Was extra busy the end of last week, and forgot to post some presidential birthdays...
January 29, 1843--President McKinley, happy birthday to you. I attended a school named after you that was built over an old cemetery during your presidency. Draw your own conclusions.
January 30, 1882--Happy birthday to you, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You share a birthday with Dick Cheney. Isn't that exciting?
It's the Matthew Maynard Interview!
In the extended...
Is that photo on your blog the best photo you could come up with or
are you punishing the woman whose ear and hair are plainly visible?
That's the best cropping I could get with that photo. That is my wife to my
right, and no, I'm not trying to punish her.
Your initials are MM, do people confuse you with Michael Moore? What
about Mandy Moore? Mickey Mouse? Michelle Malkin?
Thankfully, no to all of the above. Unfortunately my middle name is Scott,
hence, the blog tagline and the unfortunate association with dinosaur media.
I am not considering a name change, as I would rather bring honor to my
initials than let Michael Moore & Mandy Moore ruin them completely. My
sister's initials are also MM, but she's the Mickey Mouse aficionado.
Should a woodchuck chuck wood?
Depends on whether or not he can lift the log. I have strange mental images
of a kilted furry mammal running along with a caber, sweating and screaming
as he launches the log. Bagpipes are in the background.
Thanks, thanks a lot.
Indecisiveness, for or against?
Sometimes. Well, honestly, mostly. I have trouble with it from time to time,
mainly after I make up my mind to do something.
How did you meet Jennifer (your wife)?
In 1993 I attended Don McCarthy's Advanced Astronomy Camp at the U of A. I
returned the next year and met Jennifer, whom I thought was the best.
looking. woman. ever. We dated for two years (my senior high school year and
freshman college year). When she arrived at the U of A we both decided to
concentrate on our studies and our individual relationships with God. After
graduation we both stayed in Tucson, she becoming a science teacher, I a
software engineer. We started dating again a little over a year ago, and I
asked her to marry me shortly thereafter. We married back in May.
Is Jennifer (your wife) going to post more? Or does the
Chief Anarchist of the Peanut Gallery have to re-convince her?
Coming soon: jennifer.matthewmaynard.net. I just have to teach her how to
use the blog software and get her to write more.
What firearms are you qualified for?
When it comes to weaponry I am a jack of all trades, master of none. I am
most proficient with the Remington 700 (.30-06) and Colt 1911 (.45 ACP), but
have never gone through anything more in-depth than the NRA Marksmanship
Qualification Program. I managed to get Pro Marksman rating in the Small
Bore Rifle program at Boy Scout Camp. I've had the opportunity to shoot a
wide variety of guns, including fully-automatic machine guns, via the uncle
of a friend.
If you were in an episode of Law and Order, how soon will the
detectives find you out?
Depends on what I leave at the crime scene. I suppose its written into their
contracts that I get caught within a half hour, so I suppose they would want
me to leave behind at least a shell casing and some fingerprints.
Fortunately, I don't have my fingerprints on record in any database, as far
as I know, and I am smart enough to police my brass. I'd say, given my
grandiose acting abilities, sometime in the second half of the episode.
You have a unique setup to your blog, with just the daily posts
showing on your front page. Why did you decide to do that?
It's not so unique, I took most of the inspiration for it from James Lileks.
I decided to switch over from GreyMatter to this format because (a) it was
easier to manage what I wanted to do with the blog, (b) it fit my posting
style, and (c) the whole incident with my hosting service. I'm debating
switching over to WordPress when I switch hosting services. I like it, but I
like the page-a-day format as well.
When are you going to get back to a real blogging software, the
freelance stuff is kinda cool, but we're ready for the
After my contract runs out with iPowerWeb I'm packing up and moving out, and
I think that's in March. Until then, you're stuck with the once-a-day
format. Heck, even after that, I may stick with the once-a-day, though
WordPress is tempting me strongly.
Of course, the same could be asked of anyone not using .plan files for their
blog. When are you going to get some real blogware? Command-line baby,
that's where its at!
How many Mungovans does it take to get from the Airport to
the Cubicle Jungle?
Would those be Mungovans of distance or energy? Regardless, approximately
42. Conversion between English, Metric, and Mungovans is left as an exercise
to the reader.
If you could be anyone in the state of Florida for 10 minutes, who
would you be?
The guy controlling space shuttle launches, as long as one was on the pad
and ready to go. If not, the guy on Sanibel Island, enjoying a book, a
Corona, and a fishing pole.
If I live in a Red State, but was born in a Blue State, but when I
was born there it was a Red State, can the Pittsburgh Steelers go to
the SuperBowl in 2006?
