Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review- Grimm: The Chopping Block

We really enjoy the NBC TV series called Grimm, so we've been reading some of the novels that use the characters. I (Rob) read one of them and really enjoyed it. Recently I read "The Chopping Block" by horror writer "John Passarella.

Detective Nick Burkhardt (actor David Giuntoli)
"Grimm" is a drama series inspired by the classic Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales. After Portland, Oregon homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) discovers he's descended from a long ancestry of "Grimms," not just chroniclers of fairy tales but hunters charged with protecting humanity from supernatural creatures. Soon Nick discovers that he can see the creatures, "wesen," who look merely human to most people, and he must bear the responsibility of his ancestors and deal with the mythology of the Brothers Grimm. As Burkhardt tries to cope with the newfound dangers of his life without alarming his fiancee and his partner, he becomes more knowledgeable about the ancient rivalry -- with help from a peaceable clockmaker.
  (Of course, since Detective Burkhardt is incredibly handsome, it makes the show more appealing to us!) 
 (To learn more about the series:

HOW WAS THE BOOK: "The Chopping Block"? - After enjoying the first book "The Icy Touch" I gave this one a try. When I read the summary, I knew it would be a lot more violent than the TV show and the first novel, but writer John Passarella was overly graphic about chopping people up and writing about it in intricate detail - in three different chapters. UGH. 
  The book is about a group of "Wesen" who decide to feast on people. YUCK. As someone who hates horror movies, this book was okay. I had to skip through some of the gruesome chapters. So, if you can deal with that, read it. The characterizations are true to the television show and it was a good story- just too graphically violent for my taste!  - Rob 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Too Stupid to be Fake:" North Carolina town rejects solar farm, fears it will deplete sun's energy

An entire NC town is incredibly stupid
There are some things that just make you scratch your head and wonder how stupid people can be put in decisionmaking positions. Further, there are some teachers that just shouldn't teach.  Today's blog is about a recent decision made in North Carolina by a town council, based on the testimony of a "Science" teacher and her husband who are just too dumb.
   The following news story IS actually REAL and appeared in on Dec. 15, 2015. AND the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald. It's not a fake news story. It's a legitimate news source.  (Article:  and
We call this feature "Too Stupid to be Fake:"

North Carolina town rejects solar farm, fears it will deplete sun's energy 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Wackos in the News

Garland, TX Tornado killed 8 people
It's time again for wackos in the news. In this blog you'll read about a woman who "prayed a tornado to kill her neighbors," and how one politician figured out a way to return to the 1700s in order to block all gay marriages in Tennessee because of his "personal belief."

“We actually went outside and started commanding the winds because God had given us authority over the winds – the airways. And we just began to command this storm not to hit our area. We spoke to the storm and said, ‘Go to unpopulated places.’ It did exactly what we said to do because God gave us the authority to do that.” – Sabrina Lowe of Rowlett, Texas, speaking to NPR.
 Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed in Lowe’s hometown and eight people were killed in the town next door. 
The tornado didn’t move because of anything Lowe did. But if she wants credit for changing its path, she needs to bear responsibility for the people who died as a result of her supposed actions.
  (Source NPR)\Story:

BIGOT- TN Rep. Rick Womick
2) The Extremists Go All Out and Propose Marriage Bill to Squash Gays- In Tennessee, the  bigots have finally figured out a way to keep gay people from marrying. A new bill proposed says: The state will no longer issue marriage licenses, but instead recognize "common law" marriages that were all that the state had prior to the Civil War.  If couples wish to marry, they will have to go to churches, which are exempt from performing gay marriages.  Nice one.

From the Mouth of Hate Embodied:
 "Tennessee should stop issuing marriage licenses in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made gay marriage legal," Tennessee  state Rep. Rick Womick said. "The state Constitution says that marriage is between one man and one woman, and my personal belief is that God says that marriage is between one man and one woman," said Womick, a Republican who resides in Rutherford County's Rockvale community southwest of Murfreesboro. "He created Adam and Eve. God didn’t create Adam and Winston."
**So, everyone in the state must live by "His personal belief" - Really makes you hate some people doesn't it? 

