Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ruthie Visit Part 3: Poe's Baltimore Row House

In today's blog, we continue to investigate Edgar Allen Poe by leaving his burial place in Baltimore and going to a row house where he lived with his wife (and 2nd cousin) Virginia Clemm, and his mother-in-law.

LOCATED - The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, located at 203 North Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ruthie and Tom leaving the Poe graveyard

HISTORY OF THE HOUSE -  In a tiny brick house on Baltimore’s North Amity Street in 1833-1835 Edgar Allan Poe wrote some of the early stories that would make him the father of the modern short story, and create and define the modern genres of mystery, horror and science fiction.

Poe’s home is in an excellent state of preservation with much of the exterior and interior original fabric from the 1833-1835 period when Edgar lived there with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins. While the house is not furnished, visitors walk on the same floors, stairs and wander within the original plaster walls and woodwork that Edgar lived with.
On the corner of Edgar Allen Poe Square

EXHIBITS - Exhibits tell the story of Edgar Allan Poe’s life and death in Baltimore and significant artifacts such as Edgar’s portable writing desk and chair, and a telescope, china and glassware used by Edgar when living with the Allan family in Richmond, Virginia.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Ruthie Visit Part 2: Poe's Odd Death and Double-Grave

Rob, Ruthie and Tom
In Part 2 of our Edgar Allen Poe adventures with our friend Ruthie, we visited the Westminster Burial Ground in Baltimore and learned about Poe's odd death and his double-grave. Come along and find out with us in today's blog.

A WEIRD DEATH -  Edgar Allan Poe, who was buried here in October 1849, following his sudden and mysterious death after being found on the street near East Lombard Street in a sick and semi-conscious state wearing unfamiliar clothes. Poe was taken to the Church Home and Infirmary on Broadway (between East Fayette and Baltimore Streets on "Washington Hill"), where he died four days later.
Westminster Burial Ground. Ruthie and Tom reading a marker

ABOUT THE BURIAL GROUND - Westminster Hall and Burying Ground is a graveyard and former church located at 519 West Fayette Street (at North Greene Street) in Baltimore, Maryland. The complex was declared a national historic district in 1974. The graveyard was established in January 1787.

Edgar's first Grave

Edgar's 2nd grave near the entrance
TWO GRAVESITES IN ONE BURIAL GROUND - Poe actually has two graves on this site: his original grave and a monument added in 1875.

His original burial spot, towards the back of Westminster Hall, is marked by a headstone with an engraved raven. It was a family plot, lot 27, where his grandfather General David Poe Sr. and his brother Henry Leonard Poe are also buried.

In 1875, a local school teacher started a "Pennies for Poe" campaign to raise money for a more appropriate monument, resulting in the large marble monument located at the front of the cemetery facing Fayette St; to this day, it is traditional for visitors to the grave to leave a penny on the monument. Poe was re-buried there along with his aunt and mother-in-law Maria Clemm and his wife Virginia.

his grandfather General David Poe Sr.
NOTE: - Because there were so many people who wanted to visit Poe's gravesite and it was in the back of the church yard it made sense to move him and create a large marker for him up front near the grave yard entrance. That's where he is today. His white grave marker can be seen from the main street, even if you just drive by.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Ruthie Visit Part 1: Edgar Allen Poe and Baltimore

Edgar Allen Poe
In part 1 of the blog about our friend Ruthie's visit, we took her (and we'll take you) to the burial
ground of Edgar Allen Poe! If you don't know who he is you will by the end of this blog as we walk through his place of entombment in Baltimore, Maryland.

WHO WAS EDGAR ALLEN POE? He was a famous writer, poet, author and literary critic who lived from January 19, 1809 to October 7, 1849. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole, and he was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story. Poe is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was born in Boston, Mass, moved to Richmond, Virginia, was in the army at West Point, and lived in New York City and Baltimore. in 1836, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845, Poe published his poem "The Raven" to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication.
Tell Tale Heart was made into a film

SOME FAMOUS STORIES - 1) "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed 2) The Raven - A poem that tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness.

