Wednesday, December 31, 2014

*Midnight Deadline FOR Tax Deduction* HELP RESCUE DOGS AND CATS

*Midnight Deadline FOR Tax Deduction* Many Dog and cat rescues NEED donations, and Make one TONIGHT to include them in your taxes.
Donate to 1) DC Area Weimaraner Rescue at
2) Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue at
3) Sophia's Grace Foundation Dachshund rescue:
4) Weimaraner Rescue of the North
5) Dachshund Rescue of North America
6) North Shore Animal League America
7) Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue
and MORE!
- There are so many dog in foster care with medical bills that need help. Thank you for your support!

2 Okay Movies We've Seen Recently: Guardians and Maleficient

Over the last couple of weeks, we managed to see 2 new movies on DVD. 
Chris Pratt needed more time like this in Guardians
Here are our reviews:

1) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - Gave this a "C". For a movie that remained #1 in theatres over the past summer and supposedly made $772 million dollars around the world, we thought it was a poor-man's Star Wars. 
     It's based on a Marvel Comics group of space villains turned unlikely heroes. (The comic book was never a big hit, btw). It's about a group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.  There was a wise-cracking, speaking raccoon, a walking tree named Groot (who was a good character), a woman with an attitude, a big bruiser of an alien, and a smart-ass, handsome leader named "Starlord." The Starlord character, played by actor Chris Pratt, needed to take his shirt off for more than 60 seconds (he's in great shape). If he kept it off for at least half the movie, we would've given the movie a "B." 

2) MALEFICIENT - Gave this a "B"  We thought this was visually magnificent, but the storyline reminded us of the musical Wicked, where the evil character tells it from her point of view and she was misunderstood. Maleficient was the "evil" female character who put Sleeping Beauty into a deep eternal sleep- who was fortunately awakened by a kiss of true love (there's a twist on that in the movie).

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Dachshunds and Fixing Poop Eating

Franklin with his muzzle
One thing that we're diligent about is picking up our backyard whenever one of our three canine kids do their business (#2). Sometimes we miss some, and 2 of our 3 kids decide they're snack worthy. EEEEWWW.
  We prefer a very clean backyard- so we pick it up about 2-3 times a day (and sometimes I (Rob) go out at night with the dogs holding a flashlight to pick up after them!).  - However, some "deposits" are missed because I'm color blind and green and brown look pretty much the same to me.
- So, at 4:30am when we get up, I take the 2 dachshunds out on a leash so I can ensure they don't eat #2. Dollly, our Weimaraner doesn't indulge in that nasty habit- just the dachshund boys do. Dolly is too much of a lady.

OUR ATTEMPTED FIX  - I've read countless articles about putting stuff in their food to make it smell bad... and thought "How in the world is poop going to smell any worse?"  - So that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Tyler with his muzzle
Since sometimes the dogs really need to run outside, I came up with the idea of putting a basket muzzle on them. I thought "That's the PERFECT solution!" Well, not really, but it helps.

HE'S RELENTLESS!!! - Franklin "taught" Tyler (our 5 year old) how to eat #2. Franklin also taught Sprite to do the same (Sprite passed on July 8, 2013). In fact, Franklin is so driven that I will never forget the first time I call him, Tyler and Dolly in from the backyard to find #2 all over the front of the basket muzzle and Franklin trying to get at it. So, we've had a couple of those adventures... and we continue to be vigilant and pick up the yard many times a day.

Dolly says "That's just nasty!"

