Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dolly Parton Embraces a Better Day

Dolly Parton will always be my (Rob) favorite singer and entertainer.
- She just released a new CD, which I'm anxious to get. You can see more about it here:
Dolly Parton Embraces a Better Day

In a recent interview, this question and answer really hit me as one of the reasons I have such respect for Dolly. She really taught me how to look at life. She reveals how she sees life in this answer:
Having listened to your music since I was a little girl, I've always admired your positivity. How do you remain so optimistic?

Parton: I was born with a happy heart, and I try to keep a good attitude. It's not true that I'm happy all the time because nobody is, and we all go through our things. As I often say, I'm a songwriter, so I have to live with my feelings on my sleeve and leave my heart soft enough to be able to feel enough stuff to write songs about. I just try to look for the good in things. When I wake up, I expect things to be good. If they're not, then I try to set about trying to make them as good as I can 'cause I know I'm gonna have to live that day anyway. So why not try to make the most of it if you can? Somedays, they pan out a little better than others, but you still gotta always just try.


If you see planes around the Baltimore/DC area today here's why:
WASHINGTON -- NASA's DISCOVER-AQ air quality field campaign is scheduled to take to the skies over the Baltimore-Washington traffic corridor on Thursday, June 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT as part of a mission to enhance the capability of satellites to measure ground-level air quality from space.
DETAILED FLIGHT MAP: Of the P-3B's low-altitude flight path is available at:
For more information about the DISCOVER-AQ mission, visit:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4 Minute Video on Coffee! (Rob's fav topic)

Here's a really creative, fun, informative video about Coffee! - including history, physical and mental effects, where it's grown, how it's made and how it affected History! I'm headed to Dunkin' Donuts right now for an extra-large black coffee. :)

More information at:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Will the Pilot

Our friend Will is a talented guy, and one of the things that he does is fly planes. That's something I would never be able to do because I'm afraid of heights (Rob). Tom is not afraid of heights. - Will has been flying planes for a couple of years, and even worked in the MidWest doing crop dusting. - This weekend he joined us at a cookout that some friends invited us to, and Will flew into the local small airport from north of Baltimore. It was cool to watch him fly in, and after the cookout he took about 1 hour to prep his plane so we heard him fly over our house!
Tom posed in the plane

Nice pic of Will the pilot!

Will standing at his plane

Far shot of the plane

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Today is our 2nd Wedding Anniversary!

Two years ago today, on June 26, 2009 we took our legal marriage vows in Bridgeport, Connecticut! 
Tom & Rob, Wedding Cake House, Maine
We drove up with our friend and best man, Jeff. We were joined by our friends Mike and Amy, who just married this past December. Mike married us. Rob's brothers came, and sister-in-law Dawn, and our friends Jacquie, Kerrie and son Brady, Colleen, Gail.
  It's amazing to think of how long ago that was and how much has happened. 
FAMILY: We've fostered several dogs for the Dachshund rescue and took a special one in.(more later), Tom changed employers, Rob now managing breaking news, hurricanes and wildfires and more at work. Dolly and Franklin still feisty as ever at 6 and 7. 
AT HOME: Since then, we've done a lot of work on the house, having an upstairs dormer built, putting windows on the Sunporch we built (with our friend Jack's help), laying a tile floor, getting the garage made into a room (still in progress), getting plantation shutters for the living room, having the house electrical redone, enhancing the house's cooling system with a thermostat controlled duct system (so the upstairs is cool!). We've been to Puerto Rico this year, and a Caribbean cruise and NC/TN last year. We've been to many dog related fundraising events, several ghost hunts with professional ghost hunters, and Rob published his first book.

