Category Archives: top ten lists

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.

Advertisements

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.

Top ten list of things we might remember from our childhood

Greetings, readers. This top ten list was going to be a general list that anyone could relate to, but as the list got going, it seemed to get more specific to the time I was growing up. I’m 51 years old, so I think anyone around my age will be able to remember the same things.

#10. Mom or Dad would say, “Sorry, but we can’t do that. It’s a school night.” [There were many things I enjoyed doing, from playing ball outside to watching that 9:30 TV show, and there was always that cut-off time on school night.]

#9. Snow days. [During the cold snowy winters of the mid to late 70s, I eagerly anticipated each snow storm with the high hopes of those beloved snow days. I know we had to make up the days off from school at the end of the year, but to stay home, warm and cozy, was always fun.]

#8. Older cars and cheaper gas. [Back when American cars were big boats, with plenty of room and large gas tanks, no one thought anything of going for that long Sunday drive. Most big cars were fancy, stylish, and sounded cool. The cheapest gas I can remember was 40 or 50 cents per gallon. Yes that was more money back then, I know, but if you just look at the numbers compared to today you’d get a chuckle.]

#7. Saturday morning cartoons. [When I was a youngster, I could not wait for Saturday mornings. I would run downstairs, fill my cereal bowl, and plop in front of the TV to watch three hours of really good cartoons. The cartoons they make today are not nearly as entertaining to me and some Anime cartoons are quite violent. It is a pity that the Saturday morning cartoon is actually gone.]

#6. That disco craze. [The music of the 1970s was funk and disco. I don’t love all disco music, but some of my all-time favorite songs are from this genre.]

#5. Roller skating. [Before roller blading, there was roller skating. When I was a teenager, roller skating was just on the way out. There used to be a place called Sir Skate here in town that would do a whooping Friday and Saturday evening business. Lots of school kids could not wait to flock to the rink and skate the evening away to good music.]

#4. Going to a Friday evening movie or drive-in. [Many an evening was spent by me going to our local theaters and watching such hits as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1976 version of King Kong, Smokey and the Bandit, and of course, the original Star Wars. Ticket prices were cheap, as were the refreshments.]

#3. Baseball games on the radio. [This is more something of the 1940 and 50s craze, but I can still remember my mom listening to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the radio. In the mid 70s, one of our local TV stations starting showing the games and we began to watch instead of listen to them. My favorite radio announcer recently retired, the LA Dodgers’ Vin Scully.]

#2. Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, John Chancellor and Johnny Carson. [I always associated certain times of my life with certain celebrities. Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show was one of them. I would always watch his opening monologue on Friday nights when I could stay up later. My three favorite news anchors were Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, and John Chancellor. Today the world is so depressing I no longer watch the news. Sorry current news anchors.]

#1. Holidays at home with family. [Some of my happiest memories are at Christmas time as a child. I enjoyed big Christmas trees, lots of presents, Christmas carols and a great holiday dinner. In elementary school of course my favorite part of that time was the holiday break. Three weeks of no school. Back then, yes, it was called Christmas vacation. So sorry for not being politically correct. Lol.]

There’s my list. If anyone has a question, comment or wishes to add your list, please feel free to do it here.

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

Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories part 2

Greetings, readers. As promised, here is part 2 of a top ten list of Air Crash Investigation episodes that I have watched many times and studied. As all of you know, I love to figure out what goes wrong when these gigantic aircraft crash. Sometimes it is as simple as an incorrectly set lever, or in one instance, a pilot who was going to be fired committed suicide and took everyone on board with him. You will find many reasons in the following list. It has been a while seen I have seen a few of these episodes, and I was not able to watch them recently (as I wrote last week) so I used Wikipedia to compile my list. Though I’ve seen them all, I needed help with titles, dates, flight numbers, etc. I hope you appreciate this one as much as so many you did the first list.

#10. “Flying Blind” – Aeroperu Flight 603 [The year 1996 in October. Because of a maintenance blunder, the pitot tubes were left covered. When the aircraft took off, it immediately started to get false readings from the on-board instruments. After half an hour of being lost over water, the plane crashed into the sea with crew believing they were at a higher altitude than they were.]

