Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Ps" In the News: Pink Pineapples and Political Pinheads

It's a Double-blog with short topics related to the letter "P": New Pink Pineapples and a Political

1)  Pink Pineapples Are Here!!
Pink pineapples are called Rose Gold pineapples ― as Del Monte refers to them ― and they will actually taste sweeter than a typical pineapple . You’ll know you’re buying one of these new pineapples when you see a tag that says “extra sweet pink flesh pineapple.”
   The FDA approved the safety of this genetically modified fruit for sale in the U.S. back in December 2016. We haven’t seen them at the supermarket yet. The FDA assures that it’s perfectly safe. The way these pineapples were modified to stay pink, the FDA explains, was that they were “genetically engineered to produce lower levels of the enzymes already in conventional pineapple that convert the pink pigment lycopene to the yellow pigment beta carotene. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelons pink, so it is commonly and safely consumed.”

2) Political Pinhead: Education Secretary Won't Stand Against Discrimination
   This makes sense, given whom appointed Ms. DeVos, but still the same, it's appalling. 

Mass. Rep. Katherine Clark has made combatting discrimination in private schools one of her top priorities in Congress, and during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing last week she asked if the Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos would stand against LGBT discrimination. Clark cited a private religious school in Indiana that receives state voucher funds. The school explicitly says it may reject students from LGBT families. Clark asked if DeVos would withhold federal funds from such discriminatory schools.    DeVos would NOT answer the question and kept side-stepping an answer until Rep. Clark's time was up.
  It's appalling that someone who is in charge of the nation's education system will not stand for the rights of students. (It's going to be a long, difficult 3 1/2 more years).

WATCH the 5 minute video here: 


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lyle and Desiree's Wedding Reception!

Desiree and Lyle dancing
On Sunday, May 28th we attended our friends Lyle and Desiree's Wedding Reception in Washington, D.C. They married on the 27th, and held a reception the next day.
the dance
Tom, Lyle, Rob
The reception was held on the 4th floor in a 5-story building on F street (with a nice view of the city) that just hosts receptions so it was a perfect place! The room was wonderfully decorated and there were beautiful brick walls, large windows. Tables were set with flags of states (and Wash DC) that marked the area in which the guests live. There were a lot of guests from out of the area.
Tom, Desiree, Rob
The reception room
 Tom and Lyle go way back in the architecture field and Lyle reiterated that Tom gave him his first job in the industry, so I've (Rob) known Lyle about 12 years (as long as Tom and I have been together).   
   Looking at Lyle and Desiree, it's easy to see how they complement each other, and how in love they are. They're warm, funny, charming, smart, accomplished and caring. They both looked incredible.
   We met some nice people at the reception including some fellow dog-parents. :) 
Tom and Rob
  One thing we especially liked was an "advice" card that everyone got to fill out for the newlyweds. Tom and I were thinking how great of an idea that was! 
   Wishing Lyle and Desiree a lifetime of happiness!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Wonder Woman '77 Great Paperback/ Video: Supergirl's commercial promo for Wonder Woman

This is a DOUBLE-Wonder Woman fun blog!!   A great Trade paperback of the amazing Amazon, and a 45 second commercial promoting the movie, featuring the cast of the CW Network TV show "Supergirl!" 
1 1)  If you liked the Wonder Woman TV series from 1977, you'll likely like this trade paperback of the same name
  Set in the world of the 1977 TV series, WONDER WOMAN ’77 VOLUME 1 makes all that was retro new again!  The artists are amazing and really capture Lynda Carter's appearance in the comic.
Highly recommended! 

ABOUT THE BOOK:  From writer Marc Andreyko (BATWOMAN), artists Drew Johnson  (WONDER WOMAN), Matt Haley (BIRDS OF PREY), Cat Staggs (SMALLVILLE) and more!
Amazonian Princess and Federal Agent Diana Prince—and her alter ego, the superheroine Wonder Woman—is always ready to leap into action, no matter the era. She’ll have to do battle with disco-loving Soviet spies at the swinging Studio 52, fight for her own identity after being targeted by the obsessive Doctor Psycho, and save a politician who finds himself in the literal hot seat thanks to a brand new villain, not to mention tangle with an enraged Solomon Grundy and her classic nemesis, Cheetah. To save the day, Diana will need all of her formidable powers, and the help of her partner, Agent Steve Trevor!Collects WONDER WOMAN ’77 #1-2.
2)  Supergirl's commercial promo for Wonder Woman


Sunday, May 28, 2017

New Randy Rainbow Song Parody : The Rainbow (Russia) Connection

Here's the new Randy Rainbow Song Parody : The Rainbow (Russia) Connection!
- He also alludes to Kermit the Frog (as you may remember the song was in the Muppet Movie).

Saturday, May 27, 2017

2 Amazing Novels (part 1 & 2) The FLASH:Haunting of Barry Allen and Arrow: Generation of Vipers

I just finished reading 2 books that are part of the same storyline that involve 2 of my favorite The Flash:Haunting of Barry Allen and the second part is "Arrow: A Generation of Vipers." 
superheroes from the CW Television network shows. The first part is
Both are outstanding and both are by Clay and Susan Griffith.
BOTH get 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion as a superhero fan for the last 35 years.
   Both the Flash and Arrow stories are outstanding. The plot and really complements all of the characters on the CW Network TV programs. The villains presented were interesting, appealing and engaging. There was some twists and it was a page turner.
  I read the Flash book in 4 days and Arrow in the same amount of time. I found them Both hard to put it down.   If you love the Flash and Green Arrow, and the television shows, this is the novel for you. I'm currently reading part two, Arrow's "A Generation of Vipers" and enjoying that just as much. I hope this team of authors writes many more.

