Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rob's New Book is Available!!- Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead

I'm excited to tell you that my new book is now available!  - 
Huge thanks to Inspired Ghost Tracking (Margaret and Ronda for editing), and mediums Barb Mallon, Ruth Larkin and Troy Cline.
Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead  
by Rob Gutro 
Paperback  List Price: $9.99
In medium Rob Gutro’s second book, you’ll learn about lessons he gathered from communicating with Earth-bound ghosts and Spirits who have crossed into the light. Ghosts and Spirits provide insight into how we can live better on Earth.Follow him on a treasure-hunt-style journey in Virginia as he and others try to explain what appear to be random and obscure words, signs and symbols from a spirit, that all wind up being intensely personal to the spirit.
Explore the science behind how they communicate. Learn how to receive their messages, where they appear, and important messages in how to live your life. Rob takes you into cemeteries, battlefields, and historic places. You’ll see what happens to victims of suicide and murders, and how infants and animals pass messages to the living.

CreateSpace eStore:  
6" x 9", Black & White, 202 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1475033212  or  ISBN-10: 1475033214

**Available soon as an E-book/Kindle/NOOK

Friday, March 30, 2012

In the News: Red States Are The Real Welfare States

Here's an interesting statistic from the "Shock and Awe" Blog, citing an article from the NY Times. 

Red States Are The Real Welfare States

States receiving the most federal funding per tax dollar paid:
1. New Mexico: $2.63
2. West Virginia: $2.57
3. Mississippi: $2.47
4. District of Colombia: $2.41
5. Hawaii: $2.38
6. Alabama: $2.03
7. Alaska: $1.93
8. Montana: $1.92 
9. South Carolina: $1.92
10. Maine: $1.78

Contrary to popular belief, those who make the most noise and complain the most about Federal spending and the programs said spending support, are in fact the same people who collect those Federal dollars and who coincidentally don't want to give up the programs. Their states; the RED ones... receive more per dollar, than they give "As a recent New York Times article documents, even as fiscally conservative lawmakers complain about deficit spending, their constituents don't want to give up the Social Security checks, Medicare benefits, and earned income tax credits that provide a safety net for the struggling middle class."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Video- Deadly accident on icy roads

We've noticed that people like to speed excessively and tailgate in our state, and I'm sure they do it everywhere. However, they don't realize how dangerous it is to them and others. Here's a video from the Internet of an SUV speeding on a slush-covered highway, that slides into a truck, bounces into the oncoming traffic lane and is literally obliterated.
 - I don't know where this 34 second  video was taken, but its a lesson to all not to speed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

VIDEO: Visit Baltimore's Cool Federal Hill Neighborhood

If you've never been to the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, you're missing out on a great part of Baltimore. Our friend Jane is the manager of the Main Street association, and works hard to bring businesses and residents together, and arrange all festivals and events. Federal Hill has a lot of great restaurants, shops, and is even dog friendly. Check out this short 3 minute video to get a taste of the "Hill." You'll want to go there (and yes, there is a Dunkin' Donuts there, too.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Watch the Live Penguin Cam from Sea World

You are watching Penguin Cam: live video of the "Penguin Encounter" at SeaWorld® San Diego. Stay tuned for penguin feedings throughout the day, and don't miss our live Q&A sessions every Monday from noon to 12:30 p.m. ET starting Monday, March 19. - Live through April, 2012.

In celebration of Frozen Planet (from the makers of Planet Earth), premiering Sundays at 8PM e/p,

Live video from your iPhone using Ustream
Penguin Cam will be live 24 hours a day throughout March and April — plenty of time to get to know SeaWorld San Diego's nearly 300 penguins, representing all five Antarctic species: emperors, kings, Adélies, gentoos and macaronis.

Penguin Cam not looking crystal clear? It's very cold in the exhibit (25°F), and penguins will be penguins, so at times the picture won't look perfect. Our cam operators are actively addressing these issues, so if things don't look great right now, please try again later. Also, SeaWorld is constantly monitoring the penguins' health and safety. If a penguin hasn't moved for a while, just sit back, relax and watch it sleep. It'll be up again in no time. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Against National Healthcare? Now at Supreme Court

