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WHEN REQUIRED TO POST A PROFILE on the internet, I usually write, “Mystical liberal likes long walks alone at night in the dark in the city in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig.” While this bit of irony works for some readers (especially any readers old enough to remember the mania for personal ads back in the ’90s), others want a little more in terms of personal background information.
Rather than regale you with tales of my professional career and the jobs I have held outside of publishing (including but hardly limited to bartender, FEMA crew manager, and jewelry engraver), or the “true story” behind the story my brother and sister still love to tell about me flipping the Monopoly board up in the air in anger when we were kids, or goals reached and dreams yet unfulfilled, I’m just going to list things that I am still passionate about at the age of 70. As each category could contain dozens of entries, I kept my selections down to no more than a few for each.
“A Little Background Information 2022” is a WordPress page, so it is not a part of the actual blog posts and cannot be seen on the homepage. I placed a post titled “A Little Background Information” that can be seen on the homepage to attract readers. If you came to this page via a search for that post, just click the back arrow in the upper left and it will take you back to where you started.
Or, should you want to see or read more of the Neal Umphred Dot Com blog, click here.
Inspired by the recent movie YES DAY, on Saturday, February 5, 2022, Jennifer Garner was honored as the 2022 Woman of the Year by Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals theater troupe.
A few of my favorite people
Favorite male singer
Favorite female singer
Beach Boys (1962-1972)
Rolling Stones (1963-forever)
Favorite fiction authors
Favorite non-fiction authors
Stephen Jay Gould
Tristan Tzara (for Approximate Man 1)
Favorite movie directors
Favorite cartoon character
Favorite costumed heroes
The Fantastic Four (Jack Kirby and Stan Lee)
Spiderman (Steve Ditko and Stan Lee)
Favorite costumeless heroes
Dr. Strange (Steve Ditko and Stan Lee)
Pipsqueak (Wally Wood)
The Spirit (Will Eisner)
Favorite aboveground comic books artists
Favorite underground comic artists
Favorite psychedelic poster artists
This art was done by Wally Wood for the cover of the 1979 edition of Robert Overstreet’s Comic Book Price Guide. It is an homage to the work that Wood did for the legendary EC comic books Weird Science and Weird Fantasy in the early ’50s.
A few of my favorite media things
Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog” / “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956)
The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966) 2
James Clavell, Tai-Pan (1966)
James Clavell, Shogun (1975)
Favorite old movies
King Kong (1933)
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)
Snow White And The Seven Dwarves (1937)
Favorite recent movies
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Tin Cup (1996)
Love Actually (2003)
Favorite television series
Star Trek (1966-1968)
Northern Exposure (1990-1995)
Firefly (2002-2003) 3
When I first met Berni, she handed me a VHS copy of the MICHAEL with John Travolta as an ornery archangel and said, “This is my go-to movie when I want to get away from it all and chill out.” At the time, I did not have a “chill out” movie, but I do now: TIN CUP with Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Cheech Marin, and Don Johnson.
A few of my favorite other things
Favorite mixed drink
Tanqueray martini, stirred not shaken, straight up, with one olive squeezed into the drink then tossed over my left shoulder. 4
Favorite unmixed drink
Lysergic acid diethylamide
Favorite participatory sports
Favorite spectator sports
Favorite baseball team
Favorite baseball player
Pete Rose 5
Favorite ice cream
Tillamook Vanilla Bean
“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble—it’s what you know that just ain’t so.” 6
Favorite pithy sayings
“Life’s tough, then you die.”
“So it goes.”
Whenever I visit my home state of Pennsylvania, I immediately head to Old Forge for pizza at Arcaro & Genell’s restaurant. If there is a better pizza anywhere, I have yet to taste it.
A few personal background details
I am in a long-term, committed relationship with a woman who hates seeing her name on the internet. 7
Footnotes on my blog posts. 8
I am a pizza snob who believes that Old Forge, Pennsylvania, is the Pizza Capital of the World.
I love cats in all shapes, sizes, and demeanors.
I hate f*cking bullies! 9
In the “baby book” that my mother kept for me, she wrote that my favorite song in 1956 was “Sh-Boom.” No doubt it was the Crew Cuts’ homogenized version of the Chord’s rhythm & blues classic. It doesn’t matter because in my memory, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog” has been my favorite record for as long as I can remember! For more on Mr. Presley, please check out my other blog, Elvis – A Touch Of Gold.
1 The Mary Ann Caws translation of 1973.
2 But there are a number of albums that could be considered a close second. This includes but is certainly not limited to Blonde On Blonde (1966), Younger Than Yesterday (1967), Music From Big Pink and Beggars Banquet (1968), From Elvis In Memphis and Arthur (1969), and Sunflower (1970).
3 Since we started binge-watching television series on DVD a few years ago, I could add so, so many more titles—but won’t.
4 That’s a martini made the old-fashioned way: four-parts-gin-to-one-part-vermouth, not the modern 20-1 mix.
5 Because as a Phillies fan I credit Rose with their first World Championship in 1980 to Rose.
6 There are many variations on this observation but this is the one I heard first and it’s the one I like best. While it is often attributed to Mark Twain, according to the Quote Investigator website, scholars at the Center for Mark Twain Studies of Elmira College have found no substantive evidence supporting the ascription to Twain.
7 I would love to regale you with tales of my conquests, my loves, my losses—but that same internet-hating woman would have what’s left of my balls pickled in a jar on the mantle if I did.
8 Like these.
9 All bullies: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and in this country, political and economic bullies.