Another Hodgepodge from Sunday Stealing

Music and books: how predictable

amy hodgepodge.lost and foundHodgepodge is such a strange word. hodge·​podge ˈhäj-ˌpäj: a heterogeneous mixture: JUMBLE. “A hodgepodge of styles.” So here’s another hodgepodge from Sunday Stealing.

-What’s your favourite childhood memory?

Too tough! Here’s A favorite memory here.

-Do you sing in the shower?

Yes, often in harmony with the vocals I hear in my head.

-What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

I don’t think there’s a single item. The wealth of music and books that many people have given me over the years.

-Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors?

Indoors. Outdoors is hot and sticky in the summer, and I get wary of sunburn because of my vitiligo. Or it’s cold, as it is now, and I have difficulty getting warm enough. I like May and September outdoors, in general.

-Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My ex-girlfriend’s sister.

-What do you keep in your bag or handbag?

When I used my backpack more often, it often had my bus pass, masks, spare pair of sunglasses (because I tend to misplace them), a spare hat (ditto), and my bicycle lock.

-Can you knit?

No, and I can’t really sew. I’ve done it rarely, and usually, someone will look at my work and say, “Let me fix that.” So I’ve stopped even trying.

-How many hours do you sleep each night?

Seven. Usually three, then I wake up, play Wordle, and go back to bed.

Role models

-Who is your role model?

I have LOTS of role models for different aspects of life. The problem with having role models is that they are human. So someone could denigrate that choice for their human foibles. But I’ll pick Nelson Mandela after he was released from prison as A role model.

-Who was your first-ever pen pal?

I need to define what a pen pal is. Are we talking about someone I did not know before? Maybe I’ve never had one. But starting with going to college, I wrote many letters to my friends.

-What has been your favourite job so far?

No doubt, working at FantaCo, the comic book store I worked at from May of 1980 to November of 1988. 

-What is your favourite go-to recipe for mid-week meals?

I don’t think I have one that doesn’t involve a microwave. I like making lasagna, for instance, but it’s not quick and easy.

-How often do you eat in a restaurant?

Pre-COVID, 20 times a year. Now, maybe eight times a year.

-Are you close to your family?

It’s a small tribe. My wife, my daughter…

-Do you have any siblings?

I have two sisters who I talk with weekly on ZOOM. They each have one daughter.

-Which phone app could you not live without?

I’m an extremely late adopter. So I know that I could live without a cell phone altogether; I did it for years. On the other hand, OTHER people couldn’t cope; I was nagged about it repeatedly before I had a decent phone. Entities such as medical facilities practically require them to let them know you are coming or that you are there. My need is dealing with what the external world demands of me, not my internal need always to be connected.


-If you could afford to volunteer full-time for a charity, which would it be?

“Afford” is an interesting concept here. When I was working, I felt as though I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I wanted to do. Now that I’m retired, I spend some time doing tasks for the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library (FFAPL). Also, I do some things for my church.

But here’s the thing: I don’t WANT to volunteer full-time for ANYTHING. I want to spend time reading, writing blog posts, seeing movies, working on genealogy, traveling, taking naps, et al. I don’t WANT to volunteer full-time for ANYTHING, despite how worthy, say, the programs of the FOCUS Churches are.

-Who is your favourite YouTuber?

It’s the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green (no relation), who are the ONLY YouTubers I can actually name.

-Have you ever been a bridesmaid or a groomsman?

Yes, at least four times. On successive weekends in October 1976 in two different upstate New York cities, in 1979 or 1980 and 2002.

Hodgepodge is named for me?


Fellini SatyriconThere’s a hodgepodge for Sunday Stealing. But first, what is hodgepodge? As far as I can tell, hochepot came from Anglo-Norman French and Old French. So hocher is ‘to shake’ (probably of Low German origin) + pot ‘pot.’

This became hotchpotch in late Middle English, which, besides being an assortment, also means a mutton stew with mixed vegetables. The late Middle English: alteration of hotchpotch is hodgepodge “by association with Hodge (a nickname for the given name Roger ), an archaic British term used as a name for a typical agricultural worker.” Huh! For the record, I’ve never worked in agriculture or in food services.

1. What’s something you’ve recently accomplished solo.

Moving that broken branch.

2. What’s one product you use that never ever fails?

Golden Oreo Cookies never fail to put a smile on a friend of mine.

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

I think you have to keep reevaluating this, lest you become complacent.

Hated it

4. Worst movie you ever saw?

I’ll go with Fellini Satyricon (1969), which I saw in college. An IMDB review notes.  “Then comes along a movie, teetering on the thin line of questionable success where one can not tell whether there is a plot or not. If, while watching Satyricon, you find yourself wondering whether it is going to wrap up finally into an understandable conclusion, after which you can satisfactorily murmur, “Aahh yes, now I got it’. Well, in the end, there is no such luck.”

Rotten Tomatoes gives it 79% positive reviews from critics and 75% from audiences. But Penelope Houston from the Spectator writes: “Satyricon achieves a curious dual effect. It walks all over the audience with its gross, greasy detail, and at the same time, it is deliberately uninvolved and uninvolving.”


