Tag Archives: cars

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.

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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.

The technological age is starting to scare me

Greetings, readers. I have seen YouTube videos and read on-line articles dealing with the wonderful new technologies in computers and robotics. It is causing me to wonder how much technology is too much. One TV commercial sells a doorbell with a little camera in it that, via your smart phone, you can see who is standing at your front door. The only benefit I can see from this is to make it look like you are at home even when you are not, in case that person is up to no good. Or, if you have forgotten an appointment that someone shows up for, you can apologize and tell them you will hurry home, if possible. The big problem I have with it is, depending on how much it costs, is it could be a waste of money. If the UPS man shows up, and you miss him, you have the option of asking him to leave it at the front door or hold on to it if you are afraid of theft.

Another interesting invention I’ve seen, created in Asia, are life-like humanoid robots which come complete with inter-active learning skills. Most can carry on a conversation, and some can get you your favorite beverage, and actually remember what it is after they are told once. I have no problem with that to a point. But when are humanoid robots going to take jobs from humans, such as working at a retail store, because they are so much smarter? These robots are absolutely incredible, but we need more jobs for people, not fewer.

As far as automobiles go, back in the 1950s and 60s, anyone with any kind of mechanical know-how could fix his or her car. Today we are driving junior space shuttles. A friend of mine told me that her car quit and would not start and all that was wrong with it was an oxygen sensor. Not the oxygen intake, the sensor itself. Think of it, folks, one sensor and the whole car shuts down. Too computerized for my liking.

Do I want to go back to the 1800s and live a life where there is no technology? No, I’m not saying that. But there has to be a point in time where we say an invention is just a little bit too scary. If that turns on us, we could be in trouble. Enough is enough.

Please chime in, in the comment section, with what you think about the technical advances of the modern world. Until Friday, have a nice day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of my favorite cars

Greetings, readers. In the past I have given you my top ten lists of favorite TV cars, and favorite bad cars, but now here is my list of my personal favorite cars of all time. I am a car buff and have loved them ever since I can remember. The number one selection in today’s list is a vehicle that my mom had. I loved it and named it Maybell. The name stuck. So here’s my list. Hope you enjoy it.

#10. 1993 Ford Tempo [My mom rented this vehicle for me in Maine one year so that I would have a little putt buggy to go to town in, just in case she didn’t want to go with me. I guess she didn’t trust me driving the big Lincoln.]

#9. 2013 Chevrolet Impala [I rented this car in State College to go to Maine in 2013 and it was an absolute dream to drive. It was spacious and perfectly powered. I gave that car a 10 out of 10, even with the check engine light on the whole time. I was told not to worry about it, so I didn’t.]

#8. 1976 Ford Pinto [The car Sabrina Duncan drove in Charlie’s Angels. Even though the Pinto turned out to be a deathtrap, I still loved it because it was part of one of my favorite TV shows.]

#7. 1975 Buick LeSabre [This was, as some people called it, a big boat. It was a gas-guzzler, but it was beautiful. That year’s LeSabre had plenty of room, with a powerful engine. My aunt and uncle from Pittsburgh had one and I saw it every time they came to visit.]

#6. 1984 Ford Escort [I chose this vehicle as my used car to learn to drive on. Not only was I told by the Ford dealership that the Escort was very reliable, but the car’s color scheme, brown and tan, matched the speed boat my family had in Maine at the time.]

#5. 2015 Nissan Altima [My girlfriend Traci and I rented this vehicle to go to New Jersey this past Thanksgiving. Years ago I didn’t like foreign cars, they were too underpowered for me. Today the Altima and others like it have all the get-up-and-go you need. It also had my favorite feature, the push button starter.]

#4. 2015 Toyota Camry [In 2014 and ’15, I rented this car to go to Maine. It had many cool features; my favorite being a transmission that was either automatic or clutch-less manual at the drop of the gear-selector.]

