The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (04/20/19)

The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Written by my lovely wife, Jennifer and me.  It opens with the weekend dog walking forecast followed by the main blog from dog lover, Jennifer. Then it’s DOGS IN THE NEWS and our close. Enjoy!

THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.

TODAY:  A mainly sunny sky. High of 61. “B”

SUNDAY:  Mostly sunny. High of 75. That’s nearly 40 degrees warmer than last Sunday.   “A+”

Now, here’s my lovely wife, Jennifer with this week’s main blog.

Fitness Pizza meme

I’ll admit it:  I hate to exercise.  I don’t exercise.  Even when I didn’t have Achilles tendonitis as a legit excuse not to run, I didn’t run.  Coming to terms at an early age with the fact that I will never be an Olympian meant considerably less pressure growing up.  😉

I’ve often said that our dog will be walked for pleasure when weather cooperates and I’m in the mood.  Otherwise, Future Fido will be forced into contentment with our yard for canine workouts and toileting needs.  Trust me, our dog won’t be neglected…  It will be loved, played with, and given plenty of space to run & enjoy its doggy life.  But pet parenthood will not suddenly throw me into a new found love for aerobic activity.

Apparently it’s a good thing I don’t live in the UK.  At least from the perspective of someone who has a health routine equivalent of the DMV sloth from Zootopia.  But if getting a dog helps YOU burn extra calories, by all means be my guest!  

I realize this recent study is not as in-depth as the other scientific findings I’ve blogged about.  Still, I love when data and doggies merge to create an interesting article.  Thanks, Carri Wesgrath!
Jennifer Fischer

Thanks, Jennifer!

All the more reason we shouldn’t get a dog. I would dearly hate to see my adorable wife out there walking and walking and walking our pet each and every day.

Now careful folks. Don’t be throwing objects at your computer!

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

This was probably wrong.

You’ve heard about that anti-vaccination movement. It’s now infecting the pet world.

The U.S. Postal Service has released dog attack national rankings.  More postal employees were attacked by dogs in Houston than in any other U.S. city in 2018.  >>> See more on the new USPS rankings ... Photo:  U.S. Postal Service

Today is the last day of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

At Palm Beach Kennel Club, a Vilified Sport and a way of life end.

She Gave Her Dog CBD Oil to calm him down and help his separation anxiety.

Dog Watching Owner Dig Its Grave has brought out a lot of emotions.

A change in routine raises the question: Are dogs more adaptable than their owners?

Check out these ‘high tech dog houses.’

What’s dirtier? A dog or a man’s beard?

How not to kill your pets this Easter.



A baby goat kisses a dog at the Pet Expo 2019, a pet show in Bucharest, Romania, April 13, 2019.
A baby goat kisses a dog at the Pet Expo 2019, a pet show in Bucharest, Romania, April 13, 2019. Photo: AP

Elsa the Yorkshire is groomed in a competition at the Pet Expo 2019, a pet show in Bucharest, Romania, on April 13, 2019. Photo: Vadim Ghirda / AP

And this photo comes from Officer Ben Rexroad of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado. Pictured is his K-9 partner, Ringo. You will see that Ringo lacks any sense of personal space.

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We close as we always do with our closing video.

First, from CBS News, dog-walking apps are causing concern.

And oh, how we love a happy ending. This lucky pup has been given a second leash on life.

That’s it for this week.

Thanks for stopping by.

We’d really appreciate it if you forward this on to other dog lovers you know. Let them have some fun!

See ya, BARK, next Saturday!

Thailand Rescued Dog

The Best Cartoons of the Week (04/20/19)


Jose Neves

Adam Zyglis

Sean Delonas

Ken Catalino

Gary Varvel

Tom Stiglich

Steve Breen

Steve Kelley

Chip Bok


Ken Catalino

Tom Stiglich

Will O’Toole


A.F. Branco

Mike Lester

Bob Gorrell

A.F. Branco

Nate Beeler


Steve Kelley

Michael Ramirez


AL Goodwyn

Tom Stiglich

David Fitzsimmons


A.F. Branco

Bruce Plante

Jeff Koterba


Steve Kelley


Ken Catalino

Goodnight everyone, and have a weekend of great joy!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

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The Easter story is often called the “greatest story ever told”. It is a fascinating tale of betrayal, murder, miracles and life after death. It is the story of a Messiah, a Christ who is the “Son of Man.” Yet Jesus the Messiah makes claims that cause his followers to doubt him, then turn against him in rage.

