Monday, November 30, 2015

Video: Bear with me: Milo and Max: A Tail Of Two Dachshunds

This past weekend our friend Scott visited us. He is the creator and host of an on-line LGBT video blog that features all kinds of things from the paranormal (he's also a ghost investigator) to dog rescue. Since the latest Coast to Coast Dachshund rescue dogs, Max and Milo were adopted, he wanted to do a recap and happy ending video, so I (Rob) guested.
   Scott was actually the first transporter on the interstate run to get them from Indiana to Maryland. They were both adopted together on Nov. 1 from a wonderful mom named Cindy. Here's the video (and some background on how to be a foster dog parent and save dogs from euthanization).
Bear with me: Milo and Max: A Tail Of Two Dachshunds

In the news: home-grown terrorist: Aryan Brotherhood Kingpin Gets 50 'Very Hard Years'

With all the talk about terrorism from other parts of the world, it's important not to lose sight of home-grown terrorists.
Here's an article about a very scary white supremacist (Note: the article describes one of the horrific things he did, which will gross you out). These kinds of terrorists have been in the U.S. a long time.

Aryan Brotherhood Kingpin Gets 50 'Very Hard Years'

Sentence keeps James Byrd out of federal prison

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 17, 2015
(Newser) – James Byrd is a sadistic, ruthless Aryan Brotherhood of Texas kingpin, and prosecutors have won a long fight to keep him out of federal prison. Instead, Tarrant County prosecutor Allenna Bangs tells the Houston Chronicle, the 45-year-old will serve a 50-year sentence in a Texas state prison, where his gang affiliation will be enough to have him kept in solitary, unable to conduct the white supremacist gang's business in a prison yard. In federal prison, such gang involvement doesn't justify solitary. 
  "He will be in a box for 23 hours a day," Bangs tells the Chronicle. "That will be 50 very hard years." She says it was tough to secure a conviction against Byrd since most witnesses—including a man he stabbed 37 times in the face—were too terrified to testify against him. He was eventually convicted of directing gang activities.
    Prosecutors say Byrd's brutality helped him rise through the gang's ranks in prison and he was just as savage during five months of freedom he had beginning in late 2013, when he worked as a gang enforcer among ex-cons. In an attack that landed him back in prison, prosecutors say Byrd stabbed a fellow gang member, soaked a slice of white bread in his blood, and then ate half.
The bleeding gang member was then ordered to eat the other half. "This guy was like an episode of Sons of Anarchy," Tarrant County prosecutor Joshua Ross tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He was a true believer. His dedication bordered on theology. For him, the brotherhood came first." (It turns out the Nazis' ideal Aryan baby was actually Jewish.)


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Double Birthday to Our Dolly and Tyler

Dolly and Tyler
Today, November 29 is our Weimaraner, Dolly's 11th birthday and our Dachshund Tyler's 5th birthday.

It's a double birthday celebration!   

Dolly was born on this date in 2004 as part of a breeder's litter that was abandoned into a shelter in Atlanta (when her mom contracted tetanus and couldn't feed the puppies- so the idiots dumped the 6 puppies in a kill shelter). Fortunately, the shelter contacted the former Wolf Creek Weimaraner Rescue in Tennessee who drove down, took the puppies and bottle fed all of them! Rob adopted Dolly in March 2005 when she was three months old (and both would later meet and fall in love with Tom and Franklin).

Dolly and Tyler
Waiting to get up for a walk
Tyler, our black and tan Dachshund came to us in Dec. 2012 as a foster dog through Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue. He was dumped in a kill shelter in North Carolina at about 1 or 2 years old. Thanks to a friend who drove down there and got him, we started fostering him and adopted him by April of 2013. (After some schooling) he's been a true joy in our lives. Tyler didn't come with any information at all- no birthdate, no health records, nothing from his abusive beginnings. So, since he bonded with Dolly, and can't go anywhere without her, we decided he would share the same birthday!  So, today, Nov. 29, 2015 he turns 5 years old.

- and Franklin, our red, smooth Dachshund will turn 12 in March. 
So today we celebrate Dolly and Tyler!

A New Comic: Set in Scotland, mythology, mystery

Every now and then I (Rob) like to check out new comics if they seem interesting. A new comic called "Red Thorn" seems to combine Scotland, mythology, mystery and more. In addition, the guy drawn on the cover of issue #1 looks like our friend Jason Hisley of La Cakerie fame (Baltimore) so we'll check it out. :)  We will get back to you on the series.... Rob and Tom 

Chat With Red Thorn’s Writer David Baillie

redthorn    David Baillie is a Scottish writer and artist who has been writing comics professionally since 2008. He’s had his comic book work published in the weekly British comics anthology 2000AD, Judge Dredd Magazine, as well as his first novel, Portal 666, that was published by Amazon and features Valiant’s Bloodshot. His latest project, the Vertigo produced Red Thorn is set in and around the Scottish city of Glasgow and is steeped in Scottish mythology.

Graphic Policy: So how did you come up with the idea for Red Thorn? Where did the name come from?

