Friday, April 29, 2011

Great WGN-TV Forecaster Uses 2 of my work videos

This week at work I've been busy keeping up on the severe weather with NASA satellites. With two of the satellites, the data were put into animations (which I put into stories for work). Famous and revered meteorologist Tom Skilling of WGN-TV of Chicago used Both of the videos (from the GOES and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellites) and that made my day. His explanations of weather - and this tornado outbreak are always fascinating. 

Here's the video:
  An epidemic of deadly tornadoes this week likely has been spawned by the rare collision of hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico with frigid Arctic winds pushed down across five Southern states by global climate patterns, weather experts said.
   These forces have helped produce about 800 twisters so far this month, four times the average for April, meteorologists said. The National Weather Service reported 165 tornadoes on Wednesday alone. The last comparable spate of destructive storms occurred in April 1974, when 148 twisters touched down in 13 states over 16 hours.

  "Hopefully, this is not a preview of coming events for May and June, which historically are the most active tornado months," said climatologist William Patzert at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Several other research meteorologists, however, said spring storm systems have been strengthened and pinned in place longer than usual this year by shifts in climate patterns over the Arctic and the Pacific oceans, far from Wednesday's destruction.
   The rise and fall of atmospheric pressure over the Arctic—a long-term climate pattern called the Arctic Oscillation—and the lingering effects of a cooling La Niña current in the Pacific Ocean can alter the path of prevailing winds across North America by altering the balance of energy in the atmosphere. That combination may have propelled repeated outbreaks of severe storms over the Southern states.
   Powering the storms is heat and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, where sea-surface temperatures recently have been running about two degrees Fahrenheit above average. Researchers, however, discounted any link to long-term global climate change.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2 Short Videos from Severe Storms on Thursday!

On Thursday, April 28, 2011 the strong cold front that brought severe weather to the mid and southern U.S. swept through the Mid-Atlantic. Here are two brief videos from Maryland. One from the local television station when a long line of severe storms were moving from Harrisburg, PA south to Charlottesville, VA - including the Baltimore/Washington area. This line of storms spawned two tornadoes in Maryland - one in Frederick County and one in Montgomery County (both west of Baltimore). Fortunately, we didn't get any damaging wind gusts, hail or tornadoes where we are, however, just north and south of us there were all of those severe storm ingredients. 
To see a related story and NASA satellite image of the HUGE thunderstorms (they were over 10 miles high), go to this NASA story:  

 The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite captured the rainfall rates occurring in the line of thunderstorms associated with a powerful cold front moving through the eastern U.S. on April 28, 2011. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. The very small red areas are heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. This TRMM radar vertical cross section shows that some of these violent storms reached to incredible heights of almost 17 km (~10.6 miles). Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Dog Pictures!

Our friends Jeff and Jose were over for Easter and took these great pictures of our dogs and their dog, Daisy.
Daisy (left) and Sprite (right



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stupidity in Politics Today

There's a lot of stupidity in politics on both sides of the fence, but the conservatives always seem to corner the market on it. Here are a couple of examples from the headlines today.  I'm just passing them along.

1) For Donald Trump and all the other right-wing wackos who have to make up stuff to attack and belittle others. The President's birth certificate is now out in public. End of story. 
 FROM CNN: A new CNN investigation reveals what most analysts have been saying since the "birther" controversy erupted during the 2008 presidential campaign: Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Period.
  While the president has made light of the controversy, the question remains political red meat for some of his critics. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll showed that nearly 75% of Americans believe Obama was definitely or probably born in the United States. ***CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS STUPIDITY???? More than four in 10 Republicans, however, believe he probably or definitely was not born in America.** - Someone is making up lies and then Brainwashing people into believing them. Are people really THAT stupid?  Sadly, YES.
2)  First the unending made up "birth certificate" stupidity. Now another idiot from Calif. sending stupid and insulting emails about the President.   Tea Party activist Marilyn Davenport claims the photo was a joke.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) -- An Orange County Republican official who sent out an email containing a doctored photo depicting President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee has issued another apology, this time during a news conference. FULL STORY:,0,3803760.story
3)  Minnesota Republicans are trying to pass an amendment to the state Constitution that would ban gay marriages. How is "conservative" and "Christian" likened to this kind of Hatred and intolerance of others? 
    I have an idea for the Republican party- How about solving the economic issues instead of being hateful?  How about doing something to HELP people instead of hurt certain people?  
   With all of these things, I certainly don't see Republicans as "Christian.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disappointment About the Amazing Race- Bad Behavior

