Tag Archives: link

64 views at 10:25 AM! Wowzers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Yay! Here’s #800!!!

Greetings, readers. We’ve made it to 800. As I ponder what to write about in this blog entry, I’ve been considering my life’s accomplishments and failures so far. In 53 1/2 years, I’ve written three books, co-authored one novel based on a play I wrote, and to this point have written 799 blog entries.

The last few weeks I’ve gotten religiously nostalgic. This past Sunday I attended a church my parents and I went to when I was a youth. It felt strange but good. It was like going home again. I also found a Bible on the internet which can either be read or listened to, and it is free. What an amazing concept. As I mentioned in blog #799 I am having dinner with a friend, who is quite religious and I am looking forward to having an in-depth discussion on the Lord and prayer.

I feel blessed to have so many good friends around me. A very nice lady down the hall, Smith, sometimes cooks for me. There are very generous people in town, such as businesses and churches. The businesses sometimes offer fantastic deals, and at least two churches I know of have weekly dinners for no cost, but they’ll, “Gladly accept a donation.” Rebecca has been a marvelous friend, helping me with my writing for eight years. She has been invaluable, helping with editing, writing, keeping appointments straight, and the like.

I have always been a nostalgic person. When I left my childhood home for the final time, after the sale of it had been finalized, I took paintings with me that are hung proudly in this apartment. Other people can have my beat up organ, my old stereo, my 1980s Zenith color TV after everything go cleared out, but they were not going to get their paws on five certain paintings. Call me sentimental if you want to, but that is just me.

Painting that was in my parent’s home

 

A very important memory from my parent’s home

 

Where do we go from here, from #800? Well, I hope to blog for a very long time. I would love to reach #1,000. Rebecca and I have figured out that is about two years’ worth of work at two entries a week. I think we can do it. Sure I would love to see the views per day go up, but I take pleasure in writing, getting my thoughts down, and giving you nice folks something to enjoy.

As I close #800, and I’ve said this in the past on these milestone blog entries, thank you so much for sticking with us. If you like what you read, tell your friends. Here is the direct url to the blog’s home page. Here’s to many, many more blog entries. If any of you have some ideas you would like me to blog about, please leave a comment in the comment section, on my Facebook, or on my Twitter page.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful weekend, please stay warm, enjoy, and happy reading. Yay for #800! 🙂

Re-remembering my good friend Terry

Greetings, readers. Over the last few days there has been a large spike in the numbers of reads of an entry I did after the death of a dear friend, Terry Stewart, posted on July 29, 2016. Both Rebecca and I agree that this may be because my good friend Terry loved the holidays. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up – and Terry was a huge Christmas fan – it makes sense that there would be people wanting to revisit Terry again this time of year. So, we have decided to re-post this wonderful and touching tribute to Terry Stewart. Every time my neighbor across the hall opens his door when I am in the hallway, somehow I still expect to see Terry. We were very good friends, and I miss him dearly.

This blog entry will be posted automatically at 2:00pm tomorrow, and when I get back from Thanksgiving dinner, I will post it to Facebook. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. Please, if you are traveling, drive safely.

 

R.I.P to my good friend Terry

 

Greetings, readers. It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know of the passing of my neighbor across the hall. Terry Stuart was a kind and gentle soul, always with a smile. He loved to play the piano, he laughed at my jokes, and enjoyed old movies.

I knew Terry for several years. Quite often he would come over and ask for help about a computer problem and I would be more than glad to lend a hand and solve it if I could. The last issue he had was with his printer; the problem was it kept printing the same page over and over. I never could figure that one out. That is where it gets funny. You always think you have more time to help people. But as Rebecca would say, Terry’s contract ran out.

I know all of our existences are finite, but somehow we always think we have more time to get things done. We really don’t know. Only the Lord does.

I shall miss my good friend Terry very much. During coffee hours he would often play the piano in the community room. I thought about asking our office manager to tape up a photograph of Terry, which I would give her, on the piano and she agreed.

