Season’s Greetings – Happy New Year!

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An introduction to FaceBook

Today I decided open a FaceBook page.  Well, let me clarify that.  About ten months ago I did open a FaceBook page with the help of a friend and it seemed easy at the beginning, but I started to find it confusing to navigate the site.

What’s easy?  You need to be a rocket scientist to do this.  So I gave up.

Everyone keeps telling me it’s easy, so I thought I would try again.  Now, remember I had a page set up and went back to it, searched my name – low and behold up came a page with my name and email address on it asking for my password.  Are they kidding?  Who could remember that far back?  I tried everything I could think of, but was not able to get in.

I finally gave up . . . again.

A few days later my granddaughter came over to my house. I thought this is my chance to beat this beast.  My granddaughter knows everything there is to know about computers,  she has a Facebook page as well.  I thought, “She will know how to fix this situation.”

Well, we tried everything.  A page came up that said if you forgot your password, press here.  We did that.  Then we were told that FaceBook would send me a password by email – we should simply put the password in the space provided – push the button to be able to reset the password.

Never happened.  Easy, huh?

In any case I thought my granddaughter’s presence was more important then messing around another hour with this.  So I quit… again.

I dreamt about the problem all night and decided to try it one more time the next day.

I brought up the FaceBook page, put in my name, my email address, and told them that I forgot my password.  It took me to another page where I had to fill in all the same information again. They said that they would send me another password by email and that when I entered it in the proper box I could reset the password to enter FaceBook.

Guess What?  I received the password by email in about fifteen minutes. Carefully, I wrote it down so as not to forget it.  I went back to the FaceBook page. I filled in all the boxes that were required.  When I got to the box that asked me for the password that had been emailed to me, I carefully filled it in.  The box came up that asked me what I would like to use as my new password and I filled that in.  I was a little nervous because you don’t see the password you just see those little dots.

It was easy.  I am now part of the FaceBook community again. I was surprised to see how many people were there that still wanted to talk to me. Now I just have to learn how to post what I have to say in that little box they give you for comments.  I guess that will be easy too.

~Joel Cohen

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Giving Thanks

So are your bellies full, did you enjoy the turkey dinner. Is this a great country or what?

My wife and I went shopping all day Tuesday so we could avoid the rush on Wednesday and it worked. We watched the news on Wednesday saw all the traffic and people running around we looked at each other and agreed that age has taught us something; don’t wait until the last minute to go marketing.

The Thursday evening dinner was just great; Michael came over to my house with his two children and his wife Elizabeth. My older son Larry had to split his time between our family and his lady’s family, so he came over to our house and left before dinner but spent a few hours with us and we were all together except for my eldest granddaughter Rio. We missed her but we will get to see her next week.

We had chips and guacamole dip, wine, turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans and almonds, a few types of olives, two types of cranberry sauce, shrimp,  crabs legs and Tofurky. What? What is Tofurky you ask? Good question. First let me tell you what it looks like.

It looks a lot like a clean shaven brown coconut that you bake for about an hour and then slice to serve. It is stuffed with some kind of brown stuff and then you slice it, after you slice it, it looks like an over sized boiled egg, something that might have come out of a dinosaur. That was for the vegan’s in the family.

Is this a great country or what?

Friends came over unexpectedly, brought more wine and some wonderful home made cake and we had desert all over again.

We talked about the food and friends who were not there, we talked about Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, social security, Medicare, immigration, football, the basketball lock out, greed and the fact that I am getting a little hard of hearing.

Is this a great country or what?


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Filming Air Force One: The Final Mission

Boeing and other engineers

You know it was our original intention to do a filmed documentary of Air Force One and sell it to one of the cable stations. When we finally started to take the airplane apart the crew was kind of reluctant to let us see what they were doing, I guess from fear that we might photograph something they were doing wrong.  It’s funny though, how used to a camera people can become when it’s with you all day long.

