Monthly Archives: January 2019

Yay! Here’s #800!!!

Greetings, readers. We’ve made it to 800. As I ponder what to write about in this blog entry, I’ve been considering my life’s accomplishments and failures so far. In 53 1/2 years, I’ve written three books, co-authored one novel based on a play I wrote, and to this point have written 799 blog entries.

The last few weeks I’ve gotten religiously nostalgic. This past Sunday I attended a church my parents and I went to when I was a youth. It felt strange but good. It was like going home again. I also found a Bible on the internet which can either be read or listened to, and it is free. What an amazing concept. As I mentioned in blog #799 I am having dinner with a friend, who is quite religious and I am looking forward to having an in-depth discussion on the Lord and prayer.

I feel blessed to have so many good friends around me. A very nice lady down the hall, Smith, sometimes cooks for me. There are very generous people in town, such as businesses and churches. The businesses sometimes offer fantastic deals, and at least two churches I know of have weekly dinners for no cost, but they’ll, “Gladly accept a donation.” Rebecca has been a marvelous friend, helping me with my writing for eight years. She has been invaluable, helping with editing, writing, keeping appointments straight, and the like.

I have always been a nostalgic person. When I left my childhood home for the final time, after the sale of it had been finalized, I took paintings with me that are hung proudly in this apartment. Other people can have my beat up organ, my old stereo, my 1980s Zenith color TV after everything go cleared out, but they were not going to get their paws on five certain paintings. Call me sentimental if you want to, but that is just me.

Painting that was in my parent’s home

 

A very important memory from my parent’s home

 

Where do we go from here, from #800? Well, I hope to blog for a very long time. I would love to reach #1,000. Rebecca and I have figured out that is about two years’ worth of work at two entries a week. I think we can do it. Sure I would love to see the views per day go up, but I take pleasure in writing, getting my thoughts down, and giving you nice folks something to enjoy.

As I close #800, and I’ve said this in the past on these milestone blog entries, thank you so much for sticking with us. If you like what you read, tell your friends. Here is the direct url to the blog’s home page. Here’s to many, many more blog entries. If any of you have some ideas you would like me to blog about, please leave a comment in the comment section, on my Facebook, or on my Twitter page.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful weekend, please stay warm, enjoy, and happy reading. Yay for #800! 🙂

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Go away you darned polar vortex

Greetings. readers. Good morning from what feels like the arctic, though I know it is colder there. Here in central Pennsylvania we are under a wind chill advisory for this afternoon and tonight. The temperature was a balmy 4 degrees F and tonight it will be a low of -4 with a wind chill well below that. I really hate it when it gets this cold because with my seizure issues going from extreme cold to room temperature can throw me into a tizzy. I must enter whatever building I am going into and sit down for a moment to let myself acclimate to the warmer temperature.

On the plus side, this weather is fantastic for getting house work done, writing, the continuation of my new baseball gaming league, etc. Tonight if a friend of mine does not call off, I am going to dart over to Panera … only a few hundred yards away … and have an early supper. Thank goodness for my harf (my knit hat with scarf attached), thank you to Becky F’s friend or family member who knit it for me. Another plus of this cold weather is that all the diesel in the construction zone’s machines has basically turned to glue. The big gate is locked up and there are no workers working. For once I don’t need to shout to Rebecca over a blasted pile driver. I’ve been driven so crazy by that machine, any break I can get is a welcome relief.

My new Out of the Park Baseball league is down on paper. Later today I will go into the game itself and begin construction. I was thinking about doing a YouTube channel series as I play the game with a team of my choice, but so far a lack of interest from my followers is making me think twice about that idea. It takes a long time to upload a video to YouTube, and I would have to put a sign on my front door so that anyone passing in the hallway would not think that the crazy guy is talking to himself. Lol.

To end this first blog we will write today, #799, let me explain what is to come. After Rebecca and I edit this one, we shall publish, click to Facebook and make sure it comes up on Twitter, and then we will get right to work on blog entry #800! After editing and spell checking, we will set it up to go live tomorrow afternoon, not on Sunday. I wanted Rebecca to be here so that #800 was a joint effort, as the milestones have been in the past.

