Answers to Last Week’s MI-5

1) “An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.” (This is the book I’m currently reading.) Answer: This actually is the book of Malachi! I try to read five chapters in the Bible every morning. I start at the front, and read to the end. Once I get to the end, I start over. Someone mentioned that when they did that sort of reading, they picked a new translation each time. So, I’ve decided to do that! I read the King James, and am working on the New International now. I start Mark tonight! (I also sometimes read in the evening.)

2) “THE ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country.” (One of my favorite short stories.) Answer:The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe. I figured some of you would at least be able to guess that one. I’m a huge Poe fan, and “Masque” is high on my list of favorites. I made a blog template with that theme, and produced a Reader’s Theater piece based on it.

3) “My grandmother, in her own way, shines like a beacon down the stormy American past.” (A favorite book I read over and over. Most of you probably haven’t read it.) Answer: This is “Revenge of the Lawn” by Richard Brautigan. I think my English teacher Roz Costa introduced me to him. He’s one of my favorites. I own all his works I can reasonably afford. The only things I don’t have are the outrageously expensive out-of-print stuff. The rest of it I’ve read.

4) “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days know without taking a fish.” (This one you’ve probably all read, and should be an easy guess. This is a book I want to re-read.) Answer: The Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway. I figured this would be an easy guess too. I didn’t read this in high school, but it’s frequently required reading. Last week I mentioned I wanted to re-read it. I did–this week!

5) “When you ask why I dwell here docile among the far green hills, I laugh in my heart. My heart is happy.” (I’d guess none of you have ever read this book; I read it rather frequently.) Answer: The Jade Flute: Chinese Poems  in Prose.”  It’s out of print. It’s everything about me, in poems: it’s romantic, wistful, and melancholy. See if this sounds like something I might like…

To His Dead Lover

“The swishing sound of silk is still. The dust gathers on marble floors. The room is hollow, cold and silent. Leaves have drifted against the doors.

Longing for that lost sweet girl, I wonder how to lull my aching heart to rest.”

Lisa’s “First Line” MI-5

Take five different books, and type in the first line of each
book. You can pick a book you just read, a book you are reading, and a book
you want to read. You can use fiction, non-fiction, poetry, textbooks,
whatever. If you want to create your own similarities among the five books,
you can. However, you can pick any random five books you want, whether you
have read them or not. DO NOT post the name of the book, nor the author.
Only list the first line. Over the next week, visit the blog of each MI-5’er. Make yourself post a comment. It can be any comment, with one exception: DO NOT TRY TO GUESS THE BOOK OR THE AUTHOR. This is to the keep the “surprise” for those of us who like to guess. You may indicate that you’ve read the book, that based upon the first line you’d like (or not like) to read the book, or you can
indicate that you know the book (just don’t name the book or author). Next Thursday or Friday, each MI-5’er should add the title and the author to
their original entry.

1) “An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.” (This is the book I’m currently reading.)

2) “THE ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country.” (One of my favorite short stories.)

3) “My grandmother, in her own way, shines like a beacon down the stormy American past.” (A favorite book I read over and over. Most of you probably haven’t read it.)

4) “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days know without taking a fish.” (This one you’ve probably all read, and should be an easy guess. This is a book I want to re-read.)

5) “When you ask why I dwell here docile among the far green hills, I laugh in my heart. My heart is happy.” (I’d guess none of you have ever read this book; I read it rather frequently.)

OK, rememeber: If you know the answer, DON’T mention the name or author in your comments! Next week, I’ll reveal who is what. By my guesstimate, though, you’ll be able to get three out of the five I posted.

The Chicken Soup MI-5

This fiver is inspired by a bowl of my beloved wife’s Chinese Chicken Noodle soup. Your answers need not be related to food.

1) Chicken. We Americans eat lots of chicken, yet we’ve bred them to have little flavor. What’s something you do in your life that you do even though it has little flavor? That is, what is something you continue to do, though you receive little fulfillment for it? Take out the trash. Floss my teeth. Work on websites.

2) Noodles. Who invented them, the Chinese or the Italians? Tell us about your cultural heritage. Of what decent are you? I’m mostly an amalgam of UK, with mostly English/Scottish. There’s some French in there, and supposedly some American Indian somewhere along the line. The name Batty is supposed to be Welsh, but a genealogist once told me that many Scots, especially in the lowlands, took on Welsh names. Elwell and Maker are English names, and Cavenor is Scotch. Yattaw is on the French side of things.

3) Green onions. When I was a kid, I didn’t like onions. Now, I can’t get enough of them. What’s something you used to dislike, but now really like? Other than onions, I can’t really think of much.

