25 Random Things

My friend Rick Paul (Facebook page) tagged me in the 25 Random Things meme.  Take a big gulp of coffee (lower and upper case) friends, because I’m going to give it a try:

1. When I was in Kindergarten, my report card had a place to note disabilities.  Right beside “hearing loss” and “poor eyesight” was “left-handed.”  I am left-handed, and they made me write with my right hand.  I think the teachers were all commies- the name of the place was The Little Red Schoolhouse.  I blame all my problems on those mean ladies.  If not for their treachery, I’m sure I wouldn’t have bought Citibank at $50.

2. I have a very distinct false memory.  I talked about it (and even drew a picture of it) here.  I wonder if I can sue Santa Claus for not really bringing me that video game.  With a head start like that, I would’ve been a Pac Man Jedi in college.

3. Back in the eighties, I read every one of the John D. MacDonald Travis McGee mysteries in a row and in chronological order.  Right after I finished, he hosed me by dying.  Later Larry Brown (see item 12 below) did the same thing.  If you’re an author and I start reading all your books in order, be very scared.  Surely there’s a Japanese horror movie in there somewhere.

4. I think Richard Shindell’s Are You Happy Now is the most well-written song I have ever heard.  It’s not my favorite song ever, but both lyrically and musically I think it is the most well-written song.  Every time I hear the “Cinderella checked her watch” verse it sends a chill down my spine.  You can buy this excellent record at Amazon.  You can’t buy any of my excellent records at Amazon for two reasons.

5. While not very random, I deeply, madly and completely love my kids, far beyond any emotion I would have previously believed myself capable of.  Of course, they all know this and think they own me.  The other day, my 7 year old said, in a calm, teaching voice, “look, just because you’re older than me doesn’t mean you get to boss me around all the time.”  I really didn’t have a good reply for that.

6. I knew some of the guys that formed the Marshall Tucker Band in high school.  Tommy Caldwell was a very good golfer AND a rock star.  Previously, I would have thought those to be mutually exclusive.

7. When I was a little kid, Tog’ls were far and away my favorite toy.  I loved them so much that I later bought a bunch of them on eBay for my kids.  So far, none of them share the love.  Now if there was a Tog’l app for their iPods…

8. When I was in college, I was a huge Al Green fan.  I listened to his records all the time, to the point that it drove my roommates crazy (Andy, Al and Carter will attest to this).  Then I heard a cover of Al’s Love and Happiness by The Amazing Rhythm Aces, and became a big fan of theirs.  Later, I realized that my sister’s neighbor was Russell Smith, the lead singer for the Aces.

9. I started writing songs in my early teens, mostly in a failed attempt to impress chicks.  One of my songs was recorded by some friends of mine while we were in high school.  I remember another friend calling me over to her car one day because that song was on the radio.  I wish it was that easy to get my songs on the radio now!

10. I’ve had my ear pierced twice, in college and then much later in the Bahamas while on vacation.  Both times with my buddy Carter (see item 8 above).

11. I remember the first Grateful Dead song I ever heard: Uncle John’s Band.  I instantly became and continue to be a huge fan.  My oldest daughter, Cassidy, is named after a Grateful Dead song.  When she was born, I emailed John Perry Barlow and told him we’d named her after one of his songs.  He wrote her several emails.  How cool is that!?

12. I love modern southern gothic literature (or whatever you call it).  Cormac McCarthy, Larry Brown and William Gay are among my favorite authors.  I also like vintage pulp science fiction, such as Andre Norton and Edmond Hamilton.

13. I think Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the funniest movie ever made.  Other hilarious movies that come to mind are Spaceballs, Raising Arizona, Bad Santa and the greatly overlooked Idiocracy.

14. I love computers and software.  I wrote a shareware game (Touchstone Trilogy) back in the eighties, was briefly a game designer for a small software company and have built computers from parts.

15. I am scared of heights.  When I was a kid there was this tree house in the woods by my house.  It seemed like it was a mile high.  It used to terrify me climbing up, and terrify me even more starting the climb down.  I know why cats sometimes wait for the firemen.

16. When I was a kid, I had this red transistor radio I won playing bingo at the beach.  I’d lay in bed at night with that single earphone and listen to WOWO from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  One far away station, but somehow it seemed more compelling than the multitude of music choices today.

17. I once got an email from the Professor.  And, while you didn’t ask, the answer would be Mary Ann.

18. I am bored to tears by politics.  I have voted for more democrats than republicans for President, but I think many of my democrat friends are supremely unrealistic and utterly naive.  I’m not sure what this says about me, but I don’t think it’s good.

19. I grew up in Cheraw, SC, a great little town.  I wrote all of one and part of another song the last day I spent there, after my mom died:  My Mother’s House and Raccoons and Foxes (the latter co-written with Ronnie Jeffrey).

20. My cars in order are 1972 Chevelle Malibu (brown), 1978 Camaro (silver), 1986 Saab 9000 (red), 1988 Jeep Cherokee (red), 1992 Explorer (green), 2001 Expedition (blue) and 2008 Toyota Tundra (red).

21. I am an Eagle Scout and went to the Boy Scouts World Jamboree in Norway in 1975.

22. When I was a kid I had a pet flying squirrel named Secret.

23. While in college I (and a lot of my buddies- you know who you are) watched General Hospital religiously.  Remember the Ice Princess?

24. I once woke up and saw a ghost (or something unexplainable that looked like a ghost) hovering over my bed late at night.  I thought I was imagining it, until I noticed that my cat was sitting on the bed staring up at it too.  Oddly, it wasn’t a scary experience.  Later, as a party theme, my friends and I had a psychic come in and try, unsuccessfully, to summon it back.

25. I drink only occasionally and then very moderately (although last Saturday night was a major exception to that rule), have never smoked a cigarette and do not eat sweets.  Never fear- I have lots of other bad habits.

I don’t know how to tag people in Facebook, where I got tagged by Rick.  So if you see this, are my (lower or upper case) friend and have not already answered this meme, please consider yourself tagged.