Friday, September 30, 2011

6 1/2 Months of Rain in One Month

4.5" more rain from 9/23 to 9/29.
From Friday Sept. 23 through the morning of Thursday, Sept. 29th (by 7am EDT) we received another MONTH'S WORTH of rain. We received 4 1/2 inches in 6 days.
Our massive rainfall started in late August with Hurricane Irene. Our backyard rain gauge recorded 5.5" of rain from the hurricane. Tropical Storm Lee merged with a low pressure area over the Ohio Valley, that stuck around - much like this week's system. Lee brought us 11.5" of rain. That's 17 inches in 2 weeks. In the 2 weeks following, heavy thunderstorms dropped 5 more inches of rain on us, totaling 22"! Now, since last Friday we add another 4.5" to get a total of 26.5" in ONE MONTH. The average rainfall per month is 4 inches.
 In one month, we've received 6 1/2 months of rainfall. No wonder there are mushrooms growing all over the place

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Sprite Feels on Rainy Days

Sprite leans against Franklin and Dolly to snooze on a rainy day

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Catholic Bishops need to keep OUT of POLITICS.

Did you hear THIS outrageous story? (In USA Today on 9/27/11:  Top Catholic bishop warns Obama about marriage stance
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has sent a letter to President Barack Obama warning of "a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions," if Obama does not retreat from his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act. Dolan said he believes sanctioning marriage equality for same-sex couples will lead to discrimination against those who oppose it on religious grounds. full story:
These Catholic Bishops need to keep OUT of POLITICS. *OR be taxed to the HILT.* Gay marriage is a civil right. Gay people are not asking to get married in churches. This is not a church issue.
This is a CIVIL RIGHT. I'm fed up with churches interfering with civil rights. I'm so tired of people using their belief in religion to promote violence, hatred, inequality. Just look at the news.
This country is not governed by one religion, nor should it be. Obviously this bishop didn't read the law that there must be separation between church and state. DOMA must fall. Period.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grandma Spoils her Grand-dogs

Our dogs Dolly, Franklin,Sprite are super-spoiled by Grandma Ruth. Whenever she comes over she always brings their favorite treats. Either Pupperoni or Beggin' Strips. This weekend was no different. Of course, our kids never turn down a treat, even though Franklin and Sprite (the Dachshunds) are overweight!  Anyway it's so good to see the love they all share with Grandma, with or without treats! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rainbow Spotted

In the last 4 weeks, between a hurricane, tropical storm, stalled cold front, and persistent low pressure area, we've received about 24" of rain. That's about 6 months of rain (4" a month) in one month. Everything is soggy and we have a lot of fungus growing over everything in the region. Finally, though, we got a rainbow out of the deal this weekend.
A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines on to droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. It takes the form of a multicolored arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun.
In a so-called "primary rainbow" (the lowest, and also normally the brightest rainbow) the arc of a rainbow shows red on the outer (or upper) part of the arc, and violet on the inner section. This rainbow is caused by light being refracted then reflected once in droplets of water. In a double rainbow, a second arc may be seen above and outside the primary arc, and has the order of its colours reversed (red faces inward toward the other rainbow, in both rainbows).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Behind the Scenes Photos: from Upcoming Batman Movie

The 3rd Batman movie starring Christian Bale will introduce Catwoman, Bane and Talia Al-Ghul to movie audiences. I've known them for decades as I still enjoy reading the Batman and Detective Comics, and this sounds like a good mix. Below are some pictures from the filming courtesy of the website "Cosmicbooknews."
RELEASE DATE:July 20th, 2012
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman
Batman fighting Bane
CAST: Christan Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, Michael Cain as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, Juno Temple as Holly Robinson, Liam Neeson as Ra's al Ghul, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, Josh Pence as a young Ra's al Ghul, Joey King as a young Talia al Gulk, Matthew Modine as Nixon
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Kevin De La Noy, Benjamin Melniker
PRODUCERS: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Michael E. Uslan

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gay Buffalo Teen Commits Suicide After Being Bullied -by "Christians"

