Monthly Archives: February 2013

Top ten list of my favorite TV cars

Greetings, readers. I was talking to Rebecca today trying to come up with a really good blog entry idea. I started to think about all the tv shows I’ve watched over the years and thought to myself what about my top ten favorite TV cars list? Breaking from my mini tradition, I am going to put them in order from least favorite to most favorite.

#10. The Monroe sister’s 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra in the series Charlie’s Angels. [Jill turned it over to her sister Kris after the first season when Farrah Fawcett left the show.

#9. Joe Friday’s Ford Fairlane from the second Dragnet series.

#8. Jim Rockford’s 1974 Pontiac Firebird Esprit from the Rockford Files series.

#7. Starsky’s Ford Torino from the show Starsky and Hutch.

#6. The Dukes of Hazzard General Lee. [From the tv show, not the movie.]

#5. Magnum P.I.‘s Ferrari 308 GTS.

#4. Burt Reynold’s black Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. [This is the one car from a film, not a tv show, the 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit.]

#3. The Green Hornet‘s Black Beauty, a 1965 Chrysler Imperial Crown.

#2. The Batmobile from the 1966 Batman series with Adam West. [The car, according to the internet, was listed as a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car; that model was never put into production as far as I know.]

#1. Steve McGarrett’s 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham from the original Hawaii Five-O series. [In the pilot episode, a snazzy ’67 Mercury Marquis was used. The ’68 Parklane was reportedly damaged in a chase scene and was replaced with a newer Mercury model for start of the ’75 season.]

Rebecca and I will be doing more work on the new book tomorrow. I’m going to try my darndest to post another new entry on Sunday evening or Monday. Oh, by the way … Tuesday the 5th, MLB 13 The Show hits the stores. The countdown beginneth. I will be at our local GameStop at 9am.

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Top ten list of modern conveniences


Greetings, readers. Yesterday afternoon, my building experienced a two hour loss of power. That meant that we could only use the computer until the battery ran out and we completely lost our internet connection. That got me to thinking. What are some of the modern conveniences that we take for granted today? Here’s a list of things I have certainly enjoyed in my life, but probably could do without if I really had to. How about you?

10. Cell phones [From approximately the mid-90s on, cell phones became small enough to take with you anywhere. Now a good number of people, including myself, no longer have landlines; so much so that printed white pages are on the way out.]

  9. Laptop computers [In the late 70s and 80s, desktop personal computers were not very fancy and certainly pale in comparison to today’s machines, both laptops and PCs. Laptops allow you to take your work and games anywhere.]

  8. Gaming systems [Before the systems came out, children and teenagers had to entertain themselves with board games, outside games, coloring books, and something called reading.]

  7. High speed internet [Both DSL and dial-up are still used, but of course those who like to download movies or music videos need high-speed.]

  6. GPS systems [Roughly before the mid-2000s, people used things called maps. I hated them. I either couldn’t fold it up correctly or I ripped it.]

  5. ‘Power everything’ on automobiles [I vaguely remember the day in the early 70s when crank windows were standard on cars and power windows was considered a luxury. Such luxury cars as Cadillacs and Lincolns came equipped with them in the mid to late 70s. Most every model followed suit much later.]

  4. Compact discs, DVDs and Blue-ray discs [I still have most of my old vinyl albums. It is my record players that have worn out. The new formats certainly do have better sound and picture.]

  3. Snow and leaf blowers [Sometimes my father would give me the chore of shoveling the snow or raking those leaves. Snow blowers and leaf blowers, certainly make it easier and less time consuming.]

  2. ‘Kneeling’ busses [The modern buses of today, at least in my town, no longer have the two or three steep steps which were always difficult for the elderly and handicapped.]

  1. Internet cafes [After they became big about ten years ago, it is most convenient for me to take my laptop, plug in, log in to their internet, and occupy myself with work or pleasure while enjoying my favorite cup of java.]

Please chime in with some of the things that you could add to this list. Until next week, stay warm, have a great weekend and happy reading.

