Monday, July 31, 2017

Friends of LGBT People: Here Are Trump's 8 Anti-LGBT Attacks in 6 Months

    We have some friends who support LGBT people like us, but voted for Trump for reasons of their own. They also believed he would keep his promise to "be the best LGBT supporter."  They've all told us their vote was NOT against us or LGBT people, and believed Trump wouldn't hurt LGBT People.Well, in 6 months' time, Trump's Administration has already done 8 things to hurt, offend, or deny rights and protections to LGBT people.   We are curious to know if our friends have any regrets. 

HERE'S THE LIST OF TRUMP'S OFFENSES AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE (links to articles below for proof)
1) All LGBT Civil Rights Content Removed from Whitehouse.Gov
2) Rescinded All Protections for Transgender Students on Use of Restrooms in Public Schools

3) Revoked Protections for LGBT Workers against Discrimination in Hiring and Employment

4) Dropped Federal Lawsuit over North Carolina's Statewide Prohibition on LGBT Equalty

5) Trump Refused To Declare June Was National Pride Month

6) Trump Says Transgender People No Longer Allowed To Serve In Military

7)  Justice Department Says Rights Laws Doesn't Protect Gays

8) Nominates Anti-Gay Marriage U.S. Ambassador & Offends Netherlands

The Trump administration removed all references to LGBT civil rights as soon as they got in the White House in January 2017. That was a good indication of what they had planned.

The move by the Justice and Education departments reverses guidance the Obama administration publicized in May 2016, which said a federal law known as Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

With little fanfare on Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that LGBTQ advocates say rolls back lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and breaks a promise to that community not to make such changes to existing policy.The executive order revokes key components of the Obama administration's previous executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or identity, gay rights advocates say.

The Justice Department on Friday said it was dropping a federal lawsuit filed last year against North Carolina over the state’s “bathroom bill,” which restricted the public bathrooms transgender people were allowed to use.

5) TRUMP REFUSED TO DECLARE JUNE WAS NATIONAL PRIDE MONTH to honor all of the LGBT community. For every year of his presidency, Obama issued a pride month proclamation and hosted annual LGBT pride receptions. President Trump did not declare June as LGBT Pride Month. No Republican president has ever recognized June as pride month.

President Donald Trump tweeted July 26, 2017 that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military “in any capacity” ― a stunning reversal of an Obama-era policy that affects thousands of service members. He cites “tremendous medical costs and disruption” as his reason. Data show he’s wrong.

July 27, 2017:  On the same day President Donald Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military, citing costs. "The Department of Justice argued in a legal brief on Wednesday that the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers no protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation, a position advocacy groups condemned as 'shameful' and 'politically driven.'" As for the transgender ban, current service members are saying it's a "shot in the face" and to "try and kick me out of the military." These Republicans are breaking with Trump on the issue, along with these world leaders. And then there's the question of whether it's legal.  
NY Times:

A Dutch LGBT advocacy group has expressed concern over President Trump’s nominee to become the next U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. Philip Tijsma of COC Nederland noted to the Washington Blade on July 28 that former Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples.Hoekstraco-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. The Washington Post noted he also sponsored eight other anti-LGBT bills and opposed efforts to extend adoption rights to same-sex couples. “The position of Mr. Hoekstra on these issues goes against the Dutch policy of promoting acceptance and equal rights for LGBTI people,” Tijsma said. The Netherlands in 2001 became the first country in the world to extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples.
SOURCE: Washington Blade

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Great Trade paperback: Superman: The Daily Planet (Collected)

As a Superman fan since the early 1970s, I love classic stories of Superman and his supporting characters from the Daily Planet where he works as reporter Clark Kent. I recently read a great trade paperback that collects stories from 1952 to 1999 calle Superman  Daily Planet   featuring (Perry White, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen).  This trade was published in 2006, but you can still find it for sale on-line.
Here's a list of the stories that are included (from DC Comics' website):

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Home Project! Our New Kitchen "Brick" Wall

