Amy is looking forward to hearing my replies to two questions:
Where did you meet your wife? Always wanted to ask that one!
Meeting my wife was not that interesting a story, actually. Now getting back together…
I was going to my former church, the Methodist one, and sang in the choir. I was also chair, at different times, of the Administrative Board and chair of the Council on Ministries, which essentially provided for “planning and implementing a program of nurture, outreach, witness, and resources in the local church.”
When I was COM chair, I recruited her (I think) to be chair of the Membership Committee, even though she was a fairly new member herself. So when my previous relationship went south, we went out for about a year and a half. Then we broke up, for good and understandable reasons.
But we were still friends, even though we went out with other people. I even attended an intense 34-week Bible study called Disciple at her house in 1996-97. that was the last time I read the Bible all the way through, BTW.
It was a strange time. I was in her brother’s wedding in September 1996. Eventually, around August 1998, I decided that we should get back together, though she was apparently unaware of this until October 1998, when I kissed her; I think we were at Five Rivers.
Apparently, she had sought the opinions of her family that she should get back with me. And right after my win on JEOPARDY, we did. And since we were, er, older, we got married six months later, with her late brother John, who had always been a Fan of Roger, in the wedding party.
In my hometown
Also, what were your favorite places to go to in Binghamton when you were a kid?
Spring Forest Cemetery was very close to my grandma Williams’ house and only a block from my K-9 school. Sometimes, we would go sledding there, on the roads, not near the headstones, thank you.
And cutting through the cemetery was the shortest way to Ansco field, where we played baseball. I loved baseball, but I wasn’t that good at it. I didn’t even get to be almost competent until I was in college. As I mentioned, Valley Street Park and miniature golf were very near my home.
Movies! I went mostly to the Ritz on Clinton Street, and the Strand and Riviera on Chenango Street, very close to where my mom worked, at McLean’s department store. Occasionally, the Crest on Main Street. BTW, these are all defunct.
The wonderful Sharp Little Pencil wrote a response post to my recent piece about neighbors. Hers is entitled The Noisy Neighbor and the Quiet Neighbor. This reminds me of an earlier period of blogging when the late Dustbury and I would inspire to write and expand ideas. Occasionally, Jaquandor and Arthur still do that with me.
And speaking of the guy who moved from Illinois to Kiwiland 26 years ago, he is celebrating his 15th anniversary of blogging. (As I noted to him, blogging that long is a sign of a crazed individual.)
In truth, I’d recommend the entirety of Arthur’s output in September. It is the month in which he deals with grief – two years or 104 weeks since the death of his husband Nigel. But he also addresses the idiosyncrasies of measuring time. (BTW, on that specific subject, see also John Green’s piece How We Spend Our Days.)
Also, I need to check out the book about and co-written by, my friend Diana de Avila, called Soldier, Sister, Savant. As one of the reviewers noted, “She survived a deadly motorcycle accident while serving in the military police; she overcame her devastation when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; and one day, she awakened as an acquired savant.”
Now I Know: The Officially-Living Person That Doesn’t Exist and On the Power of Listening and How to Stop a Menacing Walrus and The Man Who Went the Wrong Way Into the History Books and Why (and How) a Dead Man Committed a Murder and Ask the Elves for Permission First, OK?
When Even the IEA Sounds an Alarm on Climate, the World Must Listen. “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans, and land,” – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Burnt parts of Pacific forests are landing on the Atlantic.
Lying about vaccination status. Some people are going to intense lengths to get unauthorized COVID booster shots and When it comes to COVID vaccines, look to the Founders for answers
Now I Know: The Village That Went Dark and Was Proud of It and The Staircase With the Traffic Light and Happy Belated Birthday, Australian Horses! and The Hidden Danger in the Walls of Your Old House and Why Congress Gets Free Men’s Magazines and Where’d the R in Mrs. Come From? and The Bugs That Make Danger Glow and There was once a Mickey Mouse gas mask. Here’s why and The Great Cookie– er, Biscuit– er, Cake Debate of 1991
2021 Literary Legends Tickets on sale NOW. The program is on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at the Pine Hills branch of the APL. Support the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library and join us as we celebrate this year’s honorees, Lydia Davis and Eugene Mirabelli. General tickets
The Friends and Foundation were very sad to learn that former Friends president Paul Hacker passed away in July. This follows the news about David Colchamiro, who passed away in June.
