
  Stuffed toys can go in the washing machine and nylabones can either go in the dishwasher or just hand wash them.

Wow... Hawaii - where Political Attacks Hit a New Low

If you think the political climate of the entire U.S. is somewhat hostile, you haven't seen anything until you look at a political race in Hawaii. In Hawaii political attacks hit a New Low
Even the leadership from the Republican Party is outraged over the hateful things one of their own party has put out against a challenger who is Hindu. Just look at the vicious advertisement put out by the hateful candidate.
 Below is the article from the Honolulu Hawaii Civil Beat news.

Hawaii GOP Chair Denounces His Own Party’s US House Nominee

The chair of the Hawaii Republican Party is urging party members to disavow the candidacy of the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, which represents the neighbor islands and rural Oahu.

“I want it understood by the general public and the media that the recent inflammatory comments made by candidate for Congress (CD2) Angela Kaaihue do not represent the views, values, or the sentiments of our Party and its members,” Fritz Rohlfing said in a statement issued late Friday. “Her vulgar, racially-bigoted, and religiously-intolerant descriptions of Democratic Party candidates are offensive, shameful, and unacceptable in public discourse.”

Rohlfing added, “I unconditionally denounce her despicable statements.”

On Tuesday, Kaaihue issued a press release from her campaign directly attacking the religion of her Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and that of former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.
Kaaihue also called Hawaii a “Devil Democratic State,” condemned a “local dumb mentality” and said that if “my neighbor Gov. Ige and his Japanese constituents” would settle a legal dispute over land that she said she is involved with, she would drop out of the race.

Then Hawaii, YOU can have YOUR so-called ‘perfect’ pathetic Hindu 1000 GODS leader along with YOUR pathetic ‘career politician’ Buddhist Hanabusa, and your pathetic American Traitor, And my family and I will go our merrily way,” Kaaihue said. She also ridiculed Gabbard’s “moon-crater cheeks.”

Gabbard is Hindu, Hanabusa is Buddhist and Ige is Japanese-American. Kaaihue is a Christian running on a platform based on instilling religion in government.

The hateful ad Kaaihue issued against Gabbard
Kaaihue supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has come under fire for comments about banning Muslims from entering the country, implying Filipinos belonged to a “terrorist nation” and wanting to build a wall to keep Mexican “rapists” and “drug dealers” from entering the country.

Kaaihue initially pulled papers for several Hawaii races this year, ultimately settling on the CD2 contest. She won the GOP primary with 7,449 votes to Eric Hafner’s 5,874, though 6,314 ballots were left bank.
Gabbard easily defeated Shay Chan Hodges in the Democratic primary, 80,024 votes to 14,643.
On Kaaihue’s campaign website and Facebook page, Gabbard, Hanabusa and Kirk Caldwell (the Honolulu mayor she considered running against) are described as non-Christians who “worship the Devil.”

Kaaihue has a years-long arrest record, including family abuse in 2005 and a history of violating restraining orders that police officers and others filed against her for harassment.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Meet The Woman Reuniting Vets With Their Retired Service Dogs | NBC Nightly News

Watch this NBC news story about an amazing retired flight attendant who flies service dogs home to reunite them with the soldiers they served with in battle. This will warm your heart.

Meet The Woman Reuniting Vets With Their Retired Service Dogs | NBC Nightly News 

Published on Jun 21, 2016
Retired military dogs that are being put up for adoption are getting a second life alongside the soldiers they served with — thanks to Molli Oliver.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Italy Blog #42: Siena- Part 2: Horses and Banks

Tom, Maryellen (our guide), Rob in Siena
In today's blog, we'll continue to explore some of the interesting things you'll find in Siena, a medieval city on a hill located between Florence and Rome. Today we'll learn about banks and horses!

Our tour guide, Maryellen was a college professor from the U.S. and now lives in Siena as a tour guide. She knew a million facts!
Torre del Mangia 
ON THE TOWN - The Plaza or "Piazza" del Campo is a shell-shaped town square before the Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) with its tall Torre del Mangia  (a tower built in 1338-1348). The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great work of architecture is where the famous "Palio" race is held. In addition to the race, there's a famous museum with Ambrogio Lorenzetti's frescoes depicting the Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government.

photo of the Palio in action from Aug 2015
HORSING AROUND THE RACETRACK -This is part of the site for the Palio horse race. The Palio is a horse race that is held twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colors, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards.
Piazza del Campo
**We DIDN'T see it since we were there in May, 2016**

Piazza del Campo
HISTORY OF THE PALIO- The Palio is run to celebrate the miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary near the old houses that belonged to Provenzano Salvani. The first Palio was run on August 16, 1656. The Palio was run for the first time in 1701 in honor of the "Madonna dell'Assunta." 