I'm FURIOUS. This 14 year old gay teenager in Buffalo, NY was bullied to the point of suicide.  He was harassed beyond belief. I looked at some of the videos on You Tube of this kid when he was struggling. After he died, comments from RELIGIOUS PEOPLE, people who are supposed "CHRISTIANS" wrote these HATEFUL comments on the boy's memorial video on You Tube:
 "Faggot lol" - posted by  tatis3 4 hours ago

"Poor kid he should have left that disgusting lifestyle alone it's against GOD and nature" - posted by

These are just THREE of the hateful, insensitive, Nasty, disgusting comments from "Christians."
I am done with Christianity. - I know that there are a lot of good, loving people who are Christians, but there are also a lot of weak-minded, hateful people who just follow what they want and use hatred and intolerance in the name of God.  If this is part of being a Christian - encouraging people who don't live like you do to take their own lives, there's NOTHING human in it. This is Barbaric. 
   I'm SICK of Republicans who use Religion to promote this kind of hatred. 
   I'm sick of churches and Evangelists encouraging and applauding this kind of barbaric behavior . There is nothing "Religious" about destroying innocent lives with intolerance, hatred, ignorance.  This has Nothing to do with Jesus and "love everyone."  - Rob

ABC News Story:     
Gay Buffalo Teen Commits Suicide on Eve of National Bullying Summi
ABC News-  Sept. 21, 2011- Jamey Rodemeyer sent out many signals on social networking sites that he was struggling with his sexuality, and although he encouraged others on YouTube to fight off the bullies, things didn't get better.
The Buffalo, N.Y., boy, 14, killed himself this weekend after posting an online farewell.
A student at Williamsville North High School, Jamey had been tormented for the past 12 months by cyberbullies who made disparaging comments with gay references on his Formspring account, a website that allows anonymous posts.
"JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND [sic] UGLY. HE MUST DIE!" one post said, according to local reports. Another read, "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"
Friends reported the bullying to guidance counselors. But everyone, including his mother, thought he had grown stronger.STORY/VIDEO:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hammond- Harwood House Tour- Annapolis, Md.

This weekend we went to Annapolis to visit an historic home that we had not yet toured.
The Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis, Maryland, United States, is one of the premier colonial houses remaining in America from the British colonial period (1607–1776).   The house was designed by the architect William Buckland in 1773-74 for wealthy farmer Matthias Hammond of Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 
Rob and Tom headed to Harwood House
   The tour was interesting- we've learned a LOT about the furniture. Most of it was crafted by a furniture maker named "Shaw" who had a business in Annapolis. The architecture of the house was interesting (although it smelled musty in there). What's interesting is that the guy that built the home never lived in it and died in his 30s. It was last owned by three elderly sisters that never married and when the last one passed in 1924, the house went to the state of Maryland. 
  - There are NO GHOSTS in the house. I felt nothing through the entire tour. Of course, I was still getting over a cold/congestion etc. but I know that didn't interfere with my sensitivities to ghosts. There wasn't any residual energies there either, which I thought was really odd.  
 - Following are some of the pictures of our adventure (we couldn't take pictures in the house, only the gift shop), and we were joined by our friend Jeff. 

Rob Waiting for tourguide to start

Tourguide giving Rob & Tom a brief introduction

Jeff, Tom and Rob Enjoying Annapolis on the weekend.

This was the weekend weather... Overcast and cool.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3 Dogs in a Row

Front to back: Sprite, Franklin and Dolly
It's a cloudy, rainy week here in the Washington, DC area, and what do three dogs do when confronted with rainy days when they hate getting wet outside? Sleep!! and in our house, it's Three dogs in a row!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Military Ends DADT

Today is a proud day in our Nation's history as the repeal of the foolish law "Don't Ask Don't Tell"  becomes official and honorable gays and lesbians can continue making valuable contributions in our Nation's military without fear of being discharged.  
Over the last 18 years, tens of thousands of military men and women were thrown out of the military because they are gay or lesbian. So many other countries have gay people serving without issue. The repeal of this is long overdue. The military has educated their soldiers and there appears to be no issues, as there shouldn't be. We are all people. We all have a job to do, and whomever we love has nothing to do with how competent we are in our jobs. 
Anyone that supports the Conservatives like Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry, that want to reinstate this stupid, hateful law are idiots.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

When you Wish Upon a Star... it may be something else!

