Thursday, July 31, 2008

What does "Dog Days of Summer" mean?

We're in the "Dog Days of Summer" and according to our dogs, it's the time of the summer they don't want to go outside, and instead stay in the air conditioning.
As for the origin of the phrase, it goes back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who saw Sirius, the dog star in the summer time, and the star rose in the sky around the same time as the sun. (That doesn't happen any more as a result of change in the Earth's orbit and wobble). It was also thought to bring about evil in the world.
Nowadays, it means slow, hot, lazy days that run from July to September! Stay Cool!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We're Building a Roof Over Our Backyard Patio

During almost all the weekends in August, and hopefully ending Labor Day weekend, we're going to build a roof over our backyard patio. This week, we had brand new concrete poured.
This weekend, we're buying the lumber to build the posts and roof. We're going to start building it the weekend of August 16th. Our friend Jack G. has already volunteered to help us-and he sent this funny photo of himself to prove he was ready and willing to do it!!


So, if you're bored and want to learn how to build a porch/patio overhang or want to help out, let us know!

Members of Congress who have been charged with crimes since 2000

Here's something from today's Associated Press that I thought was interesting... There are idiots in both parties, but one seems to have the majority. Hmmm.

FROM THE HILL TO THE COURTS
Members of Congress who have been charged with crimes since 2000:
Sources: U.S. Senate Historical Office; U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk; Associated Press

• July 29, 2008: Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting more than $250,000 in gifts and services he received from an oil services company that helped renovate his home.
• Feb. 22, 2008: Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., indicted on charges of extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes in an Arizona land deal that authorities say helped him collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs.
• June 11, 2007: Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, arrested in a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He is now asking a state appeals court to let him withdraw his guilty plea.
• June 4, 2007: Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., indicted on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money laundering in a long-running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.
• Jan. 19, 2007: Former representative Bob Ney, R-Ohio, sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for trading political favors for gifts and campaign donations from lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
• March 3, 2006: Former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., sentenced to eight years and four months in prison. He collected $2.4 million in homes, yachts, antique furnishings and other bribes in a corruption scheme.
• Oct. 3, 2005: Former representative Tom DeLay, R-Texas, charged with felony money laundering and conspiracy in connection with Republican fundraising efforts in 2002. One charge has been dropped and two others are being argued before a state appeals court.
• Aug. 29, 2003: Rep. William Janklow, R-S.Dakota, charged with felony second-degree manslaughter and three misdemeanors after his car struck and killed a motorcyclist. He was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 100 days in prison.
• May 4, 2001: Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of tax evasion, bribery, racketeering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of racketeering and accepting bribes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Adopt a Dog from A Shelter- Many in Anne Arundel Cty, MD- and Your City

(Abby at the Anne Arundel County Pound- 7 month old Weimaraner)
We have two dogs, a weimaraner and a dachshund. They're 3 1/2 and 4 years old, and get along like they were littermates. Eating, playing, and sleeping in the same bed together. They hate being apart. Dolly the Weimaraner was a rescue from Wolf Creek Weimaraner Rescue in Tennessee. Franklin came from a pet store in South Carolina.
The fact is, that with this economy, people are now ABANDONING their pets. This is SICK. Would they abandon their own child? No matter how difficult things become- they should sell their goods first. Those can be replaced!!
Anyway, our friend Jackie from Maryland sent us a link of lots of dogs in Anne Arundel County that desperately need homes. Check out the page: http://www.aacspca.org/adopt/dogs.php and consider adopting one.
Even if you live out of state. Remember, I drove 9 1/2 hours to rescue Dolly from Tennessee, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Dark Knight - Phenomenal!!



Yesterday, Sunday the 27th, we finally went to see the Dark Knight at the movies.
The original show we had tickets for had seats far apart from each other, even being 20 minutes early, so we waited for the later show. It was a tremendous movie.
Christian Bale is the ultimate Bruce Wayne/Batman, Heath Ledger's performance of the Joker was EXACTLY as the comic book character, crazy, unpredictable, vicious, scary and without conscience. Two-Face makes his debut appearance here, too - and really looks like the comic book character (better than Tommy Lee Jones' version in the 1980s Batman movies). It was gripping, complicated, loaded with interesting characters, and one person leaving the theatre said "It was so well done, you wouldn't think it was a superhero movie - so well written." - In fact, it's really set the bar high for superhero movies in my opinion. You've GOT to see it!!
BTW -According to CNN: "The Dark Knight" continues to obliterate box office records, crossing the $300 million mark in just 10 days. This is well-deserved

A Joke for you - from John in VA Beach

Our friend John in VA Beach has a great sense of humor. He sent this to me today:

Mother Superior called all the nuns together and said to them, 'I must tell you all something. We have a case of gonorrhea in the convent.' 'Thank God,' said an elderly nun at the back. 'I'm so tired of chardonay.