#9. “Flying on Empty” – Air Transat Flight 2368 [2001, August. The Air Transat flight developed unusually low fuel load readings which the pilot and co-pilot thought was a computer error. As it turned out, a hose in the fuel line system gave out and the fuel leaked away. Luckily the aircraft was at a high enough altitude and the pilots were skilled enough to glide to an airport in their range and have a safe landing.]

#8. “Out of Control” – Japan Airlines Flight 123 [1985, August. After suffering an explosive decompression in the massive 747 tail section, the flight was doomed. The crew fought valiantly for close to 40 minutes before crashing into a mountain range, killing all on board killing all but four people on board. (Editor’s note: August 2017: A reader pointed out my error and sent me a comment so I could make the correction.) A faulty repair was to blame. The man who okayed the repair committed suicide afterward.]

#7. “Mistaken Identity” – Iran Air Flight 655 [1988, July. Due to a horrible misunderstanding during the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, the United States warship, USS Vincennes, thought they were firing a missile at a F16 fighter which was not answering hails. Instead, it was an Air Iran passenger jet incapable of receiving that hailing frequency. All 290 on board were killed.]

#6. “Kid in the Cockpit” – Aeroflot Flight 593 [1994, March. A proud pilot’s 15 year-old son was invited into the cockpit. Mistake #1. He was allowed to sit in the captain’s seat and pretend to steer the aircraft. Mistake #2. When the autopilot disengaged while the child was turning the yoke, the craft banked hard right and stalled. The g-forces prevented the pilot from getting back into his seat. Any child at the yoke of a commercial aircraft is a big mistake.]

#5. “Falling from the Sky” – British Airways Flight 9 [1982, June. Flight 9 took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on route to Perth, Australia. The 747, during a night-time flight, flew through volcanic ash that they could not see which caused all four engines to fail. After several attempts to restart the engines, they finally came back to life, and the jumbo jet landed at a nearby airport.]

#4. “Panic over the Pacific” – China Airlines Flight 006 [1985, February. The number 4 engine developed a temporary malfunction and stopped working. Due to pilot error, the plane went into a terrible tailspin. After many attempts to restart the engine, and what seemed like forever to regain control, the China Airlines flight made a successful emergency landing at San Francisco International. There was structural damage to the aircraft from the descent. It was later determined that any more structural failure would have brought down the jet.]

#3. “Gimli Glider” – Air Canada Flight 143 [1983, July. I followed this story from a TV movie they made about it some years back, and as in many cases the incident was completely avoidable. The brand new Boeing 767 was metric and at Montreal Airport the fuel crew failed to convert gallons into liters and only filled the plane half full of the fuel load required. If it were not for the brilliant flying of Bob Pearson and crew, landing at an abandoned air force base, the plane would have been doomed. He was able to glide it in over a long distance.]

#2. “Fatal Distraction” – Eastern Airlines Flight 401 [1972, December. Eastern Airlines Flight 401 was on its way into Miami International when it developed what appeared to be a mal-functioning landing gear light bulb. The crew fiddled with it but could not get it to light up. While they were distracted by pulling the bulb out, the captain bumped the altitude hold knob and the plane descended in the dark of night. The realized what was happening about 100 feet off the ground, way too late. The plane crashed into the Everglades. 101 people died and 75 people survived. On an eerie note, certain parts of the aircraft that could be salvaged and were in working order were installed in other Eastern Airlines planes of the same type. Crew members reported ghostly figures of the dead crew … if you believe in that sort of thing.]

#1. “Frozen in Flight” – American Eagle Flight 4184 [1994, October. While in a holding pattern waiting to land in rough weather, a commuter plane suddenly banked hard right and spun out of control. Though the pilots fought valiantly, the aircraft did not have enough altitude and it slammed into the ground, killing all 68 on board. The reason was a design flaw that made the de-icing system ineffective on a certain area of the wing. Too much freezing rain built up while flying in the holding pattern and the plane could not stay airborne anymore. The ATR-72’s wing was redesigned and the problem was fixed.]