David Baillie: I was working up a few ideas to pitch Shelly as part of the new Vertigo slate and I had fixated on writing something set in Scotland. 
 I dug myself into a huge research hole – trying to find the weird mythology and folk horror fuel that I wanted to explore.
As for the title – when our ancient pagan demi-God Thorn amasses his army (issue 2, true believers!) it’s what his soldiers chant upon his coronation. It’s also how history will remember him when our tale is done.

GP This is a new series, but based on Scottish mythology.  Did you design the characters from the ground up, or are there established designs for these mythological characters you needed to respect?  
DB: All the characters have been designed from scratch, however, I’ve incorporated a lot of Celtic motifs into things.  Thorn’s tattoos are based on Pict and Ogham artwork. Other characters have very specific design elements, which, if you know the mythology, will make a lot more sense.

GP: With Red Thorn being based around Scottish mythology, it’s easy to imagine that you’re pretty familiar with that, where not many readers would be; with the comic being our window into that world, so to speak, were there any challenges in writing that aspect?
DB: I deliberately chose figures that either readers will be hugely familiar with – allowing us to flip expectations straight out of the gate – or I went to the other end of the spectrum and focused on creatures and stories that very few will have heard of. It’s a nice balance to strike, and as we continue I’m really looking forward to pulling in even more Scottish mythology and re-forging it so that it fits the world of the series.

GP: How big a part does the city of Glasgow play in the story itself beyond being just the setting for the series?

DB: The characters all feel very, very Glaswegian. There’s a pleasant argumentativeness to Glasgow people, and I’ve given that trait to pretty much the entire main cast. While Isla, our protagonist for the first arc, was born in America her family can be traced back for generations through the streets and waterways of Glasgow and that’s reflected in her personality.
Glasgow also has a really great history, which has informed how I’ve put constructed the longer arcs to come on Red Thorn. By the last page of the final issue you’ll see that the story could not have been set anywhere else.

GP: Without giving too much away for readers, what can we expect to find when we open Red Thorn in November?

DB: Sex, horror, pithy Scottish dialogue, magic, music, nudity, violence, great hair, fantastic abs, very bad language and perhaps the best art you’ll see in a comic all year.

GP: You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that readers will be too attached to at least one character that they’ll keep reading just to see what happens. Any plans beyond Glasgow Kiss for where you’ll be taking the series?

DB: Huge plans. The end of Glasgow Kiss sets the scene for the next three or four arcs, as well as setting up our horrible, inevitable conclusion. And no matter who you fall in love with you’ll probably cry at some point. And for that I make no apologies.

GP: Before I finish up, one last question: aliens, cowboys, pirates or ninjas, and why?
DB: Why choose? This is comics. We can do anything we want!

The first issue of Red Thorn is out November 18th.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

In the News: 1922: The discovery of Tutankhamun, in color

Recently the photos from the discovery of King Tutankhamun on Nov. 4, 1922 were colorized. Tutankhamun, the boy king ruled Egypt from about 1332 to 1323 BC.
   We've always been fascinated with ancient Egyptian life, architecture, art and gods and goddesses.
 Here's a couple and a link to the article with the rest.

The discovery of  Tutankhamun, in color:  Unboxing King Tut, the boy pharoah

Friday, November 27, 2015

Research: Study finds more evidence Coffee can be a life saver!

I'm a huge coffee drinker. In fact, I've been drinking coffee since I was a teenager. There have been so many studies over the years that confirm how good coffee is for human consumption, from prevention of alzheimer's disease to prevention of colon cancer. In addition to those, another new study that involved thousands from the medical field has been published recently promoting the benefits of coffee. 
  - BTW, I drink about 8-12 cups a day (no, it doesn't make me jittery), and the trick is drinking it BLACK, with NO sugar, NO cream. Cream and sugar add calories and lead to weight increase and cavities. So, when you get your next coffee ask for it "right out of the pot" and drink to good health! - Rob
Coffee promotes a healthier life!

ARTICLE:  Study finds more evidence Coffee can be a life saver!
November 17, 2015
Researchers have found even more evidence that coffee can be good for you. People who drink regular, moderate amounts of coffee are less likely to die from a range of diseases, from diabetes to heart disease.

The cutoff seems to be around five cups a day, and even decaf coffee helps, the team at Harvard University's school of public health found.

But even heavy coffee drinking doesn't appear to offset the damage caused by smoking, they report in the journal Circulation.

"The main message is that regular consumption, meaning three to five cups of coffee a day, is associated with lower risk in total mortality and mortality from several causes like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and suicide," Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology who helped lead the study, told NBC News.

"In previous studies on that issue, most of the coffee was caffeinated coffee. In our study, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee showed a lower mortality risk but there is no final conclusion yet."
"In our study, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee showed a lower mortality risk." 

Hu and colleagues looked at two giant sources of information: surveys of more than 200,000 doctors and nurses who have regularly updated researchers on their eating and other lifestyle habits and details about their health for more than 20 years.

Coffee drinkers overall were less likely to die over the decades than non-drinkers. The effects were even stronger and clearer when the team discounted smokers. Non-smokers who drank coffee were between 8 and 15 percent less likely to die, depending on how much they drank.

