The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (08/08/20)

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:   Intervals of clouds and sunshine. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High of 85.  “A”

: Partly cloudy skies. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High of 88. “A”

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

We’ve written so many blogs over the years about how therapeutic dogs can be for people with physical, mental, and cognitive challenges.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve been moved to tears by the stories of human-dog relationships and the life-changing bonds that develop.

This week’s edition is one more of those stories, but it hits closer to home than all the others.  I have been blessed to know Rene Crow for over twenty years.  She & her husband have two lovely, young adult daughters both of whom they are very proud.   Mikayla, their older daughter, suffered physical & mental trauma in her late teen years and is working very hard to overcome the deep scars that were left.  Excerpts from her GoFundMe bio:

One day I found myself in a sexually abusive relationship with [an upperclassman] and was sexually assaulted in June of 2016. He tricked me into thinking that this was love and these are what relationships were about…  Just a few weeks after, the unspeakable happened. I lost my best friend to Suicide… It was very hard to separate us and on that day, my life shattered into a million pieces. 

 After making the decision to get some help, I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Major Depressive Disorder, and Severe Anxiety/Panic Disorder…  Through all that has been going on, I am so lucky to have family and friends that have dogs that love me to death. They know just how to make me feel better; with each one of them I have a special connection…  Every time my doctors would ask me what helps, what makes it bearable, my only response would be “The Dogs.”

Bailey and Mikayla 2
Here’s Mikayla with their family dog, Bailey

Enter Charlie.  According to Rene, “Charlie is a two-year-old German Shepherd rescue. He has been training to be a service dog for about 10 months and now is being specifically trained for Mikayla‘s needs. We leave for Indianapolis on October 18 and go through 9 days’ worth of handler training. Then he’s officially ours! Mikayla‘s been on the waiting list for almost a year and a half now, so we are super excited about this!  We are hoping this will allow Mikayla to begin working again, possibly going back to school, and living in normal life!!! It has been a rough road.”  Sweet Charlie is being trained by Medical Mutts.

Here’s Charlie!

The Crow Family’s Go Fund Me page has made the $3,000 down payment on Charlie’s training possible.  However they are still a long way from the total $16,000 needed by the end of the process.  And here’s where our local Barking Lot readers could possibly help.

On August 23, the Milky Way Drive In here in Franklin is hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Crows.  $10 of the $40 carload fee goes to the Crows for Charlie’s training costs.  The movie is TBD, but you’re guaranteed a great time no matter what the choice!  If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit this amazing addition to Franklin Field, now is a great time!  If you are so inclined, you are also able to support her efforts directly through her GoFundMe page as well.

I’m happy to spread the word for this incredibly strong young woman, and thank you for your kindness and consideration.  I commented to Rene how phenomenal dogs are and she replied, “It’s absolutely amazing to me how a dog can bring Mikayla out of all the despair anxiety and panic.  This is been a long time coming [and we’re] so very thrilled!”
—-Jennifer Fischer

Thanks Jennifer!

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.
Lake Norman Dog Bark and Brew Weekly News! - Lucky Dog Bark & Brew

Navy pulls support of SEAL museum after video of dogs attacking man in Colin Kaepernick jersey.

ARL Boston caring for dog who had life-saving surgery after eating paper masks.

Time to open up one of our favorite files: Dogs are amazing!

An adopted 14-year-old girl is helping senior dogs find a forever home just like she did.

Michigan couple says they’ve trained detection dogs to sniff out coronavirus.

Coronavirus-sniffing dogs dispatched at Dubai Airport.

OPINION: Spare dogs in drug tests.

2020’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities.

This may be the craziest story ever posted on this blog.



He is Batman.

Where is that beagle?

We close as we always do with our closing video.

First, dog rescued after chase on I-94. The video is in this article.

AND, Tom Turcich of New Jersey and his adorable pooch Savannah have walked over 18,000 miles through the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Italy, Turkey and dozens of other countries over the past five years. And he’s not done yet.

That’s it for this week.

Thanks for stopping by.

We kindly ask that you please share with other dog lovers you know.

See ya, BARK, next Saturday morning!

Bailey and Mikayla

Goodnight everyone, and have a perfectly arranged weekend!

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.


America recently lost a musical treasure.

Johnny Mandel, arranger, composer and film scorer died at his home in Ojai, California, in late June at the age of 94. His resume in quite impressive. We’ll explore, though we could go on and on and on, Mandel as that good.

Let’s get started as we dive deep into the “They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To” file.

When Frank Sinatra left Capitol Records in the 1960s for his own label, Reprise, Johnny Mandel arranged the singer’s jazzy first Reprise album, “Ring-a-Ding-Ding!” The recording “epitomizes the jaunty, insouciant, verge-of-overbearing Sinatra,” one critic said of the album.

Patrice Wymore and Frank Sinatra in the 1960 Rat Pack classic “Ocean’s 11.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

No surprise, the 1960 Sinatra album arranged by Mandel reached #4 on Billboard’s album chart.

