Sunday, June 11, 2006

As Promised, I Answer Your Questions

I made a request of you, dear readers, back on my 300th post, that I would answer any questions you might have - even those questions not about me, just any question. And they arrived in style, Some dear reader even supplied her own answers and that gave me much joy and laughter.

I tend normally to be the interviewer and close friends will tell you that while I crave attention I also have certification as a hermit - usually a bit loud as I pace my personal cave and sometimes I throw rocks at those who pass by.

As many writers do, I prefer to let the choice of topic or rant provide personal glimpses into myself. My motto has always been that Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

And any regular reader knows I love movies and love even more to write about them. Just lookit them posts every Friday.

But what about all the other unknowns of this Cup of Joe? Find a comfy reading spot, I cannot shorten this biographical rambling.

A few things to begin -- I write at this moment while listening to the CD "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd. It was an album (yes, I'm that old) which I played so much when it came out that eventually the grooves all wore away and it skipped and popped so much I had to tape a stack of nickels to the tone arm. (If you don't understand that technology, then go learn some history, you trendoid.)

The album had a hit or two on the radio, but it is "Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts 1-5 and 6-9" which I love best.

It's late as I write, nearly 1 am, I've always preferred to write these autobiographics in the wee hours. It's a humid summer night and the moon traces a luminous path through the clouds, and I love the heat, the humidity and the cool feel of grass on my naked feet when I take the dogs out for a walk.

Listening to "Wish You Were Here" back in the teen years on summer nights, I would dream of being able to sit and write and instantly upon completion have it printed worldwide. So God bless the blog and the internets.

A warning here - when I write, I often take side routes to points unrelated, the way my dad used to do on family vacations, finding every Stuckey's south of the Mason-Dixon line or some side road in Georgia where we'd buy peaches and watermelons from a stand in front of someone's yard, usually with a homemade sign indicating fresh garden goodies for sale.

So a side note here about the aforementioned "Wish You Were Here" album. When it first was released, it had a black plastic cover which I mistakenly thought was the actual album cover design. After perhaps 3 or 4 months ( I got it from my brother for Christmas of 1975), I accidentally tore part of the plastic away ... and saw that underneath was the real album cover.

It was a moment of personal epiphany about design and mystery and pre-conceptions and how easily the mind (or at least mine) can be convinced of the truth of its own limited perceptions, and how wrong those perceptions can be.

Ok, back to the main road.

Here are the questions readers sent and my replies. (NOTE: you may well want to read the answers supplied to many of the questions submitted written by Newscoma, 'cause they're damn fine answers.)

1. Espresso, Latte or Decaf? I pity the person who drinks decaf, since they use embalming fluid to remove the caffeine, which tells you how potent a life force coffee is. I loves espresso, and cappuccino, but my favorite is plain old JFG with some milk and sugar. I don't like my coffee strong, I like it invincible.

2. How do you like your eggs? I have eggs??? ye gods, like the ones in Alien or somethin'? Seriously, here is a question for which my answer points to what some people see as a personal flaw. It doesn't matter, as long as it's cooked. "Make a choice, Joe" is a comment I often hear. If forced, I'll go with scrambled, but I like them over easy, hard boiled, and even an egg salad sandwich. Just not raw. I also read a study was done recently by properly attired Scientists which stated that the egg did in fact come first, not the chicken. My thought? Oh yeah? Then who laid the damn thing?

3. It is winter of 1874. You are leading the Brady Bunch (including Alice and Tiger) from Provo, Utah to Breckinridge, Colorado in search of gold, when something goes horribly awry. Which Brady do you cannibalize first, and why? They can all eat me. Who wants to get stuck living with those chuckleheads? Unless, maybe, me and Marcia make a deal to roast the rest of them and go live in a cabin and make sweet love by a roaring fire. We could raise chickens and eggs!

4. How is my dad? This question is from Wednesday T.G., and he is doing fine, though he should be a highly paid artist and writer in my opinion.

5. What do you think they have done with the real John McCain? My best guess lies within the plot of the movie "Futureworld."

6. Given a choice between doing the right thing for the wrong reason, and doing the wrong thing for the right reason, which do you suppose you would do? Hmmm .... my answer is: Yes.

