Seriously, I kill watches. I think it is in my DNA that whatever watch I own dies in four months. I have a brown-strapped watch around somewhere; doesn't work.
27. What do you think of when you hear "Australia"?
Sydney Opera House. I blame the Wonder Pets.
28. Would you strip for money?
No. You should be pleased.
29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Generally inside. Something ecologically and aesthetically even worse about the drive through than getting fast food inside.
30. What is your favorite number?
37. It's my birthday. Once, when I was commissioner of a college election, in order to stop voter fraud, I had a friend mark the 37 on the back of the students' ID cards. And yes, quite a few people had tried to vote more than once.
31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone?
Time Warner cable. Wanted to know why it is that when I look at the next six days ahead on the DVR, there is NO information for Monday. Last weekend, there was NO information for Tuesday. Had I not specifically checked this, I would have missed not only those days, but also subsequent days.
32. Any plans today?
Same as it ever was. "Water dissolving... and water removing. There is water... at the bottom of the ocean."
33. In how many states have you lived?
Two, North Carolina (4 months), and New York (the rest of my life).
34. Biggest annoyance right now?
Might be the New York State legislature for all sorts of reasons, not the least having to do with cuts to education and libraries.
35. Last song listened to?
Oh Bess, Where Is My Bess by Frank Sinatra. This excludes songs at church yesterday.
36. Can you say the alphabet backwards?
Yes, and so can my five-year-old daughter. In fact, she was my motivation.
37. Do you have a maid service clean your house?
Someone does come by some Saturdays for an hour or two. In fact, when she does not - and this past Saturday was one of those times - I clean obsessively thoroughly. Cleaning the spaces between the radiator folds. I don't enjoy it, as I take forever, but if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it well.
38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
Red Chuck Taylor sneakers. I have a Christmas ornament that someone gave me that looks like red Chucks. Apparently, I was a great disappointment to my fellow JEOPARDY! contestants in 1998 when I DIDN'T wear them on the show after I had been wearing them during the warm up.
39. Are you jealous of anyone?
Anyone who can type.
40. Is anyone jealous of you?
Seriously doubt it. I could be surprised.
41. Do you love anyone?
Quite a few, actually.
42. Do any of your friends have children?
About half of them.
43. What do you usually do during the day?
A working class hero is something to be.
44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now?
This seems to be a very popular question on these things. No, but there are certain people that, if they just all developed laryngitis, or failing that, fell off the face of the earth, I'd be mighty happy.
45. Do you use the word hello daily?
Hello, hello. I don't why you say goodbye. I say HELLO.
I was once working at the voting polls, which involved being there at 5:30 a.m., so I was walking there at 5:20, and this guy says, "Hello." I say "hello" back, but I haven't talked to anyone yet, so the vocal chords weren't really warmed up. He didn't hear me, evidently, and he said, "Don't you say 'hello' when someone says 'hello'?" I said that I DID say hello, that he hadn't heard me. Yeesh.
A few years ago I made a mixed CD with songs with "hello" in the title: Hello, It's Me; Hello Hooray; Hello Hello...
46. What color is your car?
Some boring silver gray that is so damn generic that I never recognize it except by the license plate.
47. What size wedding ring do you wear?
No idea at this point. But it hasn't changed.
48. Are you thinking about someone right now?
Yes, whoever asked such a lame question.
49. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
Well, yes and no. There is one not that far from me, the Great Escape in Lake George. I was at a conference at the lodge, and walked around the closed amusement park - it WAS November in upstate New York.
50. How did you get your worst scar?
May have told this story before: When I was 16, I had borrowed someone's bike. My friend Carol and I were going to ride over from our part of town, Binghamton, NY's First Ward, to the South Side to a friend's house. We managed to go the length of Front Street without having to stop or slow down.
However, as we were going across the Riverside Drive bridge, I found myself gaining on Carol. Every bike I had had up until then would brake by essentially peddling backwards, but this was not working; I would later discover that it was one of those new-fangled bikes with hand brakes. Anyway, in order to not run over my friend, who I had known since kindergarten, I put my foot down on the sidewalk to slow me down. The bike somehow flipped over.
After recovering from the fall, we rode the rest of the way without incident. It was only there when Carol and our friends Karen and Lois looked at my arm and saw the gash in my arm, full of blood, dirt and pebbles. They cleaned it out, but the scar lasted. Although with my vitiligo, the scar has virtually disappeared; hey, an upside!
That was the day I first heard the first Led Zeppelin album, incidentally: "Good Times, bad times, you know I've had my share." *** Record producer Bob Keane died last week. *** For no particular reason, save for the whimsy that comes with fatigue, above is a picture captioned: "Served at dinner for Captain Richard McCutchen, winner of the $64,000 question, on TV quiz program, a large basket of fruit which was part of the dinner." (September 1955; photographer: Yale Joel for LIFE).