A Little Personal Background Information

Es­ti­mated reading time is 4 min­utes.

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, 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 (more than I can re­member), I’m just going to list things that I am (still!) pas­sionate about. As each cat­e­gory could con­tain dozens of en­tries, I kept my se­lec­tions down to one or two each.

If you came here from an­other one of my blogs, don’t worry—you will be taken right back to that blog when you close this page.

This ar­ticle has been a part of this blog for sev­eral years. But I pub­lished it as a “page” in­stead of a “post” (it’s a Word­Press thing), which meant that few people knew of it and even fewer read it.

Hope­fully, this will change that . . .


Personal background: photo of Jennifer Garner from 2021.

Jen­nifer Garner in 2021 and more beau­tiful than ever! This photo ap­peared in the April 5, 2021, issue of People magazine.

These are a few of my favorite people

Fa­vorite male singers
Elvis Presley

Fa­vorite fe­male singer
Petula Clark

Fa­vorite groups
Bea­tles (1961-1969)

Beach Boys (1962-1972)
Rolling Stones (1963-forever)
Kinks (1964-1971)
Byrds (1965-1968)

Fa­vorite fic­tion authors
Poul An­derson

James Clavell
Phillip Dick
Harlan El­lison
Anne Mc­Caf­frey
Lewis Shiner
Norman Spinrad

Fa­vorite non-fiction authors
Bill James

Stephen Jay Gould
Laura Kipnis

Fa­vorite poem
Tristan Tzara, Ap­prox­i­mate Man 1

Fa­vorite actors
Cary Grant

Kevin Costner

Fa­vorite actresses
Jean Arthur
Jen­nifer Garner

Fa­vorite movie directors
Woody Allen

Clint East­wood

Fa­vorite car­toon character
Bugs Bunny

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
Steve Ditko

Jack Kirby
Wally Wood

Fa­vorite un­der­ground comic artists
R. Crumb

Fred Schrier

Fa­vorite psy­che­delic poster artists
Rick Griffin

Wes Wilson


Personal background: cover of the 1979 edition of The Comic Book Price Guide with art by Wally Wood.

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.

These are a few of my favorite things

Fa­vorite single
Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog” / “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956)

Fa­vorite album
The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966) 2

Fa­vorite novels
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)
Love Ac­tu­ally

Fa­vorite tele­vi­sion series
Star Trek (1966-1968)

Northern Ex­po­sure (1990-1995)
Friends (1994-2004)
Firefly (2002-2003) 3

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
10-year-old Laphroaig

Fa­vorite drugs
Ly­sergic acid diethylamide

Fa­vorite par­tic­i­pa­tory sports


Fa­vorite spec­tator sports


Fa­vorite base­ball team
Philadel­phia Phillies

Fa­vorite base­ball player
Pete Rose 5

Fa­vorite ice cream
Tillamook Vanilla Bean

Fa­vorite quotation
“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.”


Personal background: photo of marquee for Arcaro & Genell restaurant in Old Forge, Pennsylvania.

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.

These are 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.

Life­long love
I love cats in all shapes, sizes, and demeanors.

Life­long hate
I hate f*cking bul­lies! 9


Personal background: original art by Wally Wood for the cover of the 1979 edition of The Comic Book Price Guide.

This is the orig­inal art­work by Wally Wood that was used for the cover of the 1979 edi­tion of The Comic Book Price Guide by Robert Over­street (above).



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, “scholars at the Center for Mark Twain Studies of Elmira Col­lege have found no sub­stan­tive ev­i­dence sup­porting the as­crip­tion to Mark Twain.” (Quote In­ves­ti­gator)

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.