   The President's National Health Care law is now being heard in the Supreme Court because of people who oppose making health care mandatory for every U.S. citizen.   
     Parts of the President's National Health Care law is in effect: Beneficial Things like 1) If you have a pre-existing condition like a heart attack or stroke, cancer or diabetes, Insurance companies CANNOT deny to cover you.  2) Children as old as 26 can still be covered under their parent's health plan.
    *Do you know that hospitals who treat people in the ER that don't have health care coverage (like drug addicts, gunshot victims, people in poverty, homeless, etc.) have caused MANY Hospitals to close down?  In the last several years one hospital in Washington, DC closed for that reason. 
- For hospitals still treating uninsured WE are paying for them with higher bills!  Why do you think an ER visit now costs at least $1,000.00?? (I just paid that last year).  We are paying for the people who don't have health care!!
    I have a response for all of those people in the states that voted for politicians who are opposing the National Health care law:  . If you are that foolish, then you don't deserve to get health insurance and should NOT get these benefits. 
        If the law is repealed, what does that mean for people in these states who have cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.?  It means that you will die a lot more quickly because you will be unable to afford medical care. 
  - If you're against the National Health Plan and you vote conservative to support these states that want to repeal the law, then perhaps you deserve what you get. I certainly don't want to see people suffer, but if  you fight to overturn something that is going to enhance your quality of life, give you medical care, and enable you to live a healthier life - then you deserve the illness and all that comes with it.
  All of the states depicted on this map in blue have filed to repeal the President's Health care law. To all of the people of these states I say, okay, I hope the Supreme court says you don't have to go with the President's plan. Just don't come crying when you develop cancer or have a stroke and fund out that your Health Insurance provider has dropped you and you can't get coverage.    If you don't think it happens, you are so wrong.  - Rob
  READ THIS ARTICLE FROM THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN - and Tennessee is ONE state who is suing the Federal Government to repeal the law:
Health-care reform is working
Millions more insured; law ending bias, boosting preventive care
   Some benefits are obvious. The fact that young adults can now stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 has been popular with the 52,000 Tennessee families that now enjoy peace of mind knowing that their kids won’t be thrown off just when they are starting out on their own.
Some are not so obvious. Those same young adults are part of the largest population of uninsured and the least likely to need expensive care. Giving them an affordable path into the risk pool stabilizes health insurance premiums for the rest of us.
The law prioritizes preventive care, eliminating co-pays and deductibles for Medicare and new private plans on things like mammograms, colonoscopies, and Pap tests. This isn’t just common sense for individuals and their physicians, who can catch and treat their conditions earlier; prevention and personal responsibility save money in the entire system.
To help shield families and businesses from unreasonable premium hikes, the law now requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of our premium dollars on actual medical care instead of administrative overhead. If plans don’t meet these standards, they have to pay us rebates. For 3 million Tennesseans with private insurance, it’s high time for that kind of accountability.
Sixty-six thousand, five hundred small businesses in Tennessee that offer insurance to their employees are now eligible for a tax credit. For small employers like Lee in Maryville, who are charged on average 18 percent more for the same plans as large companies, this credit levels the playing field and enables him to compete for the best talent.
Undeniably, the most popular provision of the law is the end of discrimination for pre-existing medical conditions. In Tennessee, 1.2 million people have a medical condition that would be grounds for outright denial of insurance.

IN THE NEWS- Trinity Broadcasting embroiled in family feud

For anyone that thinks that corruption never enters religious businesses, read this fascinating article from the Nashville Tennessean, about a multi-million dollar Christian  broadcasting empire. 
- Rob

Trinity Broadcasting embroiled in family feud
Allegations of lavish spending, theft fly within Christian media power

Televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch, who transformed the former Twitty City in Hendersonville into the Trinity Music City USA religious entertainment complex, are no strangers to controversy.
The couple, who own the multimillion-dollar Christian media empire Trinity Broadcasting Network, fought an 11-year battle to avoid paying property taxes on the entertainment complex after buying it in the mid-1990s.
As that battle raged, a gay staff member alleged he had an affair with Paul Crouch, and the Crouches ran into conflict with the FCC over rules governing how many television stations they can own.
Now, they are being attacked by members of their own family.
Their granddaughter, Brittany Koper, recently filed court papers in Costa Mesa, Calif., that include allegations of $50 million in financial shenanigans at the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network.
Her suit was followed by another from a Koper in-law, who detailed opulent spending at the network on items such as private jets, mansions in California, Tennessee and Florida and a $100,000 mobile home for Jan Crouch’s dogs.
The network has 78 satellites and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates and owns seven other networks, as well as its headquarters in Costa Mesa in Orange County and the Holy Land Experience, a Christian amusement park in Orlando, Fla.
FULL STORY:|newswell|text|News|s

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Holy Bad Burrito: Man buried under mound of pinto beans dies

From the Weird News file- this story was in the news this week.  What a weird way to meet your end.
(Reuters) - A 56-year-old man was killed when he was buried under a 20-foot (six-meter) mound of pinto beans at a warehouse in eastern Colorado where he worked, police said.
Raymond Segura Jr. was pronounced dead at the Brush, Colorado, facility of the Kelley Bean Company on Thursday after efforts to reach him alive were unsuccessful, Morgan County Undersheriff Dave Martin said.
"We moved several tons of beans to get to him," Martin said in a telephone interview.
Martin said emergency personnel were summoned to the site at 11:30 a.m. on reports of a worker trapped in a pile of loose pinto beans.
Martin said dozens of rescue workers and even four inmates from the county jail spent an hour digging through a mound of the legumes to get to the trapped worker, but he was dead when crews reached him.
Segura had worked at the warehouse for between 12 and 15 years, Martin said. The cause of the accident, how the victim became trapped and the exact cause of death are under investigation.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Bohan)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Old-time radio and comics heroes burst back onto the scene

 One superhero that has been out of print for many years, and is one of my favorite is the Shadow. He's now back in his own comic book and I'm excited about it! - Rob