SOME OTHER STORIES (and there are more): 
"The Angel of the Odd" (1844) Comedy about being drunk
"The Balloon Hoax" (1844) Newspaper story about balloon travel
"Berenice" (1835) Horror story about teeth
"The Black Cat" (1845) Horror story about a cat
"The Cask of Amontillado" (1846) A story of revenge
"A Descent Into The Maelstr�m" (1845) Man vs. Nature, Adventure Story
"Eleonora" (1850) A love story
"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" (1845) Talking with a dead man
"The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839) An old house and its secrets
"The Gold Bug" (1843) A search for pirate treasure
"Hop-Frog" (1845) A midget seeks revenge
"The Imp of the Perverse" (1850) Procrastination and confession
"The Island of the Fay" (1850) A poetic discussion
"Ligeia" (1838) A haunting supernatural tale
"The Man of the Crowd" (1845) How to follow someone
"Manuscript Found in a Bottle" (1833) Adventure at sea
"The Masque of the Red Death" (1850) The horror of the plague
"Mesmeric Revelation" (1849) Conversation with a hypnotized dying man
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841) A detective story
"Never Bet the Devil Your Head" (1850) A comedy with a moral
"The Oval Portrait" (1850) A tragic love story
"The Pit and the Pendulum" (1850) A torture chamber
"The Premature Burial" (1850) About being buried alive
"The Purloined Letter" (1845) A detective story
"Silence - A Fable" (1838) A dream
"Some Words With a Mummy" (1850) A mummy speaks
"The Spectacles" (1850) A great little comedy about love at first sight
"The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether" (1856) Inside an insane asylum
"The Tell-Tale Heart" (1850) A murderer's guilt
"William Wilson" (1842) Identical twins or something else?


Thursday, April 27, 2017

What's a Phase Distribution Power Loss in Homes? How is it different from Total Power Loss?

Cables were loose on the pole
Recently we experienced a weird power issue in the house where only one section of the house was suddenly without power and there was nothing "flipped" in the fuse box/circuit breaker box. We learned that it was a "Phase Distribution" Power Loss and you should know what it is in case it happens to you. I'm not an electrician, I'm a meteorologist, so I'm just sharing what we experienced. I will say that the BGE Serviceman was awesome.

WHAT IS IT?  There are apparently several cables that go into your home from the power lines. It's basically a "phased" distribution of power to you house. It's
often called ‘Single-Phasing’ and the power failure occurs when one of the three power feeds to your house is loose, disconnected or broken.

HOW IT WORKS - Each is connected to a part of the house, and doesn't really mean anything when it comes to your "fuse box/circuit breaker box." So, if one line becomes loose, it can take out power to part of your house and won't through the fuse switches on your fuse box. 

HOW TO KNOW - In our house, the lights in the kitchen and the microwave, lights in the den and living room kept flickering and would shut off for awhile. It took me awhile to realize that every time the wind blew outside, the lights would flicker but only in the kitchen, living room and den. All three of those rooms have different switches in the fuse box/circuit breaker box, so that made me think that it could not be something plugged in one room, because they were on different switches. So it HAD to be outside.  Further, the downstairs hallway and bedroom lights remained on, as did all of the upstairs lights. So that was weird. 

THE CLUE -  If no switches are flipped in the circuit breaker box, and the power is out in just a part of the house, it could very likely be a phase distribution power loss.

IT'S PRETTY COMMON - One of the electricians said that losing one phase is quite a common occurrence.  It happened at her house, but in her case, the power lines were buried and they had to dig a 5-foot deep hole in her front yard. What's interesting is that neither of us can every remember the phase distribution power loss happening at our parents' houses. 

WHO DO YOU CALL?  - Not an electrician. At least not at first. Call the power company and have them check the lines outside to the house. If they're loose, as one of our lines was, they just need to tighten it and it solves the problem (it did for us). If not, it may be an internal problem, and THAT'S when you call an electrician. 

CAUTION - Turn off the breakers for the rooms affected. had an in-depth article that explained how the remaining current can adversely affect your computer, TV, etc. - Once confirmed, disconnect the power by switching off the main breaker in your electrical panel. This will spare your equipment from operating undervoltage. If you catch it quick enough, you could save hundreds of dollars instead of replacing your computer, HD TV, Blu-ray player, etc. 