This group of men was something else.  I think I might have told you that, at first glance, they didn’t look like the kind of people you would want your daughters to go out with, you know, hard looking tattooed guy’s who went about their work with hardly any pleasantries toward outsiders.

They were however terrific engineers.  A good deal of their work was done on airplanes all over the world that needed to be taken apart because of crash landings of one sort or another, you know, like planes over shooting runways, wheels not opening and having to land on their belly’s etc.  They had to do their work in all kinds of weather and in real difficult situations. They reminded me of the kind of men that had to go in and put out oil fires, nothing seem to scare them… except a camera.

But as time went on they began to trust us, the two camera men, myself and Michael became friends with them.  Real friends.  We liked each other.  In fact, if there was something that was going to happen that we weren’t aware of they would call our attention to it so that we wouldn’t miss the shot.

Often they would asked us to help them, simple things like communication between the men working in the front of the plane to the men at the back.  There were times when they came to us and asked us if we could run some footage on something they had been working on so they could remember how it looked when it came off.

Thanks to them, we have hundreds of hours of video tape; time lapse images, and still photos of people doing their work in a perfectly natural way in a perfectly unnatural set of circumstances.

Thanks to them, we were able to complete our book, Air Force One: The Final Mission, which has now gone into its second printing, and is being sold in the digital world by Amazon Kindle Direct, Barnes and Noble PubIt, and Smashwords as well as other outlets.  If you want to know more about the project go to our website or  and you can get to know us a little better.

Hopefully, soon we will be able to tell you that we are going into a studio to edit our tapes and all the other images we have, because there is a broadcaster that wants to help us to complete our project.  As for those guys that got this job done. . . if I had daughters, I would surely let them date them; and the work they did on Air Force One, deserves to be seen.


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Pancreatic Cancer

Today was an unusual day for me.  My wife Joan is the treasurer for our community chapter of the City Of Hope.  It’s a great organization, which I’m sure most all of you have heard about at one time or another.  They are probably the foremost cancer research center in the country and we do what we can to help raise money on their behalf. For those of you who are not aware of where the facility is located, it is in Duarte, CA and you can learn more about it if you look it up on the Internet.

My wife and I are both cancer survivors.  Joan had colon cancer and I had pancreatic cancer.  Needless to say it was caught in time and through surgery we made it through the ordeal. Pancreatic cancer; however, is a little more dangerous and the survivor rate resulting from the surgery I underwent is just 2%.

The operation performed on me – called the “Whipple” – was performed at Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. My surgeon’s name Dr. Nicholas Nissen.  It took me a to get on my feet without help and another two years to feel somewhat normal once again.

Today, at the City Of Hope luncheon, I am cancer free and was reminded of those days that, quite honestly, I try to forget.  If this had happened to me as little as ten years ago, you would be reading the writings of a ghost.  So, I thought it might be a good idea to tell you folks about that part of my life, if you or someone you know is going through this ordeal, you should contact the City Of Hope and know there is hope.

For me, the fortune in knowing the City of Hope and in surviving pancreatic cancer, came home to roost again today – I am fortunate to be alive and well. The reality I am working with my younger son Michael, while picking up pieces of the project we were working on before I got sick, is a blessing I am thankful for today. And, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, being thankful seems timely to me.

With the help of our agent|publisher Donna L. Quesinberry, we have been able to get a second printing of our book, Air Force One: The Final Mission.  We now have our own web pages  and , we are on Facebook, Twitter, and Donna has the eBook up and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, Kindle Direct, Smashwords, as well as a host of other places.  In order to promote the book we have started to do some radio talk shows, podcasts, and speaking engagements.  Guess what?  We are starting to get responses from the promotional effort we are all putting into the project.  It is even more exciting than when we released the first edition book.

Check out the web page and you can see a video we put together.  It can also be seen on our YouTube Channel: AF1FinalMission

While I shouldn’t be here, gratefully, I am.  Thanks to modern medicine I am here – this is no ghost talking to you.