USA TODAY - Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? (Hint: The guy dresses up in a cape and runs around at night. And it's not Batman.)
  The Shadow still knows — as do Flash Gordon, the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet and other heroes of 1930s and '40s radio shows, pulp magazines and movie serials.
These good guys are making a comeback, though mainly in comics and feature-length movies. Next month, The Shadow receives a comics reboot courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment, which also publishes ongoing series starring Flash Gordon and Green Hornet plus a new title with pulp hero The Spider that's due in May.
    On the big screen, a masked Seth Rogen stung bad guys in last year's The Green Hornet. And in The Lone Ranger, in production for release in 2013, Armie Hammer rides tall as the title cowboy with Johnny Depp as his sidekick Tonto. Baby Boomers grew up watching the Clayton Moore TV series in the '50s, although the saga began as a 1933 radio show in Detroit. Though these characters may not be as well known as today's comic-book superheroes or the Star Wars and Harry Potter clans, they were the bee's knees for a generation that was decades away from the Internet and iPods.
   Before Batman, there was the alter ego Lamont Cranston donning the shadowy mask and hat while haunting radio waves as The Shadow, voiced by Orson Welles in the late '30s.  And before Superman and Captain America there was Flash Gordon, an all-American space adventurer who tussled with planetary tyrant Ming the Merciless in sci-fi comic strips by Alex Raymond and serial films starring Buster Crabbe.
"The '20s and '30s are seen as a very romantic age, with the criminal underworld of urban America and high adventure of exotic foreign locations providing a bit of an edge," says Garth Ennis, who is writing the new Shadow comic. "The reality, I'm sure, would have been mostly a lot more mundane and occasionally quite grim."
He's crafting The Shadow as a dangerous champion of law and order with a flair for the dramatic, and he is embracing one of the vigilante's oldest and most famous traits: his habit of laughing as he consigns his enemies to their doom.
"I decided to be fairly sparing with it," Ennis says. "If he started howling every time he threw a punch or fired a shot, it would get old fast. So I decided to preserve the laugh for moments of deep, dark, extreme humor."
His take on The Shadow comic is a bloody affair, where the mysterious figure dispatches bad guys with violent aplomb. More than 70 years ago, though, audiences had to visualize with their imagination what was going on during the radio-show exploits.  FULL STORY:

Friday, March 23, 2012

IN THE NEWS: Boston Archdiocese defends six-figure salaries for top church employees

IN THE NEWS - I found this interesting. I thought people who worked for churches were usually not paid much so the funds would go to helping homeless, poor, uneducated, jobless, and emotionally distraught people. I thought about this, and realized the Evangelicals like the Falwell family also made 6 figure salaries, as friends who live in Lynchburg, Va. (where they live) tell us how they flaunt their sports cars, expensive jewelry, big houses, etc. - So, the Catholic church isn't doing anything the evangelicals have been doing for decades. Regardless, I personally think its wrong. - After all, priests and nuns take vows of poverty! - and I think the Evangelicals need to pay TAXES. Can you imagine the city/town improvements that can be made from taxes on multi-millionaires like the Falwell family??

Spirit of giving?:  Boston Archdiocese defends six-figure salaries for top church employees
James Eng,

The Boston Archdiocese is defending six-figure salaries paid to a growing number of church employees, saying the pay is commensurate with their talents and work duties.

The Boston Herald on Wednesday reported that the archdiocese’s latest annual report lists 17 “senior lay executives” who earned more than $150,000 last year. In 2006, only five employees were paid that much, according to the newspaper.



The Boston Catholic Insider blog reported similar figures for 2011 in a post last month titled “Bloated Payroll” but said just two employees were making $150,000 in 2006.

Topping the 2011 list was Mary Grassa O’Neill, superintendent of the archdiocese’s Catholic schools, whose total compensation topped $351,000, the Herald reported. The top archdiocesan lawyer earned $326,169, while the recently departed chancellor, the archdiocese’s top financial officer, grossed $276,486.

The newspaper noted that the archdiocese has cut 50 staff members since 2006 but payroll costs increased by nearly $1 million.  FULL STORY:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3 Big Superhero Movies this Summer!

 I'm (Rob) looking forward to going to the movies this summer! :) 

USA TODAY:   Batman, Spider-Man and the all-star superhero team The Avengers — are duking it out months before their movies hit the big screen in summer.
All three films —The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man from Marvel and Batman saga The Dark Knight Rises from DC — have staged publicity blitzes to gain momentum for a showdown expected to make up for last year's subpar spandex performances.
         Though 2011's crime fighters —The Green Hornet ($99 million), Thor ($181 million), Green Lantern ($117 million) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($177 million) — did solid numbers, they fell short of many expectations and became poster boys for the anemic year at theaters, which saw a 15-year attendance low.
    This year marks a return of comics' A-listers, prompting studios to start swinging early:
    •Bap! In December, Warner Bros. premiered IMAX footage of The Dark Knight Rises (out July 20) for reporters to drum up support for its trailer, attached to last year's Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
    •Kapow! Last month, Sony touted its reboot of the Spider-Man franchise with extended footage of The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3 in 13 theaters). The campaign included beaming the spider logo onto London's Parliament and Sydney's Opera House.
    •Biff!The Avengers (May 4) trumpeted its trailer with a viral campaign that, according to Marvel, set an online trailer viewership record Feb 29. The studio says 13.7 million people viewed the ad, besting The Dark Knight's 12.5 million views in 2008.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Funny Sign in a Grocery Store

    This photo was on George Takei's facebook page (yes, he's the actor who played Sulu on Star Trek). He posts funny pics and cartoons that he comes across, or people send him. I'm sure that this Safeway grocery store is in the Washington, D.C. area, given all the spacing errors and mis-spellings we see on signs.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    VIDEO- support Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue!