GREAT EXPERIENCE WITH BGE -  I called Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) at 6:07p.m. and they took my report of flickering lights. I called back at 7:08 p.m. and reported the power was out in part of the house (and after talking with our friend Will, he clued me in to phase power distribution). The BGE serviceman, a hunky, tall, bearded man named Milton (I believe that was his name) arrived at 9:07 p.m. and I explained the symptoms and what I thought may be the case. He checked the house connection and then the pole, and that's where it was. He said it likely came loose from windy conditions, and an 10 minutes he fixed the issue!.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

IN THE NEWS: Congress Passed Bill to Allow internet providers to sell your web browsing history

If you didn't know, everything that you look at on the Internet is about to be sold to buyers, so anyone WHY? Because several Republicans got big payoffs! Just read the short article below. 
can see it and send you targeted ads.

HISTORY- President Obama Created the Privacy- Now Eliminated by the GOP Congress:  The House of Representatives passed a resolution today overturning an Obama-era FCC rule that required internet providers to get customers' permission before sharing their browsing history with other companies. The rules also required internet providers to protect that data from hackers and inform customers of any breaches.
Republicans Passed Bill to Allow Internet providers to sell your web browsing history!
The Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill on March 27, 2017  that would allow internet and telecom companies to share customers’ personal information, including web browsing history, without their consent.

PAYOFFS - Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who introduced the legislation in the House, has received $693,000 from the internet and telecom industry over the course of her 14-year political career,
including $77,000 from Comcast, $98,600 from Verizon, and $104,000 from ATT.

LIST OF of every politician who voted for Tuesday’s billand how much the telecom industry gave them in their most recent election cycle.

Short Video:
A LITTLE PRIVACY FOR HTTPS WEBSITES -  When you visit a website that uses HTTPS, your ISP can see ― and track ― the website you visited, but it can’t see the individual pages. (If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, sites that use HTTPS are denoted with a little green lock icon to the left of the address bar.) “HTTPS is something that every internet user should be on the lookout for whenever they’re on a site that might request sensitive data,” Laperruque said. “It’s a critical protection against malicious hackers.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's Tyler Tuesday! Start your day with a song!

It's Tyler Tuesday! Start your day with a song!
 There's something about sirens that makes our 6 year old black and tan Dachshund, Tyler sing along. On April 19, 2017 he heard sirens and decided to join the chorus!

Idiots in Politics: Trump Administration's "Blue Star" Cancellation

If you use an appliance, you likely have seen a "Blue Star" label on it. That means that the technology was improved to reduce pollution. It also means your appliance uses less energy and costs you less to operate. People and companies who use the technology benefit.
Except that the Trump Administration thinks saving Energy and reducing pollution is apparently stupid. So they're pulling the $60 million of funding from the program, killing it. How incredibly STUPID.

Here's the article from the Baltimore Sun:

White House targets Blue Star
Planned ax for energy saving push elicits mass shock

By Evan Halper, Baltimore Sun Washington Bureau

BOTTOM LINE: The Trump Administration is now planning to eliminate a voluntary, cost-effective initiative that has saved its customers millions of dollars and had almost no critics.

The Trump administration has decided the immensely popular Energy Star program must go.

The fight centers on the Environmental Protection Agency’s 25-year-old effort to boost efficiency in products and services by encouraging companies to compete for coveted, government-issued labels that certify a product or property meets high standards for saving energy and costs.

Functioning like a government seal of approval, the Energy Star program costs taxpayers a pittance and is widely beloved by the 16,000 companies and organizations that participate. Now it is fast becoming a test case of how committed the Trump administration is to pursuing the agenda of once-fringe groups seeking to slash government programs wherever they can.

“Never in my wildest thoughts have I considered something like this,” said Dave Pogue, who leads the sustainability efforts at Commercial Real Estate Company CBRE. He said the program helped the firm cut energy use at its properties by 16 percent in the last decade.

In the Trump administration Energy Star has come under scrutiny. The plan to jettison the program from the federal government, now embedded in the White House budget blueprint, emerged after Trump placed Myron Ebell, a prominent climate skeptic, in charge of his EPA transition team.

THE SOUNDS OF STUPID- Yes, the new head of the EPA REALLY Said This:
“The EPA is meant to improve environmental quality,” said Ebell. “I’m not sure what that has to do with how much energy consumers use. But a great deal of the work at EPA has been dedicated to that. The president made clear during the campaign he will get rid of as much of that as he possibly can.”

Energy Star has everything to with environmental quality - The nation’s biggest companies compete aggressively to win Energy Star labels for their products, which signal to consumers that everything from the air conditioners they purchase at Best Buy to the buildings where they lease office space engage advanced technologies to use the least possible amount of power. The eagerness to meet consumer demand for that seal of approval has driven firms to invest big in cutting energy use.