Friday, May 26, 2017

This Affects YOU: East Coast U.S. Residents: Gov't to begin seismic surveys in Atlantic in drilling push

the region now opening for drilling
Not surprising, and alarming - the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern Atlantic U.S. coasts are now being surveyed for gas and oil
drilling off-shore.


Gov't to begin seismic surveys in Atlantic in drilling push

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Wednesday it is moving forward on seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, the first step toward offshore drilling in a region where it has been blocked for decades.
The Interior Department said it is reviewing six applications by energy companies that were rejected by the Obama administration.

The oil and gas industry has pushed for the surveys, which map potential drilling sites for oil and natural gas. No surveys have been conducted in the mid- and south-Atlantic regions for at least 30 years.

The regions, as defined by the Interior Department, stretch from northern Florida to Delaware. Any new drilling activity is expected to be limited to the coasts of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month aimed at expanding drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, part of his promise to unleash the nation's energy reserves in an effort to reduce imports of foreign oil. Trump's order reversed an action by former President Barack Obama and faces fierce opposition from environmental activists and many Democrats, who say offshore drilling harms whales, sea turtles and other marine life and exacerbates global warming.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Robocalls flooding your cellphone? Here’s how to stop them!

An unfamiliar number appears on your cellphone. It is from your area code, so you answer it, thinking it might be important.
There is an unnatural pause after you say hello, and what follows is a recording telling you how you can reduce your credit card interest rates or electric bill or prescription drug costs or any of a number of other sales pitches.
Another day, another irritating robocall. If it feels as if your cellphone has increasingly been flooded with them, you are right.
Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint, a cybersecurity company in Sunnyvale, California, said the volume of robocalls has seen a “particularly big uptick” since the fall.
    In a Robocall Strike Force Report in October, the Federal Communications Commission said telemarketing calls were the No. 1 consumer complaint.
     Citing statistics from YouMail, a developer of robocall-blocking software, the commission said consumers received an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls per month last year, driven in part by internet-powered phone systems that have made it cheap and easy to make them from anywhere in the world.
    Alex Quilici, chief executive of YouMail, said his company estimated that 2.3 billion calls were made in December 2016, up from 1.5 billion in December 2015. The company said it extrapolates data from the calls made each month to its users.
More than annoying, the calls can cross over into the outright fraudulent. In one scheme, callers pretending to represent the Internal Revenue Service claim the person answering the phone owes back taxes and threatens them with legal action. The scheme has reaped more than $54 million, the FCC said.
“If the robocalls were not valuable to the scammers, they wouldn’t be doing them,” Kalember said.
Here’s how you can fight them:

Rule No. 1

The most simple and effective remedy is to not answer numbers you don’t know, Quilici said.
“Just interacting with these calls is just generally a mistake,” he said.
If you do answer, don’t respond to the invitation to press a number to opt out. That will merely verify that yours is a working number and make you a target for more calls, experts said.

Turn to the government

List your phones on the National Do Not Call Registry. If your number is on the registry and you do get unwanted calls, report them.
Quilici said the registry is helpful but should not be seen as a panacea.
“If I’m sitting in India dialing a million numbers, what are the odds I’m even going to be fined for violating the Do Not Call Registry?” he asked. “It’s probably near zero.”

Turn to technology

Download apps such as Truecaller, RoboKiller, Mr. Number, Nomorobo and Hiya, which will block the calls. YouMail will stop your phone from ringing with calls from suspected robocallers and deliver a message that your number is out of service.
Quilici said phone companies, such as T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T, also have tools to combat robocalls. They work by blocking calls from numbers known to be problematic.

Turn the tables

And then there is the Jolly Roger Telephone Co., which turns the tables on telemarketers. This program allows a customer to put the phone on mute and patch telemarketing calls to a robot, which understands speech patterns and inflections and works to keep the caller engaged.
Subscribers can choose robot personalities, such as Whiskey Jack, who is frequently distracted by a game he is watching on television, or Salty Sally, a frazzled mother.
The robots string the callers along with vocal fillers like “Uh-huh” and “OK, OK.” After several minutes, some will ask the callers to repeat their sales pitch from the beginning, prompting the telemarketers to have angry meltdowns, according to sample recordings posted on the company’s website.

Watch what you say (do NOT say "yes")

One recent scheme involves getting consumers to say “yes” and later using a recording of the response to allow unauthorized charges on the person’s credit card account, the FCC warned in March.
When the caller asks, “Can you hear me?” and the consumer answers “yes,” the caller can gain a voice signature that can later be used to authorize fraudulent charges by telephone.
Best to answer with “I can hear you,” Kalember said.

What’s ahead

The callers are evolving, Kalember said. Some have numbers that appear to be from your area code (they result in higher response rates); others employ “imitation of life” software in which the robocall sounds like a live person, complete with coughing, laughing and background noise. This artificial intelligence can be programmed to interact in real time with a consumer.
A recording on the Consumers Union website features an exchange in which a man tries to confirm he is talking to a live person. As the call progresses, the consumer presses for confirmation.
“Will you tell me you’re not a robot? Just say, ‘I’m not a robot’ please,” he says, which is met with various programmed replies of “I am a real person” and “There is a live person here.”

Why robocalls proliferate

Quilici compared robocalling to spam emails: It is all about volume. Companies can use software to make millions of calls at very little expense. They need only a few victims to fall prey to their schemes to more than cover their costs.
“When you hear these guys do these scam pitches, they’re pretty amazing,” he said.
The next development will be integrated efforts combining email, phone calls and social media to scheme money from consumers, Kalember said, adding that the level of innovation “is really quite astounding.”
“Technology is enabling at a scale we haven’t seen before,” he said.

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