Category Archives: top ten lists

Top ten list of blessings in my life

Greetings, readers. Today I thought I would go upbeat with the blog entry. Recently I’ve been telling you about all the things that have been bothering me in my life, and today I thought I would go cheery. I am grateful for many, many things, even though sometimes I don’t always show it. So here is my top ten list of things for which I am grateful.

#10. My late kitty cat Keekee. [Not too long after I moved into Addison Court, I’d say less than a year, a friend of mine was moving out. She could not take the two cats she had with her and asked me if I wanted one for free. I’m glad I decided to try it, allergies notwithstanding. She was my buddy for one week short of 12 years.]

#9. Princess Josie. [This cat is completely different in demeanor than Keekee. I love her to pieces, but she is a little more rambunctious than my former furry feline.]

#8. Meals on Wheels. [Although they are not always dishes which I would consider my favorites, I do eat most of them and feel blessed to have them at such an economical price.]

#7. A place over my head. [No, it’s not the family house that we used to own, but it is two nice-sized rooms with fully functional kitchen and I enjoyed the great view from the top floor for 13 years. With the new building going up next door though, I’m going to lose most of that view.]

#6. Sentimental items from my parent’s home. [When I moved to this apartment 13 years ago or so, I vowed to take as many paintings as I could get. It gives the apartment a hint of my former home. For that I am extremely grateful. I also have my mom’s desk and a bookcase of which we make good use.]

#5. Good neighbors and friends in the building. [As in any community, there are good neighbors and neighbors you’d like to run over with your car. I’m very happy to say that I have most pleasant neighbors, with only a few exceptions. I’m a very easygoing man and can usually work around any people who cause conflict. I’m glad that so many of my neighbors are folks I am happy to call friends.]

#4. Rebecca. [Every book I’ve ever done would not be published without Rebecca. Not only is she a good friend, she is a fantastic typist and an awesome editor. In her role as personal assistant, she has kept me from missing numerous appointment. Kudos to Rebecca.]

#3. Working technology. [Yes, I do like my Steam games, and to watch movies on Netflix. Sometimes I lose myself in a fantasy world of baseball, or I’ll spend and entire evening watching James Bond pictures. I’m happy for the technology to do so, i.e. my computer and gaming system to watch Netflix and YouTube on my TV.]

#2. A great bus system. [As chance would have it, my apartment is steps away from a bus stop, where many of the buses I take stop at. Though, during the summer time, when the buses run on reduced service, I find myself having to walk downtown a few blocks to catch buses at the main stop, called the College Ave, and Allen St stop. Sure, I’d love to have my own vehicle, but this is the next best thing.]

#1. And yes, it is in order, is that at least for now, I can still go to Bear Spring Camps. [I might have to stop after this year or perhaps after next, but I am going to milk it for all it is worth. Bear Spring Camps, and those people I have known all my life, are my truest blessings.]

There is today’s top ten list, on this cheery topic. I hope everyone enjoys it. Please pray for everyone who needs it, and if you are inclined to and can, please consider donating to a fund to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Such a tragic loss. I plan to donate some money myself.

Until this weekend, have a fantastic few days, take care of your family, enjoy good weather if you have it, and as always, happy reading.

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Top ten list of things I loath about construction sites

Greetings, readers. Yesterday when I came up with this title, I must admit I was quite upset. Perhaps loath is a bit strong. Let’s go with perturbed; I think Rebecca agrees with me on the terminology. The construction, which really got started a few months ago, does irk me. So here comes my list of the top ten things that perturb me about the next door construction site, in no proper order except number two and one.

#10. The constant rumbling noises from 7:00am until 5:00pm. [Usually these construction sites are elsewhere and I’m in a car or on a bus when I go by them. I rarely hear them. Being right next to an active construction site is much different.]

#9. The on and off beeping of the Caterpillar machinery of various types moving forwards and backwards. [Yes, dear readers, these beep when they move forward as well.]

#8. The loading of the dump trucks. [When they drop heavy boulders in an empty dump truck, the noise could rattle Pittsburgh. Yesterday I jumped out of my chair to make sure nothing had tipped over. I do know, however, the area must be cleared and the debris taken away.]

#7. A large looming crane, that I estimate is 10 stories high. [I don’t know why I have an irrational fear of that thing, it seems to be sturdily mounted into the ground, but it is about 50 to 60 yards away from my window. If anything should ever goes wrong and it falls this way, I’m on the top floor. I will be directly in its path. Not good.]

#6. When sitting by the window, if I turn to the left, I may accidentally look at welding in progress. [I probably am far enough away that it will not hurt my eyes, but as some wise person once said, you never know. So I try not to look. Believe me, once they start putting the building up, they will be wielding all day long.]