Thanks to our friend Merle in Canada for this video from NASA (you' d think I'd know about it). This is one of those curious questions that I have often wondered about but  never been able to find the answer. However via the miracle of the internet  here is the answer :- You may not Wish upon a shooting star ever again!
From the mouth of a NASA astronaut... the truth about a kind of shooting star... 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom, Bob and Sprite
Today is Tom's mom's birthday! Yay!
As her son-in-law, I have to say that I really, really lucked out. Mom is awesome. 
Some people don't get along with their mother in laws, I LOVE my mom-in-law!  She's very loving and caring. She super-spoils our dogs and us. Often she'll have a little bag of goodies for us- either filled with dog treats, something superhero-related (for me), cookies, newspaper articles, Dunkin' Donuts coupons or something else. 
 We love calling Mom and Bob on the weekends during 6:30am breakfast and catching up on things. It's like having breakfast together over the phone. 
  I'll keep this short, but the sentiment is large - we love you, Mom!  Happy Birthday!

Top 20 states by foreclosure rate in August

 LOS ANGELES (AP) - Banks have stepped up their actions against homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, setting the stage for a fresh wave of foreclosures.
The number of U.S. homes that received an initial default notice _ the first step in the foreclosure process _ jumped 33 percent in August from July, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
The increase represents a nine-month high and the biggest monthly gain in four years. The spike signals banks are starting to take swifter action against homeowners, nearly a year after processing issues led to a sharp slowdown in foreclosures.
Here is a list of the top 20 states with the highest foreclosure rates in August. The ratio shows, for example, that one out of every 118 households in Nevada received a foreclosure notice during the month. Also highlighted: The number of properties that received notices.

1 Nevada 1:118 9,677
2 California 1:226 59,383
3 Arizona 1:248 11,081
4 Georgia 1:346 11,743
5 Idaho 1:348 1,860
6 Michigan 1:349 13,016
7 Florida 1:376 23,569
8 Illinois 1:424 12,493
9 Colorado 1:439 4,933
10 Utah 1:450 2,119
11 Ohio 1:518 9,841
12 Delaware 1:606 654
13 Oregon 1:621 2,638
14 South Carolina 1:624 3,339
15 New Hampshire 1:638 940
16 Wisconsin 1:674 3,841
17 Massachusetts 1:718 3,826
18 New Mexico 1:735 1,195
19 Virginia 1:780 4,269
20 Rhode Island 1:828 546

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Video of Hurricane Irene's Destruction of NC Outer Banks

This video was produced by a NASA-TV producer who was visiting the North Carolina Outer Banks when Hurricane Irene struck. It shows some of the damages done by the storm. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A video to make your day: Historic flashmob in Antwerp train station, do re mi

This video from 2009 is one of my (Rob) all-time favorites. This ALWAYS makes me smile, and I put it on the blog last year, and just HAD to put it up again. ENJOY! Rob
More than 200 dancers were performing their version of "Do Re Mi", in the Central Station of Antwerp. with just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! Those 4 fantastic minutes started the 23 of march 2009, 08:00 AM. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of "The Sound of Music." 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Movie Well-worth renting NOW! - Source Code!

We rented the movie "Source Code" from a Redbox last week, not knowing anything about it- other than handsome actor Jake Gyllenhal was in it (that's all we needed). Anyway, it's well-worth watching it. It's an action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

DC Comics Relaunch:

For those who don't collect comics or care about superheroes, you're missing out.  DC Comics, home of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern (among others) has totally relaunched every title of graphic novels. 
- I've been collecting comics since 1974 when I was 11 years old. I still collect them and they're incredible entertainment. The stories are like watching NCIS, really interesting and topical and full of action, intrigue and plot twists. The artwork is also great. Most comics are for adults, although there are more cartoonish comics for kids (also featuring superheroes). 
BATGIRL RETURNS -   I've always been a fan of BATGIRL since I saw her on the 1966 Batman show on TV. Over time, Barbara Gordon was shot and paralyzed by the Joker in the comics. Now she has recovered and regained her heroic identity.
  Although another character named Stephanie Brown had assumed Batgirl's mantle (before this DC Comics relaunch) when Barbara Gordon was paralyzed.  I loved the Stephanie character and was ticked off that DC comics just made her disappear and brought the original
Batgirl back. After reading the first issue this week, I really loved it. So, Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl! Pick up the issue.   