"This is good news for people who drink coffee because the evidence is strong. Drinking coffee may be good for health outcome," Hu said.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Dolly, Franklin and Tyler sniffing the turkey
Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours. We know that  everyone will be sniffing for turkey and pumpkin pie. :)        Have a great day and know that we're thankful for our friends and family, and every day we have together. 

Had a fun Thanksgiving with Tom's folks, and friends. Hope your day has been sweet, too! 

Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund and brother Oakley
A Weimaraner puppy Thanksgiving

A Weimaraner's Thanksgiving Pumpkin Hangout

Doxie Pilbrims

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Smile of the Week: Another funny comics store experience: "the Box"

As I mentioned last week, Wednesdays are new comic days. So, every Wednesday, Tom and I put our
Comics box
three canine kids in the truck and we drive to the comic book store (after a Dunkin' Donut sandwich dinner).  

   At comics stores, you can have subscription box, where the new comics that you collect are placed inside on a weekly basis. As soon as a known customer enters the shop, one of the employees says hello and goes to the back of the store to get the customer's comics out of their subscription box. 
  Last week, a young bearded employee named Jake saw me come in and said really loudly "Hi Rob, I'll grab your box!"  
   I looked over at Torma, one of the other employees,  and said, "Well, Jake can grab my box any time!" - as raised my eyebrows.  I'm out to everyone in the shop and of course, no one cares. Torma got the message and laughed out loud. It's always fun to go to a store where you know the employees and can joke around.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crooks are stupid Part 2

 It's amazing (and entertaining) to see just how dumb people can be after doing something illegal. Recently CBS News had a spotlight on several dumb crooks. Here is part 2 of the "Winners" ;

1) Bank robber calls ahead
In March 2010, 27-year-old Albert Bailey of Bridgeport, Connecticut and a 16-year-old accomplice attempted to streamline a bank robbery by calling ahead.That's right. This brilliant criminal placed a call to a branch of the People's Bank in Fairfield, Connecticut, requesting that $100,000 in large bills be gathered in preparation for his arrival. Rather than doing that, the employee hung up and immediately called 911. Good thing the robber tipped him off. Credit: Fairfield Police Department

2) Man carjacks in jail parking lot

In March 2008, 23-year-old Frank Singleton had just been released from Palm Beach County Jail on a misdemeanor trespassing charge, when he decided to carjack a woman in the prison parking lot. As a result, he went from getting out of jail to being thrown back in for six years. Credit: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

3)  Robber steals money, leaves ID
In June 2013, a 26-year-old man, named Zachary Tentoni, snatched a Boston woman's wallet as she walked near Harbor Middle School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In the process, he successfully got away with her ID and $40. He, however, dropped his birth certificate and a note from his mother in the scuffle at the scene, making it pretty easy for Boston authorities to track him down. Credit: Massachusetts State District Attorney


Monday, November 23, 2015

Crooks are stupid - Part 1: Couple posts selfie with stolen money

 It's amazing (and entertaining) to see just how dumb people can be after doing something illegal. Recently CBS News had a spotlight on several dumb crooks. Here is PART 1 with a couple of winners:
1)  Couple posts selfie with stolen money
28-year-old John Mogan had just finished serving five years for bank robbery, when he walked into the Savings Bank of Asheville on August 24, 2015, and robbed it.
He and his 24-year-old girlfriend Ashley Duboe then proceeded to snap a series of selfies with the stolen cash and post them to Facebook. If they were looking to score a lot of views, the couple succeeded. A lot of people looked at the photos, including the police, and the couple was apprehended shortly after. Credit: John Mogan via Facebook
2) Stick shift stalls carjacker
 When 17-year-old Mganga Mganga attempted to steal a woman's car in March 2014, his carjacking plan was completely stalled by his inability to work a stick shift. The armed teen approached Melissa Peters in an Omaha neighborhood around 7 a.m., as she was about to drive her 13-year-old son to school, and jumped into her white Dodge Caliber hatchback. Eyewitnesses report that Mganga then spent nearly seven minutes in the car, switching on its windshield wipers and lights in a desperate attempt to work the manual transmission, before cutting his losses and fleeing on foot. When police arrived, they found the empty car sliding slowly onto a neighbor's lawn.  Credit: Omaha Police Department


3) Robber leaves call back number
In March 2008, 18-year-old Ruben Zarate attempted to rob a Chicago muffler shop. He entered Velasquez Mufflers For Less around 8 a.m., disguised in a mask and armed with a weapon. When he demanded money, however, one of the store's mechanics told him that all the money was locked in a safe only the manager could open. So, Zarate did what any hardened criminal would do. He left two phone numbers for them to call him back when the owner returned. And they did call him back... when the police got there.  Credit: iStock 


Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Emotional Dog Rescue Day: Transporting Oscar

Oscar, scared in the front seat of our truck
We've been doing dog rescue transports for years and it's only once in a while that we are the emotional first stop when a former pet parent abandons their dog. Saturday, November 21 was one of those days involving a 9 year old mini-Dachshund named Oscar who weighs only 8 pounds.

    I (Rob) did the transport while Tom ran errands so we could get everything accomplished. II met Oscar's dad in the parking lot of a hotel about 40 minutes between where he lived and where we are located. I was the first leg of a transport that would take Oscar to his new home in Rhode Island.
   Oscar's mother and father adopted him as a puppy when he was less than a year old. They raised him. He became part of their family. Then, the parents had a human child. This is a story we hear way too much in rescue.

