Monday, June 30, 2008

In hard times, owners surrender pets

Anyone that tells you we're not in a recession is simply ignorant. The following article from today's Nashville Tennessean newspaper is just ONE example of what's happening around the country. People are so economically destroyed they're doing something I find unfathomable - abandoning the pets they love. This is horrible! I URGE anyone that can adopt a pet from a shelter to do so, or Donate to a shelter. We're donating to shelters to try and help. I've noticed even 10 year old dogs being given up! These dogs are in the Twilight of their lives- this is like giving up an elderly person to a jail, or condemning them to death in their old age, despite being in good health! I'm just sick over this. Please help! - Call your local shelters, adopt or donate. - Rob
(LEFT: The owners of this Siberian husky mix left him with Metro Animal Care and Control because they could no longer afford to keep him. Credit: Tennessean newspaper)
Shelters euthanize record numbers
By RACHEL STULTS , Nashville Tennessean Newspaper Staff Writer
Pet owners in Nashville are increasingly giving up their pets to shelters, and animal control officials say the slumping economy is to blame.
Dozens of animals have been left on chains in backyards, and a few have been found in foreclosed homes, according to officials. Others are dumped in remote areas or on dead-end streets and left to roam.
This month alone, Metro Animal Care and Control has seen record numbers of owner-surrendered pets, defined as pets whose owners leave them at the shelter. This number has for the first time overtaken the number of stray dogs and cats that are found or dropped off.
Summer is always a busy time for shelters, but June's spike, especially in owner surrenders, means adoptions can't keep up and animals are being put to death at record levels each day.
The number of animals in Metro that have been euthanized in June has already reached more than 1,100 — nearly 300 more than at this time last year.
"People are struggling," said Bradley Greer, a shelter supervisor who is also responsible for euthanizing most of the animals and sometimes puts to sleep 60 a day. "Sometimes you have to put yourself in that position where it's either feed my pet or feed my child."
Billy Biggs, field operation supervisor at Metro Animal Care and Control, saw the proof again this week.
An owner had listed the reason for giving up a young Siberian husky. The form read: "Gas prices went up and food is too high." It's a familiar story Biggs has heard in recent weeks, as the number of pets left at the shelter has skyrocketed to more than 1,200 this month.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Tribute to Craig's Loving Dog Oprah

Our friend Craig made one of the most heartwrenching decisions yesterday, to let his loving dog "Oprah" pass on to the next life.
Oprah Winfrey born Sophie on September 16, 1997 in Groenwilde, Gauteng Province South Africa died on June 25th, 10 weeks shy of her 11th Birthday. Craig lived in South Africa and moved to the U.S. It took 8 months for the arrangements to finally come through for Craig to be able to bring Oprah to the U.S. so he made that special trip to get Oprah and bring her back to the U.S.
Oprah had a number of health issues lately. She had a heart condition, was 11 years old, had Cushing's disease, a past history of mast cell tumor (removal last year) and the doctor told Craig yesterday morning that she was basically bleeding to death.
Craig said that when he took Oprah to the vet, he held his dog, put his face to hers, made soft clicking noises and the shot was administered. She died peacefully and will now be cremated.
We've asked little Buzz (the 7-month old weimaraner pup I had, who was accidentally killed by a car 2-22-05), to welcome her to Heaven and play with her.
We send our love and sympathy to Craig, and prayers for Oprah.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One of the Most Active Tornado Seasons

According to NPR and the Weather Channel reports, this year is shaping up to be one of the most active tornado seasons on record. More than 100 people have died so far, and the number of storms is far above the 10-year average. The deaths attributed to tornadoes this year has made 2008 the deadliest year thus far for tornadoes since 1998 and the seventh deadliest since modern recordkeeping began in 1950, The Weather Channel said. Such a rate could make 2008 the year with the most tornadoes since 1950.
Scientists say the season got off to a strong start especially early this year, perhaps because of unusually cool ocean temperatures in the western Pacific.
We're just passing the peak of Severe Weather Season now (late June). Tornado season generally begins late winter and lasts through mid-summer. May is peak tornado period for the Southeast; the season then cranks up through July in the upper Midwest and northern Plains states.
By the end of March, the U.S. already had logged some 350 tornadoes. By mid-May, the Weather Channel said there were 636 tornadoes confirmed in the U.S.
Hear the whole story on NPR at:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FINALLY! Maryland's Domestic Partner Law Passes- here are some details

