Question: Do you think
Freddy Bean is still alive? If so, is he still dedicated to your ruination?
Answer: Yes, I believe that wretched, damnable creature is still moving
about the world and interfering with my life. For instance, have you noticed some
degradation in certain pictures on my photo pages? I believe that
to be the result of tampering on the part of unfriendly Martians and their ally
Freddy. I have some hazy memories of Freddy, Martians, peanuts, underground chambers,
conveyer belts, dry heat, and loud, headache-inducing noises. I must have
witnessed something involving Freddy and the Martians during one of my missing-time
episodes, and I think they did not eradicate the memory completely, deliberately
leaving me with this troubling, confusing vision. I believe they enjoy tormenting
me with other subtle confusions of this sort and assorted pranks as well. I attribute
to them the terrible public embarrassment I suffered after my last abduction when
everyone once again thought I was a lunatic. I believe that they have influenced
Herb in some way so that he has failed to return my Studebaker. I'm sure
they caused the death of my Sea Monkeys®, perhaps by clouding the minds of
the CHS Regents Biology class. Here is a list of other torments they may be inflicting
upon me: my smashed pumpkins, my missing diary and scrapbook from 1955, my recent
inability to digest feta cheese, a persistent itchy red blotch on my backside
that looks like my ex-wife's profile , a newly-developed compulsion to count things
like holes in the acoustical ceiling tiles in waiting rooms and birds sitting
on telephone wires, my obsessive saving of wine corks and wire hangers, and my
weight gain of ten pounds over the last three months.
Question: What do you
think of Overlook Press's reissues of the Freddy books?
Answer: I must admit (graciously, I think) an admiration for the
quality of the bindings. I'm also hopeful that their reissuing the Freddy
books will mean that many Philistine bookdealers will get stuck with their stock
of overpriced Freddies. It will serve them right!
Question: Have you decided
on your five favorite movies yet?
Answer: That is very difficult to do, but here are some of my favorites
off the top of my head: Bride of Frankenstein, Pi, The Wizard
of Oz, Babette's Feast, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Wild Strawberries,
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Bad Girls
Question: Is the Underdunk
family known for anything special?
Answer: I'm not at all sure I know what you mean by "special," but I will
relate a most amazing story of coincidence regarding the Underdunks. About a week
ago I had my monthly doctor's appointment in New York. I arrived early that day
to give myself some time to first visit the United Nations to inquire whether
anyone had yet read my letter of January 1, 1989, in which I volunteered to be
the first interplanetary ambassador to Mars when diplomatic relations are established.
The unrelentingly polite receptionist at the information booth told me that although
she was sure that my offer was very much appreciated and that it was being given
serious consideration, there was no one on hand to meet with me personally just
then. There never is, I told her. Well, I was getting hungry by this time,
so rather than belabor the issue with her or one of the security officers again,
I went to my favorite restaurant in the area--the very affordable Comfort
Diner near 45th and 2nd--where I had my usual bowl of their splendid macaroni
and cheese. Still having about an hour before my appointment, I decided to
stroll around a bit and found myself passing by St. Bartholomew's Church on E.
50th. The doors were wide open, and I was drawn in by the energetic music of some
visiting musical entourage in the transports of practice for a concert later that
day at St. Bart's. I was feeling a bit tired from trudging about, so I situated
myself at the rear of the church and listened in. I can't remember the name of
the group right now, but they were quite high-spirited and even competent. During
a lull in the practice, I idly picked up a copy of The Hymnal 1982, and
there, on pages 532 and 533, the very first pages I had opened to, I saw
the name Henry Ustick Onderdonk (!) (1759-1858), the author of "The
Song of the Redeemed." Could this be a relation, I asked myself. As soon
as I got back to Centerboro, I drove right over to Mrs. U's and asked her. She
told me that, yes, Henry Onderdonk was her late husband's great-great-etc.-grandfather
and that Humphrey had been the last of the line. I questioned her about the spelling
of the name, and she told me that for some unknown reason the family had changed
the spelling in the late 1800s. Besides their tie to the musical arts, the Underdunks
were also known to be rapacious capitalistic exploiters of the downtrodden masses.