EXCUSES FOR ABANDONMENT COMMONLY INCLUDE:  "I had a baby and the baby has allergies to the dog, OR  I'm afraid the dog will hurt the baby, OR the dog is annoyed when the baby punches the dog or pulls the dog's tail (what dog wouldn't be?)"

OSCAR'S FEAR   - This time, the dad, who was obviously bonded with Oscar, was an emotional wreck.  When I met him in the parking lot of the arranged transport place, the dad got out of the car with Oscar, who knew something bad was happening. Dogs know. They sense people's emotions and watch people's actions.  As the dad gave me Oscar to hold, Oscar snapped at me - he was scared He didn't know what was happening to him.  

WHAT DO DOGS THINK WHEN BEING ABANDONED?  Dogs wonder "who is this new person?"  / "Why is this new person taking me away from my dad of 9 years?"  /"What's going to happen to me?" /  "This new person doesn't know anything about how I like to play, sleep, eat..."  /"I'm afraid!" 

SEEING THE BOND WITH HIS DAD - Knowing Oscar was afraid, I let  him sniff me until he settled. Then I held the leash as his dad walked from his car to my truck, putting in Oscar's 2 beds, blankets, container of food, and bag with medical history, etc.  Each time Oscar's dad took a step, Oscar stepped with him. I could tell they were bonded.

WHY WAS HE BEING ABANDONED AFTER 9 YEARS? - The dad said that although he had some allergies to Oscar's short, red, fur, his little girl has allergies, too. I held my tongue, because I have to focus on the dog. ** I wanted to tell the little girl to "deal with it and take benadryl" for 5-6 more years so Oscar could live the rest of his short life out with his only family. But I didn't.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT DOGS, ALLERGIES AND KIDS - It's a fact that if you have a dog in your house and a child is born, the kid may get allergic reactions. HOWEVER, if they're continually exposed to the allergens, they eventually develop antibodies and resistance to the allergens (That's what allergy shots are- they inject the thing you're allergic to, into your bloodstream so you build up immunity to it).

THE EMOTIONAL ENDING - When I saw the dad hug and kiss Oscar goodbye, If I wasn't so emotional I would've been somewhat angry -because it was apparent to me that it really wasn't the dad's decision to let Oscar go. The dad cried and couldn't contain himself. Of course, neither could I. I cried, too. The dad could barely say anything other than "I'm sorry." He got in his car and continued to cry, as I did when I got in my truck. Oscar just stared up at me. This was heartbreaking.

Rob, Oscar and Trudy
THE RIDE TO TRANSPORTER #2 - I drove Oscar to Trudy, who was the second driver in the chain of drivers between Maryland and Rhode Island, where Oscar will live out his senior years with an older couple who previously had a Dachshund named Oscar who passed recently. I played music and talked with Oscar as I drove to meet Trudy. I kept him on the front passenger seat, continually rubbing the fur on his head and back of his neck, calming him (although he was still shaking in fear all the way to the next stop).

TRUDY TRANSPORT - I met Trudy at a predesignated spot and Oscar got more scared all over again. He snapped at first, but then warmed up. He had no idea what was happening to him. Again, it was heartbreaking to see this little guy so frightened. We quickly posed for a picture together, contacted the rescue coordinator that we were 15 minutes early, and I loaded Trudy's car with Oscar's stuff. Again, I got choked up as I watched her drive off. That poor little dog just lost his family today.

THE RESCUE- It was only thanks to Donna at Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue, that a home was immediately found for Oscar. Thanks to Katie in Virginia who set up the transport and managed to get all of the drivers who volunteered. Thanks to 8 drivers in different states from Maryland to Rhode Island who took time out of their Saturday to bring an innocent, abandoned, scared dog to a new home.

Dog rescue really takes a village, and it takes an emotional toll. However, we do it for the dogs.
People need to know that adopting a dog is the same as adopting a child - it's a LIFETIME commitment.  For more information about Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue, and for all of the dogs who are looking for a life-time home, visit: If you can't adopt or foster a dog, please consider making a donation that goes to the veterinary care of all the dogs we save.- Rob

POST TRANSPORT UPDATE: Rescue coordinator, Donna Gerhauser said: First, I want to thank Katie Wehner for pulling together this transport and all of the wonderful people who helped get Oscar to his new home. He is with his new dad who is over the moon in love with Oscar and overwhelmed with gratitude. I know it was sad and confusing for Oscar to leave his family but I really believe that this match was meant to be. Rob, I think that this Oscar was sent by his predecessor to mend his daddy's broken and lonely heart.

Fortunately this story had a happy ending.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

In the news: Original 'X-Men' Character Iceman Confirms He's Gay

I (Rob) have been a big superhero fan since I was a kid and still read comics and enjoy them. Over the last 10 years, there have been a couple of gay characters introduced in comics- which helps educate readers that we all need to get along and accept each other. This month, Marvel Comic's Iceman character "came out of the closet."
Here's the article from the Huffington Post:

Original 'X-Men' Character Iceman Confirms He's Gay

The character was one of the original five members created in 1963.

