Saturday, October 31, 2009

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! College Funny BATMAN "Vanishing Act" Video

Happy Halloween all!
Here's a funny video produced by the creative folks at It parodies Batman's famous "Vanishing Act" when he talks with Gotham City Police on the roof of Police HQ. It's really funny...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Party at Work! #3- With REAL SPIRITS

Here are two photos from the office Halloween costume party- taken one after another. What's interesting is that the first photo is all black in the background.

THE SECOND PHOTO SHOWS ORBS OF GHOSTS/SPIRITS: If you look at this photo, you'll see orbs of light (with colors and designs in them. That's how you know it's a ghost or a spirit, and not a speck of dust). In fact, if it WAS dust, it would've also showed up on Photo #1. The building we work in does have a couple of stories about ghosts haunting it, so it's no surprise that they actually showed up for our Halloween party. Fascinating, isn't it?

Halloween Party at Work! #2

PHOTO: Ed the Pirate of the Caribbean (notice the Hawaiian-type shirt) reading a Tombstone-computer.

Katie dressed up as a male Chippendale dancer. Now, That's original!

Rob G-2 as General MacArthur, and his other half as a Renaissance Wench

Superman and Jeaneene- also a Renaissance Maiden

Pirate Ed and Superman (yes, Ed is my boss- can you tell we have a great working relationship?)

Halloween Party at Work! #1

Today was my Halloween - and it was at the office! It was great!!! Lots of co-workers dressed up and got in the "Spirit." Actually -so did some others. Stay tuned for those photos

Susan dressed as "Nurse Jackie" from a Showtime TV series with me(Rob) as Superman (of course)

Karl dressed in camoflage with Superman

Ryan dressed as a "Hip Abe Lincoln" wearing a "Ford's Theatre shirt (groan!) with Andy as the killer "Jason" from Halloween (the movie)

Kathryn dressed as a crippled satellite and Superman trying to put it back together

Halloween Group Photo1: Left to Right: Nurse Susan; Pirate of the Caribbean Ed, Jeaneene the Renaissance Woman; Rob as Superman; Nina the cowgirl; Rani and McKenna as Ladybugs

Finally - Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed!

Yesterday, President Obama (finally) signed into law the very first protections for transgender people in US history: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It's about time that Hate Crimes protections were extended to ALL people based on race, religion, gender and sexuality. What I don't understand is why the "Religious" people (on the far right) are going wacko over it. Wouldn't God want ALL of his children protected, not just ones that certain groups pick and choose?
Here's why I don't understand the hatred: This week, we read an Op-Ed by Barrett Duke of the Baptist Church, titled "First Person: Gay hate crimes bill and the assault on evangelical belief." This is absolutely not true. This is the kind of propaganda that the religious right is spreading to scare people – people in their congregations that are non-thinking individuals that believe absolutely everything that a hateful preacher spews forth from the pulpit.
What this bill DOES is extend protections to gay people that already currently exist for other protected minority groups, such as blacks, hispanics and other ethnic minorities. It makes it illegal to commit a crime against any individual because of ethnic, religious, or sexual orientation. The protections already exist for the first listed groups, this bill will extend protections for sexual orientation protection. We are ALL God's children, and we live in a country that demands equal rights for all.
What this bill will do is apply federal punishments – such as long prison terms – to people that commit such crimes against any protected minority group.
What this bill does is that it essentially make it a crime to brutalize or kill a gay person that is cornered in an alley by some thugs, or beaten and tied up to a fence in freezing cold temperatures to die – as was done to Matthew Sheppard. What's wrong with offering protections and justice against that? We are all God's children. To deny protections and justice for hate crimes is NOT Christian... or if it is, it's time to reconsider religion. God certainly wouldn't preach hatred and intolerance. Jesus didn't. To put it another way: How would YOU feel if the law said it's okay to beat, rape, brutalize and kill you, and it's no problem?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting Ready for Halloween! Great TV Viewing for Ghost Lovers