Money Saving Tips from the Tennessean Newspaper

Money Saving Tips from the Tennessean Newspaper (Some are really good!)
• Check gasbuddy.com to find out the cheapest places to buy gas
• Split meals at restaurants.
• Eat off the appetizer menu.
• Consider a vacation at home
• Make your own ice for a party.
• Grow your own herbs. You can enjoy them all summer and then freeze or dry them for winter
• Put your business card in every available fishbowl drawing for a free meal.
• Check couponcode.com before every purchase
• Dilute your liquid soap with a little water.
• Share the newspaper and/or magazines with a friend or neighbor.
• Pick up free samples wherever you can (and give them away if you don't need them yourself).
• Picnic instead of eating out.
• Use a soaker hose instead of watering with a regular hose.
• Try not to buy any clothes that have to be dry-cleaned.
• Bring your own bags to the grocery.
• Use store brands. They're usually cheaper
• Stay away from the mall. If you don't go, you don't face the temptations to buy.
• If you just have to go shopping, get your buying fix at thrift and consignment stores instead of
• top-price retailers.
• Read online instead of paying to subscribe to publications.
• Do it yourself.— cut grass, clean house, make dinner, sew, paint, change the oil, etc.
• Evaluate all of your bills to be sure you're getting your money's worth for every service. If you're
• paying for cable but don't watch much TV, cancel it. If you make most of your calls on your cell phone, ditch the land line.
• Have a game night with friends or family instead of going out.
• Buy 50-cent greeting cards at Dollar General or Deals instead of paying $4 or $5 for a card.
• Set cruise control at 65 mph instead of 75. According to www.edmunds.com, the average
• savings achieved by dropping from 75–65 mph would be 12–14 percent.
• Keep your thermostat on the recommended settings instead of making it so cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The rule of thumb is that for every degree up during winter's chill or down during summer's heat, you're looking at least a 5 percent cost increase.
• Use fans to supplement your air conditioning. I read that you can set the thermostat on 80 degrees and with a fan running, it will feel like 72 degrees in the room.
• Order water when you go out instead of soda or tea.
• Make your own iced tea with a tea bag instead of buying tea. You can make a whole pot for pennies.
• Pack a cooler for the car when you travel or plan to be out all day.
• Share vacation expenses with another family by renting a condo together at the beach.
• Shop with a list.
• Use e-mail instead of snail mail whenever possible.
• Use automatic or electronic bill pay instead of having to use all of those stamps.
• Use freecycle.org for acquiring or getting rid of stuff.
• Make the most of your library — not just for checking out books, but for borrowing movies
• Use bouillon cubes instead of canned broth in recipes.
• Carpool — at least a few days a week.
• Use the cheap dry cleaners. Why pay $6 or $7 when you could get it cleaned for $1.75. There are several $1.75 Park Avenue Cleaners in the Nashville area.
• Buy day-old bread at bread outlets
• Reuse gift bags.
• Use plastic grocery bags for trash can liners.
• Wash your clothes in cold water.
• Use cloth towels instead of wasting all of those paper towels.
• Get a water filter instead of buying all of that bottled water.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saw Hellboy 2 at the Movies




Last weekend, we saw HELLBOY 2 at the movies- and it was pretty good! I give it a "B" - it was the sequel to the 2003 movie based on Mike Mignola's Dark Horse comic character.
Here's a review that summarizes the movie nicely: Ron Perlman returns to the title role as Hellboy, a humanoid creature born in the flames of Hell and brought to Earth as an infant. Raised in secret, the adolescent "HB" becomes an agent for the secret Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development (BPRD), a covert government agency which serves as the planet's line of defense against otherworldly evil.
Selma Blair will also reprise the role of Liz Sherman, a pyrokinetic human who is HB's colleague and love interest; while "Abe" is a humanoid-fishman with Aquaman-like abilities.
The movie brings up a supernatural "Golden Army" from the Earth's dark historic past, and has a pretty good storyline!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Las Vegas Vacation

(PHOTO: Rob, Tom, Gary and Jeff)
(PHOTO: Jim W. at the Venetian!)
We just returned from a 3 day vacation in Las Vegas with our friends Jeff and Gary. It was a good time, although we hated being away from our great dogs Dolly and Franklin. Despite the daily high temps of 107F, we managed to do a lot of walking and touring.
We enjoyed Bette Midler's bawdy show, and got to meet our old friend Jim Williams (no relation to Tom) who moved to Vegas some years ago. It's always a fun time with Jim.