    Here's a short video for one of the rescues we work with, and who always need donations and support! 
    Please donate to:

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Visting Mt. Vernon!

    Brian, Anthony, Maureen and Tom in the garden

    Sign with Mansion in the background.

    Brian, Maureen and Anthony in front of Mt. Vernon

    George and Martha Washington's Tomb

    Anthony and Tom inspect the tomb

    Pres. Washington swearing in - Museum Exhibit

    Tom and Rob hamming it up at lunch
    We met our friends Maureen, Brian and their son Anthony on Sunday and visited George Washington's home, Mt. Vernon. Our friends came from Massachusetts to visit Washington, D.C. and enjoyed the musical "1776"- which they highly recommend, and toured some of the usual spots. We joined them one day for the Mt. Vernon tour - and noticed that the walking tour through the house was pretty quick. We were disappointed that it was so fast, and that the docents didn't really get to give much information about the house. 
      The museum was really informative, though, and had some nice short films of Washington's military history, Presidential history and legacy. We were disappointed that we didn't learn much about the house, the surrounding buildings, the architecture, or the gardens. Of course, it was cloudy, cool and misty in the morning. ** After the tour and the museum, which took about 2 1/2 hours we a fun lunch in Shirlington with our friend Jeff.

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Happy Birthday, Franklin!

    Today is our lovable Dachshund, Franklin's 8th birthday!
    Franklin's favorite Activity
    - Franklin was born in South Carolina and was adopted by Tom in 2005. Tom said that Franklin was the pup that had the most personality in his litter. Franklin is pretty smart and pretty spoiled. He loves squirrel, rabbit and bird hunting. In fact, he's caught a number of them during his lifetime and whenever he sees one in the backyard, he gets agitated until we let him out to chase them out of the yard. Franklin also has a high-pitched bark/squeal whenever there's a bunny in the yard. We always say that Franklin "screams like a little girl on a roller coaster" whenever he's chasing a bunny out of the yard!
     - Franklin is lovable- and loves to cuddle. He can also be headstrong. He's always the last one to come in from outside. Sometimes when we want to put him on the bed with us, Dolly and Sprite, Franklin will go under the bed and make us go after him. However, say "Treat!" and he'll be right there.

    Franklin's hurt paw in 2011

    Franklin and Dolly

    Dolly, Franklin, Sprite and Tom on the bed

    Franklin and Sprite

    Franklin, Dolly, Sprite

    Dolly and Franklin

    Dolly, Sprite and Franklin on a walk

    Franklin & Sprite-Monkeys / Dolly-Banana
      Happy Birthday, Franklin!! We love you.Daddies Rob and To

    Another of Ellen's Autocorrect Videos- Hysterical

    Okay- Here's one more of Ellen's Autocorrect video segments to make you laugh!  This is hysterical.

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Rob's 2 letters to the Newspapers: Bullying & Why Majorities Shouldn't Vote on Minority Rights

       I recently wrote 2 letters that appeared in the local newspapers. -  I know it's a tired subject to some, but now gay people in Maryland are fighting to keep the law that allows them to marry and enjoy the financial, health and welfare security and 1,138 benefits that straight couples enjoy. The law DOESN"T go into effect until January 2013. Why not now? 
      Because some African-American churches and the Catholic church, who are the most vocal opponents, are demanding their congregations get 50,000 signatures to put the law on the ballot in November. * NOTE: There are some churches that remain neutral, or refuse to rally against the law- THOSE I have respect for.
       Since WHEN does a Majority of people allow a Minority the same rights? Never. African-Americans were only granted equality by legislation. Every time equal rights for African-Americans were put to the ballot, voters said "No." The same thing is likely to happen with gay marriage, and these hateful religious leaders know that. I find it appalling. - Rob

    LETTER #1: Some churches are behaving like bullies

      Bullying is something we are trying to teach our children not to do, yet some African-American and Catholic churches in our state are now prime examples of bullies. The vitriol from some clergymen against gay marriage is disgusting and hateful.
      These “leaders” are encouraging bullying against gay people. This is dangerous to teach their congregations to hate and be intolerant. Put simply, it is bullying. That is what it will lead to in schools, in our children, in adults.
      Gay marriage is now the law, and these churches are trying to take away that right of security between consenting adults who don’t affect these churches. They should instead teach acceptance and love, help the poor and single-parent families, care for the elderly and jobless. Churches should use their influence positively and help people instead of hurting gay people.
      Bullying is a serious problem and churches should not encourage it, but they are doing so in their fight to overturn marriage equality.