Terry played the piano, sang, and read his own poetry at my performances. He performed during one of my Beatles shows, as one of the three Bedbugs who backed me up, on December 14, 2012. He played the piano and read a poem at my KISS show on December 20, 2013. Rebecca wrote about the Beatles show and the KISS show in these entries. I have a couple of pictures from his performances that I can share at the bottom.

It is a good thing that I had therapy yesterday. Among other topics I talked about, I talked about Terry quite a bit. I don’t like death, it scares me. Even though I believe in heaven and the afterlife, I still don’t feel like dying just yet.

I guess I’ll never really know what happened to Terry, my good friend, but this building, Addison Court, will be a lonelier place without him. Terry, I bid you a wonderful eternal rest. You were a good friend and I wish I had taken you to Maine two years ago. You would have loved it and the people would have loved you. Rest in peace, my friend.

Until next week, have a good weekend, give your loved ones a hug and enjoy them, and happy reading.

Terry Stuart playing piano and singing Christmas carols at my show of KISS songs December 20, 2013. Photo by Greg Brown.
Terry Stuart playing piano and singing Christmas carols at my show of KISS songs December 20, 2013. Photo by Greg Brown.

 

Terry Stuart reading a Christmas poem which he wrote, The Christmas Star, at my KISS show, December 20, 2013. Photo by Greg Brown.
Terry Stuart reading a Christmas poem which he wrote, The Christmas Star, at my KISS show, December 20, 2013. Photo by Greg Brown.

 

Terry Stuart at my show of KISS songs December 20, 2013. Photo by Greg Brown.
Terry Stuart at my show of KISS songs December 20, 2013. Photo by Greg Brown.

 

The numbers game

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bowstring is wearing thin

Greetings, readers. Alexander Pope once said, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” Oh, how true that statement is. And I ought to know, for I have erred quite a bit in my lifetime. From my failure to develop strong study habits, to my poor choices of girlfriends, from bad business decisions, and bad personal decisions, it seems as though my life so far has been a comedy of errors. There’s only one problem, life is not a comedy.

I have been trying very hard to forgive all my errors and, so far, with little success. I know, I know, we can be our own worst critic. However, on the 13th of this month, I will turn 53 years old and I have very little to show for it. There I go again, sounding like a stuck record. My bellyaching began with the blog entry, ‘Life doesn’t have a reset button’ and went downhill from there. Let’s review some of my minor failures.

I never learned to cook. So, I either have to microwave the simplest of concoctions, or go out to eat my meals. I never learned the art of being a good boyfriend … whatever that art is. I am zero for seven. What a stellar batting average. I wrecked my vehicle trying to play Mr. Nice Guy, when everybody told me not to. Now I have no car. Gee, the bowstring on my violin is fraying.

Okay, fair is fair. Let’s review some of my accomplishments. This should prove interesting. I have authored three small books and one play. I can care for myself reasonably well and stay within a reasonable resemblance of the budget. I have held down two part-time jobs in my adult life, the second not quite over. I have kept in touch with many friends and family, and have had two pets while being on my own. Let’s sum up. Well I’ll be damned. Although I did not list every good and bad point, the score actually came out to be five to four in favor of the accomplishments. Did I do that subconsciously, to bolster my own ego? Just like the owl in the Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop commercial … One may never know.

Looking back upon my blog entries, I just saw that the blog topic I was going to write about next Wednesday has already been done, and done well at that. So, I shall devise a brand-new topic for next Wednesday. I hope all of you had a splendid Fourth of July. I trust it was safe and, besides the fireworks, event free.

Until next week, I bid you all a great weekend, do take care and as always, happy reading.

Belated RIP to one of my favorite New York Yankee voices

Greetings, readers. When I watched New York Yankee baseball in the 1970s and early 80s there were many great voices. There was the trio of Bill White, Phil Rizzuto, and Frank Messer. I loved all three and they worked well together, but they weren’t my favorite. My favorite voice of the New York Yankees was the pubic address announcer with that wonderfully distinct voice, Bob Sheppard. From 1951 through 2007, he announced generations of New York Yankees players to the fans in the stands, on the radio and on WPIX television.