Not only do I communicate with ghosts, but I enjoy watching television programs about them, too. It's all a learning experience to me. There are 3 great programs I'm looking forward to seeing this weekend. But first, a warning for parents about a Halloween-related item from TARGET:
**CPC RECALL FOR PARENTS**: Halloween Flashlights Sold Exclusively at Target Recalled Due to Burn Hazard

1) OCT. 30 - GHOST WHISPERER on CBS- 8pm EDT Friday. The Headless Horseman, from 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' haunts Melinda on the next episode of Ghost Whisperer..
2) OCT 30- Ghost Adventures **LIVE** on the Travel Channel. From 8 PM to 3 AM E/P on Friday, Oct. 30, the Ghost Adventures crew -- Zak, Nick and Aaron -- will lock themselves into the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV.
3) OCT 31- Ghost Hunters **LIVE** on the SyFy Channel this SATURDAY beginning at 7pm EDT - LIVE BROADCAST***, host Josh Gates and the Ghost Hunters Academy recruits make history at the Essex County Hospital. Over 10,000 patients died in Essex County Hospital. Now TAPS is on a mission to see how many souls remain.
1)Sitcoms Online said ABCFamily will have 13 days of Halloween, w/movies like Edward Scissorhands, The Haunted Mansion and The Addams Family.
2) The Disney channel will have Halloween episodes of: The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Hannah Montana and Phineas & Ferb. There will probably also be an emphasis on the show Wizards of Waverly Place. Expect classic Disney Channel Original Movies like Halloweentown and Twitches.

USA TODAY's List of Halloween or Halloween-related movies (I haven't seen any of 'em):

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944, Warner, $20)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, Warner, $27)
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949, Disney, $20)
Houdini (1953, Paramount/Legend, $15)
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976, Image, $15)
Halloween (1978, Anchor Bay, $15)
Lady in White (1988, Fox, $15)
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, Disney, $33; Blu-ray, $40)
In America (2002, Fox, $15)


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"God and Dog" Video Song

Here's a perfect little song for anyone that loves or knows a dog. Great song!

The writer of this song has a website with related material to the video - t-shirts, mugs, etc.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Maryland State Parks Proposed New Pet Policy

Comment on the Maryland State Parks Proposed New Pet Policy
As part of a continuous effort to improve visitor experiences in Maryland State Parks, the State Parks Dept. has undertaken a comprehensive review of the existing pet policy and developed proposed changes. They would greatly appreciate hearing from you regarding these proposals before we finalize an implementation plan. TO COMMENT:
Thank you for revisiting your pet policy in State Parks. With about 63% of all households now with a pet of some kind, and most people (like us) consider them our companions - they want to spend more time together.
Personally, we're always looking for places to take our dogs. If MD state parks all opened up to allow dogs, we would certainly visit them more often.
The main issue is maintaining the park from waste, so I assume that trash containers and bags would have to be made available, and signage posted to pick up waste (sadly, because a minority of people don't pick up after their pet).
I do know that other places have become more dog friendly. There are restaurants that enable dogs to sit outside with their owners (we bring our dogs to Panera Bread and eat outside with them). I assisted the Marketing manager for Federal Hill's Main Street Street Beat Festival in development and creation of a "dog area" and it was a tremendous success.
I encourage you to open all of the parks to canines, as long as they're leashed. (Again, it's always one or two thoughtless people that break the leash law rule- but there will always be some). The benefits far outweigh the non-benefits and people will likely visit MD State Parks a lot more often if they can bring their dogs. After all, many dogs are like children to people, and you wouldn't leave your children behind when you visit a park!

Beautiful Fall Foliage Video from GA this Week!

