Friday 5: Arachnid Guy

  1. In what way do you have great power and great responsibility? I think that can be said of writing. You have a lot of power to tell a story or expose something or express something, but also a responsibility to everything from the other people involved if it’s nonfiction or a responsibility to tell a good story, maybe a responsibility to readers and editors, responsibility to be honest with yourself and your audience.
  2. When have you recently swung into action on very short notice? That’s been a lot of the last few days. My dad’s been in the hospital, so we’ve mostly been visiting, but we’ve also swung by my parents’ house to take care of the dog.
  3. What’s the closest you’ve come to being stuck down with great vengeance and furious anger? Are we talking about incurring someone else’s wrath or someone incurring mine? I’d give you both, but I can’t speak for what other people are thinking or doing and what sort of vengeance they may wish for me…aside from a few solid guesses. And they times I have been a victim of someone’s vengeance and anger, it wasn’t so much a close call as it was an overwhelming fury. As for my end, there are times like at family functions, both on my side and my husband’s, I’m only ever a glass of wine and someone else’s tiny misstep away from letting them know how I really feel.
  4. What’s something memorable in a museum you’ve visited? I’ve seen a lot of awesome things in museums, especially art–I’m a big fan of French art and always love seeing it in person. But I maintain my stance that the Holocaust museum in D.C. is one of the most important in the country and that everyone should go at least once. I was raised by a World War II buff and was exposed to a lot of information about the war and the Holocaust from a pretty young age, but seeing some of these things in person is sobering. I’ve been there I think two or three times, and two things stand out to me: one of the train cars used to transport people and a room full of shoes taken from people. I can remember the smell of the leather and the sheer number of shoes piled into this room.
  5. Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met while traveling? I don’t know. I feel like I’ve mostly had brief encounters with people, but the other night, my friend Marissa, my cousin Meredith, and I were reminiscing about how when we vacationed in Mexico a few years ago, a girl about our age was vacationing with her mom and came in our room to drink with us one night.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Secret Agent Man

Secret Agent Man (1966)

Unfamiliar with this week’s song. Hear it here.

1) This is the theme of a TV show that ran on CBS from 1964-1967. The series was produced, and originally aired, in England. The BBC has shared many shows with American audiences over the years. Can you name another? I can’t think of one that re-aired here, but I can think of plenty we remade.

2) The show is about John Drake, a special agent dedicated to exposing plots that threaten world peace. A quick check of Netflix and Goodreads reveals that spy stories are just as popular today. Is espionage a genre you enjoy? Do you read books, or watch shows and movies, about spies? I do enjoy it, although not often. I do have a few TV shows and books on my list to check out, though–AMC’s old Rubicon is one of them.

3) The lyrics tell us Drake travels from the Riviera to Bombay. Where were you when you last spent the night away from home? Why were you there (vacation, business, international intrigue)? I was in a hotel in Erie for my sister-in-law’s wedding.

4) The refrain states, “They’ve given you a number and taken away your name.” In today’s digital world, that could now be said of all of us. Are you good at remembering your computer passwords? Yes and no? I’m good for using variations of the same one but forgetting exactly what the variation is.

5) Patrick McGoohan, who played Agent Drake, went from being a good guy to appearing as a murderer on Columbo four times. Were you a fan of ColumboNever saw it.

6) Born John Ramistella, this week’s featured artist, Johnny Rivers, grew up in Louisiana. He took “Rivers” as his stage name because he grew up along the Mighty Mississippi. If you were to change your last name based on the geography of the area where you grew up, how would you be known? Rivers would be a good one, but other good choices are mountain/hill, field, wood/forest.

7) In 1966, when this song was popular, Jacqueline Kennedy was the woman most Americans admired. What famous woman do you admire most? (She doesn’t have to be American.) Ooh, I don’t know. It probably changes, but I can’t pick one right now.

8) 1966 also found another Jacqueline was in the news. Jacqueline Susann’s first novel, Valley of the Dolls, was atop the best seller lists, even though it was savaged by the critics. What’s your guilty pleasure? What book, movie, TV show, or song do you enjoy, even though you know it has little artistic merit? Eh, I honestly think almost everything has artistic merit. But I will tell you that I quite enjoy watching 90 Day Fiancé and that I will probably willingly read/watch any cheesy drama about animals, and that includes the recent films about dogs’ lives and this book series I’ve seen that appears to be a mystery series centered around cats.

