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Monday, January 26, 2009

Tag You're It - 25 Random Things

A couple of friends sent me one of those e-mails that asks you to answer some questions about yourself entitled "25 Random Things About Yourself - Tag You're It!". Now even at age 54, I'm still enough of a kid to feel obligated to join in the game when somebody tags me "it". Here's the header on the e-mail:

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

OKAY, YOU GOT ME! I'LL DO IT BUT WITH THIS DISCLAIMER: I'm sending this because I got it from two people I'm very fond of and am flattered they considered me in their top 25. HOWEVER, in order to relieve anyone's sense of guilt over not forwarding this, let me say I will not have my feelings hurt if you don't send this back to me or send it on. I quit teaching in 1980 and except for my Primary Sabbath School class, I've tried to avoid assigning essays or any other type of homework ever since. That said, I'm going to do this and anyone who can bear to read it may do so. For those of you whose reaction was "Sweet Jumbo Dill Pickles, does this guy never get tired of talking about himself?", you have my permission to ignore this entirely. That said....

1. I am a trained Girl Scout, Pathfinder Master Guide and former Red Cross Canoeing, First Aid and Water Safety Instructor.

2. I was also a Water Safety Instructor Trainer and trained swimming instructors and life guards. My instructor, the famed East Texas Red Cross Aquatics Director Bud Bradley was trained by the legendary Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow, the creator of the American Red Cross's Water Safety Program. I inherited one of Longfellow's original aluminum torpedo buoys - the less forgiving precursor to those red foam thingies that busty Baywatch lifeguards carry with them into the surf. I worked on staff at Lone Star camp 5 summers - two as waterfront director.

3. I own two complete telescopes and am building a six inch scope out of a length of sonotube and some plywood and stray pieces of telescope parts. I made 6 eyepieces out of an assortment of lenses, copper pipe, medication bottles and PVC pipe fittings

4. I have two canoes in my back yard, 14 life vests, two sailboards, 9 paddles and a home made canoe rack. In my driveway is a Hobie 16 catamaran badly in need of some paint.

5. I was the center bottom guy on a 5 and 6 man pyramid (that's me in the picture below bottom center man). I've attempted a jump start off a 10 foot tower, skied on canoe paddles, a 2x4, 6" long shoe skis and I once did a human torpedo routine which ended with my shorts dangling from one leg.

6. I co-hold the Lone Star Camp skinny canoeing record with my good buddy Mark Miller (4 laps, full moon - did not get caught). I can stealth paddle a canoe and have paddled a canoe with my feet (don't ask - I was young and foolish and the moon was full). I now have to paddle canoes and kayaks with XL weight capacities. I once sank a kayak I was testing simply by getting into it.

7. I play guitar, banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, recorder, bodhran, ukelele, harmonica and the bones - none well enough to "take it" when someone asks me to do a solo riff. I rebuilt a Goya classical guitar that I bought for $25 on eBay. I've got at least 3 guitars, two banjos, a dulcimer, mandolin, half dozen harmonicas, two recorders, a set of bones, a bodhran, electronic keyboard and a ukelele lying around the house.

8. I won two of these gold awards at the Worldfest Charleston and Worldfest Houston International film festivals in 1995.

9. I wrote and sold a book about charity golf tournaments. It came out last year.

10. I once shook hands with Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry.

11. I once sat behind a podium where George Bush Sr. was speaking when he was Reagan's VP. I was across the street in a taxicab with a loaded pistol under the seat. I got out of the cab very quickly when I found out my friend had a gun under the seat.

12. I was saved from being run over by a motorboat by angelic intervention. No other way that boat missed us in a 20 foot canoe.

13. I don't have a favorite genre of music - my tastes run to the eclectic. Finding a broadcast radio station that plays music I like is nearly impossible.

14. My best friend and I used to run around East Texas to visit Adventist church services when they were having their regular potluck lunches. We often traveled up to a hundred miles one way in our sabbath clothes on his Harley Davidson 64 hardtail.

15. I'm a certified scuba diver. I once got an "oily" air supply at a tank rental place in the Bahamas and it made me sick. I threw up while 16' underwater, kept my head, cleared the regulator AND never had to surface, though I did have to move away from the reef because I attracted a giant school of small fishes.

16. I read a couple of books a week. I love sea stories like Horatio Hornblower, Captain Blood and Jack Aubrey, military history, action adventure stuff like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series and hard sci-fi like Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov and Orson Scott Card's Ender series. I collect books I like and reread my library through every couple or three years. I read the Bible daily.

17. I like to bake bread in our bread machine.

18. I'm an amateur photographer, both digital and film. I've got two 35mm cameras, an old Pentax and a Canon AE-1 with long and short lenses and a digital. I work with Photoshop a lot.

19. I published some poetry in college and more than 20 feature stories and a regular column in local newspapers.

20. I collect toy soldiers.

21. I can say the Lord's prayer in perfect High German.

22. I've written a novel with my wife that we're shopping around to publishers.

23. I maintain 5 weblogs and a personal website and work full time as website director for

24. I'm a professional grant writer and nonprofit consultant. I've helped start 5 new nonprofit and educational organizations from the ground up.

25. I taught school for 5 years, was boy's dean at a boarding academy in Mississipi where I worked in a sawmill and milked cows, my wife and I owned and operated a day care center for 7 years and for the past 8 years I have taught Primary Sabbath School to 6-10 year-olds.

Tom King

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