Listen/Watch to Podcast: Jeff Richards: Paranormal - Do Animals Journey into the Afterlife? Rob Gutro Joins us

Listen/Watch  Podcast: Rob  was a guest on the radio program: Jeff Richards: Paranormal - covering the topic- Do Animals Journey into the Afterlife?  
 Host Jeff Richards: Paranormal Radio show is based in Saskatchewan, Canada 
***Jeff Richards: Paranormal broadcasts every Sunday night (7pm -10 pm CST) on CJME radio.
Here's the LINK to listen to the Podcast on YouTube with photos of dogs and cats from pet expos where Rob spoke about Pets and the Afterlife:  
(Note: images run out 9 mins before end of show):

Monday, December 28, 2015

Part 2: Origins of Sayings: Sleep Tight, a Showboat, Over a Barrel

Our friend Elvina recently sent us an email that revealed the history and origin of a number of sayings that we grew up with. Of course, we didn't know the origin of these sayings, so it's fun to find out how they came to be. This is part 2 of 3: Riff-Raff; State Rooms; Sleep Tight; Showboating; Over a Barrel. 

RIFF RAFF The Mississippi River was the main way of traveling from north to south. River-boats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so most people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a "riff" and this transposed into riff-raff, meaning low class.

Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states. To this day cabins on ships are called staterooms.

Sleep tight came from pulling the bed ropes tight!

Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mat-tress was then put on top of the ropes. Over time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night's sleep.

These were floating theaters built on a barge that was pushed by a steamboat. These played small town along the Mississippi River. Unlike the boat shown in the movie "Showboat" these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the party is "showboating".

In the days before CPR a drowning victim would be placed face down over a barrel and the barrel would be rolled back and forth in a effort to empty the lungs of water. It was rarely effective. If you are over a barrel you are in deep trouble.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Listen/Watch to Podcast: Jeff Richards: Paranormal - Do Animals Journey into the Afterlife?

I had an enjoyable and interesting 1 hour interview on a well-known Canadian paranormal radio program on Dec. 20.  You can now Listen and Watch the Podcast  here: 
Host Jeff Richards: Paranormal Radio show of Saskatchewan, Canada interviews Rob Gutro: Do Animals Journey into the Afterlife?

Jeff Richards: Paranormal broadcasts every Sunday night (7pm -10 pm CST) on Tune in for groundbreaking guests and paranormal talk radio!

Here's the LINK to listen to the Podcast on YouTube with photos of dogs and cats from pet expos where Rob spoke about Pets and the Afterlife: 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Dogcast Radio! - Christmas show: Dogopedia and Harry the Labradale

DogCast Radio from the U.K. has some great and informative programs for any dog parent (like us). So, here's the summary and link to the most recent show for you to enjoy!

Episode 164 - Dogopedia and Harry the Labradale
In this show you can hear about Battersea Dogs and Cats Home's new book Dogopedia. The book includes such subjects as whether our dogs feel guilt, if they know when we're coming home, and what makes a breed a pedigree or a made up breed, and more. Chris Farley talks about life with her clever and dexterous dog Harry. They have performed together in the Crufts Factor, The London Pet Show and on BBC TV, but what's life like with such a high achieving dog? Plus hear the story of the little girl who asked Santa to bring her missing dog back.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays from Our House to Yours!

From our house to yours - Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, and whatever you may be celebrating this season!
Our Holiday card:Dolly, Franklin and Tyler

Dolly, Franklin and Tyler tell Santa they want more treats!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Explanation: In Rudolph's Weird Ax-Licking Scene

TK TK gifs

Finally, 51 year after Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer claymation aired, we finally learn the explanation of why Yukon Cornelius licked his axe!

The version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" you've been watching on TV is actually wrong.

12/14/2015 11:38 am ET

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
   If you grew up watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on TV, you've actually seen an incorrect version of the movie. Given the changing needs of commercials, networks -- most recently CBS -- have shown the movie without all of its scenes, leading to a few confusing moments -- particularly the mysterious moment Yukon Cornelius licks his pickax.
   "CBS and various powers that be do not care," television historian Rick Goldschmidt, who has become an expert on the production company behind "Rudolph, " Rankin/Bass, told The Huffington Post, adding, "'Rudolph' has been treated shabbily."
Why did Yukon Cornelius lick his axe?
   In an article for TVparty, Goldschmidt wrote that he considers a moment called "The Peppermint Mine Scene" to be "the most significant deleted scene." It comes right after Rudolph guides Santa through the air to the Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph's parents, Donner and Mrs. Donner, Rudolph's girlfriend, Clarice, and Cornelius are featured, while Donner says, "That's my buck!" finally confirming Rudolph's dad is no longer ashamed, as Goldschmidt points out.
But more illuminating is that the scene finally gives an answer as to why Cornelius kept licking his pickax throughout the special. In this deleted scene, Cornelius throws his ax in the air, lets it strike the ground and then, after licking it as he has been wont to do, declares, "Peppermint! What I've been searching for all my life! I've struck it rich. I've got me a peppermint mine ... Wahoooo!"