There is our second top ten list of Air Crash Investigation episodes. I’m reluctant to say enjoy it with so much disaster and grief associated with so many of the stories, but if you are a fan of the show and have not seen these episodes, check them out.

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

Top ten list of my favorite foods

Greetings, readers. I thought it might be fun today to share with you my top ten favorite foods. According to our search results, I haven’t done this one yet, though I thought I had. I love meal time and snacking so almost any food or beverage will be included. Only #1 will be in order.

#10. Pepperoni pizza. [Although I can’t have it very often, because it gives me heartburn, I love a good pepperoni pizza. Pizza Hut and Domino’s are two excellent pies but my favorite in town is from an Italian restaurant called Mamma Mia’s. They serve the pizza from a traditional Italian recipe.]

#9. Steak. [A good thick filet brings back memories of 4th of July barbeques with the family. Dad only used the grill once or twice a year, but he sure knew how to do it. I like mine cooked medium.]

#8. French fries. [I don’t have them too often, but my favorite ones are from McDonald’s. They are usually crispy and not too terribly greasy.]

#7. Earl Grey hot tea. [No, I’m not related to Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I do enjoy the occasional cup of Earl Grey, with a little bit of cream and honey. It is my second hot beverage of choice.]

#6. The Subway six-inch sandwich. [My favorite is pepperoni and provolone cheese toasted, on 9 grain honey-oat bread, with a little bit of lettuce and mayonnaise. A delightful light dinner.]

#5. Cheesecake. [Let’s just say, don’t put a whole one in front of me. It wouldn’t last long.]

#4. Fried chicken. [When our town used to have a Kentucky Fried Chicken, I would go there on a semi-regular basis and chow down for not much money. I would enjoy extra crispy with mashed potatoes, a biscuit and a drink.]

#3. Grilled Stickies from Ye Olde College Diner. [A wonderful dessert item best served warm with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. It is an award-winning treat specific to this town.]

#2. Coffee. [I’ve enjoyed this beverage since the age of ten and it is my go-to drink, my beverage of choice. About a year ago I bought a Keurig and I can enjoy as many cups per day that I want to. Bring on the breakfast blend!]

#1. Ice Cream. [My go-to depression comfort food. I’m going out on a limb here to let my regular readers know that when I am at my most depressed it is not uncommon for me to take a half-gallon, watch Netflix, and enjoy the entire container watching my shows. Is this the fast lane to diabetes? Oh, yes. So I have cut back on doing this. My favorite flavor is Edy’s Oreo Cookies ‘n Cream. OMG.

Honorable mention I just thought of: Almost any favor of Dunkin’ Donuts doughnuts. [I just love the smell when you walk in the front door.]

It is a dim day outside but I got a lot of work done today, including this blog entry, checking Facebook and Twitter, and writing a blurb for a back book cover. It turned out really well, thanks to Rebecca. Until next Wednesday, take care, have a great weekend and happy reading.

Top ten lists of things to discuss other than politics

Greetings, readers. I am absolutely fed up with all of the mud-slinging political ads on TV, as well as the news reports about how each candidate is better than the other. Local and state races are bad enough. Please, don’t get me started on Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump! Grrr.

Here’s a list of other topics I talk to my friends about. They’ll be in no particular order this time around. Here we go.

#10. Pets. [I know I can talk about my kitty-cat Keekee for hours, and I like to hear other people talk about their beloved animals.]

#9. Talk to a friend over coffee if that friend is having difficulties. [Sometimes talking about our problems with someone who cares can help a lot. And it helps to remember that the world is bigger than politics, even elections on the national level.]

#8. Talk about the weather. [Sunshine, stormy or in between, everyone has some weather. And some people are still recovering from last week’s hurricane Matthew. They definitely have more to talk about than the candidates.]

#7. Chat about sports. [With so many different games, so many teams, in so many cities, there can be hours of avid conversation.]

#6. Discuss your favorite cars {old or new}. [Not everyone gets into cars like I do, but a lot of people have vehicles. It is fun to compare driving experiences, horsepower, styles, and colors.]

#5. Rant about your boss or co-workers. [First though, be sure they can’t hear you!]

#4. Talk about the latest technologies. [There are so many shiny new things, and they are so exciting.]