WEDDING DAY IN CT: Back:Rob, Tom, Mike, Steve, Doug, Jeff  Front:Colleen, Jacquie, Amy, Dawn, Gail 

Franklin and Dolly

Sprite Joins the Family
FRIENDS:  Several changed jobs, several have moved to different states (incl. Gail who was at the wedding-moved from MA to VT), our dear friend Sarah who made gourmet cupcakes for our wedding reception (in Sept. following) passed away, a couple who were together 10 years split, another who have been dating 7 years are taking the plunge and another couple celebrated 50 years together! Of course some friends have drifted, while other new friends entered our lives. A number of friends have lost their parents recently, Chris in Orlando lost his mom, Maureen in Mass. lost her dad. Colleen & Todd Heather & Jeremy & Suzanne and Kevin welcomed new babies, and some friends adopted new dogs to their families. These are the events that make life an adventure and we're glad to be able share in all of them (happy and sad) with each of you. Thanks for being part of our lives!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Backyard flowers - even in drought!

Despite the drought we're having here in the Mid-Atlantic, some plants are more resilient than others. Here's a pic of some beautiful flowers from one of the tougher flowering shrubs that we have. No, I don't remember the name of the plant... although I know Tom would! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Garage Project Update

We're half way through with getting all of the electrical outlets and hookups done (thanks to an electrician), and most of the drywall is now up in the garage. We can't wait for the electrical to be done, so the drywall can be coated... which is the next step.  (Yeah, it looks messy and it's driving us crazy!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Great Green Lantern Movie!

Sunday afternoon we finally got a chance to go to the movies and saw "Green Lantern" -one of my favorite superheroes finally on the big screen. Ryan Reynolds was the PERFECT Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. He perfectly pegged Hal's personality from the comics.
See the trailer here:
  Tom thought it was a little slow in spots, but the origin stories always tend to have explanations. The only part I thought was a little slow was when Hal visited his brother's house for his nephew's birthday party - but that lasted about 4 minutes.
  The cosmic Green Lantern Corps members were awesome, and so were the Guardians of the Universe. Interesting twist what they did with Parallax (the villain) and the earth villain, Hector Hammond. I really enjoyed it and would see it again and again. Of course, I would just watch Ryan Reynolds in a silent film. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Garage Progress and Outside Completion!

Finished with the arbor!
  This weekend, Tom continued working on the outside of the garage conversion by painting the shingles and starting to build an arbor for it. Now it matches the house!  Yes, we're in Home Depot and Lowes every weekend! - Rob cleaned the inside of the house, washed all three dogs, cleaned carpets, laundry, etc.
Tom painted and started building an arbor for it.
It was a very busy weekend.

New front side of the enclosed former garage is built!
door removed

Enclosing the garage in progress

Monday, June 20, 2011

VIDEO: 300 Dogs Rescued from NC Puppy Mill

 We love our dogs and can't stand hearing about people abuse their dogs. I gave a woman in a parking lot a severe talking to, when she left her dog in her car (it was 90F outside) and went into a store. On a related note, Puppy Mills MUST be CLOSED DOWN. Read this story from Associated Press, and watch the 2 minute video of the rescue. - Rob

This weekend, nearly 300 dogs and puppies were seized from Mason Creek Kennels in Hudson, North Carolina after an investigation found the dogs with serious health issues living in small stacked feces encrusted cages.
The dogs were taken to a temporary shelter on Friday, which was set up with financial help from PetSmart Charities and a grant from Maddie's Fund.  
Rescuers reported that “some suffered from long-term neglect, including severe ear infections, uterine infections from being overbred, and nails grown into the pads of their feet,” according to the Associated Press.
Others were found with fur that was so badly matted it had torn their skin. Last week 37 of the dogs, mostly older females, were surrendered to animal control and were euthanized. 

Repeated complaints had been made about Mason Creek Kennels, whose owner William “Bill” Thomas Allen had been warned to make changes. 
"There are no laws on the books about puppy mills," Greg Greene, Caldwell County's animal control director told the Charlotte Observer. "We have to wait until they fit the criteria for neglect and cruelty."
They reportedly didn’t believe that seizing the dogs was legally justifiable until now, despite previous complaints from people who received sick puppies and an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau. 
By selling directly to the public over the internet to whoever wants to hand over some cash, Allen made good use of a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that requires commercial breeders to meet minimum standards of care. Only those who sell to pet stores and research institutions are licensed and inspected by the USDA. 
“Large-scale breeders in our state currently face no regulations or routine inspections. These lax laws have made North Carolina a safe-haven for inhumane puppy mills like this one,” said Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The Humane Society of the United States.
Charges are pending against Allen, who claims he hasn’t broken any laws and that his dogs were healthy. He had reportedly hired help because he is disabled and couldn't get to the area where the dogs were being kept. 
"That doesn't excuse them being in the shape they're in," said Greene.
The dogs will be going to the Virginia Beach SPCA, Humane Society of Charlotte, Wake County SPCA, Gilford County Animal Control, Saving Grace Rescue and the Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption of Sanford where they will receive much needed veterinary care and get some love and be socialized in foster homes before they can be adopted.
Greene also stated that the public’s response and desire to help has been overwhelming, but there are already many animals just like these ones in shelters who need homes.
"We're asking that people remember those animals, too."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Rob's Mom

