Monday, September 30, 2013

USA TODAY: Some Q&A: What Does a Gov't Shutdown Do?

It appears that the Federal Government is shutting down (because the GOP continues to try and blackmail the gov't with removing funding for the Affordable Care Act).  So, what does that mean? 
CBS News provided many questions and answers for everyone, and there's a link to a guide from CNN at the end of this email.
 - BTW, all Federal government employees will be furloughed without pay  (that includes both of us).

What causes a shutdown? Under the Constitution, Congress must pass laws to spend money. If Congress can't agree on a spending bill — or if, in the case of the Clinton-era shutdowns, the president vetoes it — the government does not have the legal authority to spend money.

When was the longest shutdown in history? The longest was also the most recent: from Dec. 16, 1995, through Jan. 5, 1996. That's 21 days.

What's the difference between a shutdown and a debt crisis? In a shutdown, the government lacks the legal authority to spend money on non-essential services. In a debt crisis, the government is mandated to spend money — but doesn't have the legal authority to borrow the money to spend it.

Are the two related? Only by timing, which is somewhat coincidental.
 Has the United States ever defaulted on its debt before? No.
NOTE: Would Congress continue to be paid during a shutdown? Yes.

- Federal agencies will close: 800,000 Federal Employees will NOT be working.
 - IRS and EPA will have skeleton crews
-368 National Parks, all Smithsonian Museums and zoo CLOSED   national parks. Or to national zoos. Or to national museums. They'd all be closed. That's 368 National Park Service sites closed, millions of visitors turned away. - ALL  Smithsonian Museums will BE CLOSED. (Nat'l Zoo, Air and Space, Holocaust Museum, etc
- Military Employees (per CNN):  The good news (for you) is that the men and women in uniform would continue to keep you safe. The bad news (for them) is that they'd be paid in IOUs until the shutdown ended
What will happen to veterans receiving compensation for service- or combat-related wounds and injuries? The Department of Veterans Affairs said if the shutdown continues into late October, it will run out of money for compensation and pension checks to more than 3.6 million veterans who rely on the money to support themselves.
Can I still get a federally backed loan? Maybe not. 
Will I still get my mail? Yes. The U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent business unit.
Can I get a passport? Maybe, but hurry. The Department of State says it has some funds outside the annual congressional appropriation. "Consular operations domestically and overseas will remain 100% operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations," the department says.

National Park campers already in the parks? They will be given two days to leave.
Will the Patent and Trademark Office be open? Yes. The office can continue to operate off user fees and other funds for at least four weeks before having to shut down.
 Would food safety inspections continue? Mostly. The Food Safety and Inspection Service would continue all safety-related activities. FDA would LIMIT food inspections.  
Will disaster response be affected? No. However, all "non-disaster" grants — such as state and local preparedness programs — would be postponed, the Department of Homeland Security says.
Will e-Verify be affected? Yes. The government system to allow companies to voluntarily check the legal work status of its employees would be shut down.
Would a shutdown put the brakes on implementing the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare?" No. The state-run exchanges for the uninsured would open as scheduled Tuesday. "The marketplaces will be open on Tuesday, no matter what, even if there is a government shutdown," President Obama said Friday.
 Why not? Like Social Security or Medicaid, Obamacare is a permanent entitlement that isn't subject to annual funding by Congress
Can I get a new or replacement Social Security card, benefit verification statement or earnings record correction?No.
Would seniors continue to get Social Security benefits? Yes. Social Security is a mandatory spending program, and the people who send those checks would continue to work under a legal doctrine called "necessary implication."
Will I be able to get food stamps? Yes
Federal school lunch program? will continue with lunches until near the end of Oct.
Will deceased veterans still be able to get a burial benefit? Yes.
Will my tax refund be delayed? Possibly, especially if the taxpayer files a paper return.
  What about taxpayer assistance? Walk-in assistance centers and telephone hotlines would be closed.
  I'm being audited by the IRS. Would a shutdown affect me? Yes. The IRS will suspend all audit activities.
 Would active-duty military be furloughed? No. All active-duty military are essential and should report as scheduled Tuesday, the Department of Defense said Friday.
 Will civilian defense workers be furloughed? About half of them, or about 400,000, will be sent home,
Would active-duty military be paid during a shutdown? If a shutdown lasts longer than a week, the Pentagon might not be able to process its payroll in time for the Oct. 15 paychecks
Could federal employees simply volunteer their services? No. A 19th-century federal law forbids volunteers because the government doesn't want them filing claims for back pay after the shutdown is over
How much money would a shutdown save taxpayers? Most likely, it wouldn't. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says shutdowns cost money in terms of contingency planning, lost user fees and back pay. A government estimate after the shutdown in 1995-96 estimated its cost at $1.4 billion.
 What effect would a shutdown have on the economy? Economists say even a short shutdown — of three or four days — would begin to shave decimal points off economic growth. A sustained shutdown of three or four weeks "would do significant economic damage," economist Mark Zandi told USA TODAY.

