Tuesday, April 26, 2011

7 Random Facts

A happy Tuesday everybody!  Something a bit unusual for Robert Frost’s Banjo today: a meme.  Yes, if you read on you will discover seven random facts about yours truly.  Interestingly enough (to me at least), I discovered that I’d done this same meme once before & had come up with seven completely different facts.  We really don’t ever step twice into the same river.

As a rule, I don’t go in for memes, but I was (pleasantly) surprised this weekend to find out that I’d been named the recipient of a blog award.  I should be clear in saying I decided quite a long time ago not to display awards on this blog or to pass them along, as I find the latter  situation more than a bit awkward—someone is always bound to be left out.  But in acknowledgment,
here are seven random facts:

1.    I played in an amateur baseball league while I lived in San Francisco; I was an outfielder/second basemen on the Mission District baseball team; we played in the Roberto Clemente League.  I was not particularly good—a slap hitter with a slow bat & a very so-so & inconsistent player in the field.  But I had some good moments & mostly had a lot of fun.  Although we were playing hardball & at times against some pretty talented dudes, the Mission District team was mostly made up of musicians & poets! 
2.    When I was junior high, I played sousaphone for about 6 months.  I played it very badly, & also had a teacher who was not a patient (or particularly pleasant) man.  It was also notable because I was quite small until I was in my mid teens—I think the sousaphone was as big as me!
3.    After I received my MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia, I stayed in the grad English department for a year with the intention of becoming a medievalist!
4.    My mother was 40 when I was born & my father was 42.  That’s not so uncommon nowadays, but was considered quite old for having children when I was born in 1956.  My mom is still with us—she turned 95 this February.  Because I was born in my parents’ middle age, I only knew one of my grandparents—my mother’s mother lived with us until she passed away in 1966. (I suppose those are facts #4 & #4A.)
5.    I’m particularly fond of “classic” mysteries as nighttime reading, with my favorites being Conan Doyle & Dorothy Sayers.  I like Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey & Ngaio Marsh as well.
6.    In my youth I owned (at different times) both a Volkswagen Bug & a 1978 Chrysler New Yorker.  The latter actually could fit 10 people (as we proved one Charlottesville New Year’s Eve)!
7.    My wife Eberle & I have watched every episode at least once of the original Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine & Star Trek Voyager, & have watched each of these series from start to finish in order.  We’ve watched most of the Star Trek Next Generation episodes as well, & are planning on watching that series in order later this year.  In fact, in the case of Deep Space Nine & Next Generation we’ve watched a number of episodes multiple times.  We’re big fans, but no Klingon suits, Vulcan ears or conventions for us!

NOTE: This post was revised on 11/2/11 because the blog I originally referred to is one I can no longer support.


  1. Hi John!

    I have to tell you that you have positively made my day with this post!

    Thank you so very much for mentioning my blog and for participating with seven random facts about yourself!

    I am literally grinning from ear to ear! :)

    I do love your blog and it has been fun to learn more about you through your list.

    You are correct in saying it is a bit awkward choosing people for awards because someone is always left out! I think I will concur with your decision in the future, but this time around was quite fun!

    Thank you, once again, my friend!

  2. Hi Rach: Well, so happy to have brought a smile to your face, & I had fun with this. & to reiterate, I really appreciated your thinking of me & RFBanjo. I guess the blog award thing is an individual thing (like everything, right!)--I have been fortunate enough to receive a few, but at a certain point I decided to take the blog in a direction where they didn't seem to fit so well. But I've appreciated any time I get positive feedback about Robert Frost's Banjo!

  3. Congratulations on your award. My parents were also in their 40s when my brother and I were born. See, how it works is, when people have kids early in their marriage, those are just "practise" children. They don't count. Parents have to keep trying until they have the perfect child. It takes some of them until their 40s to do that. When they've got that perfect kid (or kids if it's twins), then they can stop. You can't do any better than perfect.

  4. Hi Jacqueline: Thanks so much. Your theory certainly works in your case! By the way, by hook or crook (as you may have noticed) I'm reviewing "Beside the Still Waters" on Thursday!

  5. I loved the Sousaphone fact! My father had me at 52 almost 53. Which was much older indeed. He had my half-sisters when he was 19 and 21. So you can imagine the age gap there.

    I think I might do one of these posts! Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Ha, John! I would have never guessed that you and Eberle were such trekkies :)

    Nice knowing a little more about the man behind the blog and banjo...

  7. Hi Raquelle & Rene

    Raquelle: I'd love to see a list of 7 random facts from you! & you (& Jacqueline & Rene too for that matter) certainly qualify as versatile bloggers. I didn't know that about your half-sisters, tho I did know your dad was not young when you were born. That is an age gap! My sister & I are 8 years apart, which is significant, but a lot less than that.

    Rene: You just never know who's going to be a Trek fan! Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. This was fun to read.

    The part about the Chrysler made me laugh (reminded me of those lyrics from "Love Shack" - hop in my Chrysler, it's as big as a whale, and it's about to set sail!)

    There's a book of short story mysteries I finished a few months ago that I liked - The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories (Christie and Marsh are in it).

  9. Hi HKatz: The Chrysler--yes it was just like that! The Oxford anthology sounds good. As far as the short works go, I'm very partial to Conan Doyle. I love Sayers' "The Nine Tailors" & the Wimsey-Harriet Vane tetralogy--really all the Wimsey books, as well as "Documents in the Case." I find Christie a little hit & miss at times, but "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" is quite a remarkable book.


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