#5. Multiple machines, such as the backhoes that pick up rocks, the Caterpillar with the jack hammer attachment, and a smaller four-wheel machine to move lighter items into place, all running at the same time in a small space. [Yes, each one is incredibly important for getting this building up in two years, but when you have four of them running at one time it gets a bit much. And let us not forget, when the dump trucks and concrete trucks pull in and do their thing it adds to the chaos and annoyance.]

#4. Dust on parked cars. [I currently don’t own my vehicle, but I’m sure that the folks that park downstairs got lots of dust in the late summer months when the bulldozer was destroying the old brick building that stood in the lot for many decades.]

#3. Mud, gunk, and snow. [So far I have seen multiple construction workers walking in pure mud, sifting through wet rocks with God knows what on them, and yes, they have already had to take a snow day the day central Pennsylvania got almost a foot of snow. They are certainly going to have fun when Mother Nature decides not to cooperate.]

#2. The lack of my beloved store that used to be next door. [Since I moved into Addison Court apartments, until the beginning of this year, we had a beautiful CVS store, one without a pharmacy in it, in the brick building next door. Two floors of apartments were on top of that. Those poor kids had to be either paid to move elsewhere or their leases were simply not renewed; probably the latter. Now I have to walk farther to a small Target store, or hop a bus and go to the Wal-Mart. It’s definitely not as convenient as having something next door. Now for the good news. When the building is completed, supposedly we will have two floors of stores and five floors of apartments for students and “young executives.” I hope to possibly be able to take advantage of one of these stores.]

#1. The all-day-long jack hammer. [For the last two days, the jack hammer began at 7:00am and did not stop until quitting time. I had to play loud music or have some other kind of white noise as background because the noise of the jack hammer was beginning to make my brain go wonky. They have been using the jack hammer for a few weeks, but only recently has it bothered me this much. Our office manager has heard that the jack hammer part of the construction may be over soon. Yay! We’ll see.]

Well, there is my list. If you wish, please drop me a Facebook note or write in the comment section things you hate about construction. Rebecca and I will be back next Wednesday; wouldn’t you know it will already be December. We’ll have another exciting blog entry for you to enjoy then. I have a couple of ideas in mind, however if major world news is in the forefront, that might take precedence. Have a great weekend, give your family a hug, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of TV shows I’m watching this season

Greetings, readers. We haven’t done a top ten list in a few weeks, so Rebecca and I put our heads together and came up with this idea. Here is the top ten list of shows I am watching this season either as it is broadcast or On Demand. Enjoy!

#10. The Orville. Fox network. [This Star Trek-ish TV series starring Seth MacFarlane barely made my list because it almost got cancelled. Fox is planning to bring it back for a second half season around the new year. The Orville is much better than I expected it to be, even though it has its comedic moments. I give this show a B+.]

#9 NCIS: New Orleans. CBS. [I know Scott Bakula, the head of this NCIS team, as the former captain of the Enterprise and as Dr. Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap. His work is always top-notch no matter which show he is in. This show is number nine on the list only because I’ve watched just two episodes. I’m still learning the characters but so far I am really enjoying it. From what little I’ve seen, I’m giving this show an A-. To be on the air this long it must be good.]

#8. FBI. CBS. [I’ve watched this series from the beginning and I like almost anything from executive producer Dick Wolf. This series is a combination of cop show with SWAT task force included. When they go in for the arrest they are usually dressed in bullet proof vests and one of them is wielding the battering ram to crash the door in. There really is not a dull moment in this series. So far, I am giving this series a B+. It has potential to be an A.]

#7. Manifest. NBC. [This is the series I was really worried about. The promo commercials looked awesome, but the series itself could turn out to be awful. Three episodes in, it is holding its own with me, though there are aspects of it I do not like at all, i.e. the whole government conspiracy crap. Both Rebecca and I wish it would have gone a slightly different way, with more emphasis on character development, and less on a conspiracy theory. I’m giving it a C+ … a solid passing grade.]

#6. S.W.A.T. CBS. [Even though I could not tell you any of the names of any of the characters except Hondo, I tune in every Thursday night. This show has me hooked. It made it to its second season, which is good and I wish On Demand would have kept the first season on to watch. No such luck. I am also very partial to the retro-fitted theme song. My grade is a solid A.]

#5. Hawaii Five-O. CBS.[This is the show that I’ve watched the most episodes of. It is in its ninth season and I’ve really enjoyed it. The classic Hawaii Five-O will always be better to me, for it seemed more professional. The constant bickering and comedy between McGarrett and Danno sometimes drives me up the wall. I’m also not pleased that the series failed to pay two Asian actors who played major characters what they were worth. Hence, they both walked off the series. Their replacement characters are not bad, but it is just not the same. I give this series a B+.]

#4. 9-1-1. Fox. [This emergency rescue series, starring Angela Bassett and Jennifer Love Hewitt, among others, is in its second season. I got hooked on it in the off-season watching episodes On Demand. This year I am not watching Monday Night Football, I am watching 9-1-1 followed by Manifest. I give this show an A+. It is an awesome show.]