Glamour Mag: 5 Things Women (and Men) Need to Know NOW About the Affordable Care Act

Tuesday, 09/24/2013 10:35 AM- From Glamour Magazine on-line:
5 Things You Need to Know NOW About the Affordable Care Act
Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare—the law that makes preventive care (including family planning and related services, like birth control, annual exams, maternity care, and mammograms) more accessible and affordable for many Americans—kicks off on October 1.

And just in case you're not entirely sure what all of this might mean for you, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, gave us this very handy cheat sheet to help explain:
1. If you're uninsured, you may be able to get new insurance starting October 1.Almost everyone will have to get health insurance under the new health care reform law. The law says you must have health insurance by 2014 or you’ll have to pay a fine. But there's good news: Starting October 1, new, more affordable, quality health insurance plans will be available for you to enroll in. And if you make less than $45,960 per year, you may be eligible to get financial help to enroll in a new insurance plan. Here's how find out more about whether you’re eligible and how to enroll; you can also learn more about what the new health care law means for women.
2. If you already have insurance, your benefits will expand (and they may already be expanding!).
Under the law, insurance companies can no longer charge women more for the same coverage men get, and they also can’t refuse to cover "preexisting conditions," like breast cancer or having had a cesarean section. Some women are already getting expanded benefits, depending on how their insurance plan is structured; for most plans, these benefits kick in at the start of the new "plan year," which varies. If you're insured, ask the benefits administrator at your workplace or call the number on the back of your insurance card to find out when it kicks in for you.
3. You will be able to get prescription birth control for free, without a co-pay.
The law requires that insurance companies cover all of the FDA-approved birth control methods without a co-pay, including pills, rings, implants, and IUDs. While every method has to be covered, not every brand has to be covered with no co-pay—some plans may only cover certain brands of pills, for example, so you'll have to ask the insurance company if your brand is covered without a co-pay. The birth control benefit applies to people who currently have insurance (once their new plan year kicks in) and people who get new insurance.
4. You'll be able to get annual exams, prescriptions, and other services for free, without a co-pay.
Insurance plans will have to cover doctor visits, annual well-woman exams, hospitalizations, maternity care, prescription medications, ER care, and more, all without a co-pay.
5. If you're getting new insurance, you can "interview" insurance plans to find out which one is best for you.
The range of services that insurance plans offer will vary—for example, they have to cover maternity services, but the exact services covered might be different from plan to plan. Also, you'll want to make sure your current health care provider is covered by the plan—your a specific doctor, or a health center like Planned Parenthood. When you're enrolling in new health insurance, you'’ll get a list of plans that are available. You should contact each of them to find out more about what they cover and which providers are included. (Here's an interview guide so you'll know exactly what to ask.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

TODAY 12-7pm Come See me and Isabella at the Baltimore Book Festival

I'll be selling my 2 books at the bookfest!
I'm going to be at the Baltimore Book Festival today, Sunday, Sept. 29 from 12pm to 7pm with our friend and amazing adult fantasy author, Isabella (I.R. Harris).  The festival is on Charles street, north of the Inner Harbor and covers about 6 blocks. You can't miss it. It's free, too.