Depends on what Cowher, Roethlisberger, and Bettis do in the off-season, and
on what the Republicans do to stop Democrats from stealing the 1st round
The destruction of the Fort: For or Against?
Depends on whether or not I'm in the fort. Generally, though, I avoid fixed
emplacements - they're too susceptible to air strikes. Blow it up, if for no
other reason than fun fireworks.
Susan Ivonova vs. Horatio Hornblower. Who would win in an underwater knife fight?
Initially I would think Hornblower, since it's closer to his element. But
then again, Ivanova is more accustomed to self-contained breathing
apparatuses, and she's a she, so Hornblower, being a gentleman, wouldn't
want to hurt her. Ivanova cuts his air line and wins.
When are you going to make more beer?
After I finish flavoring the vodka with blackberries. And after I pick a new
You recently posted about not making it into the Air Force Academy.
Did you explore other ways to get into the USAF?
I accepted a tuition-only AFROTC scholarship at the U of A when I graduated
from High School. After a year and much prayer I realized I wasn't cut out
for the Air Force and that God didn't want me in it anyway. I left ROTC and
stayed at the U of A.
That was a tough decision for me, since I had wanted to get into the Air
Force for a long time. I found comfort in the fact that I felt I was doing
what God wanted me to do, and that I still respected those in the military.
What is the worst job you ever had?
I ran food from the kitchen to the service line at the U of A Student Union
for about a month. The pay and hours were awful, and my grades suffered, as
well as my energy level. I don't recommend it for incoming freshman.
What is in your medicine cabinet?
My razor and aftershave lotion, as well as floss, generic Advil, and a bunch
of things I thought in my bachelor days only existed at the foo-foo shops
girls went to at the mall. The toothbrush and toothpaste have separate
Who is your favorite politician, assuming a normal person can actually
have a "favorite"?
Of the ones who lived in my lifetime, Ronald Reagan first and George W. Bush
second. Of the ones who lived before me, Abraham Lincoln first and Teddy
Roosevelt second. Overall, I would say Reagan. He had the best combination
of charisma, determination, and character. Lincoln was greater, but Reagan's
comedy is more fun and more well known.
I chose Presidents because they tend to make the long-lasting impacts on
history. Senators and Representatives (at least the ones I know of) are
short-term players, mostly, and tend to make more impact in their own minds
than in public life. They don't impress or inspire like the Presidents I
Watching the Pompeii special last night on Discovery, there was talk of a Black Cloud of Death. I thought to myself, "Self, you can put 'of death' at the end of anything and make it sound scary. Or hilariously funny."
Take the following innocuous items:
Cowboy Boots of Death
Yellow Daisy of Death
Vacuum Cleaner of Death
"I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty...you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are."
"This is democracy," the elderly woman said proudly, holding up a thumb stained with the purple ink used to mark those who had voted. "This is the first day I feel freedom."
Welcome to democracy.
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.
Farting: a natural bodily function that is barely worth mentioning, or hysterically funny?
"If you think too much about being reelected, it is very difficult to be worth reelecting."
Tros, King of Troy, had a young son named Ganymede, who was quite the hottie. Women fell all over themselves trying to get with him.
Zeus abducted Ganymede from a field and brought him to Olympus to serve as his new cupbearer. The cupbearing job was really just an excuse--Zeus made Ganymede into his lover, and gave him immortality as well as a constellation in his honor.
Of course, this isn't the only theory.
Which of your parents do you most resemble personality-wise? Does it horrify you or make you proud?
"You can not stop the spread of an idea by passing a law against it."
-Harry S. Truman
It's the Done With Mirrors Interview!
In the extended...
Why did you start your blog?
It was that or start a fight. Since I was outnumbered,
the blog seemed the better option.
[This actually is the second one. I was told to quit
the first one or be fired (see "What exactly do you do
for a living?"). This one technically is not mine.
That is, if you look up the data on Blogger, it is not
registered to me. It just happens to be a place where
I post all the time. That, I think, puts me on the
safe side of company policy.]
As for why I got into the thing to begin with, circa
11 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001, after a 20-year career in
journalism (see below under "What exactly do you do
for a living?") I found my personal evolution had
carried me across that magic threshhold between
"newsroom culture" and "actual ethical thinking."
OK, that's my version of things, but there is a
group-think and a set of common assumptions that allow
a group of 30 or 40 people to put out a newspaper
every day that has one masthead and one voice. And if
there's no one more bitter than an apostate, it's
partly because he knows the inner shams and flaws of
what he has abandoned.
So during the war and then the election I watched and
listened to all manner of knee-jerk idiocy every time
I went to work, till it brought me near my boiling
point. I hammered out in prose the retorts and
rebutals that I spared to speak aloud, for the sake of
keeping the peace in the workplace. I got yelled at
anyhow -- for typing too loudly.
