"To the best of my knowledge, Senator, these are the facts of my life as I recall. Allowances must be made for the first 2-3 years as I was in not terribly observant.
"I'm told I was born in Newark, New Jersey. The name of the hospital eludes me but it did have a diner across the street where my father drank coffee and smoked unfiltered Luckies awaiting the news of my arrival. I was late, so he moved to a tavern down the block where he lost $13 shooting pool with some fat guy from Minnesota.
"After that it was the typical Eisenhower Era childhood: TV dinners, Lionel Trains, Yoo-hoo, and Catholic guilt. At age 18, I joined the Army. Apparently there was war in Vietnam, and since my draft number was 320 and I was headed to college-a place I didn't want to be-I joined up.
"They made me a Pharmacist (no kidding) and sent me to Monterey, California. After that, I was sent to Hawaii for 13 months, where I learned to body surf and fly airplanes. I still fly airplanes. In fact, that's one of my first loves. I'm very egalitarian about loves, so have many firsts. The Vietnam war ended, no doubt in part due to my prescription filling abilities under fire.
"I managed to stumble through four years of college and graduated with a BA in European History from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Tried graduate school, but grew bored after a year, went home and wrote a novel called Bootleg Skies. Someone accidentally published it. Sold dozens of copies.
"Wrote three more…luck ran out; piled up mounds of rejection slips. So, remembering what Sister Belladonna told me in the third grade, "When you get lemons, make lemon daiquiris," I contacted a producer named Joe Pundzak and together we created the radio drama series, Rejection Slip Theater.
"Didn't make a nickel but RST is still on WHO 1040 am, Sunday nights at 9. In between fighting wars in Hawaii, gleaning liberal arts degrees in California and producing weird radio, I've managed to work 17 years as a FAA air traffic controller-13 at Des Moines International. I've written for a handful of aviation magazines and currently edit one called IFR, which stands for Instrument Flight Rules.
"I fly as often as possible and manage to do a little flight instructing in my 53-year old airplane whenever weather and spare parts allow. On a more personal level, I'm married to a veterinarian named Kathy, who always travels with a pack of Bernese Mountain Dogs at her heels. We've been married for almost 20 years.
"Together we've been raising a wonderful little girl named Emily who is becoming less little with each passing year; she now has nine to her credit. She loves to read, draw, and fight world hunger…oh, and she knows the words to Groucho's "Hurray For Captain Spalding." Can't say the same about her mother, the doctor. But Emily can't spay a cat, either, so it all balances out.
"We live outside Indianola, not because they won't let us in, but because we like woods and fields and power outages in winter. My favorite movie is White Christmas; my favorite color is red because it's easy to spell. My favorite book is Horton Hears a Who, favorite Beatle is John and favorite baseball player is dead. But, then, so is Lennon. These things happen.
"I don't own a necktie, but I've been to Italy and all but six states in the US. I don't play a musical instrument but once shook hands with Richard Nixon (true). I was in Pharmacy School at the medical center where LBJ died and still get choked up when Old Yeller dies.
That's about it."