    There was a response to this letter from a woman who said "Why not vote on it, and let the people decide the fate of gay marriage?"  - Obviously, she doesn't know her history, so I wrote the Following letter:

    LETTER #2: Majority Never Votes in Favor of Minority Equal Rights
    In Cathy Bunge's letter to the Blade-News she asks "why not put gay marriage on the ballot and let everyone have their say?"
    There are several reasons, Ms. Bunge: 1) It is currently the law. 2) It makes all of Maryland's citizens equal.
    3) Most importantly, it is historically proven in our country that the majority never votes to allow rights for the minority. After the Civil War, it took Constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. Whenever it went to a vote, the majority (white) population voted it down. In 1870, it took legislators to ratify the Constitution's Fifteenth Amendment and finally prohibit denying a citizen voting rights based on race, color or previous condition of servitude" (i.e., slavery). The white majority refused to allow it. Also, African-Americans finally gained legal equality and justice in the courts (not by voters) as a result of the 1905 Niagara Movement of W. E. B. Du Bois. These are just three examples of how voting on the rights of minorities does not work. Sadly, no majority ever wants minorities to be equal. In short, equal rights historically can never be attained by voting from the majority. That is why gay marriage should never be a ballot question, especially if it has become the law.


    Happy St. Patrick's Day

    Celebrate wearing green today, and enjoy this cartoon!

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    PHOTO- Spring is in Bloom in Maryland

    Spring is early and in bloom in the Mid-Atlantic. Here's a picture of a neighborhood tree that I took yesterday while walking the dogs at lunch. Awesome!

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    See Venus and Jupiter in Night Sky from Wash, DC Tonight

    Here's a photo taken of the evening sky from Bowie, Md. by Frank Reddy of NASA Goddard. He's even labeled  it. He took this on March 13, 2012, and Venus and Jupiter are very bright in the sky along with several bright stars in Aries. Inset: In the closeup is Jupiter & its brightest moons. Thanks, Frank!
    BTW- WHY IS VENUS SO BRIGHT?  That’s partly because sunlight is easily reflected by acidic clouds that blanket the planet’s atmosphere.
    Playing with a new camera, I took both images last night. More info: Venus and Jupiter at closest approach (3°) on March 13, 2012, along with several bright stars in Aries, as seen from Bowie, Md. The inset shows a closeup of Jupiter on the same evening, revealing its retinue of four bright moons. Main image: 4 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, 32mm focal length; inset: 1 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800, 300mm focal length. Credit: Frank Reddy

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Encore! More of Ellen's Autocorrect Bloopers!

    Because these are SO funny- I've decided to post another of Ellen's Autocorrect blogs! Enjoy!

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    LAUGHABLE STUPIDITY: Sen. Inhofe: The Bible Proves Global Warming Is A “Hoax”

    This is laughable. Politicians who use the bible to decide today's reality and science is ridiculous! It's like using a cave painting to tell you how to launch a rocket. It makes me sick to see people who are supposed to be educated and leaders refuse to understand what science proves by instead turning to a piece of literature written thousands of years ago. He should be laughed out of office.

    Sen. Inhofe: The Bible Proves Global Warming Is A “Hoax”

    Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, has been calling global warming a “hoax” for years – that’s nothing new. However, he’s just written a book called The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, and interviews with him regarding the book have been…interesting.
    In an interview with Vic Eliason of Voice of Christian Youth America on Wednesday, for instance, he explained that his theory is “biblically inspired.” He claims that the idea that man-made pollution could affect the climate is “arrogance,” because, as we all know, only God can affect the climate:
    Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.
    It gets better. He also attacked Rich Cizik, the former Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals, an evangelical leader who’s fought against climate change. Cizik explained his religious reasons for fighting climate change on The Great Warming:
    The climate change crisis that we believe is occurring is not something we can wait ten years, five years, even a year, to address.  Climate change is real and human induced.  It calls for action soon.  And we are saying action based upon a biblical view of the world as God’s world.  And to deplete our resources, to harm our world by environmental degradation, is an offense against God.  That’s what the Scriptures say.  Therefore, if we are to be obedient to the Scriptures, there is no time to wait, no time to stall, no time to deliberate.
    According to Inhofe, these statements indicate that Cizik is a secret liberal who gave up “the truth about God for a lie.” He goes on to quote scripture he interprets as a Biblical slam against the environmental movement. If you think you can handle listening to Inhofe explain his “hoax” theory to a sympathetic audience, the full audio of the interview is available for download on VYC America’s website.

    Read more:

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    IN THE NEWS- Good Grief! More grief over marriage

    It's off to a flying start on a Monday - after a great weekend, I have to rant.
    I (Rob) want to know when churches are going to stop attacking gay marriage. They've got so many problems in their own institutions that they sweep under the rug, and use money and media to bully.
     - Now, the Pope, a U.S. Cardinal, and a British Cardinal are all attacking gay  marriage, and trying to influence the law and block equality to prevent gay marriages.
    MY MESSAGE TO THEM: Get OUT of politics. Get OUT of Civil rights. STOP being bigots.
    Leave MY right to security and happiness alone!
     :Please address and clean up all the corruption, pedophiles, and other problems in your own backyard. Please do something positive!