9) Random question: Imagine you’ve been stranded alone in the woods for 10 days. No companionship, no internet or phone or TV. You have been sleeping in the dirt, living on berries and river water. Your rescuers drive you to a hotel. Upon check-in, what’s the first thing you do? Assuming the rescuers hadn’t already notified my loved ones that I was, you know, not dead, eat, hands down, no question. I couldn’t function otherwise.

Friday 5: The Hot Seat

  1. What’s a yummy pan-fried dish? Ya know, I was really thinking about it, but honestly, I just like a good fried egg. But I have had some pan-fried tofu dishes that I’ve really enjoyed.
  2. What’s a yummy slow-cooked dish? Pretty much any soup, especially if it’s my grandma’s recipe.
  3. What’s a yummy deep-fried dish? Again, pretty much anything. I absolutely love fried pickles and fried zucchini. Deep-fried Oreos have also won me over.
  4. What’s a yummy blanched dish? I honestly don’t know.
  5. What’s a yummy smoked dish? I don’t have a good one for this, either–since smoked dishes tend to involve meat or fish and I eat neither, I’ve never really had much smoked that stands out.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Bonanza

Saturday 9: Bonanza (1959)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Bonanza ran on NBC for 14 seasons. Today it’s rerun on Me-TV and TVLand. Were/are you a fan? No, I’ve never seen it.

2) The show centers on The Cartwrights, who lived on a massive ranch in Nevada. License plates in Nevada read, “The Silver State.” What’s on your license plate? The Keystone State.

3) Ben Cartwright made his fortune as a cattle rancher. What’s the last beef dish you ate? I’m a vegetarian, but given that my grandma’s food was my weakness, it was probably her beef soup.

4) Patriarch Ben had his eldest son, Adam, with his refined, bookish first wife, Elizabeth. Unfortunately, Elizabeth died in childbirth. Still Adam inherited her love of the written word. What’s the last book you finished? An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. I finished it yesterday and really enjoyed it. It was a neat little piece of kind of sci-fi, I guess? And for the record, that was a library book and my new current library pick is Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart by Joyce Carol Oates. So…completely different there.

5) Ben’s second son, Hoss, was born to his second wife, Inger, who was killed as the family traveled West by wagon train. Hoss inherited her open, friendly manner and her way with animals. Are there pets in your home? Of course! My husband’s gecko, which he’s had since he was 12, and our cat that we haven’t had a year yet.

6) Ben’s youngest, Joe, arrived after Ben married a third time to the passionate Marie, who died in a riding accident when her son was only five years old. Little Joe inherited her impetuosity. Do you consider yourself more spontaneous or predictable? It’s time I just accept that I’m a predictable person.

7) Samuel Clemons was a reporter in Virginia City at the time when the Cartwrights would have been there, and a fictionalized version of Mr. Clemons appeared in an episode of Bonanza. Without looking it up, do you know Samuel Clemons’ famous pen name? Yep! Mark Twain.

8) Hair was a big deal in the Bonanza dressing room. Three of the original four stars — Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts and Dan Blocker — all wore hairpieces. (The fourth, Michael Landon, began dying his hair while still in his 20s because he was going prematurely gray.) Have you ever worn a wig or a hairpiece? First of all, I have a longstanding crush on Michael Landon. But to answer the question, yes, I have. I wore a dark-brown bobbed wig in a high-school musical, and then outside of that, my friends and I were fans of donning bad wigs and hats and going out in public like that. Shoutout to the Taco Bell employee who nearly lost it and laughed but kept it together while we ordered.

9) Random question — Tell us the story behind one of your scars. I don’t really have any interesting ones. I don’t have many to start with, but right now, I do have one on each leg from the cat–one on my left thigh, one on my right shin. Both are from her trying to use my bare skin to brace herself.