#3. Chicago P.D. NBC. [The gritty sergeant played by Jason Beghe is my favorite character. He has a raspy voice, he takes his job very seriously with a no-nonsense attitude, but he treats every one of his detectives like family. This was evident when one of his detectives was killed and he took it so hard that he broke down in private and cried for his fallen friend. My grade for this series is a solid A.]

#2. Chicago Med. NBC. [Oliver Platt and crew work at Chicago’s hospital, Chicago Med. The thing that impresses me most about this series is how believable the characters are, especially Dr. Charles, played by Platt. You can just see him helping you with a problem you have. But don’t mess up or he will put you in line. Also, this series does not pull punches with the plethora of patients treated. For instance, ethical issues of a patient refusing an operation because she didn’t want to lose her baby. All of these Chicago series seem so real to me. Very well done. Chicago Med gets an A+.]

#1. Chicago Fire. NBC. [I would have to say that this is my favorite series of the season so far. There is not one bad character in the lot, the whole acting ensemble puts everything they have into making their characters believable, and you feel their pain as they go through their hardships. My grade for this series is A+. Great job, Chief Boden and company.]

Well, there you have it, for once in order. Hope you enjoy the read. Next week we will be back with you on Wednesday for another interesting entry. Until then, please stay safe if you are in the path of Hurricane Michael, my prayers to you, and until next week, happy reading.

Top ten list of things I hope to accomplish this autumn

Greetings, readers. I asked Rebecca to check when the last top ten list was and on what topic, it was back in April with a list of things I wanted to do this summer. Eight out of ten isn’t bad folks. So here is a list of things I want to do or continue doing in the autumn of 2018.

#10. To get it out of the way, To continue selling copies of Four’s a Crowd. [I sold seven out of eight copies while up in Maine, which was wonderful, but sales on Amazon are as of yet sporadic at best. If you purchase my book, tyvm. If you like it, pass the word on to your friends.]

#9. Find a place for everything and put everything in its place. [In an apartment slightly bigger than ten shoeboxes, to do that is difficult. But I am proud that I am trying  and that I am making progress.]

#8. Find gainful employment somewhere here downtown. [Unfortunately, I burned all my bridges at my former fast food job and I do not think they would take me back.]

#7. Continue working on a TV series pilot script. [I have two ideas in mind, both of which have hit early road blocks, but it is nothing I cannot overcome.]

#6. Find a new way to take care of my nails. [The salon I used to go to across the street is closed, and between the cost of the service and the added price of a Zipcar, the road trip to the other location in East Freedom, Pennsylvania is an unfortunate impossibility.]

#5. Try my hand at either Match.com or eHarmony.com. [I think it is time I try my hand at a relationship one last time. I’m 0-8 but I feel it’s time to give love one last shot. You never know.]

#4. Either get back to my religion, Roman Catholicism, or join another church closer to my apartment. [Long story short folks, I need more religion in my life. I am searching for some big mid-life crisis answers right now.]

#3. Continue working with my cat, Princess Josie. [I am making progress at teaching her certain things, but she still does things I don’t want her to do, like nipping. She is so different from Keekee, and I am still adjusting to the changes. I need to get some things she needs, like chew toys, while still training her away from bad behavior. I love her so much, and it is a completely blessing to have her here at home.]

#2. With the help of my therapist, learn to become stronger at setting personal boundaries. [I’ve always had a problem saying no to people, and it has bitten me more than once. I must learn to say no, and no means no.]

#1. Upgrade to a refurbished PS4 so I can get back to watching my Netflix and YouTube on my big screen TV. [Again, this will take money and money is tight right now. I might put this on my Christmas list as a gift to myself.]

There you have the list, in no particular order. Tomorrow we’ll be back with another stimulating blog entry. So take care, stay cool, thank God this heat wave is almost over, and as always, happy reading.

A small apology and top ten list of my summer plans

Greetings, readers. Before we begin the top ten list for today, I must apologize for not having the short story ready that I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I wanted to use my voice recognition program while I sat at the computer with my coffee and breakfast. Wouldn’t you know, my back decided to choose this morning to go out. Back to bed I had to go with all lights off. What a pain in the grass. I’ll definitely try to post the short story either over the weekend or next Wednesday.

Now for the top ten list of things I’m going to do this summer. As I mentioned before, I have been granted the three months off from my fast food job beginning right after the Penn State graduation weekend. These are the things I am going to try very hard to accomplish before the end of August. Here we go.

#10. Take walks and get in better shape. [Even though I am not overweight, I have been having heart problems, and more exercise in the fresh air is always good for everybody. I think I can handle two loops around the block.]

