Tag Archives: Pan Am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Feeling better after a rough weekend

Greetings, readers. Friday, late afternoon, I was bitten by the flu bug. It wasn’t the worst case I’ve ever had, but still it was very unpleasant. Most of the weekend was spent on my recliner chair sleeping. I had absolutely no appetite or motivation to do anything. When I was awake, I did think of Air Crash Investigation (ACI) episodes to find on YouTube for research. Here’s what happened.

The episodes I know I wanted to include in a new top ten list are gone, probably due to copyright infringement. That is the big issue when people post material that is not their own. Sure, old TV shows and classic sporting events are wonderful to watch again, but I am almost positive that the posters did not get permission from the networks. Usually such videos will stay on YouTube a few months until they are flagged by someone and then the site will remove the video and give that person a warning. This is how I watch ACI.

One of my favorite episodes, the story about the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team crash has been removed. Other episodes have been reposted by folks who for some reason didn’t do it correctly and the audio is either too fast or too slow. Not everyone has great equipment or knows what they are doing.

Let me tell you about one episode that I’ve watched over and over again, “The Crash of the Century”. It was a special two-hour episode. Two 747s, a Pan Am and a KLM, were bound for one of the Canary Islands. After a terrorist bomb went off in the terminal, the airport was closed and all aircraft were diverted to the tiny island of Tenerife. They landed and waited a number of hours for permission to return to their original destination. A terrible fog rolled in and blanketed the airport just as the pilots were given that permission. It was a race against time to fuel up, start-up, taxi, and take off before the fog made it too dangerous to do so. Here was the mixture for failure. There was an air traffic controller whose English could have been better. The crew of the Pan Am was looking for their turn off but missed it in the fog. The Dutch KLM aircraft which had taxied first, was ready for take-off, and the captain would wait no longer. Disregarding every rule in the book that pilots follow, he started his take-off run without permission and plowed right into the Pan Am jet, killing 583 people.

In a future blog entry I’d like to do the promised top ten list, and will do so if and when I can find ten episodes that I haven’t already blogged about, in a reliable medium.

That’s it for today. I’m going to enjoy a walk in the sunshine later on. I’ll grab a cup of coffee and meet Traci, and this evening I think I will watch a movie. Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of my top ten lists

Greetings, readers. Rebecca had an idea that I just loved; to do a top ten list of our top ten lists to date. Here they are in order. You can click on the titles to link to the original blog entry. Enjoy.

#10. Top ten list of my favorite football helmet logos

#9. Top ten list of my favorite TV theme songs [In my last performance, the theme to The Love Boat was the show opener.]

#8. Top ten list of great M.A.S.H. episodes [It was truly hard to choose only ten. M.A.S.H. was such a great show; truly top quality TV.]

#7. Top ten list of favorite holidays

#6. Top ten list of favorite television show finales

#5. Top ten list of places I want to visit or revisit

#4. Top ten list of MLB or NFL stadiums gone by [I wished I could have lived in the era when Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Shibe Park in Philadelphia were in their heyday. I definitely would have gone to games there.]

#3. Top ten list of ways to get inspired

#2. Top ten list of airlines no longer with us [I never thought that TWA, Eastern, or Pan Am would ever go out of business.]

#1. Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories [This topic continues to be one of the hottest on the blog and this is the entry with the most views.]

Honorable mention: Top ten list of modern conveniences [This one is a funny one. Every week with few exceptions it shows up in the views stats. Neither of us have any idea why this is so popular. For all we know, a teacher might be using this as part of a homework assignment.]

There you have them, in order. Chime in with yours if you wish to, here or on Facebook. Until next Wednesday, take care, have a great weekend and happy reading.

Top ten list of airlines no longer with us

Greetings, readers. As an airplane enthusiast and flight simulation hobbyist, I enjoy downloading different types of aircrafts from airlines that have gone out of business. A website called Simviation.com is my source for getting my downloads. Here is a top ten list of real world airlines that have come and gone. I used a couple of sources to aid me in finishing my list; they are Wikipedia.com and List after list (listafterlist.com).

#10. Air Florida. Deregulation and the horrible crash near Washington D.C. in the early 80s were two contributing factors why this airline failed to compete with the big boys.