* Our friends Connie and Poul suggested changing their food to "Blue brand" so we bought that this week.
Suggestions on-line: 

* Change the dog's diet. Buy or prepare only nutritious, quality food that is formulated for the dog's age, breed and any medical issues.
* For the dog who may be hungry, try feeding him a little more, and make sure you feed a quality, nutritious food that is appropriate for the age and type of canine.
* Take the dog to your veterinarian for an examination for underlying medical and health problems, parasites and other problems that may be compelling him to eat feces.
* Clean up after your pet, right after he goes - before he has a chance to eat his poop. Stopping access is one key to stopping this habit.
* Walk the dog on leash so that you are in a better position to tell the dog 'leave it' and to physically keep the dog from trying to sniff and eat stools. Always praise your dog with treats for listening. 
* One  thing to try: Add two to four tablespoons of canned pumpkin to the food bowl each day. Pumpkin apparently tastes good in food, but repugnant when expelled in excrement.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Really Great book! Paws for Murder by Annie Knox

I recently finished reading "Paws for Murder" by Annie Knox. It was really outstanding. The reader quickly gets to know
Izzy, who owns a pet shop in a small Minnesota town, and a lot of the quirky characters there. The writing is great and keeps the reader wanting to continue reading more and more.
  I love the various characters, and could picture the small town, and small town gossip and politics. The writer really is wonderful, and I can't wait to read her second novel.

  STORY:  Izzy McHale is on the brink of launching her new business, a pet boutique called Trendy Tails, when she winds up on the wrong side of Sherry Harper, Merryville, Minnesota’s resident trust fund baby and social activist. With Sherry threatening to picket Trendy Tails’s grand opening, Izzy’s worried her business will fail before it officially opens. But the night of the big event, Sherry Harper is found dead in the alley behind Izzy’s store and suspect number one is her best friend, Rena Hamilton. Izzy and her friends and family have to solve the mystery of Sherry’s murder before Rena gets sent up the river for a crime she didn’t commit.
Paws for Murder is the first in the new Pet Boutique Mystery series. Set to be released on January 7, 2014


Sunday, December 28, 2014

UK's first 'poo bus' goes into service!

Being dog dads we experience some bursts of methane... (pooting/farting), so we found this article from the U.K. interesting about the power source for new buses. I think we may want to bottle the "experiences" from our canine kids and ship them overseas to power their buses. In one month, our kids could power a fleet of buses!   Anyway,  the technology is amazing.  Of course, we have to wonder what the exhaust smells like if you're driving behind it!

Here's the article: 

UK's first 'poo bus' goes into service between Bristol and Bath


     The UK's first bus powered entirely by human and food waste has gone into service between Bristol and Bath.
The 40-seat "Bio-Bus" runs on biomethane gas generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste.
The eco-friendly vehicle can travel up to 300km (186 miles) on one tank of gas, which takes the annual waste of about five people to produce.
      It is run by tour operator Bath Bus Company and will shuttle people between Bristol Airport and Bath city centre.
The biomethane gas is generated at Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, which is run by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water.
      GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq said: "Gas-powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities but the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself."
  • A single passenger's annual food and sewage waste would fuel the Bio-Bus for 37 miles (60km)
  • Its combustion engine is similar in design to diesel equivalents in conventional buses
  • Compressed gas is stored in dome-like tanks on the roof of the Bio-Bus
  • The gas is generated through anaerobic digestion - where oxygen starved bacteria breaks down biodegradable material to produce methane-rich biogas
  • To power a vehicle, the biogas undergoes "upgrading", where carbon dioxide is removed and propane added
  • Impurities are removed to produce virtually odour free emissions
  • Compared to conventional diesel vehicles, up to 30% less carbon dioxide is emitted

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tyler Graduates from 2nd Pre-Agility Semester Class!

Tyler waiting for a command in class
Our 5 year old black and tan dachshund, Tyler used to be called "Tyler the terror." Since he's been in two semesters of "pre-agility" at Hog Dog training (thanks to our friends Susan and Cary for recommending it)- he's become a much more obedient, amazing dog. He graduated from his second semester class and has really become an amazing and obedient little guy.

   Every dog needs a job and needs to feel good about themselves, just like people do! 

    Tyler's second semester came to a close on Dec. 23rd and he learned so much! Some of the things included backing up until his feet touch a raised surface (you can practice with a phone book); dropping a treat and having the dog stay until you say "okay," doing a Figure 8 around obstacles, and running through a tunnel!  Tyler is just learning how to run through weave poles, and will continue on in the third semester to master it.