BANK ON IT -The Palazzo Salimbeni is located in a piazza of the same name. It's is the oldest surviving bank in the world and the Italian third largest commercial and retail bank by total assets.

Palazzo Salimbeni
NEXT: Siena Part 3: Oldest Hospital, a Medieval Fountain, and the meaning of Rob's mom's maiden name

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Italy Blog #41:City of Siena: Unfinished Cathedral Mystery & Color! - Part 1

Rob in Tom in Siena - City on a Hill
We're back to our Italy Blogs and in #41 today, we'll walk you through the Medieval city of Siena, built on hill (like Montepulciano in the last blog) which has quite a few interesting tidbits, from horses to colors, hospitals and banks.  Here in part 1 of Siena, we'll explain the color and check out the "unfinished Cathedral" and learn why it wasn't completed.

Outside the striped cathedral
WHERE IS IT? Siena is a city in Italy’s central Tuscany, is distinguished by its medieval brick buildings. It is the capital of the province of Siena, south of Florence and north of Rome.

HOW FAR BACK DOES IT GO? The area where Siena is today was actually first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900–400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina. The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill forts. A Roman town called Saena Julia was founded at the site in the time of the Emperor Augustus. The first document mentioning it dates from AD 70.

inside the cathedral
WHAT WAS AND IS THE CITY KNOWN FOR? Siena prospered as a trading post, and the constant streams of pilgrims passing to and from Rome to Florence provided a valuable source of income over centuries. Today, it's famous for crystal, agriculture and tourism. 

THE UNFINISHED CATHEDRAL- The Siena Cathedral began construction in the 12th century but it was unfinished.
Green and white marble inside the church
    It is said to be a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. It was originally supposed to be a huge basilica, the largest then in the world, with an east to west nave but with lack of funds and plague deaths, the project was truncated.In fact, today, the abandoned east wall of a nave still stands. 
The unfinished wall

THE "UNFINISHED MYSTERY" SOLVED - The Black Death plague killed so many people during the time of construction that there was no one to complete it. In fact, about two-thirds of the population of Siena died from the plague.

STRIPES ON THE CATHEDRAL?  The bricks that were used to build the Cathedral were covered by marble, which had a green stripe in it. It was "moorish style." 

INSIDE THE CATHEDRAL - It contained more white and green striped marble. There were also depictions of all the heads of the popes (172 of them). There were 12th century marble slabs on the floor with drawings and carvings in them. 

FAST FACT: COLOR! - The color Siena, which is a red-brown color is actually named for this city. It's because that's the color of the soil. You'll recognize the color mostly because it's a crayon color usually called "Burnt Sienna" from Crayola crayons (and spelled with 2 letter "n"s. 

NEXT: Siena Part 2: Banks and Horses  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Italy Blog #40: San Gimignano a Quaint Medieval Town

One of the towers

We're back to our Italy Blogs and in #40 where we will take you to San Gimignano a Quaint Medieval Town!  Allessandro was our driver for the day, and he brought us to one side of this town and dropped us off. The town is actually built entirely on a hill, and has 1 main road, so you walk from one side of the town to the other, entirely up and down hill! 

NICKNAME- The town is known as the "Tuscan Manhattan" - because it's in Tuscany, and because there are several towers that stand in the city that were built in the middle ages that can be seen from a distance (looking like skyscrapers of Manhattan. There are actually about 12 to 14 of these towers left.
San Gimignano towers-  city on a hill

WHAT IS SAN GIMIGNANO? - San Gimignano is an Italian hill town in Tuscany, southwest of Florence. Encircled by 13th-century walls, its old town centers on Piazza della Cisterna, a triangular square lined with medieval houses. Other medieval features include fountains and towers, such as the stone Torre Grossa. The Duomo di San Gimignano is a 12th-century church with frescoes by Ghirlandaio in its Santa Fina Chapel.