BATMAN has always been a favorite of mine. With the DC Comics relaunch, the new first issue brings Batman together with the Joker. It's a great issue, and I look forward to the next one.
DC's flagship title is relaunched for the first time ever, with new Batman adventures from acclaimed writer/ artist Tony S. Daniel.  A killer called The Gotham Ripper is on the loose on Batman's home turf – leading The Dark Knight on a deadly game of cat and mouse.
 Written by TONY S. DANIEL; Art by TONY S. DANIEL and RYAN WINN; Cover by TONY S. DANIEL

Sunday, September 11, 2011

 TROPICAL STORM LEE'S LOCAL RAINFALL TOTAL: By Saturday morning, we received another inch and a half of rain Friday after 10 inches this week from tropical storm Lee! That's almost a FOOT OF RAIN (a total of 11.5 inches) in a week! - All that on top of the 5.5 inches the weekend before from Hurricane Irene. That means that in 2 weeks, we received 15 inches of rain. That's almost 4 months of rain in one week!

A LIVING FOOT REST - Our Weimaraner, Dolly and Dachshund, Franklin couldn't be any closer as "sister" and "brother." Dolly sometimes rests her head on Franklin's back and now even used his back as a foot rest!  
WEEK 3 AND STILL SICK - I (Rob) have been dealing with congestion in the sinuses and upper respiratory tract for 3 weeks now. I saw a doctor last week and they said it was a bad cold that became bacterial, and settled in my upper respiratory system. I'm almost done with round 2 of antibiotics, had steroids, ibuprofen, zinc lozenges, nasal spray, allegra, mucinex and using an inhaler (2 actually) for my asthma. Having asthma with this crap has created breathing difficulties. My FAVORITE MEDICINE: Dunkin' Donuts Coffee.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Wet Day ... Soaked by Trop. Storm Lee's Remnants

Thursday was yet another rainy day that brought over 5 more inches of rain from midnight to 7:30 a.m. and it continued to rain, so I had to again empty the raingauge in the backyard. 
 There were also 4 tropical systems in the Atlantic Ocean basin, and I reported on them for NASA. Here's the image (RIGHT)  I used in the update, that includes the remnants from Tropical Storm Lee (raining over the eastern U.S.); Hurricane Katia off the U.S. east coast in the Atlantic Ocean; Tropical Storm Maria about 700 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the central Atlantic and headed toward the U.S. and newborn Tropical Storm Nate in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. This cool image was taken from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite, and created by NASA's GOES Project.
Another 5" of rain overnight

  During a 30 minute lunch-break while working at home, I took the dogs for a short ride to the vet to get tranquilizers for little Sprite, who can't deal with thunderstorms.
(PHOTO: Sprite in the front seat of the truck, Dolly and Franklin in the back- looking at the vet's office)
Early Thursday morning (12:30 a.m.) t-storms woke him and kept Sprite and me (Rob) up for over an hour. I made use of the time by learning of a tornado warning in Annapolis, Md. and texting our friend Ed (everyone else was out of the path) - and fortunately, there was no damage and he was safe.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flooding and More Rainfall today from Trop. Storm Lee's Remnants -Balt/Wash

Last night was another brutal night of rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast.
Strong t-storms  prompted tornado Warnings last night near Annapolis. About 5" of rainfall fell since 3:30pm
yesterday in the Balt/Wash area. ***MANY streets are closed, and do NOT drive through standing water.**
More heavy rainfall today. Full forecast follows.
Be careful.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that developed last Friday south of Louisiana and made landfall over the weekend merged with a frontal system that stalled over the U.S.  That front has drawn moisture in from both the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean creating massive rainfall along the U.S. East Coast. The system is being blocked from exiting by Hurricane Katia, currently offshore of the U.S., and fortunately forecast to move north-northeast into the Atlantic (and allowing Lee's remnants to move away).