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Air Force One Video . . .

Our agent (Donna Quesinberry of dpInk: DonnaInk Publications) phoned me today.  She said she needs some video to put on our website(s) so people who review our blog have a more intimate feeling and involvement with the initial stages of our project – Air Force One: The Final Mission.

She is absolutely right and this is exactly what I have been trying to do with the blogs entries I have been posting. What Donna asked for is a much more difficult task than it appears on the surface. It would seem really simple to develop a short book trailer from our collection of video; however, we had to find a way to make what she wants – happen.

So I went to our original master tapes.  The Air Force One: The Final Mission project resulted in over 100 hours of video-tape; we went to our editing studio of our good friend Mark Pinter.  We pulled out the first ten or so masters and we looked at each one in detail.  I think we came up with about five minutes of video that will give you some idea of what the beginning of this project was like.

The video starts with SAM27000 being pulled out from the “sheriff’s” hangar in San Bernardino, California.  The plane washed down in a spectacular fashion by the local fire department and then moved to the “Disney” hangar where the disassembly process would soon begin.

We called it the Disney hangar because the Disney Corp. had rented it to build and test a ride that they were going to ship off to their theme park in Japan.  They had installed an overhead crane that we would absolutely need to get the rear stabilizers off.  It was our good fortune to inherit that much needed tool.

This book trailer provides some idea of what it was like to remove those stabilizers, which I might add, are designed never to come off!  We have added additional video clips demonstrating the engines coming off, which were all put on trucks and transported to the Reagan Library.  Finally, we added clips of the wings being removed. The events that surrounded this were truly incredible.  I would go as far to say, frightening.

These clips are short, but hopefully will put readers in the the hangar with us.  It took time to pick out and edit these clips so continuity of our processes could be discerned.  I have learned our Agent was right, a picture is worth a thousand words.

We will continue to post additional clips the future.  We will try to give you some sense of  the feeling that we all enjoyed while on our journey to the “Final Mission.”  You will be able to see the clips on

I hope you enjoy them.

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Joel Cohen on What’s My Line

Today, I felt that I was back in the television business.

I live in a community of about 450 homes and we have all kinds of in house diversions to keep people who are retired busy.  You know the kind of things that I mean, from a fully equipped gym to a billiard room, that’s my game.  If I must guess, I would say I’m in the top ten of the players.  We have a lapidary shop, a carpentry shop, a sewing shop, and even our own television station.

The television station is a knock-out.  Really.  They have every thing in that studio to put on a great television show except the talent to do it with.

So the people that like doing that kind of thing are always looking for projects to do and people to do it with.  I’ve had my share of that business, so I more or less have kept what I did to myself.

This one fellow decided he was going to do a replica of the old, “What’s My Line” T.V. game show, and I must say he is doing a pretty darn good job.  For those of you who don’t remember the show, it is simply a panel of people who interview an invited guest and try to figure out what they do for a living.

I like watching the show, and I  am always pleasantly surprised at what some of the folks around here did for a living in the prime of their lives, and what some of the younger people, who are still working, are doing for a living now.

Somehow Jerry found out what I did for a living, and wants me to get involved.  “Sorry Jerry, but that was another life.  I’ll tell you what I will do though.  I think your ‘What’s My Line,’ TV show is really good. If you would like, I will be happy to be one of the contestants on your show.”  Jerry grabbed me by the neck, and made me tell him all about Air Force One: The Final Mission.  He made me feel so good about what Michael and I did – I couldn’t wait to go on the show.

Today, the show aired, I sat back and watched myself on television.  It was a nice feeling.  I haven’t seen myself on T.V. in five years and it was a bit surreal.  I stumped the panel.  In fact, they never even got close to the fact that I was an author, and when they heard what the book was about they kept the camera rolling so that I could show the book to the television audience and explain some of the information in the book.

