November 19, 2003

You Asked, Bob Answers

At long last...I present to you the Modular Interview!

Thanks to Bob Whaley for participating.

Click it and learn why "Modular Parrot" as well as a unique approach to eating M&Ms.

"Modular Parrot" is one of the more unique blog names...what's with the
Parrot? And why is he Modular?

The Modular Parrot name was conceived about the time Stan and I decided we would do a blog together. The name just fell out of my mouth like so much saliva after a couple scotches. Then I discovered Stan owned a 3 year-old African parrot named Darwin. Game, set and match. The modular twist is perfectly suited to Stan and me because we separately contribute material of our own choosing and cover for one another.

Actually, modularJON and my modularSISTER in California are silent partners in ModPar and contribute bits now and then. Collectively, we manage to cobble together entries but alone, none of us has the time to maintain a blog.

Unfortunately, we haven't hit full stride yet - maybe a blessing for readers. I mean, consider the possibilities with the assets we have at hand: a talking parrot, a couple of half-wit marketing types, modularity, a very clever and creative gun slinger and enough Photoshop expertise to be dangerous.

Why did you and Stan start blogging?

Actually, the decision to blog was made the same way all good decisions are made. Stan and I were sitting in a restaurant, each with an alcoholic beverage in our hand. We had just decided to quit our individual blogs for lack of time when we simultaneously had a drunken epiphany - we'd blog as one. I've known Stan for 10 years or so and Jon since he was an ugly 2 year-old so I introduced the two of them recently over glasses of Cabernet. Now we are three. The operative word here in case you haven't noticed is alcohol; the bane of any promising web venture. But, we've persevered. The rest, as they say, is historical tragedy.

Is your blog different from what you started out to do?

Don't know. Part of the reason, of course, is our modular approach but ModPar is a bit of an anomaly by design. We're looking to be different and are easily bored so are in a constant hunt for new themes. Maybe we'll hold a contest. Readers (shit, we don't have any of those) ... or friends (even fewer) could suggest a new site theme every week. "Stan, work on that will you?"

If it sounds like we're wandering around aimlessly at the minute, it's true. We haven't quite figured out where we want to take the site yet. Most bloggers are looking for that unique hook to draw people to their site and generally want to believe that the material on their site will be interesting enough to keep visitors coming back. Everyone wants to believe what they have to say is compelling. Not us. Probably because we're wickedly irresponsible reprobates by night and somewhat responsible citizens by day. We're not in this for the fame or adulation (although we can be bought for a price) so tend to put up anything that comes to mind, good or bad. There's that modularity again. And it shows in our audience response - we don't get many visitors.

We're just regular Joes with families, children and active lives. I'm a hair challenged sales/marketing manager, Jon owns an ad agency and Stan is a professional engineer with young children, many interesting hobbies and a nice gun collection. Stan also pilots the official modularPlane.

How would you describe a blog, and specifically yours, to someone who doesn't know what they are?

Equal parts fantasy, need to be recognized and pride rolled into a poorly written diary that anybody can read.

Do any other blogs influence you?

Not really. Well, actually that's not true. I read the blogs on the ModPar blogroll as often as possible but I'm a sucker for good prose. When I see what guys like Steyn, Lileks, Whittle and Den Beste do with their sites, I am envious but that's more about their talent as writers than anything else. Having said that, I'm a political junky so tend to favor sites with that particular slant.

What kinds of things draw you to sites you visit regularly?

Didn't I just answer that?

A sparkling personality and good graphics work, say, like your site, Jennifer. (That takes care of the gratuitous compliment). Seriously, though, unique takes on issues and events along with quality writing are the biggest draws for me. There are many good blogs and bloggers out there and more than a few poor ones. But that's what makes the blog phenomenon what is - everyone is a writer and can publish their work.

If you could choose between 5,000 readers a day and no feedback or 5 hits a day from people who comment and e-mail regularly, which would you choose?

Oh, the 5 hits and comments. We've already accomplished the first half of that equation by arm twisting relatives and threatening friends but we rarely get comments or feedback.

Just between the two of us, Stan is jealous of you, isn't he?

That's no more than Darwin whispering lies and damn lies into Stan's ear.

Which is better: dogs or cats? Parrots are not an option.

Dogs or cats? Cats are feral and evil creatures. I despise cats. I secretly carry a copy of Acidman's Free Cat Picture in my pocket. On the other hand, I live with a family of animal lovers so have always had a dog and, from time to time, more exotic creatures roaming the house or escaping in the car only to be discovered later in skeletal form. I should write about some of my pet experiences.

