DOGSTARDADDY's SparkPeople Blog DOGSTARDADDY's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Garden Fireworks Time Spring is a very busy and colorful time around the DSD Compound, and things are starting to look great. <BR> The front garden came together nicely. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> The back veggie garden had been in full swing for a while. I have peas, spinach, carrots and garlic all growing.... Thu, 23 May 2013 10:08:03 EST A Really Bad Week I’ve been working in television news for nearly 30 years, and I don’t think I have ever had a busier, sadder, more stressful week. Between the tragedies in Boston and Texas, then local news stories like the family who died of carbon monoxide poisoning or the college freshman who fell to her death at a rooftop party, or the two little kids found living in a storage unit, or the 113 animals taken out of a woman’s home, the bad news just seemed to never stop this week. Come to find out this wee... Sat, 20 Apr 2013 19:24:36 EST Brilliant Philadelphia Flower Show 2013 This year, I celebrated my 15th year of being involved in the Philadelphia flower Show. The theme this year was "Brilliant!" and the focus was on the horticulture of the UK <BR> <img src=""> <BR> There was lots of great music, food, and of course flora of the British Isles <BR> <img src=""> <BR> There was fashion as well. In addition to a room where you could create and build your ow... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 13:54:50 EST Storm Recovery Update Quick update on storm recovery. The eye of Sandy made landfall about 90 miles from us. We were without power for several days, and still have no internet/phone/cable. (I'm posting from work.) <BR> Everyone is ok. Once the power came back on, we could at least have heat and hot water, which was great news. We lost tow trees (making the total number of trees lost this year 6, thanks to the straight line winds that smashed us this spring.) A chunk of fence came down, and we had siding and roofi... Wed, 31 Oct 2012 21:15:42 EST Zombie Disney Family We just got back from a wonderful week long trip to Disney World. One of the reasons we went was to visit the Disney Halloween party. My wife and I decided to go as undead versions of Disney characters, and our daughter wanted to go as a vampire Queen. The costumes were a huge success, and not only did lots of people take pictures of us at the party, but regular, real Disney characters commented on us all night. <BR> I've had several requests to post pictures, so here they are. The Ghost Bell... Sun, 21 Oct 2012 21:37:08 EST If You Have Updated Your iPod A friend of mine pointed something out to me last night, after I'd updated my iPhone and iPad to ios6. There is a new advertiser tracking function stashed away in the software. You're probably going to want to turn that on. It defaults to OFF, and is hidden very carefully in your phone/pad. Go to SETTINGS > GENERAL > ABOUT > then scroll all the way down to ADVERTISING switch LIMIT AD TRACKING to ON. This will limit the amount of information Apple (and the advertisers) gather on you. Tue, 25 Sep 2012 11:27:39 EST I Beat My Wife As anyone who read my last blog knows, my wife recently tried to kill me. (If you haven't read it, please read my last blog entry.) She decided that she (read that as WE) would be going on some sort of crazy low carb, no artificial sweeteners, no beer body cleansing thing for 21 days. Clearly, this was designed as some sort of punishment to me for the pain I made her endure having a child, because no man should have to live that way. However, she was determined to eat healthy for 21 days, an... Sun, 23 Sep 2012 20:20:57 EST She Is Trying To Kill Me My wife is trying to kill me. It’s true. But not in a merciful, swift way, like with nuclear waste or a baseball bat. She is determined to starve me to death. <BR> <BR> A few weeks ago, my lovely wife told me that starting September 1st, she was doing some sort of crazy body-food detox thing. For 21 days, she would be eating no bread or pasta, no sugar, no potatoes, and cutting out all artificial sweetener and alcohol. I’m not exactly sure why… it had to do with cleansing the body, and reset... Mon, 3 Sep 2012 16:32:44 EST Pretty Flowers And Good Gardens Two times a year, the Burpee Seed farm is opened to the public. I always like going to the late summer one (instead of the early spring one) because everything is in bloom. <img src=""> <BR> They have several demos running on topics from how to best grow green beans, <img src=""> to tomato and pepper planting. <img src=""> <BR> The... Sun, 26 Aug 2012 21:38:26 EST Hot Enough For Ya? Jeez louise. I know it's hot everywhere this summer. <img src=""> <BR> But here in Philly, we have just hit the 25th day of over 90 degree weather. Normally for the entire year, we have just 24 days, and we're not even out of July yet. My poor pepper plants are frying in the sun, and the garden is scorched. I hope this weather breaks soon! <img src=""> Wed, 18 Jul 2012 12:43:29 EST Destruction At My