Question Time Over Coffee, 12/18/22

Here I am, back once again with another episode of Question Time Over Coffee!

What actions do you take if you can’t sleep naturally? I stay awake until I fall asleep. If I don’t, I figure I’m that far ahead for the next night. I do tend to catnap during the day, usually undisturbed unless my snoring is bothering Mary. Until this week, I had been sleeping to pink or brown noise, but a couple of nights ago I put on some music instead, and it worked like a charm.

Can you easily recognise if you are suffering from stress, and if so, what do you do to reduce it? Are you able to see signs of stress in your friends or your family more than you? I can recognize stress these days because, being retired, I know what it’s like not to have to deal with it. At that point, I watch videos on YouTube or play Solitaire until the feeling passes. As for Mary, I can really tell when things are stressing her out. She gets nervous and starts to fret. We recently had to take the van in for major service, and she was worried first that the car was acting funny, then about what would have to be done, then the expense involved. I helped where I could there, and all is well again…

The West holds firm concerning the war in Ukraine. However, how do you feel about it all now? Do you believe we are providing too much or too little support? The US has been providing billions of dollars that we don’t have to help the Ukrainians fight the war, and I understand there are now US troops on the ground there. The last thing we need at this point is Vladimir Putin firing nukes in this direction, or for that matter in any direction. I think it would be best to encourage both sides to sit down and quietly discuss where all of this is going and how we can put an end to it. I’m starting to have flashbacks to Vietnam…

How much black-and-white honesty from your best friends do you believe your friendship with them warrants? Should friends be brutally honest with you or provide support without question? I don’t see where it’s impossible to provide both brutal honesty and undying support. I think privately friends should be able to say things as plainly as possible, with little concern for hurting their friend’s feelings, but then be as supportive as they can in public. That’s what friendship is all about.

Do you think you have an addictive personality? Yes, I do, and I’d rather leave it at that.

Why are so many of today’s online/television advertisements so cringey? Are you ever influenced by the comedy or corniness of them? I’ll be honest, I haven’t paid much attention to them. Most of the ads I see are for “old people” things, like Medicare Advantage plans, compression socks, treatments for wrinkles and bad knees, and ads for the ASPCA, Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital etc., what I call the “save the world for $19 a month” charities.

Do you ever need help responding to some comments left by readers on your blog posts, as in not knowing how or what to respond with? Why is this, and what usually throws you off? There are times that I need to think about how to reply to some comments, specifically how to phrase my reply so as not to offend the person who commented or someone who might be reading he comments and replies. Other times I’m not sure how to reply. I try as much as possible to reply to every comment.

What five vegetables do you use the most each week or month? Onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, and broccoli.

What is the most outrageous thing you have ever done? Told a joke at a comedy club. I bombed.

Have your blog reading habits changed since you first started to blog? Have you ever felt frustrated from reading blog posts because they are perhaps not piquing your interest? What have you done to prevent the boredom from biting deep if this is the case? I skim most of them, and if I see something interesting I’ll read the whole thing. If it’s someone who’s a faithful reader, I’ll be sure and try to think of some way to comment. Otherwise I leave a “like.”

Do you find it easy to make difficult decisions, and do you have a process of elimination for making those tough decisions? I consult with Mary, give her my gut feelings, and we work it out between us.

What’s the longest you have gone without a shower? When I was in the hospital after the stroke, I think I went almost four weeks before getting a shower. I got a sponge bath after I woke up from the coma they put you into, but that was it.

Between the choice of a deep fried insect sandwich or a raw earthworm hamburger with no option of declining either, which would you choose? I’ll go with fried insect. The other just sounds gross.

How would your family and friends react if you started to talk to another person one day that no one else could see but you? Do you speak to yourself regularly? I am an inveterate self talker. Mary’s used to it. My mother thought there was something wrong (i.e. her oldest son had a screw loose and was koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs) and asked my uncle, who’s a neurosurgeon, about it. He asked where I talk to myself. Mom told him the bathroom. He said he talks to himself in the basement. (Did I spell koo-koo right?)

How far can you be pushed before annoyance becomes full-blown anger and what is your anger style? It takes a while to get me to the absolutely pissed-off stage, at which point I start shouting terrible, hurtful things using lots of four letter words and horrible characterizations of who I’m angry at. I try as much as possible to “dump my bucket” when no one is around. Rarely do I take it out on Mary– actually, I can’t think of a time when I did. Note that this is the reason I hardly ever talk politics here, because I get like this…

That’s all for this week!

Question Time Over Coffee – 12/10-11/2022

Didn’t do this last week. I started to, and got hung up on one of the questions. Anyway…

What motivates you to get up every day? Needing to use the bathroom.

What words have always struck you as funny or odd when looked upon? All of them. It’s a me thing, you wouldn’t understand.

How often do you read the comments left by other bloggers on other bloggers’ published posts? Occasionally. Not too often.

How hard do you work to keep your long standing friendships alive year in and year out and do your friends work the same way to keep you? To be honest, not very hard at all, especially since the stroke.

How many emails do you delete every week? 300 or so. I get on mailing lists and forget to get off them.