Just watched the Amazing Race. Globetrotters U-turned the cowboys even though they were  ahead of them. It was the rudest, nastiest thing I've ever seen on the show. Hoping karma bites them in the *$#. I hate rude people. They were going to win anyway. Idiots.
    Amazing Race Fans - REMEMBER that the Globetrotters purposely knocked Sam (of Sam and Dan) off the wooden walkway and into the marsh a couple of seasons ago? They cheated then to win, and they've proven that they're simply hateful by U-Turning the cowboys. If only there were penalties for being hateful.
   CBS Should PENALIZE people who share answers. The Race is about a Race of Talents - not cheating. It's become more like that stupid "Survivor" show. The cowboys have many fans because 1) They're never rude to another team 2) they haven't cheated - Therefore cheating should not be allowed. I Suggest 2 Hour Penalities at the finish line for Teams that share answers.
  TOM SAID: What disturbs me is that CBS allows the “cheating” in the first place. It’s almost like they’re condoning such behavior, which only perpetuates it. Like the author of the book I’m reading writes: when did our society become so “mean?” CBS’ airing of this show is perpetuating that stereotype – that liars and cheats are the American way, and that’s the way to get ahead. THAT is what is disturbing to me.  
  The Amazing Race thing bothers me greatly because mean people, and people who cheat are allowed to continue to behave badly. Mean people shouldn't be rewarded nor spotlighted. They should be penalized and face consequences.  The producers of the race are letting mean people and cheaters  get away with things. It's wrong and a bad example for viewers AND for the world to see Americans behave so badly.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A fun Easter Day

The weather warmed to 82F on Easter and we hosted dinner at our house for Tom's parents and our friends Jeff, Jose and their dog Daisy. We enjoyed ham, chicken, and lots of side dishes, desserts, etc. Here are some pictures from the day. 
LtoR:Mom, Sprite, Bob, Rob, Dolly, Tom, Franklin, Jeff, Jose & Daisy

Bob, Mom and Sprite

Jeff, Jose, Daisy

Our Azaelas in the Front Yard are Blooming!

Dogs at the door saying bye to all

Mom and Sprite

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter from Dolly and Franklin

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all - Hope you're enjoying the day. I've (Rob) been cooking since Saturday - prepping for Easter dinner. Yesterday was the baking part, today the cooking part (ham and chicken for the non-ham eaters). I'm grateful that we have a sunny morning with temperatures in the 60s and 70s so that way the dogs can enjoy the new glass-enclosed sun patio.
* GIANT RABBIT FOOD?  Here's a picture from a recent Dachshund event in Maryland, where Dolly and Franklin were getting set up to pose with the Easter Bunny. Considering they love to chase rabbits in the backyard, we think that they were salivating over the size of this Rabbit, knowing he'd be a meal for a week.
   Sprite was doing the "adopt me" thing, so he was too busy for the bunny. 
Hope you have a great day! 
Tom helping prep Dolly and Franklin for their big photo with the bunny.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Severe Weather Season is Here

Severe weather season is here with a vengeance. Last week there was a period of 4 days where 243 tornadoes touched down. The season continues through June and every time a cold front comes through people need to be vigilant from the Rocky Mountains eastward.
  SOME TIPS: 1) Buy a  NOAA Weather Radio (Radio shack has them inexpensively)
2) When a tornado warning is active (on the ground) in your area - Go into the smallest room -a bathroom, and put blankets over your head; or the basement (and smallest room there), until it passes.
3) Do not stay in cars - get in sturdy buildings. 
4) Do NOT go under a bridge to ride out a tornado. WHY? 1 Deadly flying debris can still be blasted into the spaces between bridge and grade, and impaled in any people hiding there. 2. Even when strongly gripping the girders (if they exist), people may be blown loose, out from under the bridge and into the open--possibly well up into the tornado itself. 3. The bridge itself may fail, peeling apart and creating large flying objects, or even collapsing down onto people underneath
TO UNDERSTAND Tornadoes, Severe Thunderstorms, Hail, etc. Go to:

FROM THIS WEEKEND: St. Louis Airport Damaged by Tornado
ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Crews worked to get St. Louis' tornado-battered airport ready to reopen on Sunday after it was hit by a roaring storm that also destroyed dozens of houses, tossed cars and knocked out power.
  A Red cross official said there were reports of at least 500 homes damaged in the Friday night storm, although that could not be confirmed.
  Several injuries were reported but no fatalities. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and released state funds to help in the cleanup.Workers and cranes could be seen cleaning debris on Saturday from the roof of one airport terminal building, where the storm had left gaping holes. One-thousand people were involved in the effort to get the airport operating again, officials said.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day - Video from NASA

Here's a cool and short video of how NASA satellites look at the Earth. Nice way to take in "Earth Day."  Enjoy!