My weather colleague Mike Phelps is a professional storm chaser and has his own weather video business. He does incredible work and captures the beauty of nature. Here's his latest video -from You Tube. Enjoy it and let it take you away (from today's rain in the Mid-Atlantic). -Rob
October 25, 2009 Fall Foliage in the North Georgia Mountains
From: stormvideoman | October 26, 2009 | 22 views
Sunday, October 25, 2009 was an absolutely beautiful day to take a drive through the mountains of north Georgia and shoot video of the fall foliage. This is a compilation of some of the video I shot. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Beautiful Sunsets / Simple Pleasures

A SUNSET DOG-WALK - Last night after all the running around, we came home and walked the dogs at sunset. I had to take a picture of it, because the colors were beautiful. Of course, I love orange and that's what the sky was. With the crisp, cool fall air (in the upper 50s) and the fading sun, walking the dogs was a true simple pleasure.
Afterward, we watched one of our favorite TV shows, "The Amazing Race" on CBS. We love seeing the different countries and the challenges for the teams. Of course we have our favorites. In fact we have 4 favorite teams: the black and white couple from TN; The Harlem Globetrotters; the gay brothers; and the female Las Vegas card dealers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A little black cloud

See this? It's a little black cloud. Seems like it has been following us around this weekend. We all have those times when most things that we try and do don't go our way. This weekend was one of those. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Franklin our dachshund got sick 4 times, and we had to miss a costume party (anyone that knows me, knows I live for them). Yesterday, we also didn't go to the PETCO Halloween event either.
Today, Sunday, Franklin was feeling better, and was keeping food down. That was great, so we took a 1.5 mile walk with the dogs now that the sun was shining. We walked to the local Farmer's Market and a woman working one of the booths asked if Tom and I were at Petsmart 2 years ago as Aquaman and a Skeleton. She remembered!
Doggy daycare was having a Halloween party today from 12-2pm, and that would take care of my Halloween-cravings after missing them yesterday. So, we headed north to the daycare, grabbed Dunkin' Donuts sandwiches and coffee and got on the highway into dead-stopped traffic.
There were no accidents. It was only 1,000 people trying to take the one exit to go to the last day of the Renaissance Festival - which just HAPPENED to be our exit for the doggy daycare. We waited in merging traffic lines for over an hour then gave up- by then, the Halloween event was more than 1/2 over, and the next exit was 10 miles down the road, which we took anyway. It, too, was jammed. We decided to go to Tom's parents' house and drop something off we had in the truck... but the only road to their house (which was a back way to the Renaissance festival) was ALSO dead-stopped. After waiting 30 minutes in that traffic, we turned around and went home. I was really, really, unhappy (I'm being nice here).
Next, we had a 3pm triple-birthday party to go to at our friends' Mike and Heidi's house (my godson was one of the birthdays). As we were going out the front door of our house to head to the party, the storm door wouldn't open. The lock jammed the door was locked. We had to go out through the garage, and then Tom decided to fix it (otherwise we wouldn't be able to get in through it). With the party looming closer, I drove to the event and Tom stayed and fixed the door (it took 1 1/2 hours). I stayed at the party for an hour and came back to join Tom and his folks for dinner.
I hope the forecast calls for "no black clouds" tomorrow- this weekend, that little bugger stayed overhead too long.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Creative Lighting / Sick as a Dog

Our Saturday started out interesting. (The earlier post about the dogs being in all day today was done last night - little did I know there would be more of an adventure than rain). Franklin (the dachshund) and Dolly (the Weimaraner) ate their breakfast as usual. Then Franklin threw up. That was the beginning of his being "sick as a dog." We watched him over the day, and ran out to to a few errands, only to find that he had done it 3 more times upstairs! So, we've decided to forego a great costume party at our friends' Fitz and Will's house- to keep an eye on the little guy. We didn't feed him anything after breakfast. So, I won't be wearing my Green Lantern costume (again), but it's more important to make sure that Franklin is okay.

In addition to removing window air conditioners and storing them; washing all the windows in the house; vacuuming; doing 4 loads of laundry; and dog walking just before it started raining early this morning, was that Tom decided to turn an old oil lantern (that was his grandmother's) into an electric lamp. Here's a photo of Tom figuring out how to wire it.

Our friend Jeff had come over to spend some time together (and brought me -Rob a bday present), so Jeff decided to test out the lantern...

Tom was successful in his efforts to wire the lantern (I knew he would be), and here he is standing next to his finished product! (I don't think there's anything that he can't do!).

