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FAQ #13

Question: Are you more than one person? I mean, are there a bunch of you working on this website?
Answer: Yes, I know you mean "a bunch" when you use the words "more than one." What do you think? Do you think I'm more than one person? Have you detected stylistic inconsistencies which would lead you to believe so? Any factual discrepancies? A lack of thematic unity which would suggest multiple authorship? Even if you did, that might mean only that my mental acuity is not quite what it used to be. Of course, it's possible that I am any number of collaborators or some poor soul afflicted with multiple personalities, but is it probable? I think the answer to your question is obvious, so I won't bother to go into it any more than I have already.

Question: Some of my friends and I got together and made some anagrams from your name Edward Henry Anderson. Did you know that you can get "deadhead" and "doddery" from the letters of your name?
Answer: How terribly clever of you. How about this one: "warhead," which is what I hope the Martians drop directly on you when they invade. In the meantime, you and your little friends really ought to get yourselves some lives.

Question: Is the dragon in Freddy and the Dragon based on some local legend by any chance?
Answer: No, it is not, despite what that book might lead you to believe. I think that the dragon in the Freddy book is based on the mechanical dragon Fafner used in the Metropolitan Opera's version of Wagner's Siegfried--you know, the third part of Der Ring des Nibelungen. That dragon was a marvel! Its eyes were flaming red searchlights. It belched smoke and flames by means of a hose and bellows. And the thing's fetid breath reeked horribly of brimstone (i.e., sulfur). The audience nearest the stage would be nearly suffocated by the foul fumes. Now why would I think that Mr. Brooks's dragon was inspired by the Met's Fafner? Well, several years ago I bought Magic: Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions by Hopkins (1897) in one of the Centerboro Library's book sales. (Incidentally, I paid only $.25 for it.) As I was browsing through the book, I noticed an illustration and description of the Met's Fafner, and I was immediately struck by the marked similarities of its appearance and effects to Brooks's insipid dragon. Because the card pocket had been removed from the book, I can't prove that he ever took it out of the Centerboro library, but I do know that Brooks did some of his research at the Library, that the book was on the shelf there between 1897 and 1965 when I purchased it, and that the similarities between the dragons are just too great to be coincidental.

Short Answers to Infrequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, there is another novel I'd add to my list. It's called Mostly Water by Axon Spardoze. As far as I can make out, it's of the philosophical science fiction genre, commenting as it does upon the future ruination of mankind owing to its inability to reconcile technological progress with its fundamental and ineradicable irrationality and stupidity. I believe Axon Spardoze must certainly be a nom de plume.
  • In a blind smell test administered by Mrs. U., I also was unable to detect a difference between cold fried baloney and rubber kitchen gloves. It does make you think.
  • Chloe will eat almost anything that drops on the floor--exceptions (so far) include broccoli, walnuts, and orange peels
  • I put my Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve just as my parents did. It comes down when I get tired of looking at it which is usually about December 27.
  • I make my own oyster stuffing, and this is one recipe that goes to the grave with me
  • If your husband is still missing after all this time, it might be time to file a police report.
  • If you remind me, I will tell you after Christmas what I gave to Mrs. U. and what I got from her.
  • Boomschmidt was from Schenectady--not very far at all from here actually. There never was anyone named Hackenmeyer associated with his circus. That's pure fiction.
  • Dear "frosty@(deleted).com": Thank you for your kind offer of cryogenic storage and the "posibility of imortallity" (sic), but I have other plans. By the way, if your preservation techniques are on a par with your spelling skills, I wonder about the status of your clients. Better go check right away!
  • Dear "Incensed Teacher": I don't care if you think I have a negative attitude toward public school education. I believe that children are horribly rushed and managed and tested way too much for their own goods in elementary school. Then, having learned virtually nothing because they never grasped the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, they go off to junior high school where parents expect the overburdened teachers to take over their rearing and discipline as well as their instruction. There the little scholars run amok for two or three years. And then on to high school (where they neglect studies so they can work in some fast food restaurant or chain discount store so they can pay their car insurance bills).... There they sit in "heterogeneously grouped" classrooms where the dunce and the genius listen to the hapless instructor pitch his or her subject matter to the dunderheads somewhere in the middle hoping that someone will learn something--or at least enough so that standardized test scores will not be an embarrassment when published in the local newspaper. I admit I'm not an educational expert or some state education department know-it-all, but don't I have a point? And I am actually on the side of good teachers like Miss Pottle who help their pupils love going to school. It's only teachers like "Prune Face" Peppercorn whom I dislike. I could go on, but this is supposed to be the short answer part of this FAQ. Some topics really get me going, though!
  • Yes, I like to go fishing sometimes. There are lots of perch, bluegills, and bass in the shallows at the west end of Oteseraga Lake.
  • You want a view of the earth from space? Try this site.
  • I, too, wonder about the references to ham and bacon in the Freddy series. Perhaps they are evidence of a macabre sense of humor? They certainly couldn't have been unintentional.
  • I agree completely. Jacob is an overused deus ex machina. Perhaps Mr. Brooks was inspired by Euripides. Or maybe he just couldn't figure out how to let his characters get themselves out of their jams using their own powers.
  • When you have your own little website, you can use whatever fonts you want including Janson and Baskerville, which I do not regard as robust enough.
  • Thank you, but I do not wish to purchase my "family coat of arms." I do not possess a sufficient degree of middle-class anxiety or envy to consider this an attractive offer at any price.
  • Dear ET: No, I have not yet figured out who you are. Did you attend CHS? Were you in my graduating class? Did I meet you in France during W.W.II?
  • William Bean was named after his grandfather. His father's name eludes me.
  • I'm not aware of a fully developed fish character in any of the published Freddy books. I can't account for this other than to say that even Mr. Brooks realized that fish are more boring than most of his other characters. I don't think this is a particularly interesting line of inquiry, but evidently you do, so I suggest you raise the question at the Freddy list. It should make for some really stimulating conversation!
  • To KV: I know that Mr. Brooks said the First National Bank of Centerboro was on the corner of Liberty and Main, but he simply got this wrong. The bank was right where I said it was between Rudy Murrey's jewelry store and Siebring's Motors and Collision on the corner of Main and Madison.

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