Friday 5: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

  1. What’s a snack item you have difficulty eating in moderation? In general, I’m pretty good with moderation, at least in the sense that I don’t eat unhealthy snacks on a daily basis. But in terms of, say, not pigging out in one session? Chips, obviously, and ice cream. If I’m out getting ice cream, I am almost definitely not getting a small serving.
  2. What’s a verbal habit you’d like to break? I should say cussing, but that would be insincere. So filler words. I don’t think I use them a ton, at least.
  3. What have you removed from your life after some struggle to do so? Ooh. The wrong people, in part because I have a tendency to let people get away with a lot of nasty behavior in the name of keeping the peace. And look, it’s never gonna be 100% gone–there will always be people I don’t want to see but can’t avoid, and that goes for all of us. But if I have more control over who I see and when and for how long and even how I react to them, I’m good.
  4. Where do you go just because you’ve always gone there? I think when my husband and I are looking for a place to go eat in town, we forget about a lot of places because we have our staples in mind.
  5. What’s something you hope continue forever? Writing, my marriage, my general values.

From Friday 5.

Saturday 9: America the Beautiful

Unfamiliar with Frank Sinatra’s 1945 version of this song? Hear it here.

1) In 2016, a group recommended that this week’s song replace “The Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem. They maintain it’s just as beautiful but easier to sing. How do you feel about this? I see the logic, but I think part of the appeal of “The Star Spangled Banner” is the history. This country isn’t really a fan of breaking from longstanding ways of doing things.

2) Katharine L. Bates said her lyrics were inspired by a trip to Pike’s Peak. What’s the most beautiful American spot you’ve ever visited? Nothing stands out, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. I actually think this country has a lot of beauty to it. I live near mountains and rivers, and I love vacationing at beaches. I think there’s a lot to appreciate.

3) The music was written by organist Samuel Augustus Ward. Both Bates and Ward were very formal when signing their names professionally — she including her middle initial and he with his full middle name. How about you? When you sign checks or documents, do you use your middle name or initial? Not usually, but there have been times when I’ve needed to.

4) In 1945, when this version of the song was recorded, America lost Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Frank Sinatra said, “I lost a hero.” What late, great American hero from our past would you like to honor today? Ooh, I don’t know.

5) Also in 1945, a 19-year-old “hoofer” waited outside the Los Angeles radio station where Sinatra was being interviewed. That was the beginning of the friendship between Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra. Tell us about your oldest friend. I have a few friends that I’ve known since middle school, and they’re great for a fun time.

6) The Fourth of July means we’re in the middle of summer. Are you careful about applying sunscreen? If I’m not gonna be outside very long, no, but if I am, definitely. I can’t afford not to be with this fair skin.

7) Mosquito bites can be a major summer annoyance. Are you scratching any itches right now? I have dry skin, so something is usually itchy somewhere.

8) Emergency rooms report an increase in wrist injuries in summer, with people falling off bikes and skateboards and jamming their wrists catching hard-hit softballs. Have you  been to the ER or Urgent Care during 2019? I have not, but one could argue I should’ve seen someone a couple weeks ago when I was pretty sure I had an ear infection. But I’m kind of prone to getting them and kind of tired of going to MedExpress every damn time.
9) New York is home to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest every year on the 4th. Will hot dogs be consumed in your household this weekend? Vegan ones! I eat them for lunch sometimes.

Friday 5: Freeeeeeeeeedom!

  1. What’s a movie that makes you feel patriotic? Probably The Patriot and Independence Day.
  2. When you first started driving, what’s something you did mostly because you could? I was far more willing to run stupid errands or drive my brother back and forth from hanging out with friends or soccer practice. I also liked long drives a lot more than I do now, but a few months of driving over an hour to work and then two-ish years of having to drive three hours to visit my husband when we were dating in college killed anything I liked about it. It gets old fast.
  3. What’s a good song whose title contains some form of the word “free?” “Olly Olly Oxen Free” by Amanda Palmer, and, of course, “Freedom! ’90” by George Michael and “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty.
  4. When did you last unexpectedly receive something for free? On the 4th, my husband and I didn’t really have plans and decided to just kind of hang out and run to Home Depot to pick up a portable air conditioner unit that was ready for pick-up, and we wanted ice cream. After trying Rita’s and Dairy Queen, McDonald’s was our last resort. He ordered an Oreo McFlurry, but they accidentally made one of the new Stroopwafel ones instead and just let us have it.
  5. What’s something you’ve given freely in recent weeks? I was gonna say my time, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve even done that. Except maybe giving my time to help decorate for my husband’s sister’s wedding, but that’s just part of my duties as an in-law, not to mention beyond fair since she made all of our wedding favors for free.

From Friday 5.