Interesting Stuff in Science News Today

Here are some things I found interesting in the news today. Maybe you will, too.
  I've always been fascinated with dinosaurs and fossils, and I didn't know that spiders dated that far back. In fact, because I'm not a fan of them - I guess I never thought about it. Interesting article, though. Rob
The largest fossil spider uncovered to date once ensnared prey back in the age of dinosaurs, scientists find.
The spider, named Nephila jurassica, was discovered buried in ancient volcanic ash in Inner Mongolia, China. Tufts of hairlike fibers seen on its legs showed this 165-million-year-old arachnid to be the oldest known species of the largest web-weaving spiders alive today — the golden orb-weavers, or Nephila, which are big enough to catch birds and bats, and use silk that shines like gold in the sunlight.
The fossil was about as large as its modern relatives, with a body one inch (2.5 centimeters) wide and legs that reach up to 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long. Golden orb-weavers nowadays are mainly tropical creatures, so the ancient environment of Nephila jurassica probably was similarly lush.

NASA's TRMM satellite flew over the western side of the North Atlantic Low pressure area on April 21 at 1326 UTC (9:26 a.m. EDT) and noticed light to moderate rainfall occurring in the storm. The blue areas indicate rainfall between 10 and 15 mm (.4 and .6 inches) per hour.
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
(I wrote this yesterday)  Rainfall data from NASA's TRMM satellite is hinting that the low pressure area sitting 450 miles north-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico appears less likely to develop into a tropical or subtropical storm in the next couple of days.
  NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew over the western side of the North Atlantic Low pressure area on April 21 at 1326 UTC (9:26 a.m. EDT) and noticed light to moderate rainfall occurring in the storm. Most of the rainfall was falling at a rate of 10 and 15 mm (.4 and .6 inches) per hour. Those showers also appeared very poorly organized in satellite imagery today. 
  At 1:45 p.m. EDT on April 21, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special tropical weather outlook on the low pressure area noting that the chance for development has decreased from 20 percent yesterday to 10 percent today. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weird Al Does a Parody on a Lady Gaga Song!

This is great!   During the course of recording his latest album, Weird Al created a Lady Gaga parody entitled Perform This Way. (from Gaga's "Born this Way").  Weird Al uploaded the song to YouTube, and will be making free mp3 downloads available on shortly.


Springtime is definitely here in Maryland. Some days it has been as warm as 85F, other days we top out at 55F. Low temperatures overnight swing from the low 40s to the upper 50s. That's a huge temperature range of about 30F between daytime highs and almost 20F in daytime lows. But that's the way it is here. That and the high pollen. Of course, allergies abound but the trees are blooming, and this morning before I walked the dogs I took this picture of the small Dogwood tree in our front yard. Happy Springtime!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Double Paw Trouble

DOUBLE PAW TROUBLE - It must be a full moon. Both Dolly and Franklin have paw problems this week.
DOLLY- Monday at daycare, one of Dolly's right rear toenails was ripped into the quick (I know, nasty) and bled a lot. Daycare managed to stop the bleeding. Tom picked the kids up and brought them home. When he told me, I immediately took her to the vet. They cleaned and bandaged what was left of the nail, and sent her home with lots of antibiotics. This is a picture I took of Dolly after she came out of the vet's back room all bandaged up.  She jumped up and sat on the bench next to me and give me a kiss. Notice her little back paw all bandaged up. 
FRANKLIN- For the second time in a month, Franklin has been bitten by some bug that caused his paw to swell. Dolly was bitten once also. Whatever bug this is has caused their paws to swell giving the appearance of a 6th toe. Fortunately, Benadryl for several days reduces the swelling, and hydrocortisone (bandaged over) relieves the itching and swelling. Franklin is also bandaged up this week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Moving Video Tribute to a Very Special Dog

Our friends Lynn, Steve and Michael lost one of their best friends last week - their faithful dog, Duncan.  
This is a beautiful tribute that Lynn put together about Duncan's life that any dog lover will enjoy. Duncan certainly knows that he was one very, very loved dog!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dog Walk Fundraiser Photos and a thanks to supporters

Thank you to those of you who supported us in our fundraising walk for animals today. 
Franklin and Dolly walk!

Tom walking Sprite &Franklin

Tom,Franklin, Sprite start!