Are you easily distracted, and what do you find distracts you the most? Yes, and it’s usually my hyperactive mind.

I should have that checked…

Have you ever had a strange unexplained encounter that left you shaken and baffled and if so, what do you think it was? Or what did your brain make you think it was? I don’t think I’ve had that happen. I’m sure, if I had, it would jump right to the front of my mind, and nothing is right now.

Are we more scared of things that go bump in the night when in the dark or equally as concerned if the same thing happens during daylight hours? If so, why do you think that is? Things that go bump in the night don’t scare me.

This isn’t me

What do you think are the magical ingredients for writing a bestseller and do you think you could write one? Clever plot and stellar characters. No, I don’t think I could. I used to think so…

When was the last time you stayed awake all night having fun with another person, and what were you doing? At least 35 years ago. There were six of us and we were playing poker.

Would the 18 year old you recognise the older you if you both collided on the street today? If not, why? No. I weigh much more and have a mustache and beard.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023? It not being 2022.

Are you more curious or are you more passionate, or are you both? Probably more curious. I’m kind of tapped out on the passionate front.

Can you easily recognise your flaws, and do you think it is important? Yes, I can. I think it’s important to the extent that it keeps me from making a fool of myself.

The musical album you loved the most in the last twenty years was… ? It’s a tie between Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Vince Guaraldi’s Greatest Hits. Yes, they’re both old.

Question Time Over Coffee, 11/27/22

Time once again for Rory’s Question Time Over Coffee! I had such a good time last week, I’m back for more. Here we go…

You have a dinner party and may invite four guests from the following categories one fictional, one dead and one alive, and a naked chef (wearing an apron only but no clothes underneath – or if you wish for whatever reason your chef can be wearing underclothes – pants/top). Who will you invite to eat, and who will you ask to cook for your dinner party? Oh, let’s see. My fictional guest would be Myron Bolitar, from the books of Harlan Coben. My dead person would be my dad, who died before I turned 11, and my living person would be my wife Mary, because she’s never met my father. Who would cook? Emeril Lagasse, in his underwear, of course…

Have you ever slept on / in a hammock? Can’t say that I ever have. I know, how boring, right?

Do you find it easy to maintain friendship with other people? I hate to admit it, but I find it difficult, mostly because I hate talking on the phone. I’m much better with online friends, or friends in the “cyber world” versus the “meat world.”

Are you a person of ethics? If so, how does that impact your daily life? I would say that I am. I do my best to clean up after myself, to be straighforward and sincere, to be a man of my word, to be polite and helpful, to tell the truth, etc.

Are you decisive or indecisive as a person? Decisive as far as things like religion and politics, indecisive on things like what to have for dinner.

Why do people hold double standards? Probably because they don’t want certain groups of people (or certain people) to have the same things that they do. For example, we can go to prison for insider trading, but our elected officials can’t be touched for the same thing: they’ve exempted themselves because they can.

What is your most unhealthiest but guiltiest pleasure and why? Laziness is certainly the most unhealthy, but I take exception to considering it a “guilty pleasure,” for reasons I discuss here and here.

What is your process of writing a new post for your blog? I have specific features and a set schedule for them. I do a “Song of the Day” every day, for which I refer to the On This Day website, unless there has been a significant death in the world of music. Several features (e.g. blog hops that I don’t run) have weekly themes, such as Monday’s Music Moves Me, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, the Thursday Writer’s Workshop, and Song Lyric Sunday, which I combine with Song of the Day. Sometimes I think the schedule is a little too structured, but that’s how I roll…

If you were asked to create a Top Fifteen Book List holding books that you felt everyone should read at least once in their life and would never regret reading what titles would you include? The only one I would absolutely include would be The Bible. Even if you aren’t especially religious, the stories and the poetry in it are worth studying.

How important is it for you to know a person’s real name (be this online, off line, social media or blogging)? Not very. If I do happen to know a person’s name, great, if not, it’s no big deal.

When at school what were your top five subjects that you were passionate about? Why was this – what did you love about them? Are those five subjects still present in your life today in any form? Math, particularly Algebra and Statistics; Chemistry; Civics; Marketing; and Economics. I was always drawn to science and math, I enjoyed the business subjects a lot, and Economics led me more to Civics. To a certain degree, I still maintain an interest in all of these, although my interest in Chemistry is more of a passing area.

Are you a photogenic person? Are you eager to appear in family or friend snaps? Are there many photographs of you from and over the various stages and ages of your life? I don’t consider myself especially photogenic, and really don’t like to have my picture taken. My godmother, Fabulous Auntie Jill, always had her camera out, and I have many pictures of myself when I was younger.

With regard to the paranormal do you choose to not believe because there is nothing to believe or because you feel it is safer to not believe? Are you a non-believer or a believer? I wrote my 8th-grade term paper on ESP, and while I realize that most displays of clairvoyance are elaborate works of legerdemain, I think there might be something to be said for it. There’s a part of me that hopes that reincarnation is a real thing, and maybe it is, I’m not sure. My brothers and I had a bit of a bad encounter with a Ouija board which I discuss here. In short, I’m not above being curious about things that most people dismiss as bullshit.

