At work, I’ve got an office for the first time in 12 years. I’ve been in cubicles, and for more than two years in a part of a storage space; long story.
*The only thing on the wall in the latter location was a picture of John Lennon c 1972 which my friend Rocco of FantaCo gave me decades ago.
My wife and my daughter decided to rectify that situation. Most of the items were in the attic, not getting the love they needed.
*The largest item is a print my wife had of Gallery of the Louvre, 1831-33 by Samuel Finley Breese Morse. Yeah, the guy who invented the telegraph was also an artist.
It appeals to me, a picture of pictures in a picture. But I also appreciate that one can be an artist and an inventor too.
*My friend, the late Raoul Vezina, did a pencil drawing of me as the duck and had it framed. The large word balloon reads “SURPRISE, ROGER!” The thought balloon was of me thinking, “Is it time for Agronsky and Company already?” That referred to a news talk show I watched regularly.
The duck is reading a New York Times Magazine, which featured the actual content of the issue dated Sunday, March 7, 1982, SELF-SEARCHING IN ISRAEL by Michael Elkins. I think Raoul gave it to me the next day. The picture reminds me of Raoul, of course, who died in November 1983, but also FantaCo, and my birthday.
*A little picture of a pear in the foreground. The caption: “‘Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!’ exclaimed Red Ball.” My wife tells me it’s suggestive. Whatever.
In a WTEN (Channel 10, Albany) interview of me before I appeared on JEOPARDY! in 1998, I noted that passing the test doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be on the show. The interviewer said what makes the difference between appearing and not. I said, cheekily, “I don’t know, charisma?” And for about five years after that, one of my work colleagues noted that I had CHARISMA.
*There’s a tiny photo of the top of Binghamton (NY) City Hall, which my friend, and ex-girlfriend, gave me. My hometown.
*The last piece is abstract so difficult to describe. I expect from the color scheme it was from Central America. We got it as a wedding present, I believe.
I’m buds with Amy Roeder, one of my competitors, on Facebook.
It was 20 years ago today that I was in a room at my then-church watching myself on JEOPARDY! I was VERY uncomfortable with this – I would have as soon watched it alone at home – but others had talked me into this gathering.
I need not go through the blow-by-blow experience about being on the show. I wrote about it extensively when I started this blog in 2005, a serial with cliffhangers at the end of each installment, which you can read HERE. The pieces are below the links. They’re also on this site for those dates, Saturdays starting on May 28.
In fact, as I’ve noted, it was being on JEOPARDY! that convinced me that I had enough stuff to write about, at least for a little while. Since I needn’t recap this period, I thought I’d mentioned how the show has changed.
For one thing, the show does an online audition, whereas I did mine in person. The value of the board doubled three years after my appearance. They now give cash prizes to the runners-up.
The most significant change was that, starting in September 2003, a contestant who won five consecutive days could keep playing instead of retiring undefeated and showing up in the Tournament of Champions. For all sorts of reasons, I’ve always opposed the change. And for this season, there’s their FIRST-EVER TEAM TOURNAMENT! I’m not excited.
I still watch the show every day. Well, that’s not technically true. I record it every day and watch at my leisure. So I hate it when JEOPARDY! becomes newsworthy, such as a Sudden Death Tiebreaker! first in regular play.
Or when someone’s noted as an eight-time winner in a news story when I’ve only watched his fourth episode. I now knew he would win those next four games. (That happened last year with bartender Austin Rogers.) It seems that recent champions are more quirky, in the main.
I’m buds with Amy Roeder, one of my competitors, on Facebook.
Steve Gerber, comic book writer extraordinaire, posted about writing in April 2005, essentially saying, “Writers write.”
Since I just hit my 13th anniversary of writing this here Ramblin’ with Roger blog thing, I’d thought I’d describe why I do it.
I’ve mentioned before that my friend Fred Hembeck had started a blog, that friend Rocco had tipped me off to same, and that I read everything Fred wrote, which meant going back about two years.
And Fred was prolific. He wrote every day, usually pieces a lot longer than I write currently. Then I would comment on his blog, and he would mention me therein. I gave him a couple ideas; for instance, I found a page of record album covers based on other album covers, which still exists.
So I thought, maybe I could do this myself. But what would I write ABOUT? I only had two topics that I KNEW I would have to cover. One was the Daughter, who was a little over a year old. I said to myself when she was born that I would write about her in a baby book that people give to parents of newborns, where you track when the child first crawls and walks and gets the first tooth.
There is incontrovertible evidence that I was TERRIBLE at this exercise. Instead, I would write about her every month, on the 26th. And I have, every month, although it’s often been as much about ME having a daughter after I’m five decades old.
I started writing in my Blogger blog on May 2, 2005, and I have written every day, at least once a day. In the early days, it was tough because Blogger didn't let me schedule posts. I remember writing at a library in Lake Placid during a break in a work conference.
I was inspired by what the late Steve Gerber, comic book writer of Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, the Defenders, and other Marvel comics I loved, posted about writing in April 2005, essentially saying, “Writers write.”
Oh, the duck. At FantaCo, I was editing something called X-Men Chronicles. I had extra pages to fill, and so Smilin’ Ed artiste Raoul Vezina and I pieced together a story about the rodent buying a case of a popular comic book. I appeared as a duck because… well, I don’t know.
Around that time, Raoul drew the duck for my friend Lynne. In 2010, when I was getting my own URL, Lynne’s husband Dan, who recognized me from the caricature when he met me on the street back in 1985, scanned the drawing, and I have used it ever since, on the Ramblin’ with Roger blog, Twitter, and Facebook.