Character actors, she wrote

I’m hooked on “Murder, She Wrote” reruns.

Oh, the acting isn’t particularly wonderful. Still, there’s something about Angela Lansbury’s J.B. Fletcher that keeps me coming back to Cabot Cove, Maine, night after night.

The best part of the show is the guest stars.

When I watched the shows the first time around, I didn’t know who many of these people were. Now, my favorite part of the show is the opening credits where a long list of guest stars is paraded across the TV screen.

Tonight’s episode featured veteran actor John Astin, Mike Connors of “Mannix” fame, and a very young, innocent-looking Jim Caveziel who now stars as the enforcer on CBS’s “Person of Interest.” I get a kick out of seeing the faded stars getting another chance and the younger actors before they hit the big time.

Sometimes, the only thing I tune in for are the opening credits. I like to check it out to see if I will recognize at least one of the guest stars in their younger days. I almost always do.

I like it best when murder comes to Cabot Cove because I like all the quirky townsfolk, especially grumpy doc Seth Hazlett played by William Windom. Maybe it’s because I’ve met him, but mostly I think it’s because I’m partial to grumpy old men.

Often, they move the action to Hollywood, New York City, Ireland, Paris or even Egypt. I guess the odds of a weekly murder in Cabot Cove weren’t that good or all the townspeople would have been killed before the show made it to syndication.

I don’t know how many shows they actually made, but it was enough for the Hallmark movie channel to show two episodes every week night. So episode after episode, we get to watch Jessica take local and big-city law enforcement down a notch or two or three as she puzzles out who the true killer is. And when she announces it, you tell yourself it was so obvious.

Not me, though. A lifetime spent reading Agatha Christie and other mystery novelists and I never quite figure out who the killer is. Maybe that’s why I keep coming back for more.

Well, gotta go. The second episode of the night is about to start and I’ve got to catch those opening credits.

The odds are

My days are numbered — and so are yours.

I’m not sure when this happened, but my life seems to be totally ruled by numbers.

It wasn’t always like that.

Growing up, I only really needed to know two numbers — our street address and our telephone number. With those two numbers, I knew where to be and who to call if I got in trouble.

When I turned 16, I got my social security number. Perhaps that’s when the downhill slide began.

If it had only been that one hard-to-memorize nine-digit number, I would have been fine. After all these years, it is tattooed on my brain.

But then a little thing called computers came along and numbers have been ruling and punishing us ever since.

Mostly those numbers beat us up in the form of passwords. I have one for facebook, for online surveys, for my retirement account … it goes on and on. I almost had a password for my personal computer but I pleaded with my computer guy to bypass that somehow. I am the only person who uses this computer so why would I need to password protect it? The only person it would be protected from gaining access to the computer would be me because I keep a list of my passwords on — you guessed it — my computer. It’s in an email file.

As Sister Georgia would tell you if you were to ask, I was never good with numbers, even as far back as eighth grade. Once I got past addition, subtraction and long division, I was in a hell hole that I’ve never been able to climb out of.

I have numbers for the IRS, numbers for cholesterol and blood pressure and, worst of all, numbers for, a group that just can’t get enough numbers from me no matter how many I send. I’m pretty sure that is affecting my blood pressure numbers.

I prefer words. So I’m giving numbers a break for a while and I’m picking up an espionage book. There are probably numbers in there, too, but the spies will have to memorize them while I go along for the ride.

My blood pressure should be just fine.