L to R: Before: Wallpaper; In Progress; Completed Wall (Tyler approved)
Being married to an architect means new, creative house projects and improvements throughout the year. That's a great thing. This time, my hubby Tom came up with a way to improve the look of one of the walls in the kitchen replacing the wallpaper that looked like a brick wall, with a molded vinyl product that looks like actual bricks in 3-D. The before and after pictures are posted so you can see the difference.
Here's a piece of the product

   What's interesting is that visitors couldn't tell that the wallpaper wasn't real brick - yes, it was that good. Now, this product will really fool everyone.
  This is called Novik® Stacked Stone Polymer Siding Panel - Sand Blend. Click this link to learn more:   ModelNumber: SSPanel224  |  from Menards® SKU: 1467859 Keep in mind that this was made to go on the outside of a home, too!
   We owe a tremendous thanks to our friend Will, who spent his entire Saturday helping Tom install this in our kitchen.     
  Will has also been renovating and improving the house that he and his wife bought years ago. Will, like Tom, always has a project planned or in work to improve the house. Will doesn't work construction for a living, but is extremely skilled in everything from erecting drywall to electric to plumbing to building walls and framing windows.

  I think it looks great.  What do you think?

Friday, July 28, 2017

This Affects YOU: Live in a State with Wildfires? Proposed Cuts To Forest Service Loom

Budgets to fight U.S. Wildfires to be cut
In the latest "This affects YOU" blog, for anyone that lives in areas prone to wildfires (like all of the western  and southern U.S.), the proposed budget from the White House Slashes the budget of the U.S. Forest Service who fight the fires to keep YOU safe.
  Here's the story from the Huffington Post:

As California weathered 14 major wildfires on July 10th amid an intense heat wave, it couldn’t be clearer that the state needed equipped firefighters, modern wildfire prevention efforts and funding for wildfire research.
   But the budget for those programs hangs in the balance, despite evidence that climate change has already contributed to the ever-worsening wildfire seasons in California and beyond. Under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, the U.S. Forest Service, or USFS, will face a $300 million reduction to its wildfire fighting programs, another $50 million in cuts to its wildfire prevention efforts and a 23 percent reduction to funding for volunteer fire departments.
    Trump’s proposal to cut funding for the Volunteer Fire Assistance program $15 million to $11.6 million is also troubling, firefighter advocate groups say. More communities are finding that volunteer firefighters are vital to improving hasty response efforts as residents of fire-prone areas learn to coexist with wildfires.
Members of the House and Senate are currently reviewing Trump’s budget proposal.
“I hope Congress will reject the harmful budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration, and step up and pass legislation to address these critical issues as soon as possible,” Rachel Cleetus, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ lead economist, wrote last month. “People who live in wildfire-prone areas — whether in California, Arizona, Alaska, or Georgia — cannot afford further delays or back-sliding.”

Video from Capitol Hill: Cantwell Questions Forest Service Chief on Almost $300 Million Cut to Firefighting in Budget

Published on Jun 15, 2017
Ranking Member Senator Cantwell questioned Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on the nearly $300 million cut to firefighting proposed in President Trump’s budget as well as on the proposal to reinstate the “ten-year average”, which would likely force the Forest Service to again transfer funds from non-fire accounts, such as those dedicated to fuel reduction, in order to pay for firefighting.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Best TV Drama Series, Ever! A Place to Call Home!

Amazing Season 4!
There is truly no better Television drama than Australia's "A Place to Call Home" set in the early 1950s.  We recently finished watching the fourth season.
   The story lines are fantastic, and the characters are fascinating. You never knew what's going to happen next. Marta Dusseldorp as Sara Nordman is the lead character and is amazing (and a fantastic actress). I really can't say enough about ALL of the actors- they grab you and bring you into their world.
     The writer is really amazing, and gets the viewer so involved. If you liked Downton Abbey, you'll love this program. 
Most of the cast of A Place to Call Home
    I love the storyline of 3 great gay characters and their struggle: James (David Berry as James Bligh), Henry (Tim Draxl as Dr. Henry Fox) and Harry (actor Dominic Allburn), and am so pleased that the writer and director brought the struggle to the forefront- something that the directors in the U.S. wouldn't do. James is the adult gay son of the Australian aristocrat, and the family struggles with it. By season 4, James meets a gay doctor and their interactions show the struggle of hiding who they are in the 1950s. (all of those actors are amazing!)
   I can't say enough about each character in this series.    This season finally brought out Regina for the villainess she truly is, and you'll be horrified and on the edge of your seat.
L to R: Actors who play James, Henry and Olivia
    Having just watched the 4th season, we can't wait for the 5th!
  Some of the storylines in this season: the characters are strongly affected by two contrasting social issues in 1954. The first is the conservative wave of fear generated by the "Reds Under the Beds" scare surrounding the Petrov Affair. The second, the wave of liberal change that opened up new social and moral choices for Australians at the time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Reasons to retire as early as you can