So, I did the best I could in the short time I had available to me.  Needless-to-say, when I had the chance to tell them to go our website,  so that they could get an even better sense of what the book about, I TOOK IT!

Shameless plug?  Not really.  The way I see it, if you are going to be on television you might as well take advantage of it.  Johnny Depp doesn’t show up on the Tonight Show because he didn’t have anything else to do that night, right?

I hope that the people who watched the show get as big a kick out of it as I did.  Today I was on television again, and it felt great.

~Joel Cohen.

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Joel and Michael Cohen on Dialogue: Between the Lines

Susan Wingate and Joshua Graham with Special Commentator Jill Irbach

Guess what? Michael and I have completed our first Air Force One: The Final Mission Podcast!

This is the first of many in our Blog and PodCast tour.  Our Blog Tour begins November 1, 2011 and lasts for thirty days – the PodCast Tour is ongoing throughout the holiday season.Dialogue: Between the Lines has featured us as their Inaugural Holiday Season Special Guests and we, in turn, have our Inaugural PodCast adventure. Two Inaugural events in one and all related to our book, which features a host of Inaugural greats. . .

Our book, Air force One: The Final Mission is now available on Kindle Direct, PubIt (Barnes and Noble) and Smashwords in digitized eBook format! Sorry for the shameless plug.  I don’t usually like to blog about “what’s for sale,” but I am beside myself with excitement.  You see, this is all new to Michael and I.  Our book is starting to get out there into the digital world, and slowly but surely, so am I.  Thanks to our Agent-Publisher Ms. Donna Quesinberry, CEO-President of dpInk: DonnaInk Publications, (some of you might know her) we are on this exciting new leg of the journey.

I have always been one to have the latest and greatest technology.  It kept me ahead in my businesses.  I can remember starting my international TV program distribution company and communication was then done on a Telex machine.  We were right there when the fax machine came along.  Our PC’s (I think they had 128K of memory with the upgrade) could use our IBM Selectric typewriter as a printer.  Wow, letter quality printing even with a mail merge.  Who could imagine that?  By the way, if any of you don’t actually know what a typewriter is, send me a note and I will explain; or you can just ‘Google it.’

So, for Michael and I, we have gone from the Telex machine to Twitter; from the fax machine to Facebook.  From ‘Word Perfect’ (you can Google that too) to Air Force One Websites; and now… Podcasts!

You know Michael and I have done quite a few radio, TV, and newspaper interviews since the book was first released, and we certainly do our fair share of public speaking about Air Force One, so it didn’t seem like it should be a big deal.  This was different though.  This was new technology.  This was exciting.

So, our first “official” Podcast was on a show called “Dialogue: Between the Lines” with Susan Wingate and Joshua Graham, on  Co-hosting this day was Jill Irbach.   Susan and her partner Josh created this program out of the passion of writing.  Their mission is to help new authors get published, and give exposure to new as well as published authors.

Listen to internet radio with Susan Wingate on Blog Talk Radio

Susan and Jill really did their homework.  They put us at ease, asked us questions that really made us think.  They took us back to the time we were in the process of putting this whole project together.  As a result, I believe we were able to project our true feelings.  We hate just giving facts and figures.  Although that’s important, that’s not at all what our book is about.  Through the types of question they asked we were able to answer with honest human response.  We were able to talk about the people we worked with.  How we came to know them, and how they got to know us, and accept us as part of the crew.  The men we worked with became less and less aware of the cameras and note books, and more and more aware of what we were trying to convey; the history of it all.  The history that they were part of.

What impressed us most about Susan and Jill was their passion for writing and the written word.  They are seasoned published authors in their own right, but it is pretty clear that they will not become millionaires doing this podcast show.  They are doing it because they love it.  They are curious and intelligent people.  They are genuinely interested in the people they have on the show, and they are passionate about helping new authors.  Michael and I were honored and grateful to be on their show and wish them the best of luck with the good work they are doing.  I hope they become millionaires.