Isabella and Darby at the Asheville Comic-con last weekend

Isabella and I will be side-by-side under the "local author's tent!"

In the Lies of Men: The Legion Series Book I
Come see us at the Baltimore Book Festival!

SUMMARY:  Fired from the job she loves, with no money and no prospects, Aidee returns to her hometown of Thorne Bay, Alaska to find her footing. A quiet fishing village with a history of Inuit Elder magick, Aidee’s little hamlet attracts tourists from around the world who hold a gruesome intrigue for the massacre that occurred in the town. After years of being away, she quickly realizes all too soon that she’s been expected to return and that she’s not the only one still trying to wash the blood of the past from her hands...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Terri Visit #4: Annapolis Ghostly Encounters Part 2: and a Confirmation!

This is the second part of the ghostly encounters I (Rob) had walking through Annapolis. When I got home, I began searching for an image and what I found was astounding and was a confirmation.

Harriet Ridgely
 FEMALE GHOST ON MAIN STREET- When we were walking down the main street, we neared a bank in the middle of the street between the State House and the docks. That's when I sensed and "saw" a woman walking by me on the sidewalk with a bonnet and a gray-colored dress. I knew she lived around the time of the early 1800s as she walked past me.
CONFIRMATION: When I was writing this blog to try and figure out who it was, she apparently helped me. Here's why: I put in the Google search engine: "1800s woman annapolis, md."
  The first page of Google brought up about 30 photos, paintings and drawings under "IMAGES." I searched through them looking for the best likeness of the ghostly woman I saw. Most of them were too matronly looking, and were paintings of rich women posing on chairs. That's when I came to one that looked very much like the ghostly woman I saw!  
   Here's the Proof: when I went to save the image, it took me to the page where it resided, and HERE IS THE DESCRIPTION FOR THE PHOTO: "Harriet Callahan, ( her married name is Mrs. John Ridgely) of the Hammond Harwood House, Annapolis, Maryland. [Painting by] 1790 James Peale (1749-1831).
   The Hammond Harwood House is very close to where we were walking. This ghost was "Harriet Callahan (Ridgely)!" This is how ghosts and spirits work. They provide the clues to identify themselves and you have to put it together. This one was pretty amazing to me, because I didn't think I'd ever figure out who she was. Wow.
Hammond Harwood House Sign
  THE HAMMOND HARWOOD HOUSE - Hammond-Harwood House is located on the corner of Maryland King George Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401. This brick mansion was designed by architect William Buckland for Mathias Hammond, a lawyer and planter. The 18th century house is now a museum. Buckland died in December of 1774, but the construction went on for several more years. Oddly, Hammond never lived in the house.

Ghost had same uniform

THE SECOND GHOST- The next ghost walking the streets of Annapolis that I bumped into right after Harriet was a lot more difficult to pinpoint, because it was an Admiral in the U.S. Navy in the 1950s, around 1952. He was in full white-dress summer uniform and was wearing a hat when he "walked" past me.  Of course, the Naval Academy in right there in Annapolis so it makes perfect sense that a dedicated Admiral would be staying around as an Earth-bound ghost. I couldn't find a decent photo on-line of a Navy man from the 1950s, so I'm re-using and focusing on one of the three Navy guys that I took a picture of during Terri's visit. Of course, looking at the picture, you could guess why I didn't spend a lot of time scouring the Internet for a photo of a 1950s Naval officer. This one is just as good to look at. :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Terri Visit #3: Annapolis Ghostly Encounters Part 1