Rob and Dolly

Sprite doesn't need the wagon!

Large crowd of about 1,000 plus!

Sprite's brief 2 min. wagon ride

Someone took a pet PIG on the walk
Lynn, Cynthia, Yolie, Maureen - and We walked in Memory of Ed, Duncan, Ubu, Blackie and Cody today. It was a great walk, and although we brought a wagon for Sprite, our 14 year old foster dog, he didn't want it! He walked the entire way. Here are pictures from the event of Tom, Rob, Dolly, Franklin and Sprite and some of the crowd!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The 16th Annual March for the Animals - Join us or Donate!

This weekend we'll be returning to March for the Animals on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Md. 
  It will be a fun-packed day of demonstrations, contests, entertainment and a 1.5-mile walk around Druid Hill Reservoir to benefit the Maryland SPCA. Most important, it raises money for homeless animals.
  The last time we went thunderstorms moved in and we wound up running to the car, but this time the weather is supposed to be clearing, sunny and in the 60s. Perfect for a dog walk!  (Another year it was in the 90s in April during this event).
  We'll be bringing our Weimaraner, Dolly, and Dachshund, Franklin -and our foster Dachshund, Sprite. Of course, being 14 years old, Sprite will likely not make it all the way around the reservoir so Rob is borrowing a little red wagon from a co-worker to cart Sprite around. Most likely, we'll harness the wagon to Dolly, who sometimes pulls like a horse!

TO DONATE TO ROB'S WALK IN MEMORY OF DUNCAN JENNER (a faithful canine who just passed): 
TO DONATE TO TOM'S WALK IN MEMORY OF ED GEORGE (a beloved friend we miss so much):

 Registration is open at Online registration will be open through Friday, April 15. You can still register and turn in money the day of the event at Druid Hill Park. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Md. Senate approves of dogs in outdoor dining areas

Our foster dog Sprite is HAPPY about that!
Md. Senate approves of dogs in outdoor dining areas
Monday - 4/11/2011, 11:31am  ET
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland canines have won an early victory on the last day of the state's legislative session. The Maryland Senate voted Monday morning for a bill to allow owners to bring their dogs to outdoor dining areas of restaurants, if restaurant owners say it's OK. The measure would take effect in July.
A restaurant owner would have to provide written notice to the local health department if the owner intends to allow dogs.
***Well, they can't get gay marriage right, but at least they realized that 67% of American households have a pet. Good to see this. I just hope that people bring well-behaved dogs!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bill tracker: Proposals affecting federal employee pay, benefits

Want to see what Congress is proposing that will affect Federal Employees? 
the first couple of these are brutal. The others okay. The comments in ITALICS about what will harm and benefit federal employees is not my opinion, it's from the Federal News Radio Website. - Rob

Bill tracker: Proposals affecting fed pay, benefits
March 24, 2011 - 11:27am  SOURCE: FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Several bills making their way through Congress take aim at federal employees' pay and benefits as a way to tighten the government's budget belt.
Feds already face a two-year pay freeze. A couple of the proposals would extend that freeze beyond 2012.
If some of these measures are passed, federal employees could also face staff cuts and unpaid furloughs.
Also included on this list are bills that, if passed, will help federal employees.
This page will be regularly updated. Check back for status changes and the addition of new bills.
(Last updated on April 12.)
Bills that will harm federal employees.
Impact on feds

- Extends the federal pay freeze for another year, through fiscal year 2013. This means your pay would remain at fiscal year 2010 levels through Sept. 30, 2013.
- Cuts federal workforce by 10 percent no later than October 1, 2020.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas)
Introduced in House on Jan. 7, 2011.
Requires federal employees to take two weeks of mandatory, unpaid furlough during fiscal year 2012.
Read full story.
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.)
Introduced in House on Jan. 12, 2011.