With his rich deep voice, he would so eloquently announce each player. It was as though he was making each batter feel like he was the most important player on the team. It would go something like this, “Now batting … the shortstop number 2, Derek Jeter … number 2.”  Players from Jeter to Jorge Posada to Reggie Jackson all had their names called in that wonderfully unique way.

I watched many baseball games from other teams and no pubic address announcer has caught my attention nearly as much as Bob Sheppard. I rank him right up there with legendary sportscasters Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, and Dick Enberg.

I was surprised to learn through his 2010 obit on the MLB website that he had called Yankees baseball games since the 50s. Players like Joe DiMaggio, Thurman Munson, and Bunky Dent had their names called by Mr. Sheppard. My two favorite moments were these: When the old Yankee stadium closed – Sheppard might have already been retired by then – he came on the P.A. system to a roaring crowd to say he hoped to see everyone at the new Yankee stadium. My other favorite moment was when he announced the great shortstop Jeter’s final all-star game at bat.

Mr. Sheppard, you will always be a bright spot in my childhood growing up watching Yankees baseball and I thank you for all those years of legendary P.A. work. I’m sure I’m not the only Yankees fan who echoes my sentiments. So to you sir, may you continue to rest in peace.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

My summer writing schedule so far

Greetings, readers. Although I have had a number of good ideas for writing projects, getting words on the page are like pulling teeth. I yank and yank and yank, and then say oh, look, there is one sentence. Back in my 30s, before all my petit mal seizures, my creativity was much better. Ideas just flowed. I’m not certain if I really do have brain damage because of the seizures, but I feel as though I do. My medications work fine for what they are meant for but they may dampen my creative process as well.

The other day I started the sequel to Four’s a Crowd and got about a page down on the computer. I don’t know if it was because I was using the speech recognition program, or the outside noise at the time, or if something else was in the way, but words would not come easily, even with these characters that I know so well. I must admit that depressed me for the rest of the day. Kimberly, Lyle, and the rest of the Four’s a Crowd clan should have inspired me, not dragged me into the mud. Thank goodness for therapy every three weeks.

Rebecca usually tells me to just keep plugging away at it, flex those writing muscles and eventually it will come. I hope she is correct. I have my entire day planned out already. We have work hours this morning, a brief stop for lunch and a couple of groceries, and then I am going to try to work with the speech recognition program again. One of the problems might be that it hasn’t quite learned my voice enough for me to dictate a novel effectively.

My friend Dave suggested I try writing a children’s book. He was most impressed with how I, a few years ago, told his young nephews and nieces stories around the camp fire at Bear Spring Camps. Not a bad idea. And I know someone who just might be willing to illustrate it if she has time. I have already started a story, The Secret House, and have posted the first two parts of it here. I hope to write more of it and share it with you in the near future.

I’m being a little mysterious here, because I don’t want to divulge my ideas. It seems like every time I do it is the kiss of death. One time I remember telling my Godmother a story idea and she stomped the flowers out of it until it was dead. I admit that it was after one of her strokes and some of her social filters might have been gone.

I have next to me what I call my inspiration pad. If I have a dream or a day-dream and it really hits me and I have a great idea I am prepared to jot it down long hand. For as I may have mentioned before, my short-term memory is crap.

There is today’s update. Next Wednesday Rebecca and I will be back with another blog entry and I have already chosen the topic. Unless something comes up, I’m going to blog about the legendary former New York Yankee public address announcer, the late Bob Sheppard.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

As they used to say on Futurama: Good news everyone

Greetings, readers. The novel based on my play, Four’s a Crowd by Darren Taylor, went live for sale on Amazon.com this past Saturday. It took a few days for them to finalize something, I don’t know what it was, but now copies can be purchased by anybody. I ordered two copies for myself, and they were shipped late yesterday afternoon. I’m going to talk to a friend of mine who owns a local bookstore and see if she will take three or four copies on consignment. I think she will. She took copies of my three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, so it stands to reason she will take this book too.