My (Rob's) wacky mom is celebrating her birthday today! 
We sent her some goodies in the mail (she's hundreds of miles away). She said that she didn't want us to visit right now, so she's celebrating with my brothers.
  Mom is a great cook, and always had something tasty for dinner since I was a kid. She's Italian, so she makes the best spaghetti sauce ever. I miss that, and mine doesn't come close. She used to sew and made some clothes for my brothers and me, and is very artistic. She painted Batman and Winnie the Pooh stuff for us when we were kids. She loves to garden, and still goes out (she's in her 80s) and trims shrubs and bushes, shovels snow, etc. She's fiesty. She loves walking and bowling and recently started playing cards with a social group - and that's a great thing!

My Review of Bil-Jac Liver Treats

Originally submitted at

When your dog deserves a treat—we hope that's often—make it one that's nutritious and delicious. Bil-Jac Liver Treats for Dogs are prized by trainers, handlers and dog lovers like you. Most important—dogs love 'em! 

Our dogs love them
By Rob the 3-dog daddy from Washington, DC on 6/19/2011
5out of 5
Pros: Tasty, Easy To Chew, Digests Well, Fun
Best Uses: Older Dogs, Larger Dogs, Smaller Dogs
Describe Yourself: Long-time Pet Owner
One of our dogs is a 14 1/2 year old dachshund/chihuahua mix, who came to us through a rescue and had to have 20 teeth removed, so we're always looking for soft treats (for his remaining 8 teeth). These are perfect and he enjoys them. They're also good for training when walking him and our other 2 dogs in the neighborhood.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

World's End, Politics, Bad Reporting

Recently a good friend of mine sent me an article about the U.S. spending money researching pollution and trying to develop controls for China. The article was totally slanted as "wasting the U.S. Taxpayer's money." - It was written on a "health website" with a very Republican slant, that didn't research the facts. How do I know this? In my job, I'm aware of pollution transport problems around the world (my workplace studies them) and controlling them from China would help the U.S.
 - In my friend's letter, she noted that some Christians say the world will end soon anyway. That ALSO got me riled up. SO, I wrote a response (below) to both issues. BELOW:
I really don't believe the end is anywhere near. If I hear one more wacko "man of God" telling me the world is going to end I'll throw my TV out the window.  Honestly, these "religious" people have totally lost their minds. People have been predicting the end of the world since the Bible was assembled. Look at what that idiot did recently by saying that- people Quit their jobs, squandered their family's savings and one woman killed her 5 year old son and then herself to protect them from "end times." -How is that "in the name of God???
   Take it from someone who can talk to  people who passed - I'd know. The world will go on a long time, and yes, in 200 years will look differently - in fact, in 30 years it will be different because oil and gas will run out and we'll be living in small communities again and unable to travel around the world.
  As for giving money to China to control pollutions, yes, we need to keep the money here more so right now. However, scientists don't acknowledge politics. They try and solve problems for the good of all humanity. Just like giving severe weather alerts. If I played politics I wouldn't send tornado alerts or hurricane warnings to right-wing GOPers. But, I don't. Science isn't political (although we know that religion screwed with it during Galileo's time) to the scientists. *Moreso, the pollution problem has been verified by satellites - that it gets transported to the U.S. west coast and even sickens people there.  Chinese scientists understand pollution transport, and are more than willing to work with U.S. scientists. How do I know this? I work with scientists daily that work with scientists from countries around the world. So, yes, the budget is a mess- but this is a matter of Health in the Northern Hemisphere and it does benefit us. - That reporter that wrote that article didn't bother to research. He obviously had an agenda, which seems to be anti-Administration. I'm sick and tired of people who write that crap without researching. He's a piss-poor reporter and even I, who am not working on the projects mentioned, would be able to provide the explanation above- but instead, the reporter chooses to piss people off instead to get them rallied in a political sense. Ticks me off.
 -  Speaking of, it infuriates me more that the one party is blaming President Obama for the deficit. President Bush took a surplus from President Clinton and made it into a record deficit. It was the Republicans who did this, and now they're crying that it's the Democrats fault. Bull. Funny how they forget that. Further, Economists in many universities have noted that if the 2 stimulus packages weren't made into the economy we would be in a double-dip recession. As it is, GM and the banks have all now repaid the stimulus money and are solvent again. The GOP's bullshit about the stimulus not working is just that. I've never heard more of a bunch of lying hypocrites in my life. They also claim to be the "God Party" and 1 in 10 of them have committed adultery.  Yes, people like Dem. Weiner texted his privates is just the same and needs to GO. But what about the GOPer that was on Heidi Fleiss' (Wash DC madam) phone list that refused to quit, even though married with kids?  See what I mean? The GOP needs to look in their own house before throwing stones. Further, they play people by 'claiming God and Christianity" as a smokescreen to trying to destroy the poor, uneducated country people they're trying to strip of all benefits. They are the farthest thing from God than any party out there.
 Okay, I'm done ranting. 