So there is entry #1 for the day and we’ll end it as we always do. Have a wonderful day, stay warm if you are in the arctic blast, prayers to all the people in the world who need it at this time, and as always, happy reading.

A great morning and a fun, creative evening ahead

Greetings, readers. This morning I decided to go back to a church which my mom, dad and I attended when I was young. I left my apartment at 9:45 AM for the 10:30 service. The moment I walked into Grace Lutheran church, I felt as though I had traveled back in time. I was amazed at how little the inner church had stayed the same. I last went to a service there in 1982, so there were bound to be a few changes, but overall it was still the church I remembered and loved.

A beautiful moment happened about five minutes before the service was set to begin. The snow showers ceased and the sun shone through. It was like a sign that everything was right in the universe, and I was home. Now, I’m a Roman Catholic, but my church is too far away from me. I don’t have a car, and taking a taxi or Uber would drain my bank account quickly. I know that’s a terrible reason not to go to my church, but for now anyway, I am seeking one within walking distance of my apartment.

I must be honest, readers. I have not had much religion in my life for many years. As I believe I said in the last blog entry, that’s about to change. Last evening, I tried to read some of the Bible. Yes, I did say tried, because even with my reading glasses, the print was very difficult to bring into focus. It was frustrating, but I read for about 45 minutes. It’s a start.

Now on to the fun evening ahead. As almost all my readers know by now, I love sports simulation games. And Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball simulation I’ve ever seen, provides me an opportunity to set up my own fictitious league. I’m going to do that this evening. I don’t know which cities, which team names or how many divisions, but I do know it’s going to be wonderfully fun setting it all up. The one league I have going, the United States Baseball League is currently in its off-season. I am mirroring it with the real world major league baseball. I’m going to create another league to fill in during MLB’s off-season. I think about 100 games should do it. It’s going to be a blast.

Now here’s a question for you all. Please leave comments here in the comments section below, or on my Facebook page. I have a YouTube channel all set up to record and post gaming videos. If I end up creating a Pittsburgh or Philadelphia team [very highly likely] would anyone be interested in watching these videos with my commentary in the background. I will have to share the commentary booth with the game’s play-by-play announcer, who I call, Com Puter. Mr. Puter is a bit dry, but he does call a good game. I think it would be real fun to make videos and link the URL to Facebook. I hope to get many positive responses.

That’s all for this blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back on Wednesday to type two entries, for I believe that the second one will be number 800! So until then, have a great weekend, pray for all who need it, take care and happy reading.

Four good Netflix specials on the life of Jesus

Greetings, readers. I found on Netflix four wonderful documentaries The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I’m slowly making my way through them, starting with The Gospel of Matthew.  This first film is slightly over 3 hours long, and for some reason I tend to doze off towards the end of it. I’m going to have to go back this evening and watch the last 45 minutes. I’ll explain the format and tell you what I think of it so far.

The British narrator, whose name I have yet to discover, literally narrates through the entire program, because all the actors including the one who plays Jesus speak in Arabic. You hear a little of the language here and there in the background but if you don’t know Arabic you would be lost without the translator. First you see Jesus as an infant with the Three Wise Men presenting him with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but he is quickly seen at the age where he can teach. Throughout the entire film, Jesus goes from place to place, preaching and teaching his word.

He heals the sick, the lame, the blind, and even a young dead girl who had just passed away, simply by touching them. After a number of years of this, the elders in the synagogue began to question him and were trying to trick him and each and every time Jesus knew what to say and what questions to pose to them to make the teachers look like the students.