This is the story of the miracle that ensues, and has stood the test of time. It is a story that intrigues believers and non-believers alike.

Although death by crucifixion is a common practice in Roman times, Jesus’ ordeal is particularly cruel. He endures the customary beating, and then must carry his own cross. He falls from the heavy weight, and another man must carry the load for him. Jesus hangs from the cross by spikes driven through his hands and feet, receives vinegar to quench his thirst and suffers a horrible death. Following the crucifixion, his body is placed in a guarded tomb but he rises from the dead 3 days later. 

This week, the music of Easter.

Before we start with our rousing opener, an Easter memory. Seems that a television tradition around Holy Week many years ago that carried on for many years was the network presentations of holy movies.

One of them was Ben-Hur starring Charleton Heston as a Jew (Judah) battling the Roman empire at the time of Christ. His actions send him and his family into slavery. Chained to a group of criminals, Judah is marched through the desert. They pass though the village of Nazareth and stop for a water break.

Later, when Jesus is  sent through the streets on his way to be crucified…

In 1870, French architect Charles Rohault de Fleury determined Jesus’ cross weighed 165 pounds, was three or four meters high, with a cross beam two meters wide.

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One of cinema’s most famous sequences was the movie’s nine-minute chariot race. That scene alone took five weeks (spread over three months) to film at a total cost of $1 million and required more than 200 miles of racing to complete. Seven thousand extras were hired to cheer in the stands. As filming in Italy progressed only 1,500 extras were needed on any given day. On June 6, 1958, more than 3,000 people seeking work were turned away. The crowd rioted, throwing stones and assaulting the set’s gates until police arrived and dispersed them.

We begin with Andre Rieu and his orchestra along with his own very large set of over 500 brass players performing from the film’s score in Amsterdam.

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Ben Hur behind the scenes 1959

Charlton Heston

Ben-Hur was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won an unprecedented eleven including Best Picture.

Easter Sunday is the biggest day of the year for churches. According to a 2018 National Retail Federation study about half of Americans planned to go to church on that year’s Easter.

Christian music songwriter and impresario Bill Gaither has given great exposure to Southern gospel artists for the past few decades, especially on public television. Those appearances led to concerts and video sales.

My guess is that this will shake church roofs across America this Sunday.

The Gaither Vocal Group answers the musical question, “Have you been redeemed?”

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In the above video did you notice the silver-haired gent with the cookie duster mustache cupping his ear with his hand, microphone in the other pressed right up against his mouth?

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That’s deep-voiced J.D. Sumner who wrote “The Old Country Church.” He was part of Elvis’ backup singers for many years right up until the King died.

Speaking of Elvis, the King’s only Grammy Awards came for his spiritual recordings. In fact his favorite music was gospel and he had career aspirations of someday singing professionally in a gospel choir.

“Gospel was one of the most important elements in his musical identity,” said Charles Hughes, director of the Memphis Center at Rhodes College. “Throughout his career he kept returning to gospel. Singing gospel songs, recording gospel records and incorporating in his live shows performance techniques that he would have gotten from the church.”

Gladys Presley once told a reporter, “When Elvis was just a little fellow, he would slide off my lap, run down the aisle, and scramble up to the platform of the church. He would stand looking up at the choir and try to sing with them. He was too little to know the words, but he could carry the tune.”

“Since I was two years old, all I knew was gospel music,” said Elvis. “It became such a part of my life, it was as natural as dancing. A way to escape my problems, and my way of release.”

In 1972 Elvis released the gospel album He Touched Me that included “Amazing Grace.”

Three years ago The Wonder Of You: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was released worldwide that presented the iconic artist’s unmistakable voice and most dramatic original performances augmented with lush new orchestral accompaniment. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, the 14-track album features Elvis’ most dramatic original performances augmented with arrangements by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The album was a follow-up to a similar effort the year before, If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Legend has it that this next song was written in 1772 by John Newton, a former slave trader who had a religious conversion and became an abolitionist activist.

Elvis Presley recording at RCA Victor Studio in New York City in July 1956.

Elvis takes care of serious business.