7. You have been elected President of the United States! So, President Powell, what are you going to do about the current health care crisis? Crisis? What crisis? Oh, the one where medical care is overpriced, drug companies write insurance laws, Congress is considering anti-obesity legislation and federal calorie counting and we are the only Western nation without a national health care program? Long ago, the Chinese would pay the village doctor a small fee as long as they were healthy. If they got sick, the doc didn't get paid. (How could I get elected president? Doesn't the GOP own all the voting machine companies?)

8. Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares? Please describe. Yeesh, getting personal here aren't we? Hmmmm .... a lie or a truth? Both could be interesting. Ok, truth. For years I used to have dreams about a girl I was in love with my senior year of high school. I mean, these dreams lasted for almost a decade. She had a smile like sunlight and drove a white Mustang. She stood me up for my Senior Prom so she could ride in a limo with a football player. A year after school ended, we started dating again for maybe a year or more. In my dreams, we were always skipping school and having a picnic at Watauga Lake under blue skies and brilliant sunshine. We talked about everything imaginable. I would always wake up shaking, and her voice would linger in my mind all day. Last I actually heard of her, she was an investment banker living in Manhattan. If I have a dream about her now that I've recalled these events .... well, it better be as memorable as the ones I used to have. Also, I've had several dreams recently with Cameron Diaz.

9. You have fallen out the window into a vat of toxic waste, and have transformed into the Toxic Joe-venger, super hero extraordinaire. What is your super power? I don't really want that to happen, I mean I'm fairly certain dropping into a vat of toxic waste would provide me with mostly skeleton power. (I am, however, a proud member of the Wonder Triplets, along with Newscoma and Tits McGee and our power is to call bullshit for what it is.)

10. When was the last time you cried at the movies? When I had to pay 10 bucks to see a piece of junk. Which reminds me of an old joke - You know what I hate about sex in the movies today? The dang seats always fold up on ya. I did shed some tears watching the struggles of Johnny and June at "Walk The Line." There was also a weepy moment in Jet Li's "Unleashed" when Jet remembered how his mom got killed when he heard his new friend play a tune on the piano his mom loved to play, Mozart's Sonata Number 11, in A Minor". There were also some tears of pain for the 15 minutes I watched the remake of "Bewitched".

11. Whom do you admire and why? Frank Zappa, a musical genius and an honest man and I really miss him; Thomas Pynchon, he writes the way I wish I could; Silver Surfer, because he can ride a surfboard across all the galaxies and is searching for home; Buffy Summers, she kills bad things, has cool friends and is hot; (try some real people again, Joe). Mostly I admire writers - Vonnegut, Frank Miller, Stephen King, Herman Melville, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, H.G. Wells, Mark Twain, Sam Shepard and oh .... how about Chuck Yeager - they clank when he walks. I also admire my brother David, who is an immensely smart teacher, and has an incredible wife, Katherine, whom I also admire and their two kids are genius children.

12. How many questions do you figure I can come up with before midnight tonight? A bajillion.

13. Zombies are overrunning Morristown! Which weapon do you grab first? Ha! Like that would happen - zombies eat brains .... actually, that means my weapon would be a car, cause they'd be after me and they can chow on Mo'town all they want.

14. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? In the way back times, when my dad was a preacher in Monterey, we'd have ice cream Wednesday nights on the church lawn in summer, and someone used to make this incredible fresh peach ice cream. Otherwise, if it has chocolate or coffee flavor, I will devour it.

15. You have come into possession of the TARDIS, allowing you to travel freely throughout space and time. Where and when do you visit first? Tardis? That's a Dr Who thingie, right? My first impulse would be to go to Hollywood during the studio era of the 1930s and I would get a job as a staff script writer and never bother to return to the present. The second impulse is to go to the year we finally have space travel and have spread across the galaxies .... especially if I could do it on a surfboard.

16. Can you roll your tongue? Roll it? I can make it a trapezoid!

17. What question have you always wished someone would ask you (but no one ever has), and what is the answer to that question? Would you like seven million dollars and a yacht? To which I answer YES. Or maybe .... Will you please, please be the film critic for the New Yorker magazine for life? again, YES!