Audubon Store in Annapolis
  Anyone that knows me (Rob), knows that since I was a kid I've been able to sense Earth bound ghosts or spirits who have crossed over - and I always get a light headache in the back side of my head whenever they're around. Entities are energy and they give me an "energy overload," thus, the headache.  Anyway, while our friend Terri was visiting, we walked around Annapolis, Md. and I ran into some residents who still live there after one or two hundred years....
  For those reading this from outside of Maryland, Annapolis (on the Severn River, connected to Chesapeake Bay) is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County.  The city was actually used the temporary capital of the United States in 1783−1784! The city was founded in 1649, so there were bound to be some Earth-bound ghosts... and there were.
  While walking around the quaint downtown area, we turned onto Maryland Avenue. It was there that I encountered on man who continues to linger there 80 years after he died.

the ghost appeared similar to the man in the middle
   One store we went into was the building that houses a store for the Audubon Society.   As soon as I walked up to the front of the building I got my ghost-indicating headache. The store was on the first floor of this multi-story building, on the left side of the entrance.
  The building appeared to be an old apartment building with shops on the first floor and a doorway between the shops that go into a narrow hallway/lobby with an elevator.
  It was in that hallway/lobby I sensed a larger man, dressed in a 1930s suit with a hat. He passed from a stroke, but this was his building. He owned it. He wanted it and still wants it. Tom also sensed a presence there as well. He was stubborn, and didn't seem to care that he was separated from his other loved ones who died decades ago. Obviously he was materialistic in life and maintained that personality (as we do) in death. Sadly, he was so materialistic that his family doesn't matter as much as owning that building. So, we let him be and walked on. There are some Earth-bound ghosts that simply can't be convinced they need to move on, and if he hasn't learned that in 80 years of lingering in that apartment lobby, he'd likely be hard to convince.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Terri's Visit #2: Annapolis Streets /Fun Video short!

While in Annapolis we got coffee and iced tea, and a pastry, and we sat on the dock facing the Severn River for a good 30 minutes, enjoying the sunshine, the view of the river and boats, and the cool breeze coming off the water. It was a perfect setting and very relaxing.
   Many of the streets have historic homes that date back to the 1700s and 1800s. Those that are historic have signs on them that identify the year they were built. Some are nicely decorated with brightly colored flowers. So, we stopped and took a photo of one of them.

Rob, Terri and Tom

Terri on a typical Annapolis street

VIDEO FUN - While we were sitting at the docks in downtown Annapolis, I decided to make a short video- and we had a good laugh over it!  - Sadly, you can't hear the funny comment Tom made, but the laughter makes it worth it. :)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Terri's Visit #1: Annapolis - State House

Rob, Terri and Tom
Our friend Terri visited us on Sunday, Sept. 22 and we took her to downtown Annapolis to enjoy the history, shops and the view of the water.
WHAT IS ANNAPOLIS? - For those who don't know what Annapolis is...
Md State House Sign

Tom and Terri - with Md. State House in Back

Naval Academy guys at a restaurant - nice view
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County.The city was the temporary capital of the United States in 1783−1784. A settlement in the Province of Maryland named Providence was founded on the north shore of the Severn River in 1649 by Puritan exiles from Virginia led by Governor William Stone.
  Annapolis today is a wonderful, quaint, bayside city (on the Severn River that connects to the Chesapeake Bay. 
   The U.S. Naval Academy is located in Annapolis, and cadets walk around in their white uniforms. Of course, I wanted to get a photo for Terri, and I couldn't get these three guys to turn around, so I had to take this picture of their butts. How awful. LOL. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An Amazing Performance Jamie Pugh on Britain's Got Talent

Tom shared this video on Facebook, but this performance deserves to be put on our blog. It made me tear up. Hope you enjoy it, even if you've seen it before.
 - Jamie Pugh singing "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables on Britain's Got Talent in 2009 . He went on to make a CD and you can find it here:


Monday, September 23, 2013

Bark Busters Called to Help with Tyler Training!!!