Here's Tom and I (Rob) being goofy as usual! :)

Rainy Days

(PHOTO: Dolly looking very unhappy while riding in the truck, as there was nowhere to lie down).
Nothing like a rainy Saturday to get a dog down. There's no playing ball or tossing a rope outside. There's no chasing squirrels or bunnies. It looks dark outside with the low, gray clouds, and that's what it's doing today, Saturday, October 24. Oh, well, our daddies say that the sun will shine on Sunday. We hope so! Dolly the Weimaraner and Franklin the Dachshund

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Serious Question: Hate Crimes

I heard today that Congress FINALLY approved New civil rights legislation and sent to President Barack Obama that targets hate crimes, including physical attacks on people based on their sexual orientation.
Here's what I don't understand with the Republican Party - and YES, I AM picking on them.
1) The House passed the defense bill earlier this month in the House with a majority of 68-29.
2) According to the Associated Press (the MOST Reputable non-partisan news wire service) Many Republicans, who are normally staunch supporters of defense bills, voted against the bill because of the hate crimes provision.
SO- they're saying it's okay to beat, kill, bloody and mangle gay people. Period. That's EXACTLY what they're saying. The entire party Needs to Go. Hatred and acceptance of violence on ANYONE regardless of who they are should Never be tolerated. These Republicans that voted against these protections are sick with hatred. They need to GO.
BTW- The legislation, which was first enacted after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, centres on crimes based on race, color, religion or nationality.

Petsmart Halloween Costume Contest

Tuesday night I went to Petsmart for their annual pet costume contest. I was going to go as Batman and have Dolly go as Bathound, but Tom told me I "look ridiculous" so I changed into my Superman outfit, and put Dolly's Krypto suit on. Meanwhile, Franklin was dressed as a lion! I made Tom a "Lion Trainer" suit, but he chose not to go (he doesn't like Halloween).
(PHOTO: Franklin practicing wearing his lion costume, wearing only the headgear)
(PHOTO: Franklin the Lion, and Dolly as Krypto- Superman's dog, waiting for the contest to start)
(PHOTO: Here are some of the competitors in the costume contest)
(PHOTO: A vampire dog waiting for the judging)
(PHOTO: Franklin the lion; Dolly as Krypto; and me (Rob) as Superman)
RESULTS: Well, this year we didn't win, place or show. It was depressing. I think that if Tom did go, it would have been original to have a lion and lion tamer - as it was, it didn't make sense to have Superman, Krypto and a lion. Oh, well. Next year, Dolly and Franklin need to go as the same thing, and I'll likely forego the superhero thing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Typical Busy Evening

We know that everyone's evenings are always busy, so we thought we'd share one of our typical after-work evenings!
If the dogs aren't at daycare its easier- but if they are we have to pick them up. Then it's preparing their dinner for the doggies and us- Here are dogs enjoying their Purina One with fresh chicken in it!
While Rob was cooking (and running laundry), Tom was in the backyard raking up all the pinecones....

Then it was downloading photos, folding laundry, vacuuming, walking the dogs, and finally crashing (Nope, we didn't make it to the gym).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weather - Winter is here early

Winter seems to have arrived early this year. Last week there were big snow storms in Nebraska and central Minnesota. This weekend, upstate NY and northern Pennsylvania had a good snow storm. Western Maryland received some snow this weekend, but here in central Maryland we only received cold rain and a frost this morning.
My weather-friend Mike Phelps, formerly of the Weather Channel and now a storm chaser in his own right posted this new short video of his weekend in Tennessee.
He said "The first snow of the season for the southern Appalachians. I shot this video on Saturday, October 17, 2009, at Newfound Gap, TN, in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The first snows came about two weeks early. I hope that is a sign of a snowy winter ahead!" (That makes one of us!). Anyway, enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Haunting Time With Mary Surratt

