Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dog Runs Over Pedestrian With Car!

 You read the headline correctly: Police: Dog Runs Over Pedestrian With Car

This is what he gets for feeding me low-grade food!
According to the Associated Press: Police in York, Pennsylvania said a dog left in an unattended vehicle pushed it into drive and the car struck a pedestrian!

SO, Don't tick your dog off!!  They'll run you over! 

Full Story: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/03/27/police-dog-runs-over-pedestrian-with-car/


Saturday, March 30, 2013

FUNNY VIDEO: What if our friends acted like dogs and cats?

Our friend Alan sent us this really funny video! 
What if our friends acted like dogs and cats?

Friday, March 29, 2013

An Amazing Message from a Little Boy

   Anyone that follows our blog knows that I (Rob) can get messages from ghosts and spirits- and have had that gift since I was a teenager. This week, there was a special message from a spirit that I didn't know anything about - that had an important message for his parents.

  I usually have to clear my mind to get messages from ghosts or spirits and that means either concentration or relaxation. One place that my mind goes blank is in the shower, and that's where I've received a lot of messages. Moving water helps spirits by giving them energy to communicate.

Red overalls like I saw Andy wearing
  On Wednesday, March 27th when I was taking a shower I suddenly heard a little boy say "my name is Andy. Andy Andrew. In my mind he showed me that he was wearing red overalls and a blue shirt and sneakers and had dark colored hair (brown or black) and was wearing it in bangs.  He was about 3-4 years old. He then pointed to a boxy truck - that looked like a toy- boxy meaning firetruck-like or a small box truck. That meant that there was some importance to it.   - He also said, "Tell mom and dad that I'm okay here, and not to worry. Everything is good."
  I couldn't figure out whom he belonged to, and who his mom and dad were, but I know that they're both still alive. Here's where the mystery became clear.
  The next night, Tom and I attended a book signing event for a woman associated with the Inspired Ghost Tracking Group we belong to. Sharon Ramirez was autographing her book "Phantomology 101," and many of the group members were present at the signing (which occurred in a room at a local restaurant).
   Tom and I sat at a table with some of the members and enjoyed dinner and conversation. After Sharon talked about her book and began signing them, I moved over to another table to talk with our friends Ronda and Nancy. Ronda spoke about her uncle that passed away recently and how he was not a nice person. I sensed that her uncle is currently Earth-bound for that very reason. As we were talking about ghosts and spirits, I mentioned that I had a visitor and message from the night before.
  Nancy, who was sitting across the table from me, gasped when I said the little boy said his name was "Andy - Andrew." I told her the rest of the details, and she told me she had chills.
A kid that resembles Andy that I saw
  Nancy told me that about 35 years ago or so, a little boy named "Andy Andrews" who lived in her neighborhood with his mom and dad, had passed away around age 3 or 4. She recalled that he wore his hair in bangs, just as I saw Andy appear to me. She immediately the significance of the box truck. Andy's father used to drive an ice-cream truck, which is a boxy truck.
  I told Nancy that Andy wants to let his parents know he's okay. Nancy said she would check to see if one of the parents still lived in the neighborhood, because they got divorced after Andy's premature death.
  What does that mean? Spirits, like Andy, know that upcoming events in our lives will lead us to someone to convey their message to the appropriate people. That's why Andy came to me when he did. Just another lesson I learned from the dead. Hopefully, Nancy will be able to contact one or both of Andy's parents and tell them the comforting message I received.
  To read my 2 books: Ghosts and Spirits: Insights from a Medium or Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead, visit: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=rob+gutro

In the News: Taxpayers get $3 million bill for defending DOMA

    DID YOU KNOW WE'RE PAYING $3 MILLION TO FIGHT DOMA WHEN WE WANT IT OVERTURNED?  
I don't know about you, but I'm outraged that MY Federal Taxes are being used to defend discriminatory legislation and policy.  If you think for 1 Minute that House Republicans care about the Budget (which they say is the biggest issue), unemployment, economy, poverty, health care,  you would be Totally Wrong. Here's why:
  This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard lawyers arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act which prevents federal recognition of same-sex couples like me and Tom from being legally protected in our marriage, and California's Prop 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California.
   The U.S. Dept of Justice refused to defend DOMA because it is unconstitutional and discriminatory, just as the Atty General and Governor of California refused to defend Prop 8. 
   SO, WHO DEFENDED THOSE DISCRIMINATORY ACTS?  The U.S. House of Republicans spent $3 Million of OUR tax money to defend them.   
   I have to hold my tongue here, because I really want to go off, but you can read the facts yourself in the article below from the Seattle Post Intelligencer Newspaper.