This is how they became very, very rich.
Question: Has anyone
won that free paperback Freddy book yet? Would you repeat the clue here? Will
there be any other clues?
Answer: As of this instant, 7:42 P.M., February 13, 1999,
no one has claimed the prize to Contest #2. I will repeat the first two clues
here and then the final clue. (Note: This contest
has been over for a long, long time!)
On my site there is a place
Wherein our Edward first holds sway.
With your cursor you must trace,
Before youre sent away.
To another stage youll
Through cyberspace sans measure!
Dig around awhile there....
Perhaps youll find your treasure!
A smiling bear, a grinning
They both know the way!
The duckies quack as the big wheel spins.
They'd love to see you away.
Far away to Centerboro,
My beloved town of birth.
That's the place where you must go,
Your prize there to unearth.
The Last Clue!
Between the covers of a
This is where you first must look!
It stands before your very eyes,
The gateway to your prize.
Through its somewhat faded
You will follow a straight line
To the place where I now live,
Book in hand to give.
Question: Have you completed
your 1999 "Eating Plan" yet? I'm anxious to give it a try.
Answer: First off, you're eager, not anxious. Second, not
only have I completed it, but I have embarked upon it!
1999 Eating Plan
W, F: Bowl of General Mills Cheerios with a cup of skim milk; T, R, S:
Bowl of Post Raisin Bran, dry. Every day: one whole Dole banana sliced
into cereal; two slices of Wonder Bread toast with Smucker's Seedless Strawberry
Jam; one eight-ounce glass of Tropicana Pure Premium Homestyle orange juice (not
from concentrate); two 8-oz. cups of Folger's black coffee sweetened to taste
with Wintergreen Altoids. Morning medications. Sundays: Out to brunch at
the Packett Inn for pancakes with my old friends from the Chamber of Commerce.
Brunch. See above. M: Fried Oscar Meyer balogna sandwich with French's
Classic Yellow mustard on Al Cohen's Seeded New York Rye; T: Bowl of
Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup w/ ten Ritz crackers; W: Bowl
of Chef Boyardee Flying Saucers and Aliens Ravioli and ten Nabisco Deli-Style
Rye Triscuits; R: Bumble Bee Tuna sandwich on Wonder Bread and fifteen
Lays Classic potato chips;. F: Thinly sliced SPAM Lite on
Pepperidge Farm white bread and a Baby Ruth candy bar; S: One
serving each of Rice-A-Roni pasta, Uncle Ben's Converted Original Brand Rice,
and Kraft Stove Top stuffing;Every day: Mid-day medications
taken with two cups of Maxwell House coffee, black with one tsp. Domino sugar
One chilled bottle of Rolling Rock beer if it's a hot day (above 85); otherwise,
twelve ounces of Schweppes ginger ale or tonic. Twenty-five Planters dry roasted
peanuts in either case.
Sunday: Grilled or roast
pork, mashed potatoes with homemade Portobello mushroom gravy, tossed salad, baked
acorn squash, and one glass of Placido chianti.
This year, the menus for the
rest of the week are built around wine and cheese! Now, let's get something
straight right now! I do not advocate doing anything to excess, especially
drinking, but wine imbibed in moderation has proven health benefits! That
said, below is an example of one exciting week of splendid dining in 1999!
Evening--Lindemans Padthaway with a goat gouda. Pork with apples.
Tuesday: Pinot Noir
Evening--Paul Hobbs and brie. Roast duck.
Sauvignon Evening--Chateau Souverain and Black Diamond cheddar. Beef tenderloin.
Evening--Wiemer Late Harvest and tilsit. Veal.
Friday: Merlot Evening--Havens
with kassari. Filet mignon.
Goes As Long As It Complements a Petite Sirah Evening! (Every other Saturday
night = dining out with Mrs. Underdunk as is our custom.)
Twelve Goobers (or Milk Duds or Skittles) and an eight-ounce glass
of Cherry Coke. Evening medications.
Note: Some foods manufacturers
named in the table above may have paid EHA Industries a nominal product placement
Short Answers to Infrequently
None this FAQ. Next time if
I get any in the interim.