Another classic was written by Cleavant Derricks, an African American pastor who once served a church in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Performing in our next video is an ensemble formed by a businessman who plucked stars from various gospel groups to form “Perfect Heart.” J.D. Sumner jokingly called them “The Million Dollar Quartet.”

Garry Sheppard opens by mentioning one of his talents.

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Who says Christians don’t have a sense of humor?

Perfect Heart is no longer together.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great Easter weekend!

In the late 1960’s Edwin Hawkins was studying interior design in Oakland, California. At the same time he and a friend were working with a youth choir that released a local album. The group had hopes of selling enough copies to fund a trip to Southern California to participate in a Gospel competition.

The album was anything but state of the art, recorded on a friend’s small two-track machine according to Hawkins. There were no thoughts of going commercial.

One of the tracks caught the attention of a disc jockey at the Bay Area FM station KSAN, Abe Kesh.

As Kesh continued to play “Oh Happy Day” on the air it became more and more popular. The single sold seven million copies and won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance.

Legendary jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis covered “Oh Happy Day” in a 2005 album, “With One Voice.”

The live album was recorded at the J.W. James Memorial A.M.E. Church in Maywood, Illinois, where the Rev. Lucille L. Jackson, Ramsey Lewis’ sister was the the co-pastor. She passed away in 2013.

More than 50 members of the J.W. James Memorial A.M.E. Church Combined Choir are featured on the album, including “Oh Happy Day.”

“That’s one of my favorites,” said Lewis. “When that record came out, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, I probably wore out–it was on an LP, of course, so I probably wore out two or three of those, and I always wanted to play it, even in person, but I couldn’t come up with a way to do it without the voices. And so now we have this version, of course, with my church choir, that is the church I belong to.”

We’ve posted this a few times in the past and it’s especially perfect this time of year…

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Friday Night Oldie: Motown turns 60

A special concert honoring the 60th anniversary of Motown Records will be broadcast this Sunday on CBS.

The historic company began in 1959. Its first record label was Tamla, and their first # 1 single came in December of 1961.

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That was the Tamla label. BTW the Beatles and the Carpenters also recorded the song.

Fifty-five years ago the Motown Records label celebrated its first No. 1 single on the Billboard charts.

Jimmy O’Neil does the introduction.

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There’s no telling how big a star Mary Wells could have been.

In 1961 through 1964, she hit the Top 10 in the pop charts with “The One Who Really Loves You,” “You Beat Me to The Punch,” “Two Lovers” and her signature “My Guy,” all written or co-written by Smokey Robinson, a fellow Motown Records star.

“In 1964, Mary Wells was our big, big artist,” said Lucy Gordy Wakefield, Motown’s first sales chief. “I don’t think there’s any audience with an age of 30 through 50 that doesn’t know the words to `My Guy.”‘

Wells left Motown to join 20th Century Fox records in 1964 and other labels as well, but never enjoyed the fame she achieved with Motown.

A daily two cigarette pack smoker, Wells had no insurance when she was diagnosed with cancer, couldn’t pay the rent, and lost her home in Los Angeles.

This beautiful singer underwent surgery for cancer of the larynx in August 1990, and died two years later at the age of 49.

Peter Benjaminson wrote Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown’s First Superstar  and said in an interview:

“From our perspective, it looks like a mistake to have left Motown, and I’m pretty sure it was. She would have taken all those songs that the Supremes made into hits, starting with Where Did Our Love Go, on and on. She could have been not just a star, but a super-superstar. … She was the first major person to leave. … In a way, she helped other Motown artists by showing them what they shouldn’t do.”

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Today’s highly interesting read (04/19/19): Release of Mueller report finally sets Trump — and America — free

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Today’s read is from the NY Post. Here’s an excerpt:

The reality was that, while Russia dangled the bait, no one from the Trump campaign or anyone else took it. Those findings stand as a refreshing testament to the character of our people and the sanctity of the election.

So hide your head in shame, Hillary Clinton. You started the false charge of collusion because you couldn’t accept defeat, and now your name will be synonymous with the most destructive hoax in American history.

Read the entire opinion piece here.

Franklin wasn’t invited

This week the state Assembly Community Development Committee heard from municipalities about actions they have taken to improve the look and feel of their communities.

They were invited by the committee’s Chair, Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) to tell the story of their community’s efforts to make good first impressions, develop brands and provide for a welcoming and vibrant downtown.

