I received my copy of the Hembeck book - don't say "What Hembeck book? - THE Hembeck book! and devoured it in one sitting.
OK, I jest. In fact, the book comes with a warning NOT to try to read it all at once. Rather, I've been concentrating on reading the chapter intros, including the teaser by Fred's uncle, Stan Lee; I love how he calls Fred Hemby. THEN, I'll read the actual stories, probably skipping over the FantaCo stuff for now, but coming back to eventually, since I was all very fond of it. I'm named in the acknowledgments; thanks, effendi! there was one page I ran into, though, that filled me with horror - a picture of the X-Men! It was originally on a gold sheet - which I still have, BTW, that I had to pack with every single retail copy of Hembeck 1980, but it was wider than the book, Wotta pain.
Fred notes that the book has been reviewed favorably by Entertainment Weekly!
Lydia had reached her 30 minute max of videos last evening. I turned off the DVD, and the TV just happened to be on ESPN. Ken Griffey, Jr., on the first pitch I saw, became the sixth man in MLB history to hit 600 home runs. Congrats to him, and to Michael Strahan, the NY/NJ Giants' defensive end who announced his retirement yesterday. Each will be in their respective Halls of Fame eventually.
Skills: I got 'em? From Jaquandor, again, who writes:
"Bill Altreuter points to this list of 75 things every man should be able to do, I guess, in order to be able to really lay claim to true manliness or something. Surprisingly, Bill doesn't do what bloggers are supposed to do in such cases: reproduce the list, with specific comment on his ability, or lack thereof, to do the things on the list. Well, unto the breach I go!"
1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. Sure, sometimes with one word: "listen."
2. Tell if someone is lying. Most people think they can tell a liar all of the time, and that's simply not true for most of us.
3. Take a photo. Well, not a fancy one.
4. Score a baseball game. Actually, yes. Something I do with my father-in-law at least a couple times a year,
5. Name a book that matters. Feh. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. But I don't much like the question.
6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. Probably do with the Beatles. Also, Paul Simon, but he's not a group.
7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. Actually I cook meat anywhere EXCEPT on a grill. I don't own a grill.
8. Not monopolize the conversation. Quite conscious of this, especially with women; men are more prone to it, in my observation.
9. Write a letter. Used to do it all the time.
10. Buy a suit. I bought two last year. Hate it. Hate it.
11. Swim three different strokes. I only have one, and I don't know what it is.
12. Show respect without being a suck-up. I believe so.
13. Throw a punch. Well, no.
14. Chop down a tree. I've cut a Christmas tree. But I'm reminded of a next door neighbor when I was growing up, who was cutting down a big tree in their yard. My father told them they would hit their house. They told him to shut up and mind his own business. The tree crashed into the roof of their house.
15. Calculate square footage. Sure.
16. Tie a bow tie. No. For the half dozen times I have worn one, learning how to do it was not worth it. That's why God created clip-ons.
17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. Never had need.
18. Speak a foreign language. Everybody should be able to do this. I can't, except for an extremely basic comprehension of French left over from my high school days.
19. Approach a woman out of his league. This "league" thing; eh.
20. Sew a button. I've done it. It takes me forever, and I do it badly.
21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. OK.
22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn't have to ask after it. OK, but oy. Among other things, it assumes heterosexuality.
23. Be loyal. Depends.
24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. Sure.
25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it. I can drive it, but I'm always thinking about it, or rather, my fingers.
26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. I haven't fished since I was a child.
27. Play gin with an old guy. I used to play with my grandfather when I was in high school. The same guy who took me fishing.
28. Play go fish with a kid. I have.
29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. 'Fraid not.
30. Feign interest. I used to be better at it.
31. Make a bed. I can do this. I never actually do this, but I can, which I guess is the important thing. Bed-making has never struck me as being a terribly useful or important thing.
32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. Sure - it's yummy.
33. Hit a jump shot in pool. I did it once; it was an accident.
34. Dress a wound. I've done it.
35. Jump-start a car (without any drama). Change a flat tire (safely). Change the oil (once). I've done them all successfully, but so long ago that I'm not sure I could replicate.
36. Make three different bets at a craps table. Never played.
37. Shuffle a deck of cards. Actually quite good at it.
38. Tell a joke. No, I suck at it. I can say funny things, but I can't even REMEMBER jokes.
39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack. I'll just check here; even before looking at that, I knew you always split 8s, but I didn't know why.
40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear. I have.
41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. I have.
42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. I have, but not very often.
43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. Well, a light bulb.
44. Ask for help. Absolutely.
45. Break another man's grip on his wrist. Hasn't come up.
46. Tell a woman's dress size. If women's dress sizes were standardized, maybe this would be useful.
47. Recite one poem from memory. "There once was a girl from Cape Cod..."
48. Remove a stain. I have.
49. Say no. Sometimes, more now that before.
50. Fry an egg sunny-side up. Yes.
51. Build a campfire. Another skill everybody should have, probably.
52. Step into a job no one wants to do. Happens a lot.
53. Sometimes, kick some ass. Define.
54. Break up a fight. Have done this.
55. Point to the north at any time. Sometimes, not always.
56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person. Have done.
57. Explain what a light-year is. I can do this.
58. Avoid boredom. I'm almost never bored, left to my own devices.
59. Write a thank-you note. I can, but don't do enough.
60. Be brand loyal to at least one product. There must be one; it's not coming to me.
61. Cook bacon. Yes.
62. Hold a baby. Yes, but not until Carol was pregnant.
63. Deliver a eulogy. Yes.
64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. Sure.
65-67. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap. Throw a football with a tight spiral. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably. I used to; I have by accident; I suck at basketball.
68. Find his way out of the woods if lost. Have done it.
69. Tie a knot. Have.
70. Shake hands. It IS skill. Yes.
71. Iron a shirt. Can. Don't like to.
72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. Yup.
73. Caress a woman's neck. Oh, yes. And speak the language of love! (Not French, either.)
74. Know some birds - But only ornithologically.
75. Negotiate a better price. I hate haggling. I've done it, but was more of "I just won't pay that much" and the dealer started the offering me a deal.
Andrew Lloyd Webber turns 70
20 hours ago