Eight Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Me

My good pals Tom Hall and Matt Dentler each tagged me for this meme and while like Tom, I rarely post personal things on my blog, I agree with him that sometimes a little “meet the blogger” action is called for and so, to wit:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.
So, here we go:
1. When I was a tiny tot, maybe even pre-natally, I was dragged around the world by my parents and as a result I have developed incurable wanderlust. To date I have been to about 20 countries on four continents and am constantly looking for the next place to go. I’ve visited Communist Prague in 1974 (it’s changed a bit) and Havana in 1983 and 1999, swam with penguins and fur seals in the Galapagos and Portuguese Men of War in Portugal (duh). I’ve driven across the US four times and this is a magnificently beautiful country. Where to, next?

2. I attended the United Nations International School from 5th through 12th grades. I gained a unique education and this helped develop my curiosity about and appreciation for, the peoples and places of the world (see #1). I studied French from 6th – 9th grade and Mandarin Chinese from 9th-12th. I can still speak some Chinese and understand tiny parts of some movies I see without reading the subtitles. I can even still write some. Not much mind you and my French is much better.
3. While I dearly love football (soccer) my first and true passion is baseball. I can wax poetic on the subject for hours, as could, I imagine, Walt Whitman: “Baseball will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.”
4. I went to what some have called a communist summer camp, Camp Thoreau-in-Vermont. While this is not an accurate label, it was certainly a left-leaning, free-spirited place to spend the 6 best summers of my life. While I learned tolerance and was given a world view by my parents, TIV gave me something more important to the healthy development of a young person: self-respect. They reinforced the idea that we are all worthy people, regardless of color, gender, shape, size or cognitive development. There was a fair amount of skinny dipping and that amid that atmosphere I learned to grow up without a negative body image. People are different shapes and sizes, so what? Not to say I am happy being overweight, but I don’t let it ruin my day or my skinny dipping fun!
5. When I was 6 I had an 8 year-old girlfriend and we had a rather torrid affair that summer in Portugal. What can I say, I was a stud. A insanely coiffed, 3 foot tall stud, but still….
6. When I was 6 or 7 (and a very skinny kid) I had a huge crush on a classmate. Once, while swimming in her pool, she called me an overgrown, constipated ape. I never understood why and to this day find it very odd.
7. Not so long ago, Tom Hall and I were at a screening of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s brilliant Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarrollo). The film is rarely shown and is a sublime and thoughtful existential look at Cuba during the period between the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis 18 months later. The film doesn’t have what one would consider a traditional narrative structure and to be honest, not much really happens. It’s brilliant. As the lights went up, a man behind us on a date with his girlfriend who happened to be absolutely stunning, started complaining about the film and basically berating his date for continuing to bring him to “these films where nothing happens.” I immediately thought Dump this guy. He’s a complete tool. I said nothing. Maybe I should have.
8. My parents are/were somewhat notable in their fields and this enabled me to meet quite a few famous people in my life, including Martin Balsam, Eli Wallach, E.L. Doctorow and Joseph Heller, among many others. However, possibly one of my favorite times with a celeb was the time I had dinner in Havana, Cuba in 1983 sitting next to Pete Seeger. I had the table in stitches by doing the wet finger on the rim of a wine glass trick, but stopped just as the other diners in the restaurant started to try to locate the source of the sound. Then when they went back to their meal, I did it again. And again. Pete got a huge kick out of that and I was chuffed to have entertained a man who had entertained millions for decades, even if only with a parlor trick.
And now, I choose:
Eugene Hernandez
James Israel
Dick Mac (alive!)
Anthony Kaufman
Mike Hales
August Jones (he’s almost 3 years old, but an accomplished blogger!)
Gabe Wardell
Meagan Wilson

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