NASA Meets Superheroes: Space telescope spies Green Lantern's ring

A green ring fit for a Green Lantern, the superhero protectors of peace and justice throughout the universe, has been spied by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in the murky clouds encircled by the tail of the constellation Scorpius.
The ring glows in infrared colors invisible to the naked eye, but show up brightly in the telescope's infrared detectors. Astronomers believe the rings are sculpted by bubbles of hot gas and dust blown by the powerful light of "O" stars, the most massive stars known to exist.

The difference in colors — and thus the reason for the green ring — stems from how the light and wind are interacting with the gas and dust, explained Sean Carey, a Spitzer scientist at the California Institute of Technology.
   "The main reason that there is no green inside the bubble is that the smallest dust grains, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which produce the green emission, are destroyed in the inside of the bubble by a combination of the ultraviolet radiation and the shocks driving through the gas," he said.
  The slightly larger dust grains remaining inside the bubble are heated up by the radiation from the O stars and glow red. The green ring, by contrast, is where the green glowing hydrocarbons and larger grains are still present.
   According to Spitzer scientists, these bubbles are common throughout our Milky Way galaxy, similar to the way that many Green Lanterns patrol different sectors of space. The small objects at the lower right area of the image may, in fact, be similar regions seen at a much great distance across the galaxy.
   NASA hopes to learn more about these bubbles and you can help them by joining The Milky Way Project where you can find and catalog bubbles in our galaxy. Ultimately, the project will give us all a better understanding about the life cycle of stars.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Our Favorite Flag is Flying

A couple of years ago we had this flag made of Dolly and Franklin and it's our favorite. We put it up a couple of weeks ago. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NASA Satellite Gallery Shows Chilean Volcano Plume Moving Around the World

Here's a cool story I wrote yesterday using satellite imagery to track the volcanic ash plume from the Chilean Volcano around the world. 

FEATURE/IMAGE GALLERY: NASA Satellite Gallery Shows Chilean Volcano Plume Moving Around the World
Since its eruption in early June, several NASA satellites have captured images of the ash plume from the eruption of the Chilean Volcano called Puyehue-Cordón Caulle and have tracked it around the world. NASA has collected them in the NASA Goddard FLICKR image gallery that shows the progression of the plume around the southern hemisphere.
FOR THE NASA Goddard FLICKR Gallery of images of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano eruption from June 4 to June 14, 2011:

CAPTION:  Three different satellite image flyovers were combined from NASA's Aqua satellite to show the journey of the volcanic ash from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano as it traveled across the southern Pacific Ocean, past New Zealand (at left), on June 14, 2011. Credit: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response, Jeff Schmaltz 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dog Walk and Doggone Good Weather

Now that our second heatwave is over, the dogs and I are really enjoying the cool morning temperatures this week.