Finally- The Domestic Partner law passed in Maryland, and Tom and I will finally have some equal rights we've been missing out on, as have many others in Maryland. I understand the Churches fighting this- because they don't want straight un-married couples to shack up and not marry, but they can SOLVE that problem by allowing gay people to marry in civil unions. (I had a loooong discussion with the Catholic Church of Baltimore about this-- and they agreed it would solve the problem, but wouldn't allow it... just foolishness - and I'm very disappointed in them.). Anyway FOR FULL DETAILS ON THE NEW LAW:

CALLED: Health Care Facility Visitation and Medical Decisions

What does this law do? This law extends 11 protections to domestic partners in Maryland. These rights include:
  • Visitation in a health facility
  • Sharing a room in a nursing home
  • Private visits in a nursing home
  • Visitation during emergency transport
  • Medical decisions if the individual is incapacitated (and does not have a power of attorney for health care)
  • Ability to petition health care providers when there is disagreement over certain medical decisions
  • Consent to a post-mortem examination (autopsy)
  • Organ donation
  • Disposition of remains
  • Access to disinternment or reinternment permits
  • Designation as a person of interest in a burial site

  • What is a domestic partner? As defined in this law, a domestic partnership means a relationship between two people (straight or gay) who are at least 18 years old, are not related to one another, are not married or in a civil union or domestic partnership with someone else and agree to be in a relationship of mutual interdependence (meaning you contribute to the maintenance and support of each other and the relationship).
  • ANSWERS How do we prove we are domestic partners? and more questions:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Property - A Good Reason we need Equal Rights- and a Civil Union Law!

On Friday, June 21st, Tom and I took the afternoon off to get my truck also registered in his name. We did this for two reasons: 1) To save a LOT on insurance 2) so he inherits it if something happens to me. Turns out if we were MARRIED, we'd pay a small tax ($50) and that would be it. However, because gay people can't get legally married, the time, inconvenience and expenses are ridiculous.
I had to get another copy of my title, because I misplaced it, but I also had to get the lien taken out of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles system- so we went to the MVA to do that ($20).
I had to treat Tom as a total stranger, and write a Bill of Sale to him (and also put my name on it too, as the buyer). Then get it notarized. Then, I had to get another Maryland State Vehicle Inspection ($79) and over an hour's time.
Then we drafted a power of attorney for me to act for Tom when I re-register the vehicle in both names- and got that notarized. Next, I have to turn in the old plates, pay $50 tax (minimum to sell a vehicle to anyone in Md.), then $320 for a new title and plates. -
I have to take more time off to do that, too. Bottom line for gay couples to put both names on a vehicle $470. For legally married couples: $50.
How does that make EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Review of the HULK Movie- by our friend Hugh in Atlanta

Our friend Hugh in Atlanta, who is also a comic book/superhero collector, has already seen the HULK Movie, and wrote such a great review that I've asked him if I could post it to the blog (to which he agreed, thankfully). Tom, Jeff and I saw it SUNDAY, June 22nd, and I thought it was really good! Tom thought it a little too violent (rightfully so). Jeff thought it was good.
(PHOTO RIGHT: Rob as Superman, and Hugh as the Hulk - kidding!)
Anyway, here's Hugh's review:

The Incredible Hulk is good --- better if you know Marvel Comics and its characters but not great , Iron Man set the standard much too high.
They didn't dismiss the last movie, they quickly went thru set up scenes to go thru the origin quickly . We also see newspaper clippings to fill in information and if you know Marvel Comics you will see very familiar names.
They pick up with Banner on the run in South America.
Unlike the Ang Lee version the action comes early and quick.
Again if you know Marvel comics you get the references to the Super Solider formula and when Gen, Ross goes to the cryrogenic tank with the name Rothstein on it -- you know what you're going to get -- or rather what the subject will get. William Hurt is EXCELLENT as General Thunderbolt Ross --- so is Ed Norton as Bruce Banner... Liv Tyler is ok as Betty Ross.
The problem with the movie is still the CGI-- as advanced as it is now , Hulk still looks more animated than human which is interesting beccause the Super Soldier -gamma ray'ed villian The Abomination looks more "real" than the Hulk. Maybe its because they used the Actor's face and head for the Abomination so it seems more expressive and "real" while the Hulk looks like an advanced version of Shrek. It''s really not as bad as that sounds but they need to work on it.
Things to look for :
There are cameos with Lou Ferigno (who also does the Hulk's voice --something he NEVER did on TV)
Stan Lee of course but in probably the shortest ,simplest of any of his cameos but interesting for the questions it raises, and even a cameo by Bill Bixby in probably the kindest and "fatherly" way possible.
Also for those who know their tv, there is a sequence of Bruce on the run where the soft music in the background is the theme music from the TV show that played in the end when Banner would go off to his next adventure.
And the big cameo --- Robert Downey Junior as Tony Stark. You don't have to sit thru the credits for it (there's nothing after them --I stayed). His appearance is brief but with substance with a "cute" referenence to the Super Soldier "being on ice" Capt. America fans will understand -- no spoiler here on Tony's actual statement except to say -- we take the next step to The Avergers movie...
Also -- the last time we see the doctor who tries to help Banner and adds the final touch for the Abomination, it appears we have the set up for The Leader-- again if you know Marvel , you're one step ahead of the game. I couldn't remember the Leader's real name so I'm not sure if the character's name was a giveaway or just the last scene as a hint.
Hulk is a good movie --- not great and really needs to be seen AFTER Iron Man ... On the Hugh movie scale if you catch it at a matinee, its a 3 out of 4 with Iron Man being a four.. at full price knock Hulk down a peg.
Still to come -- Iron Man 2 is now scheduled with Thor, Captain America , Ant -Man down the road leading to The Avengers....Sign me up if the standards remain at least as good as Hulk -- but they should be able to shoot for Iron Man level in the future.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Coffee (and Breakfast) GREAT for Men, too -