Tyler after going around a weave pole!
Going through a tunnel (this isn't Tyler)
  One thing he learned in December was to run through a tunnel. That's a big, scary thing for a little dog, but after a couple of times, Tyler zipped through the tunnel, came out the other side, turned around on his own and ran back through it the other way without even being told (and I wanted him to do that)!!

  It's amazing how proud I am of little Tyler. When I practice at home with him every night after dinner, Dolly, our Weimaraner joins in!  She's learned to do figure 8's around obstacles, go "upstairs." "downstairs." Stay for dropped treats until I say "okay." and more. She learns at home right with Tyler (as Franklin, our 10 year old Dachshund watches).
   Here are some pictures from Tyler's training class!
This is what an agility tunnel looks like

Tyler returns for the third semester on January 7th!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Four Examples of our loved one's spirits around on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries

Spirits visit on Birthdays, Anniversaries and Holidays so be aware of what's happening around you. They can influence things to happen, like having a mom bring her newborn to a hospital when the baby is running a fever, only to discover the baby had an infection that needed treatment.
  They can leave you signs like their favorite song playing on the radio, or a coin with the year of their birth,death, or some other life event. Flowers, a phone call with no one on the other end. There are a whole host of things they can do.

Sweet Caroline getting good care
A BABY NEEDING HELP- This Christmas, our friend Katrina's daughter newborn daughter Caroline was hospitalized.
   Katrina took her infant daughter to the doctor to investigate a high temperature. It seems that she was influenced to go to that degree from the spirit of her grandma- and be extra-cautious. That cautiousness turned out to be necessary. 
   Caroline went into the hospital on Dec. 22 with a temperature and doctors discovered she had  a bacterial infection in her blood and needs antibiotics, so they kept her in the hospital over Christmas.
  I told my friend Carol (Katrina's mom, Caroline's grandma) - "At least the doctors found something important enough to ensure she's getting the care she needs. In fact, it's because your mom's spirit helped them find it. Your mom is right there with her."

A BIRTHDAY APPEARANCE - Last month, on Tom's birthday, I told him that his late friend Ed would be around. Well, he found a penny and it was dated 1996, the year that Ed passed away. That was a confirmation from Ed that he was indeed around, just as your late relatives (people and pets) are around during birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

TWO SCENTS IN HOLIDAY GREETINGS- Our friend Beth said on Hanukkah, "I just smelled my dad....weird! He's been gone for 4 years. It was real, (the smell) did not know to cook a favorite meal. We cooked what would have been his favorite breakfast!"

Beth's friend Tammy also got a visit from her mother-in-law. Tammy said "That happened to us yesterday. We were making her homemade peanut butter cookies there she was. It was Richard's momma's perfume. . Weird feeling. "

Ed made a birthday appearance!
You can find more information about the signs spirits can give in my book "Lessons Learned from Talking to the Dead":    SUMMARY: Follow Rob 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. Featuring: Inspired Ghost Tracking and mediums Barb Mallon, Troy Cline and Ruth Larkin. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from our House to Yours!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from our house to yours. Here's our (electronic) holiday card this year. It was designed and created by our friend Yolie, who is an aunt to our kids, Dolly, Franklin and Tyler- and we think she captured them perfectly! Wishing you a wonderful holiday!  Rob and Tom, Dolly, Franklin and Tyler

A Happy Holiday Memory (and song!)