    I find it appalling that these men deny themselves intimate loving relationships, yet lobby and campaign to block gay citizens from having them. 
    Articles below.
    Pope denounces U.S. political push to legalize gay marriage VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Friday denounced the "powerful political and cultural currents" seeking to legalize gay marriage in the United States, where Maryland has just become the eighth state to allow it.
     Dolan fought against gay marriage before it became legal in New York state last June, and in September he sent a letter to President Barack Obama criticizing his administration's decision not to support a federal ban on gay marriage. One leading opponent of gay marriage in the United States is New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who was elevated to cardinal last month.

    British Cardinal Compares Gay Marriage to Legalizing Slavery (What a moron!)
    Cardinal Keith O’Brien, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and Britain’s most senior Catholic, has hit out at the British Government’s plans to legalize marriage equality, saying in an opinion piece for The Telegraph that Britain cannot afford to “indulge” this “madness.” It is O’Brien’s statement that legalizing gay marriage is, in human rights terms, the same as legalizing slavery that has caused the most controversy however.  Read more:
    Let Gays into ‘Christian Marriage’ Says St Paul’s New Dean
    The new dean of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral has said that the Church of England should embrace civil gay marriage.Rev Dr David Ison, bucking the recent trend of aggressive attacks over the plans from Church leaders in the UK, said the church should welcome gay people and allow them to participate in what he termed “the virtues of marriage” that are quite separate from the legal aspects. He went on to distinguish that the Church should be thinking of allowing same-sex couples to partake in ”Christian marriage,” rather than talking about homosexual and heterosexual marriages.

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Short videos: Doggone Fun in the Yard

    Saturday was a busy day of grocery shopping, yard cleaning, baking, etc. - so we had the kids outside in the back yard for a couple of hours. While our elder Dachshund, Sprite likes to just amble around and sleep, Dolly the Weimaraner likes to play rope toss, and Franklin the other Dachshund likes to run up and down the fence, teasing the big rottweiler on the other side. Here are some short 30 second videos of their fun. :)

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Request for YOUR opinion - IN THE NEWS- 3 things that irritate/1 Good News Story

    Here are some articles that irritated me. From attacking women's rights, to not educating our children in sex education (I had it in High school, and didn't learn much, but with HIV, HPV, and other STDs, kids need to know!),  irritated me.
     We leave with a GOOD NEWS story, though about a dog being found after 53 days.

       I'd like to hear from our female friends on what they think of the Republican Party's apparent war on Women's rights. They can't overturn Roe vs. Wade, so in all of the states the have majorities, they're imposing major restrictions to make it more difficult for women. Here's a state-by-state breakdown of restrictions as of 2011:
     - but many states, like Virginia have imposed more restrictions since. I can't imagine why women would vote for the GOP this year when they're on this ridiculous rampage.  What do the women think about this?

    New Hampshire House passes birth control exemption 
    LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) - New Hampshire's Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to exempt religious institutions from having to include contraceptive coverage in health insurance plans.

    Lawmakers in Minnesota are once again on the march to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care services. After first going after Medicaid funds for abortions, Republicans have proposed two more anti-abortion bills. The first would restrict the use of RU-486 and the other would require random inspections and licenses for clinics that provide abortions.    Read more:
    Utah lawmakers pass bill to curb sex education in schools - (Just what we need, more ignorant kids who wind up having babies as teenagers because they weren't educated... real smart, Utah..Not.)
    SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Utah would become the first state to ban public schools from teaching contraception as a way of preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases under a bill given final legislative approval by state lawmakers.

    Dog Reunites With Owner After Surviving 53 Days In The Desert (A Good news story!)
     Barbara Bagley can finally begin to heal after a horrific car accident in December took the life of her husband, one of their Shetland sheepdogs and left her in critical condition. Her dog Dooley, who ran off at the scene of the crash, was found alive after surviving 53 days in the Nevada desert.

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Autocorrect Bloopers: the Ellen Show

     Our friend Brian made us aware of this segment of the Ellen show- featuring autocorrect messages. Enjoy!

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Flying robots perform the James Bond Theme

    Here's a fascinating video about what technology can do- and there were no humans controlling these flying robots! - Rob 
    Flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame. The quadrotors play this "couch guitar" by flying over guitar strings stretched across a couch frame; plucking the strings with a stiff wire attached to the base of the quadrotor. A special microphone attached to the frame records the notes made by the "couch guitar".

    These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

    Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab.

    This video premiered at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California on February 29, 2012. Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design.

    The engineers from Penn, Daniel Mellinger and Alex Kushleyev, have formed a company called KMel Robotics that will design and market these quadrotors.

    More information:

    Video Produced and Directed by Kurtis Sensenig
    Quadrotors and Instruments by Daniel Mellinger, Alex Kushleyev and Vijay Kumar

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    WASH POST OP-ED: Blacks and gays: The shared struggle for civil rights

    This is an Op-Ed all religious people need to read.
    Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 03/04/2012 at the WASHINGTON POST