Door Saturday night at around 9pm, the wind started to howl around the house. A storm was moving in, and it was predicted we might get a little rain. I went upstairs to check that I'd closed all the windows, just in case. By the time I hit the top step, the wind was doing more than howling. It was roaring. And the walls were shaking. I ran to Red Tornado's room, where she was still sound asleep. As Pretty Sundress was downstairs yelling for me to get her into the basement, I was scooping her up an... Sun, 22 Apr 2012 18:51:24 EST Philadelphia Flower Show I spent the day Friday at the Philadelphia Flower Show. <BR> <img src="">The show's theme this year is Hawaii. Now the show doesn't open to the public until Sunday, but I grabbed some pictures with my phone as I was working. <BR> <img src="">Some of the exhibits are a bit smaller this year, but still colorful and spectacular. <BR> <img src=" Sat, 3 Mar 2012 10:06:12 EST A Semi-Inappropriate Disney Picture Debate I'm not sure if this image will push the limits of the Spark censors, and get taken down. Someone in Florida took this picture of a car parked in one of the Walt Disney World theme park parking lots. After laughing about it and showing it to friends at work (and yes, I work for Disney) we got into a heated discussion as to if Disney has the right to turn the car away at the gate and refuse entry. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Now, it's not adve... Tue, 31 Jan 2012 14:39:59 EST Is Paula Deen A Money Grubbing Liar? By now, most people know that celebrity chef Paula Deen has come out of the closet about having Type 2 diabetes. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> In fact, she's had it since 2008, and decided to go public with the information after rumors leaked out that she'd signed a product endorsment deal with drug maker Novo Nordisk. The fact that the self proclaimed "Butter Queen" has diabetes may not come as a big suprise, given her style of Southern cooking... Wed, 18 Jan 2012 13:27:46 EST I Wanna Be A Cowboy A few weeks ago, I went on my first ever dude ranch vacation, at the White Stallion Ranch outside of Tucson Arizona. <img src=""> <BR> Now I was born and raised at the Jersey shore, so this place looked like Mars to me. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> But I was bound and determined to step outside my comfort zone, and Prettysundress, Cheshire Cat, and Red Tornado were all aboard with it. Aft... Sat, 26 Nov 2011 22:49:39 EST Politicians Sell Out Our Kids Who needs leafy greens and carrots when pizza and french fries will do? <BR> In an effort many 9-year-olds will cheer, Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school lunch lines and is fighting the Obama administration's efforts to take unhealthy foods out of schools. The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putti... Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:12:57 EST What Is The Best Animated Movie of All Time? I took little Red Tornado to the movies yesterday after school to see Lion King 3D. <BR> <img src=""> I'd seen it ages ago in the theatre, and watched it countless times at home with the girls as they grew up. I've yet to see a 3D movie that I *loved*, and was doubtful that the re-imagineering of what I consider to be Disney's best animated film ever would bring anything new to the table. But I wanted to hear the grandness of the movie ag... Tue, 20 Sep 2011 12:18:17 EST Too Much Water I've joked a bit lately about all the rain we're getting. Here are some pictures taken from around where I live. These were taken today, tho not by me. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thu, 8 Sep 2011 17:15:19 EST Garden Winding Down August is here. One kid is back to school... the other is on her second to last week of camp. Summer is nearly at an end. Even the garden is starting to show signs it's wrapping up. The cucumbers are done. But there is still life left. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> The sunflowers are all blooming. <img src=""> <BR> The red lightning tomatoes are still popping <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.... Wed, 17 Aug 2011 11:19:28 EST Attack of the Killer Tomatoes with Pictures! I noticed some odd things in my garden after we got back from being away for a week from vacation. All of my cucumbers suddenly died. Something that looked like bite marks on the side of my pumpkins. Yellow squash mysteriously disappearing. Odd things were happening to everything... but my tomatoes. So, I put my camera out in the garden one afternoon, and set it to take a snapshot every 30 seconds. <BR> A few of the pictures revealed something startling. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.spark... Tue, 2 Aug 2011 21:48:35 EST Garden of Plenty and Pest Control The back garden has been doing great. We've pulled about 50 or so cucumbers so far, tho suddenly the plants seem to be struggling <BR> <img src=""> <BR> But we're pulling a ton of squash and cucumbers out still. The corn isn't ready, and we are just starting to get some tomatoes. