One thing you didn't know about Emperor Frederick II -- he played basketball (the ball is in his left hand).
It seems that the only thing that will get me off my fat Irish butt and blog is to be tagged for a meme. Talmida hit me with this one. Let's see how many of you know these things (or if you care).
1. I'm getting married. Yes, it's true. I kept planning to make a formal announcement on the blog and I never got around to it. Imperatrix pulcherrima Africae occidentalis and I are tying the knot next October. I proposed to her last September at the Cloisters after an elaborate ruse which successfully aimed at taking her off guard and thus confusing her to the point at which she would say yes.
2. I can play several instruments very badly. Over the course of my life I have taken lessons in piano, trumpet, guitar, saxophone, cello, and accordion (from a Bulgarian in Madrid) -- never at the same time. I have a four-track recorder (now gathering dust at my mother's house) and at one point I recorded songs, accompanying myself on guitar, bass, accordion and percussion (a plastic box of dry lentils -- ker-SHUNK). Alas, my love of music was never matched by my talent.
3. As a child I met John Wayne. He was a friend of a client of my father's, and we met him in central Utah. I may meet men who are taller and men who are fatter, but I will never meet a man as big as John Wayne.
4. When I was fourteen, I wanted to be an actor. My uncle is a playwright and theater has always been in my life. In fourth and fifth grade, I wrote the school play and as a teenager I was acting in plays my uncle produced (for example, we did a fifteen-minute version of Richard III on the city buses). An actor, however, uses his body as an instrument, and I'm afraid I have always been a bit too clumsy to be at ease on stage. The last thing I was in was a bilingual production of The Tempest in Madrid. It was good training for my voice, though, and I do fairly well at public speaking -- lecturing, doing poetry readings, or being a lector at church.
5. I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Okay that's not true... Let me try again.
5. In my past lives, I was an Egyptian pharaoh, a Roman poet, a Templar, and an Elizabethan explorer. Okay, that's not true either. I don't believe in reincarnation, but if I did have past lives, odds are I would have been one of the 99.99% of humanity that throughout history spent their time shoveling cow poop.
5. I was briefly married to Mae West. No, that's not true either.
5. I make a mean roast chicken. That is actually true. A very good roast chicken.
Who shall I tag? Well, let's say Jeff, Sandalstaps, Guillaume le Fou, and mi primo.
The engagement ring.