Energy Star has been a pillar of the federal government’s effort to fight climate change, with the EPA boasting that it has kept some 2.8 billion tons of greenhouse gas from escaping into the atmosphere — or roughly the equivalent produced from powering 36 million homes with electricity each year. It has enabled consumers and businesses to cut their energy bills more than $30 billion per year.

At an annual cost of $60 million to taxpayers, it is easily the cheapest and least burdensome initiative the federal government runs to help Americans lower their energy consumption.

The proposal has been met with shock across party lines. Christie Todd Whitman, who ran the EPA during the administration of George W. Bush said, “not in a million years” would she have targeted Energy Star. “There was no reason to,” she said. “It was a no-brainer. It worked, and it hardly cost any money.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

Quick Treatment of Dolly's Corneal Eye Ulcer - Success!

Dolly couldn't open her eye so we rushed her to the vet
Our 12 year old Weimaraner Dolly developed her second corneal ulcer (it becomes apparent immediately as a result of a simple blink of an eye). Last year she had one on her left eye, this year one developed on her right eye. She's now healing after a visit to the canine ophthalmologist, and we decided to blog about it in case anyone has questions.

Our Weimaraner Dolly suddenly couldn't open her right eye very much after waking up from a nap. Apparently, there was a corneal ulcer developing on her eye, and the eyelid tore off the cells and exposed the ulcer when she awoke.
There are several causes of corneal ulcers in dogs. The most common cause is trauma. An ulcer may result from blunt trauma, such as a dog rubbing its eye on the carpet, or due to a laceration, such as a cat scratch or a contact with a sharp object. As dogs age, they can also get them. That's what happened in our dog Dolly's case. Another common cause is chemical burn of the cornea.

Dolly and Tyler at the Vet to find out what's happening with Dolly's eye

WHAT  IS IT AND WHY THEY HURT (and need Quick Treatment)  - Basically a corneal ulcer is a rupture of cells in the eye. When you blink, you pull off the new cells that try to heal the ulcer - and that hurts! It's like tearing a layer of new skin off every time you blink. That's why a contact lense is needed to prevent blinking from removing the new eye cells.

GET TREATMENT QUICKLY - The quicker you get a contact lense applied, the less cell damage will be done to your dog's eye. You will also likely get pain meds and an antibiotic eye drop to apply three times a day for a week until healed.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? - The ulcer basically looks like a little spot on the eye.
close up of a corneal ulcer (from the internet)

UPDATE POST-OPHTHALMOLOGIST VISIT - During our canine ophthalmologist appointment Dolly did have a contact lense put in over the corneal ulcer in her right eye. It should heal quickly since we caught it early. Fortunately, she was very patient and allowed the doctor to put the lense in her eye with no problem.  

Here's a pic of her smiling at the vet after the contact was put in.. because it stops the pain (every time she blinked before, her eyelid tore the healing cells off the eye ulcer). 
Smiling as a contact lense prevents more damage and no pain

Sunday, April 23, 2017

News You May Have Missed: Panera Bread Bought and "Mermaid" Found Wandering

Last week there were a couple of stories you may have missed in the news. Nothing bad, just
interesting if you eat out at Panera Bread (as we do), or if you happen to know who is seeking a missing Mermaid (that's not a typo). Stories below:

PANERA BREAD BOUGHT - An English company has bought a LOT of Franchises!
It is only the latest effort to expand into restaurants by JAB, the investment arm of the Reimann family of Germany, who are heirs to the consumer goods company Joh. A. Benckiser. In 2014, JAB bought the bagel chain Einstein Brothers, which it has been combining with Caribou is some markets. And last year, it paid $1.35 billion for Krispy Kreme, the struggling doughnut chain.  In Panera, JAB will acquire a popular fast casual chain that serves soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods at about 2,000 locations.

The missing mermaid : Found
WEIRD NEWS:  Police Seek Help Identifying Woman Found Wet, Claiming To Be Mermaid
Police in Fresno, California, are asking for the public’s help identifying a young woman found soaking wet and wandering in the street early Tuesday. The woman, who officers estimated is between 16 and 30, said she was a mermaid named Joanna, but was unable to answer questions, according to a news release from the police department. A police flyer describes her as 5 feet 4, about 150 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. The flyer notes she has “webbed toes on both feet.”

