Tag Archives: ice

A disruption to my daily routine and first impressions of the Alliance of American Football

Greetings, readers. The last two mornings had weather conditions such that the Three Musketeers (Smith, Traci, and I) could not go to Panera for our now ritualistic morning coffee. Aren’t humans creatures of habit? I felt cheated that I didn’t have my time with my friends. And I know for a fact that Smith and Traci felt the same way. Smith says that she loves to get out of the apartment building at least twice a day if she can. We couldn’t go this morning because the sidewalks were a sheet of ice. Yesterday we had 4 inches of snow followed by freezing rain. Not a good combination. Schools were closed and functions around town were cancelled. It’s not very often that I stay in my apartment the entire day. I was completely lethargic and went to bed at 8:30. To my surprise I slept pretty much through the night, and had a bizarre dream about my mother. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t call her on her cell phone. I kept asking my dad for the right number. When I woke up it dawned on my why I couldn’t call her in the dream; my mother is deceased, as is my dad. As happens quite a lot in dreams, you attempt to do things or make contact with loved ones and fail. I honestly believe the reason I couldn’t contact my mom is because she was deceased. If any readers have any other plausible explanations, please do leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

On to another topic now. On YouTube, I watched parts of two footballs games, from the first week of the brand new Alliance of American Football (AAF). I watched part of the Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos game. The Atlanta team was not very good; they got blown out 40 – 6. Then I watched the San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders game. It was not a packed house at the Alamodome, but I would say it was a good crowd for the first game of a new league. The San Antonio Commanders are the first professional football team in that city since the United States Football League’s San Antonio Gunslingers were there for one dreadful season in the early 80s.

The AAF has a few rule differences from the National Football League (NFL). One is they have no kickoffs. The ball is spotted on the 25 yard line for the team who wins the coin toss. They do, however, have punts and field goals. Another rule difference I like is that after every touchdown they have to go for a 2-point conversion.

With limited practice time and only one exhibition game per team, the offensive lines have not gelled yet. I’m sure these teams will get a lot better. One week down and nine to go in the ten week regular season. This league starts one week after the NFL’s Super Bowl and their championship game will be in late April. Just in time for folks to switch over to baseball. That’s what I like the most. I am not a fan of basketball or hockey. I don’t hate those sports, but I’ve never gotten into watching them full-time.

I shall enjoy getting to know these teams while watching them on TNT and the NFL network. In April, after their championship game, I shall give you a final review/update on this fledgling league.

There’s today’s blog entry. Everyone please pray for warmer weather. I’m tired of the cold and winter. Rebecca and I bid you a good day. Take care, and as always, happy reading.

P.S. New blog entry on Sunday. Until then …

From Rebecca: Ugly day outside

Greetings, Joe’s readers. It is a snowy, rainy, icy mess outside, though I am surprised that the few cars I can see on the road outside my window are moving okay. Joe and I are not working together today, because of the bad weather. Pennsylvania had a storm overnight that is continuing all day, as those of you who live in this state already know. Northern PA was forecast to got more snow, southern PA to got more ice, and central PA, where Joe and I live, got a mix of snow and rain. Yesterday, authorities asked anybody who could stay off the roads today to do so. A lot of people still have to get out and about, but for the rest of us it is a Snow Day! No school, no work, stay home all day!

The schools, a lot of businesses, and  Schlow Centre Region Library are closed for the day, adding to the feeling of a shared community experience and a holiday. Although there are a lot of people who still had to go for important commitments or to go to work, and they didn’t get to share the holiday. I know that I could have gone to work today if I chose to do so, since the bus system is still working. (A big shout out to the drivers and staff of CATA – Centre Area Transportation Authority – for always getting me to and from work no matter how bad the weather is. The bus might be running late, depending on the conditions, but it always comes. In fact, their buses are running today.) And I have better balance when walking than Joe, who really cannot go out in snow and ice because he might fall and injure himself, so I could have made it to his apartment to work. Joe arranged for me to stay home today, to not have to slog through the cold, snow and icy slush, and I am grateful to be able to sit in a warm room, snug with my legs in a blanket, typing this on my home computer.

I decided to stay home last Sunday too, instead of visit my family as usual. We had a snow storm that day which gave us about three inches of snow, and now I am home during this one. I am wondering if I am getting more timid as I get older. As long as it was snow and not ice, three inches didn’t intimidate me before, even when it was falling while I drove. Although, looking back, I did drive in some bad road conditions when I was younger. There were a few times I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to the bottom of a certain hill and stop safely. Age is supposed to give us wisdom, but maybe that is what shutting down options looks like. We decide not to eat a super hot pepper and now we are wise because we didn’t burn our mouth like a foolish young person. Put like that, refusing to try new things looks noble, doesn’t it? It is true that older bodies don’t heal damage as fast, and a fall can take us out for days instead of hours. Maybe being careful is wisdom.