(PHOTO: Outside the Surratt House, Clinton, Maryland, Oct. 17, 2009)
Today, Tom and I wanted to do something to get in the "spirit" of my birthday, so we went to an historic Maryland home, and there was a ghost there. It was a cold, grey, damp, rainy day, so it was a perfect day to go to an old home. We arrived at the Mary Surratt House is located on Brandywine Road in Clinton, Maryland around 1pm (In 1965, the home became an historical State landmark),
We entered in the "tavern/post office room" -of the house. I immediately got my tell-tale headache in the back left part of my head. I knew there was a ghost there. The guide, a woman dressed in 1800s clothing talked about how after Mr. Surratt died, Mrs. Mary Surratt turned part of the house into a tavern/Inn. She said that only "male ghosts" have been heard and seen there.
When we walked into the main hallway of the house I felt anxiety and tension. I asked the guide if Mary Surratt was a strong-willed, conservative, religious, head-strong woman. The guide said "You've got her down pat!" Mary was conveying these things to me about her personality, and she WAS in the house. I also sensed she had a stressful life with her husband and was trying to tell me she was not guilty. The guide went on to then explain that Mary was 17 when she married a man 10 years her elder, and her husband was an alcoholic that owed money to everyone in town. That confirmed to me why there was tension and anxiety in the house (in addition to Mary being convicted and hung by the U.S.).
SOME HISTORY FROM WHO WAS MARY SURRATT? The only female conspirator convicted in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.... and her ghost is said to haunt several places in Maryland and Washington today. Mary Surratt was born in Maryland in 1823 and married John Surratt in 1840. In 1852, they built a tavern in what is now Clinton, Maryland, although with a post office also located there, it became known as Surrattsville. John died in 1862 and left Mary deeply in debt. She moved into the city of Washington, into a house that she and her husband had owned, and turned it into a boarding house, which would lead to her downfall. Among the occupants of the house were her son, John, who was a Confederate courier, several southern sympathizers and a frequent guest, an actor named John Wilkes Booth. Booth visited often and conspired with John Surratt to murder President Lincoln. Following Lincoln's assassination, the house and the former tavern were searched.

(PHOTO: This photo of Mary Surratt hangs in the hallway. One look at this picture and I knew immediately that her ghost was communicating with me).
The tavern had been leased to a man named John Lloyd and he had testified that Mary had been involved in the plot to kill the president (John Wilkes Booth told Lloyd that Mary was involved). Mary was subsequently taken into custody. She was convicted by a military court and condemned to death, although she appealed the sentence to her dying day. On July 7, 1865, she and her three fellow conspirators were hanged at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, DC. She became the first woman ever executed by the Federal government. Today, however, questions still remain about her guilt.

RUMORS OF MARY'S GHOST: said: Mary's ghost is also said to frequent her home in Clinton, Maryland. She is believed to be just one of the ghosts who haunt the place. In the 1940s a widow lived in one half of the house and rented out the other. People spoke of seeing the ghost of Mary Surratt on the stairway between the first and second floors while others spoke of hearing men's voices, engaged in conversation, in the back of the house when no one was there. People who have worked there and have visited there claim to have seen apparitions of people in period clothing, have heard the phantom cries of children and have heard footsteps pacing through the upper floor of the house when no one else was present.

(PHOTO: The Parlor is in the front left side of the house. It is connected by the hallway where I sensed Mary's ghost).
I SENSED MARY'S GHOST - In the main first floor hallway. She was standing at the top of the stairs when we entered the hallway and shared the emotions I mentioned. She later followed us around the staircase and into the dining room. Behind the stairway was a cold spot (and I felt as if I brushed by her there).
(PHOTO: The dining room that goes to the back of the stairway where I sensed the cold spot).
(PHOTO: Attic on the 2nd floor over the kitchen, where John Surratt and John Wilkes Booth supposedly met to plan President Lincoln's assasination. I didn't sense any ghosts in there.)

Finished Book: The Wheel of Life by Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Finished Reading the Book: The Wheel of Life by Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
(Author of On Death and Dying). AMAZON.COM REVIEW: Kübler-Ross has long been considered an expert on the terminally ill, and she is credited with bringing the hospice movement to the United States. Wrote The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying, when retired at 70 after a series of strokes, and facing her own death. Besides telling her unusual life's story, this book is also a startling treatise on death. Recounting her research with the dying and with those who claim to have "returned" after dying, she writes about her belief in the afterlife. ROB'S REVIEW: Fascinating book. Gives the different stages of dying and the afterlife (from people who "came back.").