We saw "Comedy Pet Theatre" where you will REALLY see cats doing tricks! - We loved the 3 dachshunds doing tricks, too, as they reminded us of Franklin back home.
The Hoover Dam Tour (35 miles outside of Vegas) was well worth it- really interesting!! - We had a funny tour guide, too, who loved punning on "Dam" - like "we have to go through the dam security gate...get your dam souvenirs before you come back to the bus, etc." Funny!
We enjoyed the great gardens at the Belagio, and their dancing fountains. A walking tour of the Italian hotel the Venetian was fun, too. We could only stand about 40 minutes out at the pool. 107 degreess was too hot to handle! It's well worth the trip - and we only wagered $1.00 each, and I lost mine while Tom won his back!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Some Heat/Water Summer Tips for you!

Just a few tips to pass along!
SHOWERING — Why heat water up just to cool it down? If you have to mix hot water with cold, your thermostat could be set lower to save energy. Simply adjust the thermostat in your water heater to your perfect shower temperature. If you take a HOT shower in the summertime, you tend to Sweat more afterward. Start with warm water, then add in cooler water to end your shower, and you won't sweat coming out of the shower!
WASHING CLOTHES—Using cold water instead of warm cuts energy use by 90 percent! Cold water is often less harsh on your clothes.
BOTTLED WATER...NOT! - Did you know that 40 percent of all retail bottled water comes from the tap anyway?? Buy a water filter and drink water from the tap in a reusable bottle. We re-use plastic bottles and carry them when we go places with the dogs, too.
DID YOU KNOW? The average American drinks 22.6 gallons of bottled water per year. Producing the plastic for all those bottles releases more than four pounds of carbon dioxide per person and consumes a surprising amount of petroleum (0.005 barrels, or nearly a quart of oil per person!)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our July 4th Weekend!

It was a busy weekend... the only fireworks we experienced were the ones neighbors decided to shoot off starting at 11pm, when we were trying to sleep! Oh, well...that's when the rain finally stopped. We've been mowing and gardening, tiling more flooring in the hallway, removing tree branches, fixing fences, sanding iron fence pieces to paint and lots of dog walks with Franklin and Dolly. I'm also working on a slide show presentation for my older brother's 50th birthday party this coming weekend.
We DID have fun this weekend -


We met Steve and Jane at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore for a nice 4th lunch at 11am. We all brought stuff and Dolly and Franklin came along. We found a picnic table, ate, and then walked the perimeter of the Fort, which is on a peninsula overlooking Baltimore Harbor, so it was really nice...and the Thunderstorms held off.
We had a shopping afternoon with our friend Jeff on Saturday. We took all the trash from the flooring tiling (old carpet, padding), and branches to the dump first.. so we told Jeff that "this is the famous dump that we go to." I always kid Tom that he loves going to the dump so much, that it's our "romantic place." :) - Anyway, after that, we shopped at Plow and Hearth (an upscale garden/backyard store) in Hunt Valley, Md. - north of Baltimore. Then a trip to IKEA!! - (then it rained/t-stormed at night.
It took two nights to watch the movie "40 Year Old Virgin" that our neighbor lent us. It was okay- laugh out loud in a couple of parts, goofy in others. We of course, also watched DVDs of our fav TV shows, because with 99 channels, there was nothing on!! So we saw a "Murder She Wrote" episode and a couple of "Seinfeld" shows. We ended Sunday with a nice dinner at Friendly's with Tom's folks. His stepdad, Bob drove, and at one point so close to the car in front of us, that Tom, Mom and I yelled for him to stop! I told Bob that I think I almost soiled my shorts!
It was a busy weekend!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

GHOSTS AND SPIRITS: MY UNDERSTANDING OF THEM AND ENCOUNTERS WITH THEM

I finally picked up the book I started writing a couple of years ago. Now is the time - beccause I've gained a much deeper knowledge of the energies we were, are now, and will be...

GHOSTS AND SPIRITS: MY UNDERSTANDING OF THEM AND ENCOUNTERS WITH THEM

Ghosts, Spirits, Entities. Call them what you will, but since I was a boy, I've known they exist. I've seen them, felt them and heard them. I didn't ask for the ability, but it has grown as I've grown older, and my emotional state has been raised (especially since falling in love with Tom). There's something unique about this world where emotion and science come together in the form of energies we call ghosts and spirits, and there's a difference between them. In my book, I'll define the difference, and share stories of my encounters and encounters others have had with these beings of energy in sight, sound, and feel... MORE ENTRIES TO COME.

***If YOU have a GHOST story, and you don't mind my including it, please send it to me at rgutro@gmail.com and put "My Ghost story" in the subject line.

Some Tips to help Secure your Computer

I thought I'd share these free Firewalls and Anti-virus software packages to help you keep your computer safe!

Keep your computer up-to-date by regularly updating the security patches made available by your software vendors.

Firewalls: Reduce the risk of being hacked by using a firewall. Here are three free ones you can try (one will do):

Anti-Virus: Also keep your computer protected against viruses. Here are three free software programs for you to try, pick one that works best for you:

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