Brrr … it is cold as hell outside

Greetings, readers. For all you smarty cats, yes I know hell isn’t cold. That is just the expression I use. Yesterday we enjoyed a high of 38° with partial sunshine and very little wind. Today we’re back to cloudy conditions 22° and a wind chill factor of 8. I’m not happy. The groundhog from Punxsutawney has promised us an early spring. He had better be correct.

How do I spend my days when it is cold out, you might ask? Simple. I do all my errands in one clump and then I stay inside the rest of the day with my heater blasting. Too much heat inside in the winter time, though, causes another problem: overly dry conditions. At some point soon I’m going to have to go to the local Wal-Mart and spend some money picking up a humidifier for winters and a de-humidifier for summers. Neither should cost more than $15 to $20.

Yes, I shall certainly be glad to get rid of this cold weather. As I’ve told many people, I am a spring and summer person. I enjoy t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. To my utter surprise, sometimes I see these young college kids here at Penn State in said attire in the late fall to early winter time. To me that is just nuts. Is it any wonder why they get sick?

On a brief side note, congratulations and thumbs up to all the dancers who participated in Penn State’s yearly dance marathon, which benefits kids with cancer. They raised $12,374,034.46 and set yet another record.

On Friday, I hope to put up a top ten list. I have been working on it in my head. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

Until then, take care, stay warm and happy reading.

Had to brace for the mini-storm

Greetings, readers. I’ll get this first statement out-of-the-way right now. I hate freezing rain! Ok, I don’t think anyone likes it. Nobody goes around saying, “Yeah, my car will have zero traction today and I’ll probably wreck!” My problem isn’t driving, it’s walking. I just have to look at a freezing sidewalk, and down on my butt I go. One big disadvantage of Cerebral Palsy; terrible balance.

Well, yesterday the weatherman… I mean meteorologist predicted a small coating of freezing rain. That was enough to make me run to the store and load up on a few supplies that both KeeKee and I needed. She needed moist food, and I was very low on milk, bread and munchies. Must have my munchies for TV time.

By late afternoon, the temperature will be warm enough so that I can do my few errands. I’ve banking to do, which couldn’t be done yesterday; President’s Day. After posting this entry, I’ll go do that, get some java somewhere and get home pronto.

Until quite soon, take care, stay warm and happy reading.

 

My personal Valentine’s Day massacre

Greetings, readers. As you may guess, as the title implies, I don’t much care for St. Valentine’s Day. I have had horrendous luck with the opposite gender, and have been alone on Valentine’s Day many more times than not. Yesterday, something caught my eye which I shall be happy to share with you now.

Yesterday morning, at my favorite hangout, Panera Bread cafe, as I enjoyed my favorite coffee and cookie, I saw a college couple obviously on what might be considered their first coffee date. I, because I am a writer, went into something I call observation mode. For several minutes I keenly observed this young couple almost to the point of staring at them. Remembering my knowledge from psychology classes, the young lady must have been interested in her new friend, because she was leaning forward with her arms on the table and she wore an almost unceasing smile.

He, as well, was quite cheerful and did his very best to be charming, debonaire, and he seemed to making conversation that included her and her likes. Toward the end of the lunch date, though I could not get the complete details, I believe he was inviting her to some kind of Valentine’s Day party for tomorrow evening. She eagerly checked her date calendar and told him that even though she had something scheduled for earlier that evening, she would definitely, “… try to make it.” Now, being an observer, I could tell that with that smile of hers, that she was not simply trying to polite. She really liked this guy and was really going to try to go.

When they got up to leave, I noticed her carrying something. It looked like a wrapped up single flower. I remember thinking this guy has class. No wonder she likes him. This reminds me of an event that happened many years ago with Georgia. I don’t remember if she was my girlfriend or my wife at the time. I had made reservations at a nice restaurant and asked for a specific table. Now Georgia was not one to like surprises but I was going to try to surprise her anyway. I had ordered a dozen long-stemmed roses to be delivered at the restaurant while we were there. It could not have come off more perfectly. She loved them.

