January 28, 2005

Brutally Honest Interview

It's the Brutally Honest Interview!

In the extended...

When and why did you start to blog?

My first post was in October of 2003.  I began thinking about blogging after being exposed to my friend HarryTick's blog at Walking the Dogma. He graciously allowed me to post to his site, free, for a short time, as I gave the blogging world a trial run.  As to why?  I've found blogging to be less stressful than ranting at the boob tube's daily parade of talking heads and certainly less stressful than watching your painstakingly written letters to local editors get hacked at and whittled down to incomprehensible mush.

You are a large mammal in the Ecosystem...how important is that to you?

Well... my large mammalian status is due in large part to my being a member of the Blogdom of God.  Many of those who link to Brutally Honest do so as a result of my membership in that alliance.  So the importance of my standing is somewhat diminished by the fact that I've not earned all my links on my own.  Nevertheless, I do find myself checking the Ecosystem rather regularly.  It's an ego thing.

What kind of blogging pajamas do you wear?

Traded in my Nautica PJ's for Geoffrey Beene's...   The Nautica PJ's were producing too much static cling, a potential death knell for blogging via laptop (not to mention the potential for uncomfortable jolts to the nether region).  In any case, had to enlist Mrs. Brutally Honest on this one, I didn't have a clue as to brand names.  She keeps me supplied and knows more about the labels than I do.

Why is readership so important to you? Aren't there thousands of blogs – tens of thousands – that cover overlapping areas of interest?

Readership is important.  It's an aspect to why I do this.  The bottom line though is that blogging is an escape for me.  And the fact that some read my stuff and come back after doing so... heck... it's icing on the cake. 

Would you rather have one reader with whom you have dialogue or ten lurkers with whom you have no relationship?

I'd rather have both... and think I do...  but the more I ponder the possibilities, the more I'd rather have interaction... keeps me sharp(er) or so I'd like to think.

Who is in your blogging circle? Which bloggers do you read and relate to most?

My blogroll probably best represents who's in my blogging circle but there are those I feel a special kinship to.  Harry Tick, David, Dave, Feeble Knees, Gene, Gordo and Iphy are folks I seem to check first when I see via Bloglines that they've freshly posted.  Lileks, Vanderleun and Tony Woodlief are guys I'd love to write like (who wouldn't?), they are masterful with words.  And I should add Mike and Mike, absolute opposites in many ways, as two guys I also check with daily.

What is "charismania" as it relates to Episcopalians?

Episcopalians introduced me to charismatic Christianity.  Dennis Bennet's Nine O'Clock in the Morning was instrumental to that introduction as was a good friend who took me to my first charismatic service, an Episcopal service.  I was enthralled by the music, and felt at home liturgically. And I was, sincerely, touched by God, I believe.  Alas, it's something I've left behind now but I tell you, I've never felt closer to God than those first couple of years in the throes of Charismania.  Strange how things change.

I'm sorry, but you brought it up, so I must ask: how do you feel about your penis?

It's true, I brought it up and I'm fighting the temptation to provide a number of witty (and pun-ny) answers (all of which have been provided by my wife).  However, I think it best that I simply leave this one... tight-zipped, so to speak.  Maybe one day, I'll find the words...

What's the biggest loss you have ever suffered in life? How did it change you?

My cousin Rick's death in 1991 was... impacting.  The family called him Big Rick, I was little Rick, even though I was taller, bigger.  His death was horrible.  Cancer can be, is, so damned vile.  Big Rick was an incredible fighter and fought to the very end but succumbed, and took a piece of all of us with him.  That was, and is, a terrible loss to many of us in the family.  He was 33.  Far. Too. Young.

What is the best thing someone has ever done for you that you didn't recognize at the time?

I'd say that my rejection, by the Southern Diocese of Virginia, to be an ordinand in the Episcopal Church USA in 2000, after two years of a rather grueling process, was a Godsend... one I was seriously blind to then but in hindsight believe was the absolute right, and best thing, done for me (and my family).

Is that picture of you on the tank an honest representation?

I think it to be... the nose could be a tad larger, the head a bit smaller... but for a cartoon... yes, I think it to be honest...  now who asked that question and are they taking their meds?

If so, when are you going to quit denying reality, and just shave your head?

Denying reality was something I used to do when I subjected myself to regular perms and serious combovers (from the back and sides to the front and top) with lots of hairspray.  I had to avoid sudden winds and rolled down windows on the highway.  If I didn't, I'd have a bad case of toilet lid hair, with the do lifting up and back (like a toilet lid) in the wind.  That, folks, was serious denial of reality.  I've since matured and love the fact that I can comb my hair with a towel.  The questioner sounds seriously, and obviously, envious.

And speaking of the tank, you work for the Navy. But you're on a tank. What's that about?

Tank tearing up the landscape equals brutality.  Me with a halo equals honesty.  If you can do better, please get in touch with me... quickly...  I'm brutally honest...  I'm not brutally creative...  Sue me...  And I now work for the Air Force by the way...

Outside of politics and religion, what are your primary interests?

My wife and enjoying her company.  My sons and watching them mature and make me proud, repeatedly.  Staying gainfully employed so that I can do the first two with some sense of security and responsibility.

If you can take either a portable DVD player or CD player to a deserted island, which do you choose?

I really hate these kinds of questions... to damned... esoteric for me...  next...

Which DVDs or CDs accompany the above question?

I'd much rather have my wife with me... and if that wasn't possible (can you just see the questioner getting angry by now?)... then, ok...  a DVD of Tom Hank's Castaway... I think I'd pick up a survival skill or two and was especially moved by the guy's love for his girl and the sustenance that provided... so... what does that tell the cyber-psychologists out there?

You have two college-age boys. What do you think of their generation's ability to become the Leaders of Tomorrow?

Many in their generation are serving in the military today and on the front-lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I'm confident that their generation will produce some very fine, very capable leaders.  And I think too many of us tend to focus on the bad apples over the good.

What is the most important lesson you've tried to give your children?

Tough question.  There's much I'd probably like to do different now.  But if forced to answer, I'd think that I've taught them to be honest, to seek God, to enjoy life, to take risks, to ask questions, to take advice seriously, especially when given by those older than they are.  The most important?  I'd hope it's to seek God and to especially look into His graceful side.

How would you like to be remembered?

As an honest guy, albeit at times too honest, who you'd want next to you in a foxhole.  As a husband who loved, a dad who cared, a son who was grateful, a brother to look up to, a favorite uncle, a dependable coworker, and a not too shabby blogger (who hoped to get better).

And finally, please take a moment to tell us why your wife is so wonderful.

Here's where I wish I were poetic.

Let me just say that everyone should experience the kind of love this woman gives me (and her boys) daily.  She is my best friend, my confidante, my life really.  Sometimes I think it might be unhealthy to love someone as much as I love and need her.  She is an incredible mother, a bodacious lover, a most trusted companion, and you should see her naked...  Heh...  She is, beyond doubt, more than wonderful.  She is unique.  Her one fault however is her taste in men. In that department, she is blind, seriously so.  And I'm damned glad.

Posted by Jennifer at January 28, 2005 11:00 AM


That's a fascinating interview and I am deeply flattered to be include with my personal hero, Lileks.

Thank you.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at January 29, 2005 08:37 PM