Politicians Doing Stupid Things

USA Today put together this pictorial of politicians doing stupid things, from texting lewd pictures to adultery.
There are 6 Democrats and 9 Republicans. This is by no means all inclusive, but it is representative that neither party is better than the other when it comes to this, so pushing "Christian values" from one or the other is a bunch of crap. In fact, the Bible says that adulterers should be stoned if you want to take it literally.,A9321

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garage Into Room Part 3: Installing Insulation

Tuesday night was NOT relaxing. After work we drove to Lowes and bought insulation for the garage. Earlier that day we had a contractor over who tore all the drywall down and piled it high in the center of the room. We replaced old, dried out insulation, installed insulation on the outside garage wall where there was none before and got it all done by 9am - just in time for bedtime!  Needless to say, our three dogs were not amused. They wanted their daddy time just as much as we wanted our doggy time. Anyway, cutting the insulation was nasty and dust from the removed drywall was all over the place- and of course we breathed it in. Nasty!
 - On Wednesday, the contractor came back and cleared the drywall debris. Next - We need to do the electrical wiring to get the AC/heater working.... THEN comes the drywall.
No Insulation found on the outside wall after drywall torn down.

How we spent Tuesday night-insulating the garage/room

Tom fitting insulation

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This morning we met  our friend and Tom's former co-worker Gretchen for breakfast in Annapolis. Of course we recommended our friend Mike B's father's restaurant "Eggcellence" and it was awesome as always. She enjoyed it.  Because she's only been to Annapolis once before- and just to the state house, we took her downtown (yes, we passed up doing home renovations one day!) - and walked around. Here are some pictures.

The Severn River from the downtown Annapolis docks

Severn River from Downtown Annapolis
Downtown historic Annapolis

1700s Architecture Book that Tom and Gretchen wanted to read (its under glass!)

This historic warehouse on Wayman's Alley has a ghost in it. It gave me a headache when we walked by.

Tom and Gretchen in the Annapolis City museum

Hundreds of tiny blown glass animals in a shop- why??

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More Home Renovations

We've hired contractors to do more work on the house. We had the outside of the Sun Porch redone and made into a white finish that looks cleaner. We've had flashing and sideboards reinstalled on the roofline to replace the ones done in a messy fashion by a roofer a couple of years ago.
The refinished Sunporch (that we tiled last weekend)

tearing down old roof flashing/sideboards

Some cool stuff I've written this week

I love what I do, and writing about tropical cyclones (hurricanes), tornadoes, severe storms, volcanoes, and wildfires fascinate me. Here are some of the stories I wrote this week you may find interesting:

1_ Landsat Satellite Images Compare Before and After Mass. Tornado

Landsat 5 satellite images showing the area between Springfield and Sturbridge, Mass. before and after the tornado on June 1, 2011 CLICK HERE TO SEE BEFORE AND AFTER IMAGES:
CAPTION  This is a Landsat 5 satellite image of the area between Springfield and Sturbridge, Mass. taken on June 5, 2011 that clearly shows the light-colored tornado track. Credit: NASA/USGS, Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen       
Eye Say, Adrian is Still a Powerful Hurricane on NASA Satellite Imagery

Hurricane Adrian has been good at hiding his eye from satellite imagery over the last two days, but the latest Aqua and GOES-13 satellite imagery provides the best look at the eye, despite some overcast inside.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-11 captured a visible image of Major Hurricane Adrian on June 10 at 1601 UTC (12:01 p.m. EDT).The image, that shows the eye of the storm with some dense overcast in it, was made at the NASA GOES Project out of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. GOES-13 is managed by NOAA.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead on June 10 at 09:17 UTC (5:17 a.m. EDT) the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument took an infrared image of Adrian. AIRS images are false colored to show cloud temperature where purple colorations indicate the highest, coldest cloud top temperatures (usually colder than -63F/-52C). Today's image showed a large area of those cold cloud tops (indicating strong thunderstorms around the center of the storm) with warmer cloud temperatures (in blue) in the center - revealing an eye. FULL STORY

