Monday, November 7, 2011

Blogging: Okay, I'll play along...

Nancy and Leslie, Mexico bloggers whom I respect and follow regularly, nominated me for what's called The Versatile Blogger Award. A number of my blogging friends have been so nominated. One of these, Steve, sceptically accepted his nomination and made some interesting comments.

I know nothing about the award, except that I gather it was created as a tool for bloggers to network, get to know each other and maybe rack up more pageviews. The way it works, each nominee is supposed to tell seven things about themselves that readers don't know, and then nominate 15 favorite blogs for the award. Steve commented that it seems like a big chain letter, which is true.

I am not much of a math whiz, but it appears to me that if everyone nominated did indeed in turn nominate 15 blogs, with everyone following the rules it would only take a handful of generations to have nominated every blog in the 'sphere. Fifteen to the seventh power is something like 38 billion. That's a whole bunch of versatile blogs for each and every individual on Earth.

But that aside, it seems interesting, these bloggers are my friends and I am willing to give it a go. Despite the fact that I blog about my experiences, I haven't ever intended to make this blog about "me." But I am curious. I'll play along...

1. Once I hung out in a hotel room with '60's acid guru Timothy Leary ("turn on, tune in and drop out") and talked with him for about an hour. What I remember of his words seems even more appropriate now than it did then: "We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. But they've got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go."

2. I worked as an extra in The Godfather, Part 2. I achieved my tiny sliver of fame -- a blurry second on screen, not fifteen minutes -- (Warhol exaggerated more than once), when I was seventeen years old. The most interesting part of that three-day gig actually was in makeup on the first day, where I sat in a chair next to Pacino while we both got our hair styled.

3. While living among native people in Alaska's arctic, I regularly ate caribou, seal and whale meat they shared with me.

4. I was born in a log cabin...well, almost. My family lived in a small log home when I was born, in Ketchikan, Alaska, but actually I gasped my first breaths in the General Hospital. Later when I was running for treasurer of the student council in third grade, my father (a PR man) suggested I begin my campaign speech by telling my fellow students I was born in a log cabin (just like Abe Lincoln). Although I did not turn out to be student council material, the myth has stuck with me ever since.

5. Summer volunteer work in rural Colombia changed my life forever when I was 16.

6. There is a file on me somewhere deep in the musty archives of the former-Soviet KGB.

7. Contrary to the advice I give to everyone who asks me about buying a house in Mérida ("rent for at least six months"), I bought my house here on my very first visit, after a total of about two weeks in the city.

Now for the difficult part. There are many, many good blogs out there and it's hard to pick and choose. Besides that, a number of my favorite blogs already have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. So I  am stealing an idea from Theresa, who seems to share many of my feelings about this deal. I am wiggling out of making individual nominations. I believe that all of my friends from the Latin American Bloggers Conference deserve The Versatile Blogger nomination.


  1. I had family in Ketchikan. Bernard Kwallek-shot nine times on his way to work. They convicted his wife of the crime and she is still in jail but I am convinced that it was a standard mob hit.

  2. Norm, that happened way after my time in Ketchikan. But a mob 1982 Ketchikan? It's a very small, isolated town, everyone knows everyone else, and there are no roads out. Risky for an outside hitman, who would stand out like a saguaro cactus suddenly found growing amongst the totem poles and would have to board a plane or boat to get away.

    Home-grown mob hitmen? No way.

    Or maybe you know something about what Bernard "Spade" Kwallek was into that makes you think that it was a hit.

    The newspaper reports from the time say he was shot five times with a rifle, while leaving his home, and that he and his wife had been arguing about finances. I guess there was a lot of circumstantial evidence.

    But anyhow, although interesting, it's not really pertinent to this post, so I'll leave it at that.

  3. Steve nominated me, and I did not follow up, but here are a couple of things (with you as my mentor):

    1. I once interviewed Little Richard for an hour in a hotel room in New Orleans.

    2. I was an extra in a movie named Octoroon, filmed in New Orleans. It played drive-ins.

    3. I eat snails with garlic bread whenever I can.

    4. I was not born in a log cabin.

    5. Taking magic mushrooms in the Panhandle of Florida changed my life forever when I was 52.

    6. There is a vagrancy file on me at the Municipal Court in New Orleans. This is not as it sounds.

    7. I moved to Mexico with the intention of learning Spanish, marrying a Mexican woman and building a house. Took me three years to accomplish that. Well, the Spanish is always improving.