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Transforming lives. . .

I have been talking to parents and grandparents about helping to move their children and grandchildren into their dorms for their first year of college.  It was a new experience for me, because both of my sons went to college here in Los Angeles and lived at home while they went to school.

You folks out there who have either helped move your children, grand-children or yourselves into school dorms know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that has to be one of the hardest things a parent has to do.

My sons, Michael and Larry sort of just drifted out from under our wings, and started to make their own way in this world, but when you drop these tender souls off  in a strange place .  .  . lock, stock and barrel and say, “Give us a call to let us know how it’s going. . . ” that my friends, is another ballgame.

If any of you get a chance to let me know how it was for you, I would appreciate hearing about your experiences, and just how you felt that first day and night.

I can tell you, I read all kind of things into the face of my grand-daughter, from excitement, to wonder, to down right fear.  My heart was going out to her, as she was unpacking, what seemed like enough clothes, shoes, and toiletries and “stuff” for about ten people for the rest of their lives.  If only we could have spared her the anxiety, by reassuring her that it was going to be all right, and pretty soon she would begin to get into a routine in which she would feel comfortable.  But, we couldn’t. Ultimately, we had to say goodnight and know in our own hearts that she has been brought up right and will be smart enough to concentrate on her studies, stay out of trouble, and continue growing up.

So, we left, headed for the parking garage to get our car.  We were completely turned around, not remembering which entrance we came in from.  Once we figured this out we needed to determine what landing our car was parked on.  This was the first garage I ever saw where the floors were not marked, instead all of the spaces were marked numerically, and not buy room number either.

So I started to press my remote control for the door, hoping that we would see the lights blinking on the car, guess what?  It worked.  We saw the lights blinking about half way down the landing and my wife Joan and myself made our way over to the car.

I know my granddaughter smarter then I was because, I parked my car in someone’s reserved spot and they didn’t like it.  They took the adhesive notice that was stuck on the wall in front of the car which said, in very small letters, “don’t park here,” and stuck it on the driver’s side window of my car.  I am still trying get it off.  The good news for me is that I remember the number of the space I was parked in and what goes around comes around . .  and sticks.

~Joel Cohen

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Mitigating a learning curve

In preparation for taking some of the parts off Air Force One like the horizontal stabilizers and vertical stabilizer we needed someplace to put them so that they would not get damaged. Because of the odd shape of the components we could not simply put them on the floor or saw horses.

Michael came up with the idea of getting hold of some used mattress and placing them on the nice soft bedding. It was a good idea, but where in the world were we going to get old mattress? So, we set out on an odyssey to find used furniture stores in San Bernardino, lo and behold, there are more used furniture stores in that area than we expected.

We were able to gather up about a dozen old mattresses and put them in strategic places so when parts came off, we would have only a short distance the crane would have to move in order to place the parts on the mattresses.

When the first stabilizer finally came off we almost lost it. Each one of those parts have what they call pick points, you attach cables to those pick points, and hook them on to the crane. In simple language, each part has a point where it will be perfectly balanced providing you put the cables in the proper place on the stabilizer. Since we were working without any blueprints, those points had to be done on a best guess basis. Frank did the math, but it didn’t come out exactly right.

So when the last bolt was released and the stabilizer started to come off, it tilted dramatically to the right of the fuselage and started to come down, off balance, and fast. Frank in his infinite wisdom, had four loose cables hanging from the stabilizer to the floor. Four of our biggest men holding the cables used brute strength to balance the stabilizer so it landed on our cherry picker with hardly any impact. We then released the cables from the stabilizer, which was being held by the crane, and the cherry picker was able to carry the stabilizer to one of the mattress.

We were able to get the right stabilizer off after only one day of work, talk about a learning curve, huh.:-)

~Joel Cohen

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