- Cuts federal workforce by 15 percent.
- Freezes federal pay through fiscal year 2015.
- Freezes non-discretionary spending at 2008 levels through fiscal year 2021.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
Introduced in House on Jan. 24, 2011, and in Senate on Jan. 25, 2011.
Ends defined benefits pension portion for new hires starting in 2013. The Thrift Savings Plan and retirement benefits will not be affected by this bill.
Read full story.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
Introduced in Senate on March 17, 2011.
Cuts spending by $500 billion in fiscal year 2011. Among the agencies that would see appropriations cuts under this bill are Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Energy, National Institutes of Health and more. Some programs would be entirely defunded, including the Government Printing Office, all Department of Education programs, except the Pell grant program, and all Department of Housing and Urban Development programs, except veteran housing programs.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Introduced to Senate on Jan. 25, 2011
Restricts the payout of annual adjustment and locality pay for civilian DoD employees performing "unsatisfactory work." West says the bill would generate approximately $21 million in savings while increasing productivity in the workforce. "As employees become more satisfactory in future years, the savings would be approximately $80 million through FY16," according to West's website.
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.)
Introduced in the House on March 29, 2011.
Extends probationary period for new hires to at least two years. Two-year probationary period also applies to an employee who has been transferred, promoted, demoted, reassigned or appointed to a new position.
Rep. Dennis Rosee (R-Fla.)
Introduced in House on April 8, 2011.
Bills that will help federal employees.
The bill ensures both active-duty and reserve military personnel are paid on time if there is a shutdown. A DoD memo states all military personnel would have to work without pay in a shutdown until Congress makes appropriations to pay military personnel for the time worked.
Read full story.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
Introduced in House on March 31, 2011.
- Requires greater transparency over pharmacy benefit managers in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).
- Prohibits a drug carrier from paying a pharmacy benefit manager more than the average manufacturer's price for any drug.
Read full story.
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.)
Introduced in House on March 9, 2011.
Provides a tax credit, up to $1,000 per year, for teleworking expenses.
Read full story.
Rep. Robert Whitman (R-Va.)
Referred to House Committee on Ways and Means on Feb. 15, 2011.
Changes the default payments for the Federal Employees Life Insurance Program (FEGLI) to a lump-sum. The bill responds to concerns that the current payments to beneficiaries are put into accounts that are not federally insured.
Read the full story.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)
Introduced in House on Jan. 5, 2011
Hires 150 more Federal Protective Service guards. Maintains a minimum of 1,200 FPS guards. Increases resources for training. Maintains assessment program for contracted FPS guards.
Read the full story.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Introduced in Senate on April 8, 2011
Requires the head of each agency to establish a training program for supervisors. New supervisors must complete a training program within one year of appointment and supervisor must complete a program every three years.
Read the full story.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Introduced in Senate on April 12, 2011

Senate Appropriations Committee Highlights short-term Budget cuts:

If you're wondering what was cut from the U.S. Budget to keep the Gov't open for another week here's   
The Senate Appropriations Committee detailed the short-term cuts:

  • The Transportation Planning, Research, and Development account is reduced from $16.1 million to $9.8 million.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration's Facilities and Equipment account is decreased by $8.7 million - or less than one percent - from the 2010 level.
  • The FAA's Research, Engineering and Development account is cut by $3.5 million - or two percent - from the 2010 level.
  • The Federal Railroad Administration High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail is reduced to $1 billion.
  • The FRA's Research and Development account is reduced to $35.1 million, $2.513 million less than 2010.
  • The Transportation Department's budget for Transit New Starts is reduced to $1.72 billion, $280 million below the 2010 level.
  • The Transit Research and University Research Centers Program is cut $64.2 million.
  • The funding for Public Housing Operating Fund is decreased to $4.6 billion.
  • The Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Fund, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is cut by $220 million.
On side issues, or "riders," the Democrats and the White House rebuffed numerous Republican attempts to curtail the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency and sidetracked their demand to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood.
Anti-abortion lawmakers did succeed in winning a provision to ban the use of federal or local government funds to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.The deal came together after six grueling weeks and an outbreak of budget brinksmanship over the past few days as the two sides sought to squeeze every drop of advantage in private talks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Great Cell Phone Photos This Week

Dolly and Franklin in their kitchen bed
Putting a camera in cell phones was a great idea. Often it seems that the best pictures are captured because the cell phone is with us, and we're able to get a quick photo. I just wish the resolution were better, but at least we have the pictures. (I'm sure someone can tell me what phone has great resolution- I have a Samsung "Smiley" phone).
Anyway, enjoy these pictures. We did!