GOES-11 captured an image of Hurricane Adrian on June 10 at 1500 UTC (11:00 a.m. EDT) and the eye of the storm is apparent even through some clouds over it.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's A Bad Day To Be Without Air Conditioning

We're having a zoned damper system installed so that the upstairs will finally be cool in the summer months without the use of supplemental window-type air conditioning units. Unfortunately, the A/C guys arrived, took the AHU apart, and have been gone for HOURS (and still gone) as I work from home in the heat. 
It's 100F (outside temperature) today.  Since the system was disabled this morning at 11am, the temperature inside the house has been steadily rising. At 12:35pm the temperature was 93.2F (inside temperature) according to my digital thermometer.
AC Disabled

Upstairs Temp at 1pm NOW up to 93.7F

Outside temp at 1pm
This is not good timing. - Rob

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Newest Home Renovation Project; -Gutting Garage Inside

Now that we've had a contractor enclose the front of the garage, our work started all through this past weekend.  We had to buy an air conditioner/heater unit similar to the ones you see in hotel rooms, to cool and heat the former garage, because there's no duct work in it to connect to the rest of the house.
 - SO, we had to tear down drywall, insulation, etc. Tom had to accurately measure for a hole in the side wall, painfully, and precisely cut it out through the outside wall, and then we had to get the unit in there. It took all weekend.  **After we got this unit in, we hired someone to come in to tear down ALL of the drywall - because that was just too much for us. REVEALED: We learned why it was so HOT in the summer in the garage, and so COLD in the winter. The builder NEVER INSULATED the outside wall of the garage.
   Here are the pictures.

1) Cutting the hole thru wall to insert A/C -Heater

2) Tearing out Drywall

3) Tom framed the area to hold the heater/AC unit

4) Emptying tool cabinets to prep for drywall removal

5) Inserting metal sleeve in Wall opening for AC/Heater - this was tight!

6) Simultaneously starting paneling/drywall removal

7) Ready to install AC/heater! - It FIT!!! YAY!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why an $8K Medicare Voucher Plan for the Elderly Won't Work

The GOP's plan to do away with Medicare for the elderly and give them $8000 vouchers to purchase health insurance on their own is ridiculous for a couple of reasons. Just listing these Common Sense points below, you can see why the Republican plan won't work, unless we want to deny our aging Baby Boomers health care. After all, the voucher will quickly run out, leaving little for doctor visits and medication.

TOM SAYS:  The cost to my employer for my health care coverage, basic level, for one individual is $12k per year.  The difference between the voucher amount and what an actual plan would cost would have to be made up by the individual.  The GOP thinks that throwing seniors out into the open market, buying their own private health care plans, will bring down the cost of health care insurance.  This is debatable. 

  It is also unreasonable for elderly individuals, perhaps in a diminished mental capacity, to be able to shop for their own health care insurance.    We, that are still employed, have full-time human resources people that shop around for the best pricing for health care coverage.  Seniors would now be responsible for doing this themselves under the proposed GOP plan. 

Rob's Observations:

1) For anyone without a job, to buy health insurance, expect to pay out of pocket at least $300/month. That's $3,600 a year.
2) Add in dental insurance and that's another $2,000 a year.  **Now you're up to $5,600.00.**
3) Medication: Seniors often take maintenance medications for controlling diabetes, to maintain their blood pressure, and other necessary drugs due to medical procedures; even WITH a health insurance, these are expensive.
4) Add in regular doctor's visits.
5) Then the variables: Accidents/ Hospital Visits/ Tests  - things like breaking a hip (which happens VERY often), knee replacements, heart attacks, etc.  Now you're WAY over the $8,000.00  - Maybe even past $10k, $20k.** 
6) Now add in Nursing Home Care or Assisted Living Care. Who will help pay for that for our vastly aging Baby Boomers??
This GOP "plan" is no plan at all; it shows no consideration for America's seniors at all.  The things they propose amount to elder abuse. Wake up, America! The GOP doesn't care about seniors, and their children certainly don't have the money to extend coverage to cover their parents' care either.  We need real reform of Medicare, true. But doing away with Medicare altogether and providing $8,000 vouchers is not the answer.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Interviewed on WCVB-TV Boston about Massachusetts Tornadoes

On Friday I worked with a scientist on the GOES-13 satellite team who created this cool video  of the severe thunderstorms that passed through Massachusetts and created three tornadoes in the south central part of the state.  I wrote the story below about it, and was also interviewed by WCVB-TV, Channel 5, Boston, Mass. about the satellite imagery.

