More or Less, 25 Facts


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Quite some time ago, Immi tagged me on Facebook with the 100-facts-about-me meme. Apologies for not following through, but I doubt I can count that high, let alone think of that many facts, at least true ones. But I’ll give it a try, at least a partial try.

Here’s a first installment – and I can’t promise there will be a second.

  • I love Battlestar Galactica.
  • I once stood in the room where Dostoevski wrote Brothers Karamazov and felt like I’d entered a tiny cathedral.
  • For the high school play, I was Cyrano de Bergerac. I had a nose for it.
  • I thought I would be an actor for a while.
  • I thought I was going to be a poet after taking Robert Lowell’s seminar.
  • Among my favorite movie directors are Peter Weir, the Coen brothers and the Scott brothers (Ridley and Tony)
  • I’ve read about half of Philip K. Dick’s 35 novels and will someday read the rest.
  • IMHO, Henning Mankell rules the world of mystery writing.
  • At all times I keep well hidden my two beautiful (when new) titanium hips.
  • Long, long ago, I met Francis Ford Coppola in Rome and joined his group for dinner. I had no idea who he was.
  • I have a brother who emigrated to Australia, became a citizen and still lives there.
  • When young I lived very comfortably in the West Village, paid $85 a month in rent and lived on $15 a week for food. Today, multiply by 25-30.
  • I once had a transforming experience in a Lakota sweat lodge ceremony on the Rosebud Reservation.
  • I became a vegetarian after taking one bite of a roasted Leghorn chicken we had raised.
  • As a kid, I came within half a dozen firmly rooted grass blades from drowning in a flooding brook a block from my house.
  • Thanks to my wife, we have home-grown fruits and vegetables at every season and month of the year.
  • My best friend and I once climbed countless stairs to the top of the Washington Monument in August. Of course, when we got there all we could see were a bunch of sweating people gasping for air at a few narrow slots cut in the thick walls. We joined them.
  • As a lapsing Catholic in my teens, I was told the dreaded penalty for missing communion at Easter was excommunication. But after I stopped taking part in that last sacrament, I realized – who in the Church is going to go to all that trouble when they don’t even I know exist?
  • I’m part of the second generation of my family, on both sides, born in the USA.
  • My grandfather on my mother’s side was born in 1856 in Mannheim, Germany. Needless to say, he had children very late in life, as did my mother.
  • My grandmother told me that as a very young child, new to the US, she saw the Statue of Liberty when it shone like gold.
  • I’m tired of using a nom de blog.
  • When my wife and I married in the 1970s, we put our names together with a hyphen. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t know what a hyphen is. Of course, computers don’t know either, so we wind up with about 20 different versions of our name, including misspellings. Hence, very few computers know who we really are.
  • I am a genius at starting new projects and finishing one in twenty.
  • Apparently, I live in a little town that Rush Limbaugh, who started his broadcasting career in nearby Sacramento, loves to make fun of. If he hates it, I’m proud to be here.
  • I’ve lost count on this round, but there is one more thing. As I say, I’m tired of anonymity and false identities and have been giving them up elsewhere on the internet.
  • My real name is John Folk-Williams. There now, I’ve said it.

12 Responses to “More or Less, 25 Facts”

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  1. Immi says:

    Cool John 🙂 I’m sure you can count that high, but thinking of 100 things is a lot. lol Philip K Dick… woo hoo! Love his work too. 🙂

  2. Bobby Revell says:

    Dostoevsky is one of my favorite writers and I prefer his work to Tolstoy’s—even though Anna Karenina is still considered the greatest novel ever written. Reading that old style is difficult and it’s disappointing that today’s kids rarely take the time to read those classics.

    I cannot stand Rush Limbaugh. Just hearing his voice makes me cringe:)

    • john says:

      Revellian – I’ve given up on the grand critical pronouncements you always hear from scholars – the greatest of this period, of all time, of this year. What we enjoy and come back to for inspiration is all that counts. I’ve learned a lot from both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky but find D so much more gripping. As to RL, it wasn’t easy even mentioning his name – last time, I promise!

      Thanks again — John

  3. It is indeed a very good name 😀

    You’re a fascinating man, not that I didn’t know this already!

    Am also slowly making my way through PKD’s books… there seems to be one for every mood, pretty well.

    Have gone into shock at knowledge that living in the West Village could only cost anyone, ever $15/week. Goodness… living the dream right there 😉

    • john says:

      Hi, catatonic kid – Talk about fascinating! We have to reinvent the word for you – or just come up with a new one. There are so many incredible ideas and images your mind pours out!

      As far as the New York thing goes – I hesitated about that since it only advertises my antiquity – those are 1970 prices.

      And I think I’ll do a post about PKD – there’s so much in his work that’s really been helpful.

      Take care! — John

  4. Melinda says:

    I love these lists, as I always learn something about my blogging friends that I never realized and I also find out neat things that we have in common. For example, I never knew you thought you might be an actor and that is something we have in common. I also love the same movie directors that you do (love Peter Weir and the Coen brothers in particular). Also, Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite science fiction writers (and I am a huge sci fi fan).

    I also laughed when I read about the hyphen. My maiden name, which is Egyptian, is El-Negoumy and when we moved to the United States in the 1960’s, no one knew what a hyphen was. My mother would have to always spell out the name and say E-L-hyphen-N. She finally took to saying E-L-dash-N because no one knew (and she, being an English teacher hated that!).

    I did one of these lists recently and had a lot of fun doing it—I really enjoyed yours also.

    Take care,


    • john says:

      Melinda – That combination of shared interests is amazing. I’ve loved Peter Weir’s movies since his early Australian ones – Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave – a very spiritual feeling about both. I can’t say I’m a huge sci-fi fan – compared to the real ones who’ve read everything – but I am deeply into the writers who explore new ideas about consciousness and mental powers. PKD is in a class by himself – great sci-fi going into depths of character and spirituality. Awesome!

      I’ve also resorted to saying dash – people generally get that right. So many computers though reject that character and either separate the two names or push them into one. Can’t win!

      My best to you — John

  5. Ellen says:

    Besides a German heritage, we share a love of Henning Mankell. I’m currently reading ‘Faceless Killers’, don’t know if you’ve read it? I love Wallander, such a depressive, but who triumphs in the end. Lots of depressive themes of loneliness, winter (it always seems to be winter), isolation, missed connections and failed relationships, death and destruction. But there is Wallander, doggedly working to put a small part of the world to rights by solving the murder. Great stuff.

    • john says:

      Hi, Ellen – That’s great to hear. Wallander is an interesting character, as you well describe, and I love the way he sets about investigating. The usual difficulty in making the right connections seems so real, but then he finally figures it out. Love it. Actually, I’ve read all the Wallander stories – or I thought I had until I found that two early books have now been released. Have to get them asap! I’ve also read two of his recent novels and one or two featuring Linda W. All good but Wallander himself is the best.


  6. Evan says:

    Hi John,

    You certainly had some interesting experiences. I’d have loved to have been in that poetry seminar.

    I’m an Australian so I’d like to know what your brother makes of us. We are quite different to the US I think.

  7. la says:

    Do you know, your name was worth waiting for. It is a very good name.

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