Meanwhile, Heavy rainfall remains in the forecast from the Mid-Atlantic to New England today and tonight as the remnants of Lee continue to weaken over the Ohio Valley.

Rainfall totals Yesterday:
Washington National Airport: 2.82"  (Since Sept. 1 - 5.24")
BWI AIRPORT: 3.4" (Since Sept. 1 - 6.83")
Richmond, VA : 3.76" (record) - (Since Sept. 1 - 4.78")
Wallops Island, VA: 0.00" yesterday
Central Park, NY: 1.21" (Since Sept. 1 - 4.43")
Newark, NJ: 1.09" (Since Sept. 1- 4.29")

LOCAL Rainfall from Sunday until 7 a.m. today, Sept. 8, 2011:  Bowie, Md. 10 inches.
- Isolated areas have received high amounts of rainfall - ***HEAVIEST RAINFALL TODAY WILL BE IN A LINE FROM BALTIMORE TO WASHINGTON, EAST.

Except for heat related fatalities, more deaths occur from flooding than any other hazard. Why? Most people fail to realize the power of water. For example, six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet.
Most flash floods are caused by slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that move repeatedly over the same area or heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes. These floods can develop within minutes or hours depending on the intensity and duration of the rain, the topography, soil conditions and ground cover.
Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more. Furthermore, flash flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic mud slides.
* Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast.
* Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don't Drown
* Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways.
* Turn Around Don't Drown If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
* Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
* Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
*If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.

VIDEO From YOUTUBE- Flooding in Historic Ellicott City, Maryland, Sept. 7, 2011, from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee


FLASH FLOODING THIS MORNING from North of Baltimore/PA Line,  south of Washington DC in a line. 
AREAS AND SMALL STREAMS IN St. Marys...Charles...Calvert...Prince
Georges And Anne Arundel Counties
***Some Severe Flooding of Streams and Rivers:
1) Western Branch At Upper Marlboro Was At  20.72 Feet At 7 Am. This is the highest level ever recorded at this site...which has been in operation since 1985. More than seven feet of water was reported to be flowing over water street near this gauge location.
2) The Patuxent River Near Bowie Is At 18.61 Feet At 7 am. This Is Approaching The Highest Level Since 1972.
3) Historic Downtown Ellicott City experienced flooded roadways yesterday with more than 6" of water on the main roads.

Today: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm today and tonight. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 80.   (Up to an inch possible, much higher amounts poss. In thunderstorms)  Low 68
Friday:   Mostly cloudy, scattered showers and thunderstorms, with some clearing in PM high near 81.  Low 68 (a quarter inch more rain poss.)
Saturday:   Partly sunny, isolated Shower/t-storm, better chance in PM, with a high near 82.  Low 65
Sunday: Mostly sunny,  Scattered PM/night time showers and thunderstorms. high near 79. Low 65

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lee's Remnants Continue to Drench the Eastern U.S. / 5 Inches of rain so far @home!

GOES-13 satellite image: Lee over eastern US, Katia offshore
Here's today's hurricane update that I wrote for the NASA Hurricane page on Tropical Storm Lee, still raining on us along the East coast!  As of 3:30pm EDT on Sept. 7, Bowie, Maryland has received just over 5" of rain (it topped our new rain gauge) and the rains continue!

Lee's Remnants Continue to Drench the Eastern U.S.

Landfalling tropical cyclones can bring a lot of rain, but after Lee made landfall and merged with a stalled frontal system over the eastern U.S. the rain keeps coming. Lee's clouds, however, continue to remain painfully out of reach of Texas, that needs the rain to battle several wildfires. One NASA satellite image showed how close but how far that needed rain was from the Lone Star State, while another showed the extent of Lee's cloud cover merged with a front.

As of today, Sept. 7, 2011, there has been one change with Lee's remnants. According to NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC), "the surface circulation of Lee has been absorbed by a large scale extratropical low to the north and that means heavy rains and flooding expected from the central Appalachians into parts of New England."

