Category Archives: blog

Times are a changin’

Greetings, readers. The nine-year stint of Rebecca and I working together will be coming to a sad end at the end of this year. Many factors on both sides have made this the only logical choice. Fear not, blog readers. While I might not post new entries twice a week, I won’t be closing the blog down either. As well, Rebecca asked me if she could add an occasional From Rebecca from time to time in the next year. Obviously, I said yes.

I’ve been going through a rough patch recently. A very sweet young lady – a server at Bear Spring Camps for many years – was hit by a car in Florida and killed a few days ago. It made me wonder: A wonderful person with her whole life in front of her is called home and I, a gamer and absolute loafer, continues to walk the planet. Hmm. I don’t see the justice in that. Probably I’ll get to live to be 106, playing baseball video games right up to the end.

A high school classmate of mine is back in the hospital and not doing well. Pinky, you have to make it, Kid. I’m not ready to add your name to the curse of the class of ’83. I’m praying for you constantly.

It is a beautiful sunny day here in central Pennsylvania, yet cold. There is nary a cloud in the sky. The days of 60º F are gone until springtime, I’m afraid. I must say with climate change we were warmer here longer in the fall season than in years past. I will take it.

I cannot believe that we are getting to the home stretch of the Penn State football season, and just past the mid-point of the NFL season. It truly feels like the older I get, the faster time seems to go. That is probably because the majority of my years are behind me. I’m not that young kid anymore who could run around and play sports. Hell, with my knees I couldn’t even run to a bus.

Now, readers, as you know I am not one for conspiracy theories. The other day I was doing errands with a friends and I saw something weird in the sky. I can only describe them as chem trails, a term I learned from a former friend that meant she thought the government was spraying chemicals in the air. I hope never to see another cloud like that again. It was definitely not a vapor trail from a jet liner at 33,000 feet. I know the difference. This was low and perfectly curved, as though it would fit around a big pipe. As Arte Johnson on Laugh-In would say, “Verrry interesting.”

Lastly, I’m still getting used to my new smart phone … very slowly, and thanks to the winning costume at the Halloween party, I won a Kindle Fire. That’s right folks, I went from having a dumb phone to having two smart devices in a week. There will be a learning curve. I must say though, I am enjoying both gizmos.

 

Me at the 2019 Halloween Party as C3PO at Addison Court Apartments. I won the contest!
Me at the 2019 Halloween Party at Addison Court Apartment as C3PO. I won the contest!

 

That’s it for today. I can’t guarantee a blog entry for the weekend as you know, but I will try. We’ll be working together until the end of the year, so until next Wednesday, take care, have a great week, love one another, and as always, happy reading.

Sunday evening blog tentatively set to begin again October 6th

Greetings, readers. Yes, folks, it has been too long now not having two blog entries up per week. If the truth be told, I was going to wait until football season was over, but I think I shall try to sneak in an entry on late Sunday afternoons or evenings. My readers have come to expect two blog entries a week and as you know we aim to please.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you will know I am trying to shake a cold right now. I just got finished telling Rebecca that I feel perfectly fine but sound very stuffy. If I hadn’t felt terrible two days ago, I might have actually called this an allergy attack. Remember it is fall here in central Pennsylvania. Happy second day of fall!

It is a gorgeous day here, nary a cloud in the sky. The new building next door is being worked on in earnest. They have five stories complete on my end of the building and four stories on the end closer to Beaver Ave. Completion date is set for next August, so quite soon the plumbing, lights, and the electrics will have to be put in. That means that the outside of the building must be completed first. It seems like only yesterday they were using the jack hammers to excavate for the foundation.

I saw a marked improvement in the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend though they lost. Mason Rudolph was a wonderful young quarterback and I’m hoping he gets his first win this Monday night at home vs the Cincinnati Bengals. Other NFL surprises are the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins. The Bills are 3-0??? And the hapless Redskins are 0-3. I think Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden will be ousted if he loses to the New York Giants on Sunday.

In other sports news, the baseball playoffs are just around the corner. The Pittsburgh Pirates will not be in it, so I’ll take a quick glance to see if there are any other teams I am interested in rooting for before investing my time.