That's how the blogging began.
What's a "Callimachus"?
He was a Hellenistic Greek poet and critic from the
3rd century B.C.E. Like a lot of the great ancient
writers, he survives only in shreds: a mere six poems
out of more than 800 that he wrote.
It was the name I chose when I registered for the
"Guardian" talk-back site after 9/11; I revived it for
this blog. I like the name for the sense of it: The
ancient Greek elements break down to "beauty" (the
sort of virile, robust beauty that the Greeks admired)
+ "battle/fight." So they "beautiful battle" component
is one I cherish in the Internet polemical wars.
Of course, I'm no great shakes as a Hellenist (being
more or less self-taught), and the name might as well
mean "the struggle to be beautiful." But that sort of
He's an obscure character, but I admire him and
identify with him on a number of levels. He worked in
the library in Alexandria, and I, too, find myself
buried among the scrolls more nights than I care to
admit. He drew up a catalogue which was more than a
catalogue; it doubled as a literary history. I feel
like, in a dim way, I'm doing something along those
lines with my dictionary project.
His poetry, as one scholar writes, "is notable for
brevity, polish, wit, learning, and inventiveness in
form." When I wrote poetry, ages ago, I aspired to
that quality of refinement, and I still try to keep it
in mind when writing prose. Also, his work influenced
the best (in my opinion) of the Roman poets, notably
Catullus. Strange to think of a librarian being a
lodestar for the randy Catullus, but that's art for
Another Roman who proclaimed his influence was Sextius
Propertius, who calls himself the "Callimachus
Romanus." In fact, I first encountered Callimachus in
Ezra Pound's "homage" to Propertius. Pound identified
himself with the Roman poet, as attempting to salvage
what was most worthy out of an older tradition and
bring it to modern audiences. It's a passion I can
share with all three of them, even if I can't hold a
candle to their attainments.
What exactly do you do for a living?
I have to be a bit cagey about this, because my
employer forbids blogging. I work as a copy editor for
a small-city newspaper in southeastern Pennsylvania.
You rarely see my name in the newspaper, but if you
read a headline that makes you laugh, I might have
written that. My dream job would be writing the heads
for the New York Post; you know, "Headless Body Found
in Topless Bar," that sort of thing. I also write
history books, mostly on local topics, and the
occasional journal article. Recently I was featured in
a BBC presentation on the Welsh in America, but don't
look for me on TV very often.
I've been in journalism for 21 years now, without ever
having decided to make a career out of it. Without
ever taking a course in it. Without ever having prior
experience, except running an underground newspaper in
high school, until the day someone shoved a reporter's
notebook at me and said, "here, go cover this car
crash." I'm not touting my polymath abilities, just
making a small point to the people who think you
actually can learn to do this sitting in a classroom.
Who are your favorite writers?
Oh, don't get me signifying; we'll be here all night.
Just to limit it to relatively modern fiction: James
Joyce, Stendhal, W.G. Sebald, Thornton Wilder, Charles
Palliser, Günter Grass, William Wharton, Faulkner,
Eudora Welty, Lorrie Moore, John Updike, Melville,
Tolkien, Conrad, Emily Brontë, Roddy Doyle, and of
course Guy Davenport, whom I eulogized recently ...
OK, I'll stop now. Writing ought to be discussed over
dark beer in smoky saloons, not while hunched over a
What do you think of Noam Chomsky?
He is a formidable thinker. Some of his political
conclusions are so far gone it's tempting to dismiss
him as an academic idiot, and some people do this, but
I think it's a mistake. If you really want to stalk
the beast, you have to track it to its lair, which, in
this case, is his discipline of cognative linguistics.
He's one of the few people alive to have invented an
entire academic discipline.
I do some work in languages, but I almost never
encounter his name there. What he does is not
"practical" in the tradition of Grimm and Jakobson and
de Saussure (though the latter starts to get toward
what Chomsky does). Chomsky isn't interested in how
Latin evolved into French, or why "Beowulf" is more
like modern Icelandic than modern English.
He's interested in the way the human mind "does"
language. It's really more mass psychology than
linguistics, and its heavily philosophical. And it is
taken seriously by people who are close to this study,
though not all linguists accept it.
There's a particular quirk in his academic work,
however. He shares, along with many people, a dread of
"sociobiology," which took Darwin's insight about
evolution and applied it to all human behaviors. Yet
clearly evolution can explain some basic, deep-seated
human qualities, just as it can explain why we have
too many teeth in our mouths. But not to Chomsky. He
is unwilling to allow any possibility of a biological
explanation for language. Some biologists accuse him
of being a "crypto-creationist," and in fact if
creationists want to find a respected academic who
writes things that support their attacks on Darwin,
they could do no better than Chomsky.