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Bunch of Birthdays

It's funny how some of my favorite celebrities are born around my birthday (the 17th). In fact, Alan Jackson, one of my all-time favorite country singers, shares my birthday. Angela Lansbury from Murder She Wrote (TV Series) and many, many movies and Broadway shows was born on Oct. 16. *We celebrated by watching an episode of Murder She Wrote (on DVD) tonight after Ghost Whisperer.

Coincidentally, we have a lot of friends born within a week of mine (Rob's). Tom's late partner Ed was born Oct. 15th (so it's no surprise Tom and I are together); Cynthia in MD on 10/9; Ryun in IN and Yesenia in MD on 10/10; Leah in NY, 10/12; Matt in FL, 10/13; John in VA and Jeffrey in NJ on 10/15; Sandra in AL on 10/17 w/me; Donna in NY, Brad in GA on 10/22; Terry in MD on 10/23; and Matt in MA and Jim in OH on 10/24. That's 11 friends in 14 days. Coincidence? Nope. Happy Birthday to our friends! Think about it- how many friends of yours are born around your birthday?

If you don't like 5 days of rain in the mid-Atlantic...look at Europe!

For those who are complaining about 5 days of rain in the Mid-Atlantic (Wed-Sunday)... look at these REUTERS ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PICTURES:
AUSTRIA A Snow Covered Street Light Is Pictured In Semmering

CZECH REPUBLIC A Man Shovels Snow From The Roof Of A Building During Heavy Snowfall In The City Center Of Jablonec Nad Nisou

SWITZERLAND A Man Takes Pictures As He Stands On Snow Covered Stairs On Top Of The Mount Saentis

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rob's Dad's Spirit Helps Again

It's been a year and two months since my (Rob) dad passed. But Dad is always there when I need him, and today was no different. With my ability to communicate with spirits - all I had to do was call him and I got an instant answer.
It was 7:10pm when I called my Mom back home in Massachusetts. She was in a panic because she couldn't find her driver's license and was supposed to be at a function for my younger brother in the local area at 7 p.m.
When my mother panics, it's hard to get her to breathe and take a minute to collect her thoughts. I kept trying. The first time I called she was in her basement searching for her license. I asked where she last saw it. She said it was in her blue jean jacket when she went for a walk yesterday but it wasn't there now, so Mom ran all over the house searching frantically. The phone in the basement turned off twice when I called, so when I called back I told my mom to go back upstairs.
My dad came to me when I was talking to her and told me to tell her to look in the kitchen around the kitchen benches. I told her to do that (without telling her Dad's spirit told me) and she refused, saying "It's not there!"
So, I asked Dad for help again. He gave it to me. Next Dad showed me mom's closets, and I told mom to go into the closet where the shoes were. Dad showed me a small white "wallet-looking thing" that had her license in it, and mom confirmed it was in that kind of a holder! I told Mom to look around her shoes, and the bedroom remote phone shut off by itself. I called back, and it turned off again. I called a third time and in a minute it shut off again. So, my Mom had no choice but to use the Kitchen phone. HMMM... That's where Dad showed me her wallet/license was in the first place.

(PHOTO: Rob's Dad in December 2007. - I can hear him laughing from beyond, saying "Norma, you did it again. Got yourself into another mess!")
She answered the kitchen phone when I called again, and she then sat on the kitchen bench. She gasped. There was the wallet and the license underneath a scarf!
Of course, she started crying asking how I can communicate with Dad. I simply told her "I asked him to help and he did. Further, that was the first place he showed me to look."
So, why did my Dad take her into the bedroom? Because she refused to look in the kitchen the first time, and when she was in the bedroom, he kept turning off the phone so she'd have to use the kitchen phone. :) Spirits sometimes have to work really hard when someone doesn't want to listen!
Thanks, Dad! I love you!- Rob

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

History Repeating Itself?