Yukon Cornelius didn't have a bizarre talent of recognizing the taste of gold or silver, he was licking his ax to see if it tasted like peppermint.

   "The 'Peppermint Mine Scene' has not been on TV since 1964," Goldschmidt explained, while also saying, "The special as it airs on CBS is not right." However, the peppermint deleted scene is on DVD and Blu-ray."

   Goldschmidt, who has written a definitive book on the making of "Rudolph," is frustrated that CBS doesn't put this scene, along with others, back into the broadcast. Talking about the current iteration of the TV broadcast, Goldschmidt said it's "like a grade school kid edited it," while additionally finding frustration in how the movie has been time-compressed and the sound quality warbles on multiple songs.
   In 1998, Goldschmidt teamed up with Arthur Rankin Jr. -- the original producer -- and found additional lost footage, which the two copyrighted. According to Goldschmidt, he notified Dreamworks -- the current holder of the movie's distribution rights -- of this new material, but hasn't had any luck with convincing them to do a full restoration. "'Rudolph' is as iconic as 'The Wizard of Oz,' yet it gets treated very poorly," he claimed.
   If you want to learn more about how "Rudolph" came together, check out Goldschmidt's book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Making of the Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic, or consider donating to the Indiegogo for his potential upcoming documentary on the legendary producers.
For the meantime, you can still watch "Rudolph," on CBS, even if it is a bit mangled.
"Bottom line, the special hasn't been treated properly and not sure why that is or who to blame," lamented Goldschmidt.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tyler Gets His Christmas Wish!

Tyler's Christmas wish came true - He finally appeared in lights - in the form of a gift from our friend and neighbor Peggy, who surprised us with light-up Christmas Dachshunds! 
 Tyler said "the little one looks like me" and even posed for this picture in front of it! "The bigger one looks like Franklin," Tyler said, "because he weighs more than I do." 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Shake the Winter Blues: The Norwegian Secret To Enjoying A Long Winter

Shake the Winter Blues before you even get them! Read this article about how Norwegians handle the long winter. They really have a great outlook. -

 The Norwegian Secret To Enjoying A Long Winter

Residents of Norway view their long dark winters as something to celebrate. How it's possible to be cheerful for the next four months.
As the days get darker and colder in much of the northern hemisphere, it’s easy to indulge in gloom. For the next few months, you’ll be shivering. You’ll be battling foul weather. Thanks to daylight saving time there will be no chance to see the sun after work.
The gloom leads to a common question: What can I do to cope with the dark and cold?
If you truly want to be happy during winter, though, this is the wrong approach to the season. Changing your mindset can do more than distracting yourself from the weather.

That’s the takeaway from research done by Kari Leibowitz, currently a PhD student at Stanford University, who spent August 2014 to June 2015 on a Fulbright scholarship in Tromsø in northern Norway. Tromsø is so far north that from late November to late January, the sun never climbs above the horizon. Leibowitz went to study the residents’ overall mental health, because rates of seasonal depression were lower than one might expect.

Photo: Flickr user Mark Robinson
At first, she was asking "Why aren’t people here more depressed?" and if there were lessons that could be taken elsewhere. But once she was there, "I sort of realized that that was the wrong question to be asking," she says. When she asked people "Why don’t you have seasonal depression?" the answer was "Why would we?"
It turns out that in northern Norway, "people view winter as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured," says Leibowitz, and that makes all the difference.

Lessons From The Far North

To be sure, there are some aspects of the near-polar culture that might be hard to emulate elsewhere. Small Norwegian communities are tightly knit, and strong social ties increase well-being everywhere. That said, there are lessons that can help anyone think differently about cold weather.
First, Norwegians celebrate the things one can only do in winter. "People couldn’t wait for the ski season to start," says Leibowitz. Getting outside is a known mood booster, and so Norwegians keep going outside, whatever is happening out there. Notes Leibowitz: "There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."
Norwegians also have a word, koselig, that means a sense of coziness. It’s like the best parts of Christmas, without all the stress. People light candles, light fires, drink warm beverages, and sit under fuzzy blankets. There’s a community aspect to it too; it’s not just an excuse to sit on the couch watching Netflix. Leibowitz reports that Tromsø had plenty of festivals and community activities creating the sense that everyone was in it together.

