Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ten Honest Things About Bilbo

Another meme.


For someone who really doesn't like to do memes, I seem to be a meme magnet. Yesterday, I responded to the reading-centered meme from Wanderlust; today, I bend the knee to my favorite Scot, Fiona, who tagged me for a meme which requires me to reveal, in writing, ten honest things about myself. Such a meme, of course, by making honesty a requirement of the response, acknowledges that there is a distinct lack of honesty on the Internet in the first place. How will you know if I have, in fact, answered honestly? Two reasons: you trust me (silly you), and I'm afraid of crossing Fiona.

So if you haven't learned enough about me in my previous self-revelatory posts, let me dig down deep and try to come up with ten new (or recycled), honest (cross my heart), and interesting (hopefully) Bilbo-related facts...

1. My high school's junior class play back in 1968 was the comedy "You Can't Take It With You," about a group of odd people living together in a rooming house. I was cast as Mr DePinna, an eccentric fellow who lived in the basement and made fireworks as a hobby (a fact integral to the end of the second act). The problem was that Mr DePinna was supposed to be short, plump, and bald, whereas I was (at the time) tall, quite thin, and possessed of a full head of brown hair. There was talk among the makeup ladies of actually shaving my head for the role; fortunately, they were able to fashion a very silly bald wig, and the director modified parts of the script to account for the differences between the scripted and the actual Mr DePinna. Yes, there are pictures. No, you can't see them.

2. For nine years, I produced and hosted a radio show on WEBR, the Fairfax County public access radio station. The Audio Attic was a theme-based show (music for each two-hour show picked to fit a particular theme), and I had an absolute ball doing it. I finally gave it up as a result of "artistic and managerial differences" with the new station management. I still regret it.

3. In the summer of 1969, between high school graduation and starting my freshman year at Penn State, I attended the Colorado Outward Bound School. As one of the 13 people in Monitor Patrol, I spent a month hiking and climbing in the Rio Grande wilderness of southwestern Colorado. We did rock climbing and rappelling at a place called Elk Creek Park, and climbed East Trinity peak. I still don't like looking down. We were bathing in an icy stream one day near a place called Needleton when we were surprised by the sudden appearance of a Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad trainload of Japanese tourists. To this day there are probably people in Japan whose vacation slideshows feature a group of shivering, blue young men wishing like hell they'd just put the cameras away and move on.

4. I have had two letters to the editor published: one in the Air Force Times; the other in the Washington Post. The Pulitzer committee somehow overlooked them. And the dozens of other, unpublished, letters I've written to various editors.

5. I love ballroom dancing, and Agnes and I have competed many times as a Pro-Am couple (she's the Pro, I'm the Am, of course). My favorite dance is the Tango (very dramatic and exciting); strong runners-up are the Rumba (very sexy) and the Waltz (very elegant). If you care, and go back far enough in this blog, you will find three posts which feature video clips of Agnes and I dancing in competitions or exhibitions.

6. I speak relatively fluent German (it was much better when I was actually living in Germany) and don't have a marked American accent. Germans quickly realize I'm not German, but don't usually mark me as an American - they often think I'm Dutch.

7. I can do lots of odd voices and sound effects, which was a useful talent when I had my radio show. Among the recurring characters I voiced were Spike Bicep (the sports announcer), Wilbur Dweeb (the executive assistant to the station manager), and Wallace Goldersnobble (the grouchy editorial announcer). I also thrill small children with a great UFO sound effect that combines a hum and a whistle. I'm not as good as Bill Cosby, but I'm pretty good.

8. I'm an absolute political centrist (but then, if you've been with me long, you already knew that). To the extent that the labels mean anything any more, I guess I'm a combination of fiscal conservative and social liberal. I'm driven to absolute distraction by loudmouthed morons who rigidly adhere to one particular political/economic viewpoint, and are utterly unwilling to admit that anyone else might possibly have some good ideas, too (are you listening, Congress? Rush Limbaugh? Ann Coulter?).

9. I was baptized as a Byzantine Rite Catholic and raised in a Roman Catholic family. Today, I don't adhere to any particular named religion. We're in a time when the book you follow and the rites you observe are more important than what's in your heart. Look at the mess between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, the ongoing furor over Pope Benedict XVI's pardoning of the formerly-excommunicated members of the Society of St Pius X, and the bewildering differences among the various branches of Christianity. Do you believe in the Golden Rule and living a good and ethical life? If so, I don't think it matters much what religious label you apply to yourself.

10. Despite having been drawn into Rima, Fiona, and Mike's ongoing boob-o-rama, I'm not all that fired up about boobs. When I look at a lady, the first thing I notice is her smile. The second is her arms. I like nice arms. After all, you don't go walking boob-in-boob or leg-in-leg with your beloved, do you? Give me a lady with a sparkling personality, a nice smile, and well-toned, hairy arms any day.

Okay, Fiona, I've bared my soul yet again. More than you ever wanted to know about Bilbo. Now it's time to have a nice cup of coffee and read my paper before fixing breakfast and frantically cleaning the house before our friends Ken and Nadja come for dinner later in the day. I just love these relaxing weekends.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Melissa B. said...

Well, I would have given you a Pulitzer for those letters! When are they going to start awarding Pulitzers for blog posts? Did you see that The Committee is going to start honoring online publications? I think blogs should count! BTW, 2 things: Don't forget today's Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. AND, please come over to my place to vote for the Hubz, Mr. Fairway. Thanks!

Mike said...

Number 7 sounds like a youtube video just waiting to happen.

Here you are baring your soul today. And all I've got today is funny tshirts. I feel so inadequate right now ..... wait ..... OK I'm over it.

Amanda said...

Now this was an interesting meme to read!

The Outward Bound School sounds really interesting. I'd love to do something like that now but I would have been to timid to sign up right out of school.

Bilbo said...

Hmmm...somehow, I thought I'd get a lot more comments on this. I guess we got down to the hard core readers!

Melissa - I'm in favor of blogging awards...I just wish there was some money attached!

Mike - I've thought about doing a short video clip for the blog, but I don't know if you are all ready for the harsh reality of Bilbo Live.

Amanda - the Outward Bound School was retrospect. At the time, I was just tired, dirty, cold, and wet for 30 days.