#3. 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo [I always loved the look of the Monte Carlos, but the ’79 model is my favorite, not only because of its looks, but because my beloved Uncle Cy had one. For those readers who don’t know who that is, he was a dear family friend I knew for years at Bear Spring Camps in Maine.]

#2. 1976 Ford Gran Torino, as seen on Starsky and Hutch. [Oh, I how I loved that red car with the white stripe. Every week my friend Mike and I would watch intently as Starsky’s sleek Ford chased the bad guys and, of course, never crashed.]

#1. 1976 Cadillac Sedan Deville [For me one of the most beautiful cars ever produced, though I admit I wasn’t born until 1965. My two favorite features of the car were: one, the motorized radio antenna which would go up and down as the radio was turned on and off. And, the second stylish feature was the light indicators, near the hood of the car on the sides, which showed the turn signal and the high beams when activated.]

Well, there’s my list. Please do chime in with your list if you wish to, either here in the comments section or on my Facebook page. This entry in #501 and here’s to heading for #1,000.

Take care, have a wonderful weekend, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Top ten list of Pixar films

I knew I had watched a lot of the Pixar films over the years, but I was surprised to see that I have watched all of them, with the exception of the latest one, The Good Dinosaur. So doing an entry on my top ten favorites turned out to be a good idea. I like the themes found in the Pixar movies – following your dreams, accepting other people for who they are, friendship, family, loyalty, and kindness. I like how Pixar studios explores worlds we never think of and shares it with us to enjoy too.

I have combined a few films together with their sequels, so there are more than ten movies here. I did not include Ratatouille here; I enjoyed it but not enough to make the list.

#10. Up – 2009. The story of an old man following the dream he and his wife had before she died. Along the way he befriends a lonely boy, a dog, and a wild creature. At the beginning, the film has the best and saddest montage, mostly without dialog, of the man’s life with his wife. Themes include helping others and following your dreams where ever they lead you.

#9. A Bug’s Life – 1998. This movie is set in the world of ants and grasshoppers, where a young ant endangers his colony and has to leave to find help. He finds a strange set of other bugs to come and help. It is a world where a small drop of water and a rolled leaf can become a telescope, and a bigger drop of rain can be a dangerous water balloon. Themes include working together, standing up for yourself against bullies, and seeing value in differences.

#8. WALL-E – 2008. This is a little harder for me to describe, but most of the action takes place on a generational spaceship where the people are waiting for a wasteland Earth to be ready for life and growth again so they can return to it. WALL-E is a trash-compactor robot that falls in love and wakes people up on the ship. Themes include the environment, belonging with someone, being aware of what is around you, and hope.

#7. Inside Out – 2015. This movie is about emotions and memories, set mostly in the mind of a young teen-age girl. I like it’s message that as we grow up, our emotions and the memories they call up are more complicated and combinations of more than one strong feeling. Themes include growing up, the changes in adolescence and life, and family.

#6. Brave – 2012. This one is also about growing up, as a young woman is expected to marry when she would rather be free, and shoot her bow. There is a conflict between her and her mother. Themes include being true to yourself, follow your dreams, kindness, mother/daughter relationships, and family.

#5. Monster’s Inc. – 2001, and Monster’s University – 2013. I like the original film better than the sequel. Set in the world of monsters, one day a child gets through the doorway and causes havoc. Themes include friendship, loyalty, and overcoming bias.

#4. Cars – 2006, and Cars 2 – 2011. Set in a world of cars that looks a lot like our world, a race car has to make repairs to a small town before he can leave for a big race. He makes friends of the town’s people along the way. The sequel continues his friendships with the town’s people. Themes include Route 66, friendship, loyalty, respect for people and history, and kindness.

#3. Finding Nemo – 2003. Set in the world of the ocean and the fish life in it, a boy fish is taken by a diver. The fish father overcomes his fears in order to find his boy, while the boy works, with help from other fish, to leave the fish tank and get back to his dad. Themes include family, helping others, determination, overcoming fears, and letting a child achieve for himself.