This is how this film affected me. I am what they call a lapsed Roman Catholic. I’ve not gone to mass is quite a while. I always say it is because I don’t have transportation or the weather is not nice out. The truth is I am lazy. If I really wanted to get to church, I could. With that being said, I always knew that Jesus was King of the Jews. I listened intently to the actor playing Jesus, speaking the entire time in Arabic, and it was almost upon Jesus’s death that he told his apostles to build his church and continue teaching his word. Lately I have been having some questions fly in my mind. I watched for almost three hours Jesus teaching in synagogues and almost toward the end of the film he wanted to create his own church. Why would someone who had preached for so many years in the Jewish faith, change his mind? I believe the answer is His Father told him to do so. And that statement just showed everybody just how little I read my Bible. That, dear readers, is about to change.

I’m going to read my Bible, I’m going to study religion, and sorry Mom and Dad, I’m going to let a little secret slip. We attended a Lutheran church when I was a boy. I have very fond memories of its Christmas Eve service. That church is well within walking distance from my apartment building, only three blocks away. Time will tell if I officially change my religion, but I’ve got to become closer to the Lord. Do I fear death and I am trying to get brownie points for heaven? No, I’ve wanted to become more religious for quite a while.

Please feel free to leave comments here or on my Facebook page. I shall do my best to have a new blog entry up by late Sunday afternoon. Until then, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.

Well, the NFL playoffs are set

Greetings, readers. I’m so sorry that I did not put up a blog entry until today. I know I promised on Wednesday one for Sunday. I was going to write a little bit about the two football playoff games, but the second game was televised later than I expected. So here goes this rare Monday evening blog entry.

Congratulations to this year’s participants in Super Bowl XLIX. They are the New England Patriots from the American Football Conference, and the Los Angeles Rams from the National Football Conference. To the winners, congratulations. To the losers, my condolences and better luck next time.

When I was young, I loved watching the Super Bowl game. One year the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Minnesota Vikings… my two favorite teams. My friend Mike and I were rooting for Minnesota in the first half, which drove my mom bonkers. She not so kindly invited us to go watch the game at Mike’s house. She explained that this home was a Steelers home, and that cheering for the opposition would not be tolerated. I think she was joking, but Mike and I didn’t want to find out. We watched until the end of the first half at his house.

Even though I vacation in New England, and love all their other sports teams, I do not like the New England Patriots. With all the accused cheating and drama, I’ll just wait until at least the coach and quarterback move on or retire. The owner, Mr. Kraft, I fear will be there for quite a while yet.

On Sunday, February 3rd, the Pats and the Rams will duke it out in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, in Atlanta, Georgia. Once again, no team who plays in the host stadium has ever hosted a Super Bowl. The Atlanta Falcons had a really good team this year. I thought this year might be the year that Atlanta’s team hosted the big game.

To me, the majority of the Super Bowls over the years have been boring blowouts. Not the last few. I don’t think this one will disappoint, either. The Rams will be the host team, meaning they’ll be in their dark jerseys if they wish to be, while the Patriots will have to wear their white jerseys. Fun fact – every year the AFC and NFC take turns “hosting” the Super Bowl. Next season, the AFC will have the choice of colored or white jersey.

Time for fun bets. Leave a comment in the comments section below, or on my Facebook page, and let me know who you think will win. I’m going for the L.A. Rams. 🙂

Until Wednesday, when Rebecca and I will be back with you, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

Arg! Oh what a terrible morning I had #2

Greetings, readers. For the last few months I’ve enjoyed a set morning routine. It involves going to Panera with my friends Smith and Traci for coffee, breakfast, and conversation. It is a wonderful way to start the day and I now look forward to it every morning that it’s possible to do. I had plans to go this morning but a back spasm said no. My back going out is one of the most frustrating health issues that I have to deal with, because I literally have to turn out all the lights, take two Aleve, and go back to bed. I let my body reset.

To my happy surprise, when I laid down, the back spasm almost instantly ceased. Friend Smith had already gone back to her apartment and I didn’t feel like knocking on her door and saying what the heck, let’s try it. I took a nap for about an hour, setting my alarm for 9:15, just enough time to get dressed again before Rebecca came. I didn’t have any breakfast food in the house and the only regular coffee I have is instant. So I had to pretend that my new box of K-Cups was not decaf. I also missed out on my delicious papaya green tea which I get every morning along with my coffee to hydrate myself. Yes, readers, I am trying to take better care of myself.