    Blacks and gays: The shared struggle for civil rights

    You may recall that last month Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and I sparred over same-sex marriage on “Morning Joe.” You may also recall that at the end of the interview, the show’s anchor, Joe Scarborough, asked me, “[W]ould you compare the civil rights struggles of African Americans over 300 years in America to marriage equity?” Without hesitation, I said, “Yes.”
    “It’s an issue of civil rights, as you said. It’s an issue of equality. It’s an issue of equal treatment under the law,” I said. “No one is asking for special rights. No one is asking for any kind of special favors. We’re just looking for the same rights and responsibilities that come with marriage and also the protections that are provided under marriage. In that regard overall we’re talking about a civil rights issue and what African Americans continue to struggle with is exactly what lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are struggling with today.”
    That didn’t go over so well with more than a few African Americans. They don’t see the struggles as comparable, equivalent or even related. Last Wednesday, @Brokenb4God tweeted to me, “@CapehartJ still can’t believe u think the choice of being gay is congruent to the struggle of blacks. Ain’t never seen no gay plantations!”
    Clearly, she’s from the misguided pray-the-gay-away cabal, so no need to address that. I’ll leave the cheap and provocative “gay plantations” stink bomb alone, too, and get to my main point. What links the two struggles is the quest for equality, dignity and equal protection under the law. In short, gay rights are civil rights. It’s that simple.

    Bullying and murder
    Both African Americans and gays have been targeted because of who they are. Tyler Clementi jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge after discovering his roommate  allegedly using a webcam to livestream his sexual encounter with another man. The trial of that roommate, Dharun Ravi, is going on right now in New Jersey.
    Clementi’s September 2010 suicide drew national attention to bullying of young people, particularly gay teens. Back then I wrote about the harrowing week that month when there were five reports of suicides of young men and boys who felt they had no other way to end the bullying, harassment or invasion of privacy they endured because they were gay or perceived to be gay.
    Seth Walsh, 13, hanged himself in his California back yard on Sept. 19. Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22. Asher Brown,13, from Houston shot himself in the head on Sept. 23. Raymond Chase, 19, from New York hanged himself in his dorm room at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island on Sept. 29. The circumstances surrounding the Sept. 30 death of a 14-year-old Indiana boy remain unclear, but he has been included in reports on this sad issue.
    There have been many more, too many more, since then.
    Their deaths came 12 years after the horrific murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. At a bar in Laramie, Wyo., in October 1998, Shepard met two men who said they were also gay. They kidnapped, robbed and pistol-whipped him before tying him to a fence. He died five days later. Shepard’s shocking killing came four months after another murder that shook the national conscience. A black man named James Byrd was kidnapped by three white men, chained to the back of a pick-up truck and dragged more than three miles in June 1998. His decapitated body was found outside the small town of Jasper, Tex. According to the Jasper district attorney at the time, two of Byrd’s killers had racist tattoos and were supporters of the Ku Klux Klan.
    Both murders sparked a national debate on hate crimes that culminated in passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law in October 2009. The bullying that has gained national attention of late has the attention of the Obamas and the administration and pop icon Lady Gaga.

    VIDEO INTERVIEW: John Lewis - You Cannot Tell People They Cannot Fall In Love
     Rep. John Lewis from Georgia argues passionately against DOMA in the debate over the legislation in 1996, as shown in the documentary "Tying the Knot". Highly recommended.

    Denied equal protection: the right to marry
    Both African Americans and gays have been denied equal access to the rights, responsibilities and protections the Constitution provides. Just last week, Maryland became the eighth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. Washington State joined the club on Feb. 13. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed a marriage equality bill last month and called for a public referendum. Putting the rights of a minority up to a popular vote is wrong, un-American and immoral. And yet voters in New Jersey and Maryland very well may do just that in November.
    Meanwhile, in lawsuits across the country, lesbians and gay men are fighting for legal recognition of their relationships by challenging state laws that deny it and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Same-sex marriage was legal in California until voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008. A challenge to that ban is wending its way through the federal court system and is getting knocked as unconstitutional at every turn.
    And those who are already legally married are demanding equal rights. Karen Golinski was legally married to her partner of more than 20 years in California in 2008. But when the federal employee applied for health benefits for her spouse, she was denied thanks to DOMA. Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management that Section 3 of the statute was unconstitutional because it violated her equal protection rights under the Constitution.
    In this matter, the Court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse.
    That’s a narrowly tailored argument the judge is making there. But “as applied to Ms. Golinski” could be replaced by millions of other names and “to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse” could be replaced by any number of the 1,138 rights and benefits denied to same-sex couples because of DOMA. And as I wrote last month, the inability to file joint federal tax returns, and avail themselves of Social Security survivor benefits or child tax credits compounds the income inequality and financial insecurity of gay and lesbian families. All because the person they love is of the same gender. This insecurity is exacerbated by the fact that you can still be fired because of your sexual orientation in 29 states. That number goes up to 34 if you’re transgender.
    VIDEO INTERVIEW:  A Conversation With... Jonathan Capehart & Julian Bond 
    Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart speaks with former NAACP chairman Julian Bond about the intersection of gay rights and civil rights.

    Black leaders
    African American resistance to same-sex marriage and linking the quest for it to the black civil rights movement emerged again in the push for marriage equality in Maryland. But an excellent counter to that are three black leaders who have been unashamed and vocal in their support of gay rights and who see the struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans as part of what they’ve fought for their entire lives: equality.
    Rev. Al Sharpton, long a proponent of marriage equality, lent his voice to the successful effort in Maryland.
    All of us must fight for what’s fair and for what’s right....Maryland, the time is now. Let’s be fair. Let’s do the right thing.
    When DOMA came up for a vote in 1996, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor before voting against the measure.