While watching NFL football, I have seen advertisements for new and returning TV series’. I’ve got to tell ya, I can’t say that I am truly dying to see any of them. If I really wish to see something there is always that beautiful invention called On Demand. With my new writing project now well under way (yay!) I think I shall watch TV catch-as-catch-can on Demand. I love Xfinity and its cable box.

Continued prayers go out to all who need it.

That’s all the news from here. Until next Wednesday, have a good week, take care, and happy reading.

We’re going on hiatus. This is not the end of the blog…, I promise. :-)

Greetings, readers. Fear not, for this is not the end of the blog. Rebecca and I are going to take a break for several weeks, so that I can get my new writing project off the ground before I leave for Maine. Have I run out of topics to blog about? Absolutely not. All schoolchildren or college students look forward to a summer vacation, free of the daily grind of classes and homework. That is what’s happening here.

After today’s blog entry is posted, the next new one will appear on August 21st. I have several writing project ideas in my mind, and one in particular which is bubbling up to the surface. I’m going to keep it a complete surprise until the project is well underway. That’s always been one of my downfalls; letting people know what my project is about, and then have folks tell me that idea has already been done before. ☹

Rebecca has told me many times that even if an idea has been done, to go ahead and write my story and put my twist on it. That is sound advice. We had a conversation the other day about how many versions of a Christmas Carol have been produced. In the current TV market where old series’ reboots are commonplace, I am going to strive to write a story dealing with the topic I know very well, and put my own slant on it. It’s going to be loads of fun. 😉

before closing, I hope everyone in the United States had a wonderful Fourth of July, that you stayed safe if shooting off fireworks, and had safe travels home. Please have a wonderful rest of your summer, give someone you love a hug every day, give peace a chance, not war, and until next time…, happy reading.

 

64 views at 10:25 AM! Wowzers

Greetings, readers. No, it is not my highest number in the blog statistics ever, but just say I am happily perplexed. 63 of the 64 recent blog views are for the blog entry Top ten list of modern conveniences. I think Rebecca put her finger on it, this has got to be a class doing research for an assignment. We checked which country these views came from and 63 were from the United States. Taiwan chimed in with one.

I’m often amused when the modern conveniences entry comes up as often as it does, but to have 63 views of it before 10:30 in the morning is incredible. My first thought was it was bots, but Rebecca pointed out that we could see a few of the search terms used and they seemed real. If they are real and there is a big class push to do a project, imagine what the numbers might be by the end of the day. It is going to take a lot to top our number one day ever, at 444 views for R.I.P. to my good friend Terry.

I know sometimes I get preoccupied with blog numbers. Most people just write their blog to get whatever they’re thinking off their chest. My brain doesn’t work that way. If I don’t feel I’m being read, my feeling get hurt … just kidding.

In the many years that we’ve done the blog, I’ve hashed and rehashed many topics, from sports to video game reviews, and a whole slew of weather reports. Some folks might find that boring, but I write what I know about. For instance, I’m not going to pretend to know every policy that President Trump has, so I won’t bad mouth his handling of Mexico or North Korea. When I do choose to write a controversal political piece, or something of the like, trust me I will do lots of research first. It helps to know what you are talking about.

As I sit here dictating this entry my mind wanders back to all those views relating to modern conveniences. This trend has been going on for many years. You would think everyone in the world would have done his or her research on modern conveniences. But no, numbers seem to be spiking. Never in my wildest dreams when I wrote that entry in 2013 did I think that would be one of the most read blog entries; it averages four views a day. One can never tell.

On to a different topic, for those of you who found my entry this past Sunday a bit dry, I was unusually distracted by visitors and phone calls, and it was only the second half of the entry when I was able to switch to my speech recognition program. I wonder how many of you can tell just when I started dictating. According to Rebecca, the ones with the speech recognition have a different flow to them. Hopefully that is a good thing. So if any of you were disappointed in Sunday’s entry, that was what the issue was. I might try dictating Sunday’s entry on Saturday evening when it is quiet. I can get it all ready to go, complete with a spell check, tags, and a category, and make it live right there and then. That is not a promise, that is just a goal. Usually I dictate better when I am alone and it is quiet. Let me know how you think this weekend’s is.

For all the people in the world who need prayers, continued prayers and support go out. To all the people using guns inappropriately and those setting arson fires, I implore you to please stop and think about if one of your loved ones was shot or was in a burning building. Just don’t do it.

Until this weekend, I bid you a great few days, love one another, take care and happy reading.