Some of the other things I do to help my diet is eat more oatmeal. Also at the McLanahan’s corner store pre-packaged cups of fresh fruit on one side of the display with sandwiches and salads on the other side are for offer. I helped myself to a few containers of delicious watermelon. Also to aid in my efforts to eat better I am definitely considering getting Meals on Wheels again. They are not the greatest, but most of them have some veggies in them. I am not a big believer in these protein shakes that supplement your diet, for I have no idea how many chemicals they have in them.

Smith is trying to get me to drink more water, which I must admit I am not a big fan of. She is impressed that I am drinking Panera’s cold papaya green tea. Occasionally I’ll mix it up and have their lemonade. Both are healthy and good hydrating beverages. Now readers, get ready for the shocker. I’m seriously contemplating giving up coffee completely. I think I am starting to lose the taste for it. I never thought I’d say that, but I fear it’s true. Perhaps I’ll just cut way back.

When spring rolls around the last thing I will add to my new health regimen is walk, walk, walk. Because of my lack of exercise, and because of standing in one place at my fast food job for a year, I have a little arthritis in my hips, making that morning trek to Panera a bit stiff. If I do a lot of walking in the warmer months, I’m hoping that some of that stiffness can be alleviated. If it is tight muscles, that’s fine. If arthritis has come to stay, that is a completely different story. I have to use a walker for our morning coffee excursion. Later in the day, everything loosens up and I am back to my own self. For all my younger readers out there, I’m just kidding, but don’t get old. It’s no fun.

There is today’s blog entry. I will put up another blog entry mid-day on Sunday. I apologize that last Sunday’s was put up so late in the day, but it was a very hectic Sunday. I’m sure you can all relate. I’ve heard that snow storms are coming across the country, so please stay safe, don’t drive in it if you don’t have to, and until Sunday, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

In Memory of Air Florida Flight 90… again

Greetings, readers. Yes, another January 13th has come around, marking the sad anniversary of a very deadly and very avoidable plane crash. I wrote a commemorative blog entry about Air Florida flight 90 seven years ago. More time has passed, but the heartache goes on. Here is a re-post of that entry.

Thirty years ago today a terrible air tragedy took place. Air Florida’s flight 90 took off from Washington D.C.’s National Airport at 4:01 pm. It stayed airborne for less than 30 seconds. It hit cars on a bridge, killing four people, before plunging into the Potomac River. Of the 79 passengers and crew on the plane, 74 died. I thought about this much over the years and it has weighed heavily on my mind. Several very simple things happened and if any one of them had not occurred the crash might not have taken place.

The D.C. area was in the grip of a blizzard that day, over a foot of snow was on the ground and the airport was closed most of the morning into the mid-afternoon. Once the runways were cleared, planes began taking off again. Palm 90, as it was called in the tower, was to be de-iced, pushed back, and lined up waiting for its turn to take off.

I have seen a TV movie, called Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac, and documentaries, including Discovery Health channel’s Critical Rescue: “Heroes on the Potomac,” about this event and they all concur that three things contributed to the disaster. First, when the plane could not push back easily, the Captain applied reverse thrust to aid the tug tow tractor, as it is called, in the push back. Secondly, the wings did not appear properly de-iced, so when the plane was sitting in line for take off, extra snow was piling on top of snow and ice that was already there. Lastly, and most importantly, the engine’s anti-ice systems were not engaged.

When I learned of this, it infuriated me. I thought to myself, how can a pilot and co-pilot be sitting in a blizzard and not activate the systems that would keep the plane free of freezing precipitation. Since they were a Florida based airline, however, I suppose I can understand them being used to not using the anti-ice system.