This next album was released in 2004. Mandel loved working with this vocalist. Imagine that. And yes, Mandel arranged this album.

Next, the song Mandel is most famously remembered for.

“The Shadow of Your Smile” was written by Johnny Mandel alongside lyricist Paul Francis Webster to be used in the 1965 film “The Sandpiper.” The initial version of the song won both the Grammy Award for “Song of the Year” and the Academy Award for “Best Original Song” as well.

Saxman Dave Koz performs with an icon.

“If Johnny Mandel had just composed ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’ – one of the most beautiful songs I have been honored to record – it would have been enough to earn his standing as one of the finest composers of our time. His legacy of Oscar and Grammy-winning music has been extraordinary and he was a dear and wonderful friend who I will deeply miss.”
Tony Bennett

Now let’s move to 1980. Mandel composed and/or arranged music for lots of films, including one about an exclusive golf course that has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.

The most viewed television finale of all time got an incredible 60.3 rating and 77 share, luring well over 100 million viewers. A whopping 105.9 million people watched on average over the two-and-a-half hours, with that number peaking at 121.6 million in the final six minutes.

Yes, Johnny Mandel’s arranging talents were put to use. He does the intro here.

Johnny Mandel, thank you for your melodies. And for one in particular that’s engraved in our hearts.”
M*A*S*H* actor Alan Alda

The next time you see a rerun watch for Johnny Mandel in the closing credits.

A few weeks ago many people around the world celebrated Christmas in July. This is one of the most beautiful Christmas songs that doesn’t get enough attention, if at all on the radio.

Mandel arranged this outstanding album.

“The wonderful thing about Johnny’s songs is that they are great as instrumentals and, with beautiful lyrics, they become wonderful vehicles for singers,” Ruth Price, a singer and the longtime artistic director of the Jazz Bakery, told the Los Angeles Times in 1996.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend!

Mandel arranged several tracks including this one on Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable” album, which won the album of the year Grammy in 1991.


Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Montreux, a flare gun, Beethoven, Frank Zappa, and Freddie Mercury

If you’re in my age range this just might be in your album collection…

When’s the last time you threw that or some other hard rock LP on a turntable? Ten, 20, 30, 40 years ago?

Boston’s debut album is not in my collection but I have something similar that’s the focus of this week’s oldie.

The date is December 4, 1971.

The place…

Montreux, Switzerland.

Frank Zappa was doing a concert at the Casino in Montreux. During the show someone in the audience shot a flare gun up at the wooden ceiling. The Casino immediately went up in flames.

With the help of someone who was sitting behind the arsonist, he was identified, charged and convicted.

Sitting in the audience were members of the British rock band. They along with everyone else were moved out quickly and safely. Zappa even helped to smoothly usher out fans.

From a nearby restaurant the band watched as the fire died down, leaving a layer of smoke had covered Lake Geneva. The Montreux disaster influenced a track on their next album.

Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore…


Rarely did the band do “Smoke on the Water” in concert. They did in Osaka, Japan in 1972 for what some critics claim is the best live album ever.

“Funky Claude,” as in the lyrics “Funky Claude was running in and out pulling kids out the ground,” is Claude Nobs, a man who helped rescue some people in the fire and found another hotel for the band to stay. He is the co-founder of the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival.

In the last verse, Ian Gillan sings about recording the song in the Grand Hotel, “With a few red lights and a few old beds.” It was too bright in the hotel, so they put in red bulbs to solve the lighting issue. The acoustics were another problem, so they improvised sound soak by using mattresses as sound baffles.

The lyrics, “Swiss time was running out” meant that their visas were going to expire soon. They wrote the songs for their next album and recorded them in a matter of weeks.


“Made in Japan” sold one-million copies and peaked at #6 on Billboard’s album chart.

Blackmore turned 75 this year.

There’s a memorial to Deep Purple and their classic song near the rebuilt casino.

The memorial is not far from a statue of Freddie Mercury.

Why Freddy Mercury? “Queen” recorded seven albums at a studio in Montreux.

OK, was that music much too heavy for you?

Then try this…



Today’s highly interesting read (08/07/20): Joe Biden’s mental ability is a campaign issue that can’t be ignored

If all you read was your local daily newspaper, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and all you watched was ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, hell, even FOX, you’d swear  Donald Trump has no chance come November.

Florida political consultant Albert Marko has a different perspective, one you’ll find in the MSM. He’s a former pollster who advises hedge funds and predicted Trump’s 2016 victory

Miranda Divine has written a lengthy analytical piece in the NY Post. Here’s just a sample:

The fact that Michelle Obama didn’t run this time, Marko says, is an indication that Democrats know beating Trump is not going to be easy, despite the polls, the pandemic and his media unpopularity.

Among signs Marko cites that Trump will prevail in November, in Electoral College terms, if not the popular vote, is the fact his campaign has registered 100,000 new Republican voters in the 2020 cycle, more than doubling the numbers from 2016.

Marko also points to the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats this year, and a Biden deficit with the Latino vote.