#2. The Incredibles – 2004. A movie about superheros who have to live as average people and hide what they are, as seen through one family of superheros trying to blend in. Trouble finds them, and they need to use their powers again to save the world. Themes include courage, family, being true to yourself, using your natural talents, and kindness.

#1. Toy Story – 1995, and Toy Story 2 – 1999, and Toy Story 3 – 2010. I love all three of these movies, set in the world of toys and what they do when the humans are out of the room. All three have a strong story line that works on its own and the sequels build on the other movies. Emotional and gut-wrenching at times as the toys deal with their boy growing up and not playing with them as much over time, the movies also have messages of hope. Themes include friendship, belonging, purpose, loyalty, and kindness.

I look forward to watching whatever Pixar comes out with next. Their movies are filled with humor, insights into life and the world, and hope.

In control

Greetings, readers. After much reflection over the past few months, and with the help of my therapist, I am becoming a more confident person. I am starting to regain control of my life and it feels good. In 2009, when I made my triumphant return to Bear Spring Camps I had to go by airplane, for I was not confident enough to drive the 1,200 mile trip by car. It was great fun, because I love airplanes, but I missed all the scenery that I so enjoyed looking at as a passenger when Mom drove the trip. For the past four years, I’ve rented a vehicle from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Here’s how it gave me back control.

With the aid of the rental, I can stop where and when I want to stop. I can pull off for a stretch at anytime, grab a coffee and a donut at the Dunkin’ Donuts, and choose any motel I want. When I traveled by bus for two years, we stopped when they wanted to, and you were all but threatened to get back on the bus on time or they would literally leave without you. Going by plane was nice, but oh, brother, all that waiting and the long lines at the security checks. The biggest benefit of the car to me is that I can pack my truck full of whatever I want to take to camp. I am not having to limit myself to a couple of carry-ons. And no luggage lost on the way.

My mom was always in control. It was one of the things I loved most about her. It seemed that almost every minute of every day was planned out and organized. I can remember Mom beginning to plan for the trip weeks in advance. I’m striving to be able to get all the accommodations booked and confirmation numbers written down well in advance. It is one less thing to worry about a few days before leaving.

On a non-camp note, I’m also taking steps to become more confident in other aspects of my life. Good friend Rebecca as well as others are helping me in this endeavor. Do I want to drastically change Joseph Kockelmans? No. He just needs peaked and tweaked a little. 😉

Until tomorrow or next Wednesday, take care, chin up, be well, and happy reading.

Self dream analysis

Greetings, readers. My last few nights have been filled with extraordinarily vivid dreams. It is not uncommon that I can remember bits and pieces of my dreams, but seldom can I piece together most or all of the dream. Two nights ago I had a dream so vivid, it was like I was watching a movie. And yes, I can confirm that we do dream in color.

My dream started off on some kind of ferry boat on a lake or a river. The young lady with me was an acquaintance; I shall not give her name for privacy reasons. This young lady – from my past – I always had a secret crush on. That is probably why she was in a very attractive bikini. She and I were definitely a couple, absolutely in love. We were closer than in real life. To me, I think that is why we dream. We allow ourselves the chance to fulfill any fantasy that we know would never be able to come true otherwise.

As this dream went along, I found my best friend showing up looking quite a bit younger than he is now, and I recall him mentioning that my lady friend and I shouldn’t be together. Obviously at the time this made no sense. I believe I have since figured it out. It was my friend’s way of protecting his “little brother” from whatever embarrassment might come about.

Then the dream got a little more racy. The young lady and I retired to our state-room and had a little extracurricular activity. Then before I knew it, we were off the boat and in my parents’ house. That’s dreaming for you. Without rhyme or reason it was, “Beam me up, Scotty,” time. I heard my young lady’s voice from down the hall, and I wanted to thank her for a particularly good time. When I got to the door, I heard her boyfriend’s voice. To me, I think that was reality kicking in. I walked back down the hall, and as I remember, I awakened not too long after that.