But he's not a creationist; he just is determined to
avoid the whole mechanism of evolution, because it was
perverted in one instance by some of Darwin's
followers. It's no coincidence that Chomsky first came
to wider attention in the 1950s with a furious attack
on the work of B.F. Skinner. Skinner was his opposite
counterpart, an absolutist behaviorist.
I once had a conversation with a Chomskyite who flatly
denied that biology could possibly explain in any way
sexual attraction! His reason? "That would be social
Darwinism," and therefore it's impossible for him to
I doubt Chomsky himself would go that far, but many of
his academic disciples seem to. Anyway, this is windy,
as any attempt to figure this out would have to be.
There's a good introduction to this problem in the
late chapter's of Daniel Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous
Idea," and you can find another approach to it, from
within linguistics, in some of the work of Stephen
Who would you like to see duke it out in the next
I'd love to see McCain in the mix, but I'm afraid he's
going to be too old by then. I can't wait till Obama
hits his stride, but he's too young yet. So I'll
settle back and root for a Condi-Hilary match, but
this is starting to resemble the answer to "Name a
guilty pleasure." Besides, I know we won't get it.
Rice isn't enough of a pure politician. And Hillary's
probably too poisonous. I miss Dean. At least you knew
what was in his mind. I wish Arnold could run.
Actually, I'd love to see Ed Rendell as a national
candidate, just to see if he could find enough
un-mustard-stained ties to last through an election
If you could go back in time and visit any one day in
history, which day would you choose?
This is maybe weird, but I'd like to spend a nice,
long sunny September day in the part of America where
I grew up (the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania) a
thousand years before Columbus set foot in the New
World. Just to see the ancient forest from first light
to midnight, and see a million stars wheel above a
clearing on a hilltop and know that I'm lying on grass
on the site of, say Philadelphia.
If you were to meet anybody from history, who would it
be and why?
See, the trouble with that question is, those people
have to meet you, too. And chances are someone you
admire, like Chaucer or Calhoun or Sappho or Lucrezia
Borgia, isn't going to have a really good time hanging
around with you. Bummer. But I think it would be
pleasant to take a carriage ride with Samuel Johnson.
Having done the dictionary thing myself, I can
probably actually tell him some things he'd enjoy as
well as partaking of his wit.
Besides, he drank like a fish, which often is an
indicator of a potential good time to be had.
If you were going to put together a time capsule to be
opened in 100 years, what would you include in it?
About six of those spring-coil "snakes" that you can
buy in gag gift shops like Spencer's. Then, under
that, a turntable that plays 78s. There's an awful lot
of music history that's already inaccessible.
What are the most important things you'd like to be
It's funny how all that changes when you have a kid. I
have the capability of being a completely
self-absorbed bastard of a writer. The kind that
manages to make everyone around him miserable sooner
or later, because his essential focus is on the
interior process. You know, Shelley drives his father
nuts and drives his wives to suicide and leaves his
children in squalor, but it's worth it to the world
because we get "Ozymandius" and "Adonais."
But after my son was born, I realized that wasn't me
after all. Not that I ever was going to be the next
Shelley, but I could have done something along that
line. Now, what I'm most proud of is the young man
he's become, and how much good and positive energy
he's spread in the world already. Not how much he's
like me, but how much he's like him.
Who were your heroes growing up?
Is there any little boy who hasn't idolized his
father? I remember wanting a toy tool kit when I was
3, so I could follow him into the basement and fix
everything, the way he did.
As a teen-ager, I found a hero in Gandhi. It wasn't
his non-violence itself that drew me as much as his
conception of it as power -- genuine power. He's
misunderstood some things. He failed to see the depth
of evil that can simmer in some hearts. But despite
his personal frailty, there was nothing milquetostish
in his philosophy. What people overlook in it is how
he always advocated it as a weapon of the strong
against the weak, not an excuse for the weak to not
Have any heroes now?
It gets harder to hold on to that as you get older.
But right now, I'd say there's an element of hero in
every person -- military and civilian, foreign or
local -- working in Afghanistan and Iraq to bring the
rule of law and the hope of freedom to those
countries. We're talking about real people, with real
weaknesses mixed into their heroism. But great heroes,
like Homer's Achilles and even his gods, weren't
perfect. A perfect person is something else, not a
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
There's a lot of individual things I'm proud of, like
once talking my way out of $600 worth of parking
tickets, or being able to recite the Gettysburg
Address in Old English, but no one thing is really the
one I'm most proud of.