Photo: Flickr userJan Fredrik Frantzen
And finally, people are enamored with the sheer beauty of the season. Leibowitz grew up near the Jersey shore, and "I just took it as a fact that everyone likes summer the best." But deep in the winter in Norway, when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon, multiple hours a day can still look like sunrise and sunset, and against the snow, "the colors are incredibly beautiful," she says. "The light is very soft and indirect."

A Mindset Shift

Most likely you can’t cross-country ski straight out of your house, and while Norwegian sweaters may be catching on, restaurants and coffee shops in more temperate climates don’t all feature the fireplaces and candles common to the far north. Still, there are little things non-Norwegians can do. "One of the things we do a lot of in the States is we bond by complaining about the winter," says Leibowitz. "It’s hard to have a positive wintertime mindset when we make small talk by being negative about the winter."
This is easy enough to change; simply refuse to participate in the Misery Olympics. Talk about how the cold gives you a chance to drink tea or hot chocolate all day. Talk about ice skating, or building snowmen. Bundle up and go for a walk outside, knowing that you’ll likely feel warmer and happier after a few minutes. Better yet, go with a friend. Social plans are a great reason to haul yourself out from under the covers.
But overall, mindset research is increasingly finding that it doesn’t take much to shift one’s thinking. "It doesn’t have to be this huge complicated thing," says Leibowitz. "You can just consciously try to have a positive wintertime mindset and that might be enough to induce it."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Part 1: Origins of Sayings: Shot of Whiskey, Whole 9 Yards, Buying the Farm and more

Our friend Elvina recently sent us an email that revealed the history and origin of a number of sayings that we grew up with. Of course, we didn't know the origin of these sayings, so it's fun to find out how they came to be. This is part 1 of 3. 

In the old west a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a "shot" of whiskey.

American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.

This is synonymous with dying. During WW1 soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm so if you died you "bought the farm" for your survivors.

This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.

Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it as common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn't want to deal he would "pass the buck" to the next player. If that player accepted then "the buck stopped there".

Sunday, December 20, 2015

What is the Dog Aging Project? and New Breakthrough?

 Recently, the Huffington Post published an article about this interesting study called the Dog Aging Project, dedicated to help our canine kids live longer.
    The  goal of the Dog Aging Project at the University of Washington is to increase the healthy life span of dogs by targeting the aging process directly. The good news that the Dog Aging Project is conducting a trial of the anti-organ transplant rejection drug rapamycin, also known as sirolimus, on 32 middle-aged dogs, trying to determine if we can add a few more good healthy years to our pets' lives.
ABOUT THE DOG AGING PROJECT: The University of Washington’s Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute (HALo) is dedicated to promoting healthy aging in people and their companion animals. The Dog Aging Project is led by Dr. Daniel Promislow and Dr. Matt Kaeberlein.
ABOUT THE NEW MEDICATION:   In low doses, rapamycin appears to slow the aging process, and studies on mice showed it can increase their lifespan. 
   “If rapamycin has a similar effect in dogs – and it’s important to keep in mind we don’t know this yet – then a typical large dog could live two to three years longer, and a smaller dog might live four years longer," researcher Daniel Promislow told  The Telegraph. He owns a nine-year-old Chow mix named Frisbee, according to the Dog Aging Project's website, so he certainly has a vested interest here.
    The researchers want to see how rapamycin affects the dogs’ heart function, immune system, activity level, weight and cognition -- meaning, we presume, will Fido still ignore you when you call his name. After the initial three-to-six-month trial period, the dogs will be monitored to measure any significant improvements to their healthy aging and lifespan.
   If the results are successful, it’s quite possible that the benefits may extend to cats as well – and possibly even "other" species, notes ScienceAlert.
   The animal kingdom's rule of thumb is that larger creatures live longer, which makes sense since they have fewer predators with a size advantage. But our companion pets are an exception to the rule and researchers have never quite understood why. Cats live an average of 15 years, compared with about 12 years for dogs, despite generally being smaller. And small dogs can live twice as long as large ones.
A recent theory from the UK had an interesting take on why cats outlive dogs: Cats are simply more aloof. Could stress be a factor in our pets' longevity as well?



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