#9. Not watch as much TV or YouTube videos. [When I’m in Maine, I do not have a TV. I’m very limited to my entertainment and I actually like it that way. I think for the summer, I’m going to imagine that I am in a woodland cabin by the lake. I think that will reduce stress and allow me to do a lot of writing.]

#8. Clean out my walk-in hall closet. [I’m going to need some help for this one, but I know where I can get it. This poor walk-in closet is my third, fourth, and fifth room. I’ll leave how much stuff is in it to your imagination. Lots of stuff I have in there I wish to keep, unfortunately not all of it is going to make the cut. I must trim it down by half.]

#7. Take back my bedroom. [Oh, dear readers, I’ve been trying to do this one for years. I take three steps forward, and slide five steps back. Keeping it nice is a never-ending process. With time off from my fast food job though, and with family coming in June, I should have plenty of time and motivation to get it at least company acceptable.]

#6. Eat better. [I found a couple of places within walking distance that serves healthy food. There is a Chinese restaurant close to where I live, and I think that all those vegetables can give me all the vitamins and minerals I am lacking. Also, The Corner Room at the bottom of the hill serves complete dinners. Man cannot live by ice cream and blueberry muffins alone. Lol.]

#5. Write short stories. [As mentioned yesterday, I have several story ideas on all four burners. I just need to turn up the heat and get them cooking. Again, the proper amount of uninterrupted time and relaxed atmosphere should do the trick in providing a writing frame of mind. The voice recognition program will help a lot too.]

#4. Train the new kitty. [This one goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as kitty cat Princess Josie comes home. Of course KeeKee will always be remembered and loved, but I need a new support animal, and I think P.J. will fit the bill just fine. Of course, I’ll have to show her where the litter box is and teach her what she can and cannot scratch. Everything I don’t want chewed my first day out of the apartment will have to be put in the bedroom with the door closed.]

#3. Rest my feet and knees. [As I’ve told my co-workers, I’m not trying to be a wimp here, but I think these three months off will do wonders for my feet and knees. I’ll gladly trade-off a sore behind if it means plenty of pages written.]

#2. Get Four’s a Crowd published and selling. [This is a project that has been going on for several years and we are one proof away, I think, from having it ready to click for sale on CreateSpace.com. We have to find a way to publicize it though, I don’t want this new book to falter and drown like my books have.]

#1. Go to Maine. [I am reserved my cabin and am obviously planning to go to Bear Spring Camps again this summer. My week away from central Pennsylvania will recharge my batteries and get me ready for another year. It always seems to do that.]

Well there you have it, the top ten list of things I will do this summer. I’d like to thank everybody for the 21 views of yesterday’s post. Very encouraging. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

UPDATE: September 5, 2018: To my surprise I actually accomplished eight out of ten. That is a happy surprise to me. It also gives an idea for a blog entry for today. 🙂

Top ten list of things I have difficulty or am unable to do because of seizures and my cerebral palsy

Greetings, readers. Today, we are going to have a top ten list, a long overdue top ten list, and I think I’ve found an interesting topic. It is jobs and hobbies that I have difficulty doing or am not allowed to do by law because of my health issues and medication. As almost all of you know, I have cerebral palsy, and every great once in a while one of the side effects of it is a petit mal seizure. There are many professions I dreamt of doing and would have loved to do but at age 16, when the first seizure hit, those doors were slammed shut. Those professions will be featured in choices two and one. Okay, so here we go, let’s start it off.

#10. Circus performer. [Now, I know some of you are thinking, why did this even make the list. I’ve never dreamt of being a circus performer; however, with my bad balance due to my CP and that minute risk of a seizure, anything like a trapeze artist or a high wire act is absolutely out of the question. I could be a clown or some other act on the ground, but really the whole circus thing really wouldn’t appeal to me.]

#9. Mountain climber. [Again, I have absolutely no desire to go climb a mountain, but if I did, it would be one of the most unsafe hobbies I could try. You need two strong hands to grab on to the rocks; I only have one strong hand.]

#8. City high-rise window washer. [If I lived in New York City or Los Angeles, that could be a job that I could try, but I think my bad balance and fear of heights would petrify me so much that I would freeze in one spot and not be able to move. Now I know there is harness equipment to keep you from falling to the ground, but I don’t think that would be enough to overcome the blind panic.]

#7. Police officer. [A police officer has to be strong, well-coordinated, and able to run fast. I am none of those things. Oh, I could drive the police car, no problem, but if we were chasing someone in a car at 80 miles an hour, my bad coordination would come in to play and I would most likely wrap the squad car around a light pole. It would be a fun job, but … no, not for me.]

#6. Firefighter. [As a child I loved the show Emergency!, and later the short-lived series Code Red wasn’t bad either. It made me dream of wanting to be a firefighter. I’m sure I could hold the hose on the first floor, but carrying heavy things just isn’t going to happen. I would tip over and fall, or drop the heavy piece of equipment or person. Not good.]