Taxpayers get $3 million bill for defending DOMA, Boehner clams up
 SOURCE: http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/03/27/taxpayers-get-3-million-bill-for-defending-doma-boehner-clams-up/
The House Republican leadership has billed American taxpayers $3 million to defend the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, but GOP leaders did a deep dive on Wednesday as the high court heard the legal challenge to DOMA.
House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, R-Washington: House Republican leaders don't want to talk about $3 million bill to taxpayers for defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

 


The growing approval of same-sex marriage, and declining popularity of anti-gay laws, seems to have gotten under House Speaker John Boehner’s orange skin.

Boehner was tweeting Wednesday on familiar topics — “Time to Build the Keystone Pipeline,” “Bad News for Obamacare” — but said not a tweet about a federal law that discriminates against same-sex couples and denies them federal benefits.  (BTW- Boehner has personally invested in the Keystone Pipeline. ARTICLE: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/16/1055222/-John-Boehner-s-Keystone-XL-conflict-of-interest

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was carrying on about an Indiana Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for school vouchers.

By contrast, freshman Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., whose district includes conservative rural areas, was trumpeting the fact that she was one of 200 Democratic House and Senate members who signed legal briefs advocating that DOMA be overturned.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who voted for DOMA in 1996, tweeted that she hopes the Supreme Court will overturn the law.  She is a cosponsor of legislation that would throw out the anti-gay law.
With public opinion rapidly changing, House Republicans have tried to disguise the big legal bill, used to hire ex-Solicitor General Paul Clement.  The House leadership assumed defense of DOMA when the Obama administration decided the law was no longer defensible.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., scoured House rules in January, seeking to find the legal bill for DOMA’s defense.  He finally discovered it on page 17, disguised as a $3 million spending authorization for something called the “Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.”

Nina Totenberg, the veteran court correspondent for National Public Radio, reported on Wednesday morning:  “Those defending DOMA have been strangely unwilling to make their arguments outside of the court.  House Speaker John Boehner declined to be interviewed for the article, as did Clement and leading House members who voted for the law.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tyler Sleeps Around!!

Our little foster dog Tyler (the terror as we call him) is comfortable anywhere. In fact, he takes turns to sleep in the same beds with our other kids, Dolly, Franklin and Sprite!
Sprite, Dolly, Franklin and Tyler -napping together

Dolly gets a cuddle from Tyler

Tyler gets crazy comfy with Franklin

Sprite and Tyler curled up

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Brief Observations at the Supreme Court

As you know, this week the Supreme Court is listening to arguments to determine if California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, is unconstitutional. The Court is also deciding on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which prevents the federal government from recognizing our marriage (in terms of things like inheritance, pensions, social security, and the more than 1,180 protections of a legal marriage).
Credit: AFP/Getty/Baltimore Sun
   Some of the things that struck me in the hearing:
1) Mr. Cooper, lawyer opposing gay marriage said that marriage is about having children. Justice Kagan asked "What if people over 55 want to get married? Are you saying because they can't have children, they can't get married?"   Cooper said "Well, Strom Thurmond was still fertile in his 90s and could get married" (even though his 90ish year old wife couldn't get pregnant - but hey, that's okay).  Idiots.  Cooper tried to tell the Justices that people over 55 can still have kids and get married. He said that there should be a 'fertile' or 'infertile' questionnaire when older people get married because marriage is about pro-creation. HA! 

2) Mr. Cooper said that gay families should never be recognized. Justice Kennedy said something about the 40,000 children in California who have same-sex parents and want their parents to be recognized. Cooper had no answer. 
3) Justice Kagan asked Cooper how two men who marry destroy a heterosexual marriage. Cooper changed the subject. Then Justice Scalia said, "Answer Justice Kagan's question." Cooper said "That's not the question - it's one of preserving the tradition of marriage." He was then asked again to answer Justice Kagan's question and he could not answer how marriages like mine are destroying straight marriages.