Headshot of Curtis M. Wong
The Huffington Post
The mystery of "X-Men" member Iceman's sexuality has finally been solved.
A teenage version of the iconic character, displaced in time, made the surprise revelation in All-New X-Men #40 which was released in April. The plot line raised questions about the character's present-day self, who presented himself as heterosexual -- until now.
Panel from Xmen #600. Credit: Marvel Comics
In Uncanny X-Men #600, which hits newsstands on Nov. 4, the young Iceman, or Bobby Drake, comes out officially as a gay man while confronting his older self.
Gay and lesbian characters are becoming increasingly visible in the comic book universe. In 2012, Marvel Comics announced that its first openly gay hero, Northstar, would marry his longtime civilian boyfriend, Kyle Jinadu, in an issue of Astonishing X-Men.
Iceman's coming out, however, is noteworthy given that the character was one of the five original "X-Men" members, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963.
Marvel Comics Editor Daniel Ketchum told The Huffington Post that he was particularly proud of the new issue, calling Iceman's character just another example of how the franchise has always strived to reflect "the human experience."
"As a young person reading comics, starved to see my own life experience reflected on the page, I remember thinking it seemed only possible for that to happen as a one-off story relegated to a D-List character," he said. "I don’t know that I would have believed it if I was told that years later, this story would be presented in the flagship 'X-Men' title, featuring an A-list character who has been a mainstay of the franchise since the beginning."

Friday, November 20, 2015

Take this week's Gullibility Test!

Take this week's Gullibility test!  Thanks to for setting the records straight.  . See how you do!  Here are the legends, the mayhem, and the misinformation!  

1) Mall Spats: No "war" on Christmas

No, Simon Malls (and Roosevelt Field) didn't "ban Christmas" because people were "offended."
(How did this stupid rumor start?)
2)  The Handmaid's Fail A spate of poorly vetted news articles about a purported "abortion pill reversal" procedure included misleading and potentially dangerous information.
3) At the Right Hand of the Lord   GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson does indeed own a portrait of himself posing with Jesus. 

4)  Moon Crock  A Hunter's Moon doesn't create the illusion of two suns, isn't a miracle, occurs annually, and images of this year's Hunter's Moon are actually much older.
5) Custodial RepentanceNo, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio didn't say rape victims ought to be held in custody if they're considering abortions.

 6) App in the Face    Google did not give a $500,000 grant to Black Lives Matter, but their donation will be used to fund a campaign run by BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
7)  Female Body Renders - A photograph purportedly showing two female bodybuilders was actually created with 3D rendering software.

8)   Bigfool - No, a Bigfoot creature was not captured in a History Channel program. The show was yet another fake "documentary" created for entertainment purposes.
9) Crossing the Feline   A real-life Cruella de Vil, but with cats? No, just more fake news.
10)  Banana Bloat - Photographs show discolored bananas that have likely fallen prey to a fungus, not to being injected with HIV-infected human blood.  (This is just SICK- created by some sick minded person)
11) Government Cheddar - A fake news site hoaxed readers, suggesting President Obama had ordered a $2,350 rebate be disbursed to all taxpayers. 
12)   One Holiday at a Time - It's true that Nordstrom department stores do not decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but that policy is old news.
13)  Satanbucks  - A spoof of the Starbucks "holiday cups" controversy holds that CEO Howard Schultz admitted he is using the new cup design to lure customers to the dark side.
14)  Ban of Scold - Facebook didn't ban a user for saying "God bless," but rather for linking to a post urging the harassment of a private individual.   (It's things like this that conservatives take and spin to make it seem like there's a "war on religion" - which there is clearly not.  - Instead, this "godly person" harassed another person on facebook and was banned. )

Thursday, November 19, 2015

EDUCATE YOURSELVES: By the Numbers: What You Need to Know about Syrian Refugees in the U.S.

TO HELP EDUCATE YOU - Straight from the White House/Homeland Security!        Okay, now that all the nuts have caused Fear and Panic about Syrian Refugees (which is how they get people to vote for them) You can BREATHE. Take time to read the following truth direct from the White House Blog (and U.S. Homeland Security).   You can find this all here:

The White House

By the Numbers: What You Need to Know about Syrian Refugees in the U.S.
The refugees that have captivated so much attention in the wake of Friday's attack are fleeing precisely the type of senseless slaughter that happened in Paris. To slam the door in their faces -- to decide not to help when we know that we can help -- would be a betrayal of our deepest values as Americans.
That's why we're going to do the right thing in the right way: protecting the American people even as we provide refuge to some of the world's most vulnerable people.
Here's what you need to know:

The White House

The number of Syrian refugees UNHCR has referred to the U.S. Refugees Admission Program.

The number of Syrians the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed since FY 2011.

The number of Syrian refugees who have been admitted since FY 2011.

The number of Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. that have been arrested or removed on terrorism charges.

Learn more about how America can ensure its own security while protecting refugees.