#5. Drive a train. [I love my train simulator game, and I wonder what it would have been like to drive one in real life. My daily medication regiment makes that dream impossible. ]

#4. Play professional sports. [When I was a child, most boys, myself included, dreamt of playing sports. Ah, the dream of scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, or the game winning hit in game seven of the World Series. Now, I don’t mind telling you, I was a pretty fair Nerf football quarterback, but as far as going out for the high school team, forget about it. I was not strong enough, big enough, or coordinated enough.]

#3. Do all tasks of my job and do them fast. [At my fast food job, there are a few jobs I can’t do, like the take out window, because the drink lids are different from the coffee lids, and I will tend to spill the drinks when my shaking left hand gets in the way of my firm right hand. That tends to make my manager an unhappy camper if I goof up and spill a drink. I take pride in getting thinks correct. That means at the register I will take a couple of extra seconds with each customer. People have rewarded me through good reviews for my extra effort. If you want speed and accuracy, well I can’t count change as fast as anyone else. I might be one of their friendliest cashiers, but I am in no way the quickest. Every day I do get a little bit better, but with these fingers, I’ll only be able to get just so fast. I have to remember to stay within myself, and be the best me that I can be. What else can anybody ask of me.]

#2. Truck driver. [The thought of driving down the interstate in a big-rig filled my dreams many times, especially after watching Smokey and the Bandit thirteen consecutive Friday evenings at the movie theater. Yes, the movies were only $2 back then. When my seizures began, again there went that employment opportunity. I doubt highly that any trucking company would hire anyone with seizures and who is medicated to the point where at the end of the day his favorite word is nap. I guess I’ll just have to stick to playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 for my gaming channel.]

#1. Commercial airline pilot. [This was my big dream as a child. I loved airplanes and still do. I was in awe in big airports. Everything jumbo jet fascinated me. I wanted to fly for TWA or Pan Am. And again, then the seizures hit. Not to be too redundant, but no airline in their right mind would hire someone on four different types of seizure medications. Plus, with my weakness in my left side, yes I could lift the yoke up and get the plane to fly, however, if the hydraulics failed, I know right now I would not have the strength in the arms to keep that aluminum bird flying straight and level.]

Well, there you have it, the long overdue top ten list for today. I’m planning on taking a personal day tomorrow, so Rebecca will do the entry for Thursday. Until next time, have a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of things I would have liked to do in life

Greetings, readers. This is not a list to bash my self-esteem, but it might just serve to open my eyes and let me see some of the jobs or occupations I dreamed about having when I was younger. So here we go, and as always this is not in any particular order, except for #1.

#10. Be a writer with a lot of books and screenplays under my belt. [Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve had many good starts on writing projects but they all seem to fizzle out quickly. Sometimes it is a problem with the story line, other times people beat me to the good idea, and a lot of times it is my body not cooperating.]

#9. Own my own vehicle again. [After my 2008 crash and other issues I won’t get into, my monetary situation is such that owning a vehicle is impossible. It’s too much money for maintenance, repairs, gas, parking, etc.]

#8. Play sports. [At age 52 and a half, my days of playing a pick-up game of football or softball are long behind me. My legs and knees are stiff and sometimes it is a chore just to jog across the street.]

#7. Have a son to carry on my name. [My plan to have a family young, in my 20s or 30s. is long gone. For me to be a father, I would either have to adopt a child or marry someone young enough to have a child. Most women in the age bracket of 20s or 30s would find it creepy to marry someone in their 50s.]

#6. Be a professional entertainer. [For years I was so shy, I lip-synced in all my musical performances that I did for family, friends, and, later, for my pals in my apartment building. Now that I’ve learned to drop my shields and actually sing, I’ve found out that I am not all that bad. Another chance wasted. I could have been the next member of KISS. Lol.]

#5. Own a house. [Yes, good old pride of ownership. I know it comes with its costs. I’d have to pay property taxes, mow the lawn, and fix the pipes. But I would have loved every minute of it. When I go to visit Dave and family in their house, I feel like I’m home. Here, it just feels like I’m in my apartment.]

#4. Be a TV sports broadcaster. [When I was a child, I loved watching Curt Gowdy call NFL football games. He had a style all his own. Later, there were the teams of Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy, and of course, Dick Enburg and Merlin Olsen. My favorite sportscaster though was the incomparable Howard Cosell. He knew his job inside and out, was incredibly intelligent, and covered every event from football to boxing with style and dignity.]

#3. Be a truck driver. [For a while when I was younger I had the notion of being a truck driver. I would have been able to see the country and do something I love to do; drive. Health reasons killed that idea.]

#2. Be a talk show host or D.J. [When I was a little boy, I had an old-fashioned tape recorder and I would pretend I was a D.J. I would announce the songs and then play them on my record player. It was so much fun. I also loved Johnny Carson of the Tonight Show. I had a fantasy that one day maybe I would have my own talk show or take over for him when he retired.]