Which world leader would you like to see gnawed to death by mutated,
ill-tempered sea bass?

That would have to be Hitler or Stalin or any leader during France's Fifth Republic.

Brownies or fudge?

No contest, says Jon


Which color M&M tastes best?

I don't know. I peel them before I eat them.

Back to you and Stan: which one of you is Pinky and which is The Brain?

Actually we're more the Danger Mouse and Penfold types. We would switch roles every week, first as Danger Mouse and Penfold, then Baron Silas Greenback and sidekick Stiletto. We're interchangeable and damn cute in those great costumes.

You can pick one non-relative of the opposite sex to spend the rest of your life with you in that GeoDome thing. Who do you pick and why?

I'll say Lassy. Loyal, honest and mute.

What are your favorite books?

My wife and I are voracious readers so I have a very long list of favorite books and authors. If you nailed my feet to the ground I'd probably admit to having a special place for Steinbeck, O'Brian, Twain and Churchill because of their unique blend of beautiful prose blended with an unusual grasp of the English language. The simplicity of their writing is overpowering.

When I go to the library, I spend most of my time scouring the new fiction section in search of budding new authors. I've found quite a few great ones over the years.

What is the worst movie you ever wasted part of your life watching?

Debbie Does Meatballs.

You HAVE to pick one celebrity to be dropped in a pit of fire ants. Who is it and why?

It would be a bundle. Duct tape the following people together and the ants would evacuate: Mike Moore, Ted Rall, Sean Penn and that dumb bastard of an actor who threatened to leave America if Bush got elected.

You win $100,000,000...what are the first five things you buy?

I'd commission Lileks or Steyn to ghost-write a bestseller for me; I'd buy France, sell off the paltry assets and turn all the people into the street with nothing but the clothes on their back. Lastly, I'd buy out Frank and make him crush rocks for the rest of his natural life. Kidding? Nope. I like Frank.

You win $10,000, you quit work?

No, I'd continue to toil away, put the money in a conventional savings account at, say, 1.5% return and fritter the rest of my life away as the doorman at Trumps. OF COURSE I'D QUIT. And put the money in a conventional savings account and fritter my life away as the doorman at Trumps.

Which people in your actual, non-blog life influence you and why?

I've had many wonderful mentors in my professional career and am blessed with many dear and fascinating friends. I'd have to say that they have all had a certain influence on my life but, I hold aside the two most important as my wife, who I've been happily married to for 26 years (child bride) and my son. You'll have to read my site to see why I have such admiration and respect for my son. He is a very special young man.

Posted by Jennifer at November 19, 2003 04:28 PM


Lies!! All filthy lies!!!

Posted by: Stan - ModularParrot at November 19, 2003 07:42 PM

Yeah, what he said.

Posted by: Darwin-Modular Parrot at November 20, 2003 06:12 AM

I like the weekly theme from readers idea. Of cource three readers willgive you most of your materials as the others would simply lurk in the background. You guys could do a drinking themed week of posts and Madfish Willie could do a link-fest for you! That would be cool!

Nice interview by the way. I peel my M&M's too!

Posted by: The Bartender at November 20, 2003 10:41 AM

Mr. Tender-

Thanks for the nice compliments. Incidentally, I enjoyed your interview as well, I just didn’t get around to commenting, lazy rascal that I am.

Who better to suggest a drinking theme than The Bartender himself? I’m thinking Stan and I should post a few drinking stories ourselves and solicit more stories from readers. (shit, we don’t have any) What do you think? Could we coax you into sharing a few of the gems I’m certain you’ve squirreled away for just the right occasion?

By the way, peeling M&M’s is a regional custom. Where are you from, originally?

No matter, I’m glad to have a fellow peeler around.

Posted by: Bob Whaley at November 20, 2003 12:36 PM

The thought of those poor skinless M&Ms gave me flashbacks from the Halocaust. It's a sick sick world.

Posted by: StarBanker at November 23, 2003 08:01 PM


Posted by: Darwin-Modular Parrot at November 24, 2003 05:59 PM

I just need to sell these geodome rocks,I live in manhatten in a housing program and i saw someone in a fair selling one like mine for 600,i didnt even know that where worth anything,I have 2 of them and i am in a small room in a housing program(community access)so please get back to me if you have any information!PLEASE!!! Thanks,
Dana Howie

Posted by: Dana at May 14, 2004 02:13 PM