#9. Eastern Airlines. When I was a kid, I would see ads for Eastern all the time. Their slogan was, “We earn our wings everyday.”

#8. Piedmont Airlines. They are apparently still officially in business. Rebecca and I have determined, via internet, that they are part of the commuter airline system associated with U.S. Airways. I remember seeing on the website to our own airport, called University Park, that Piedmont does still fly out of here.

#7. Continental Airlines. Very recently acquired by United Airlines. If you look closely you’ll see the word United on the plane’s fuselage and the tail logo is still that of Continental. I’ve heard that this will remain this way for another year or two.

#6. Western Airlines. This airline ceased their own operations on April 1st, 1987 according to Wikipedia.com and merged with Delta Airlines.

#5. TWA. I never thought that Trans World Airlines would ever go out of business. They were one of the big boys.

#4. Pan American Airlines, or Pan Am as they were called. In the early 60s, Pan Am went all out to make air travel elegant. They offered white glove service and fancy uniforms to make their flight crew look elegant.

#3. ValuJet. The big air disaster that doomed ValuJet was the Florida Everglades crash where it was determined that in the cargo compartment was oxygen tanks – a definite no-no.

#2. National Airlines.

#1. Midway Airlines. I’m afraid I don’t know much about National or Midway. I just remember hearing the names and vaguely seeing ads for National as a child.

Until next week, stay out of this major snow storm if you can. Be well, and happy reading.

A Morbid Facsination

For many years I have been fascinated, sometimes to a morbid extent, with tragedies. Some which I have studied via reading materials, films, and documentaries are the sinking of the Titanic, the events of 9/11, and air tragedies, including TWA 800 and Pan Am 103.

I have thought many times, why should I have such a morbid fascination with such things which involve people’s suffering? I suppose in a way that it is human nature. Every time someone is out on a window ledge, a crowd gathers around to see if that person will jump or get saved. Now I’m not a jumper watcher; my fascination has always been aircraft.

As mentioned in the last blog entry just briefly, I have been watching episodes of a show called Air Crash Investigation. It documents numerous air tragedies over the years, some with favorable outcomes, and others disastrous.

I’m not certain if it is knowledge I seek or whether I am simply trying to determine what I would do differently. How would I have prevented the crash or accident? I know for a fact that studying the Titanic documentation, the one thing I would not have done would be to put the engines into reverse, slowing down the reaction time. For those of you who have read my blog post about Air Florida Flight 90, I believe that you’ll agree that several mistakes were made causing the crash of that Boeing 737. It seemed that with that particular incident that the more I watched and learned, the angrier I became. The incident that got me the angriest, however, was Pan Am 103.

Pan Am 103 was a flight that on December 21, 1988 was heading home to New York from London, England. A bomb brought that aircraft down over Lockerbie Scotland, killing everyone on board and many on the ground. Later, I found out that Pan Am knew about a bomb threat to that specific flight, told some people, but did not give everyone the option of boarding or not boarding the flight.

TWA 800 took off from New York heading for Europe Paris, France one fateful evening and exploded at 24,000 feet. The nose section detached leaving both pieces to fall to the burning water with everyone still in the plane. No survivors. Months later it was determined that a bomb did not bring it down, but simply faulty wiring near the center gas tank of the more than 20-year-old 747.

Back to my original point of my personal morbid fascination with these stories. When watching these documentaries, I suppose I am not only seeking knowledge but the junior private investigator in me comes out. I just want to understand it from every angle – the whys, the hows, the whens, the conditions leading up to these events. Perhaps in my 20s I should have gone to work for the National Transportation Safety Board. When my health failed and my dream of being a pilot were dashed, then perhaps I could have helped to keep planes safe by working for the NTSB.

Just the other day I read an on-line article about the cruise ship which sank off the Italian coast. The captain abandoned ship and refused orders to go back to it, which I find to be a cowardly act.

Is this all just me wishing knowledge, or is it truly a morbid fascination with death and destruction and the suffering of others? I’ve asked myself that question many times. Why don’t I just watch cartoons and comedy shows? I tell myself, that’s a great idea. But I always seem to be drawn back to Air Crash Investigation or Seconds from Disaster. Over the coming weeks and months I shall think long and hard on this and if I figure it out, I shall share my conclusions.

Until next time.