  What's amazing and sad to me is that the opposition has no leg to stand on, and keeps bringing up the same arguments. At least the Justices are asking some good questions.
MEANWHILE, IN CALIFORNIA: 
4)  Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Supreme Court arguing that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and the initiative’s sponsors do not have the right to claim to represent the interests of California by defending the law in federal court. - She was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow Show last night, March 26. She is the first female Atty General of California, and an African-American and she brought tears to my (Rob) eyes. She firmly stated that all people deserve to be seen as equals and mentioned the inter-racial couple in 1958 in Virginia that were foolishly denied marriage by that state. She said it's the same thing. SEE THE VIDEO: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26315908/vp/51342082#51342082


Moving Photos: Dogs and Humans

Many times we get great dog photos from friends and here are some that simply prove the unconditional love of a dog. No words needed.

He can help!


This is a tear-jerker

Another tear-jerker

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

IN THE NEWS: Mississippi Just Abolishes Slavery (150 years late)

Here's an article from ABC News about how the state of Mississippi finally abolishes slavery last month. Although the law was passed in 1995 the protocol to make it a law was never followed through until now. It took two medical school colleagues, one an immigrant from India, the other a life-long Mississippian, to join forces to resolve a historical oversight that until February 2013 had never officially been corrected.WHY? Because legislators in the state obviously didn't care and likely thought that slavery should still be legal (yes, there are a lot of those twisted people).
     SO, do you think that a state like Mississippi, that still legally allowed for slavery until this year, should be trusted with providing people like equal rights (i.e. marriage equality)? I don't think so. Right now the Supreme Court is hearing cases to strike down the law that prevents our marriage from being recognized by the Federal Government and in all states of the U.S. - But this is the kind of prejudice should not stand in the land where all are supposed to be equal. 
   I've lived in 12 states and many states in our south and heartland still believe that not everyone is equal.  
   African-Americans should be especially outraged by Mississippi, as should ALL people - and we should all come together to strike down ALL laws that treats anyone differently. 
 

Mississippi  Finally and Officially Abolishes Slavery, Ratifies 13th Amendment

Until February 7, 2013, the state of Mississippi had never submitted the required documentation to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, meaning it never officially had abolished slavery.

ABC NEWS  (Ben Waldron): 
Miss. 13th Amendment.  Mark Humphrey/AP Photo
The  amendment was adopted in December 1865 after the necessary three-fourths of the then 36 states voted in favor of ratification.  Mississippi, however, was a holdout; at the time state lawmakers were upset that they had not been compensated for the value of freed slaves.
  Dr. Ranjan Batra, professor of Neurobiology and Anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told ABC News he was inspired to investigate the history of the Thirteenth Amendment in his state after a viewing of the film “Lincoln.”
  “At the end of the story there was an open question about how the ratification process proceeded,” he said.  “Living in the South as I do, I found that a pretty big open question.”
So  Batra proceeded to do some investigating of his own, noticing on the website usconstitution.net, that there was an asterisk next to the state of Mississippi in connection with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.
  “Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995, but because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official,” reads the statement on the website.  Batra felt compelled to act to rectify the clerical oversight.
“Mississippi gets a lot of bad press about this type of stuff and I just felt that it is something that should be fixed, and I saw every reason that could be done,” he said.  “Everyone here would like to put this part of Mississippi’s past behind us and move on into the 21st century rather than the 19th.”
So Batra enlisted the help of University of Mississippi Medical Center colleague Ken Sullivan, who took an immediate interest in the story, calling the national archives to confirm that they had in fact never received the proper paperwork.  Sullivan then took a trip to the state archives to acquire a copy of the bill.
  “The last paragraph [of the bill] directs the Secretary of State of Mississippi to inform the national archives of the law of the ratification which is exactly the way ratification is supposed to proceed, but that hadn’t been done for whatever reason,” said  Batra.

 STORY: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/02/mississippi-officially-abolishes-slavery-ratifies-13th-amendment/

Monday, March 25, 2013

Video News: Blind dog has his own "seeing eye dog"

What a GREAT story of dogs helping each other! This is an amazing story.