FROM MEN'S HEALTH MAGAZINE (June 2008)- You knew that breakfast was important to healthy weight—eating in the morning boosts your metabolism by 10 percent all day. But new research suggests that front-loading your day's calories into a break-feast may help you lose four times as much weight over the long haul.
Study participants lost 20 percent of their body weight by starting with breakfasts totaling 610 calories. By our count, that's four slices of French toast. That's two Egg McMuffins (or ROB'S FAVORITE POP-TARTS!). That's any of these 5-minute breakfasts, with room left over for a smoothie and of course...Coffee!!! You can have plenty of joe to wash down your sunrise smorgasbord: In addition to all the health benefits we've told you about coffee, another new study found that men who drank six or more cups each day have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. Besides, if you drink enough- maybe you'll look like this guy- I'm putting on another pot of coffee right now! - Rob

Coffee Enhances a Woman's Lifespan!

DRINK UP!!!! - Here's new research, just published in the Baltimore Sun newspaper, from a scientific jounal:
Coffee will extend your life span, if you're a woman. A study out this week says that regular coffee drinking can have a protective effect. It defines regular drinking as up to 6 cups a day.
The findings are based on surveys taken by thousand of men and women, who answered questions about their health, diet and lifestyle every few years. The researchers analyzed answers given by 84,214 women in the Nurses' Health Study and 41,736 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Participants completed questionnaires every two to four years.
The results, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, show women consuming two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease between 1980 and 2004, and an 18 percent lower risk of death caused by something other than cancer or heart disease. There were no differences detected among the men, who were tracked from 1986 to 2004 (BUT I THINK MEN NEED 10 CUPS A DAY...oh, yeah, that's what I drink!) The researchers accounted for other risk factors, such as body size, smoking, diet, and specific diseases, in their results.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Incredible Hulk #1 at the Box Office

(Reuters) - Comic book movie "The Incredible Hulk" added about $1 million in box office muscle to its debut weekend, pushing the film's total domestic ticket sales to $55.4 million, according to final studio figures on Monday.
"Incredible Hulk" opened at No. 1 on box office charts with estimated Friday-through-Sunday ticket sales of $54.5 million, exceeding studio expectations but falling short of its 2003 predecessor that earned $62 million in its debut weekend. We saw "Kung Fu Panda," which was #2 at the box office.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads we know and don't know! -
My dad has always been special. He's always been reading books and loves to write letters- I learned those loves from him. He always took my younger brother Doug and I to buy comic books (usually superhero ones) on Saturdays, either at a local 7-11 (when they sold them in the 1970s) or he'd find a drug store that had them. He'd always stop for us, even though mom didn't want anything more coming into the house. Dad would tell us to roll them up in our sleeves, and go to our room and read them! :) We did, and my brother Doug and I would take diff. characters and read them aloud together. (RIGHT: My dad, me, Tom 12/06) Dad loves sports, too, but I didn't get that gene. Doug and my older brother Stephen did, though. So they indulged him and still do in that area. Dad also taught me patience (when you have an emotional Italian mother, your father has to be patient!) and understanding. Dad rarely ever gets mad, and I love that quality about him. (Although Stephen was good at making that happen more than Doug or I).
Dad would always give us orange juice and poptarts (which I still eat daily today) and send us off to school, while mom made our lunches. Dad at almost 80, still writes letters and sends clippings (mom contributes but doesn't like writing as much). He still reads paperbacks like crazy, like I do.
Back in 1989, when I was living in New Hampshire, Dad had a heartattack, but changed his eating habits drastically, and it's paid off. I'm so thankful Dad is still here, although he and mom live in Boston, 300 miles away. We talk several times a week though, and I'm very lucky he's my dad.