We are going to do the right thing in the right way -- protecting the American people even as we provide refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Here’s how:


  • Refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States, including the involvement of the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense.
  • All refugees, including Syrians, are admitted only after successful completion of this stringent security screening regime, which includes all available biographic and biometric information vetted against a broad array of law enforcement and intelligence community databases to confirm identity and ensure safety.
  • This screening process has been enhanced over the last few years to ensure we are effectively utilizing the full scope of our intelligence community to review each applicant.
  • Mindful of the particular conditions of the Syria crisis, Syrian refugees go through additional forms of security screening. We continue to examine options for further enhancements for screening Syrian refugees, the details of which are classified. 

Focus on the Most Vulnerable

  • The Administration’s emphasis is on admitting the most vulnerable Syrians -- particularly survivors of violence and torture, those with severe medical conditions, and women and children -- in a manner that is consistent with our national security. 
In the days since the attack on Paris some have taken the narrow view that protecting Americans from ISIL mandates that we turn our back on those most at risk to the terrorist group -- the men, women and children forced to flee their homes and families, their schools and communities. The Administration rejects the flawed view that we can’t ensure our own safety while also welcoming refugees desperately seeking their own safety. The truth is: America can and must do both.

Tribute to a brave French police dog killed in raid

Being dog dads, we wanted to take a day to honor a brave dog who fought against the terrorist attacks in France recently. Thanks to Diesel for her brave service and all of the other service dogs, who serve in police, military or medical capacities.

'Not all heroes are human': French police dog killed in raid

USA TODAY reported:  A police dog named "Diesel" was killed during a police raid on Wednesday that targeted the suspected mastermind of deadly terror attacks in Paris.
    The seven-year-old Belgian Shepherd was killed sometime during the seven-hour siege on an apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis; French police tweeted on Wednesday. (Nov. 17).
   Police posted a photo of Diesel and said, “assault and explosives search dogs are indispensable in the missions of the operators of the raid."

The raid ended Wednesday  (Nov. 17, 2015) with the arrest of seven people with suspected links to the Paris attacks. Two suspects, including a female suicide bomber who detonated explosives as police entered the apartment, were killed.
    On social media, people shared pictures of Diesel and voiced support for the people of France. Many used the hashtag #SaintDenis, #PrayforParis and some tweeted that #NotAllHeroesAreHuman.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Amazing Sign on Rob's Dad's Birthday!

November 8 would have been my (Rob) dad's 88th birthday. Dad passed in 2008, but he's given me lots of signs he's still around. Spirits usually come around on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, and my Dad was no exception to the rule this year!  Of course, he had help from my mother (also in spirit).

Tom and I were driving to do an errand and directly in front of us, stopped at a red light was a silver car. On the bumper of the car was a bumper sticker that said "I love Bean Ava Maria." Ava Maria was my mother's favorite song! Since my mother usually did the talking for my dad in life, she was doing it from spirit - by leading us directly behind that car! 

Rob's mom and dad
Here's another thing that's strange and wonderful about the situation: "The Bean of Ave Maria" is a coffee shop... IN FLORIDA!  It's located at 5068 Annunciation Circle, Unit 206,Ave Maria, FL. Again, what are the chances that a car in Maryland would have a bumpersticker about a place in Florida, and right in front of us at the very time we decided to go out to run an errand? 

As I've learned since being able to get messages from people who have passed (since I was 13), there is no such thing as a coincidence when it comes to how spirits give messages.

It was obvious that my mom's spirit led us to drive directly behind THAT particular car, so I would know that she and my dad were around me today. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

3 Second video: Tyler defines happiness

Last weekend I took a 3 Second video of Tyler walking into a room, carrying a toy in his mouth, that was actually larger than he is! I call it "That's Happiness." It makes us smile whenever we watch this very short video... and we hope it makes you smile, too!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Smile of the Day: My Funny Comic Book Store Experience!

Wednesdays are new comics days. So, every Wednesday, Tom and I put our three canine kids in the truck and we drive to the comic book store. First, however, we stop and get our Dunkin' Donut breakfast sandwiches, coffee and tea for dinner (yes, we're light eaters). Last week, I bought a new comic: Hercules- and it led to a funny exchange!

I'm not a Marvel Comics reader, but have always loved characters from mythology, especially Hercules. So, when Hercules #1 came out last week I bought it.

Here's the "Smile of the Day" part: My interaction with the clerk at Third Eye Comics:

Jake, the young guy at the cash register said "Trying this one out?" 

I replied, "Look, if there's a comic book cover with a shirtless, musclebound, hairy-chested man, I don't care what it's about - any gay gay would buy it - so, I'm buying it!" 

He laughed.  

Regardless, the new take on the character, and the great artwork of this hunky superhero made it a great read. I'll be reading this series for sure. - Rob

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Today 2-5pm: Belmont Manor (Elkridge, MD) Meet&Greet w/Local Paranormal Authors (Rob, too)

Today, come up to the historic Belmont Manor for a Meet and Greet with Local Paranormal Authors (including Rob)
(But call to register first!  There's a $5 fee to support the preservation of the manor)
18yrs or older November 15, 2015 $5

        Meet a number of authors from the local paranormal field. As you tour Belmont Manor House, you will have the opportunity to learn about their experiences and discuss their books. Book sales and signings will be available. This is a great chance to select early holiday gifts for family and friends fascinated with ghosts and investigations.