So I'll have to reach for one of those overarching
concepts. Over the doorway of Ardmore Junior High
School, now long-since torn down, was the motto "Enter
to Learn, Go Forth to Serve." That's a two-part
commandment, and to the degree to which I've used my
gods-given gifts for soaking up learning, and turned
that around to be of benefit to the times I live in,
or to nudge the world imperceptibly in some better,
more enlightened direction, then I am proud of that
accomplishment. It's not something I spend a lot of
time measuring, though.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Blotchy skin, unruly hair, and an ugly lump of nose I
can trace back, identical, in family photographs to
How did you meet your lovely wife?
We met on Match.com. Yeah, I know, lame. But I work
very strange hours and there's not much chance to
socialize. I'm a strange bird, anyhow, so most women
won't be interested, especially in this town. The odd
thing was, I'd just come off a long-term relationship
that was mostly carried on online, and I definitely
didn't want to go through that again. I was looking
for someone local, but I still turned to the Internet
to find her.
And, yes, Amy really did work for a decade or so in
the costume department in the basement of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
I wouldn't recommend looking on Match.com for her
like, though. She truly was one in a billion. She sure
stood out among the toothless 37-year-old
Boxers or briefs?
Foxy Boxers. Some of those chicks can lay on the
leather. Especially that little brunette with the
crescent moon tattooed on her left shoulder and the
wicked uppercut. Not that I really was watching or
Name a guilty pleasure.
Women's prison flicks.
What's on the top of today's to-do list?
Answer a dozen e-mails, and shovel frigging snow.
Shovel snow that has the heft of rock, that can wrench
your back out of order and bury your car. Snow as hard
and real as lava -- yet for all my painstaking it will
be gone in a few weeks as though it never was here.
What is in your CD player right now?
Ah, you caught me. It's a duo called "Vas," featuring
a singer of Iranian-Indian extraction who has an
aetherial voice. It's borderline New Age, but I swear
it's well on the "real music" side of the line. Her
name is Azam Ali, and she also has a fantastic
compilation of re-set medieval music called "Portals
Other recent tenants there include John
Coltrane/Johnny Harman, Jet, Wilson Pickett, Sigur
Ros, Pizzicato 5, and "Rubber Soul."
If you had two weeks of free time with no
responsibilities and no cash-flow issues, what would
Day-um. The gods deny such luxuries to some humans
because of the amount of truly twisted desires that
lurk in such people's hearts. Something tells me I'm
one of those humans.
If I had to behave, though, I'd probably travel with
Amy and Luke. Places I love, like the middle Florida
Keys or the German Alps. Or maybe some place I've
never been, like out West.
Are you an adult? If yes, what makes you think so? If not, what's keeping you from adulthood?
"There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know."
-Harry S. Truman
The constellation of Capricorn honors the goat-nymph Amalthea, who saved an infant Zeus. Zeus was hidden from his Titan father, Cronus, who had eaten all of Zeus's siblings. While hiding in Crete, the baby was fed and taken care of by Amalthea. Capricorn means "goat horn".
Of course, as with all the zodiac constellations, there are other theories.
(Follow-up to yesterday's question.) Would another person be able to convince you God appeared before them?
"The president is like a jackass standing alone in the middle of a field in a driving hailstorm. There's nothing he can do but stand there and take it."
-Lyndon B. Johnson
It's the Snooze Button Dreams Interview II!
In the extended...
So you used to have a picture of you sucking on a cow's teets, what happened to that? Bring back the cow teets!
That's "teats". We must always strive to perfection when discussing mammaries.
That picture is still there. Shortly after its removal I was threatened with bodily harm, or at least ridicule and a drop-off in traffic, if I didn't make the cow pic available. Just look in the (cleverly disguised) "About Me" section of my sidebar for the "Got Mu" link. It's just above the PayPal donate button and Amazon wishlist. Which I'm sure would be more entertaining for you than a silly cow picture.
There's a fire. You can save three other bloggers. Who do you grab?
I guess the first would be me. Just like on a depressurized airplane it's important to put yourself before invalid companions and small children. Oh, wait - you said "other" bloggers. Okay then, first would be Lovely Wife. Not only would she be the easiest to save seeing as we live in the same place and all but she is my wife. Seeing as she's put up with me for years she's more than earned it.
For the rest...jeeze I don't know. The problem is that a lot of the bloggers I read are also my friends; some of them are very dear friends. How do you pick which people in a group of friends are the best, most important, most special, whatever? I sure can't. Rather, I wouldn't voluntarily go through the exercise. Even if I did I wouldn't post the results - that's just way cold.
Salt and vinegar chips-heaven, or form of Satanism?