18. Do you have any tattoos? Please describe. Sort of. When I was 13, I was killing time between lunch and the next class at school and some of us were playing basketball in the gym. For some reason, I had a pencil in my jeans pocket with the point sticking up. I came down with a rebound and jammed the pencil lead into my right forearm, where the mark remains to this day. Somewhat embarrassed, I transferred the pencil to my other jeans pocket, nabbed another rebound, and stuck the pencil in my left forearm. That mark also remains.

19. How's the weather over there? Over where? There castle. There wolf.

20. Regarding the Coherence Theory of Truth, Bertrand Russell maintained that since both a belief and its negation will individually cohere with at least one set of beliefs, then contradictory beliefs can be "true" according to the theory. Therefore, the theory is invalid. Agree or disagree? Ummm..... both trains arrive in Cleveland at 3 p.m.?? Honest answer: See Godel's Axiom Theorems of Incompleteness regarding "sets", or to put it another way,
there are some who hold that a statement that is unprovable within a deductive system may be quite provable in a metalanguage. And what cannot be proven in that metalanguage can likely be proven in a meta-metalanguage, recursively, ad infinitum, in principle. By invoking a sort of super Theory of Types with an axiom of Reducibility -- which by an inductive assumption applies to the entire stack of languages -- one may, for all practical purposes, overcome the obstacle of incompleteness.
My brother David once told me that everything is True simultaneously. I like that idea.

21. Do you like cheese? Only as a food. Or if properly applied to fiction.

22. (here is a great question from Cheeky Wee Monkey) Who does your hair? If I revealed that, I'd have to kill you.

23. (these next questions came from Tits McGee) What food irritates the hell out of you? I for one cannot stand food that seem to have yet to completely finish the formation process of an actual food, such as Cottage Cheese -- what IS that stuff? Oh, and the arrogance of beets is criminal.

24. Favorite book/CD/drink? I've gone through about 7 copies of "Gravity's Rainbow", but "Catch-22" is a killer-diller too; favorite CD is impossible to answer, but I can list two I listen to and never get tired of - Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" and the Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers"; favorite drink?? god bless julipatchouli for introducing me to a dirty vodka martini and god bless my Uncle Bit for introducing me to Jack Daniels, for which I apparently have a genetic receptor.

25. What song sends you into a homicidal rage? At the risk of enraging every resident of Tennessee, I despise "Rocky Top." But the one that will make me destructive is "Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows" by Leslie Gore.

26. What's your favorite movie with zombies in it? Jeez, another impossible one! All Romero zombie movies are brilliant (i even liked the remakes of "Night" and "Dawn") however since I have friends who worked on "Evil Dead" and it was filmed only minutes away from where I sit, that makes the list too!

27 Who was the last person that you checked their butt out? There was a girl in the check-out line at the store the other day wearing low-rider corduroy cutoffs and I nearly fainted.

28. What's the obsession with tits? (Ok, remember, this was a question someone asked Tits,) My answer: I blame my heterosexuality.

29. What's your guilty pleasure? See the previous two questions heh heh .... and I will always stop to watch a horror movie. But I do have one question myself - When the heck did vampires all learn kung-fu??

30. Would you wear a live madagascar roach decorated w/ jewels? Would I get paid to do that?

31. What was your most embarrassing drunken episode? My fave was when I was 17, decided to just split a 6-pack with a friend, then we went to some party and some goober handed me a 16 oz. glass of pure grain alcohol punch. I'd never had that before. It tasted like Hi-C Fruit Punch! So I had three or four more. Somehow, I was able to drive home and not die in a horrible car crash, and arrived home just in time to engage in about a half-an-hour of hard-core hurling in the bathroom. The sounds must have woken the dead. I stumbled upright, fell out into the hallway where both my parents were looking at me as if I might be Satan. I clearly remember my father saying "You smell like a brewery! What did you drink tonight?" To which I made this reply: "Naaawwwww, saw a movie, then went to McDonald's .... but I did kiss a girl who had a beer." The next day an astonishingly calm father said this to me: "Son, please, the next time you kiss a girl who's had a beer, will you please just call home and tell me where you're spending the night?" I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

32. If you could pick any one person for a hot date from any time in history, who is it? (This one was I had asked Tits) Oh great, another chance to be indecisive. I can narrow it down to three: Cleopatra, Anais Nin, and Bettie Page.