4) Carrots. When I was a kid, I couldn’t eat carrots. Now, I can eat them, but I don’t really care for them too much. What’s something you never cared for as a child that you still don’t care for today? Opera.

5) Broth. Without broth, you don’t have soup. What’s the thing that, if you didn’t have it, would make you not be you?
I wouldn’t be me without the drums. If someone were to ask me “Who is Bill Batty,” I’d be most likely to respond “I’m a drummer.” And, I’d probably say that before I’d say “I’m a father,” or “I’m a husband.” Now, being a father and a husband is more important to me than being a drummer, but I’ve been a drummer longer.

The Meeting MI-5

This MI-5 is inspired by the five meetings I had yesterday.

Meeting 1, the pastor: Tell us an interesting story about you and a playground.
We used to play this game on the playground called “Red Butt.” It was a game we invented. You take a tennis ball, and bounce it off a wall. The other kids try and catch the ball. If they catch it, they throw it back against the wall, and continue. The game really gets fun when someone drops the ball. When they drop the ball, they start running to tag the wall. The other players run to grab the ball, and try to throw it against the wall before the drop-er touches the wall. If the person who dropped the ball get to the wall first, they’re safe. If another person snags the ball, and throws it against the wall before the drop-er gets there, well, here’s what happens. The person who dropped the ball bends over, butt out, head touching the wall. The person who grabbed the ball and hit the wall with it gets a free throw at the persons bum! And since the drop-er is bent over, they can’t see when the ball is going to arrive! It’s really quite fun, and I think I need to put a game together!

Meeting 2, the insurance lady: What typical workplace benefit do you not have currently that you wish you did have?
I currently have life insurance personally, but I’d like to have more. A voluntary group life plan would be nice. (The benefits we do get are very generous.)

Meeting 3, the real estate agent: Relate to us something about an experience buying/selling/renting a home.
Susan and I are in the very beginning stages of selling our current home, and buying something “new.” I’ve only purchased one home before, and never sold one. It’s quite a new experience for me.

Meeting 4, the radio sales rep: What’s your favorite radio station? What’s the genre? Why do you like it?
Since purchasing my XM radio, I really only listen to NPR on FM. There are many stations I like on XM: ’80s on 8, alternative country on 12, bluegrass on 14, clean comedy on 151, and the talk stations 158 and 165. And I like “America Right” on 166. Oh, and I’ve also been listening to “The Catholic Channel” on 117. I like their question and answer shows. I think Protestant talk radio could really use more Q/A shows.

Meeting 5, the dessert loving banker: What’s your favorite dessert? Why?
Oh, that’s tough. Susan’s cheesecake is good, as are her cookies. Mom’s chocolate pie with cooked pudding (not instant) is high on the list. And I really like Pepperidge Farm’s chocolate cake too. Prism Glass’s Italian lemon creme cake has been in my thoughts recently, too.

Susan’s Reflective MI-5

My beloved wife says “Since it is the week before New Year’s Day I thought we could do some reflecting on the past year.”

1. What one unexpected joy did you discover? I really do like raw oysters. I had had one years ago. It was mostly eaten just so I could say that I had tried one. It basically went down whole. And though I had had other opportunities to try one, I didn’t want to shell (haha!) out $3 to see if I really liked them. At a gig a few months ago, they served oysters on the free raw bar. So I tried one. I took my time, and chewed it thoroughly. It was good. I think, though, that I would much prefer them under better conditions. This one wasn’t very cold, and didn’t have any of its “liquor,” so it was a little dry. Still, it was good.

2. What  two things would you have done differently? Why? Hmm. I think I would’ve stayed on vacation in New Hampshire longer; it seems like we were really rushed. And, I would’ve called my plow people to let them know I would be out late on blizzard night!

3.  What were the three most significant events? My daughter started home school. My wife had surgery (minor). I had the flu, and was out sick for almost a week. (I haven’t been that sick in a long, long time.)

4. What four things did you do that were the most fun? Vacation. Christmas. The staff picnic with the kids. All the times the kids and I played “Jump on the Daddy.”

5. What five things are you most grateful for? Susan, Julia, Matt, Nat, and inumerable blessings God gives me.

Watching Movies MI-5

This Five is not so much concerned with what kind of movies you like, but how you watch them!

1) When you’re at the theater, how do you want your atmosphere? Do you prefer old theaters or megaplexes? Full houses or intimate seatings? Lots of kids, or none at all?

I really prefer old theaters to new. They have so much more character. Today’s multiplexes are like concrete bunkers. They’re so, blah. And, since I’m in a theater, I’d like to have some people there. In my opinion, the only thing you get in a theater that you don’t get at home is the crowd interaction. And, like my sister, if I’m watching a kid movie, I’d like to have lots of kids running around. Their laughter is contagious!