 CAPTION: The interview was done over SKYPE on the computer, using a camera and microphone. But I was seated in a conference room in the office and Rebecca and Karl from the office set up posters and arranged the set up, while Ed filmed this part of the interview from inside the room. WCVB-TV hasn't posted the actual interview on their website, but this is basically most of it! Video Credit: Ed Campion

This animation of GOES-13 satellite imagery begins at 17:45 UTC (1:45 p.m. EDT) to 23:45 UTC (7:45 p.m. EDT) and shows the line of storms progressing from west to east that generated three tornadoes over Massachusetts on June 1. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters 

 Bubbling, severe thunderstorms that generated three tornadoes that struck Massachusetts on June 1 can be seen in a new animation of GOES-13 satellite images.

A line of late afternoon thunderstorms over New England spawned a rare outbreak of tornadoes in south central Massachusetts between 20:00 UTC and 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT) killing at least four people and leaving a path of destruction in the town of Springfield and 19 nearby communities.

The animation of GOES-13 satellite imagery showing the tornadic storms was created by the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) are managed by NOAA, and the NASA/NOAA GOES Project creates images and animations from those satellites. 

The animation begins at 17:45 UTC (1:45 p.m. EDT) to 23:45 UTC (7:45 p.m. EDT) and shows the line of storms progressing from west to east. In the animation at 20:01 UTC (4:01 p.m.) you can see the bubbling up of high thunderstorms, which coincide with the reported tornadoes on the ground in Springfield, Mass. If there is a tornado, you typically see overshooting cloud tops in satellite imagery, but overshooting cloud tops don't necessarily indicate a tornado.

The Springfield tornado either formed over or tracked over the Connecticut River before moving into downtown Springfield. According to CNN, one person was killed in Springfield, two people died in Westfield, and one person in Brimfield.

In addition to severe weather, GOES imagery also monitors hurricane alley in the Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific, and hurricane season just started on June 1.

CAPTION: In the GOES-13 animation at 20:01 UTC (4:01 p.m.) you can see the bubbling up of high thunderstorms, which coincide with the reported tornadoes on the ground in Springfield, Mass. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters 

Since 2010, the GOES Project offers free, real-time HDTV movies of the east- (Atlantic) and west (Eastern Pacific) coast "hurricane alley" regions on the Internet. There are "Coastal" and "Global" movies.

"The color frames are composed by overlaying the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) GOES cloud images on a true-color background previously derived from NASA's Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imager," said GOES Project Scientist Dennis Chesters on the NASA GOES Project at Goddard. MODIS is an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites to provide color imagery of the Earth's surface. "The GOES infrared images show the convective storms 24 hours a day. During daylight, the GOES visible images reveal the low clouds that provide detail and a sense of the low-level winds," Chesters said.

All of the animations can be found at the NASA GOES Project Web page:

Hurricane storm updates and data can also be found on NASA's Hurricane page at

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Garage Made into a Room!

This week we've had another home renovation happening this week- Our garage is being made into a room! Over the course of this week the garage door was torn down, and a front wall built in its place with windows and doors installed. Tom designed it (being the architect he is), found the appropriate windows and door, ordered them and had them waiting. It's amazing how much room is actually uncovered once garage door rails are removed. -This is where we have gym/workout stuff, so we'll be enjoying it in that respect. This weekend, we're installing an air conditioning/heating unit in it.
Day 1 - Garage Door Removed

Day 1- Front of the Garage- door removed

Day 2 - New Wall already built, windows, doors up!

Day 3- Windows Secured, door lock installed, other stuff

Day 4- Completed in front with shingles attached!

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