Blind dog has his own "seeing eye dog"

CBS NEWS:  Animal rescuers in Hermosa Beach, Calif., are trying to find a home for two abandoned dogs - a blind husky and a terrier mix who never leaves his side and literally acts as his "seeing eye dog." KCAL's Serene Branson reports.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Home Project: Installing Bedroom Carpet!

Old carpeting
 This weekend with the arrival of springtime, the home improvement projects kicked in. About 3 years ago we had off-white carpeting installed in our bedroom, but the dogs always seemed to seek it out whenever they were sick, or dirty. So, on Friday night after grabbing two Dunkin' Donut egg sandwiches and coffee for dinner, we went to work.
After spending 2 hours taking up the tiles
 - We moved all of the furniture out into the living room, ripped up the carpeting and the padding and rolled it and taped it up.
- Then came taking out those tack filled carpet strips of wood along the walls. Ouch. 
Rolled and taped old carpeting
- Next we had to use a hammer and screwdriver to pop out the 1970s tiles that lay underneath the carpeting. They were put on with what looked like black tar, so they didn't all come up easily, and of course, they came out in pieces.
   Then it was bagging all of the debris and putting it outside, and sweeping up. We finished around 9:30pm, cleaned up, watched one hour of a TV show called "Stranded" where 3 non-believing (in ghosts) people get locked in a very haunted place. They were all scared stiff by the end of the show. .. and we wouldn't be stupid enough to do that!
Sprite's 3:15 am potty break
  We slept in the guest room with the dogs, and they were out of sorts, so they all tried to sleep on the full-sized bed with us. Needless to say, it lasted about one hour before they all got off the bed and slept on theirs. Of course, at 3:15am, Sprite (the 16 year old) rolled off his bed, woke up and had to go out, so I (Rob) carried him downstairs and outside (yes, it was 23F outside under a clear sky).
  SATURDAY FINISHING UP 
Saturday morning we were up before 6 am (actually we were up at 5 am but didn't want to move). So, we fed the kids, made a quick breakfast, Tom coated the floor with the adhesive (which needed an hour to take) so in the meantime we brought all the debris to the dump (after a Dunkin' Donuts stop, of course).
Tom laying the carpet squares
 Tom laid the carpet squares (because I'm not anal-retentive and exact in home projects and we wanted them to line up). Meanwhile, I did the vacuuming, dusting, etc. around the house. By about noon we were ready for lunch and the room was done! So we moved all of the furniture back in the room. What a nice change.


Tyler watching the install

Franklin trying out the newly carpeted bedroom

Dolly patiently waiting for the job to be complete

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dog Picture Day!

Here are the latest dog pics from their adventures this week!!
Dolly sitting pretty

Sprite napping

Dolly and Tyler playing with Tom

Tyler enjoying a bone

Friday, March 22, 2013

Jokes: How the Fight Started: Part 2






Here's part 2 of 2 of the jokes of "How the Fight Started." My 2 favorite are at the bottom of this posting. Hope they make you smile! 

See the last joke to get this one
My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds."
I bought her a bathroom scale.
And then the fight started......
______________________________

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security.
The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify my age.

I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later.
The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'.

So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.
She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for
me' and she processed my Social Security application.

When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at
the Social Security office. She said, 'You should have dropped
your pants. You might have gotten disability too.'

And then the fight started...
________________________________

My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me,
"I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
I replied, "Your eyesight's darn near perfect."
And then the fight started........
________________________________

I rear-ended a car this morning...the start of a REALLY bad day!
The driver got out of the other car, and he was a DWARF!!
He looked up at me and said 'I am NOT Happy!'
So I said, 'Well, which one ARE you then?'
That's how the fight started.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jokes: "How the Fight Started": PART 1

One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"
And that's how the fight started.....
________________________________

My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have Sex?'
'No,' she answered. I then said,
'Is that your final answer?'
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..'
So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."
And that's when the fight started...
________________________________

I took my wife to a restaurant.
The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.
"I'll have the rump steak, rare, please."
He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"
"Nah, she can order for herself."
And that's when the fight started.....
_______________________________