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> One area where I've noticed we are having far less trouble this year tho is with f... Thu, 21 Jul 2011 22:13:15 EST Foliage Destroyed. Children Weep. Saturday was a sad day at Dogstar Mansion. It was early in the morning as I awoke, slid into my robe and bunny slippers, and walked down the long driveway to where the paperboy had lovingly pitched the newspaper into the front bushes. As I strolled down the driveway, basking in the glory of the front gardens, I quickly realized something was amiss. I looked towards the colorful flower beds, my body went numb, and my eyes opened wide in horror. Overnight, my flowers had been decimated by deer!... Sun, 3 Jul 2011 21:28:58 EST 95 Year Old Woman Strip Searched I've blogged about the topic of rampant TSA abuse before, so if you haven't read it, please check out my first TSA blog. <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4258228 </link> <BR> <BR> But the story that came out today makes me sick. <BR> <BR> A Florida woman is speaking out after T-S-A screeners forced her 95-year-old mother to take off her clothes and “adult diaper” while they examined her. Jean Weber says she and her mother were flying from ... Mon, 27 Jun 2011 16:38:56 EST Big TSA News Update Lots of TSA news this week. <BR> <BR> The government announced a change in its policy for patting down young children at airport checkpoints. TSA employees will now make “repeated attempts to screen young children without resorting to invasive pat-downs.” This comes on the heels of the TSA getting bad press following the release of a video of a 6-year-old girl getting a pat-down in the New Orleans airport this past April, and last month’s video of a baby being patted down at Kansas City In... Thu, 23 Jun 2011 13:39:53 EST I Ran for My Life This past Sunday (Father's Day) team Dogstar participated in the Gary Papa Run and Walk to fight prostate cancer in downtown Philadelphia. Us and over 4000 others participated in the 5K run named after a friend of mine and local TV sports anchor who passed away from the disease. <img src=""> <BR> The goal of the event is to raise money and awareness. Over a quarter of a million dollars was raised, and the message went out that a simple bl... Tue, 21 Jun 2011 11:29:28 EST Burpee Garden Nirvana If you are a gardener, you have heard of the Burpee Seed company. Well, last week, the Burpee people opened the gates of their farm/research and development facility in Doylestown PA. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> They only open the grounds to the public twice a year, and for two days each time. So this was a pretty rare opportunity to visit one of the places place where the company got it’s start. It’s sort of the “mother ship” for home gardene... Wed, 15 Jun 2011 09:31:41 EST Before And After : Front Garden Over at the Home and Garden DIY page, we're having a "Before and After" blog contest. The goal is to blog before and after pictures of some house or garden DIY project. We've all got projects we're doing in the spring, so take a minute and show off. Be proud! <BR> My project is the front garden. What a mess. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> When we moved in, the woman who had lived here before had several huge, beautiful gardens that hadn't been to... Wed, 1 Jun 2011 11:40:59 EST Idiotic TSA Jackholes Let me start off by saying I know that the people manning the TSA security posts are just normal people being paid to do a job. Like the folks at McDonalds. Secondly, this isn’t about patriotism. I grew up a train ride away from New York City, and watched the World Trade Towers get built from the ground up. My father is a first responder in Jersey, and personally knows people who died as a result of 911. So don’t tell me I don’t understand what’s at stake. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sp... Thu, 26 May 2011 17:06:54 EST Goodbye Spark Friends So a man who is apparently WAY smarter than me (and who has actually spoken to God it seems) has decided the world is going to end this weekend. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Harold Camping says he’s used some sort of “new math” .. or maybe it’s really really OLD math... and come up with the world ending at around 6pm on Saturday May 21st. (If you’re reading this blog on May 22nd, boy.. don’t I feel silly.) Now for some reason, even tho the ear... Fri, 20 May 2011 14:49:10 EST I Think I Drank Too Much This weekend, Prettysundress and I went to a Craft Brewers Festival in Media PA. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> It was run by Iron Hill Brewery, a local brewpub. The premise is, you buy a little mug (proceeds go to charity) and you get to wander around the festival, tasting 2-4 beers that each of the 30 or so brewer's brought to show off. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> You try one... and if you don't... Mon, 16 May 2011 09:25:38 EST An Army of Healthy Mice Red Tornado turned 7 last week. Instead of sending the usual boxload of cupcakes or candy to school to celebrate, prettysundress decided to make something different. She wanted to send something fun AND healthy. Strawberry Mice. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> She spent the morning cutting, chopping, and creating. One big fat strawberry. A mini chocolate chip for the nose. Almond slices for ears. Two tiny marshmallows for eyes. and a small s... Mon, 9 May 2011 10:17:14 EST Dog Fighting App Teaches Animal Cruelty Many celebrities and organizations have spoken out this week about a new Android app that simulates dog fighting. The app is called "Dog Wars" and lets players feed, water, train and fight their virtual dogs against others. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> The app is by Kage Games, whose website features an illustration of a pit bull with a bloody muzzle next to the 'Dog Wars' logo. The website where the app can be downloaded stresses that it is on... Wed, 27 Apr 2011 17:02:29 EST Do Food Labels Matter to You? I saw an interesting article on the Spark news feed. Here is the short version: <BR> <BR> "New York City fast-food restaurants are wondering if better-informed customers make healthier food choices, or if ignorance really is bliss when it comes to calorie counting. <BR> Some fast food places are now posting calories alongside their entrees. But a recent study, published online in the International Journal of Obesity, has shown that the labeling has had little effect on the food choices of ch... Tue, 19 Apr 2011 14:36:40 EST Philadelphia Flower Show <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The sights and sounds of Paris fill the air this week at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The flower show is the oldest and biggest show in the country, and worth a visit every year. The theme of Paris was displayed beautifully by hundreds of artist and horticulture experts. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> If you've never been to the Philadelphia Flower Show, you should tr... Thu, 10 Mar 2011 09:27:55 EST Ever Stiff A Waitress? We were at the mall this weekend, and had about an hour to kill. There is a Ruby Tuesday in the mall, and Prettysundress and I were in the mood for a decent salad bar. We only had an hour, but the place was pretty empty, so we figured we were in good shape. We sat down, and waited about 10 minutes for the waitress to come visit our table. The waitress asked to take our drink order, but by then, we were ready to order everything. We both got salad bar/sandwich combos, and Red Tornado got a kid... Mon, 28 Feb 2011 12:22:20 EST Like Girl Scout Cookies? I know those cookies are hard to resist. I had a few last week. But this information was posted recently... <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Thin Mints are the lowest calorie treats you can get from the Girl Scouts at 40 calories each. If you eat four cookies, you'd need to spend about a half an hour of bicycling to burn them off. <BR> Samoas are about 70 calories each. It would take a half an hour of leisurly walking to burn off one co... Wed, 23 Feb 2011 16:59:20 EST Boobie Bracelet Controversy The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania was in a Philadelphia court this weeky, regarding those controversial, breast cancer awareness bracelets. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Two girls were suspended for wearing the wristbands at the Easton Area School District, in Northampton County. The A-C-L-U filed a lawsuit on the students' behalf, to allow wearing of the bracelets Easton area administrators say the slogans on ... Fri, 18 Feb 2011 18:22:27 EST Team Zombie Lives They're coming to get you! The zombie apocalypse will be here when you least expect it. If we are to survive, we must band together. <BR> Come join TEAM ZOMBIE <BR> <link><BR>ndividual.asp?gid=46763 </link> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 14 Feb 2011 15:00:23 EST Proud of Philly For Once I've been living in Philadelphia for almost 20 years. It's not often that I can say I'm proud of the city. After all, the two big stories in the news today are the guy who was run over twice on the highway and left for dead, and the shooting downtown over a plate of french fries. <BR> But today, on MLK Day, there are over 75,000 people gathered at various locations spending the day in service to others. Alot of the work being done is folks sprucing up public schools (painting bathrooms and st... Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:06:24 EST What's your NEW sign? Apparently our zodiac signs have been wrong for centuries. The moon's gravitational pull has moved the Earth off its axis, throwing the whole constellation off by one month. <BR> <BR> Has your sign changed? <BR> <BR> <BR> Capricorn: Jan. 20 - Feb. 16 • Aquarius: Feb. 16 - March 11 • Pisces: March 11- April 18 • Aries: April 18 - May 13 • Taurus: May 13 - June 21 • Gemini: June 21 - July 20 • Cancer: July 20 - Aug. 10 • Leo: Aug. 10 - Sept. 16 • Virgo: Sept. 16 - Oct. 30 • Libra: Oct. 30 ... Fri, 14 Jan 2011 11:05:33 EST TRONgasm I was there in line at 10pm last night, along with lots of other dudes, to watch the premier of Tron: Legacy. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I showed up two hours early, ticket long since purchased. There were already around 100 people in line ahead of me, waiting to get in. The Imax 3D showing began at midnight, and we were all eager to see the sequel to one of Disney's most groundbreaking films. <BR> I won't spoil it for those of you who want ... Fri, 17 Dec 2010 17:39:59 EST Who was your Cartoon Face? I'm not on Facebook. I probably should be.. almost everyone else in my family is. Even my parents. But I'm not. <BR> But if you use Facebook, you probably heard of what was going on this week. There was a movement for everyone to change their profile picture to a cartoon character. Someone you grew up with. Prettysundress was going to use Smurfette.. but settled with Officer Jenny from Pokemon. Cheshire Cat picked one of the Powerpuff girls (I don't know Bubbles from Buttercup.) <BR> Me.. I ... Mon, 6 Dec 2010 18:02:04 EST Rescued Police Dog Dies A Hero Around 7:00 Tuesday night, two men held up the Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Gloucester Township New Jersey. The intruders assaulted an employee, grabbed money from the register, and fled on foot. <BR> <BR> The police arrived quickly, and a rescued K9 officer named Shultz picked up the scent of one of the suspects behind the restaurant. Police went in pursuit, and a half mile away, the German Shepherd caught up with one of the suspects on the shoulder of a busy highway. The suspect got... Wed, 1 Dec 2010 11:36:19 EST Is This How The Zombie Apocalypse Begins? Some pioneering mice may have helped to reveal the secret of reversing the aging process, and set into play the zombie outbreak that ends the world..... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston say they were able to reverse brain disease, restore sense of smell... even restore fertility in mice. But before you head to Boston to see if you can get in on the age-reversing action, there are... Tue, 30 Nov 2010 18:22:14 EST Not a Good Monday My week started out great. 3AM I'm out the door, heading to work.. and my car won't start. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> No going to be a good week. Mon, 29 Nov 2010 06:57:08 EST Another Brick In The Wall Monday was not the bestest of days. It started when the alarm went off at 2:30am for work. The middle part of the day included taking six year old Red Tornado to the dentist for a trip that turned into a root canal. Then back to work again at 3pm for another couple of hours. <BR> BUT..... <BR> The day ended reeeally well. Prettysundress and I went to see Roger Waters in concert. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> He is on tour this year, performing "... Wed, 10 Nov 2010 15:11:03 EST Kicked In The McNuggets San Francisco is the first major city in the U-S to pass a law outlawing Happy Meals. Tho it seems it's not just McDonalds that is getting attacked by the food police. No restaurants will be able to offer free toys with meals containing more than a set level of calories, sugar and fat. The new law takes effect next December. Good luck enforcing it. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thank goodness there are people in the world smarter than me... Wed, 3 Nov 2010 17:13:43 EST Elmo vs. Katy Perry I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Katy Perry did a parody of her song "Hot and Cold" for Sesame Street. After the segment was shot and produced, the powers the be decided it was too "racy" for Sesame Street and pulled it. <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> I have no problem with Katy Perry. She's the pop flavor of the week. Give her a year or two, and she'll fade away, just like so many of them do. Her brand of porn/pop music is no different to me th... Thu, 23 Sep 2010 17:10:04 EST Sexual Harassment? The story everyone is talking about at work today is the one of Ines Sainz. She is a sports reporter who posted on her Twitter account Saturday that she felt "very uncomfortable" in the Jets' locker room. Several players were allegedly catcalling her as she waited to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. The story has gotten alot of air time, and the owner of the Jets has contacted her and publicly apologized. She has accepted the apology, but the NFL has reportedly launched an official investi... Tue, 14 Sep 2010 13:08:37 EST I Have A Worm Well... HAD a worm. <BR> So I was sitting at work yesterday when I heard the *ping* of an incoming e-mail. Then another. Then another. It seemed odd that so much e-mail was floating through cyberspace, (I'm not that popular a guy) so I took a look. Oddly enough, they all seemed to have the same subject line... and were from the same co-worker. Then I got another. And another. Within about 10 minutes, I'd gotten LOTS of them. Sure enough, we were under cyber attack. At first I thought it was j... Fri, 10 Sep 2010 17:45:01 EST