#1. Be a pilot [I’ve always been fascinated by aircraft and my dream as an early teen was to be a commercial airline pilot. My health issues at age 16 ended that dream promptly.]

Well, there it is. Again, I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party. I’m just showing you, my readers, and me, my missed opportunities. I’m starting to find my niche in life and it could very well be that I write plays and either adapt them to a novel or give it to someone else to do it. Dialog just seems to be my thing.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things gone by the wayside part 2

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list is a continuation of a previous entry of things gone by the wayside. It has been quite a while since the first part came out on February 1, 2013 and Rebecca and I have managed to come up with ten more. So here they are in no particular order.

10. Older aircraft. [Oh, the days of the DC3s, the Boeing 727s, and the DC10s. As most of you know, I am a flight sim buff and I’ve always enjoyed the older aircraft for their nostalgia. If I had a bucket list, one of the things I would do would be to fly on a DC3. They were manufactured in the 1940s, and according to the internet, there still are a handful of them still in service.]

9. Wholesome television shows. [When I was little, The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie were two huge hits for CBS and NBC. I always loved watching the Walton and Ingalls families go through their daily lives, whether it would be fun times or hardships. There was never really any violence in those shows and even if something bad happened, the goodness of the people in the community came to the aid of the people in need.]

8. Children’s lemonade stands. [These might not be 100% gone, but I’ve heard that in some states parents actually need to get a permit, and one poor child’s lemonade stand was shut down by the police for lack of said permit. I remember having a lemonade stand when I was 9 or 10, and later in life, if I was driving around town in my car and saw one, I would make it a point to stop and have two cups. Those kids deserved the extra quarter.]

7. Typewriters. [Oh, yes, the days of Wite-Out. I remember vividly writing my early writing career stories on a typewriter. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite key is the backspace key; the old typewriters did not have that, hence my favorite product was Wite-Out. One college professor, I recall, did not allow Wite-Out and on one tough term paper it took me three tries to type the final page. When I was done, and I knew the term paper was just so, I threw the typewriter down the cellar steps. Mom laughed for an hour, saying, “I told you that one letter stuck, but you wouldn’t believe me.”]

6. The United States Football League – founded in ’82, ceased in ’86. [It took nearly a year to set up before playing began. The United States Football League, the spring time competition to the NFL, lasted just 3 seasons, ’83 through ’85. There were many factors to why it failed: #1, It expanded too quickly. #2. It paid humongous salaries with money it didn’t have yet. And #3. When Donald Trump, then owner of the New Jersey Generals, decided it would be a great idea to move to fall football and compete directly with the NFL, it was the beginning of the end. President Trump, you did not make the USFL great again, you killed it.]

5. Mom and Pop stores. [This one was going to be hardware stores, but Ace Hardware is still going strong so we changed to the Mom and Pop variety stores. You know the kind I mean, they sell a little bit of everything. State College had one such store, O.W. Houts & Sons, but when Wal-Mart came in, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Houts family would either sell or retire. I miss that store tremendously, it was part of my childhood. My mom shopped there every Saturday and sometimes I would go with her.]

4. Manners. [Quite recently, I was working the cash register at my job, when a mother and her two children walked up. The daughter, approximately age 10, gave me her order and said, “May I please have …” before everything she wanted. It was truly a wonderful thing to see; young children with perfect manners. I actually complimented their mom.]

3. Goodyear Blimp. [When I was a pre-teen, the Goodyear Blimp would always come to State College, Pennsylvania for one big Penn State home game. It would arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday, fly around at night advertising, and leave after the game. Over time, it began to only come the morning of the game and would be gone right afterwards. Now the Goodyear Blimp doesn’t come at all. We’ve had other blimps come and cover the games, but to me if just isn’t the same. Many an evening my mom and I would sit on the front porch in the fall and watch the blimp fly overhead and advertise their latest tire offers. Oh, if only to hear that low-pitched droning sound of its engines one more time. That sound is truly unique.]

2. Television variety shows. [Gone are the days of the Carol Burnett Show, the Sonny & Cher Show, and other such weekly variety series’. TV has evolved into mostly reality shows of a different sort now, mostly sleazy and sex related. And the one attempt at an old-fashioned variety show a couple of years ago was canceled after a few episodes. Take it from me, bigwigs of the major networks, the TV variety series is dead and gone. R.I.P.]

1. Handwritten letters. [This one holds a special place in my heart, for not that many years ago, I would write letters, and more importantly, Christmas cards. Yes, you can still buy Christmas cards and send them, but I’ve heard from retailers that sales decline every year. And why shouldn’t they, you can go on the internet and send any kind of e-card that you want for free on most websites. The fancier ones might only cost ninety-nine cents. That is still a much cheaper option then driving to Hallmark, finding that pretty card, bringing it home, putting a stamp on it, and taking it to the mailbox. I don’t know if writing letters will ever come back and replace email; I highly doubt it. I know it won’t for me. I have a dear friend in Romania and relatives in Holland, how easy and convenient it is to type an email, have the program spellcheck it for me, and after I hit send, the email the is half-way around the world within a minute. A letter would take a week or more.]