#3. Chat about a trip you once took. [A change of locale, different food, maybe a different language and culture; all these can be part of an interesting conversation.]

#2. Tell your friend about a dream you had. [Everyone can relate. Almost everyone has a weird dream they can remember and share.]

#1. Console someone who just lost a loved one. [This will really bring things into perspective. A bunch of politicians yelling at each other means nothing at this moment. Our connection to one another is so much more important.]

Well, there you go; my list of topics to talk about other than politics. Do chime in with your list if you want to, here or on Facebook. Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

Top ten list of Star Trek holodeck programs I would have if the technology existed

Greetings, readers. As a Star Trek fanatic and a holodeck episode lover, I started to think, just what programs I would create and save if I had use of a holodeck. In the Star Trek world, even though a person is in a small room, the concept is that holographic images are displayed and moved so that people are tricked into thinking they have unlimited space. Here’s my list in reverse order.

#10. A visit to any city I chose. [Maybe one day I would create Paris and sit to enjoy coffee in an outdoor cafe. The next day, perhaps Rome to visit the Colosseum. Or to Devils Tower in Wyoming.]

#9. Drive a car to anywhere. [Oh, what fun it would be to drive to Maine any time I wanted to.]

#8. My own baseball league with my own home team and personally designed stadium. [I could see the Pennsylvania Lumberjacks, perhaps.]

#7. A house with a virtual family. [This idea, I must admit, came to me after watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, “Real Life”, where the Doctor created the perfect family, but B’Elanna Torres thought that was too easy and changed the program. I would set it up so that I could control the weather and the type of home and furniture we had, but I would randomized how my family reacted to me day-to-day to be more realistic. I would not have the “perfect” family.]

#6. A train ride to anywhere. [I could ride an Amtrak in America, take a local in New Jersey, or hop aboard the Orient Express. Lots of intrigue and mystery there.]

#5. Take a virtual cruise. [I could set it up for any number of days I chose and for any destination. I could take a quick trip to the Bahamas, or a cruise around the world, stopping at all the wonderful ports of call. This one would have to be saved and gone back to. ]

#4. An airplane ride to anywhere. [I absolutely adore aircraft. I wish I could fly in them more often. If I only had an hour, I would take a prop pane ride from State College to Pittsburgh. If I had more time on my hands, maybe I would hop a jet and fly cross-country to California. I could sit in my virtual airplane seat, take notes, and type my stories.]

#3. To speak to any writer I chose and pick his or her brain. [I could share my limited amount of work with them and ask them to critique it. Hopefully they would be kind.]

#2. A day at the beach. [Imagine the warmth, the sand, the smell of salt in the sea breeze, and of course, the ocean. I could spend hours in this program.]

#1. Recreate a day at Bear Spring Camps anytime I chose. [I would have a few scenarios in this program with different kinds of weather, different times of the year, and, of course, the people I know from real-life Bear Spring, as well as computer generated fictional families. You would hardly ever get me out of that program.]

Honorable mention: Camping in a tent. [I’ve never gone camping in a tent before, but if there was one big enough that I wouldn’t feel claustrophobic in, it would appeal to me. To hear the crickets at night and have my campfire going would be soothing and peaceful. I love nature, especially crickets and the sound of birds.]

There’s my list. I hope you enjoy. Whether you are a Star Trek fan or not, please do chime in with your list, either here or in Facebook.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of my favorite TV shows

Greetings, readers. Over my lifetime I have enjoyed many television programs from the 1970s right through the 90s. Though I have watched a few episodes of Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Mike and Molly, I just don’t get into network programing nearly as much as I used to. I have much more to do, and outlets such as Netflix streaming and YouTube give me all the entertainment I need. TV shows, movies, and even concerts are there on offer. Here’s a top ten list of my favorite TV shows. I’ll try to put them in order.

#10. Family Matters. [A very nice family show with the geeky boy next door whose wonderful catch phrase was, “Did I do that?” You got to love Steve Urkel.]