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school
reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his
drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.
I asked her, "Do you know him?"
"Yes", she sighed,
"He's my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking
right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he
hasn't been sober since."
"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on  celebrating that long?"
And then the fight started...
________________________________

My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, "What's on TV?"
I said, "Dust."
And then the fight started...
________________________________

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my
lunch, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the
boat up to the van and proceeded to back out into a torrential
downpour. The wind was blowing 50mph, so I pulled back into the
garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather
would be bad all day.
   I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back
into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back; now with a different
anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is
terrible."
   My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my
stupid husband is out fishing in that?"
   And that's how the fight started...
_______________________________


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Superman Fans Stand Against Orson Scott Card with Success

  As a huge Superman fan, I'm happy to report that less than a month ago a group of Comic book fans launched a petition asking DC Comics, who publishes popular comics like Batman and Superman, to drop notorious anti-gay writer and activist Orson Scott Card from their new digital Superman story.   And, as of last week, Card's comic has been delayed as the result of our protest – possibly forever!
      Over 16,000 All Out members spoke out, telling DC Comics Orson Scott Card's anti-gay vitriol is not okay for Superman, or their brand, if they truly want to support equality.
   Orson Scott Card is known for his science fiction writing. but he's also an extremist who has frightening views. 
    Card's also on the board of NOM (National Organization for Marriage), which is fighting tooth-and-nail against marriage equality in the US and globally. 
    According to AllOut, Card wrote public and disturbing screeds like this:

"Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage."
     This is the remark of a SICK mind. 

SO, WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE PETITION TO DC COMICS? 
Since the controversy hit the mainstream media, the outcry has been huge:
  • Comic book retailers from Texas to British Columbia have pledged to boycott the issue.
  • Individuals involved with an upcoming movie based on Card's novels are getting nervous about their association with him.
  • And finally, as of this week, the illustrator for Orson Scott Card's Superman comic has pulled out of the project. He cited the controversy around Card's anti-gay work as the reason he was leaving.
That means this comic will be delayed, and unless another illustrator wants to be associated with Card's values, it could very well disappear.
    A moment like this may seem trivial to some because it's about comics instead of big economic powers, politicians, or A-list celebrities, but the truth is that our icons, our shared mythologies and our storytellers have incredible influence on our cultures and communities. They are a reflection of our values and they deeply influence our shared ideals. Whether they hold up the values of true equality really matters.


SOURCES:
Artist leaves Orson Scott Card's Superman comic - USA Today, 5 March 2013
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2013/03/05/chris-sprouse-orson-scott-card-superman-comic/1964845/
'Ender's Game' Author's Anti-Gay Views Pose Risks for Film - Hollywood Reporter, 20 February 2013
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/enders-games-orson-scott-cards-422456
Publisher draws fire for hiring anti-gay writer on new 'Superman' series - CNN, 15 February 2013
http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/15/us/superman-controversy/index.html
DC Comics under fire for hiring anti-gay writer to pen Superman - The Guardian, 11 February 2013
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2013/feb/11/dc-comics-homophobic-writer-superman
Orson Scott Card Joins NOM Board - Box Turtle Bulliten, 21 April 2009
http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/04/21/10865

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Congrats to our friend Isabella- Books Now in Store!

Isabella's "Bound Trilogy" on the shelves of a bookstore!
Congrats to our friend Isabella on getting her books for sale in a local bookstore!   I worked with her side-by-side at the Baltimore Book Festival and she, her husband Darby and I became instant friends. I've read her series and it's awesome.
 - Here's the press release I wrote for her this weekend announcing her big event:
 Rob


Local Author’s “Bound Trilogy” Now Featured at City Lights Bookstore 

SYLVA, N.C. – The amazing adult fantasy series called the “Bound Trilogy” by local author I.R. Harris has arrived at City Lights Bookstore.  

I'm so honored and in awe of City Lights Bookstore for putting us front and center with so many wonderful authors,” Harris said. “Thanks to all my readers for making this possible!”  

Harris of Sylva, N.C., has found success with her trilogy and sold out of all copies at the Baltimore Book Festival in Baltimore, Maryland in September 2012. 