Truck snoozing: Dolly's head on Franklin's back

Our Serviceberry tree is finally blooming!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sprite Update: After having 13 teeth removed

Our foster Dachshund Sprite is healing quickly and doing very well. The first 2 days after surgery he didn't want to eat because his sutures hurt (he's been on anti-inflammatories and on Saturday we got some pain meds). Yesterday he ate his breakfast and dinner.
- he's eating Purina One wet food.    We tried to give him baby food, like chicken, ham, etc. and he refused it, but he's loving his Purina One. Yes, he can even be fussy while recovering!
- I also break up Pupperoni into little bits and he enjoys that for treats.
- After meals, I have a mouth wash to help spray out any food bits that would get caught in his stitches. Makes sense, right? Food caught in YOUR gums would form bacteria.
- He's been on walks with us Saturday and Sunday, several times and is feeling much better. Yesterday we went on 2 1 mile walks with him and he did fine. I think that the exercise he's been getting with us and our other dogs is keeping him younger and promoting healing. In short, he's doing very well now, eating, exercising, and enjoying stretching out on rugs throughout the house.
  Another good bit of news about him is that we no longer worry about accidents, because he doesn't have them. He often goes upstairs by himself and stretches out on one of the large rugs and snoozes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crazy Couple of Days

The last couple of days have been busy and crazy. - We took Sprite (our foster dog) back to the vet for a check up after he had 13 teeth pulled. By the 3rd day after surgery he was finally eating again, and has energy, so we're relieved. He's doing well.
 - We had our friend Jeff's parents (Ann and Dick) over for a wonderful lunch on Saturday and spent most of the day together with them, Jeff and Jose. It was a lot of fun to not go anywhere and just spend time together. They're visiting from Maine where there are still 4 foot high piles of dirty snow in the parking lots of stores. They can have it!
- Tom starts his new job on Monday, and we're looking forward to getting up at 5:30am instead of 4am because his commute is a LOT shorter. YES!!
- The Federal Gov't is going to be open, much to my relief. I hate not working because I love my job.
- I'm glad the gov't is open. I won't get much into the politics, but I think it seems really odd that the Republican party seems to forget that GOP President Bush is the one who put the country into debt. Why the heck didn't they care when he was doing it?  Hmmm. Anyway, the other thing about them trying to remove funding for planned parenthood, when we have so many kids having kids is Stupid.  Fortunately the percentage has dropped over the last several years- so cuts NOW would likely raise those rates again. I STILL haven't seen the GOP reduce tax breaks for big businesses, the Rich, and reduce famr subsidies - things that they favor. They're also using the budget to push their stupid conservative agenda. I'll stop here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sprite's Major Teeth Removal

Our foster dog Sprite (the 14 yr old Dachshund) has more dental issues than I (Rob) do... that's a lot. Today we brought him back to the vet for removal of more teeth. When we took him in as a foster dog in December his breath could kill a room full of people. His teeth were rotted, his little mouth infected. He was neutered and 7 teeth beyond repair were removed. More teeth, however, were also rotting and his gums were infected.
Dolly (R) watching Sprite (L) drink after he came home.
  Despite brushing, nutradent in his water (to limit bacteria in the mouth), and dental treats, his teeth declined. The ones that were partially bad finally got beyond saving last month. It was painful for him to eat and we had to water his food down and give him soft food. **So, we contacted the rescue and we split the bill for the removal of 13 MORE TEETH today. Now has 5 teeth left on his bottom jaw, and only 3 left on his top jaw. They had to give him stitches in his little mouth. OUCH.
  I know that he has to have soft food for the rest of his life, but when I saw it in writing tonight at the vet, my heart sank.Poor little guy.
  He'll be on antibiotics, a rinse after every meal, and pain medication for quite awhile. He's such a good boy, too. When I took him home, he walked in and Dolly and Franklin (our Weimaraner and Dachshund) came over and sniffed his mouth, and walked him over to the water dish, where Sprite lapped up a little water. Sprite then walked to the back door, so I went outside with him (he was still in a stupor) and did both businesses outside. Despite being "out of it," Sprite is now perfectly housetrained - enough to even go outside when feeling poorly. Hopefully, he'll recover quickly. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scientists Identify New Dinosaur Zhuchengtyrannus Magnus!

 When I was a kid, I was fascinated with dinosaurs. In fact, my younger brother and I had a lot of plastic dinosaurs and used to play with them. Well, since the 1960s a huge number of new species have been discovered, and here's another new discovery recently from China! 

