When You Wish Upon a Star

“Answers to Silly Internet Quiz Questions.”

Normally, when some vapid 40-something former baton twirler sends me one of these, I try to be as funny and as annoying as possible, but just for you, I will endeavor to be straight up, even though some of my answers might come across as kind of ridiculous.


Favorite Holiday Dish (excluding dessert) — In recent years, the humble Tofurky (but not that silly jelly one from “Everybody Love Raymond.”)

Favorite Holiday Dessert — Pretty close in the running are pecan and mince, with mince having a slight edge.

At what age did you stop believing in Santa? — 11. There was a humiliating debate going on next to me about it in Mrs. Gerber’s sixth grade class, and upon realizing there was no Santa, I just kept my mouth shut and stayed out of it, but I feel certain they could see me blush.

Snow: Love it or Dread it? — Snow is a photographer’s dream. I particularly love it on mountains when we travel.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? — Having lived in Oklahoma since 1971, the answer should be apparent: the B. C. Clark Anniversary Sale jingle. Like most Oklahomans, I know all the words, and am happy to sing it upon request.

Fave Christmas Movie? — Love, Actually; 

Jessica Claus
Jessica Claus

Fave Christmas TV special? — As I have noted before, Santa Claus is Coming to Town stands toe-to-toe with Frosty the Snowman, not for entertainment value, but because of the women, Jessica Claus, Santa’s wife, and Karen, who that little red coat and big blue boots.

Most annoying thing about Christmas? — It would be hard for me to nail down ten individual things I hate about this holiday, so I’ll go for annoying supercluster I hate about Christmas: it is exactly the opposite of what it should be, both religiously and sociologically. If anything about Christmas made sense, it would be a day of prayer and fasting.

What Do You Like Most About Halloween? — That I can wear a suit or a military uniform all day, and people say I look nice without realizing I am in costume. When they finally ask about what I am wearing, I explain that, “my uncle was buried in this suit.” They almost always say, “Really?”

I swear to you, my Uncle Murray was buried in this uniform.
I swear to you, my Uncle Murray was buried in this uniform.

What Do You Like Least About Halloween? — I despise anything that reenforces to fat kids that candy is a reward for anything.

What scares you the most? — Having seen very many too many horrible vehicle crashes in my work, they scare the crap out of me.

Fave Halloween Movie — The Blair Witch Project, head and shoulders above the rest. It’s a great movie to watch, but when I watch it I mostly think how wicked cool it would have been to be in it.

Who are you named for? — Grandfather Richard Morgan Batten and grandfather Russell Leander Barron. I was a coin toss from being Morgan Leander Barron.

Do you wish on stars? — No, never. When I see stars, I think of my mom reciting, “Starkle starkle, little twink, how I wonder what you think.”

If I were a crayon I’d be — One of the metals, probably copper. Those were always the shortest in my box.

Richard M. Batten c1944
Richard M. Batten c1944

Fave Participant Sport — Vs others, tennis. By myself, hiking.

Fave Spectator Sport — I see lots of sports as a photographer, so I’m not exactly spectating, but I prefer covering high school football and basketball.

Rolling Stones or Beatles? — Beatles

Fave toys as a child — When I was very young, Lincoln Logs. By the time I was 10, the German light infantry.

Other great toys you had — Toggles, our parents’ Underwood typewriter, our parents’ shoe shine kit, and the hat box with the Bufferin bottle in it at Grandma and Grandpa Barrons’.

A toy you wanted but never had — A airplane control yoke in the back seat so I could “pilot” the car to California in 1974.

Movie you loved as a child — Airport 1975

Song you loved as a child — I know this will sound pretentious, but it’s the truth: Love Theme from On the Waterfront by Leonard Bernstein. The tender flute scenes throughout the piece both appealed to my sensitive middle-class pre-teen sensibilities, and they also reminded me of a girl on whom I had a crush who played the flute. This music became the theme song to the love story I wrote in my head about her.

Look out for the crazy redhead in the sports car.
Look out for the crazy redhead in the sports car.


  1. That shoeshine kit was the BEST, but mince pie is gross. As for the santa claus thing, I distinctly remember your telling me later that day what you’d learned. So thanks for that.

  2. “Yeah, I’m afraid of Americans
    I’m afraid of the world
    I’m afraid I can’t help it
    I’m afraid I can’t
    I’m afraid of Americans

    “God is an American
    God is an American…”

Comments are closed.