WHERE: Belmont Manor, 6555 Belmont Woods Rd, Elkridge, Maryland 21075
WHAT:  Are you intrigued by things that go bump in the night? Do you enjoy a spine-tingling ghost story? Or are you just interested in a different twist on Halloween fun? In this lecture series you will learn from and meet local Inspired Ghost Tracking members along with authors who will introduce you to ghost hunting investigations. This is your opportunity to ask about all the questions you've been dying to know! Theses classes are for entertainment value. To register or info: 410-313-0200.

You must contact Belmont to register or info: 410-313-0200 or their website!programs/c81t

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Good News: Somerville police officer reaches out after an emotional traffic stop

Too often the news only covers negative stories about police when they put their lives on the line for us every day. They're the ones who come if we get robbed, beaten, cheated, are in a car accident, get hurt, are scared, in a fire, etc. It's a crappy job, but they do it to help people. They deserve thanks and respect. (and for the idiots who always defy police officers- When a police officer asks you to do something- DO IT. Don't be an ass and be defiant. It won't end well for you).
   On a good note, the following story appeared in the Boston Globe newspaper on November 6th  about a good deed from a police officer that got some attention. It's a great story.

‘This could be me’: A Somerville police officer reaches out after an emotional traffic stop

Officer Catataoand her son


A traffic stop in Somerville on Wednesday led to an unexpected result—flowers instead of a ticket.
It began when Somerville Police Officer Ashley Catatao was running radar on Alewife Brook Parkway, and pulled over a car that was going 40 mph in a 30-mph zone.
Catatao asked the driver, Robin Sutherland, if she knew why she was being pulled over.
“She said, ‘Was I going fast?’” recounted Catatao.
Sutherland told Catatao that she thought the last time she was pulled over for speeding was in 1985, and her precise recall made the officer laugh.
Catatao told the woman that as long as she had a good driver’s history, she’d just give her a warning.
The officer's note that came with flowers to Robin
Catatao walked back to her cruiser to fill out the written warning. When she returned, she was surprised to see Sutherland crying.
“I was like, ‘Why are you crying? It’s just a warning,’” Catatao said. “She said, ‘No, it’s not that. This morning I got a call saying I had to put my mom in hospice. And even though she’s 90 years old, you’re never ready to say goodbye to a parent.’”
Catatao said she was on the verge of crying herself, hearing Sutherland’s story. But she “kept it together.”
“I told her, ‘It’s going to be OK, you have to keep going. Just take it easy,’” Catatao said.
Sutherland was soon on her way, but Catatao found herself continuing to think about the encounter. She realized she’d like to do something nice for the stranger she’d just pulled over.
“I felt bad because it’s not like I could have sat there and talked with her,” Catatao said. “It’s not like I could have hugged her. She was on her way to work, and I was working.”
The Somerville officer found a local florist near Sutherland’s home and put in an online order that included a personal message, signed simply, “Officer who pulled you over this morning.”
She said she’s surprised at how much media attention her act of kindness has attracted.
“I thought if anything she would call to say thank you, send an email to the department, that was it,” she said. “I didn’t expect for this to happen.”
Catatao said she’s had previous experiences where she’s wanted to reach out to people she’s encountered on the job. She said there are always interactions that stick with you, but officers don’t always get the chance to follow up with people after responding to calls.
Robin gets the officer's flowers
“Sometimes I do want to, but I get hung up on it because I’m like, ‘Will they think it’s weird? Would it be inappropriate?’ And then just sometimes you don’t get a chance to do it,” she said.
But Sutherland’s situation struck Catatao personally—she’s very close to her mother, and she’s a mother herself.
“I have my son every single day and everything I do, I do for him,” she said. “So to realize that someday I could lose my mother who has done so much for me, and to think about my son losing me someday—god forbid it’s from the job—I’m hoping it’s someday when I’m really old and he’s prepared for it. But it just moved me to think, ‘This could be me.’ Where I have to say goodbye to my mom, or my son has to say goodbye to me.”
Catatao said she hasn’t seen the flowers herself since she placed the order online, but she spoke to Sutherland on the phone on Thursday.
“She’s a really nice woman and I wish her and her family the best,” she said. “I know they’re going through a really difficult time right now, but i just wanted to thank her for bringing such positive attention to what we do. This is something we do here all the time, you just don’t hear about it.”

Friday, November 13, 2015

Post-Adoption Check: 1 year later: Duncan Happy in a Home

1 year later- Duncan happy in a home!
Duncan was a light colored Dachshund who came into Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue in October
of 2014, and caused a lot of drama because he escaped from his foster home. Now, a year later, the rescue has heard from Duncan's adopted family, and his adoptive mom, Jessie said that Duncan's a well-adjusted dog who loves his canine brother.

A YEAR AGO- Duncan ran away from his foster home on Oct. 30. So, Katie had driven to Annapolis, Md. from Richmond, Va. and set traps for Duncan in the wooded area he was last seen around. She posted notices in the neighborhoods on local Craigslist pages and sent notices to rescues and shelters. On November 3, Duncan was found.
The poster from his 2014 foster escape!

Katie then took Duncan with her and she fostered him, knowing that he was skittish with people. She comforted him, trained him and got him ready for adoption.