   Whichever holiday you're celebrating this season, just know that your loved ones in spirit (people or pets) are likely around you. Whether in the smell of a baked pie that brings back a memory of your grandmother, or certain ornament that you take out that reminds you of a brother or sister you're missing, or a song that reminds you of your parents. When you see, smell or hear it, they're likely there with you.
   I (Rob) was listening to one of my favorite Christmas music CDs, and heard Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers singing "(I'll be Home) With Bells On" and it reminded me of the one year I wrote up the lyrics to the song and sang it with my mom and dad (who have since passed). After my brothers and their significant others departed for the day, I took a tape player (yes, tape in 1996) and put it on the living room table once the dessert dishes were cleared. I handed them the sheet of lyrics and played the tape. We all "attempted" to sing it - and although it wasn't a stellar on-key performance, it was fun and memorable.
   This month, when the song came on, I could hear my parents singing in the background and I felt they joined me in the car. Spirits are around us, especially on the holidays.
   As an extra, I'm sharing the video of the song here.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, Happy Ramadan- whatever you're celebrating - celebrate life and spirit!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2 of our Fav Christmas Songs & Videos: Carpenters and Cliff Richard

Here are two Christmas songs we like in video: 
Tom's Pick: The Carpenters: "Merry Christmas, Darling." 
Rob's Pick: Cliff Richard: "Mistletoe and Wine"



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Our Kids Visit Santa!

Franklin, Dolly, Santa and Tyler all looking at the camera!
On Sunday, December 6, we brought our kids, Dolly the Weimaraner, Franklin the  red-smooth dachshund, and Tyler the black and tan dachshund - to see Santa. Santa was visiting their vet's office at Family Vet Clinic in Gambrills, Maryland and was happily posing for pictures with all canines and felines. 
   Santa was brought in by a team of Christmas Greyhounds in the local Greyhound rescue, and Debi from the Vet's office took amazing pictures. Here are all the pictures Debi took of our kids!

Franklin smells a treat to the right!

Franklin says "Take my best side"

Tyler is thinking "Will Franklin ever look at the camera?"

Dolly said "Okay, I have to see what Franklin is looking at!"

Quick! Franklin is looking. OH! Dolly is not!

Santa says, "I think we're all looking at the camera, now!"

Merry Christmas from Franklin, Dolly, Santa and Tyler!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Startle at the Mannheim Steamroller Holiday Concert!

Tom bought us tickets to see and hear Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Concert at the Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland and it was really enjoyable. It's all instrumental music with a flare and really great to listen to. In the background on a giant screen, they had lots of wintry and holiday images and video, which made it more entertaining. 
A JUMP! -   One song they did, called "Good King Wenceslas," began softly and slowly, and after about 30 seconds there was a loud percussion sound which caused the elderly woman sitting in front of us to jump about 1 foot out of her seat!!! 
  Apparently, she had dozed off during the previous song and the sudden loud noise startled her!  We tried not to laugh out loud though... and continued enjoying the concert with a big smile on our faces. :) 
  Here's a link to the song on You Tube:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Santa Brought Mack to a Forever Home !

Mack asked Santa for a forever home
On Saturday, Dec. 20, Santa brought our little 11 year old black and tan, mini-dachshund named Mack, to his forever home. We had been fostering little Mack for about 2 months through Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue. 
Connie and Poul of northern Virginia adopted him yesterday after Rob and Tom did a home visit, checked references and brought Mack to their home. They have two other dachshunds, Joe and Kira who are both younger. 
  We've grown fond of the little guy, as we do with our foster dogs, but it's more important that the go to a good home so we can continue helping save more little guys and girls. 
   On Dec. 7, we took Mack to get his picture with Santa and tell Santa what he'd like for Christmas. We're thankful that Santa was able to come through.
   We're very excited that Mack got what he asked Santa for this year- a forever home!
We love the little guy!

Rob, Mack and Tom on Adoption Day

Mack's other pics with Santa

Another pic of Mack and Santa

Mack looking at Dolly, Franklin and Tyler

Mack tells Santa "I want a forever home for Christmas."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Part 7 (final part): Famous Actors Playing Batman Villains

Since I'm (Rob) a HUGE Fan of Batman, and especially the Batman TV Series that ran from 1966-1968, I thought I'd
share 7 installments of famous actors who played villains in the series. They're ALL really famous. See how many you recognize. 
WHY NOW? - Because one of the most heavily requested Blu-ray releases of all time finally hit stores last week when Warner Bros. put out Batman: The Complete Series on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD. (I have a version of it)
After years of waiting, fans now get to experience the classic 1966 series the way it was intended, fully uncut and beaming with bright, beautiful colors.