Saturday, April 22, 2017

We March for Science! Why it's Important

Franklin, Dolly and Tyler are standing up for science
It's Science Saturday  and We Stand for Science.
  As a meteorologist, I (Rob) can tell you that weather science (including satellites, radar, field missions, weather stations, and personnel) have saved a LOT of lives. (in 1900 when there were no such things a hurricane killed 8,000 people in Galveston, Texas).
    Hope you are standing up for the importance of science. 
THINK ABOUT THIS - Think it about how important it is when you check the weather daily (and get tornado, flood, hurricane warnings), drink clean water, take medication or get your flu vaccine. Those are just a few of millions of examples how science benefits us.

BTW- This week We had a Tropical Storm (Arlene) in the Atlantic a Month and a Half before Hurricane season- WHY? Climate Change is a REALITY.

Tropical Storm Arlene in Atlantic 4-22-17 Credit: NOAA
Hundreds of Marches Around the World 
- Today, Earth Day, April 22, there are hundreds of marches happening around the world. Scientists and their supporters were urged to turn out in force in London as well as other marches in France, Ireland, Finland, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S.  Here in the U.S., though, preserving, believing and funding science is in the forefront. 
Demonstrators push forward Saturday in Chicago's March for Science. Cr: CNN
CNN said "But many messages were leveled at Trump and his party, which holds majorities in Congress. Scientists have raised alarms over Trump's budget blueprint, which would cut $12.6 billion from the Department of Health and Human Services, including $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health alone.  With the White House in view, protesters held signs with messages such as "In peer review we trust" and "It's the environment, stupid."

Watch tomorrow 4/23: Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund made Finalist in the Shorty Awards!

Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund made Finalist in the Shorty Awards!

Crusoe said "This is amazing, I have my fans to thank for helping make this happen. I will be attending the award show in New York City on April 23rd, so stay tuned for updates on how to watch it.  It'll be my first award show with other real celebrities! WOW." 
For more about Crusoe, visit: 
 Here's one of Crusoe's videos from St. Patrick's Day when he and his brother Oakley were digging for the pot of gold under a rainbow:

Friday, April 21, 2017

England Politics 101: What is a "Snap Election"?

We love the United Kingdom and are fascinated with their history, people, culture, television shows, landmarks and politics. So when the Brexit happened we wondered how they would go about it. Well, one thing they're doing is a "snap election." This blog (thanks to the Huffington Post) will tell you what that means.
 What is a snap election?

British general elections are held every five years under the Fixed Term Parliament Act. Former Tory leader David Cameron won the 2015 election, so the next U.K. vote was scheduled for 2020. However, the majority party can seek to call an early (or “snap”) election, should they choose.  

Why has Theresa May called it?

The snap election is almost entirely about domestic politics. May, formerly home secretary in the British government, was not elected prime minister, nor was she elected leader of the Conservatives. Her party elevated her to that position in the turbulent days of June 2016, after Cameron resigned following his defeat in the Brexit referendum. All of May’s rivals for the top job dropped out, so she became PM.  As such, May is trying to push through the U.K.’s exit from Europe ― the biggest political shift in British national identity in decades ― in the absence of a political mandate of her own.
Winning the snap election would not only solidify May’s position as Tory leader, but would allow her to claim that the public has backed her plan for how to extract Britain from the European Union.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Terrible real estate agent photographs

Image 1 - Mayan Haven
You just won't believe the shape of some people's houses when they're on the market. To show you some bad examples, here's a sampling of  "Terrible real estate agent photos."  It's hard to believe that Realtors even promoted these.
   Since we're paranormal investigators in our spare time, we go into people's homes to find out if there really is something supernatural happening. Well, some of the houses we've been in were homes of hoarders, while others were very clean. One of them was so filthy with old, moldy food, Tom wouldn't even go inside. So, whenever houses are being sold we're always curious to see how much people have cleaned them up.  Just look at these houses in actual real estate ads:

Image 1:  Just as it had the great Mayan cities of Tikal and Calakmul, nature slowly reclaimed the Wilsons’ dining room.
Image 2:  Jungle!

Image 2:  The quality of National Geographic’s wildlife output is deteriorating.

Image 3:  IS THAT A TOILET? 
Bullied, neglected and abused, some young toilets find themselves with nowhere to turn.  Of course if you can't make the run to the bathroom upstairs, you can always do your business in the open toilet installed under the OPEN STAIRWAY!   This was actually in a home for sale. 