The books of “The Bound Trilogy” are called “Bound,” “Fallen,” and “Awakening.” They involve a young human woman named Ana who becomes involved in the world of demons and vampires, which are commonplace in this adult fantasy series. Each demon needs to bond with a human to achieve immortality. The story is set in the exotic Indonesia, and the author paints a vivid picture that enables the reader to visualize the characters, setting and events.  

To Ana, the Bonding ritual is a dangerous part of being human. When Ana's peaceful life is suddenly intersected by a Bonder Demon named Nathanial, she is thrown into a roaring tempest of choices, of love, of ever changing loyalties, and of lies.  For Ana, does being Bound mean to live in the absence of love, of autonomy, of trust or does it mean she will have to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to reclaim who she is and to save not only herself, but also the lives of those to which she is forever tied?  
The entire “Bound” trilogy is available in paperback or e-book on Amazon.com, and through the author’s website and blog. Books are also available on-line and as an e-book.  
Just recently Harris launched a companion blog called “The Gothic Transcendental” to complement her popular Adult Fantasy trilogy called “Bound.” The new blog contains insights to the author’s characters, inspirations and writing style, and can be found at: http://irharrisbooks.blogspot.com/ 

I.R. Harris has always been interested in writing and traveling. She received her Master’s degree in International Peace, Conflict and Sustainable Development from the University of Limerick in Ireland and constantly draw upon those experiences abroad throughout her writing process.  Her love for the outdoors and for travel has inspired interest in the study of Ecology, the preservation of indigenous culture, human rights and the dissemination of all knowledge through various creative processes.  

City Lights Bookstore is in Sylva, North Carolina - a small Main Street town tucked in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is located at 3 East Jackson Street,  Sylva, NC 28779, Tel. 828-586-9499. For more information about City Lights Bookstore, visit: http://www.citylightsnc.com/ 
For more information about City Lights Bookstore, visit: http://www.citylightsnc.com/ 
For the author’s website and blog , visit:  
www.irharrisbooks.com, irharrisbooks.storenvy.com, irharrisbooks.blogspot.com    
To follow I.R. Harris on Facebook or Twitter, visit:  
  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy 9th Birthday Franklin!

Franklin loves car rides- up front!
Our dachshund Franklin turns 9 today! Franklin has a strong personality and loves food. In fact, he loves ALL food!  He enjoys his food and Dolly's, Sprite's and Tyler's if he can get it. :)  Franklin loves to cuddle under blankets and wrap himself up in them. He's good at sleeping, and loves chasing rabbits, squirrels and birds. It's a passion for him. In fact, he's caught several of each of those in our backyard, despite weighing 24 pounds and having tiny little legs. He can move like a hurricane!

Tom with the kids

Dolly and Franklin ready to party

Look at the camera! Not.

Our fav pic of Franklin and Dolly
  Franklin loves to give us attitude whenever he goes outside, too, because whenever we call him to come in, he just looks at us and walks away. Some would call him stubborn. We think he's being a smart-ass!  We love our little monkey, and we're glad that his paw has finally healed after his surgery earlier this year.  Happy Birthday, Franklin! We love you!

Photo Blog: Dog Walk Day!

Franklin and Dolly enjoying the walk
On Sunday, March 10th, the weather warmed to the mid-60s here and the day was perfect for a walk. So, we took Dolly, Franklin and Tyler for a walk around an industrial park in the city (Sprite stayed home and wandered around the backyard because he can't walk).
  The industrial park has a huge man-made lake in the center of it. Near the southern end of the lake is an historic mansion that's being fixed up to be opened for public viewing at some point in the future.
  The industrial park is a peaceful place to take the dogs for a walk, and it made for a relaxing time. Because little Tyler the foster dog is heartworm positive, he can't walk long distances so Tom wound up carrying him.

Tom carrying Tyler

Franklin and Dolly looking around

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Home Project: But Not Ours!

Tom and Will working
Tom loves home projects and when he temporarily runs out of ideas he'll jump in and do a home project for someone else (although he does so many here, you'll have to get on his schedule.)  Because we sometimes watch our friend Yolie's cat and fish whenever she travels, Rob noticed that her top and bottom locks were not "cooperative," and in fact old. So, we bought a new lockset and Tom spent a couple of hours replacing the lock. 