Our young black and tan dachshund Tyler has been a challenge to train on some issues, and after 9 months of having him as part of the family, we decided to get help.
  Tyler came to us as a foster dog in Dec. 2012 through Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue.
WHAT WE TAUGHT HIM BEFORE - We took him to puppy school in Petsmart and I've been working with him since we took him in. In December, he didn't know his name, wasn't housebroken and didn't know any commands.
   So, we got him housebroken and taught him his new name "Tyler" (it was Repo before I think).  I also taught him a bunch of commands. "sit, stay, stop, go, up, down, and walk."
  WHAT WE COULDN'T FIXHe wouldn't wait for us to go out the door first; barking at other dogs, runs back and forth along the fence barking at the neighbor's dog (on the other side), run up the stairs first ahead of us, jumps up and down, nips, and runs barking to the front door.
   His behavior toward other dogs has been increasingly hostile whenever we walk- so we called in a professional: BARK BUSTERS. 
It works!  We practiced first in the backyard...
   PROGRESS IN ONE VISIT:  Sharon from Bark Busters came out and talked about Tyler's issues. We signed a contract for two (long) visits and training in the home- where it really mattered. It was amazing.  We already saw some progress to several of those problems during the 3 hour stay / initial meeting with the Bark Busters coach. Tyler has waited for me to go upstairs

Franklin, Dolly, Tyler
before following. He's learning how to walk on a leash without pulling and did a great first day of it!
  WHAT IS BARK BUSTERS?Bark Busters USA, part of the international dog training company founded over 20 years ago. Bark Busters founders Sylvia and Danny Wilson have refined a method of dog obedience training that makes dog training easy and accessible to all. With Bark Busters, you work directly with a dog trainer in your own home using a method that takes into account the unique challenges you're facing and then fosters a positive relationship between you and your dog. This method enables you to build a lasting, emotional bond based on trust and respect, which in turn aids in overcoming past challenges with your pet. Bark Busters dog trainers focus heavily on training people, as much or more as training dogs, so that once you learn to communicate effectively with your dog, you will have the necessary tools to be an effective dog trainer and "leader of his/her pack."
We highly recommend them, and the service is ALL OVER THE U.S.!  TO FIND A LOCAL TRAINER NEAR YOU CALL: call free 1-877-500-BARK (2275)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

CBS NEWS: Batman, Captain America Rescue Cat From Burning W. Va. Home

Batman, Capt. America save cat: Photo Credit: WCHS TV
I heard this story on CBS radio and found this article on CBS News. How cool is this, superhero fans? :) 

MILTON, W.Va. (AP/KDKA) — Batman and Captain American came to the rescue when a house in West Virginia caught fire.
Two men clad in the superheroes’ costumes saved a cat from the burning home in Milton.
John Buckland portrays Batman and Troy Marcum portrays Captain America as part of their business. (STORY CONTINUED AFTER VIDEO REPORT):

Media outlets report that they were entertaining children at an event Saturday when they saw smoke coming from the house.
Both men ran to the house. They were joined by Sam Carr, who had just finished a benefit motorcycle ride.
Buckland and Carr kicked in the front door and Montgomery threw a rock through a window to let smoke out. Buckland says he crawled into the front room and felt something furry. He grabbed the cat, ran outside and gave it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Must Watch 3 min. Video: Wonder Weims Rescue beautiful tribute to Rezzy.

Tom and I support many dog rescues, particularly Weimaraner and Dachshund rescues, because those are the breeds of our children. In early September "Wonder Weims Rescue" posted a picture and note that an emaciated 11 year old Weimaraner was suffering in a shelter in Chicago. The picture was disturbing. He was really skin and bones, and his esopoghus was swollen so he couldn't eat. He was picked up on the streets of Chicago and the cruel owner didn't have the consideration to try and save him, contact a rescue or euthanize the poor, suffering dog. 
   So, Wonder Weims Rescue got him and took him into a foster home, getting him urgent medical care. We donated to help cover his costs, as did thousands around the world. He passed this week and it was heartbreaking. Someone produced this video for Wonder Weims as a tribute to Rezzy (short for "resilient"). It's very moving- and of course, I cried like a baby at the end of it. 
   **If you know of any animal being abused PLEASE report it. No dog should ever have to suffer as Rezzy did. Please watch the video.Below is the story from Wonder Weims.
(and feel free to donate to them at:

