It was this red shoestring licorice we bought about two blocks from the school
Got a bunch of questions, great questions. Gracias. I’ve been thinking about them, some of them A LOT, but some are going to require longer answers than others, and I’ll have more time in the next week or two (I hope).
Were you ever into fossils or dinosaurs? What is your favorite dinosaur?
Not in any kind of systematic way. I mean they were collectively cool, but I didn’t study them very thoroughly. I got frustrated that several of the ones I knew as a child have totally different names, and theories as to their origins are different. Some are now birds that were thought to have been reptiles, etc. Rather like the planets of our solar system, where I once knew how many moons each planet had, but no longer. I’ll pick T-Rex; always liked Bang A Gong [LISTEN].
Have you ever had your IQ tested? When? What was your IQ?
Yeah, at least a couple of times, but they never told us. Once in fifth or sixth grade, some of my classmates discovered our scores but no names were attached. Someone was in the 140s, and we all figured it was friend Carol (not my wife Carol). There were three or four in the 130s, which we surmised were friends Karen, Bill, and me. But we really had no idea.
Did you ice skate as a kid?
I don’t believe so. I have no recollection of it. And not as an adult except once, and it involved wooing Carol (my now-wife).
How do you memorize skits for plays? (This one is fairly urgent… 😛 )
Repetition, optimally with another person, or persons, reading the other parts. But I HATE doing long speeches, soliloquies because I have a hard time memorizing them. Unless they’re poetic, and I can make a song out of them. *** SamuraiFrog wants to know:
At what age did you feel like you became an adult?
62. (Not entirely false.)
I suppose it was when I bought a house, and I was 47. Not sure I like this growing-up stuff. *** Jaquandor, who is in the midst of answering MY questions to him, wants to know:
You’re given enough money for a road trip someplace in the US…not enough to fly anywhere in the world, but enough that you can pay for gas, food, and lodging someplace in this country. Where do you go?
I’d do a bunch of baseball parks by train. But if we’re talking a single location, I’ll pick Juneau, Alaska, because it’s the farthest state capital one can get to by land. If I’m limited to the continental US, then Seattle, WA, or Portland, OR, because I’ve never been to either of them, and they are in states as far from me as possible.
*** Tom the Mayor, my FantaCo colleague, asked:
What was the first comic you remember reading? And the first book?
The first comic I have no idea. It may have been Archie, or Richie Rich, or some other Harvey Comic. The first superhero comic was almost certainly DC, Legion, or maybe Justice League.
I had these Golden Books, but I don’t quite remember them individually. I also had the Golden Book Encyclopedias, and those I remember reading voraciously.
What was the first movie your parents took you to?
Not sure. Can’t remember seeing any movies with my father except for the drive-in. Maybe it was the 1960’s version of State Fair; or did I go without my mother? 101 Dalmatians? Early on, it was West Side Story.
What was your favorite candy as a kid?
It was this red shoestring licorice we bought about two blocks from the school, right across the street from friend Bill’s house.
Do you Kiss your wife and daughter in public? Did your parents kiss you in public?
Yes, and The Daughter still lets me! Not that I can recall, and I don’t know if they kissed my sisters either. *** You can still Ask Roger Anything.
Spaulding krullers came in an unmistakable orange- and white-striped boxes. This was “our” doughnut because their bakery was in Binghamton.
It was like a tsunami of memories of my hometown, Binghamton, NY in a 48-hour period, and it took me quite by surprise since I usually don’t think that much about the place.
ITEM: There’s a guy named John who remembered my parents and grandmothers. He’s been following me on Facebook for the last few months. He attended the church I attended, Trinity A.M.E. Zion in the hometown, and was in the junior choir about a decade before I was, under the direction of Fred Goodall, who was there for decades.
John had a good friend named Butch Skeene, (b. 1940) also in my church junior choir before I was, who performed in the music business from 1958 to 2013 in that area and beyond. I’m sure I’d heard him perform at some point; I know one of my sisters did quite often in our Binghamton days. Anyway, he died this week of cancer, and I was oddly saddened, as though I had lost a relative.
ITEM: I’m at the dinner table, and suddenly I remember these doughnuts we used to get when my sisters and I were kids, either white powder or plain. Three rows of four, with a cellophane top so you could see inside. I remembered that the logo was blue and white, but I couldn’t remember the BRAND name.
After doing an Internet search, I’ve discovered a whole world of upstate New York Baby Boomers all in a desperate search for Spaulding Krullers! Apparently I wasn’t the only one hooked on these wonderful doughnuts with their delicious nutmeg flavor
More informative was this piece from an Oneonta newspaper last year:
Another iconic doughnut was the Spaulding kruller. They came in an unmistakable orange- and white-striped boxes. This was “our” doughnut because their bakery was in Binghamton, their distribution center was on Market Street in Oneonta and they could be found in every mom-and-pop store in every community no matter how big or how small. They mastered the art of making the sugar doughnut. Rather than just being a snowy dust ball that ended up flaking all over your new shirt, the Spaulding sugar kruller had a mysterious paste-like quality to it that allowed the sugar to stay (mostly) on the doughnut and not on your clothes. Spaulding eventually went out of business, being bought up by Stroehmanns and today is owned by (believe it or not) Bimbo Bakeries!
Spaulding krullers still come in the familiar orange-and-white-striped box that carries their company slogan, “famous for flavor.” It may be just me but now that they’re made by Bimbo they don’t taste anything like the ones that came out of the bakery on Exchange Street in Binghamton oh those many years ago.
How the heck did I forget that striped box? I DO recall that, unlike most powdered sugar donuts you’d eat now, the powder DID stay with the donut, as also noted in this piece and this one. Apparently, Bimbo has discontinued the brand at the end of last year, alas.
ITEM: My baby sister saw a name on Facebook and the surname reminded her of Binghamton, where she hasn’t lived since 1974. I knew of some of these folks too, but the kicker for me is that the very first girl I ever kissed, named Mary, had the same surname. It may have been a mistletoe-fueled passion, and nothing ever came from that moment, but still..
Here are some songs about kissing, all of which charted on the US pop charts.
Some couples have “our song” or “our place.” My wife and I seem to have “our drawing.” It is, of course, “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918). My wife has a book about it, we have it on a mug, and at some level, it is an idealized version of us.
Klimt, according to Wikipedia, painted it “between 1907 and 1908, the highpoint of his ‘Golden Period’, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of conventional oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance…”
“Klimt was 45 when he painted The Kiss, still living with his mother and two unmarried sisters,” yet reportedly had, let’s say, an active romantic life. There was a 2006 film called Klimt, starring John Malkovich, which I did not see, but it did not review well.