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! 🙂

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.

The numbers game

Greetings, readers. This morning Rebecca and I were going over the blog numbers for the last week. They were quite good, so we dug a little deeper, by going to search engines and typing in certain search terms. My entry on modern conveniences published in 2013 is sixth from the top on a search for modern conveniences on Bing, and the blog entry Remembering my father Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans, was number 1 on the Yahoo! search engine when I put in his name. Yoozers. I’ve never been number 1 on anything before. 😉

Entries that come up almost every day are Top ten list of Air Crash Investigations stories parts 1 and 2, a few of the technology grrrs, and the aforementioned ones about my father and modern conveniences. Rebecca believes, and I agree, that the blog entry about modern conveniences might be used in classes to teach computer skills or in poorer countries that are learning about modern technology.

As I’ve said before when I started this blog in 2011, I figured I’d go a few months, get bored, and be done with it. But I’ve kept going and it is amazing how many topics I’ve come up with to talk about. I have really learned how to express myself in writing. I can dictate to Rebecca about almost anything … just not politics.

What I’m worried about when looking at the numbers every day is how many, if any, bots we have, which would inflate our numbers. If I have 30 total reads, but 16 of them are bots, oops – that’s not good. I want mostly readers. I wish there was a way to figure out which are readers and which are not. It would be nice to have a feature here on WordPress to see who was reading my blog, unless they are in privacy mode. I know I am read all over the world; it would be kind of cool to see if Cousin Wino [pronounced wee-no] read my blog that day in the Netherlands.

Finally, this morning I took a brisk walk at 6:30. It was still dark, and was cold and breezy. When I got back to the apartment I actually felt energized. I’m going to start walking more in an attempt to keep my upper legs and hips from stiffening up. I don’t know if arthritis is setting in or what is going on. In any event, a little exercise never hurt anybody. And for those of you who know I hate winter, no I will not be taking said walk in the ice and snow. Yay exercise! 🙂

There is today’s blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with a brand new one, so until then, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

Blog entry #700 – A heartfelt thank you to everyone

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe we’ve arrived at entry #700. I’ve blogged about many topics over the years, as has Rebecca, and I always think that I’m going to run out of topics to blog about. Then a new one presents itself, like today’s topic of losing local businesses due to on-line shopping.

This blog averages about 20 reads a day, which is not as many as a big writer like John Scalzi will get on his blog, but I am certainly happy with it. Rebecca and I are read all over the world and very proud to be. I noticed just last week we had a read from India. As I like to say on my YouTube videos, “Wowzers.”

Again, thank you so much for hanging with us these last six plus years with no end in sight. I appreciate all of you. I like sharing my thoughts and experiences with others, and having such great feedback from you.

On to the other topic, one of State College’s long-time stores, the Bon Ton, is getting ready to close. The clothing store has been around since the mid-80s. With our mall, the Nittany Mall, losing several stores recently, it has made me think just how destructive on-line buying truly is. Sure it is convenient, you whip out your credit card, find what you want, add it to the cart, pay for it, and within a few days it is at your doorstep. What could be easier? Just so you don’t call me a hypocrite, I’ll confess that I am just as guilty as you are. I’ve purchased on-line many times. What a lot of folks fail to realize is, in my opinion, that over the long run, if you shop from a store’s website, say Sears or J.C. Penney’s, and don’t give your local dollars to your local store, eventually that store will go out of business, as ours have. I see stories on Google weekly about how numerous companies are closing a number of stores nationwide. As a child, I never thought that Sears would be this close to extinction. Are there issues other than on-line buying? I’m quite certain; bad management for one. But there is no doubt that the convenience of on-line purchasing is destroying local businesses. I made a New Year’s resolution to spend my money at local stores more often, and buy less on-line. I urge everyone to do so. Then if your favorite hardware store goes out of business, you can say, “I shopped there, I did my part.”

I’m sorry if that sounded like I was ranting and raving, but just the other day I overheard two college girls talking about the Bon Ton closing and the one girl said to her friend, “But yeah, you like shop on-line all the time.” They were the like twins, every third word was like. But that pet peeve is for another blog entry.