5" of rain from Lee in Bowie, Md. by 9/7@3:30pmET
When NASA's Aqua satellite flew over the central U.S. on Sept. 6, 2011 at 3:23 p.m. EDT it captured a visible image from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument onboard. The image showed several plumes of smoke from the fires raging in Texas and a rounded mass of clouds just out of reach to the east, from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, which delivered only gusty winds to Texas and fanned the flames. Lee's rainfall remained to the east of the Texas fires.

Tom's newly planted Ivy in a puddle

Soggy backyard....
 **Our friend Craig sent us pictures of Historic Downtown Ellicott City,Md. taken this afternoon, Wed. September 7th, 2011. The flooding from Lee's heavy rainfall has covered the main roadways. See photos.
Ellicott City, Md flooding from Lee 9/7/11

Ellicott City, Md. Flooding from Lee 9/7/11

High water even at the TOP of the hill, Ellicott City, MD

Looking up the hill from flooded Ellicott City, Md.

Today, NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-13 captured a visible image of the clouds associated with tropical Storm Lee's remnants, and a warm front along the U.S. East coast. The image also shows Hurricane Katia threatening the eastern U.S. in the Atlantic. The two systems seem to be acting against each other. Lee's remnants are keeping Katia away from a mainland landfall, while Katia is preventing Lee's remnants from moving east and off-shore.

Finding Lee's surface circulation today, Sept. 7 is not possible because Lee's circulation was absorbed by a large scale extratropical low pressure area near the Tennessee/Virginia border. One other factor coming into play and keeping the U.S. east coast wet is a warm front draped across the Mid-Atlantic states bringing in warm, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean. It's causing heavy rainfall from southern New England to the central Appalachian mountains, and it is expected to stick around for the next couple of days. The HPC expects it to dissipate slowly by the week's end. Additional rainfall can range between 4 to 8 inches with isolated totals up to 10 inches until then.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Please Vote (and donate a dollar) for our Kids on a Calendar!

We Need your votes (and tax-deductible donation to a Weimaraner Rescue)
The Wolf Creek Weimaraner  Rescue (where we adopted Dolly from) is having a calendar fundraiser and we submitted 2 pictures of Dolly and Franklin. So far nearly 1,000 votes have been cast.  There are 2 weeks left to vote and we need everyone's enthusiastic support to help make the rescue's first calendar contest a rowsing success.
Each vote will cost $1 via PayPal.  Vote tallies are not automated and will be updated at least every 72 hours. If you're not able to use PayPal and would like to pay for your vote(s) via check, you may mail a check   at : WOLF CREEK WEIMARANER RESCUE, PO Box 82, Kingsport, TN 37662-0082

and designate on your check how you wish to have your vote(s) allocated.  Read more about how the calendar contest works.

Ready to vote? Simply click on the respective vote button and you will be redirected to PayPal's website for payment processing. Enter your number of votes in "Donation amount", then click "Update Total". Voting will run until 11:59 pm EST on 9/20/11. Thank you for your support!
 SCROLL DOWN and Vote for:
1) Entry # 155 - Franklin & Dolly (canine rest area)

or 2) Entry # 156 - Franklin & Dolly  (laying on a blanket face-to-face) 

Monday, September 5, 2011

AFTERLIFE- Is there a Hell?

Marvel comics' Ghost Rider: Hellish Hero

   A recent  Op-Ed in USA Today addressed whether people believe in Hell. I (Rob) found it fascinating because up until the time I started being able to communicate with those who passed, I firmly believed in Hell. Once I started communicating, and understanding what happens, I realized that there really is no "place" called Hell. I'm sure that's very disconcerting for a lot of people, especially because of what the Bible says. But even in this Op-Ed, Hell is explained as a concept that is mis-understood from the Bible.
 - SO, what happens to murderers, criminals and evil people when they die? My experience is that they linger in a state outside of the light- a "phantom zone" if you will, where they receive an immediate recognition of the horrendous things they did during their lives. A place where they can spend a long time (something we wouldn't be able to comprehend) trying to atone for their sins. Hoping for forgiveness from those left behind.
   Ghosts are an example of that. Ghosts are earth-bound energies that are trapped on earth for various reasons. So, why is that "Hell" being trapped out of the light? Because all of your loved ones are IN THE LIGHT.
    Think about it. Being trapped as an earth-bound ghost or an energy unable to go into the light to be with all of your loved ones is torturous. Isolationism as a human being is torture, as it is for a ghost or spirit. THAT is my understanding of Hell. 
AUTHOR OF THE USA TODAY OP-ED THAT FOLLOWS:  Oliver Thomas is a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors and author of 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job).