#9. Fresh Prince of Bel Air. [I’ve been a big fan of Will Smith, mostly from his movies, but this show was exceptional. The young boy from Philly who got sent to Bel Air to live with the rich aunt and uncle. Wouldn’t that be nice. As a side note, this is also one of my girlfriend’s favorites.]

#8. Maude. [This was Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan’s first TV venture together. I laughed with them in Maude, as well as in their later series The Golden Girls with Betty White and Estelle Getty.]

#7. The Love Boat. [All aboard on Captain Stubing’s love boat. I watched it each and every week for years. The first few seasons were from the port of L.A. down to Mexico and back. A whole cruise shown in an hour. In later seasons, guest stars got to fall in love while traveling to exotic and rare destinations.]

#6. Full House. Fuller House. [Now we are starting to get to my really favorite shows. I watched every episode of Full House and taped them all when they were on reruns. Danny, Uncle Jesse and Joey helped guide the three girls through topics such as sharing a room, their first loves, and in a very poignant episode, where was their daddy during the San Francisco earthquake. It’s spin-off, Fuller House, which premiered last year on Netflix, picks up with D.J. Fuller widowed with three boys. The whole cast, except the Olsen twins, took part. As far as I know, there will be a second season. I can’t wait.]

#5. Charlie’s Angels. [When this show aired in 1976, I was 11 going on 12. Young, beautiful women in skimpy outfits or bikinis. Yes, I’m going to like it, shoot me. For any real Charlie’s Angels fan, I’m sure you’ll agree that most of their stories were good ones and well written. And let’s not forget David Doyle as Bosley and John Forsythe as the voice of Charlie. Two excellent actors.]

#4. Star Trek. ST: The Next Generation. ST: Deep Space Nine. ST: Voyager. ST: Enterprise. [Well, the secret is out; I am a Trekkie. I love the whole idea of the almost perfect future universe. I adore holodeck episodes; the idea that you can walk into a room and it becomes anything you wish fascinates me to no end. To be honest, I did not watch every episode of Enterprise, but most Trek fans did like it.]

#3. Cagney and Lacey. [A wonderful police drama in the 1980s about two women police detectives dealing with not only their jobs but their home lives. Mary Beth’s husband Harvey was a wonderful character and magnificently played by John Karlen. On a down note, midway through the series, Christine Cagney got a love interest, but for some unknown reason the writers made him an almost exact duplicate of Harvey. This did not go down well with me. This series dealt not only with police issues, but with Christine’s loss of her father and her own alcoholism, as well as the brilliantly written two-part episode dealing with Mary Beth’s breast cancer. If there was a down side to this series, it was the lackluster series finale. Apparently CBS didn’t know if it was being renewed or not, so the women were instructed by LT. Samuels to paint the ladies’ room. If they didn’t get promoted to the major cases squad, they would have a, “freshly painted bathroom to come back to.”]

#2. Reba. [This is a series I watched with my girlfriend Traci in reruns. I had heard about it but never watched it when it had its first run. The show deals with a divorced woman devotedly religious, played by Reba McEntire, as she struggles to make ends meet, fights with her ex-husband and his new wife, and loves and cares for her kids. The show is set in Houston, Texas, and in the early years, son-in-law Van plays high school and then college football. For a brief period, he turns pro, but an injury ends his career. That allows Reba and Van to partner up in a real-estate venture. Actress Scarlett Pomers dealt with an eating disorder fairly late in the series and missed a season. She triumphantly returned in the final season.]

#1. M.A.S.H. [The is quite possibly my favorite show of all time. I watched it religiously in prime time and in reruns as a teenager. For a half hour each night, I would picture myself there in Korea with all my friends; Hawkeye, Trapper, B.J. and all the rest. My favorite episode, which according to Loretta Swit changed the series, was called Comrades in Arms. Hawkeye and Margaret were sent to another M.A.S.H. unit, their jeep breaks down and they have to hide. When shelling of the hut they are hiding in starts near the end of part one, they embrace and seem to fall in love, though that is a misunderstanding. At the end of part two, they are not a couple, but the dynamics of the characters changed for the rest of the series.]

Well, there is my list. As usual, please chime in with your top ten list in the comments if you wish. Have a great Friday and weekend, take care, and happy reading.