When the jet crashed into the 14th Street Bridge and plunged into the Potomac River, it didn’t take long for heroes to emerge. Two gentlemen helped rescue the few survivors that were huddled in the freezing water. They were Lenny Skutnik and Roger Olian. Tragedies sometimes tend to bring out the best in people. They might wonder if they have the right stuff. When the time came, both men jumped into the frigid river and did their part in the rescue effort.

Two more heroes were Gene Windsor and Don Usher who performed the daring helicopter rescue. But the biggest hero of all was a man named Arland Williams, who was so tangled in the wreckage and knew he could not escape, that he kept passing the rope to other survivors so that they would have their chance to be rescued first. He made the ultimate sacrifice. To me, it is fitting that the 14th Street Bridge was re-named the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge years later.

For family members of people who died in automobiles on the bridge, and passengers and crew in the plane, my heart goes out to you. It was a tragedy that did not have to happen in my opinion but it did. I’m certain that the FAA learned something from the accident and has taken steps to prevent bad weather crashes from happening in the future.

Rebecca and I will see you on Wednesday. Until then, take care, have a great few days, love one another and happy reading.

What the heck haven’t we talked about?

Greetings, readers. As we approach our 800th blog entry, Rebecca and I are beginning to become stuck in the mud for new blog topics. This is sad to me. I hoped to go on forever. Am I telling you I am shutting down? Perish the thought. But I’m not going to bore you with construction updates, weather forecasts, my failing writing career, or daily trips to Panera. It will soon be time to go outside the box and push the envelope.

I promised myself that I would not blog about politics, but I might have to break that promise. Rebecca and I spent an hour today discussing how much we both dislike President Trump and the current partial government shutdown. Heaven forbid that it takes years to resolve. Rebecca keeps going on about the GOP in Congress needing to grow a spine and stand up to their leader. I agree. People are getting hurt by the shutdown, mostly federal workers who are not deemed necessary to pay. Some people even had to postpone giving their children Christmas gifts. With the change of power in the House of Representatives but not quite in the Senate, change will not be as quick as it could have been. A new bill will have to be written, passed in the House and Senate, more than likely vetoed by President Trump, and when the Congress overturns the veto, the government can open up again.

What really angered me the other day, is when I read on the Microsoft Edge start page that high-ranking government officials, “gladly accepted their $10,000 a year raise.” I just love it that they can take their money and run while some federal workers have to do without.

I know I have friends, family, and other readers on opposite sides of the political coin, and I do not wish to offend any of them. This may be a sticky wicket. But when I am talking about the government shutdown for an hour and then trying to come up with a blog topic that seems less offensive, none of the alternatives seem to be as pertinent.

Other topics we could discuss are all the senseless mass shootings, or careless folks starting wild fires. Children who play with matches or someone who tosses a cigarette out in the wilderness need to be set down and spoken to of the dangers of dry brush. Now I know things like lightning strikes can be causes so it is not always the human factor involved. After blog #800, I’ll see just how large I can grow my grapefruits and will begin to go outside my comfort zone and blog on other topics such as conspiracy theories, the government, alternative lifestyles, and other so-called taboo subjects. We’ll see how that goes. Lol.

I’m going to try to put a blog entry up this weekend. Rebecca caught a couple of editing blunders in the entry I did last Sunday, and we fixed them this morning. I promise I will try to be more thorough in my editing this time around. Until then, take care, be safe, spread love around if you can, and, as always, happy reading.

Getting used to my new thermal travel mug

Greetings, readers. My very good friend, Smith from down the hall, swears by her thermal travel mug. She said that she’s had it for years, and has never had a problem with it. I just happened to be doing a little grocery shopping at the corner market, and saw these travel mugs sitting on the shelf. Although Smith’s is still working perfectly, it was looking a bit worn. I said, “Merry Christmas to you and to me.” That’s right folks, I bought one, too.

I happen to be using mine as I’m dictating this blog entry. It is a Contigo™ brand, and when it claims that it keeps liquids hot for seven hours, it means it! I just got back from Panera not that long ago, popped the open and close tab to the open position, and almost burned my mouth. This coffee was poured about an hour ago; roughly 6:45 PM. Wowzers!

