Five Things

by John Holbo on December 19, 2006

Glenn Fleishman tags me with one of these silly little things. Alright, then. Five things most people don’t know about me.

1. I went to South Eugene High School with Glenn Fleishman (“Careful with that Axe, Eugene!”) He directed me in my role as the Postman in the drama department’s 1983 (?) production of “Out At Sea”, by Slawomir Mrozek. (Man, I hope I’m remembering that right. Did I even play the Postman? This is so hazy maybe I wasn’t in the play at all. But I certainly went to South with Glenn.)

2. I have an even vaguer recollection that Martin Hynes played Thin – the guy the other guys in the boat wanted to eat. You know Martin because he played George Lucas in George Lucas in Love. (Congrats on getting to go to Sundance, Martin.) But I’m sure of this much. I was in drama and Youth Symphony and marching band with Martin. (Martin played violin and also drums … I think?)

3. I played French Horn in junior high and high school. Never really liked it (my parent’s idea, really). I don’t care much for classical music, never grew into it, and – apart from a few John Entwhistle moments – there isn’t a lot of call for French horn in rock. (In college I played bass but never really practiced, ergo never got better. But was briefly in a band called Happy Face Lulu Farm.) My father was adamant that playing the French Horn would look good on my college applications. There is literary precedent for this in Daniel Pinkwater’s novel, Borgel [amazon]. The protagonist’s brother, Milo, “only played French horn in the high school band because things like that are supposed to look good on your college application” (p. 10). Other than that I am unlike Milo.

4. Unlike Henry Farrell, who advocates making X-mas musak sexy, I advocate making all the sexy earworms of 2006 more X-mas-y, to get them out of your head. Example: you can be walking through the mall, singing to yourself:

I’m bringing X-mas back
Them other santas don’t know how to act
I think you’re special what’s behind your back
So full of toys that big ol’ santa sack
Take ’em to the grinch!

And, from the outside, you look perfectly normal.

5. Belle and I and the kids are horribly jetlagged. It takes 2-year olds a really long time to recover from a 12 hour time change. Worse: I have temporally migrated one way, Belle and the kids the other. So I go to sleep at 8 PM and get up at 3 AM. They stay up until, like, 1 AM and sleep til noon. This results in Belle doing all the work. I predict: when she wakes up in about 8 hours, she’s going to be a bit annoyed at me about this. It does seem that I could be working a bit harder. (But I’ve also had other things that need getting done. Like writing a conference paper to deliver in a week. And blogging at 4:50 AM.)

I’m now supposed to tap 5 other people: how’z about – Tim Burke, Kip Manley, Matthew Yglesias, Jim Henley, Chris Sims.



cowiche 12.19.06 at 10:55 am

Hey, I know some people who went to South Eugene. Didn’t they have a good tennis team?


Russell Arben Fox 12.19.06 at 10:57 am

Did you ever do marching band? My wife played French horn during the same period of her life–junior high and high school–and she really got into it. I played the violin, which isn’t too useful in marching band settings, so I was stuck in orchestra, and my feelings towards the instrument were probably about the same as yours, John. Though my parents never pushed me into the violin; it was just an odd, determined choice I made, which I stuck with despite not really liking it through college.

To further demonstrate my nerdiness, I have no idea what song you’ve transformed in #4 above.


jen 12.19.06 at 11:26 am

I live across the soccer field from SEHS, grew up down in Cottage Grove, though I’m a few years younger than you are.


John Holbo 12.19.06 at 11:55 am

Glad to meet you, jen. Right now I’m actually back in Eugene, just West of you – over by Churchill, actually.

Russell, oh yeah I did marching band. It was ok. Band camp and all that. Not quite ready for “American Pie” primetime, my experience was. But ok.

The song is Justin Timberlake, “Sexy Back”.


Glenn Fleishman 12.19.06 at 12:28 pm

Yes, you were the postman! Strange little one-act I quite liked, which I understand now was a metaphor for how the state used scarcity as a weapon of control, forcing self-sacrifice on those least able to afford it. Um, something like the U.S. now, I think.


Matthew 12.19.06 at 1:17 pm

Go Sheldon! Go Ducks!


Kenny Easwaran 12.19.06 at 3:35 pm

Doesn’t Belle and Sebastian sometimes use french horn?


John Emerson 12.19.06 at 11:02 pm

What people really don’t know is that Eugene, OR is primarily a refuge for Sixties survivors. Or was, anyway, the last time I passed through.
File under “The tyranny of small differences”. McManus should show up soon.


John Emerson 12.19.06 at 11:04 pm

Or “the narcissism of small differences”. Google joggled my memory wrongly.


Chris Sims 12.19.06 at 11:27 pm

But everyone knows everything about me!

Oh well, I’ll think of something.


Christopher M 12.20.06 at 1:25 am

French horn in Neutral Milk Hotel.


Mark Thoma 12.20.06 at 2:12 pm

Wow. Lots of Eugenians here. Me too.

Mark Thoma
Economist’s View


Eszter 12.22.06 at 4:55 am

I got tagged last Sunday, but didn’t get around to posting until today. My responses are up on my personal blog. Quick summary:

1. CT, TX, HI, MA, NY, NJ, IL, CA
2. Dan Rather
3. REM
4. Japanese
5. Cornell

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