5. What’s the last fun thing you did?

Went to see the play ABCD at the Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, MA, this past week. Here’s a review.

6. What’s your favorite Italian dish?

Eggplant parmigiana. In fact, if I want to compare Italian restaurants, it’s my go-to.

7. Have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so, what site or city would you most want to see?

No, yes, and Auray, because I have a friend I have known since 1977 who lives there.

8. Have you ever been to Disney or any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They’re open right now, so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip?

Never been to any Disney park. My feeling about Disney is complicated. I do like a lot of their cartoons, especially the Pixar films. But the company is too big, owning Star Wars, Marvel, ESPN, and ABC-TV. Still, I’d take a FREE trip.


9. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like Mighty Mouse?

I can be quiet in my living room, taking my blood pressure daily. People who see me in venues where I’m comfortable (church, e.g.) see me as more gregarious than I see myself.

10. Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot-out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What’s your favorite kind of bread?

I don’t bake bread, but my wife does, and she made several loaves this past winter using the breadmaker. My favorite was oatmeal bread; she used molasses.

11. What’s something you might say is ‘the greatest thing since sliced bread’?

The computer.

12. Share with us five little things you’re grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T.

Tallness, Tylenol, television, telephone, telemedicine.

13. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

I was in college at New Paltz, NY. I have diaries of the time which I will have to read.

14. What’s on the menu at your house this week?

Spinach lasagna zucchini.

15. Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons?

I used to, but haven’t in decades.

Sunday Stealing hodgepodge

2 Samuel

Sunday StealingThis Sunday Stealing hodgepodge was so detailed that I could have written whole posts about a few questions. And in fact, that’s why I’ve done it here a few times, link to items previously discussed.

1. Where do you get your news these days?

I’ve thought about this a lot. I get a lot of newsfeeds, “mainstream,” progressive, and what one might call rightwing. About the latest mass casualty event, I receive a dozen notices. Elon Musk dithering about whether to buy Twitter I read about ad nauseum.

Yet the first time I read that Bob Lanier, Hall of Fame basketball player and an apparently really good guy had died, it was in from Kelly’s blog. And the second was from a weekly newsletter that linked to this article. It’s more and more difficult to know everything.

2. Do you like crab meat? What makes you crabby?

It’s OK. People hijacking the Consitution and/or the Bible.

3. Does freedom mean more choices? Have you ever felt there were too many choices? Elaborate.

I think we have a gazillion choices of picking watching TV/movies, e.g. – so many platforms! Sometimes keeping track of the options is essentially impossible.

4. Barbara Millicent Roberts was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959…that’s Barbie to most of us. Did you have Barbies as a kid, or did you let your own children play with Barbies? What well-known Barbara (living or not) would you most like to meet?

I think my sisters may have had a Barbie. I can’t think of a famous living Barbara I’d like to meet, but maybe Barbra Streisand.

5. What are three things you value most in another person?

Integrity, intelligence, and compassion.

THEY are old…

6. How would you define “old.” At what age is a person old?

It’s always been true: 30 years older than I am.

7. A place you’ve been that’s “old.” Tell us something about your visit there.

My Grandma Williams’ house was old and is now non-existent. This is a picture of my parents in the backyard of 13 Maple Street, Binghamton, NY.

8. Something you miss about the “good old days.” When were they?

In the 1960s, there were a bunch of Supreme Court decisions that were making the United States a better place: Mapp v. Ohio, Baker v. Carr, Gideon v. Wainwright, New York Times v. Sullivan, Griswold v. Connecticut, Loving v. Virginia.

9. In what way are you a ‘chip off the old block’? Or if you’d rather, in what way is your child a ‘chip off the old block’?

My daughter understands my motivation in terms of time usage, way better than her mother does.

10. Old fashioned, Old Testament, old-timer, same old same old, old glory, good old boy, old wives tale…choose an ‘old’ phrase that relates to something in your life or the wider world currently and explain.

My Bible study has been slogging through the Old Testament histories, presently in 2 Samuel. While some of the theology is mystifying, it is an interesting reflection of human foibles.

A juicy mango

11. July 5th is National Hawaii Day…have you ever been to Hawaii? Any desire to visit or make a return trip? Pineapple, mango, or guava…what’s your pleasure?

Never been to Hawaii, though I’d like to. There’s a story about that. Pineapple, though I never had mango until the last decade or so.

12. Last time you were ‘thrown in at the deep end’? Explain.

The Gutenberg block editor on WordPress, which I wrote about here. Just this past week, I tried it again, but could not “get” it.

13. Sun, sea, sand, salt…your favorite when it comes to summer?

I’ve NEVER done sun for the sake of it – ixnay on the unbathingsay, and that was before I had the vitiligo.

14. Bury your head in the sand, the sands of time, draw a line in the sand, pound sand, shifting sands…pick one and tell us how the phrase currently relates to your life in some way.

Sands of time. I’m getting older, and achier.

15. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = make your own rules and 10=like a warden), how strict were your parents? If you’re a parent where on the scale do you land?

My dad was a 7.3, and my mom was about 2.3. I’m much closer to my mom’s score than my dad’s.


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