 FROM USA TODAY:   Should believers fear Hell — and God?


The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans all had elaborate beliefs about the afterlife. We're no different. Right now, a book is burning through America's churches that has put the issue back front and center for many. The book —Love Wins— by Rob Bell challenges the traditional Christian belief in a place of eternal punishment. Damnation.

Most Americans still believe in hell. A 2009 poll by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life put the number at 59%. A 2005 Fox News poll put it at 74%!
Ask these folks why they cling to such a decidedly medieval notion, and they will tell you: Because the Bible teaches it! And if we're talking about the King James Bible, they are right — at least on the surface. But dig into the languages in which the Bible was actually written — Greek and Hebrew — and things get murky.
Nowhere in the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) is the abode of the dead described as a place of eternal punishment. Rather, "Sheol" as it is sometimes called, appears as a shadowy, dreamlike place where all people — good and evil — are destined.
One Old Testament writer has this to say: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might for there is no activity or planning or wisdom in Sheol where you are going." Not my idea of a Shangri-La, but certainly better than everlasting fire.
Even Jesus gets misquoted here. Clearly, Jesus taught that there would be a day of reckoning. In the 25th chapter of Matthew's Gospel, he paints a disturbing picture of it. "I was hungry and you didn't feed me. Naked and you didn't clothe me."
But the Greek word that is often translated "eternal" (aionos) — whether it is used to describe punishment or life — is better understood as a word of quality, not quantity. Punishment is only "eternal" (in the way that Americans understand that word) in the sense that it could be final.
Not what Jesus meant
Nearly every reference to "hell" that comes from the lips of Jesus is a mistranslation.
The word translated as hell by the King James Bible is the word "Gehenna," literally "the valley of the sons of Hinnom." This notorious valley on the south side of Jerusalem was once the site of pagan sacrifices, including child sacrifice, and had been cursed by the prophets of Israel. By Jesus' day, it served as the garbage dump. It was a foul, noxious place where dogs roamed and fires burned. Jesus seized upon this vivid imagery in his sermons. He urged people to repent (literally "change your mind"), lest they end up in Gehenna (i.e. the garbage dump).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Little White Dog Issues

A Weimaraner horrified by a white dog!
When our Weimaraner, Dolly was a pup she was attacked by a little white dog- like a poodle/maltese, something or other. It stayed with her and to this day she goes nuts whenever someone is walking a little white dog in the neighborhood. Over 5 years ago when we first moved here, there were no little white dogs. Today, I noticed Little White Dog #5 within 3 blocks. This makes for horrendous walks. Usually, Dolly jumps up uncontrollably, barks and pulls trying to go after the little white dog. **I'm usually able to get her to sit down, though, which helps. However, once Dolly gets going, our Dachshunds Franklin and Sprite start barking and pulling... so it's hard to control all three of them!!
An evil little white dog
- It happened when I was walking the dogs tonight at 7pm right after someone's mid-sized dog got loose and started running at us!  Fortunately, I got the dog to stop and the owner (running after his dog) caught up to him before he attacked us. - When I turned around to go home, that's when the woman with her little white dog came from the other side. Horrors!! I got our kids to sit still after some pulling and barking, and the woman managed to get into her nearby home. We then walked home quickly! 

NASA Sees Tropical Storm Lee's Slow Soggy Crawl Inland

 Here's a story I wrote this morning about Tropical Storm Lee for the NASA Hurricane page.
This visible image of Tropical Storm Lee was taken from the GOES-13 satellite on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 9:32 a.m. EDT. It shows the extent of Lee's cloud cover over Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The clearing on the southeastern side is a result of drier air moving in and preventing development of thunderstorms. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

NASA Sees Tropical Storm Lee's Slow Soggy Crawl Inland

Tropical Storm Lee has continued his slow, soaking, painful crawl inland. Satellites from both NASA and NOAA satellites have been showing the extent of the storm, and where the strongest thunderstorms and rainfall are occurring, and the bulk of it remains over the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA's Aqua satellite and NOAA's GOES-13 satellite revealed that Lee finally made landfall in Louisiana after two painful days of heavy rain to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Lee has grown in size, which typical for a waning tropical storm. Tropical Storm-force winds now extend out 275 miles from the center.