Dinner will be served in the garage, after which you’re welcome to join us in the shed for drinks. 

For more crazy real estate pictures visit:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Karma By the Pants!

The thief hanging on a fence in Tucson, AZ. Cr: Jesse Sensibar
If you missed this in the news last week, a burglar who broke into a school in Tucson, Arizona had karma catch up to him pretty quickly. In fact, when he was leaving, he scaled a spiked fence that caught his baggy pants and turned him upside-down, where he hung until the police arrived. One passerby actually took a picture of him and posted it on facebook!

The Huffington Post said " The man was apparently spooked on the grounds of Miles Elementary School by a locksmith, who reportedly said he saw the man trying to break into classrooms on Friday, a school official told ABC 15. School was not in session at the time."

He was arrested, cuffed and rode to jail in the back of a responding police car. So, when you're thinking about doing something bad, it'll catch up with you, and sometimes, it'll grab you by the seat of your pants.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's Tyler Tuesday!

It's Tyler Tuesday. Tyler said, "Would you please pour me a drink of water? My arms are too short and I don't have thumbs. When you have little arms you let people wait on you. It's what you do." Enjoy your day and stay hydrated.
 #TylerTuesday #dachshunds

Enjoyable Mystery: Hush Puppy by Laurien Berenson

The sixth book in the "Melanie Travis Mystery series" was the best yet. I (Rob) have read several of them, and I really, really enjoyed "Hush Puppy." Melanie is a single mom, and poodle parent. She's a tutor and also shows her poodle in dog shows. As with the previous 5 mysteries, there are great supporting characters, including her son, her Aunt Peg, her boyfriend Sam and more. This mystery had me going until the end, trying to guess the murderer. It was really enjoyable. Five out of five starts from me! - 

ABOUT THE BOOK: Melanie Travis loves her teaching job at Connecticut's elite Howard Academy, where plans are underway for a Spring Pageant to honor the school's fiftieth anniversary. Immersed in the preparations, Melanie is hurrying to retrieve a painting of one of the illustrious co-founders when she comes upon a disturbing scene: Eugene Krebbs, the Academy's elderly caretaker is arguing loudly with a girl half his size. Before Melanie can learn more than the girl's first name--Jane--she disappears.

It's clear that Jane isn't a student at Howard Academy, so what is she doing there? Melanie doesn't have a chance to answer that question before more problems arise. Two days later, Krebbs is discovered stabbed to death right on the school grounds. Now Melanie is embroiled in a full-fledged homicide investigation as she tries to find out who's added murder to the school's curriculum. And when Melanie's trail leads her dangerously closer to the truth, she must race against time to track down a cunning killer before she becomes the next victim to be hushed. . .forever.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Menagerie Monday! Our House and the Daily Dog Dash!

Our kids: Dolly the Weimaraner, Tyler the black and tan Dachshund and Franklin the red Dachshund love to get in a good sprint after a long walk. So, they line up at the gate to our back yard and make a dash! Here's a short video of what they do after every walk on this "Menagerie Monday!"

Sunday, April 16, 2017

This Week's Idiot in Politics: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley Resigns Over Sex Scandal

The Alabama Governor ... Mug Shot
Here's the latest Idiot of the Week in Politics: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.
This is yet another hypocrite who calls himself a "Conservative Christian" (READ: Right wing Christian, not mainstream), and who has pushed "Family Values" and hatred and intolerance against gay people.  Alabama Christians have GOT to be angry they were fooled.

Bottom Line: Karma has a way of catching up with hateful people and hypocrites.

    The NY Times said "As governor, Robert Bentley would quote the Bible before the Alabama Legislature and say that God had elevated him to the State Capitol. In the city where he was a Baptist deacon, he sometimes witnessed to patients." HIS WIFE found out he was having an Affair (because his love messages to his mistress showed up on her iPad). On Aug. 28, 2015, the governor’s wife filed for divorce.   Just READ this disgusting story (from several legit news sources):

Alabama "Conservative Family" Governor Resigns Over Sex Scandal With Top Aide

Story from ; CNN, ABC News, etc. etc.
   Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley managed to hold onto his job for a full year after the state capitol in Montgomery exploded with the news of his romantic relationship with a top aide, but, on Monday, April 10, with allies in the statehouse fleeing and serious criminal charges in the offing, the 74-year-old Republican surrendered—offering his resignation, pleading guilty to two misdemeanor crimes, and vowing never to hold public office again as part of a negotiated plea with the state’s attorney general’s office.