2) What’s your “home theater” like? High tech? VCR and TV? What?

My home theater is pretty decent. I really haven’t added much to it since my children have been born. I’ve got Dolby Digital 5.1, 32″ RCA Cinema Series TV, nice speakers, subwoofer, DVD and Laserdisc. The only thing I’d like to have is a 16 X 9 widescreen display. But since my current TV is working fine, I see no need to go out and spend $700 or more just to change the ratio of my screen size.

3) We’ve probably all got DVD and VCR players, but how about alternative movie watching gadgets? Have you got an Apple TV? Ever watch a movie over the Internet?

I’ve got a TiVo. Sometimes we’ll get a movie off that to watch. Not too much, though. I don’t watch movies on my computer. My iPod Touch can play movies, and I’ve ripped a few I own to watch on it. I don’t forsee myself watching them, though, until I’m on a plane or something. (I don’t normally carry the earphones with me.)

4) Do you belong to a subscription movie rental service, like NetFlix? If so, how many movies are you renting a month? Are you happy with the service?

I don’t have anything like that. We watch so few movies, it wouldn’t really be worth it to us. We’ll usually just watch the same movies over and over. Madagascar and Cars are perrenial favorites in my house.

5) Share with us your ratio of buying movies to renting them. Do you rent more, or just outright buy your movies? Do you get DVDs, tapes, or movie downloads for your computer most frequently?

I would say we buy and rent at about an equal ratio. We usually rent things we’ve never seen. If we see it, and like it enough to watch it again, we’d probably by it. With that said, though, I’ve got some movies from last Christmas I still haven’t watched yet.

Amy’s Mish Mash MI-5

Amy says: This week I had the MI-5 so I asked some questions that had been rolling around my head.

Bath or Shower?
Shower. In the AM. Hair washed. Neti pot. Shave every other day or so.

If you are a beer drinker- what is your favorite? Is it a seasonal thing? If you aren’t a beer drinker what is your favorite beverage and does it change with the season?

I do like beer, but I don’t drink much of it anymore. Heck, even in my heyday I was a two beer guy. One or two good ones is all I ever wanted. My tastes do change with the seasons: as it gets colder, I like “heavier” beers. In the winter, I like Shipyards Longfellow and Prelude ale. I tend to like English style ales with lots of hops, like IPAs. Shipyard’s Chamberlain ale is also a favorite, as is Geary’s Special Hampshire ale.

Now that the election is over what is one thing you are looking forward to as “life resumes”?
Less talk of politics around the office. I don’t mind everyone talking politics. And usually, it’s all pretty civil. This year, though, there were some times where things got a little dicey.

If you were a board game what game would you be?
Probably Scrabble. It takes some time for me to make the words make sense.

Do you like barbecue sauce? Do you have a favorite brand? A favorite barbecue dish?
I LOVE BBQ. My favorite sauce is probably KC Masterpiece original. I tend to like the Memphis/KC style sauce: tomato based, brown sugar or molasses, maybe a little heat. And, like Memphis, I tend to dig the pig. Brisket’s good, and chicken is ok, but usually I want ribs, or, even better, pulled pork. Yum!

Gina’s Halloween MI-5

1. What was the worst costume you ever wore? What was the best?

The worst costume I ever had was the year I went as a ghost. How can a ghost costume be bad? When your Dad insists that, for the sake of safety, said ghost wears a necktie. Yup. No joke. My parents were afraid I’d trip in the sheet or something, so they forced me to wear a necktie. Awful. All the rest were just fine. Nothing really stands out as “the best.”

2. Tell us about the scariest nightmare you’ve ever had.

I used to have this recurring character in a dream: Zim Bo Bin. He looked very much like the love child of The Joker and the Green Goblin but he was 1/2 red and 1/2 green.  We would play this awful game of tag. Once he tagged you, you would then have five nights of bad dreams. I remember one dream sequence when he chased me from my house next door to my grandmother’s house. I ran into her back room, where she keeps her washer and dryer. I closed the door, and knew he’d only be able to get in through that one door. What happened? He came down through the ceiling, and touched me on the head. I immediately “fell asleep” (of course, I was already asleeep, but I fell asleep in my dream), and began dreaming. (So in reality, I was deaming I was dreaming.) I was in a locked station, tied up in the back, and rolling down a hill without a driver.

Or, the other one would be the one where I dreamed I was riding a magic carpet through Hell.

3. Does your family have any Halloween traditions?

We have a glow in the dark skeleton we hang on our door. Though I particularly like Halloween, Susan really doesn’t care for it too much. We used to have a tradition of calling Halloween “Julia Day.” We would get McDonalds for supper, and then watch some movie of Julia’s choosing–usually some princess or Barbie movie. Of course, since the boys have been born, we haven’t really had Julia Day. This year we went “Trunk or Treating” at Littlefield.  I hope that tradition will continue.

