1. I smoke cigars. I know that comes as a shock for a guy named Stogie, but there it is. My favorite hang-out in the world is the Morgan Hill Tobacco Company in Morgan Hill, California. It's actually just a tobacco shop, but they have a bar where you can order bottles of great German wheat beer (and others) to drink while you smoke; wine at $10 a glass; and a big picture of the Rat Pack hanging on the wall, just over the pool table. Definitely my kind of place.
2. I am an aspiring bass player. In my younger days, Bro and I played Rock, he on guitar and me on bass guitar; our younger brother played drums. We played parties and in nightclubs, a couple of strip clubs and even once for the Debutant's Ball in San Francisco, playing between sets when the orchestra took a break (it was the band leader who hired us).
Bro was a serious musician and really developed his art; I was a dilletante and frankly, not very good. I was too lazy to put in the time. I am making up for that now, a few decades later, by seriously studying the bass. I have a Fender Mustang bass guitar, a Fender bass amp, and one of those big, upright acoustic basses that I like the best. The picture above right is of Bro on the left and me on the right, playing at some event that had a Hawaiian theme, and that explains the shirts. When my youngest son saw this old pic for the first time he said I looked like Buddy Holly. Buddy Holly was a nerd with serious talent. I was just a nerd.
3. Bro and I were extras in the 1992 TNT movie "Gettysburg." We were Confederate infantrymen and took part in the recreation of Pickett's Charge, actually marching over the original site where several thousand men died on July 3, 1863, our long gray lines stretching into the distance on either side of us, Confederate flags flying in the Pennsylvania breeze, rockets streaking over our heads and theatrical charges blowing up around us. For us Confederate descendants, it was almost a religious experience. Some of the men were actually crying with the emotion of it all.
We slept in period tents in Gettysburg for a week, went drinking on the town in our uniforms, and as we wandered out of a bar one night, we noticed that the Inn next door had a sign out in front: "Lincoln slept here the night before the Gettysburg Adress." That's me on the left with the beard; I was trying to look tough but merely succeeded in looking blind.
While at Gettysburg, we thousands of Confederates, dirty with smoke-blackened faces, faced the thousands of equally unkempt blue-belly Yankees behind the stone wall. One of them yelled "Less filling!" Then one of us replied, "Tastes great!" Then a mighty roar went up, alternating between sides, "Less filling!" "Tastes Great!" and so on. It was the greatest beer commercial never filmed.
I met and talked with Martin Sheen on the Gettysburg set. He was General Lee. Nice guy but I hate his politics.
4. I was a Neo-Confederate with Stacy McCain. We've known each other for over ten years, but have never met in person. What being a "neo-Confederate" means is that our ancestors fought for the South in the great War Between the States, that we are Civil War buffs and historical preservationists, and yes, we think the South was the good guys. It has absolutely nothing to do with race, but if you prefer to think of us as racists, feel free. I don't speak for Stacy, but I am sure I am correct in saying that neither of us gives a damn. ("Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.")
Ask any American Indian and they will tell you a similar story, of how they played "Indians and Cowboys" when they were kids. It's all a matter of perspective.
5. I was kicked off of Free Republic for winning an argument with a Yankee about the Civil War. The owner of that site may be a wounded Vet in a wheelchair, but he's also an asshole. Just the facts, ma'am.
6. In college I was a biology major (later I changed majors to accounting) and probably know more about the theory of evolution than most of you. I was once its passionate defender, but now I don't believe it. I am not a religious fundamentalist or Bible literalist, either. I have no alternative theory, however. I am quite comfortable with uncertainty, knowing that many great questions may be beyond the comprehension of man.
7. I love hats and I collect hats. When I was about ten, I surmised that, with the right hat, all of life's conundrums could be answered. If you found just the right hat, all of life's doors would open wide. I always wanted one of those coonskin hats that were so popular during the Davey Crockett phase (in the early 1950's) but my dad wouldn't buy me one. They cost $3 each. He did, however, buy me a toy Confederate kepi and that locked the South into my loyalties forever after. I am still going to buy a coonskin hat, sooner or later, and like Paco, I also want a pith helmet. Actually, I have one somewhere, probably in the garage. I will find it again someday. I also want one of those really neat Colonial style tricorner hats. I have a bowler and a fedora, and want more. Oh yes, and I even have a genuine Dirty Billy slouch hat, black, perfect for reenacting, if I ever have the time and inclination to do that again. I need to replace my Confederate kepi; I can't find my old one. (That's an officer's Confederate kepi in my banner, in case you don't know what a kepi is.)
8. I've been married twice. The second one, to Mrs. Chomper, has lasted 32 years. She raised my two boys from the first marriage, along with our own son. My wife is Filipina, so if it's true that Stacy McCain doesn't approve of interracial marriages (as leftist idiots claim), I wonder why he's been my friend for so many years and never mentioned it to me.
9. One more than ordered -- I am a Certified Public Accountant and I don't do taxes. Well, except for friends and family, whom I don't charge.
That's more than I ever intended to share here, but there it is, for those of you still awake.
Passing along the Filthy Blog Cootie: I hereby pass the blog cootie along to Pastorius of Infidel Blogger's Alliance, Hoosier Army Mom of Hoosier Army Mom's Weblog, and to Ron Russell of Totus.
You foks are now obliged to share eight random facts about yourselves and to pass the bug along to three other bloggers each.