Last night’s dream was even more bizarre. I was in Maine at a camp, but as usual for my dreams, it was not Bear Spring Camps. It was different. It was hours before we had to leave to go back home. I was going to take one last ride before returning my rental car, which we had rented for me to putz around in. When I went to get into the car, it was filled almost to capacity with cases of soda, beer, and other party type fixings. Again, there’s dreaming for you, for this made no sense whatsoever. I am not having a party any time soon in my waking life. I could not figure out where to put this stuff. I kept telling my mother I’ll put it on the porch or I’ll put it in the trunk. I remember my mother getting angrier and angrier with me with each moment. I just decided to throw all the crap in the trunk and go take my drive. As I began to leave the camp area, I ran out of gas. Then my alarm went off. This morning’s first words out of my mouth … and I am not kidding … “Well that was a weird one for you.”

There are some dreams that you can easily figure out what they mean if you just use your head. Like dream #1. The young lady from my past was extremely gorgeous, I had a secret crush on her and she did have a boyfriend – the boyfriend from the dream. The river cruise lent the perfect opportunity to put said lady in a sexy bikini. As for dream #2, with my last ride and vehicle crammed with edible crap, I still have not pieced that one together yet. I’ve not driven since my accident in 08, except for a few times when I rented a car. My waking life can be messy and chaotic at times. That might be where this dream is stemming from.

Finally, as I get ready to close this entry, I was reminded of my recurring car dream. This is the one where no matter how nice of a vehicle in real life I had, I would always dream about my parents’ garage and wanting to drive my old clunker, that I purchased for cheap at the used car dealer near my home. Usually, it was an old Volkswagen Beetle or Rabbit. The last time I had this dream, however, all the cars in the garage, including my mom’s, were black. I awakened with a smile that morning because I quickly pieced together that I going through a bout of depression, hence everything black. I had a smile on my face not because I was depressed, I had a smile on my face because I figured it out so quickly.

Yes, I have had some doozies over the years. I could go on for hours. Maybe at some point in the future I will post my top ten list of crazy dreams.

Until next time, take care, stay warm, and happy reading.

P.S., if you have a crazy dream that you would like to talk about, please post it in a comment.

Top ten list of my favorite TV cars

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

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

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

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

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

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

#5. Magnum P.I.‘s Ferrari 308 GTS.

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

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

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

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

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

My top 10 favorite bad cars

Greetings, readers. This is my second attempt today to post this list. Thank goodness Rebecca is here. This is a list of cars that, even though critics didn’t like them, I thought were kind of cool. Let me know if you agree on all, some, or none of them. Here we go.

#10. The Yugo. [A miniature Volkswagen Rabbit. The quality however was just not there.]

# 9. The Ford Pinto. [Don’t get rear-ended! Oh …, they fixed that problem. It didn’t help sales.]

# 8. The Chevy Nova. [Doesn’t nova mean no-go in Spanish?]

# 7. The Chevy Vega. [Cute design, but I’ve been told by a number of people that they rusted out quickly. Not good.]

# 6. The AMC Pacer. [Round design in the back of the hatch for easier backing up and parking. I don’t recall that the Pacer was around all that long.]

# 5. The Chrysler and Dodge K Cars. [They helped put America back in the industry race back in the ’80s.]

# 4. The Volkswagen Beetle, Original Style. [From the ’40s through the ’70s that little lawn-mower-sounding vehicle was great though it had one flaw. No radiator. It was an air-cooled engine and boy did it just love to burn oil.]

# 3. The AMC Gremlin. [The name says it all.]

# 2. The Smart Car. [Smart look, but too small for me.]

# 1. The Ford Maverick. [Though nothing special about this car was ever mentioned, I always thought it had a cute design. That’s why it made number one on the list.]

Well, there you go. Let the debating begin. Happy reading, have a good weekend, and more blogs next week.