4. Have you ever seen/felt/heard something strange that you just couldn’t explain?

Not really. There was this one time, though, when Susan and I were living in a trailer in St. George that we heard voices. It seems that the furnace motor was acting as a bit of a radio receiver. When the blower motor was on, but not the burner (i.e. when the blower was blowing out residual heat), you could hear voices in the duct work. It was a little freaky at first, but we finally figured out what the heck was going on.
5. What do you find scary?

The thought of having my eyeballs poked out.
Bonus Question-Do you have any stories to share about your experiences with The Rocky Horror Picture Show?

I’ve seen it. It’s ok. It’s obviously got to be better when seen with a group. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it in a theater.

Gina’s Funky Word MI-5

I missed this one a week ago. This was also the same five in which I was nominated to write the following week’s five, and I missed that part too, which is why it was late. OK, onward…

1. Other than the usual “crunch”, what one word best describes the sound when you walk in snow? Tell us about a time you had with/in snow.

RRRmmmphhh. One of my greatest snow memories is the time I was sliding down Ma’s hill, and went straight into a tree. That was so fun! I got a concussion and stove my face up pretty well. Or maybe the time playing freeze football at Owls Head School, when Jamie Lamb pulled me out of the sky when I was leaping to catch a pass, and my ankle broke. Yee ha!

2. What one word best describes the sound of leaves as you walk through them. Try not to use the word “rustle, rustling”. Share a story having to do with you and leaves.

Skritch. I like jumping in leaves. I hate raking leaves. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other.

3. Choosing another word besides the word “slosh”, give us your best (one) word for walking through rain and puddles. We’d love to read a story about you and the rain and/or puddles.

Schmuggle. I can’t really think of a good rain story, other than all three of my children can’t hardly keep their feet out of any puddle near them, regardless of what they have on for shoes!

4. Yes, there’s sweltering. But pick one other word to describe the humid summer heat. If you’re able, tell us a funny story related to you and the summer heat. If nothing comes to mind, tell us what you do to beat the heat.

Slaking. To beat the heat, I will occassioanly resort to an old trick Frank Butler taught me: take a cold beer in a cool shower. It has to be a bottle of beer, so you can put your thumb over the bottle and keep the water out. That will cool you off right quick. This year, it didn’t even get hot enough for me to use that particular trick.

5. Halloween is fast approaching. Other than the word “spooky”, choose one word that describes the Halloween atmosphere. Share with us a favorite Halloween costume you wore. If you’ve never participated by wearing a costume, let us know the wildest costume you’ve ever seen.

I’ve always been a fan of “macarbre.” The best costume I can think of is the one Unk made himself–a homemade knights costume! It was fantastic, and you couldn’t tell who was under the helmet. He wore it to a community Halloween party, and he didn’t talk to anyone. All night long people were trying to figure out who was in the knight’s costume!

Paddy’s Harvest MI-5

1) If you could only pick one type of apple, which would it be?
Macs. I just dig ’em. I know all these new flavors are the rage, but I just can’t get in to them too much. I really don’t care for “mealy” apples. I know they’re the ones that are best for “out of hand” eating, but I don’t like the way they just fall apart in my mouth. Macs have a texture I like, and just the right amount of tartness.

2) If you could just have two kinds of greens in your garden, which ones would you grow?
Some kind of lettuce, for sure. I’d lean toward Romaine, but Boston Bibb would be fine too. I’m not sure what I’d pick for the other. I like spinach, especially raw or lightly cooked. But I also like collard greens. I don’t think they’re as versatile, though, so probably I’d go spinach.

3) What are your top three favorite root veggies and why?
I’m not really a fan of root veggies. Carrots and me don’t get along since an incident I had in childhood with boiled carrots. If they’re in a stew, though, or some otherwise flavorless preparation, I’m ok. Certainly not a favorite, though. I like potatoes. I also like onions, and they grow underground, so I’ll count them, even though they’re a bulb, not a root. Same with garlic.

4) Do you like squash? Name your four favorites, winter or summer varieties.
I like squash, but I’m not a fan of the real wet stuff. I prefer a firm variety, and I like it roasted. Susan and I have found that buttercup roasts the best, but acorn works ok too.

5) You are going to make a meal of grilled veggies … what five do you pick to grill tonight?
Red peppers, onions, portabello mushrooms, asparagus, cherry tomatoes. Susan and I make grilled veggies as a side dish when grilling outside, and she has this dressing made with coarse mustard that’s delish!