It’s almost a shame that someone as talented as Barbara Rush (It Came from Outer Space) was saddled with another of Batman’s least memorable villains. In her one appearance on the show, Nora Clavicle uses her wits and charm to convince Mayor Linseed to give her the Commissioner job, which is all part of a devious plan to destroy Gotham City and collect on an insurance claim. How does she plan to do it, though? With mechanical mice. Since she replaced the police force with housewives, they’re all afraid of mice. Pretty sexist, right? Ahh, those crazy 1960s.



It’s a shame that Batman doesn’t really let Dina Merrill’s Calamity Jan be much more than arm candy for their western spoof villain Shame, but at least the actress does the best she can with the material she’s got. Calamity Jan comes across as adorable and silly, but just smart enough to probably be able to ditch Shame and bring Batman and Robin to their knees. Sadly, we’ll never know if that’s true since she’s mostly playing second fiddle to Cliff Roberston’s Shame.



Ida Lupino helped pave the way for female directors of our time, so it should come as no surprise that she’s very much the leading power in the villainous duo that headlines Batman’s penultimate episode. Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft comes from a long line of female alchemists, but she’s determined to be the only successful one. So she uses her power to bring down the Bat. Or tries, at least. She’s a bright, colorful character in many ways, but the way she puts her silly husband Cabala in his place is the very best thing about her.


After a few episodes that feature female villains mostly relegated to storylines dominated by male power (Nora Clavicle and Calamity Jan), it’s great to see one where the man completely and utterly does anything he can to make his wife happy, right? Played by Howard Duff, Cabala is less a villain and more a sidekick to Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft. He’ll do anything to please her, calls her “Doccy Baby,” and can often be caught checking himself out in the mirror rather than plotting villainous schemes.


Batman’s final villain is also one of its most glamorous. Played by Zsa Zsa Gabor, Minerva opens a health spa in Gotham City and uses her Deepest Secret Extractor to run amok. She’s pulling off robberies left and right, and even Alfred gets involved going undercover to help The Dynamic Duo. What makes Minerva so memorable, however, is the star power of Gabor. Sure, she’s mostly just saying “Darlings…” a lot, but her appearance as the platinum-dressed villainess will likely never be forgotten.
Batman: The Complete Series (Limited Edition) is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD now.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A fun 50th Birthday "Wine and Canvas" Party

Rob and Sterling clowning around
Earlier in the month, we went to our friend Sterling's 50th birthday party, hosted by his partner Sean and Sterls' parents. It was an amazing, fun event, where all of the guests (there were about 30) were treated to making a painting of a beachscape- under the instruction of an artist.   
   Everyone received a canvas and paints and were seated at long tables. The instructor had a finished "beachscape" painting and a blank canvas and took everyone through a step-by-step to paint it. 


Rob the artist at work

The room of partygoing painters!

Rob's painting with the "kids"

Tom's painting with an umbrella

Rob and Tom
   Some added their own tweaks, while everyone had a good time.  Below are some of the people and paintings!

Dolly, Tyler and Franklin in Rob's painting

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Doggy Car Ride Time!

getting cozy
Our three kids love to ride in the pickup truck. The cab of the truck has a specially-built bench (Tom built it) that acts as a bed for Dolly (Weimaraner), Franklin (red Dachshund) and Tyler (Black and Tan Dachshund). Tom even carpeted the bench and there's a comforter on it, so the kids have the entire cab to stretch out and relax. They also like to see what's happening while we're driving, and then get sleepy, so they all seem to get their faces on the front arm rest before zonking out. Here are some pictures of a drive to see Santa.
Getting sleepy!

Franklin and Tyler
Dolly and Tyler see the camera

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