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Elm Grove’s  Village Manager David De Angelis emphasized “community engagement of civic organizations, the creation of a dedicated foundation for quality of life projects, developing a consistent brand, giving proper recognition and developing sustainable financing for any enhancements” helped enhance the village’s downtown.

Downtown Oconomowoc

Oconomowoc Director of Economic Development & Tourism Bob Duffy said that “in order to succeed in downtown revitalization, implementation is key including adoption of ordinances allowing for outdoor seating and efficient approval of restaurants and other businesses. Activity and progress become contagious.”

James Fenlon, Little Chute Village Administrator emphasized the power of Little Chute’s brand, which is symbolized by the windmill anchoring the Village’s downtown and the need to take the long view. “There are no shortcuts,” Fenlon said.

Rep. Allen’s goal is commendable: build stronger and more resilient communities throughout the state and help Wisconsin attract the talented workforce of tomorrow.

He plans to invite other communities for additional informational hearings. My guess is Franklin’s phone won’t be ringing.

What they’re saying about the Mueller Report

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“The Special Counsel found no evidence that any Americans – including anyone associated with the Trump campaign – conspired or coordinated with the Russian government or the IRA (Internet Research Agency) in carrying out this illegal scheme. Indeed, as the report states, ‘[t]he investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation.’  Put another way, the Special Counsel found no ‘collusion’ by any Americans in the IRA’s illegal activity.”
Attorney General William Barr

“After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.”
Attorney General William Barr

“In assessing the President’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as President, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the President’s personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks. Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.”
Attorney General William Barr

“Game over, folks. No collusion. No obstruction.”
Conservative blogger Matt Vespa

“Today, when Mueller says `no collusion,’ Democrats reply, `Thanks, but we’ll keep looking,'”
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee

“I called this a political proctology exam.” Trump had received a “clean bill of health. That should make people very good about democracy. And it should make people feel really great that a campaign I managed to its successful end did not collude with any Russians.

“We’re accepting apologies today, too, for anybody who feels the grace in offering them.

“Intent has never mattered to any of you, respectfully, throughout this whole thing. Was there intent to collude? Was there intent to commit a crime? Was there intent to conspire with Russians? Was there intent to steal the election from poor, old Hillary Clinton, I’m sure for whom most of you voted.

“The intent matters and the president’s intention here was not to do that. And so intent matters and I know you want to cherry-pick one line here or one line there because the big lie that you’ve let fly for two years, it’s over folks.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway speaking to reporters at the White House

“I wish I believed it was their last gasp. I think  (it’s) the beginning of the next chapter. I think it is going to be first and foremost focusing on…  they want the entire document and that’s going lead then to charges that he obstructed justice and then it’s going to be ‘Katie bar the door.’ It’s going to be months and months in my opinion of demanding a completely unredacted copy of it.”
Karl Rove

“We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the special counsel’s investigation is for special counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

“Democrats will continue to probe President Trump and his Administration’s misconduct, corruption and incompetence as well as issues that matter most in the lives of the American people from the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs to the Trump’s sabotage of families’ affordable health care, and the Administration’s inhumane family separation policy. The American people deserve answers and we’re not going to back down from getting them.”
Ashley Etienne, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

“We know it wasn’t a criminal conspiracy with the Russians, but then what was it? Because Robert Mueller spent 22 months looking at it, and if there was nothing, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have taken 22 months to say nothing.”
Nicolle Wallace of MSNBC

“Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says”
Associated Press headline. Look for anything but “No collusion” in MSM media headlines.

“He made a show of allegiance to the President over the American people by declaring ‘no collusion’ and excusing the President on the basis of his emotional state. He has proved that he’s an embedded Trump ally who puts this President’s political future above of the rule of law. That makes him unfit to serve. He must resign.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)

“Happy people don’t obstruct justice. Trump’s frustration at leaks and investigation are evidence of guilt, not innocence. But let’s see the report . .”
CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin

“This is just embarrassing. It’s literally Elle Woods’ excuse for why her client couldn’t have committed murder in ‘Legally Blonde.’”
Emily Zanotti of the Daily Wire reacting to Toobin. In the movie Elle Woods tries to convince a jury her client is innocent because she exercises, which causes endorphins, which makes people happy. “Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands,” she reasoned.