Coverville 1366: The Depeche Mode Cover Story III and 1367: Tribute to ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, and Cover Stories for Tony Bennett and Martha and The Vandellas and 1368: Track by Track Album Cover – Who’s Next
Tell you what: you write the screenplay and I’ll send it off to Jada Pinkett Smith. Actually, if there WERE a screenplay, I’d probably send it to Nelson George – I backed one of his Kickstarter projects – and he could get it to Spike Lee, with whom he has collaborated.
Maybe it’s because I just saw my niece singing with him, but I was thinking El DeBarge, of that singing DeBarge family, or Prince. If you needed a younger actor, maybe Jussie Smollett from the show Empire, which I’ve never seen, or Drake.
Who is your favorite ex-president?
My first strong awareness of an ex-President was Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), who I was SHOCKED to discover that he was still alive by the time I first learned about The Great Depression. I must confess that I was entertained by Richard Nixon, who tried REALLY hard to be an Elder Statesmen of the Republican Party, writing books, and pontificating, hoping that we’d forget about that Watergate thing.
My second favorite ex-President has to be John Quincy Adams, who went back into the House of Representatives and argued the Amistad case before the Supreme Court.
But clearly, Jimmy Carter has set the standard for former Oval Office occupiers. If it was just for all the Habitat for Humanity houses he helped build, that would be impressive. But he has also worked vigorously on preventing and eradicating diseases in developing nations.
“A major accomplishment of The Carter Center has been the elimination of more than 99 percent of cases of Guinea worm disease, from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986 to 148 reported cases in 2013 to 23 in 2015.” He’s also been involved with peace negotiations and observing elections.
I recently turned 50, so I’ve been thinking a lot about aging and time and so on lately.
If you could go back in time and talk to your 20 year old self, what three pieces of advice would you give him to try to improve the decades he has ahead?
This is a tricky question. By my 20th birthday, I was already married, and two years later, I was separated. So:
Do I say to him what he ought to do in order to try to save the relationship OR assume those facts to be immutable. and advise him how to survive it better?
If it were the former, I might insist that we not allow boarders, who I didn’t even know, to live in the apartment. I might have been more willing to go with her to the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August 1974, and if I didn’t, to be more direct in finding out what happened hat led to her fortnightly treks out of town the next six weeks, something I don’t know to this day.
If it were the latter, I would suggest seeking counseling earlier, drinking less in 1974-75, save more money, do more exercise… But you know, and I’ve said this before, probably recently, all of those good and bad decisions made me who I am today, for better or worse. I’m not sure he’d believe what I’d say anyway. It’s like at the end of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy realizes that she had to find out for herself.
Has it become harder to maintain any interest you have in football, as the head-injury thing becomes more and more clear?
I saw the movie Concussion, about a doctor (Will Smith) dealing with this very subject, CTE, in the National Football League a few months ago; it’s a good, not great, film. In the film, another person not from the United States explains to the doctor the sheer beauty of the sport.
So, not yet. Well, maybe, in that The Daughter thinks watching football is stupid, and a lot of that comes from the head injury debate. The Wife has never particularly enjoyed the sport. So it’s taken a hit in viewing in my household to those rare times that I have the TV home alone on a Sunday afternoon.
VERY seldom do I watch TV much after 9 p.m., including football, because it’s bad for my sleep cycle.
Now the league, in particular, could do more. The one game I watched at any length this past season was the New York Giants (my team in my childhood) against the Carolina Panthers (playing in the city my late parents moved to). The officials should have bounced Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for repeated helmet-smacking of cornerback Josh Norman, including a head-first attack.
Strawberry. My favorite yogurt is strawberry. My favorite ice cream is strawberry. My favorite sundae topping is strawberry. For a time, when we used to go to IHOP, I would order the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity strawberry topping on my pancakes, in part because I liked saying “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.” As though one wouldn’t.
There’s a local convenience store chain around these parts called Stewart’s and they make decent ice cream. But they’ve ceased selling strawberry by itself, only with vanilla, or with vanilla and chocolate. One CAN get a hand-packed strawberry pint, though.
What’s inside your perfect taco? (And is the shell hard or soft?)
It’s softshell – that’s easy. Guacamole, tomatoes, and lettuce. It has to have onions, and of course, cheese.
I don’t eat that much pork generally, so the taco is probably shredded pork, though chicken or beef are good too. But shredded. I’ve seen these things with solid meat, or fish, and they don’t say “taco” to me.