Well, there you have it, part 2 of things gone by the wayside. Tomorrow will be a personal day for me, and I’ve asked Rebecca to put up a blog entry for me. I’m sure she will do her usual good job. So until next Wednesday when we both return, I bid you a good week, take care and happy reading.

Top ten list of favorite Star Wars characters

Greetings, readers. Rebecca had a good idea for the top ten list and I decided to go with it. The characters on the list were from any of the films thus far: Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Awakens. As it so happens, I did not pick any characters from Rogue One. This list is in no particular order, as with most of my top ten lists. At the bottom, Rebecca put in her list and the list from her husband Darren. There is a lot of overlap, but there are a few differences too. I think you will find it interesting.  So here we go.

#10. Rey. [From Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she is an orphan, her parents were taken away, leaving her on the planet Jakku to fend for herself as a scavenger. While living on the planet, she stumbles across the droid BB-8 and Finn, a storm trooper who turns good, and her adventure begins. I put her on my list because she is a well-developed character, who is brilliant and a strong female lead.]

#9. R2D2/C-3PO. [The droids from the original films are two classic Star Wars characters who everyone knows. Anthony Daniels plays the somewhat winey C-3PO and does a marvelous job. Though he sometimes gets in the way, he always seems to have the answer when it is so desperately needed. 3-PO, as he is referred to, interprets the beeps and whistles of his young counterpart R2D2.]

#8. Lando Calrissian. [Played by famous actor Billy Dee Williams, this character first appears in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He is caught between helping Han Solo and company and protecting his mining operation and city from the dreaded Empire.]

#7. Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. [Luke Skywalker’s trusted friend and eventual master, he sacrifices himself midway through Star Wars: A New Hope to become stronger with the Force, in order to help Luke destroy the dreaded Death Star. This character is played by the famous actor Sir Alec Guinness.]

#6. Leia Organa. [Played by the late Carrie Fisher, she was the heroine in the original movie set. The princess of Alderaan, Leia had to be rescued by Luke and Han in Star Wars: A New Hope, before fighting valiantly on Endor alongside Luke and Han as they tried to blow up the second Death Star. She will make her last appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as she completed her filming before she passed away.]

#5. Grand Moff Tarkin. [Played by Peter Cushing, a wonderful English actor, he “held Darth Vader’s leash” as stated by Princess Leia. Working closely with Darth Vader, his plan was to rule the universe with the threat of complete planetary destruction by using the Death Star in the original films. Thanks to Luke Skywalker, he was not successful. Though he was a bad guy, I always liked this one; I think it was the actor’s performance that hooked me.]

#4. Darth Vader. [Darth Vader, AKA Anakin Skywalker, was the morphed machine produced by the evil Emperor after a brainwashed Anakin Skywalker was nearly burned to death.]

#3. Yoda. [Brought to life by the late Jim Henson, Yoda was the Jedi master who trained Luke Skywalker on the planet Dagobah. He taught the ways of the Force, and quite truthfully is one of my favorite characters of all time. In the prequels done later, we can also see that Yoda can wield a mean light saber and is quite proficient.]

#2. Luke Skywalker. [The bored-to-tears teenager who lived on Tatooine was the nephew of a farmer and his wife. His big dream was to go to the academy and train to be a Jedi like his father. Little did he know who his father was. SPOILER ALERT: We have hints that Luke Skywalker is turning toward the dark side as early as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with the black glove covering his mechanical replacement hand. There is also talk in this upcoming movie that Luke may be turning toward the dark side. Dressed in a grey cloak in the trailers, we’re not certain if Luke is struggling with inner turmoil as he fights to stay on the good side of the Force.]

#1. Han Solo. [The old space pirate, as stated by Lando, Han Solo, with his ship the Millennium Falcon and co-pilot Chewbacca, fly across the galaxy, delivering cargo as they can. He has been known to cheat some people, so his reputation is tarnished. Yet in the end, he becomes a hero in not only the original films, but in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. SPOILER ALERT: His death scene caused a few tears in the theatre when I watched it.]

Honorable Mentions: Finn and BB-8 were heroes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In a new plot twist which I loved, Finn, an Imperial Stormtrooper who just didn’t want to kill any more, turns good and helps Rey and BB-8 get where they are going, with the help of Hans Solo.

The Millennium Falcon is not a living character, but to me it has certain characteristics all its own, and as soon as you see this ship you know you are watching a Star Wars film. I equate it to the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek.