Most people approaching retirement age probably dream occasionally about retiring early. But many
assume they can’t, or shouldn’t. Don’t be one of those. Treat the possibility seriously because it might give you a happier future.

Retirement will let you go after your bucket list. You can do things you’ve wanted to do while you can still do them. You would be surprised how busy you will be in retirement. In fact, many of my friends wonder how they had time to go to work before they retired.

Here are some reasons to retire as early as you can:
  • Lose the commute. Save the wear-and-tear on yourself and your SUV. Lose the on-the-job politics. Lose the long hours, sleep in longer.
  • Travel the world. Visit those places you have been itching to see.
  • Spend more time with your children, grandchildren and friends.
  • Expand your knowledge, take classes at a local college.
  • If you cook, take cooking lessons.
  • If you are interested in sports, volunteer to coach a little league team. Or be an umpire or referee.
  • Sit back and read good books.
  • Go online and stream all the entertainment available.
  • You can take on new projects and hobbies.
  • Your career of public service can continue by becoming a volunteer. Help those in your community that need help. Help those that are less fortunate. As an example, I joined the Rotary Club. You could also help out at a local food bank, the USO, veterans hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
  • Become a mentor. Work with groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Police Athletic League, etc.
  • Libraries are not just buildings with books. Investigate all the programs available.
  • Get a new job or embark on a new adventure. For instance, if you are interested in sales, become a real estate agent.
  • If you have been itching to get into politics, you can do it. I do not recommend it, but go for it, if you wish.
  • If you want to get into political lobbying, join NARFE and help it to protect your hard-earned benefits.
  • Help protect your neighborhood by starting or joining your neighborhood watch.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Final Quebec City Blog #38: Miscellaneous Photos

A big outside glass clock
A typical historic home marker
A look down an alleyway
It's finally here! The last blog about our May 2017 trip to Quebec, and it only took 38 blogs to give you the tour and see the sights that we saw in 5 days. There was a lot packed into each day, and we hope you've enjoyed the blogs. Here are some pictures of miscellaneous things that didn't fit into any one specific blog. 

Thanks for taking the trip with us, via this blog. We hope you learned something about old Quebec City and are inspired to take your own trip there!

A look at the University of Laval (with flag)

An old home
Quebec City Hall, Upper Town

A mural from dog exhibit in Museum of Civilization

Lower Town

The Price Building towers over most of the town

Statue dedicated to lumberjacks
fire hose room in Chateau Frontenac

Monday, July 24, 2017

Quebec City Blog #37: The Shrinking St. Lawrence River and Shoreline Markers

Shoreline marker for 1800
In this second to last blog about our trip to Old Quebec City, Canada in May 2017, we'll show you the street that actually catalogs the expanding Saint Lawrence River shoreline (as more landfill was added over time). There was even an old wharf uncovered!

SHORELINE MARKERS - Over 400 years, the shoreline from Old Quebec City expanded and the width of the St. Lawrence River shrank to it's present day location. One one street called Rue St.Antoine there are 4 stone markers on a sidewalk with design of wavy bricks in the street. these mark the increasing shoreline with the Saint Lawrence River. 
1600 shoreline marker

1700 shoreline marker
1800 shoreline marker

  In the 1600s, the shoreline was up near Rue St. Pierre, which is the street Hotel 71 is located on (where we stayed). 
   It appears that the shoreline has grown by about 250 meters (820 feet)!  
Rue St.Antoine, old pier from the 1600 or 1700s that was made of flat stones had been excavated and was visible from one side of the street across from the shoreline markers. That was proof that the water line of the river was much higher and basically into where the old town shopping district is located.

the 7 dwarves were building shorelines?
NEXT: Pictures for the Final Quebec Blog: Clock, Tin Roofs, Statue and More

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fascinating Science Research book: Woolly: The True Story of the Quest...