This past Sunday was bright and sunny with blue skies and warm temperatures. I met our friend, Jeffrey, at McPherson Square to take part in the Equality March for the GLBT community. It brought back to memory a similar march that took place just about 22 years ago to the day. My first partner, Ed, took me to my first equal rights rally on that cold overcast October day. The two events were marked by both similarities and contrasts.
The purpose of the march has not really changed all that much. The GLBT community is still fighting the same things we were fighting for two decades ago: protection from wrongful firing, protection from being wrongfully kicked out of our homes, and still fighting for full equality under the law which includes the right to marry the one we love. What I recall from those speeches back then is that the GLBT community was already beginning to fracture. There was no single focus or agenda and the community was trying to embrace too many causes. Gay rights. Women’s rights. Protections for the American Indians. Protections for this minority group, for that one. Protections for Gays serving in the military. All in addition to the items listed above. I believe the reason my (our) generation failed to accomplish anything over the last 20 years is that there was no set agenda and no central purpose.
Similarly, this past Sunday, the voices are calling for the same things once more. This time, I was by far one of the older crowd, easily 20 years older than the average age of this crowd. I was glad to see a younger generation picking up the charge. I saw no fear in their eyes. I saw no worries. No fear of what others thought of them. No fear of being caught on camera by a roaming TV news crew. No fear of being fired from a job. No fear of being kicked out of their house. No fear of their parents finding out their sexual identity. All of the things that I was fearful of all those years ago.
On the ride home on the train, a young man sat next to me – bullhorn in hand, his friends carrying placards from the day’s march. I asked him where they were from. “Vermont,” came the reply. All the way to the last stop, my exchange with this young man was engaging, charged, and full of energy. But what I realized through this dialogue is that, similarly to my generation, this new generation picking up the torch has encompassed too many causes: toppling capitalism and implementing a socialist agenda, revamping the country’s banking system, health care reform, overturning “don’t ask, don’t tell,” full equality, including marriage rights, for the GLBT community. No lessons learned here. And good luck untrenching the corrupt uber wealthy contingent running this country. But despite my nay saying, this did not deter the young man’s enthusiasm for his cause as he handed me a flier for the upcoming symposium at Columbia University in a few weeks. “Write to me at the email address if you have any questions or want to engage in any further dialogue,” said Dave as we parted with a handshake at the end of the line, his engaging smile and laughing eyes would melt the heart of any would-be pursuer.
Rob and I often have such heady discussions – we debate political and social issues, we talk about the future of our country, the corrupt establishment, the lack of Government oversight over Wall Street and the country’s banking system, and the evil Republican Party and their lying deceitful practices which lead many of the non-thinking vulnerable masses astray. But what struck me most about the day’s event is how little (next to none) the generations interacted. Maybe this takes place more successfully in a one-on-one situation – like my encounter with Dave on the train. I don’t know. But what I do know is that as the Gay population ages, we are formulating right now the relationships that we will carry with us into our maturing years, essentially creating the “family” we will have when our biological families are no longer with us.
When I met Ed, he had already befriended an older couple whose friendship he brought into our relationship. To this day, Rob and I are friends with this very same couple over 20 years later. We socialize with them on a regular basis. We have traveled with them. We celebrate the holidays with them. But what we have noticed is that today’s young people do not engage in long-term friendships with our generation. At least we have not experienced this. I think this is sad because we could learn so much from each other’s experiences.

Why I Like to Dress as a Superhero

A lot of people ask me why I like dressing up as a superhero. My answer includes several reasons: 1) I've always admired them (They help others and combat evil); 2) They're great role models 3) It's fun to be someone else...
AND - When you read this note from our friend Tom R. who went to the Baltimore Comic-Con, you'll see the best reason!
TOM R. WRITES: I have to say, I enjoyed the convention as well. When you knelt down beside that little boy with his green lantern action figure, and his Dad took his picture, that little's boy face was beaming. That's what it's all about. That's what that little boy will remember the most - that he not only got his favorite character's action figure, but got his picture taken with his favorite character, too. Another young comics fan is born, and you helped create that. It's a wonderful thing.