I can’t believe it is late June already and my trip to Bear Spring Camps is a little over a month away. Time is flying. From what I am seeing on people’s Facebook posts, the weather and the fishing have been good. Two big thumbs up for that. I’ve made all my preparations, I’ve booked the hotel rooms and rental car for the trip up and back. The only thing left to do it wash clothes, pack, and find all the electronic gadgets and equipment that I wish to take with me. I am ahead of schedule from last year. I’ll need to get out the old checklist and update it. I’ll also need to find a few things, like my fishing rod which I did not put it back in its usual spot. Not to worry, for as my mom used to say, there is always Wal-Mart, and a half-decent Zebco rod can be purchased for around $20.

I’ll be bunking overnight in Portland Maine this year, in a Motel 6. I’m very excited to be staying by Casco Bay. I tell you, if I ever move away from State College, it would be to Portland, Maine. I would get season tickets to the Portland Sea Dogs and would be that much closer to Bear Spring Camps for summer vacation.

On to a different topic, her royal highness, Princess Josie, the kitten, has been terrorizing my furniture and my legs with her sharp claws. Thank goodness I am taking her for her first check up on July 6th. A good nail clipping is first on the list. I don’t think she will need any shots, but since I took over ownership from someone else, I think I will check with that person to make certain. Josie has been acting like a young kitten recently, being rambunctious and spending quite a while in the penalty box, stretched out and sleeping on her towel. I also give her treats if she goes in by herself. I would love that to happen more often. Ha, ha, ha.

Lastly, I survived the hottest day of the year a few days go, with temperatures near 90 degrees F and high humidity. Although I will take it over freezing to death any day, it was quite a large temperature hike in a 24 hour period. My body did not like it. I dragged that day and went to bed early that evening.

Tomorrow’s blog entry is going to be an update on my writing projects this summer. It is not going as well as I hoped, but I still have some time to get those creative juices flowing. More details tomorrow. So until then, take care, have a great day, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: It is Thursday again

Joe is taking care of personal business today, so here is another Thursday blog entry from me. It is a gorgeous day outside with a lot of sunshine and a hint of coolness. Perfect.

We are so close to publication day for Four’s a Crowd and I am so excited. Darren has finished his final edits and put them into the manuscript file, and Joe is doing his final editing in the next few days. Next Thursday we will all get together, put in Joe’s changes, I will update the chapter of contents, and then we will submit the file to our self-publishing site, CreateSpace. Once they approve it, we will push the publish button. Four’s a Crowd could be on sale within two weeks! We will keep you updated.

I wrote last month about the construction noise next door driving Darren and me crazy. Well, it is still going on but a few weeks back the majority of the work moved down the road a ways, and we got a bit of a break from some of the beeps, scraps, bangs, and rumbles. We can still hear it, but it is easier to live with at the moment.

I’m just beginning to read the second book in a series I like. I read Binti, by the author Nnedi Okorafor, earlier this year, and was touched by it. It is the science fiction/fantasy story of a young woman from Africa who goes to another planet to study, and on her journey a tragic event leads her to be an instrument of peace between two species. Heartbreaking, but also full of hope. I look forward to diving into Binti: Home later today.

Joe will be back on Wednesday, and one of us will have an entry on Thursday. As Joe would say, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

The Secret House, part 2, a continuation of a short story

Greetings, readers. A number of you suggested that I continue the short story I wrote and posted a couple of weeks ago and I thought that would be a good idea. It’s not exactly my four paragraph blog entry, so be prepared. Here it is and enjoy.

The Secret House – part 2

It was 9:30 in the evening again, and Toby, and his sister, Angela were sent upstairs to bed by their parents. The children pretended to look disappointed, but had secretly been planning to explore the secret house above the attic once more. Toby had shared with his sister his marvelous discovery. It was no surprise that she did not believe him.

After changing into their night clothes in their respective bedrooms, the children quietly convened near Angela’s bedroom door.

“Just wait till you see it,” Toby remarked. “You won’t believe your eyes.”

