Saturday, January 7, 2017

Happy Birthday to Millard Fillmore (and to Me too) - NOVA this week

Observations from my weekly wanderings, usually in Northern Virginia (NOVA)

Dave Berry opined that - There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is: age 11.

Mr. Berry's opinion notwithstanding, today is my 56th birthday, so here are 56 things you may not know about The Once Lost Wanderer:

1. This site is dedicated to my 6th grade teacher, Tina Banks, of Burke School Elementary – who gave me the gift of literature.
2. I have a library card – for The Library of Congress
3. I am INTP
4. I am protected each workday by U.S. Marines. That’s job security.
5. I have seen the Northern Lights, and the Southern Cross
6. I am the real Spiderman
7. I used to work 800 feet underground
8. I was close enough to Robert Kennedy to touch him – but I didn’t. He scared me.
9. I am a Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Pistons fan – but more than any of these, I am a Detroit Lions fan. They are the only one of these four that have never brought me satisfaction. All I want for my birthday is a Lions Playoff win – TODAY.
10. I am probably the world’s greatest at getting the greatest amount of toothpaste out of the tube. (Brilliant marketing by the way. Package a product in such a way that consumers throw away 10% of the product.)
11. I have lived on three continents.
12. I have been to three island nations, one island state, and a couple U.S. island territories.
13. That whole, dumping your fries into the other half of your now opened hamburger packaging – I invented that.
14. I’m an excellent cook. I made awesome beef stroganoff last weekend.
15. I’ve lived in 5 countries.
16. I have encountered a bear in the wild.
17. I’m beginning to think 56 things was rather ambitious.
18. I’ve visited 14 countries.
19. I’ve visited 39 states, including the two tough ones.
20. I was a pole vaulter in H.S. though I never distinguished myself.
21. I’ve read 75 of the Greatest Novels of all time.
22. I can say the alphabet, as if it is one word.
23. I’m thinking I may not do this again next year.
24. I have a very boring blood type – O+. I always wanted one of the rare ones, but it’s actually better to have a boring one. But it’s still boring.
25. My Great Grandfather lived to be 101, and my Grandmother lived to 104.
26. My hometown is only two letters different than Karamazov – that is, I can substitute two letters, keep the order the same, and viola. And I was worried this was getting boring.
27. I was in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years.
28. My professional life, has something in common with authors: Muriel Spark, W. Somerset Maugham, Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Burgess, Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, and possibly, though unconfirmed with Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck.
29. I’ve encountered whales in the wild.
30. I’ve been to Disney Theme parks in Florida, California, Japan, and France. It’s something special to hear the Country Bears sing the Ballad of Davey Crocket in Japanese or French.
31. Je Parle en peus Francais
32. I’ve owned over 50 automobiles.
33. I’ve eaten more than 30,000 pieces of toast.
34. I’ve never eaten a fig newton.
35. I prefer stovetop stuffing to ANYONE’s homemade stuffing.
36. I’m getting hungry.
37. I think therefore I am.
38. I read with an eReader, but for my classics quest at least, I get a hardcover version treebook. My bookcase is like a trophy case.
39. I read Call of the Wild in entirety at the Library of Congress.
40. I’ve driven a HUMVEE…the real military version.
41. I qualified as expert on two different weapons: M-16 and M-9.
42. I’ve had a broken nose, but no broken bones.
43. I once failed to salute a General. He instructed me that I didn’t have that option. He was very nice about it.
44. I once failed to salute a Warrant Officer (WAAAAAY lower than a General) He instructed me that I didn’t have that option. He was not nice about it.
45. I have exactly one author autographed book: Patrick McManus, outdoorsman humorist. He congratulated me on a 40lb fish I caught. You should read him. He’s incredibly funny.
46. I once caught a 40lb fish. (catching it twice woulda been silly)
47. Pet’s I’ve had in my lifetime: dog, cat, goldfish, rabbit, guinea pig, snake, turtle, parakeet, raccoon, lizard, and horse. My brother had a pet hawk, but I can’t claim that one. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s probably the coolest of these pets, but it was probably pretty illegal, and I’m not certain of the statute of limitations on these things.
48. I wonder how my Gramma did this on her 104th birthday? I’m having trouble just getting to 56.
49. I once figured out EXACTLY how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie-Roll-Pop. But I’ve forgotten, and I’m not going through that again.
50. I’ve stood on the shore of the U.S. East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, and crossed the northern border to Canada. I have not yet crossed the Southern border to Mexico.
51. I have watched the sunrise from the Pacific Ocean. Now think about that one a second. It’s a bit more unusual than it first seems.
52. I’ve been to the southern-most point in the United States.
53. I swam with dolphins…and not in any controlled park or hotel lagoon.
54. I used to think I had an interesting life…all that toast and tootsie pops, but when you can hardly come up with 50 interesting things…well, it makes you wonder.
55. I share my birthday with Nicholas Cage, Jeremy Renner, and Millard Fillmore, though I don’t really share it with President Fillmore – he’s finished with it. More importantly, I also share it with two sisters-in-law.

56. I have a beautiful wife, three wonderful children, two fabulous daughters-in-law, three adorable grandsons, one sweet granddaughter, and one precious grandchild on the way. There is also a cat running around, but I don’t claim her.


  1. Fascinating and entertainingly humorous. I loved it. Do you know of all 56 things, there is only one I did that you didn't? I HAVE crossed the southern border into Mexico. It's like entering a completely different universe.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Ruth :) I've heard as much about Mexico. I'll get there one day.

  3. Happy Birthday! I read your entire list and was impressed.

  4. Happy belated birthday! My 49th was the 4th - there are a decent number of book bloggers with birthdays this month. Are you in NOVA? I am too - I also have a Library of Congress card, for doing research - it's one of my favorite places here!

    1. Happy belated birthday to you as well. Yep, NOVA...Fredericksburg. Yes, the LoC is a magnificent building.


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