  4. Felipe, what can I say. We are different people, but there are a couple of common themes, maybe. The Chinese saying, or curse, "may you live in interesting times" perhaps has applied to us both. I think that working as a journalist, as we both have done, provides lots of opportunities for interesting times. Bowing to discretion, left out some of the MOST interesting ones. Perhaps you've done the same.

    Glad I could help you come out of your shell. I saw your comment on Steve's blog, and did not expect to hear more on the subject from you.

    Cheers. One of these days, after I get my chaleco antibalas, I'll come out there for a visit and we'll have that cup of coffee.

  5. When my old man got off the plane when he went up to look into the killing, the state police were waiting and told him to go home. Men are fearless for the most part but love their families, best way to scare the other scamps is to put their bud's wife in jail after putting him in a hole. Alaska has a rule where you can fill a can, seal it and send it to the lower 48 without going through customs. Bernard had a big fast boat...

  6. Norm, nothing coming between Alaska and the rest of the US goes through customs, unless it has made a stop in a foreign port on the way. It's all part of the USA.

    Maybe Bernard's fast boat got him into trouble.

    Let's leave it at that.

  7. Life Experience Notable: As a graduate student I was working in a psychophysiology research lab & my boss was president Nixon's psychiatrist. While the boss was out, Rosemary Woods called saying it was an emergency. The next day the boss came to work agitated, pounded his fist on our receptionist's desk and exclaimed "I've been a lifelong Republican, but by God I sometimes wish Harry Truman were still president because, by God, he would always do what I told him to do!" Guess he had been Harry's psychiatrist, too. Not long afterward it came out that Rosemary had erased 18 minutes of tape. The boss (Edmund Jacobson, MD) had told Nixon that in order to save the Presidency he would need to fire everybody involved and admit that he had made a mistake. - Don Poling

  8. Hmmmmm, I may be double posting. Anyway, one of my horses was an extra in a movie, does that count? of course you really can't see Miss Kitty because it was raining in the scene.

  9. Don, although I have known you for a long time, I don't believe you've ever commented before. What an interesting story, and something I've never heard before. You ought to write a book. Seriously. And it's great to hear from you.

    Theresa, of course it counts! It should be on your blog with your 7!

  10. Thank goodness no one nominated me - since these are "family oriented" sites, I could never disclose my 7 secrets...........ha.

  11. Dang! And I was going to nominate you, Babs! Really, I was! Until I decided it was easier to recommend the whole blogger group I just spent the weekend with.

  12. I'll have to think about this. Not sure I can come up with seven interesting tidbits.

  13. John, if you start thinking about it and let it percolate a bit, you'll have to start leaving things out in order to limit the list to seven.

  14. I think your blod is very good. It's the first time I read it and I enjoyed it, that't your prize, better that winning any of these silly contests. Carlos.

  15. Well, Marc, I , for one, cannot be called a "Versatile Blogger!" I have yet to decipher WordPress, have yet to answer the first two comments, and finally--have no intention of being "versatile." My life may be versatile (dilettantish), so I am trying hard to focus in the blog-to-be. But I sure do love the other blogs, especially yours and the other "Versatile"s who attended the Blogger Conference.

  16. Carlos, thanks for reading and for the compliment. You're absolutely right, having readers appreciate what I do is much better than an award.

    Alinde, thanks for being a faithful follower of this blog. I look forward to reading your blog-to-be.

  17. Your dad was a PR man and lived in Ketchikan? I was a PR man in Ketchikan (1983-8)!

    Small world. And Ketchikan isn't that big!

    -- Josh

  18. Josh,

    Yes, the world is small. However we were in Ketchikan in the 50's, which was another world, really.

    Nice to hear from you. I'll have to pay more attention to your blog...

  19. I love reading about my friends with these things, but detest sharing my own. I always feel quite uninteresting, with few exciting bits of life to share. You, however, are a marvel :-) Thanks for sharing.

  20. I'm so glad you played along! Now I have a very good reason to finally watch the Godfather movies! :)

    And I LOVE that Señor Zapata joined in the fun too! :)

  21. Nice Post. It's really very good article. I am really apreciated to share it with us. Blogging is in my blood. Thanks!!


I appreciate comments, but will delete comments that are rude, offensive or off topic. Unfortunately, due to the heavy volume of spam, comment moderation has been enabled. I will try to approve comments promptly, but your patience is appreciated.
If you have technical trouble leaving your comment, please email it to:
and I will post it for you.