Getting getting back to the massacre part of this title. Tomorrow I am taking a personal day off so that I can slide through this day as quickly and painlessly as humanly possible. This has an added benefit for my friend and writing assistant Rebecca, who has a special someone with whom to enjoy the day.

To wrap up, along with a new blog post today, I hope to put a small one up on Friday – small because Rebecca and I will be doing other work related things. If by some chance you don’t see a new blog post on Friday, enjoy your weekend, take care and happy reading.

Top ten list of airlines no longer with us

Greetings, readers. As an airplane enthusiast and flight simulation hobbyist, I enjoy downloading different types of aircrafts from airlines that have gone out of business. A website called Simviation.com is my source for getting my downloads. Here is a top ten list of real world airlines that have come and gone. I used a couple of sources to aid me in finishing my list; they are Wikipedia.com and List after list (listafterlist.com).

#10. Air Florida. Deregulation and the horrible crash near Washington D.C. in the early 80s were two contributing factors why this airline failed to compete with the big boys.

#9. Eastern Airlines. When I was a kid, I would see ads for Eastern all the time. Their slogan was, “We earn our wings everyday.”

#8. Piedmont Airlines. They are apparently still officially in business. Rebecca and I have determined, via internet, that they are part of the commuter airline system associated with U.S. Airways. I remember seeing on the website to our own airport, called University Park, that Piedmont does still fly out of here.

#7. Continental Airlines. Very recently acquired by United Airlines. If you look closely you’ll see the word United on the plane’s fuselage and the tail logo is still that of Continental. I’ve heard that this will remain this way for another year or two.

#6. Western Airlines. This airline ceased their own operations on April 1st, 1987 according to Wikipedia.com and merged with Delta Airlines.

#5. TWA. I never thought that Trans World Airlines would ever go out of business. They were one of the big boys.

#4. Pan American Airlines, or Pan Am as they were called. In the early 60s, Pan Am went all out to make air travel elegant. They offered white glove service and fancy uniforms to make their flight crew look elegant.

#3. ValuJet. The big air disaster that doomed ValuJet was the Florida Everglades crash where it was determined that in the cargo compartment was oxygen tanks – a definite no-no.

#2. National Airlines.

#1. Midway Airlines. I’m afraid I don’t know much about National or Midway. I just remember hearing the names and vaguely seeing ads for National as a child.

Until next week, stay out of this major snow storm if you can. Be well, and happy reading.

Update on future writing plans

Greetings, readers. On July 13th, 2013, I will be 48 years old. In my 47+ years of life I have, writing wise, accomplished two small books, one play and my blog. Not bad material, but I’m a tad disappointed at my volume and quality of my work. I have a tough act to follow. My dad, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans wrote 30 books dealing with philosophy and religion. I guess I am comparing myself to that kind of production and I just don’t stack up.

I am about to make a slight career change. I’ve always loved writing, but not prose writing. After this next book comes out, hopefully by August, I’ll be turning my attention back to play writing. That’s where I think my true talent lies. My first play, Kimberly, was a cute little play. Now I want to knock people’s socks off with a powerhouse. That will take dynamic characters, a great plot and excellent writing. Have I got it in me? Do I have the right stuff? I think so . . . with a lot of work.

I have, for fun, written little one-act plays since I was an early teenager. I, of course, was never going to show my work to anyone at that time because they were extremely unpolished. I just knew I loved writing and wanted to get better at it. Rebecca has numerous folders chock full of ideas for that next big writing project. One of them, I’m sure, could be developed into a play. And even if not, I have an idea which I’ve been working on, on and off, for about eight years. I’ve got the notes in a tablet somewhere in my apartment.

Does this mean I will never write another book? No. CreateSpace.com, along with Rebecca’s expertise and talents, has made book publishing almost effortless and fairly inexpensive. When I go back to playwriting, however, I will eventually have to hook up with an agent or someone of the like. As far as I know, CreateSpace.com does not publish plays.