Fascinating Book
   As a scientist and someone who has always been fascinated with prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs I (Rob) had to read the new hardcover book called "Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures" by Ben Mezrich. The book just came out on July 4, 2017, and I pre-ordered it.
  This true quest to revive the Woolly Mammoth is for a very, very good reason and it involves climate change. Scientists have learned that under the melting permafrost of the Arctic lies such a massive quantity of methane and carbon dioxide (two greenhouse gases) that if released could exacerbate the rate of global warming at a more alarming rate than even present day pollution. The Woolly Mammoth would actually help alleviate that melting, but you have to read the book. 
  Dr. George Church is the man behind the genetics research and his spinoff studies have done so much already for humanity that you likely don't know. I'll leave it there... It's a fascinating read and you can find out just how close we are to making this quest a reality. - Rob


Dr. George Church
Woolly Mammoth
Science fiction becomes reality in this Jurassic Park-like story of the genetic resurrection of an extinct species—the woolly mammoth—by the bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and The 37th Parallel.

“With his knack for turning narrative nonfiction into stories worthy of the best thriller fiction” (Omnivoracious), Ben Mezrich takes us on an exhilarating true adventure story from the icy terrain of Siberia to the cutting-edge genetic labs of Harvard University. A group of young scientists, under the guidance of Dr. George Church, the most brilliant geneticist of our time, works to make fantasy reality by sequencing the DNA of a frozen woolly mammoth harvested from above the Arctic circle, and splicing elements of that sequence into the DNA of a modern elephant. Will they be able to turn the hybrid cells into a functional embryo and bring the extinct creatures to life in our modern world?

Along with Church and his team of Harvard scientists, a world-famous conservationist and a genius Russian scientist plan to turn a tract of the Siberian tundra into Pleistocene Park, populating the permafrost with ancient herbivores as a hedge against an environmental ticking time bomb. More than a story of genetics, this is a thriller illuminating the race against global warming, the incredible power of modern technology, the brave fossil hunters who battle polar bears and extreme weather conditions, and the ethical quandary of cloning extinct animals. Can we right the wrongs of our ancestors who hunted the woolly mammoth to extinction—and at what cost?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Funny Must-See! RUSSIA TIES: A Randy Rainbow Song Parody (from GREASE!)

An hysterically funny politically-influenced parody and a MUST WATCH!  In light of new evidence that the Attorney General had yet another meeting with a Russian, and he didn't report it, this Randy Rainbow parody from 2 weeks ago MUST be seen again... and he compares Jeff Sessions to a Keebler cookie elf that will make you laugh out loud (around 2:40). Randy did a parody of "SUMMER NIGHTS" from Grease, and spliced in the two different Congressional hearings of Sessions and former FBI lead, James Comey.
  It's funny and Brilliant!

Jeff Sessions or the Keebler Elf?

A Great comic collection: Showcase Presents: DC Comics Presents - Superman Team-Ups Vol. 2

I know that I've been posting a lot of reviews on superhero graphic novels, but I (Rob) collect them, read them and want to let you know if they're good or bad. So yes, here's another one worth getting. DC Comics' Showcase Presents: DC Comics Presents - Superman Team-Ups Vol. 2 collects Superman team up stories from 1980 to 1982, and they're some of the greatest superman team ups in print! Classics!!

  In fact, some of the team ups include: Martian Manhunter, The Joker (Yes, Batman's Joker), Supergirl, The Spectre, Black Canary, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, A team-up with He-Man and Masters of the Universe; and the first appearance of the Global Guardians.
My favorite of all of them was the team up with the Earth-2 Superman and his wife, Lois Lane-Kent.
A must-have for Superman fans.

This volume reprints DC Comics Presents 27-50 plus the first annual. Be aware the book is in black and white.

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