Bentley appears set to avoid jail time for crimes stemming from his attempts to conduct and conceal his apparent affair with Rebekah Mason, a former local TV anchor hired as his aide and 30-years his junior.  The Daily Beast reported:  According to the House committee’s report, Bentley would call Mason “baby” in meetings, and Ray Lewis, the leader of Bentley’s security detail, told the House committee that he had once observed Mason leaving the governor’s office with tousled hair, her outfit disheveled. The governor’s wife began taking screenshots of the governor’s texts with Mason that appeared on her iPad—conversations that eventually became crucial and cringeworthy evidence in the impeachment case against Bentley. The Washington Post reported:
March 23, 2016: A sexually explicit phone call between Bentley and a woman he calls “Rebekah” made its way to the media. The recording was made by his wife, Dianne Bentley!!

In addition, according to ( the [Alabama] Ethics Commission on Wednesday found enough evidence to believe Bentley had committed four felonies, including a violation of the ethics act and three violations of the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

Bentley’s resignation brings to a close the last chapter of his governorship that was full of tawdry twists and turns. After a full career as a doctor, Bentley didn’t hold public office until the age of 60. The former dermatologist won a seat in the statehouse in 2003 before running for governor in 2010.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tyler Gives Rob a Black Eye!

Rob's black eye from Tyler
Tyler the terror, our lovable 6 year old, 17 pound black and tan Dachshund, is full of energy and loves to give kisses, but he's a good guard dog, too. Yesterday when he, Dolly and Franklin awoke, Tyler wanted to jump on our bed and give Daddy Tom kisses. I (Rob) bent over to pick him up (as he was jumping) and his head slammed into my right eye.
  We're glad Tyler has a hard head, so he was fine. By today, however, my eyelid became black and blue (and yeah, it's a bit tender). So, the next time you think a 17 pound dog can't prove he's tougher than you are, think of Tyler!

Police Officer Makes Huge Difference in a Young Man's Life (who walked 5 hours to work)

18-year-old Jourdan Duncan gets a helping hand
Here's a great story about a police officer in California who went above and beyond to help an 18 year old man named Jourdan with an Amazing work ethic. Reading Jourdan's story will make you think twice before you complain about your commute, but it will also show you just another way that police all over the country help people (as they do every second of every day). 

Police Officer Makes Huge Difference in a Young Man's Life
By Inspire by Cailyn Finkel 2/28/2017 

       When a Benicia, California Police Department officer spotted a young man walking through the city in the middle of the night, his first instinct was to stop him and see why he was out and about at such a late hour. But when Corporal Kirk Keffer found out why 18-year-old Jourdan Duncan was walking in the dark, his heart sank....

Jourdan explained to Corporal Keffer that he had just finished his shift at a packaging plant and was making his nightly walk home. After digging a little deeper, Corporal Keffer discovered that Jourdan spent over five hours walking to work and back each day!

Despite the unthinkable distance, Jourdan told Yahoo News he didn't mind his daily walk.
"I had to start saving up little by little.... It's a pretty peaceful walk. I just put in my headphones, play my music."
Corporal Keffer and Jourdan continued to talk and discuss why the young man traveled to a job that was so far away.  With a smile on his face, Jourdan explained the officer that he was saving up for college, helping his family with the bills and whatever money was left went towards buying a car! This smart young man clearly had his priorities straight and Corporal Keffer wanted to reward him for that, telling Yahoo News:
"People use [a long commute] as an obstacle not to work. I wanted to make sure that he understood a good work ethic and dedication like that is going to be noticed and rewarded."
So, Corporal Keffer approached a local bike shop and told them about Jourdan's situation - without hesitation, the shop donated a bike to the young man! His grueling five-hour commute was cut down to 50 minutes each way.
Not only did Corporal Keffer find Jourdan a bike, but he also set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a car even faster!