Published on Sep 14, 2013: Wonder Weims Rescue via Lori Smith A beautiful tribute to our buddy Rezzy. 
WARNING: This video contains disturbing images of Rezzy, a 6 year old weimaraner suffering from mega-esophagus. Originally thought to be twice his age, his condition had rendered him unable to hold down food or water and resulted in severe emaciation and chronic pneumonia. When rescued, Rezzy was in critical condition and scheduled for euthanasia within hours.
     The shelter contacted Wonder Weims Weimaraner Rescue in St. Louis, MO in the hope that they could provide the extraordinary care and committment needed to rehabilitate him. Within hours, Rezzy was with WWR volunteers and receiving emergency veterinary treatment. His story has inspired an overwhelming display of human compassion and teamwork, and brought together people from all over the world in the common bond of love for a dog.
   This video is a tribute to the volunteers, transporters, fosters and director of Wonder Weims Weimaraner Rescue and the never ending work they do for no greater reward than the tail wags of the dogs they save and the gratitude of the people who are adopted by them. It is dedicated to Rezzy, whose affectionate, gentle nature and willingness to trust in spite of everything demonstrates all we need to know about what love is.
   The video would not exist except for the songwriting brilliance of Jimmy Scott, so here's huge thank you to him for his words and music.Soundtrack: "Old Grey Dog" by Jimmy Scott, available at

Friday, September 20, 2013

Baltimore Comic-Con #8: My Favorite Photo at Comic-Con!

One of the best reasons to dress up as a superhero is to make a kid's eyes light up when they see their favorite hero. As you could tell from reading the previous 7 blogs, that's also something that happened with adults, too. It's a great way for superhero fans like me to connect with others who can relate to a passion.
  At the end of my time at the Comic-con, my friend Tom R. and I walked out into the lobby to find many costumed people hanging out there. Some of the photos you saw on previous blog postings were actually taken in the lobby.
  While in the lobby, a woman walked up to me and asked me if her son and daughter, dressed as a little Batman and little Batgirl, could have their picture with the Green Lantern. Of course I was very happy to do so, and it resulted in my favorite picture from the Comic-con.
Green Lantern meets little Batman and little Batgirl!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baltimore Comic-Con #7: Two Blue Characters and Tom R.'s Shield

A modified X-men "Beast"
There were two very blue characters at the Baltimore Comic-con, that you'll appreciate. The first one was a character from one of the X-men movies, and the other from a James Cameron film (that my Tom and I didn't see).  I attended the convention with our friend Tom R., and he found a "Captain America" shield that he was impressed by (as I was) so we got a picture of it. The cost: $575.00!!!

THE BEAST - Henry Philip McCoy was born in Dundee, Illinois. Mutated as a result of his father's  exposure at a nuclear power plant, Hank is born (with blue skin and later fur) with a vast intellect, a great wit, unusually long arms and legs, and unusually large hands and feet for a human; in fact, his body's proportions are comparable to those of a gorilla. He's a biochemist, too. He became a member of the X-men, and at one time the Avengers. He has incredible strength, speed, stamina, agility a healing factor, claws and fangs. This guy was all painted in blue and wearing an old-style X-man yellow suit.

A Na'vi warrior from "Avatar"
NA'VI CHARACTER FROM "AVATAR" FILM - There was one attendee who was dressed as a Na'vi character from the film Avatar. Avatar is set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system.The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi – a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to a genetically engineered Na'vi body with the mind of a remotely located human, and is used to interact with the natives of Pandora. The guy at Comic-Con was actually walking around on stilts, so he was about 12 feet high!

Tom R. next to Captain America's Shield
CAPTAIN AMERICA'S SHIELD - One of the vendors at the Comic-con was a metallurgist and crafted a shield like the one that Captain America wielded in the comics. The shield was made of metal, painted red, white and blue with a star in the middle - just like Cap's shield. It was tagged $575.00! Both Tom R. and I loved the shield but it's one of those things you wouldn't know what to do with and it was unaffordable, so Tom R. settled for a photo next to it!