Scientists Identify New Dinosaur Zhuchengtyrannus Magnus

Updated: Tuesday, 05 Apr 2011, 10:41 AM EDT 
(CANVAS STAFF REPORTS) - Scientists discovered a relative of the dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex in what may be the largest concentration of dinosaur bones found in the world.
Ironically, media reports state, construction workers made the find in China while building a museum for other fossils.
The dinosaur, as reported by University College Dublin , has been named Zhuchengtyrannus magnus. It likely measured about 36 feet long, stood about 13 feet tall and weighed about six tons or more than 13,000 pounds.
Scientists matched it up to T. rex using fossil skull and jaw bones. The university stated it is one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs that scientists ever identified.
The dinosaur's name means "Tyrant from Zhucheng," identifying the eastern Shandong Province city in which the find was made.
LiveScience said the dig has uncovered more than 7,600 fossils in the city, which has become known for its bones. Scientists discovered a large field of hadrosaurus fossils in the 1960s and more than 50 tons of fossils have been found there since then.
The university suggested the site likely contained so many fossils because it was a flood plain where dinosaur bodies may have washed up together during floods and fossilized.
Zhao Xijin, the paleontologist heading up the project, told the Xinhua news agency that most of the fossils dated back to the late Cretaceous of the Mesozoic period. The BBC said that period extended from 99 to 65 million years ago, when scientists believe dinosaurs became extinct.
The find, as reported by the BBC, consisted of skull and jaw bones. Scientists used them to match the fossils up to the Tyrannosaurines, a group of theropods that may have evolved into modern birds. The dinosaurs, which existed in North American and eastern Asia, are identified by their small arms, two-fingered hands and powerful jaws.
Colleagues working on the project include Xu Xing of the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology. Discovery News said Xing has named more than 30 other dinosaurs. Xinhua said a fossil park will be built near the site.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From the People are Stupid File: Man claims prostitute took money and left

I saw this article today and just had to share it. It amazes me how truly stupid people are... again, these are the people that vote against my rights. Sigh. Enjoy the stupidity! :)
Man reports incident to police, but decides not to have it investigated when told he could be prosecuted
By RYAN ROBINSON, Staff Writer
(Lancaster On-line) 

  Who do you call when a prostitute doesn't provide the service she promised?
One john called Lancaster city police shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2011, police said.
  He complained that he gave $25 to a female for sex in the 100 block of South Queen Street, and she took his money and left without completing the "transaction," police said.
Police advised the cell phone caller that his actions were illegal and he could be prosecuted, police said. The man then decided he did not wish police to investigate the incident any further.
  Police responded to South Queen Street, but the woman was no longer there, they said.
City police Lt. Todd Umstead said the call was certainly unusual, but not a first.
"I recall handling a similar call years ago," he said. "The guy was very upset."
That john did not speak much English so he used hand signals to describe what happened, Umstead said.
Umstead also explained why police can't charge the johns in such cases.
"Without being able to locate the other half or an independent witness, it would be impossible to prosecute someone for claiming they solicited a prostitute," he said. "Even if you did locate the prostitute, it would be a difficult case to prosecute because your witness would probably be a co-defendant."
  A confession alone is not enough to charge someone with a crime, Umstead said.
"You could walk in the lobby and confess to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby," he said. "Without any other proof, we wouldn't be able to charge you."

NASA's Aqua Satellite Catches Brief Life of Season's First NW Pacific's Tropical Depression

NASA AIRS infrared imagery of TD1W on April 2 shows a more consolidated, rounded and organized tropical depression, whereas the April 4 image shows that wind shear has been tearing the circulation apart and scattering its clouds.  Credit: Navy/JPL, Ed Olsen
This is a story I wrote for the Hurricane page- and it's about the first storm of the Pacific Northwest Hurricane Season (well, sort of- its the first storm this year after the typical 2-3 month lull- which is like the start of a new season).

 NASA's Aqua Satellite Catches Brief Life of Season's First NW Pacific's Tropical Depression
Tropical Depression One W formed on April 2 and was dissipating by April 4 a couple of hundred miles east southeast of Vietnam and NASA's Aqua satellite captured its brief life.

The Northwestern Pacific Ocean basin can experience tropical cyclones almost all year 'round, except that activity is usually minimal in February and March. So, the first tropical cyclone of the new "season" didn't take long to form after the end of March. The Northwestern Pacific includes all of the area north of the equator and west of the International Date Line, including the South China Sea.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Depression 1W (TD1W) on April 2 when it was born, and then again on April 3rd, when it faded. That was a short life for the first tropical depression of the Pacific Northwest's hurricane season, but only the beginning.