Sawing the doorknob off

The finished lockset on!

Tom widening the holes for the new locks
  As usual, a simple change of locks took more than 30 minutes, because the doorknob wouldn't come off. In fact, it had it no pinholes to remove it, so we had to call our friend Will to come over and help figure it out. He and Tom wound up sawing the doorknob off!  Will brought a huge amount of tools and electric saw. I've never seen a tool bag as big as Will's, and it's a good thing he had it- it took both of them to change the locks!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On March 16th Rob opens for Medium Barb Mallon

On Saturday, March 16th, Rob opens for Medium Barb Mallon in a sold out event.
     Rob will talk about : "Spring and Spirits are signs of Rebirth" :
Springtime officially arrives March 20th, and it's a time of renewal and rebirth of plant life, just like passing from our physical form to a spiritual form.
  Author/scientist/medium Rob Gutro will open the event with some basics of mediumship, the difference between ghosts and spirits, and a short personal story of a man's "rebirth" as a spirit who took him on a treasure hunt with amazing signs that provided proof that our loved ones are still with us.
  To read about the treasure hunt like adventure, check out chapter four in Rob's new book "Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead." Available in E-book and paperback on Amazon.com. 
Rob's New Book- just $10 paper/$2.99 ebook
   To schedule readings with Medium Barb Mallon, check her website: www.barbmallon.com.
Barb is an amazing medium who has been featured on the Discovery Channel and helped mentor Rob.  She has done readings for Rob's friends and family and received intensely personal information from spirits that only they could have known. (Schedule an appt. with Barb at www.barbmallon.com)
  FROM BARB'S WEBSITE:   After a life-changing awakening, Barb Mallon felt a strong nudge from spirit to pursue the path of mediumship, and has been deeply involved in this unique work ever since. She is a evidential medium who brings through identifying pieces of information from a spirit person first, and then any messages they may have. Barb has been featured on numerous radio shows and has appeared on television on channels such as The Discovery Channel, as well. She conducts readings for both local clients and for clients all over the world.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dachshunds at Play: Tyler and Cooper

Our friend Shayne is doing some landscaping for us, and has been bringing his dog Cooper over to play with our dogs. You may remember that we fostered Cooper for a short time before Shayne adopted him, so our kids know Cooper.
 - Recently, he brought Cooper over and Tyler decided to play for a little while (he can't get too hyped up because he's still heartworm positive).  Here's a short video:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The New Pope: Before you Celebrate...read this

  We all know there's a new Pope. As a former Catholic, I'm incensed that they've picked another hate-filled man, so totally out of touch that will keep the church in the Middle Ages.  NOW, before you think I'm being Negative, or nasty, you need to know some things.
   In his acceptance,this new Pope called gay people like me "of the devil" and said that gay marriage is "evil."  Anyone that knows me or people like me knows I'm far from "evil."  What kind of "loving" person attacks ANYONE in their acceptance in a position that is supposed to represent the unconditional love of God?   The previous Pope did the same thing during the Christmas homily. Yes, the Christmas message included hatred and intolerance for gay people.  
  This is NOT what a church about a loving God should be. 
         He's Anti-abortion even if the mother's life is at risk. He's anti-contraception, too. SO, the Catholic church had a chance to come into the present, but remains in the middle ages. It's disgusting.
   Don't believe me?

The Huffington Post reports that:    "Pope Francis is a conservative who is anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption. He has described same-sex marriage as the work of the devil and a “destructive attack on God’s plan.” He has also said that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children.  In 2010, Francis championed against a bill for same-sex marriage and gay adoption, according to the National Catholic Register."
  FULL ARTICLE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/pope-francis-gay-marriage-anti_n_2869221.html?ir=gay-voices&utm_campaign=031313&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-gay-voices&utm_content=FullStory
   So, here's another hate-monger who may spend more time bashing gay people and denying them of having their marriages like mine legally recognized. 
    If I were still Catholic, I wouldn't be celebrating this Pope, I'd be mourning. The Church remains in the Middle Ages while society becomes more civilized, and more accepting of people who are different - After all, God loves EVERYONE.





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.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

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

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14