CITY HISTORY  - This is a beautiful ancient city. It started as a village 2,000 years ago by Estruscan people. It was founded as an actual town about 1,000 years ago. 
Porta Romana

An alleyway
PORTO ROMANA - This is the name of a 7th century passageway that leads from San Gimignao to Rome. It had wooden doors that were about 60 feet tall!  

WHAT IS THE CITY FAMOUS FOR? White Wine! Dry, bitter wine.  

Rob in the main square
WHATS IN THE CITY? All of the ancient medieval buildings were inhabited by shops and amazing bakeries. - where I had a sugary orange cookie and and amazing chocolate cookie, and Tom had a salty bread. 
a wine shop

COBBLESTONE STREETS- were the only streets throughout the entire town.
Here is a collection of pictures to give you an idea of what it's like to walk through the town >>> 

 NEXT: On to the town of Siena!

the busy main street


BELOW- A  SHORT VIDEO WE TOOK OF THE TOWN - we stopped at the top of the town and took a quick look around in a short video (30 seconds) to give you an idea of what the town looked like.

View of the town from a distance

A view from the town looking over the valley
An impressive alley way

Another view looking out from the top of the town

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Laugh for Tuesday: Randy Rainbow Interviews the Donald -Part 2

One of our favorite comedians/You Tube stars, Randy Rainbow is at it again with laughs.  In this video,Randy sits down with Donald to discuss foreign policy and boys.
Published on Aug 2, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

In the news: Found! A Squirrel-like Mammal as old as the Dinosaurs

As a kid, I (Rob) have always been fascinated by dinosaurs and the prehistoric mammals of the Ice Age. Recently, scientists
found a squirrel-like creature that lived during the time of the dinosaurs! Here's the article from the Washington Post:

Scientists finally found Zenkerella, the world’s most mysterious mammal

By Sarah Kaplan
   The specimen sat in alcohol at the bottom of an opaque plastic container. Its luxuriant black fur was dark and matted, its characteristic tail curled. David Fernandez peered at the odd-looking critter, which he'd spent the better part of the past year trying to track down, and hoped it was the real thing.
The second male specimen of Zenkerella insignis was found near the village of Ureca on Bioko, an island off the west coast of Africa. (Steven Heritage)
  Fernandez had worked on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea for 14 years, but he'd never seen one of these animals in its entirety before. No scientist ever had.
just for fun...
  He lifted the specimen out of its container and snapped a photo with his phone. Then he texted the image to his colleague Erik Seiffert, one of the few people in the world who would recognize the creature.
Seiffert immediately texted back: That's Zenkerella.
"I think he was even more excited than I was," Fernandez recalled. "It was amazing, the first entire specimen available for us, and for science basically."
  Zenkerella insignis, the critter caught on Bioko, is one of the world's most ancient and mysterious mammals. Until now, it was known only by its fossils and 11 scattered specimens, many of which had been languishing in natural history collections for over 100 years. Researchers who were interested in the species (and there aren't many) had little to go on aside from a hind limb here, a few teeth there. No scientist in history has ever seen it alive.
   But, in a study published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ, Fernandez, Seiffert and their colleagues describe the capture of three freshly killed Z. insignis specimens. The discovery means that, for the first time, scientists were able to examine the genome of one of the bizarre mammals, and finally figure out where Zenkerella fits in our evolutionary family tree.
   Members of the Zenkerella genus are creatures of another world, "living fossils" that have evolved very little over the past 49 million years. For context, they're only about 15 million years younger than the dinosaurs, and some 35 million years older than the oldest great apes. When they first arose, Australia was still connected to Antarctica, and the Himalayas didn't even exist yet.
An illustration of a Zenkerella skeleton and map of Bioko Island are superimposed against an image of the rain forest where the Zenkerella specimens were found. (Erik Seiffert)
  "It's a long lineage that stretches all the way back 50 million years, and we only have one species left that we don’t know anything about," Seiffert said. "We don't know when it is active, or what it eats, or if it spends all of its time in the trees or on the ground."   That's pretty much unprecedented for mammals, which are among the best-researched taxonomic classes of creatures.
  Zenkerella is the ultimate survivor. Of the 5,400 mammal species known to science, only it and five others are the sole surviving members of ancient lineages. Even among that select group, Zenkerella's living fossil status makes it almost unique. But it is the least studied of all these ancient creatures.




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