J. Lee Shares His Top-5...

Each month, J. Lee will share some of his favorite things, including movies, books, holidays and more.  If you have a suggestion for a topic, please share it with us on the contact page.

J. Lee’s Top Five Website For The Writing Process  

This month, J. Lee was asked to list the top-5 websites he references while writing.


J. Lee’s Top-5 Spring Activities

  1. Riding my bicycle on the Illinois Prairie Path

  2. Playing Golf (though it rarely happens these days)

  3. A round of Frisbee Golf (far more likely)

  4. Fresh, cold watermelon on the back deck

  5. Long exploratory walks through different towns

J. Lee’s Top-5 Sporting Events

  1. NCAA March Madness College Basketball

  2. Summer Olympics

  3. World Series

  4. Winter Olympics

  5. Super Bowl


J Lee’s Top-5 Desserts

1. Caramel Popcorn

2. Oreo Ice Cream Cake

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie

4. Chocolate Malt

5. Strawberries & Cream


J Lee’s Top-5 Creature Comforts

1. Large desk with a bright lamp

2. Warm cup of coffee on a coaster (see below) and in my usual mug

3. Outline by my side

4. “Basement” sweatshirt and slippers in case it gets cold

5. Silence (as if such a thing exists in a house with small kids)


J Lee’s Top-5 “Things I Just Don’t Understand”

The world is comprised of different people, voices and opinions.  That’s part of what makes it so interesting. While I try to understand all of them, here are a few that still perplex me:

1.     LLCs, i.e. “Left Lane Cruisers” ~ The Autobahn has no speed limit yet fewer accidents than most US interstates.  If you’re not passing, or you’re an egg timer by nature, no problem. Just move it on over to the right. It’s more relaxing that way for everyone, yourself included.  Who wants a speed demon on his or her tail?

2.     PGA Wannabees ~ We all have a touch of childhood fantasy in us and a finite amount of time in life.  To me, the guy putting for a triple bogie, throwing grass in the air to check the wind direction and examining the roll of the green for ten minutes like he’s trying to win the Masters seems to have too much of one and not enough of the other.  

3.     Chronic Tardiness ~ Maybe it’s because my life now runs like a German train schedule, but eight-thirty means eight-thirty, doesn’t it?  When John Smith is chronically seven minutes late with a different excuse each time, I can’t help but question whether or not his car really caught on fire or that “parade of geese” really “refused to exit the crosswalk on Broad Street.”

4.     Cell Phone Daters – When I see two people on a date at a restaurant glued to their individual cell phones, part of me wants to inquire as to why they went on the date in the first place.  Candidly, the other part wants to request both of their phones and stick them in the nearby ice bucket.

5.     The Coaster Rebel – The whole reason drink coasters exist (and presumably the reason people buy them) is to protect a table’s surface, right?  So if someone has a drink, a coaster and a table…why wouldn’t they use it?

My evening downtime tends to involve television and I’m kind of an old soul.  So here are a few TV shows from the past that still do it for me today:


J. Lee’s Top-5 “Old School” TV Shows
1. Seinfeld – This relatable show about nothing still makes me laugh every time I watch.

2. The West Wing – Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced dialogue and stories are so compelling I can’t watch just one.

3. Saved By The Bell – This show is just plain fun.  I like to make sure the episodes didn’t change since the prior fifty times I’ve watched them.

4. 24 – Every single episode ended with a cliffhanger better than the last.  And almost every guy I know wanted to be Jack Bauer.

5. Quantum Leap – This show is not in the same category as the other four for me, but it feeds my fascination with time travel and there’s no ongoing sappy love story because every setting is different.


J. Lee's Top-5 Favorite Books
1. The Lord Of The Rings – the best book ever written. I read it every year and my wife literally has to wave her hand in front of my face to pull me away from Middle Earth.

2. Heart Of A Champion – great YA read about the purity of baseball and the unfortunate things that can distract us from it.

3. Owl Moon – an enchanting story for kids. I am taking my daughter owling this winter despite living near a big city. Should be fun.

4. Predictably Irrational – provides a cool take on why we all unknowingly do the things we do. Brace yourselves for head scratching.

5. Ishmael – philosophy isn't usually my genre, but this story always gets me thinking.

J. Lee's Top-5 Favorite Movies
1. Shawshank Redemption
2. Back To The Future
3. The Godfather
4. Sandlot
5. Die Hard