Here's the story of his escape and capture a year ago:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

In the news: 3 Republican Candidates Speak at "Kill the Gays" Pastor rally

A Conference that just happened is EXACTLY what we were talking about on Monday's Blog. In Iowa this week, Kevin Swanson, a "Pastor" at a Political Conference called for the death of gay people, screaming about the bible and his religion. 
 This was a Conference where Republicans Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz attended and spoke!!!

  In fact, this "Pastor" introduced ALL of them.

  This was a rabid anti-gay, "biblical commandment" that gay people should be rounded up and murdered in the name of Jesus.
  These people are SICK, SICK, SICK. Very, very disturbing.

In the news: Three Republican candidates speak at anti-gay pastor's rally

Rachel Maddow shows that while Democrats were participating in a candidates forum, Republicans Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz were guests at "religious freedom" event led by a pastor who preaches that homosexuality should be punished with death.

VIDEO: (THIS STORY STARTS AT 5:56 minutes on the video)

Here's more on the idiot:  Pastor Thinks Parents Should Drown Themselves Instead Of Letting Kids Read 'Harry Potter'
Let it be known: Pastor Kevin Swanson is no Harry Potter fan. In fact, Swanson is so opposed to J.K. Rowling's iconic series, he'd prefer that parents would drown themselves than let their children read it.
Swanson, who is a pastor at the Reformation Church of Elizabeth, Colorado and also hosts a weekly radio show, blasted Harry Potter and "How to Train Your Dragon" in a convoluted speech at the National Religious Liberties Conference on Nov. 7, Right Wing Watch reported. His issue with Potter, it seems, stemmed from Rowling's 2007 revelation that she always thought of Dumbledore the wizard as a gay man.  Full Article:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

GOOD NEWS! -Rhode Island Latest State Poised To End Veterans' Homelessness

    We have deep appreciation for the sacrifices and dedication shown by our veterans and active military men and women. Thank you for your service.
 As everyone has heard, Veterans have not been getting the care and attention they deserve, but there are things being done to correct that. This article from the Associated Press indicates that several states have already helped end veteran homelessness. It's a program between by both President Barack Obama's administration and Zero: 2016, a campaign run by the nonprofit group Community Solutions. Story below. 

Rhode Island Latest State Poised To End Veterans' Homelessness 


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — For more than two years, Don Perrault lived without a home as the Vietnam veteran struggled with depression and personal setbacks that at one point left him with nothing to do but take a therapeutic 7-day walk to New Jersey — then walk back.

Now, after living out of a shelter where he shared a room with six other men, he has a home of his own under an ambitious push to wipe out homelessness among veterans in Rhode Island.

"It helps a little bit with your mind, your mental aspect," Perrault, 60, said. "It's hard for a person who is homeless to have dignity."

The efforts that have secured Perrault a newly renovated one-bedroom apartment — complete with new furniture and even a TV — for a rental voucher and $25 per month for rent and utilities are part of a national push to end homelessness among veterans by the end of the year. The goal has been spurred by both President Barack Obama's administration and Zero: 2016, a campaign run by the nonprofit group Community Solutions

In August, the federal government declared Connecticut the first state to end chronic homelessness among veterans. New Orleans, Houston and a handful of other communities have also reached the goal.

Nearly 50,000 veterans were homeless nationwide before the effort began, Community Solutions estimated.

Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Mexico, all part of the campaign, are on track to reach the veterans goal, said Community Solutions spokesman Adam Gibbs. One strategy all three states are using is a list of names, he said.
In Rhode Island, every person who comes into the homeless system is given a "vulnerability survey," which asks a series of questions about their history and assigns them a score based on how likely they are to die on the street. Then, advocates create a list of all the people who are homeless with the most vulnerable people listed on top, by name. 
A committee meets weekly and goes down the list to try to find housing for each person. If a person has a problem that's standing in the way of getting an apartment, such as a criminal record, the committee tries to come up with a solution.

The state is also using a "housing first" strategy, which prioritizes getting people into permanent housing, said Eric Hirsch, a professor of sociology at Providence College, who chairs the Zero: 2016 campaign in Rhode Island. In the past, people would be placed in temporary housing and have to get substance abuse or mental health counseling or jump through other hoops before getting a permanent place to live, Hirsch said.

Now, they get the apartment first and are then "surrounded" with services that they can then choose to use. Many decide on their own they want the help, he said. Hirsch said his research and research by others shows 85 to 95 percent of people placed in permanent housing were there a year later using this approach.

A big help has also been a dedicated stream of money from the state, and more money set aside for things like rental subsidies, said Jim Ryczek, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.

Advocates say they don't expect to eliminate homelessness completely, but that their goal is to make sure if people become homeless, they have a permanent home within weeks, rather than months or years.

Rhode Island advocates last year estimated that 4,067 Rhode Islanders used a homeless shelter at some time in 2014, out of a population of around 1 million people.

The Zero: 2016 program's next goal is to end chronic homelessness in a several states and cities by the end of next year.

In Rhode Island, the project will be using the same model they have used for veterans. They have already found homes for 176 chronically homeless people since January, out of an estimated 400 chronically homeless. They also plan to focus on housing families.

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