    You cannot tell people they cannot fall in love. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to say when people talked about interracial marriages, and I quote, ‘Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married.’ Why don’t you want your fellow men and women, your fellow Americans to be happy? Why do you attack them? Why do you want to destroy the love they hold in their hearts? Why do you want to crush their hopes, their dreams, their longings, their aspirations? We are talking about human beings, people like you, people who want to get married, buy a house, and spend their lives with the one they love. They have done no wrong.
    VIDEO: The Reverand Al Sharpton supports Marriage Equality.

    In a 2003 opinion piece for the Boston Globe, Lewis wrote, “I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.”
    Civil rights icon Julian Bond told me during an interview for the PBS program “In The Life” in 2008, “Black people, of all people, should not oppose equality. It does not matter the rationale – religious, cultural, pseudo-scientific. No people of good will should oppose marriage equality. And they should not think civil unions are a substitute. At best, civil unions are separate but equal. And we all know separate is never equal.”
    When I asked Bond what is the connection between the black civil rights movement and its gay counterpart, he said it was the immutable characteristics of the individuals involved. “You are what you are,” he said, “and you cannot be discriminated against in this country for what you are.
    “And the fact that the black civil rights movement came to public attention before the gay civil rights movement, which is existing at the same time but I don’t think well known to people. . . These draw from each other. And the gay movement draws tactics and techniques and songs and slogans. As did the Hispanic movement, as did the women’s movement.”
    Men and women picket the White House on May 29, 1965, in a protest organized by the Mattachine Society of Washington ( File photo - United Press International )
    The hard work of the late Frank Kameny and the late Barbara Gittings attest to Bond’s remarks.
    “It’s not that these movements are taking from us because the black movement took from other movements before us,” Bond continued. “We took from the labor movement. And I never heard anyone from the labor movement complaining about this. We ought to be proud of this and say, ‘Look what we did. We created a model that other people have followed.’ ”
    Black people led the way to this nation being more fair and equitable. That some vigorously oppose LGBT Americans following in their footsteps, seeing kinship in their cause, is dreadful. As Bond said, “Black people, of all people, should not oppose equality.” And he’s right.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Photo Blog: Fun Margarita Friday

    Last Friday we visited our favorite Mexican restaurant, and Tom loves to get a margarita to unwind (Rob doesn't drink), so we were joined by our friends Ed and Rob (we call him Rob-2) for a fun dinner. We'd like to request that Monday through Thursdays be done away with, and we just have a week of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. What do you think?
    Rob-2 enjoying a Margarita Friday!

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    PHOTO BLOG: Even the Dogs Know its Monday

    Even the dogs know when Monday rolls around. Here are some of their pictures and feelings about Mondays:
    Dolly: BIG YAWN!!
    Franklin: Let me sleep
    Sprite: Is it Monday? 

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    Revisiting a GREAT Video: Do-Re-Mi Video in Belgium Train Station!!

    - This is Rob's all-time favorite You Tube video. If you haven't seen it, it will make you smile It's a video of almost 200 people taking over Antwerpen's Centraal Station in Belgium and doing a carefully choreographed dance to the Do Re Mi song (aka Maria's Dance aka Maria's Song) from "Sound of Music" has garnered almost a million views on YouTube, and continues to grow, sprouting a new round of google trends today. 

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    Cute Short Video: Meet Ormie the Pig and the Cookie Jar

    Our friend Cathy found this really cute video of an animated pig trying to get cookies from the top of a refrigerator. Its a funny, short video. Enjoy!

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    NEWS: Dogs' feet give Japan scientists paws for thought

    (Reuters) - Ever wonder how dogs can walk barefoot in the snow? Now a Japanese scientist may have the answer -- an internal central heating system.
      The secret lies in how dogs circulate their blood to prevent cold surfaces from chilling the rest of their bodies, according to Hiroyoshi Ninomiya, a professor at Yamazaki Gakuen University, just west of Tokyo.
    The system uses warm, oxygenated blood to heat the cold blood that has been in contact with a cold surface before returning it to the dog's heart and central circulation.
      "Dogs exchange heat at the end of their legs. Arterial blood flows to the end of their legs and then heats up venous blood before returning it to the heart," Ninomiya said of his findings, published in the journal Veterinary Dermatology.
    "In other words, they have a heat exchange system in their feet."

      Ninomiya studied a preserved dog's leg under an electron microscope and found that because of the proximity of arteries and veins in the foot pad, the heat in the blood carried from the heart to the arteries is easily conducted to the cooler blood in the veins.
      This heat transference maintains a constant temperature in the foot pad, even when exposed to extremely cold conditions.
      Dogs are not alone in having this sort of heat exchange system, which is shared by other animals such as dolphins, Ninomiya said.
      But not all dogs thrive in the cold, due to refining by breeders seeking specific traits, he added.
    "Dogs evolved from wolves, and so they still have some of that ancestry remaining," he said.
    "But that doesn't mean that one should always go and drag around in the snow all the time. There are many varieties of dogs nowadays that are not able to stand the cold."
    (Reporting by Chris Meyers at Reuters TV; editing by Elaine Lies)

    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