For those of you who wonder why I did not add Chewbacca, Boba Fett, or any of the other classic characters, we could only have ten. In the future I might do a part two on this topic, time will tell. Please chime in with your Star Wars characters, either here or on my Facebook page. Here are Rebecca and Darren’s picks.

Rebecca’s top ten, which is pretty much all good guys: #10. Finn. #9. Poe Damero. [A pilot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.] #8. Rey. #7. R2D2/C-3PO. #6. Chewbacca. #5. Yoda. #4. Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. #3. Luke Skywalker. #2. Han Solo. #1. Leia Organa.

Darren’s top ten, which leans heavy toward the bad guys he loves so much: #10. Leia Organa. #9. Chewbacca. #8. Luke Skywalker. #7. Lando Calrissian. #6. Kylo Ren [The bad guy from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.] #5. Yoda. #4. Han Solo. #3. Boba Fett. [A bounty hunter in the original series.] #2. Darth Maul. [One of the bad guys from the prequels.] #1. Darth Vader.

I bid you a wonderful weekend, I’m going to work on my health issues to find out why I’m so tired all the time, so that I can hopefully become more productive. Writing blog entries is fun, I enjoy it, but I want to continue my novel or begin a television episode script. Remember, writers write.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful several days, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I’ll love about being married again

Greetings, readers. In June of 2018, I plan on tying the knot for the second time. My fiancé Traci and I are enjoying being engaged and our relationship is progressing nicely. There are a few bumps in the road as with any couple, but I feel we can work those out well before the big day. Here’s a top ten list of things I’ll love about being married again, in no particular order.

#10. Making decisions about vacations together. [Both of us hope to, at some point, take a cruise together. There are websites where good deals are on offer. A nice five to seven-day cruise to the Bahamas and back would be a lovely introduction for Traci to be on a cruise ship. I’ve been on them twice.]

#9. Companionship on a full-time basis. [I am so used to being able to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. As much as I enjoy this, there is a nice feeling of going to bed together, seeing each other the first and the last thing of each day, taking long walks, and enjoying stimulating conversation.]

#8. Partner for the tough times. [Undoubtedly, there will be tough times now and then where one of us will have to rely on the other. And also to discuss what is bothering the person and allowing the other to help. We can’t be so proud that we can think we can solve our problems by ourselves. In fact, having a partner means that we are not alone when facing life’s challenges.]

#7. Inspiring each other. [We have already begun to do this, even before the wedding. Both Traci and I have personal issues to overcome. We both egg each other on and are there for support of the other when times get tough or we have a setback. We have each other’s back.]

#6. Holiday visits with family. [For the last several years, I have celebrated holidays either by myself or have taken a trip to New Jersey to be with David’s family. Now we have the opportunity to spend time with Traci’s family and friends, as well as my buddy and brother’s family. This also affords the chance, if the opportunity arises, to have both families present on occasion, i.e. the wedding and reception.]

#5. Making up after a fight. [Neither of us like to fight, but it is inevitable that in close quarters we will disagree on something from time to time. I expect all of our fights to be verbal since I was raised to not put an unloving hand on a woman. I expect after all is said and done and the anger vented, we will come to a solution to our issue and make up. That is the part I will look forward to in this situation. Will I pick a fight just to make up? No. Although I’ve heard some people do.]

#4. Growth of relationship in close quarters. [At present, Traci and I only see one another when we eat out, run errands, or when we visit each other at her apartment or mine for coffee. When we are married, we will live under one roof and we will have to learn to accept each other’s quarks and habits. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do if we keep the lines of communications open and share our feelings.]

#3. Intimacy. [I shall admit to you, my readers, I was never one of those teenagers who had sex in high school. I was shy and awkward and so sex and intimacy came much later in my life. I’ve been divorced now for over ten years and have not had a serious girlfriend before Traci. So I am looking forward to making strides in our intimacy.]

#2. Sharing life stories and memories. [I know I have a gazillion stories from my childhood, and years with Dave, that can make Traci laugh and lift her spirits. People say laughter is the best medicine. She can also make me laugh, she has a good sense of humor. I’ll admit sometimes I can’t tell when she is kidding. LOL.]

#1. The wedding reception. [Every now and then, both families will be under one roof for a social occasion. The first one will be our wedding reception. We will be sending out the save-the-date magnets for people’s refrigerators approximately six months prior the wedding. With the reception that evening, both families will mingle. I see everyone getting along splendidly. Dave’s whole family adores Traci, and Traci’s sister Roni always gives me a big hug too when Traci and I are leaving our coffee outings.]

There is my top ten list of things I’ll love about being married. If anyone would like to add some that they experienced, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Next week, Rebecca will be here on Wednesday and my schedule for Thursday is still up in the air. If we don’t work that day, one of us will put the Thursday blog up so there will be two next week.

Until then, have a super-duper weekend, take care, and happy reading.