Now to wrap up and on a slightly different topic, the frigid weather has finally broken here in Central PA. We might actually get above freezing today. Tomorrow morning we will have those two words that I always hate; wintry mix. Looks like I won’t be going out for my morning coffee. With no outside appointments scheduled, I might take this evening to do some computer work, watch a few movies, and then sleep in tomorrow morning. Until quite soon, take care, enjoy your day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Cold winter days

Groundhog Day was last Saturday and Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early end to winter. I am sure looking forward to warm weather again. Winter has been going on so long that I am getting used to the cold and snowy conditions.

If my memory serves, last year in State College we had a warmer than usual winter. This year we have snow and temps below freezing. I do know we have had more days below freezing this year than last year.

Cold weather means warming up the car engine while the defroster runs and we brush snow off the car. For my husband and I, (and Joe too, I assume) it means listening to the plow go by in the parking lot early in the morning. For my dad and sisters, it means using the snow shovel almost every day. Sidewalks and parking lots are covered in salt rock, and we bring those crystals inside on our shoes.

I have a pair of red sweatpants that I wear over my slacks in frigid temps. My husband calls them my Santa pants. These days, when I go out, I just put them on without thinking about it. My hoodie goes on under my coat, and on windy days I also have a scarf around my neck under my coat hood. That is bundled up! And then I go indoors and have to peel it all off. The tricky part is the red pants, because when I take them off in public I feel like I am doing a strip-tease. I usually find a private spot for modesty. Putting them on is better because it is obvious I have slacks on underneath.

The warmer weather will mean figuring out how much outerwear to wear and how much to leave at home – scarf, second pair of pants, hoodie, coat. The daily decision is a bother but the warmer temps will be worth it.

I can take the winter and the routines that go with it. Falling snow is beautiful when I am sitting inside and am home for the day. But an early spring would be very welcome.

Attention! Look of the blog may change

Greetings, readers. I am playing around with the new looks for the blog. The camel with the three pyramids is quite enjoyable to me, and at some point I will return to it. But as soon as I can make an adjustment to a theme that I chose yesterday, camel and pyramids (technically called Adventure Journal) will go away for a while. I would like to try one called Twenty Eleven. I must figure out how to get all the widgets, etc., up and working properly.

Thank you for your patience.

Top ten list of things gone by the wayside

Greetings, readers. I was thinking the other day of things from my childhood, and before, that are no longer around. This is a top ten list, again in no particular order.

#10. Electric trolley cars. [I’m not certain if every major city has done away with these or not, I just know I have not seen one since I was a little boy in Pittsburgh.]

#9. Small, fast-moving lines at major airports. [9/11 saw to that.]

#8. Big American cars. [When I was entering my early teenage years, the big boats, as they were called, were just going out of style.]

#7. Not needing a passport on cruise ships to visit places such as the Caribbean.

#6. Most cookie cutter stadiums. [The three examples that come to mind are Three River Stadium in Pittsburgh, Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia, and Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.]

#5. Penny arcades. Or in my era, quarter arcades. [Oh, the day of going to the arcades and playing games like Galaga and Air Hockey.]

#4. Antiquated gaming systems. [Atari and Nintendo have given way to Sony’s PS3 and the Xbox 360, but in their day the original home gaming systems very effectively put the quarter arcades out of business.]

#3. Movie rental places. [The convenience of watch-at-home options, such as Netflix or Blockbuster.com, ended the days of going to the video store, hoping that the title you wanted to watch was still on the shelf.]

#2. Cheap gas. [Gone forever are the days when gas was 25 cents per gallon. Even a dollar a gallon would be welcomed.]

#1. Smaller sports leagues. [Both the National Football League and Major League Baseball in particular, have expanded to too many teams, and the talent got stretched. And yes, that is the technical term. Players who should be playing at a minor league level are now playing at the major league level. The overall product suffers.]

Next week, we’ll get back to you with more entertaining blog entries. Until then, have a great weekend, stay safe and warm, and happy reading.