There’s plenty more. If you’re on the ledge, get off!

Here’s the entire column.

Lonely Girls: How the Pandemic Has Deepened the Isolation of Adolescents

One writer on the Internet put it aptly and succinctly:

“WTH have we done to our kids?”

We’ve done everything we possibly could to isolate them, make them sad and miserable. Now a lot of people don’t want to reopen schools.

This is Emerson Christman from New Jersey.

She’s 10 and was featured in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Subscription is required but here’s an excerpt:

Emerson Christman hasn’t gotten together with friends in four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. The loneliness is gnawing at her.

“It’s really hard not to see my friends. When you’re a 10-year-old, that’s all you care about,” she said. “I hate it, really.”

Emerson’s family has been more stringent about socially isolating than many of her friends’ families. Seeing her friends plan get-togethers over group texts has only magnified the loneliness.

“I’m not upset with my friends because I know they’re excited about seeing each other. I’m annoyed with my situation because we’re deciding not to see anyone,” she said. “It’s hard to make the best of it because there’s not much to do and it’s just a lot of family time, which is nice and not nice at the same time.”

Emerson said she cries a lot because she feels like she’s the only one not seeing friends.

Her mother, Erin Christman, feels helpless. “I try not to tell her how much harder this is for people who have lost jobs or relatives because I know for her and her 10-year-old world this is really hard,” Ms. Christman said. “I try to listen and validate her feelings and let her vent and yell and cry.”

As alone as Emerson feels, she has quite a bit of company. A recent nationwide study found that 78% of fifth- through eight-grade girls feel more lonely and isolated since the pandemic began. The same is true of older teens.

The study, conducted in May by the Rox Institute for Research & Training, the research arm of Ruling Our eXperiences, a nonprofit focused on girls, also found that of the younger girls in that study—ages 10 to 14—a third are spending four or more hours a day on social media, primarily on TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram.

Adolescent girls already were experiencing record-high levels of loneliness, anxiety and depression before the pandemic, according to Mary Pipher, a clinical psychologist.

“All of the things that a year ago were increasing girls’ depression have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Dr. Pipher told me. “Our recommendations were that girls spend more time with other girls, that they spend more time outside the home and that parents encourage girls to take more risks in order to develop skills on their own. Most of those things aren’t happening now because of Covid.”


America needs to go back to school.

Belling: Teachers complaining they might have to work

As the school year starts in many districts across the country, a new national poll of teachers from NPR/Ipsos finds overwhelming trepidation about returning to the physical classroom.

Eighty-two percent of K-12 teachers say they are concerned about returning to in-person teaching this fall, and two-thirds prefer to teach primarily remotely.

Do any workers complain as much about working during Covid as teachers do? Their union is complaining before school even starts. Why?

On his program Wednesday Newstalk 1130 WISN’s Mark Belling discussed teachers complaining they might have to work if schools reopen.

Click here, then click the play button to the left of  8/5/20 Teachers complaining they might have to work and scroll down, click the play button and listen from about 16:30 – 43:00.

Worth hunting to find. Sorry to have revised so many times. Not easy linking to or descrbing the instructions.

Today’s highly interesting read (08/06/20): If Teachers Won’t Teach, Follow Ronald Reagan’s Example and Fire Them

What does the following have to do with the current debate over whether schools should reopen or not?

Continue on, and it will become quite evident, and quickly.

The date is almost 31 years ago today, August 3, 1981.President Ronald Reagan speaks about the air traffic controllers called a strike that morning.

In today’s read Bob Barr picks it up from right there.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7 District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990.  He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.

First, an excerpt from his column:

The media, not yet fully familiar with the seriousness with which Reagan intended to govern, scoffed at the president’s threat. But it was not a bluff. Two days later, when more than 11,000 controllers refused to come back, Reagan fired them all. It was a powerful move, and demonstrated to the entire country that essential public employees serve the public, not union bosses. America’s public school teachers should be reminded of this fact.

Read the rest of his column here.

A lot of Franklin voters are mighty confused

Franklin City Clerk Sandi Wesolowski gave an election update at this week’s meeting of the Franklin Common Council.

In case you didn’t hear, there’s a primary election this Tuesday, August 11.

All voting sites in Franklin are open and it looks like they will be fully staffed.

The state is sending pens to Franklin. Each voter will get one and will be allowed to take it home.

And now for the most interesting items she presented.

So far Franklin has requested 6,930 absentee ballots. Most requests were made in March with the voters instructing Franklin to send ballots for the remainder of 2020. City Hall is spending about five (5) hours on the phone daily to handle absentee ballots and other election inquiries.

About those residents who requested absentee ballots. According to Wesolowski, quite a few people did not recall going online to apply for an absentee ballot, checking the box they want absentee ballots sent for the rest of 2020, or that they are indefinitely confined, or that they received a ballot and voted on it and returned it.

Biden-itis?  City of Franklin city staff is pulling up these applications to check out their authenticity, wasting their time etc.

Unless Franklin City Hall hears otherwise from these residents they will continue to receive what they asked for.