Jourdan told Yahoo News how much Corporal Keffer changed his life:
"He helped make my life easier. [Police officers] care about their community, they care about their people and they care to help us."
Inspired by the way the department came together to help him, Jourdan decided to pursue a career as a California Highway Patrol Officer! He plans on applying to the department after receiving his college degree.
Jourdan explained to Yahoo News that he just wants to help others like the kind officers did for him:
"They're setting an example of what a good community is. I thought maybe that could be me - maybe I can have a change in our society and change in the community."
With just a few selfless acts, Corporal Keffer and his fellow officers inspired a young man to make the most out of his life!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Our Annapolis Haunted Encounters Part 3:Ghosts in Shiplap House's Windows

The Shiplap House. Ghost top left window
In this last blog about our Our Annapolis Haunted Encounters you'll hear about the Ghosts in Shiplap House's Windows.

THE HISTORY OF THE SHIPLAP HOUSE -   The Shiplap house is a pre-Victorian house, built around 1715, and is now used for offices for "Historic Annapolis." According to, "This large, separate house is at the end of Pinkney Street in the historic downtown district of Annapolis, Maryland, just blocks away from the Maryland State House and the US Naval Academy. Shiplap House served as a store and tavern in the eighteenth century. The house is named for the random-width flush siding (called shiplap) on the rear facade and the north-east ell. "
OUR EXPERIENCES - As we walked by the house we were both drawn to the windows in the
Ghostly face in the window? 
upstairs (second floor). We didn't know that this was the site of a former tavern, but we both saw figures moving around in the upstairs windows!  However, the building was closed and no one was in it. I took a couple of pictures of the windows but didn't catch anything on film. However, we knew that there were ghosts moving from window to window. 

GHOSTS IN THE WINDOWS!  - On the top left window, I (Rob) described a woman wearing a bonnet, who would be working in the building, circa 1759 or so, when it was a tavern. Then the ghost moved back and forth past the windows on the 2nd and 3rd floors (we both sensed them running back and forth). When we got home I enlarged the windows and came across what looks like the bottom half of a face, from nose down, peering out the top, right hand dormer window (3rd floor!). I checked for reflections, and since it was a cloud-less, clear, blue sky, it was not a reflection of a cloud. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Our Annapolis Haunted Encounters Part 2: The Ghostly Woman Outside

When we visited Annapolis on April 2, we walked around and walked into a couple of places that
turned out to be haunted. In Part 2 of Our Annapolis Haunted Encounters, you'll meet: The Ghostly Woman Outside.
  I've sensed a woman outside of one of the old buildings before, and she continued to stand on the southeastern corner of a white building known as the Waterfront Warehouse. She didn't work in the warehouse in the early 1800s, but she was murdered outside of it by a man with long curly hair (so I (Rob) sensed). It's really weird to get these images when you're just standing outside on a sidewalk in front of a building, but after proving them for many years, you go with it and trust it.
Warehouse sign
   The Waterfront Warehouse is on the corner of "Market Space" and Pinkney Street" in downtown old Annapolis, about 2 blocks from the dock.
Historic display in the warehouse 
  What's interesting is that the warehouse itself is not haunted. The ghostly woman, who wears a bonnet and a shawl of sorts, stands outside in front of the right corner. That's where she was murdered by a vagabond who apparently came off of one of the ships at night, and was seeking pleasure (that she refused to give) and money, which she didn't have, so he took her life.

NEXT:  Our Annapolis Haunted Encounters Part 3:Ghosts in Shiplap House's Windows
Stairway to the 2nd floor of the warehouse

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Our Annapolis Haunted Encounters Part 1: Ghost Shot in the Eye

Rob and Tom head out to Annapolis to ghost hunt
In today's blog we're going to take you to a new shop that opened in downtown Annapolis where we both had a weird experience. There's a shop on the corner of East Street and on the State Circle, across from the State House. There was something weird going on in that shop.
    The shop is filled with art work, pottery, jewelry, paintings and other decorative things. There are many nice things within, and some strange things, too. The shop was apparently the location of a former florist as there are 4 large freezer cases (or they used to be) that now act as a showcase for artwork.
A haunted shop
  It was the basement, however, where things happened. Tom sensed a man crouching in the northeast corner of the basement, and it was there that I had a very strong pain in my left eye. I (Rob)  realized that the man (ghost) was either stabbed, shot or punched in the eye. It was likely that he was shot or stabbed since he was dead, and died in that building. He still haunts it today. It's unknown what his name is, or what he was doing there, but it seems to me that it was either a tavern or a brothel in the late 1700s.
   Regardless, there's a ghost in that shop, and we wonder what strange things happen in there. Next time we visit the city, I'll have to ask if they have experiences.


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