It depends on the mood. When I'm really super happy and festive and gay, bouncing off the walls in unfettered glee whilst clicking my heels in the air they are a perfect food because they will knock that happy horseshit right out of me faster than narcan. Evil, evil, evil chips.
How's your German? And if your answer is "poor", then when are you gonna' be fluent?
I can swear a little bit and ask for a beer so I would say my German is already fluent. I'm also "fluent" in Spanish, French, Dutch and Tagalog.
What do you value most in a person?
The ability to entertain me. That might sound a bit superficial and me-centric on the face of it but think about it for a moment. Do you have a voluntary relationship with anybody who can't entertain you?
What happened on the weirdest date you ever had?
I took a girl I'd been seeing to the Erie County Fair and we had a fun but incredibly overpriced time. On the way out I had a pocketful of ones left over so I put them all on a game of Keno. I won so suddenly instead of being happy and almost broke I was exultant with something like $500 to blow. We decided to go to Rochester to hook up with and show off my largess with some of her college buddies up there.
We get in my car and the sucker is dead. We got a jump and it was dead. After helpful assistance from some mechanically inclined tailgaters it was still dead. Real dead, as in post-terminal illness dead.
We moped around my dead transport for a while wondering what the hell we were going to do, who we were going to call for a ride, whatever, when one of the guys who had tried to help yelled to me. He pointed to a guy who was pulling a dilapidated winter beater car out of a parking spot. He had one of those "For Sale" signs in his car window. I ran over and flagged him down. I asked him how much he was selling the car for. He said $600. I said I'd give him $500 for it on the spot. He said okay, signed over the title and I put my plates on it. (Yeah, it's illegal. So sue me.)
We decided against the Rochester trip since this vehicle was in very rough shape and since I no longer had any money. As a consolation prize we christened the new vehicle eight ways from Sunday.
Stories like this are hard to believe. It should be, since it's a load of bull. You should have been clued in right at the start when I said I had money left upon leaving the Fair. Nobody gets out of the Erie County Fair with money in their pockets. Nobody.
Anyway, I've never had a wacky date and I didn't want to bore you with some nonsensical answer so I made up that nifty little story just for you. Hope you liked it.
If you had to live in either Alaska or Hawaii, which would you choose?
Is this one of those trick questions? When I say "Well duh...Hawaii" will I be attacked by a gang of hippies or something? I used to live in Little Alaska (Buffalo). I moved to Hawaii Lite (Atlanta). I have not gone insane since then.
Of all your blog projects, which are you the most proud of?
Zero Intelligence. It's a blog dedicated to exposing the myths behind Zero Tolerance policies, educating people about their sources and effects and exposing abuses caused by them. It just turned a year old and I did a summary of visitors and referrals, etc. It was WAY more successful than I had thought and astronomically more successful than I ever dreamed it would be when I first started it up. I'm making an actual difference there and I am helping people in the real world to deal with something that is catastrophically unjust.
What size boobs do you think look best on women?
Well Harv, I pretty much like all of them. Big boobs, little boobs, medium boobs. Boobs, boobs, boobs, boobs, boobs! Taste great, great for ya!
A lot of guys say that they don't like implants. They say this only in the presence of women and they are lying. That said, unnatural implants are a turn-off. The boobs really do need to match the body. Unnaturally big boobs are cool for the freak show effect but they're not beautiful.
What's the least impressive contest you ever entered and won?
Um... Huh... Hmmm... I honestly can't think of any. I'm not a big contest enterer and off the top of my head I can't think of any I've won except maybe a caption contest or two. So I guess the answer would be "a caption contest". Unfortunately that would also be the answer to a question about the most impressive contest I've ever entered and won.
Are there any bloggers you haven't met yet that you'd really like to?
Pretty much all of them. I'd at least like to meet all of the ones on my blogroll. The people on my blogroll are there because they amuse and/or entertain me - those are definitely the sort of people I'd like to meet.
If you choke a Smurf, what color will he turn?
Doesn't "choke the Smurf" sound like a great euphemism for whacking off?
A year later, are we any closer to Munuvian World Domination?
Absolutely. We've increased our scope and penetration (heh..."penetration") by a magnitude over the past year. All we need to do is continue our geometric growth and we'll control the world in just a few years.
I have $8million US, may I have your bank account number so I can deposit it?
Sorry, I'd love to help you but I've already promised my good friend Mtumbe Gawamba that he would have exclusive access to my accounts.
Do you think it is possible for a truly honest politician to exist?