33. The last thing you downloaded? Some MP3s of pirate sea shanties.

34. Which one is bigger? (again, this was one someone asked Tits) My answer: probably my ego.

35. Most disliked very, very popular musical person? Please someone stop the whole American Idol deal.

36. What are some of your vices? Call me sometime and we'll find out!! Woo-hoo!

37. Who would you like to see in this year's World Series? Isn't it time for the Cubs? I think so, and my friend Bill would at least call me from one of the games.

38. Have you ever streaked? Or, how many times? When that was all the rage, I saw plenty of it. But the closest I have managed has been from the beach to the surf, and that was at night.

39 (Finally, Tits asks me some questions rather than make me answer the ones she got!!)
Why did you start blogging? I had been adding comments to other blogs in the spring of 2005, and started this one Aug. 3rd, 2005. (I did like Newscoma's answer to that one for me though - 1964. You really should read all her answers, found in the comments section here.)

40. What keeps you blogging? The same Muse that took over my mind when I was about 10 or 11 and decided that I was supposed to be a writer in this life. And coffee.

41. What do the blogs you regularly read have in common? Several things - truth, humor, a relentless commitment to documenting the world we all share, whether or not its important to anyone but the blogger. Oh, and a blogger who has must-read prose.

42. (These next questions arrived via Newscoma)
When did you become a super hero? I think it was when that radioactive spider bite me, or when Professor Xavier had that heart-to-heart talk with me. Or was it that I was simply born a Wonder Triplet?

43. Who is your favorite Buffy character? It's the Buff herself. But Spike and Drusilla are two of the best vampire characters of all time.

44. When did you decide journalism was for you? I started a weekly news mimeograph at absolutely no one's request when I was in the 5th grade. By the time I started taking Journalism classes in college, I found every class to be a waste of time, and the classmates and profs wouldn't know news if it bit them. I wanted to be both Woodward and Bernstein. I've done other jobs, but like Michael Corleone says, "they keep pulling me back in!"

45. When did you realize that Bush was an ass monkey? I think that was about the time he set the record as governor of Texas for executing more inmates than any other American. The real question is when will the rest of the country figure it out?

46. Why don't people just act kind to each other? Well, here goes -- I think too many people believe the horrible lies they are fed as children by institutional idiocy - schools, bad parents, and a religious view that we are all born to commit evil first and beg forgiveness later. With such bad programming, people have terrible self-esteem or no self-esteem, so they become viscious to others thinking its the treatment they deserve. It doesn't just happen in this country, either. It's a worldwide brainwash. I was in a diner once and this little 6 or 7 year old kid was running all over the place making loud noises and his insidious mother kept yelling at him "You're a monster! You're a monster!" So what else does that kid think he is supposed to be? I was incredibly blessed as a child to have two loving parents who encouraged me, and also taught me that I was the one responsible for my actions.

47. When was the last time you ate sushi? Ahhh, that question hurts. I had some faux sushi back in December, but I yearn to sit at a sushi bar and watch it being made, drinking lots of sake and eating my weight in sushi.

48. Is Nietzsche dead? Nawwww, God just keeps teasing him and telling him he's alive and attending Liberty University.

(Thanks for the questions oh mighty Newscoma and Tits McGee, and let's not forget some of the fine ones from W.T.G., who added the remaining queries) ( I promise, this is almost done.)

49. Did you take money from Jack Abramoff? Do I look like I'm a Republican? Nope.

50. Stephen Colbert: Great Pseudo-pundit, or the Greatest Pseudo-Pundit? The smartest person to ever appear at the White House Press Dinner.

51. What was the name of your first pet, and what kind of animal was it? He was Marvin, a Collie, and once, he growled at my mom when I was about 4 and she was mad at me for not coming in the house when she yelled for me. Ever since, dogs is my pals.

52. Everyone has "the one that got away." What would you say to that one if you had the opportunity to speak with her? Oh, fine, great, you just won't let me forget about that girl I loved in high school will you? Why can I not muster malice towards her, just for that Prom deal alone? Given the chance, I would tell her that we owe each other one more incredible night, because even our dullest moments together were better than some peoples entire lives. That's awfully corny, and I'd probably just go away alone and have a drinking binge and then hours later, I'd figure out a better thing to have said. Wait a minute ... isn't the real question is what would all those women say to me as the "one that got away"?

53. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Let me answer with something a wise old Mexican man once told me. He said, if you read the Bible, whether you believe in it or not, it says that God made woman from the rib of man. Not his foot, for us to step on them, not from our hands to make them do what we wish, but from our side, because we are meant to be partners.

54. What is your favorite curse word? (apologies to James Lipton) There is only one that can express it all, joy and rage and awe and wonder and even hate, and I've never typed it on this blog. And if you've read this far, I doubt it will offend you when I say the King of Curse is Fuck.

55. When you were a lad, what did you most want to be when you grew up? Not a jerk like the majority of the adults who populate this world. And a writer. (should have added "a rich one.")

56. Who let the dogs out? The cat. She wants their food.

57. What's the deal with Sulu? Heh heh ... I think it's Texas hold 'em and kiss 'em.

58. If you could choose five people, living and dead, with whom to share a meal, which five people would you choose? Groucho Marx, Dorothy Parker, Bruce Lee, Uma Thurman and Frank Sinatra.

59. At the above dinner party, what meal would be served? Their choice, of course, as long as it included much vodka martinis and I want sushi!!

60. What is your least favorite movie? It's a tie -- "Sound of Music" and "Grease"

61. Do you believe in god? I believe the Divine Unnameable exists in each person, whether we know it or not.

62. For $5 million, would you perjure yourself before Congress? Again, do I look like a Republican?

Man, that's more about me than even I want to know.

While reading some about the album "Wish You Were Here", the musicians said the Crazy Diamond song was about former band-mate Syd Barrett, who, as President Merkin Muffley would describe it, "went a little funny in the head." I simply enjoy the music and the lyrics and have my own meanings to the tune.

I always enjoyed those long, concept albums which were poorly-terrmed as "rock operas". Concept album sounds like far better term. And my favorite of all those is Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick".

Whatever meaning you glean from the two titles of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Thick As A Brick" are your own. It tells you about yourself.


  1. Amen to the Jack Daniels genetic receptor. I think I got that one too. In addition, I can't believe Grandad was ever that funny. Dad just turned me onto your blog, and I must say it's super rad. It makes up for all those years I couldn't get your radio show in K-town. Feel free to stop by my blog when you have time.


  2. Hail, oh nearly Canadian One!

    That was in fact a true story and it still makes me laugh as i recall how blind drunk i was. i often wonder how they didn't die laughing at me.

    i'll be sure to add your blog to the list of links!! i love the way you write!!!!!
    best to you and yer hubby Lunger.

  3. 1) Hubby and I listen to Kind of Blue every night as we fall asleep.

    2) In addition to my other tattoos, I have a little pencil lead tattoo on the tip of the middle finger of my left hand.

    3) I have stood less than two feet away from Kurt Vonnegut at least four times, and have never had the balls to come up with more than a "hi" each time. He looked pretty much like a street person, with his dirty sneakers, trenchcoat, and crazy hair. I love him.

    Thanks for revealing a bit more of yourself. It's a treat.

  4. What a great dad you have!
    Loved reading the comments.. too funny.

  5. Yay! Thnks, Joe, for taking the time to answer our questions.

  6. most welcome ... not sure if real tales from old days are worth reading and i tend to get long-winded.
    thanks for asking such interesting questions! was much fun!

  7. They are totally worth reading if they have been written by an interesting person, which I think you are. Glad you liked the questions. You need any more, you let me know.

    Oh Joe, I remain smitten.
    And your right, the King of Curse is the word Fuck. I did a paper on it in college. Belmont College. Heh.
    I am coming to East Tennessee to see you and Jules. I swear it.

  9. james1:22 PM

    Tou never answeed my question. W when do I get my dvds?

  10. but i did James, some time ago!

    i'm keepin' them!!!! :) joke, joke, even if it has been a year.

    i will email today. apologies.
    have you seen the 2 Ghost In The Shell series?? some of the best anime ever. though my love of Cowboy Beboop is King.

  11. Cowboy Bebop. Much more smitten.

  12. hmm, wrote "beboop" by mistake. that must be a whole 'nuther show.
    i love the whole shape and scope of the series and the theatrical film, but damn, i want MORE. wish they'd do another movie at least!!