AIRS data on April second at 05:41 UTC showed a cluster of strong thunderstorms surrounding the weak center of circulation of TD1W. Some of those thunderstorms were dropping heavy rainfall (about 2 inches / 50 mm per hour) and had very high cloud tops, so high they were as cold as -63 Fahrenheit/-52 Celsius.
  On April 2, TD1W was located about 280 miles (450 km) east-southeast of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam near 9.3 North latitude and 111.2 East longitude. It was moving very slowly at 1 knot (1 mph/2 kmh) to the west and maximum sustained winds were near 25 knots (29 mph/46 kmh).
  By April 3 at 0900 UTC it had continued moving slowly, only at a rate of 2 knots (2 mph/4 kmh) westward and was then 315 miles (506 km) east-southeast of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam near 9.1 North and 111.7 East. It still had maximum sustained winds near 25 knots (29 mph/46 kmh), but wind shear was battering the system.
  On April 4 NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead once again and noticed that TD1W had become much more disorganized and spread out (due to wind shear). By the fourth, TD1W had also moved more than 45 miles farther away from Vietnam and into the South China Sea. Strong convection appeared scattered and disorganized on AIRS' infrared imagery and not around the center of circulation.
  Tropical Depression 1W is dissipating in the South China Sea today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

DoxieFest Sunday!

On Sunday we drove up to Bel Air, Maryland to an all-Dachshund dog festival, hosted by Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue (the rescue we work with, and are fostering Sprite through). There were LOTS of Dachshunds all over the place! - Sprite was featured as an Adoptable foster dog, and of course we took Dolly and Franklin!  There were treats, toys, tee shirts, magnets, obedience lessons, quilts, dog beds, dog houses, egg hunts for dogs and so much more. The weather cooperated (it was 57F and sunny). We saw long haired, short-haired, wire-haired, smooth, piebald (spotted), black, tan, red dachshunds and other dogs! Here are some pictures!
Dolly waiting for daddy Tom

A dachshund puppy with thought very cute!

Franklin lounging in the front seat of the truck

Sprite and Franklin walking to the festivities

Dolly and Tom

Linda's Fun Birthday Tea

Our friend Linda celebrated her birthday in style - thanks to her family! This is the second time her kids (all grown) organized an afternoon tea, with sandwiches, great desserts, and all kinds of treats. It was a special birthday for a very special person. We love you, Linda!

Tom, Linda and Rob
Charlie, Jim, Scott, Linda, Cate

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stink Bugs Worse This Year: USDA

**About 2/3rds of the country are dealing with Stink Bugs- an invasive species from Asia that have no predators. The USDA is working on ways to control 'em, but it won't be for this summer in the U.S. unfortunately. If you don't have them now where you are...just wait. You will. - Rob
 Stink Bugs Worse This Year: USDA
By Suzanne Kubota ,
If stink bugs annoyed you last year...just wait! This year is expected to be even worse. Agriculture Department entomologists say stink bugs are now considered out-of-control pests.
If, however, you're in one of the few remaining states that hasn't been infested, Dr. Tracy Leskey, a Research Entomologist at USDA-ARS at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station, described the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys Stål, for Federal News Radio.
   "They have piercing sucking mouth parts. It's sort of like a straw that they insert to suck up the fluids they feed on. They have a marbled appearance on the sides of their abdomen. That's one of the really good characters that you can use to identify a brown marmorated stink bug, as well as white stripes on their antennae that are very distinctive."
Since it was first collected in Pennsylvania in 1998, the stink bug has now spread to 33 states and D.C., and it's bringing trouble with it, said Leskey. "We've had incredible problems in terms of just the nuisance aspects for homeowners and businesses as well as agricultural issues."
Those issues have made Leskey's work station in Kearneysville, West Virginia nearly ground zero for stink bug research. "This is where apples, peaches, nectarines, as well as asian pears were attacked by this insect. It seems to like tree fruit very much."
   Currently, there are have high hopes for what Leskey called "classical biological control" for the pungent pest. She said her colleague, Dr. Kim Hoelmer, "has gone to Asia and done a lot of foreign exploration and brought back candidate species for release. These are particularly parasitic wasps. These are non-stinging wasps and what they do is they insert their eggs into the eggs of the brown marmorated stink bug and the larvae of this wasp then devour the brown marmorated stink bug eggs, but before they can be released they must go through a rigorous series of tests evaluating their specificity. And so that is what is going on right now, and will continue to go on until all of the information is gathered to petition for release."
    At the same time, chemical warfare is being researched to fight the massive invasion.
In Beltsville, said Leskey, another colleague, Dr. Aijun Zhang, "is working to identify the true pheromone of this bug and this could provide us with an excellent lure to use in these traps to really attract the bug, you know, first for monitoring then potentially for things like attract and kill where we can sort of aggregate them within a particular area and control them in a precise location. So there's a lot of research. It's still unfolding, the types of strategies we'll use against brown marmorated stink bug, but typically it's a lot of different approaches that come together to create what we describe as an integrated pest management system.

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