No. Then again I don't think it is possible for a truly honest human to exist. Whether it is lying by omission or simply being tactful, the philosophy of untruth is an integral part of human behavior. Do I believe it is possible for an essentially honest politician to exist? Yes, but I seriously doubt that any politician in high level politics has been able to retain that quality. Honesty is a progressively heavier burden the further a person rises in politics. It gets replaced by the carefully simulated appearance of honesty in any truly successful politician.
How does "Bear" come by his nickname?
It started as a description: "Momma's teddy bear" or something similar. It changed to "our little bear" about the time he started walking. It became a capitalized name at around his second or third birthday.
Now that Lovely Wife has a blog and everyone knows her name, why do you still call her Lovely Wife?
Because she's still my lovely wife. That's not just something I called her on my blog, it's something I've been calling her for years because she's truly lovely. And my wife.
Do you think Michael Moore has to have a bidet, or do you think he can reach down there?
He doesn't need a bidet. He has a crack team of hippies who take care of that for him.
(Heh. "Crack team". Hehehe.)
Ever been arrested?
Yup. Twice. Once for writing a bad check and once for being an asshole. Oh, wait - I guess both of those were assholish. Somebody who writes a bad check is definitely an asshole. To differentiate, the second one was also for being a moron. A moron asshole you might say.
What is your beverage of choice?
Water, then milk. Damn, I'm such a pansy. I'm supposed to say single malt scotch here, or tequila shooters, or a rich porter so dark that light cannot escape it. Truth is that although I'm very fond of scotch and porter (I could take or leave the tokillya shooters) I would be a miserable SOB without water and milk. That's real milk, by the way. No 2%, no skim, no reduced anything. Just milk. It does a body good, y'know?
Is Trey Givens as dreamy in person as he seems in his photos?
He's even more dreamy than that. He's a man beloved by children and dogs, an intellectual with common sense, he's all that and a bag of chips. Let me put it another way - he's one of less than a handful of people who we would be comfortable leaving our kids with. Although after the midget assault he endured this weekend he might not be too eager to be isolated with our spawn.
If God appeared before you, would you believe? Or would you check yourself into the nearest mental health/detox facility as soon as He left?
"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not Guilty'."
From Live From New York, Victoria Jackson talks about an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She had auditioned for Saturday Night Live, and didn't feel it went well, since Lorne Michaels told her she wasn't strong in character-acting. So Victoria asked the Tonight Show staff if she could do characters on her appearance to continue her SNL audition. She was given their blessing to do so:
So I sat next to Johnny Carson and I told him I was auditioning for a show and I had to do characters and I said, "Let me do them for you, and if you can guess who I'm doing, then I'm doing it good, right?" He goes, okay. So I went, "Oh, oh, Archie! I'm sor-ree!" And he goes, "Edith Bunker." And I go, yeah. And the audience claps. And I go, "I don't know why I'm here. Just go to a commercial. I don't have anything to say. I don't know why I'm here." And Johnny says, "Teri Garr!" And I go, yeah. And then I went, "What's love got to do, got to do with it." And I danced, you know. And he goes, "Tina Turner." And I go, yeah. And so then I was smoking a cigarette. And he goes, "I don't know, Bette Davis?" And I go, no. And he goes, "Who is it?" And I go, "I made her up." And then Johnny laughed so hard. The audience laughed too. And then he goes, "If you made it up, how am I supposed to guess who it is?" And I go, "Oh, I don't know. I'm supposed to make up characters in this show, you know."
A week later, thanks to her appearance with Carson, Victoria Jackson was hired by Lorne Michaels.
Rose Mary Woods has died, as well.
(She of the erased tapes.)
Johnny Carson died. Judging from that profile, they've had the story ready to go for awhile. I can't decide if that's morbid or just good planning.
Anyway, I remember sneaking to stay up late to watch The Tonight Show when particularly exciting guests were booked for the weekdays. After Johnny retired, I followed Dave to CBS and only on very rare occasions saw glimpses of The Tonight Show again. (Can't stand Jay Leno.)
Laurence has his take:
I bet that Jay Leno had him killed for sending jokes to David Letterman.
Funny, funny stuff.
It's the Bobo Blogger Interview!
In the extended...
Who are you?
I am an attorney living in western Pennsylvania. I try to remain anonymous so that I can run for judge in the near future. I am the Oddybobo, slightly boring yet strangely refreshing. Oddybobo is also my dog, pictured at my blog.
What were you like in high school?
I was the anti-geek, but had the highest GPA in my class. Dated a burn-out type and was basically in with the rough crowd, yet also the president of Future Business Leaders of America and editor of my paper. Oh, and I hated Cheerleaders.
What would you change about yourself? What wouldn't you change about yourself?
I would change my inability to keep myself from opening my mouth and inserting foot, something I often find myself doing. I would not change my devotion for my family.
What made you start blogging?
