My Life In ABCs

So why do some people call me George?

This seems like a suitable abecedarian follow-up to ABC Wednesday, which I did on Tuesday. Here is something from a Thursday Thunks from a few months ago, which I’m actually doing on a Thursday, which is unusual.

“This week is going to be easy… just one question. Ok, well maybe not so easy. Take each letter of the alphabet and describe something in your life… don’t skip any!”

A – Apples. I like them, especially McIntosh and Macoun, which is a cross between the McIntosh and Jersey Black; not as tart as the Mac.
B – Beatles. My wife got for me the Mono box for Christmas; it’s only in the later albums, Revolver and the white album in particular, where I really hear the difference between that and the standard recordings.
C – California: almost certainly the state I have flown to the most. When I visited my parents in North Carolina, I sometimes have gone by car or train. But seeing my sister in San Diego, it’s by air. Also flew to my niece’s graduation from Berkeley a few years back.
D- The Defenders. One of my favorite Marvel Comics (Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, the Hulk, and others) and one of my favorite TV shows (E.G. Marshall and a pre-Brady Bunch Robert Reed as father-and-son attorneys).
E – I like eggs poached, fried, scrambled, deviled, boiled, or in an omelet. The salmonella scare hasn’t reached New York state – yet.
F – French. the language I took in high school. By my third year, I was pretty bad, so my skills are rather rudimentary.
G – Green. Last name, also a favorite color.

When I’m giving my name, I say “Green, like the color,” and about 30% of the time, I’ll get the response, “Is that with an E?” which is really confusing, because it actually has two Es. What they mean is whether there is an E at the end. NO, it’s LIKE THE COLOR.
H – Hockey. I actually saw it played once live, in Albany. It was an exhibition between USA and Sweden, i think. It’s a much better sport in person than on TV.
I – Ice cream: strawberry is my favorite. I’ll generally pick vanilla over chocolate.
J – Jigsaw puzzles: I have an amazingly little patience for them.
K – I know way more Kellogg’s cereal commercials than anyone has a right to.
L – My father AND my sister are both named Leslie. This caused ME some difficulty. Since people knew my father had a child named Leslie, they would assume it was me, and folks at church called me Little Les, which irritated me greatly.
M – Mourning. I went to more funerals between September and November 2004, three, than I have in some whole years.
N – Night. I used to be a night person before I started going out with my now-wife; now 10:30 p.m. is really late. Can’t even make it to midnight on New Years Eve anymore.

O – Odetta is the late folk singer who, along with Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, and Pete Seeger, had a large effect on my father’s music.
P – Paris. If I had a chance to go to one foreign city, it would be Paris.
Q – I usually did well on surprise quizzes in school as a kid, especially in math.
R – Roger. My name. So why do some people call me George? Just a couple of weeks ago, a colleague who’d known me for years asked for George Green. It must be the J sound, the common letters; oh, I don’t know. Also, even my grandfather spelled my name Rodger.
S – I have two sisters, no brothers. I used to wonder what it’d be like if I had had a brother, though not for a long time.
T – I like tea, but I don’t drink coffee. Actually, i don’t drink tea that much either unless it’s cold out.
U – There is this couple from my old church that returned to Mongolia, then came back to the United States. She works for the United Nations, maybe 160 miles away, but I haven’t had a chance to see them again.
V – “Villain” is one of those words I have to think about, lest I spell it incorrectly, as “villian”. “Nuptials” is another, which I want to spell “nuptuals”.
W – When people come up to me on Wednesday morning and tell me, “Well, the week’s half over, we’re over the hump, it’s almost the weekend,” I cringe inside. I’m more receptive on Thursday morning, though I do worry about people wishing their lives away.
X – I believe the first X-rays I ever got, aside from dental, were on my left knee in 1994 when I had torn my meniscus.
Y – I have no particular skills with the yo-yo, or for yodeling.
Z – The only zoos I recall going to were in my hometown of Binghamton (NY), the Bronx (NY), and San Diego (CA).

The Scenario

Hair in my food?