Smith was so happy that I got her a new one because this morning she realized that her old one was gone. After having it many years, it either fell out of her backpack on wheels, or she left it on the counter in a store. 😦 She told me that it was the perfect design, and that the newer ones weren’t as good. When I saw a few still of the old design at the corner market, I pounced. Now, after I gave Christmas presents to two others, three of my closest friends and I have new thermal travel mugs.

This is what it says on the sticker of the travel mug: It keeps liquids hot for seven hours, cold for 18 hours, and is leakproof… If you put the lid on correctly. If you don’t, it’s a human dribble cup. Since I’ve only had the mug since Christmas, I have not had adequate time to test if it really does keep things hot and cold as long as it is supposed to. If tonight is any indication, I would say I’ll have hot coffee as long as I want it. It’s a 20-ounce mug – that’s 591 mL for those of you in Europe, which is more than enough coffee for me. If I finish this whole mug, I probably won’t blink tonight, not to mention sleep at all.

I just took a look on the Contigo™ website, and found that there are many designs to choose from. I saw the one my friend wanted, and grabbed it. Isn’t it funny how ‘perfect’ designs always seem to get replaced by something ‘better’? It is in this bloggers experience that newest hardly ever means better.

If any of my readers own one of these thermal travel mugs, and would like to chime in on what they think of them, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Rebecca will be back with us on Wednesday, and we’ll have a brand-new entry ready for you. Until then, have a great Sunday evening, take care, prayers all around for those who need it and as always, happy reading.

My new year’s resolutions 2019

Greetings, readers. I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to change in my life in 2019. The first thing that came to mind was to better my diet. That will be a slow process, but one of the things I can easily do is drink a cup of green tea at Panera every time I go. I shall get the benefits of its antioxidants and, according to WebMD, the benefits from lowing cholesterol levels and improving blood flow.

Resolution number two. I’m going to try to be kinder to strangers. New Year’s Eve day I was at Panera having a cup of coffee, trying to collect my thoughts, when I spotted a mother and three little girls. The children were all so well-behaved, I thought wouldn’t it be nice if I bought them a cookie to share? Hoping I wouldn’t come across as the older creep, I cautiously approached the mother. After the mother gratefully accepted my offer, I went to purchase the large M&M candy cookie. When I presented it to them, the children were all smiles. It felt so good to give rather than to receive. I watched the kids occasionally as they ate their lunch and sure enough they finished every bite. Then they shared their cookie.

I’m going to try to be more positive this year. I tend to be a pessimist at times and lose my cool way too easily. I shall work on that every day with meditation and therapy for anger management. It is nice that I have a therapy session this afternoon and I can start this resolution right away. Therapy really is helping so much. I am sure my doctor can continue to help me with my negativity and occasional short fuse.

I’m going to try to repay kindness to people who have shown kindness to me. Again, giving is better than receiving. I understand that when you are a little child, you love to get presents. Try giving, young children, you’ll be amazed by how good you feel.

This year, I’m planning to write at least one to two pages a day on a work project so that this time next year I’ll have a book of between 365-730 pages. Yes it is going to go very slowly. If I really get on a roll, I might even type more than that per day. I need to get that great American novel out if I have it in me.

Now for my biggest resolution. Thanks to a point-out from Rebecca, I’m going to stop bad mouthing people. Sometimes when I talk about my friends, I tend to harp on their bad points and how they irritate me on a particular day, without saying anything about their good points. I’m going to learn how to be thankful for all my friends, knowing that no one is perfect, and I sure as hell am not. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if you were to ask any of my friends about my bad points, the list would be about two pages long. That is why I need to change things.

What are some of your new year’s resolutions? Leave them on my Facebook page or here on this page’s comments section.

Rebecca and I are down to working one day a week now. I’m going to try to dictate a blog entry on Saturday when the work crews are not working and it is quiet, then post it for you late Saturday or Sunday.

Until then, take care, have a great day, have a blessed 2019, and happy reading.