Sunday Part3: Baltimore's Comic Con and Costume Contest

Here's part 2 of the photos from the Baltimore Comic Book Convention Costume Contest. I had to get a picture with Chris, one of the other contestants dressed as a Green and Blue Lantern (from the "Blackest Night" storyline: In that storyline, A Blue Lantern's Powers are: The blue ring creates constructs that soothe its target based on that target's hopes. Green Lanterns powers are will-power based.

PHOTO: Iron Man (left) a Spiderman in a black suit; and Iron Man's nemesis: Arsenal (who possesses a flame-thrower, multiple gun systems and a toxic gas dispenser.)
The Iron Man and Arsenal costumes were hand-built over 4 months from parts from Home Depot by the wearers!

Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel) is a supervillainess of Batman. Her name is a play on the word "harlequin," and she's clad in the manner of a traditional harlequin jester. She's a frequent accomplice and would-be-girlfriend of Batman's nemesis the Joker. This costume was perfect, and she had the wacky personality of the character down pat! I was glad she won.

Here's another photo of Iron Man's nemesis, "Arsenal."

Sunday Part2: Baltimore's Comic Con and Costume Contest

On Sunday, I went to the huge Baltimore Comic Book Convention with our friend Tom R. - as he also collects comic books like me and is a huge superhero fan. We arrived there around 11am, and listened to a writer/editor of DC Comics - which publishes most of our favorites. It turned into more of an "ask the audience" event, so we didn't learn much of anything. We then met Steve and Jane for lunch at Panera Bread in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. That was fun. When we returned to the Comic-Con at 2pm I changed into my Green Lantern costume for the big contest at 4pm. Here's a photo of Tom R. and I after I donned my superhero outfit:

We walked around for an hour, shopping at the hundred plus comics and toy vendors, checking out the artists and writers that set up booths there. It was packed! It's a huge market. Anyone who tells you comic books are for kids is out of touch. They're for adults- and written that way. There are comics written specifically for kids, though. On our way around the convention, in total I was asked for a picture about 25 times, with people and without them. Many loved the costume, and said "Green Lantern" is their favorite superhero. Of course, the character is involved in the biggest storyline of the year this year- called "Blackest Night." See:

Here's a photo of a guy who really pinned down the Wolverine character of the X-men movies. He resembled him, too. There was another guy who also resembled Edward of the book/movie "Twilight." It was amazing.

I didn't win anything despite being this year's most popular superhero in the comics- but a guy who BUILT an Iron Man suit (far left) from parts from Home Depot did win, and it was well-deserved. He only bought the mask, and constructed an entire Iron Man suit out of plumbing and duct-work parts, and painted them. He even had working lights in the palm of his hand. WOW.
All the WINNERS are pictured here: from Right to Left - some were originial costumes, so I didn't get the names of the characters. You can see the big alien Predator (also a home-made costume the guy said took 4 months to make); Harley Quinn, the Joker's female partner; two unidentifiable women; a young girl dressed as Athena, goddess from Wonder Woman fame, and Iron Man. The costume contest was amazing!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Shiny Birthday Surprise - Great Auto Detailers!

My birthday (Rob) is coming up at the end of the week, and Tom gave me a wonderful surprise- he hired auto detailers to come to the house and detail my pick-up truck. Anyone that knows me, knows the entire back part of the truck's inside cab has a lot of cushions and comforter for the dogs to ride on - so there's dog hair and dog treat crumbs (even though I wash the comforter out often. Of course, up front is coffee-central, and although I try and keep it clean, coffee spills happen, and doggy treat crumbs drop - so it's a lot to keep up with. Plus we haul a lot of stuff in the truck. If you need auto detailing in central Maryland- call EMPIRE AUTO DETAILERS at : The two guys they sent out did an amazingly, fantastic job. It looks like a new truck. (PHOTO: The truck's inside is now spotless!)

The outside of the truck hasn't been this clean since I bought it (and despite car washes!)
(PHOTO: These 2 hard-working guys were here for almost 2 hours covering every inch of the truck! I took this from our 2nd floor, so the window screen interfered).

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