I found this at something called Monday Mayhem, only the URL spells it “mahem”. Whatever. It’s rather like Sunday Stealing except the lists tend to be shorter. I thought this one from January was rather interesting.

1. You see a strange car pull up to your neighbor’s house every day at lunchtime. You accidentally glance into the window of the house and notice that your ‘happily married neighbor’ is fooling around! What do you do?

Well, it depends very much on my relationship with the neighbor and the neighbor’s spouse. It might be that I would do absolutely nothing at all if I didn’t know them well. If the one fooling around was my friend, I probably would mention it to him/her. If the neighbor’s spouse was my friend, I would almost certainly mention it, not to my friend, at least initially, but to the cheating spouse, with a recommendation to end the affair; whether I told my friend would depend on the actions of the person “fooling around”.

2. You are at the mall and a mom with really annoying screaming little kids is walking in front of you. She goes to give her kids a quarter for the giant gumball machine and she accidentally drops a $10 bill and doesn’t realize it. What do you do?

Say, “Hey lady, you dropped something!” Don’t know how the noisy kids factor into this. Right is right.

3. You get an email from a candy company telling you that they will send you 6 pounds of delicious chocolate if you blog about their product. When you get the product and try it you realize that it is the worst chocolate that you have ever tasted. What do you do?

It’d be one of two things: 1) I just don’t write anything at all, especially if it’s a small company, or 2) I write a negative review, probably filled with qualifiers such as “unfortunately, I found the candy pretty much inedible. I have to wonder: was this just a bad, or tainted batch, or is this what they sell regularly? If the latter, I can’t imagine long-term success.”

4. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous and annoying things someone could do. Yet, what would you do if you were driving and listening to the radio when the announcer says that he will give $10,000 to the first person with your name that texts a message to him?

Well, assuming I actually knew where my cellphone was, if I were driving, I’d pull over at the first opportunity.

5. You’ve been invited to your boss’s house for a dinner party. It’s dark out and there is poor lighting when you get there. As soon as you get inside you realize that you have stepped in dog poop and you have tracked into your boss’s house. What do you do?

Well, it would depend on whether it was the boss’s dog. If it was, I’d say, “I’m afraid I just stepped into some dog poop” without specifying. Conversely, if I knew for sure it WASN’T my boss’s dog, I’d launch into a tirade about people who don’t curb their pets.

6. You are at a restaurant waiting for your food to arrive. You’ve waited nearly 30 minutes since the moment you placed your order when your food finally shows up. There is a hair on the top of the food. Do you send it back and wait another 30 minutes or do you deal?

I send it back and leave, paying for the drinks and salad already consumed. All the restaurant studies suggest it is the experience, not the quality of the food, that makes the most impact on whether one has a good or poor dining experience. Another half-hour wait would make it a poor dining experience, no matter how good the food was.

7. If you had the power to do so, what would be the one question that you would like to ask anyone who reads this?

Why do they call it “reality television” when the circumstances are so artificial, anything but real?
Exene Cervenka of the band X co-directed Bad Day (1986), a “20-minute, silent, black & white western to pay tribute to the early days of the one-reel westerns,” starting John Doe (X), Dave Alvin (Blasters), Chris D (Flesh Eaters), Kevin Costner (yes, that Kevin Costner), “now available for digital download on a pay-what-you-will basis…a portion of the proceeds from the film are going to Gulf Coast aid organizations.”


30-Day Challenge: Day 7-Favorite TV Show

History is respected by noting in the almanac some interesting event that happened on that date. It notes the passing of significant people and institutions.

Ah, a single favorite. Well, I mentioned five possibilities here.

Early favorites included Captain Kangaroo – there was a character named Mister Green Jeans! – and most Hanna-Barbera cartoons (Yogi Bear, Huckelberry hound, Top Cat).

Later, the Fugitive, and pretty much any Quinn Martin production. Also, any show with a lawyer: Perry Mason, of course, but also The Defenders, starring E.G. Marshall and a pre-Brady Bunch Robert Reed as father-and-son attorneys.