Nine-year-old Angela loved to play devil’s advocate. If her older brother said one thing, she would believe the exact opposite. When first told of the secret house above the attic, Angela thought Toby was crazy. They were about to find out who was correct.

“Switch on the lamp over there,” Toby commanded.

“Don’t boss me around,” Angela snarled. “You’re not the boss of me.”

Toby shushed his sister, deathly afraid that voices from upstairs would get an inquiry from mom or dad; the last thing Toby wanted. After Angela had switched on the light, Toby quietly slid open the closet door and moved the stepstool underneath the attic hatch door. He clicked on the closet light and told his sister that he would go up first so that he could offer her a lift if she needed it.

Toby hoisted himself up into the attic and to his joy and relief, his secret house was still there. He beamed a great smile down at his sister.

“Okay, now you got me curious,” Angela replied, as she smiled back.

The young girl heaved her way up and found herself on the lush carpeting in that lavish bedroom. “Oh my gosh.”

“See, I told you. It’s all here,” said Toby, pleased with himself that he was right and his sister was wrong. By the look on Angela’s face, her brother concluded that she wasn’t all that upset with being wrong.

“Is it okay if I have a look around?” Angela asked.

“Yeah,” Toby replied. “Just try to be quiet. We don’t want to get caught, do we?”

Angela quietly explored the bedroom for a solid five minutes. She laid on the bed, brushed her brunette hair with a hairbrush while looking into the full-length mirror, quietly opened the empty drawers, and then set back down on the bed. “What is this place?”

The two children explored every room in the house, thoroughly but quietly. Angela was amazed and delighted with everything that greeted her brown eyes. Her favorite room was the living room, where the big screen TV and air hockey table were located. “Toby, I’m dreaming, right?”

“Not unless I am too,” Toby answered. “You should’ve seen my face the first time I saw this place. My chin about hit the floor!”

With a smile, Angela quietly shushed her brother, for now he was getting excited and a bit loud. Who knows, perhaps their parents can’t hear them up here in their secret room. After the children explored every room, Angela was drawn to the front door. It still looked foggy and ominous outside. “You want to go out?” Toby asked, extending his hand.

“I don’t know,” Angela replied, with some trepidation in her voice.

Angela took Toby’s right hand and he opened the front door with his left. The two explorers walked out of the house and instantly a beautiful front yard with a white picket fence replaced the fog and mist. Angela squeezed Toby’s hand, both in fear and delight.

“Toby?” Angela began. “Tell me what you see.”

“I see a front yard with the fence, some other people in their yards, and a few cars passing by,” said Toby. “What do you see?”

“The same thing,” said Angela.

What appeared strange to the children was that the other people in their yards didn’t seem to notice the youngsters in their night clothes. One neighbor was gardening, another was mowing the lawn. There wasn’t much traffic; just the occasional vehicle pulling into a driveway.

“Toby, where in the heck are we?” Angela asked.

“I’m not sure,” Toby began. “But I’m getting freaked out. These people don’t even seem to see or hear us. It’s like we’re not even here.”

Toby clutched his sister’s hand and pulled her toward the front door of the house. Toby, one usually not to be afraid, was having difficulty wrapping his head around why the onlookers didn’t seem to see them. He decided it was time for them to go back inside. Once back inside the secret house, he closed the door. Once again, the fog outside instantly returned. Angela gasped, and took a step backwards

“Oh, that’s so creepy,” she whispered.

Making quite certain that the door was locked, Toby and his sister walked back towards the attic hatch. After sliding down back into the guest room, Toby noticed on the wall clock that again only a few minutes and gone by. “Awesome!”

The children quietly walked back to their bedrooms, gently closed their doors, hopped into bed and went to sleep. Before getting into bed though, Toby wandered should he tell his parents. He knew they would never believe him. That … is for another day.

 

I certainly hope you enjoyed part 2. As you can deduce, there will be at least one more part. Rebecca will do the blog entry tomorrow for I am taking a personal day to get ready for a weekend trip. So until I am back next Wednesday, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.