Microwave Blues- Lesson: Check the Internet for installation/removal

If you own or rent a house, there's always something to do. Cooking, laundry, gardening, shopping and cleaning are only the beginning. Something will always go wrong somewhere- and our over the stove microwave was falling apart, so we had to buy a new one! (which is good, because half the appliances we have are steel, and the old microwave was beige). Anyway, the "30 minute" removal of the old one from the wall took 1 1/2 hours, because of a "hidden latch." - Tom found it by going on-line to an appliance blog- and learned many others had the same removal issue problem. Anyway, it's up and running, and we found out that Lowe's would've charged us $184 to install it, if we didn't find that hidden latch. SO, check the Internet, and check blogs (especially repair blogs).

Movies: Kung Fu Panda - Fooey!

We went to see "Kung Fu Panda" with our friend Jeff last night. It's the animated dreamworks and were disappointed. The previews make it look funny, as they compile the total 3 minutes of humor together. It wasn't all that funny. In fact, It was kind of boring, and too violent for little kids in some parts in our opinion, but kids see lots of tv violence. The animation, however, was stunning. Amazing what animation has become. At least it was great in the "visual arts" category. But don't go if you think it's a comedy, because it's not. It's also not a real pick-you-up kind of movie, although the overweight panda proves himself. See the Trailer here:

Friday, June 13, 2008


Are you superstitious? Well... I Developed a nasty Sinus Infection today- and am headed to the Doc's office... so it's NOT a happy day for me. :(
What's behind this day? The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia, a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (meaning thirteen), attached to phobía (meaning fear). The term is a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, a simple phobia (fear) of the number thirteen appearing in any case. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. "It's been estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day."

6 million car tire stems recalled

  • Ohio-based distributor says valves aren't working properly, could cause accidents
  • Tech International estimates that just 8,600 of 6 million are defective
  • Snap-in tire valve, Model TR413, was made between July and November 2006
  • Continuing to drive on underinflated tires can cause them to burst

(CNN) -- An Ohio distributor is recalling about 6 million Chinese-made tire valve stems after concluding that some of them were improperly made and could increase the risk of accidents.
Tech International, the part's Johnstown, Ohio-based distributor, estimates that just 8,600 of roughly 6 million of those valves are defective. The valve is a replacement snap-in tire valve -- Model No. TR413 -- manufactured between July and November 2006. It was imported by Tech International from manufacturer Shanghai Baolong Industries Co. in Shanghai, China, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the recall, the rubber part of the valve may crack after being in use for about six months, causing a gradual loss of tire pressure.
Continuing to drive on underinflated tires can cause them to burst, possibly leading to crashes.

Friday, June 6, 2008


SAT, June 7, 2008 11am EDT This is a special Weather Statement from me!

AT 11AM Saturday, June 7th, the HEAT INDEX in Baltimore was 96F
Strong high pressure will remain over the region through the weekend...resulting in temperatures climbing into the 90s across No. and Central VA and MD; Wash, DC; Baltimore. These hot temperatures combined with high dew points will bring Heat index values above 100 during the afternoon hours Saturday through Monday. Heat index values may approach 110. The hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids...stay In an air-conditioned room...stay out of the sun...and check up on relatives and neighbors, Wear LIGHT colored clothing and hats.
DO NOT LEAVE PETS OUTSIDE. DON’T LEAVE PETS IN THE CAR FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME, IF YOU’RE NOT RUNNING A/C. – I’ve already run into one irresponsible person this year and corrected the situation (luckily).

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 96. Heat index values as high as 101. Warm and humid at night, Low 73.
Sunday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 98. Heat index values as high as 110. Low 73, muggy at night.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 95.

NOTE: Wallops Island, VA will remain in the upper 80s; While Virginia Beach will be in the mid-90s All Weekend
ALSO For Beach-Goers: ...moderate rip current risk in effect from 8 am edt this morning through this evening... The lower eastern shore of maryland...coastal northeast north carolina...the northern outer banks of north carolina...south hampton roads virginia and the eastern shore of virginia.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 89 (Wallops) 95 (VA Beach). Low 72
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 87.(Wallops) 95 (VA Beach). Low 72
Monday: Sunny, with a high near 85. (Wallops) 95 (VA Beach). Low 72

Saturday/Sunday : Sunny, HOT, slight breeze, with a high near 95. Heat Index near 105. Low 75 and muggy overnight.
Monday: Sunny and Very hot, with a high near 97. Heat Index over 105.

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.

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