Captain America and his shield
WHO IS CAPTAIN AMERICA? - Captain America is a "super soldier" that was created during World War 2 by an experimental super serum that transformed skinny Steve Rodgers into a musclebound hero. Captain America donned a red, white and blue costume and first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (cover-dated March 1941). As of 2007, an estimated 210 million copies of "Captain America" comic books had been sold in 75 countries. He was embodied by the handsome Chris Evans in a 2011 movie. Cap is also a member of the Avengers.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

*Special Blog*Helpful Reminders About the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Over the last two years we've strived to understand the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and have shared them with you. Now, because the plan is set for implementation in January 2014 (Unless the GOP holds it hostage in the budget as they've threatened for the 47th time), Here are important things you should know- with links to the info we gathered.

    BTW- one of the benefits to ANYONE that goes to a hospital, is that service fees may start coming down. WE, the insured, pay for all the uninsured people, gunshot victims, drug addicts, etc. - NOW, these people will have the ability to get affordable health care and hospitals won't be charging everyone to cover these costs.


50% of the American Public STILL doesn't understand the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare), so in order to make it easy, we've researched and VERIFIED 12 reasons why "Obamacare" should remain in place.  
 - For those who are VISUAL- here are some slides courtesy of, that highlight the benefits.  


The Affordable Care Act is already making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans.


Just as the President said, his health plan would drive healthcare costs down. Now, FORBES magazine's Rick Ungar  concedes that he (Ungar) and all of the conservatives were wrong and the President's plan does exactly that in California (profiled in this article).
From Good news for America's seniors -- those of you who have been hitting the gap in Medicare Part D prescription coverage will be receiving a $250 check in the mail starting this week. This is part of our promise to protect Medicare, help seniors manage health care costs and, ultimately, eliminate this gap (known as the “donut hole”) in prescription drug coverage.

Baltimore Comic-Con #6: Two Famous Comic-Book Talents and Mysterious Japanese Characters

Neal Adams pic of Spectre, Batman and Deadman
There were many famous folks at the Baltimore Comic-con who had tables and were doing signings of the comics or their artwork.
NEAL ADAMS - One of my all-time favorite artists, Neal Adams was there, and was signing copies of comic book covers he's done since the 1970s. He's amazing. The line was too long, so I couldn't meet him, though. He's drawn many issues of Batman, and my other favorite hero, the Spectre, who you just met in a previous blog.
Art Baltazar sketching for a fan

ART BALTAZAR - Art Baltazar is an American comic book artist and writer who currently works for DC Comics.    He's worked on lots of comics for children including: Tiny Titans (which the two won a 2011 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! and Young Justice. He's also worked on  Deep-sea Duel and Royal Rodent Rescue (both DC Super-Pets!) with our friend John Sazaklis.  We couldn't get close enough to meet him either (line was too long), so we took a picture.

Paul Kupperberg, me as The Green Lantern, Tom R.
PAUL KUPPERBERG TAKES ME BY SURPRISE! - While Tom R. and I were walking around the convention center floor, a gentleman came up and asked for a picture with me (I was dressed as the Green Lantern). It was Paul Kupperberg! He's a former editor for DC Comics, and a prolific writer of comic books and newspaper strips. He told me that he wrote so many issues of Green Lantern that he wanted to have a picture with me. I was so excited!  He's written about 600 stories, and I've read many of them. He told us that one of the Green Lantern Corps members he created was the squirrel-like creature named Ch'p (cross between a squirrel and a chipmunk). He wrote the Flash, Wonder Woman, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and so much more! Now he's writing two new ongoing series for Archie Comics which began in August 2010 in the second issue of Life With Archie: The Married Life, in magazine format.

JAPANESE COMIC CHARACTERS - I don't remember who these guys were dressed up as, but Tom R. did... now I can't remember. If you know, let me know! They were pretty comical, though!


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