“The report pointedly suggests that if Congress believes that there is more to be done in this matter, then Congress should do it. And that’s right: This is now a political fight, not a question of criminal justice, and it will be settled politically. The House can impeach. Or the House can move on. Your call, Madame Speaker.”
Kevin Williamson, the National Review

“Barr didn’t take the job of attorney general for the sake of résumé padding — he already had the job on his résumé. He thought his experience, knowledge, and credibility gave him a unique ability to lead the Justice Department at an incredibly fraught time. Nothing he has done so far has cast any doubt on that assessment. We trust he will shrug off the absurd rage directed at him, and carry on.”
National Review editors

“We have to focus on more than just the end of the Mueller report and more than how all this started. We have to focus on the two years in which opponents of Donald Trump managed to forestall accountability for this. Now think about this, you had Jim Comey, who hid his investigation from everybody. He didn’t tell the public about it obviously. He also did not tell the courts about it. He did not tell Congress about it, which is a routine thing to do. He did not give a defensive briefing to the Trump campaign. And why? Because everyone was banking that Hillary Clinton would win and that no one would ever know what the FBI did here.”
Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

“Time for the conspiracy fanatics to take one last hit from the collusion crackpipe. Suck in deeply and let the anticipatory euphoria wash over you. Addiction is difficult to treat but this is your first step on the road to recovery.”
Liberal journalist Michael Tracey

Most people don’t understand what it is to not only to be personally investigated for something you didn’t do but to have your friends, family members and associates placed in legal jeopardy over it. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team systematically targeted the people around the president, squeezing them like lemons, indicting them on mostly process crimes created by the investigation itself. They reviewed everyone’s emails, text messages, phone calls, bank statements — and yet, their conclusion on collusion was clear and definitive. It has to be believed.

“It’s time for Democrats and the country to move past the Russia collusion narrative, and for the media to ’fess up. If we are not going to respect the outcome of the Mueller report, then what was the point of the whole exercise? They found no collusion and they did not charge obstruction. The cloud under which the president and his associates have lived for more than two years deserves to be lifted.”
Mark Penn is a managing partner of the Stagwell Group, a private equity firm specializing in marketing services companies, as well as chairman of the Harris Poll



Today’s highly interesting read (04/18/19): A Giant Laid Low by Too Many Blows to the Head

Today’s read is about football and the danger of the sport.

Coming out of the University of Colorado several years ago, Ryan Miller, a behemoth, was almost a sure pick in the NFL draft. He was destined to play pro football on Sunday afternoons.

Miller was drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL draft.

He played for:

Cleveland (2012-2013)

Denver (2014)

San Diego (2014)

Dallas (2015)

Not exactly  a lengthy NFL career. But enough to do damage.

from a NY Times reporter who interviewed Miller:

Head bursting, nausea rising, please shut off the lights, please. I interviewed Miller twice, our talks separated by 22 months, and he is doing better, which is not to suggest this thoughtful and soft-spoken 29-year-old is anywhere near what he wants to be.

When I met him in 2017 Miller had spent the previous hour in a darkened room, breathing slowly. He would get into his car and sit for hours, trying to remember where he intended to go. He would walk into airports, and lights and noise and crowds made him want to curl into a fetal ball.

The brutality of the N.F.L. and its malefactions and lack of care for players’ bodies and minds are well known. But the time a player spends in college, including Miller’s tenure in the savage trenches of an offensive line, wreaks great damage, too, and that raises a pointed question: How can universities, places of higher learning that are devoted to the development of young minds and that in some cases spend millions of dollars researching the ill effects of brain injuries, justify running multimillion-dollar football machines that put those brains at risk of lifelong damage?

Read the entire piece here.

Today’s highly interesting read (04/17/19): School shootings draw attention to officers’ mental health

Multiple Shell Casings at scene of shooting in E.C.

Today’s read is an extensive article from the Associated Press.

The first SWAT team members to see the horror in the Columbine High School library had to step around bodies and ignore a wounded student’s plea for help as they searched for shooters they didn’t know had already died by their own hands.

On the 20th anniversary of Columbine, the effects of trauma and turmoil experienced by law enforcement authorities who respond to are still largely unknown. Experts say agencies are reluctant to let researchers interview officers and dredge up potentially painful memories.

Read the entire article here.