How are you with meeting strangers/new people who might or could become new friends? Is there a process you adopt to identify if they are the right fit for you? I tend to be reticent when it comes to meeting new people, though I make friends pretty easily. A couple of examples: I called a woman once who might have had some ideas on how to migrate one of our old applications to a new one, and ended up talking to her most of the afternoon. I interviewed a woman another time and had such a good time I volunteered to take her to the airport in Dallas, in the middle of rush hour. We talked the whole way. And no, there was no physical attraction to either one of them, they were just fun to talk to. Weird how that happens sometimes…

That’s all for this week!

Question Time Over Coffee, 11/19/22

I see where several of you have started a new blog hop, “Question Time Over Coffee,” sponsired by Rory at Earthly Comforts, and decided to play along. Hope that’s okay with everyone…

Have you ever been on an extended vacation/holiday road trip? If so, when and where and for how long? Mary and I have been on a few vacations, none more than two weeks long. One was to Scotland and England in September 1979 that was a sort of “honeymoon,” even though we had been married a year and a half by then. The other was through New York State and Ontario, where we visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, Niagara Falls, drove up into Canada and through to Toronto, then down to Watertown, New York, where some friends of ours lived. I’m sure there have been others, which I don’t remember.

When was the last time you visited an actual bookshop, and what, if any, new/old/secondhand titles did you buy? It’s been a few years, because it’d been difficult for me to get around since the stroke. I think the last one was Barnes & Noble several years ago, and I don’t remember buying anything while we were there.

How do you feel about the new WP Dashboard 7-day highlights Statistics? I really don’t feel one way or the other about it. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to my statistics, which probably is a surprise to everyone here…

How do you feel about all the Russian nuclear sabre rattling? I grew up with Russian saber-rattling and American saber-rattling right back. I guess after all this time none of it surprises me. I’m hoping cooler heads prevail and everyone stands down before anyone gets hurt.

If you could go back or travel to an age of your choice and live or relive a previous era for a day, what age would you pick and why? Probably the Seventies, for no other reason than I feel like it was a great time when I was living through them and want to be sure that they really were as great as all that.

Do you have a favourite coat? [Outdoor/Indoor/Business/Social] What makes it unique to you, OR is a coat just a coat? My current winter coat, or rather jacket. I was in Akron, Ohio and had prepared for much warmer weather than I encountered there, and to top it all off snow was forecast for the next day. I found a Big & Tall store that had winter jackets on sale, and bought a jacket with a nylon shell and a Polar-Tec lining, originally priced at $150, for $30. I’ve had it for almost 20 years and it’s perfect for the weather here. And it’s black and silver, colors of the Chicago White Sox.

Do you enjoy learning something new every day or week? I’m not sure that I do learn something new every day or week, which is probably something I need to change. I think I’d enjoy it.

Are you more comfortable in your skin today than you were in the youth of your yesterdays?
Why and how so? Probably. I’m not sure how comfortable in my skin I was during my misspent youth.

Have you ever kept a hardback diary or a journal as opposed to an online digital one? When did you first start to journal your life? Mary and I went on a retreat called Marriage Encounter back in 1989. During one of those, you and your spouse write “love letters” to each other and share them. I think I realized that I enjoyed writing then, and Mary liked how expressive I was when I wrote, so she encouraged me to take it up. I’ve done it on and of since then, but gave it up after the stroke, when my right hand didn’t come back and I found it almost impossible to write with my left. It’s not for nothing that my blog is called “The Sound of One Hand Typing.” I continue to journal, but not on paper.

How do you feel about Eggplant/Aubergine/Guinea Squash as a vegetable? Is it something you enjoy having in your meals? I like it in Baba Ghanouj and Moussaka. Those are the only two places I’ve had it.

What film could you watch over and over again and why? Without a doubt, A Hard Day’s Night. Every time I watch it, I see something that I hadn’t seen before. I think I was 12 when I first saw it, and a lot of the humor sailed right over my head. As I became more familiar with British humor (through Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Two Ronnies, The Benny Hill Show, and the various British sitcoms such as Keeping Up Appearances and Are You Being Served?), the more I have been able to understand the jokes, and being older, the more I can appreciate the humor.

What concert, show, or event would you love tickets for if you could get them? Now, or at any point in history? Right now, I’d like to see Leonid & Friends. They cover a lot of rock-with-horns bands, most notably Chicago (I think they sound more like Chicago now than Chicago does), Blood Sweat & Tears, The Ides Of March, and Earth Wind & Fire. As for in the past, I would love to have seen The Beatles at Comiskey Park in Chicago back in 1965.

Would your teenage self be impressed with who you are today and what you have achieved so far in your/their life? I think my teenaged self would be underwhelmed by my achievements. I had such grandiose plans for myself when I was a teenager, which would be part of it, but I look back now with regrets of my own.

Which online behaviours do you find the most annoying in blogging? The bloggers whose whole spiel is about “buy book, subscribe to my blog, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. etc. ad nauseam.” To a certain extent, we all do that, and I don’t mind it because the bloggers I know (that’s all y’all) have a lot more to say than just that.

That’s all for now!