I hope you are all warm and comfortable, if not right now than by the end of your day. Joe and I will be working in the same room tomorrow, and he will have a new blog entry up. Until then, take care, have a safe 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.

Many topics to talk about, including American Truck Simulator

Greetings, readers. We are finally back. Yay! After a week of working on the blog by myself, Rebecca is here once again to help me. Obviously, I can write the blog by myself, but after all this time I just feel more comfortable with my editor friend by my side to catch any little mistakes I might make. She already caught one from my last blog entry.

Not that I’m going to title this hodgepodge whatever, but I do have several topics to touch on. So here we go.

First, I’ve been thinking about this question: Is the National Football League fixed? There have been rumors that since the early 2000s, the NFL has been “steered” in certain directions to allow the powerful teams to make the playoffs. The stronger the teams in the Super Bowl, the better the ratings. Or, at least, that is the NFL’s way of thinking. Let’s take this past Super Bowl for example. The great Peyton Manning,  perhaps the best to ever play the game, is all but certain to retire. I would have been shocked if Denver lost. Carolina quite frankly looked pathetic, though Denver’s defense did play a great game. What also makes me wonder, is that I saw part of a YouTube Top Ten List video, pointing out that the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl just months after 9/11. What are their colors? You guessed it, red, white and blue. Is this hard-core evidence that the NFL is fixed? No, but it raise my eyebrow. Add in that this team has been proven to cheat since then and the NFL has barely spanked their wrists.

Topic number 2. Recently, I’ve been enjoying, on YouTube, reruns of the 1970s sitcom Maude. It is a Norman Lear spin-off of All in the Family and is it hilarious. There is one interesting thing. You would never see that show being produced new today. Maude’s husband, Walter, played by Bill Macy, is a strong-willed proud man that did not like his wife to work outside the house. Add that to the fact that he was a drinker early in the series, and you can imagine some of the arguments they got into. Maude, also strong-willed and very liberal, would also argue with all the other characters when she thought it was necessary. The only episode I did not care for and will not watch again, was the ground-breaking Maude’s abortion episode. Was it well done? Absolutely. It is just that my own personal religious beliefs made that episode a chore to watch. That is not the case with the rest of the series. Most evenings I will sit with my snack and have out-loud belly laughs. Norman Lear can do that to me every time, whether it be All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, or The Jeffersons.

Topic number 3. All I need is $100 and I will never want a car again. Today, I want to tell you about perhaps the best video game I have ever seen. It is called American Truck Simulator. People who play Euro Truck Simulator 2, and make videos for YouTube, have been talking about the new game for two years. Where is American Truck Simulator, we all said. When it came out on February 3rd, we found out why it took so long. On the up side, the level of detail on the maps is incredible. There are three trucks to choose from and you can drive in California and Nevada. Arizona will be added soon. The few people who are giving this game a thumb’s down bring up the question, after two and a half years of development, why are there only two states? My answer to them would be this: You try producing maps with those kinds of graphics, fabulous detail and clean game play, and we will see how long it takes you. How long will it take to complete the lower forty-eight? Probably about two years. Can I wait? Hell yes. This game also has the potential, if the manufacturer desires it, to include Mexico, Canada, and Alaska. All I need to do now is get a steering wheel and pedals to clamp to a table, so I have better control of the steering. The left and right arrows on the keypad make for marvelous wrecks. I must admit, I am getting better at it with the arrows, but I’m going to see if I can’t scrounge $100 together and get one of the cheaper gaming wheels. As for the most expensive one, which is $299, that is out of the question.

Lastly, a quick note about the weather. Yesterday we had snow, ice, and slush. It was not a good combination to go out in. I needed to take my girlfriend to her follow-up doctor’s appointment. Yay, us, we did not slip and fall.

Well, you are all up to date. We’ll have another new blog entry for you, possibly as early as tomorrow, though if not, then definitely on Friday. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

For yesterday, a brief remembrance of Air Florida Fight 90

Greetings, readers. I know I have blogged about this topic before, but yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Air Florida flight 90 crash. As PALM 90 took off from Washington D.C.’s national airport (I think it is called Reagan National now), during a heavy snow storm, the flight was doomed from the word go. As the 737 rolled down the runway with its engines clogged with ice and snow, there was virtually no chance of a safe take-off. The pilots, who admittedly lived in Florida and never needed their de-icing equipment, failed to activate it before the flight. Had they done so, this tragedy, I think, would not of occurred.

I started to wonder how many family members and friends of the victims would still be alive after 34 years. For those of you who are, I’m certain that that date always brings a sting and pain to your heart. Once again, I offer my heartfelt condolences, prayers, and good thoughts.

This is the first blog entry of two today. Rebecca will have a top ten list coming up shortly. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.