NOAA's GOES-13 satellite provided a visible image of Tropical Storm Lee on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 9:32 a.m. EDT. It shows the extent of Lee's cloud cover over Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle and spread into the Tennessee Valley. The thickest clouds and heaviest rainfall stretch from the northeast to southwest of the center. The image was created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. at the NASA/NOAA GOES Project. Lee also appears on satellite imagery to be elongated. The GOES-13 satellite imagery shows that the storm appears to stretch from the northeast to the southwest, and a large part of Lee still remains over the Gulf of Mexico.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011 NASA's Aqua Satellite took an infrared snapshot at the cold cloud temperatures within Tropical Storm Lee that told forecasters where the highest, coldest, strongest thunderstorms were in the storm. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on Aqua took the image at 3:47 p.m. EDT when Lee's center had still not yet made landfall and was still sitting south of the Louisiana coast. The strongest thunderstorms and coldest clouds stretched from Mobile Bay, south into the Gulf of Mexico and covered about one-third of the Gulf of Mexico.

On Sunday, Sept. 4, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Destin, Florida westward to Sabine Pass Texas, including the city of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas.

At 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 4, Tropical Storm Lee's winds had dropped from 60 mph exactly 24 hours before to 45 mph. Lee's center was over Vermillion Bay, Louisiana near 29.7 North and 92.0 West. It was crawling to the northeast near 3 mph (6 kmh) and expected to continue in that direction today, turning to the east-northeast tonight. Because Lee's center is over land, he is expected to continue weakening gradually in the next couple of days. Lee's outer bands still extend far over the Gulf of Mexico, bringing in more moisture and keeping the system going.

Rainfall has been a serious issue with Lee, and will continue to soak the Gulf coast states and now the Tennessee Valley. Tropical storm lee is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches from the central Gulf Coast northward into the Tennessee valley. Isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches through Monday night. Meanwhile, storm surge continues to batter the Gulf coast, and tropical storm-force winds also continue. Isolated tornadoes are possible today and tonight over parts of southern Louisiana southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the far western Florida panhandle.

Where is Lee Going?

Lee is going to be hitching a ride on an elongated area of low pressure (trough) in the next 24-36 hours. The National Hurricane Center noted that "A trough over the north-central U.S. is forecast to dig southeastward over the next day or so. The flow on the southern side of the trough is expected to turn the Tropical cyclone toward the northeast and east-northeast during the next 24 to 36 hours."

What about Katia?
Wind shear weakened Katia again today. At 5 a.m. EDT, Sept. 4, Katia was reduced back down to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 70 mph. Katia was 370 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands, near 21.43 North and 58.5 West. It was moving to the northwest near 12 mph and had a minimum central pressure of 992 millibars. Although Katia is causing rough surf in the Northern Leeward Islands today, it is expected to subside later. Forecast models bring Katia close to the U.S. coastline by Friday of this week, so NASA satellites will be keeping an eye on her.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Photos of Damages from Hurricane Irene: It was NOT hyped.

This is part 2 for those who think that meteorologists "over-hyped" the damage capabilities of Hurricane Irene. These people don't think it was over-hyped at all.

Margaretville, NY

Route 100 in Vermont
Main St. In Margaretville, NY.

Greenwich, Connecticut

East Lake Road in Woodstown, New Jersey.

Princeton, New Jersey PATH train station stop

Governor Cuomo's car in Margaretville, NY.

Route 12 is broken in 5 places on Hatteras Island, N.C.
About 2,500 people are stuck on Hatteras Island because of this

pumping out the traffic tunnels in Hampton, VA

Ocean City Maryland's pier destroyed
Hurricane Irene was not over-hyped. If you think it was, you were just LUCKY.


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