I've always been meaning to do one of these lists, so here goes. I'll break it down in smaller bites so as to not gag anyone.
1. I have blue eyes and brown hair. When I was born, however, my hair was a dirty blonde color.
2. I have lived in Texas all of my life, including stints in Houston, Austin, Friendswood and Waco.
3. I have traveled to 38 of the United States as well as the District of Columbia. I’ve got 12 more states to visit before I die: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, West Virginia, South Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota and Alaska.
4. Sadly, like many Americans, I have only been to two foreign countries: Canada and Mexico.
5. My favorite song as a very young child was “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary. I still love it.
6. The first LP I ever got my parents to buy me was the second album by the Monkees, “More of the Monkees,” the one with “I’m a Believer” and “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone." I played it until the grooves disappeared.
7. I have a habit of cracking my knuckles, which unnerves Mrs. Muley.
8. Since I was a somewhat fat child all throughout elementary school, I got the honor of playing Santa Claus in my first grade Christmas play. I didn’t need a lot of extra padding. I had to pantomime to “The Night Before Christmas,” including puffing my pipe and shaking like a bowl of jelly.
9. I became a Houston Astros fan at a young age, back when they routinely occupied the National League cellar. I would listen to the game broadcasts on a little AM/FM radio in my room.
10. I signed up for the “Astros Buddies” club one year, and listed my favorite Astro as Jesus Alou. I got a membership card with his photo on it.
11. Speaking of the Astros, the summer before my freshman year in college I worked in “food service” at the Astroworld amusement park in Houston. I sold soft drinks, made hamburgers and peddled Pink Things out in the blazing Texas sun.
12. I have three brothers, all younger than me. I’m the only one of them who has either married or had kids. One of them still lives at home with my parents. I don’t see them very often.
13. I once was urinated on by a lion in a zoo. I must do a post about that some time.
14. My favorite Charlie’s Angel when the show was on TV was Cheryl Ladd, but now I think I like Jaclyn Smith the best. I was never a big fan of Farrah Fawcett-Majors, especially after she started knocking around with Ryan O’Neal.
15. I played trombone in junior high and high school. At one point I was thinking of switching to trumpet, so I took lessons and learned to play that as well. As a result, I ended up being able to play trombone, trumpet, baritone and tuba.
16. I can also play the triangle.
17. My mother describes my heritage as “Heinz 57 variety.” My ancestors were German, Czech, Polish, English and even Native American. We got around.
18. One of my ancestors supposedly an early Texas settler. As a result, I was accepted into membership to the Sons of the Republic of Texas. I have never been to a meeting, but I’m a member.
19. When I was a radio and TV reporter, some of the famous people I got to interview or ask questions of in news conferences were President Jimmy Carter, Beverly Sills, Merle Haggard, Alexander Haig, Donny and Marie Osmond and Heloise.
20. When I was visiting New York City one time in my bachelor days, I saw novelist John Irving in Central Park. I was a fan of The World According to Garp and a few of his other books, and I thought about approaching him and introducing myself, but he was in a deep conversation with a young woman, and I didn’t think he’d enjoy being interrupted.
21. I started collecting coins as a young boy, and have continued to do so off and on since then.
22. I can name all of the U.S. presidents from memory, and in the order they served. I’ve known how to do this since third grade.
23. I have written one short story that I took the trouble to have copyrighted. It’s called “The Bloody Turnip Diet.” I wrote it in college, and it’s about a kid who hates having to analyze stories to death in English class.
24. I’ve been a Beatles fan almost my entire life, but during college and my 20s I was a huge fan. When John Lennon was murdered in 1980, I wore a black armband to work.
25. As a kid, I once owned a guinea pig named Sassafras.