Finally, Central PA is enjoying a three-day heat wave with temperatures in the low 60s F. I will take it. I don’t know what that corresponds to in Celsius, but I do know that you flip 61 F you get 16 C. The next several days will be in the 40s with rain … every day. Get out the boots and the rain coat. No frigid temperatures are expected however, so the down coat might be able to stay on the coat tree hook. 🙂

Well there it is, #700. Thanks to everyone for reading the blog this long. We will have another blog entry for you tomorrow.

Take care, have a great day, and for the 700th time, happy reading.

A new look for the new year

Greetings, readers. As you can see, I’ve changed the look of the blog. I’ve decided to keep this look for at least three or four months. During this time, I’ll see if it is functional, easy to use and rather or not we like it. I won’t make any rash decisions, but if after that time Rebecca and I don’t think it’s what we want, we’ll go back to the look we had before, which was called Chateau. I do happen to like that one very much. This theme is called Twenty Thirteen.

Guess how much Christmas decorating I did yesterday. Not a gosh darn thing. The news I found out yesterday dealing with my workplace threw me for a loop. I’m not going to go into specifics here, suffice it to say it was not pleasing to me. I might ask for a leave of absence to heal my legs and feet and to concentrate on my writing. If I cannot be accommodated, well I tried. I don’t want to admit that Mom was right, but she might have been correct that this type of job is too much for me.

I have two ideas for a writing project in my mind. And even though I would miss the income from not working at my restaurant job, I feel the need to be creative. I think that is what the Lord put me on this planet to do and I must pursue it. Hopefully my manager will understand. I purchased voice recognition software that will hopefully let me dictate easily the dialog and prose I have in my head into a word document. As I’ve mentioned before, when I try to type things, my favorite buddy is the back space key. That is just too frustrating and slow.

I have one minor appointment this afternoon, and after that some decorations are going to be put up in this place. If I don’t do it soon, I might as well not do it at all. Bah humbug. To be honest, as I might have mentioned before, I don’t know why I’m not in the Christmas mood this year. The days seem to come and go and before I know it, it is bedtime again. I think to myself, sometimes out loud, well that is another day I didn’t get done what I wanted to do.

I wish to give Christmas and holiday greetings to all my blog readers around the world, with good wishes for a prosperous and happy 2018. There are many things that I am going to do this coming year. I’m going to put together a second blog book and get it out. I am going to begin to eat better, and one way I will do that is during the next Lent. Yes readers, I am making it public, I am giving up ice cream for Lent. I’m sure I can do it if I put my mind to it. Now watch, I’ll just substitute Doritos. Lol.

Please leave a comment in the comment area and let us know how you like the new look of the blog. So far, I like it a lot.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful holiday weekend and we will see you then, perhaps with a top ten list. 🙂 Enjoy, stay warm, and happy reading.v

From Rebecca: Yes, another one from me

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has a follow-up doctor’s appointment for the foot he hurt in a fall last week, so I am bringing you today’s blog post. It seems like I have been doing this a lot in the last couple of months, for one reason or another, starting with Joe’s annual trip to Bear Spring Camps in Maine and then both of us have had some personal appointments on Thursdays. I like writing here, but I am aware that regular readers probably come for Joe’s unique voice and what he shares on this blog page.

Those of you who are long-time readers know that this is not our normal pattern, we usually go a month or so between From Rebecca posts, and Joe does both the entries each week. Life is hectic for us right now, and Joe’s job at a fast food restaurant has pulled a lot of his energy and time, but I do expect us to go back to the normal writing schedule soon.

I first met Joe in high school and we remained friends since then. I became his writing assistant in 2010, mainly to type for him as his cerebral palsy makes it slow and difficult for him to do that task for his writing work. He started this blog in December of 2011, with him dictating, me typing, and both of us editing. We have a good system down that we have used to put at least one new blog entry on this site every week for almost six years. I am very proud of that, and I know that Joe is too. When I post this entry, if will be the 654th one on this blog site.

We see from this site’s statistics that daily views are steadily getting higher. Joe has big spikes in views once in a while, usually when he writes something about Bear Spring Camps and links it to their Facebook page, but it looks like some people are staying around after the surges. To all of you who are long-term readers, thank you so much, we really appreciate you coming here so long. To all of you who are newer readers, welcome, and we hope you enjoy the voice and topics so much that you stick around.

Joe will be back next week, and as far as we know now, he will do the blog entry for both Wednesday and Thursday. As he would say, until then, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.