Sitcoms from Norman Lear (All in the Family, Maude), pretty much anything from MTM (Bob Newhart Show, St. Elsewhere). Barney Miller. Taxi.

JEOPARDY!, of course. 60 Minutes.

But when I think of one show I’ve watched for years and would miss it if it were gone: CBS Sunday Morning. It’s a magazine on the air, covers a wide variety of topics, both hard news and entertainment features. History is respected by noting in the almanac some interesting event that happened on that date. It notes the passing of significant people and institutions. Commentary comes from a variety of POV, some of which I even agree with. The show explains trends that I need to know as a librarian in an entertaining way.

It’s been on for over 30 years, initially hosted by the late Charles Kuralt and, since 1994, by Charles Osgood. When it first started, I used to watch it leisurely in real time, while reading the paper. Later, I would record it on the VCR, or now, the DVR, for watching, sometimes only a section or two at a time, but it is structured so that one can do that too.

Now, if you forced me to pick a scripted show, it would have to be The Dick van Dyke Show, a program with the perfect mix of home and family life. It didn’t last too long or was canceled too early, though it almost was. Carl Reiner was smart enough NOT to cast himself as the lead. Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley) was from my hometown of Binghamton, NY. And Mary Tyler Moore wore those capri pants.

30-Day Challenge: Day 5 – Favorite Food

Do I HAVE a favorite food?

It’s much easier to pick the things I DON’T like.

Ah, a tough one. Certainly, I’ve stated my love of spinach lasagna. Partly, it came from the realization that I didn’t have to cook the noodles beforehand; no, you don’t need to buy those special noodles, you just need extra tomato sauce. But I don’t have it very often. Same goes for dishes with duck, or a beef steak.

I do know that I tend to like things mixed more than plain. Cheerios and shredded wheat is better than either component.
orange juice and cranberry juice
cottage cheese and apple sauce
sharp Cheddar cheese and a Ritz cracker

Thing is, I don’t like that many things over and over. I eat a lot of chicken, but it becomes tolerable only because it’s prepared in different ways.

Though I have gotten into ruts. If I have a bagel, it’ll always be cinnamon raisin, if it’s available. Likewise, strawberry ice cream, lamb saag (spinach) from the local Indian restaurant. My candy choice tends to be plain M&Ms, which I eat in color order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown); it’s part of the enjoyment.

Do I HAVE a favorite food? I suppose it’s spinach, a function of propaganda from daily doses of Popeye on television as a child.

It’s much easier to pick the things I DON’T like: things with peanut butter; things with the artificial banana flavor (I like bananas) or almost any fruit; anchovy; cauliflower; sauerkraut. Don’t drink coffee, beer, vermouth or Scotch, so I don’t like coffee ice cream, e.g.

30-Day Challenge: Day 4 – Favorite Book

What about “real” books, books with actual sentences?

About a month before Carol and I got married, some of our friends threw us a party. We were supposed to answer a series of questions about each other. I was supposed to pick her favorite book; don’t know what I chose, but it was wrong. It was 100 Years of Solitude, which I had never heard her ever mention.

She guessed the World Almanac. Some folks declared skepticism about her pick, but it was dead-on right. It’s a book I’ve gotten every year except maybe a couple since I was 10.
Now that the computer is so ubiquitous, can’t I find the same info online? Probably most of it. But I know where to find it in this book, with a notation for the source of additional data; in some ways, THAT is more significant than the initial information. Besides, sometimes I don’t WANT to be on the computer.

Indeed I love my reference books on music, TV, movies; that’s why the former is on my list for The Giveaway (see right column until July 3, 2010).

But what about “real” books, books with actual sentences? Certainly, one of the most significant is Lying by Sissela Bok; except for a couple books on the Beatles, it’s one of the books I’ve read more than once all the way through as an adult.

Another would be the Bible, but that’s a special case. Sometimes it’s just too oblique for me. In our Bible study, one of the goals is to ascertain what the reading means for today. But there are plenty of readings, in Leviticus, e.g., that I can’t fathom., even after repeated study.

So I pick the book with the facts and figures as my favorite.

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