Well, couldn’t lurk in comment land forever, and thought someone, anyone might want to read what I have to say. Afterall, I get paid to spout my opinions in Court, why not blog about nothing on a daily basis?
Do you love a parade?
Only if said parade contains zum zums or zin zins (those shriner guys with the hats!) and the float peoples throw candy. A good parade must supply candy. Better still, skip the parade and just have zum zums passing out dum dums from their itty bitty cars. I gotta get me one of those cars!
Chocolate or caramel?
Mmmm turtle cheesecake . . . I love them both, I am all for diversity! I am a hapa, that is Hawaiian for ½ and ½ basically. Half Asian / half Caucasian, so I am all about the blending!
Exactly how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center
of a Tootsie Pop?
Watched my 1 ½ year old eat one just ten minutes ago, just like the commercial, two licks and a crunch, fascinating!
How many keys are on your keyring? How many of those keys do you
Twelve keys but I only use three! One at a time of course. The rest are for the jangle in my pocket!
What is the most wonderful thing about Tiggers?
The Bounce! Oh and the way they are never wrong about anything, just like me!
If money was no object, where would you choose to live?
I would live in a treehouse if it meant I could be with my family everyday. I would prefer a home with running water, but I wouldn’t mind going all Swiss Family Robinson for a while! But you said if money was no object, so I would have to say my ideal is right where I am, with one additional bathroom, that is all I ask!
What is your preferred method of transportation?
Horse and buggy, unfortunately, those damn parking attendants frown on pony poop in the garages in down-town Pittsburgh, PA, so I ditch my amish ways and ride in a . . . gasp . . . SUV!
If you were an animal, which one would you choose to be and why?
A babelfish, so that people can understand my rantings in any language. I like dolphins too, they hold the key to the universe after all!
If you went to Fantasy Island and your fantasy was to be in a
movie, which movie would that be and which character would you play
(one already existing)?
I would so be Tattoo, but it would be in the movie dirty dancing, could you imagine Tattoo as Johnny? That would be so cool, dirty dancing with Baby’s kneecaps, hilarious! “No body puts Baby in the corner!”
What's your theoretical or actual favorite vacation spot?
Seriously here, my favorite vacation spot is Assateague Island, Maryland. I love to camp there, and play in the sand see the horses, etc . . . It is so much fun and it is serene and so wonderful to spend with my family.
If you were to own a restaurant or bar, what would you call it?
I would call it Tummy Lovin. Cause with the better half behind the stove, it will be just that, Tummy Lovin!
Who is your favorite writer (either professional or on the web)?
I will give both. Love Michelle Malkin on the web. Read her all the time. Outside of the web, I have to say Aphra Behn. Cause she was a prolific writer when women were not and because she cross-dressed as a man and was married to a man who cross-dressed as a woman, go figure!
What is your favorite conspiracy theory?
That Jim Morrison died of a heart attack in his tub in Paris! I saw him last week at a burger joint!
What is your stance on pumpkin pie?
That I bake the best in the world, hands down, we are talking blue ribbon pie. At my restaurant Tummy Lovin, it would be an appetizer instead of dessert it is so good. They should call me the King/Queen of Pumpkin Pie it is so good! Mmmm pie! Where was I?
What is your favorite holiday, and why?
Lunar New Year, I love the color red, the dragons, the fireworks, the drums, the lucky money, I so love the lucky money! I love that people that are older than you give you lucky money! Oh, and the food is good too. Did I mention the money?
What is the best day you ever had?
The day my son was born. It was 22 months ago, but seems like yesterday. His first breath, his first sigh, his first cry, his beautiful blue eyes looking right at me like I am the only person in the room and the most important one in his life (absent better half). It was the most important moment, nay second in my life, then I had the rest of the day with him, oh my goodness! Then I had the rest of the last 22 months with him. It wasn’t like winning the lottery, it was winning the lottery. There is nothing in this world that means more to me. I would lay my life down for him to be happy for just one more second of one more day. The day he was born can’t be topped by any other, even my wedding day pales in comparison. This isn’t just a parent’s love talking, he consumes me! The day he was born, so was I!
Guilty pleasures of the music variety. Do you tell everyone who will listen how much you hate Britney Spears, but secretly sing "Oops, I Did It Again" in the privacy of your car?
"If you're going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now."
In 1989, George W. Bush was a rookie owner of the Texas Rangers, and traded a rookie player in exchange for Harold Baines of the Chicago White Sox.
Sammy Sosa managed to do okay in Chicago.
Everyone knows about Mount Rushmore, but do you know how it got the name?
Charles Rushmore, a New York lawyer, was visiting the area in 1885. His host was a local named David Swanzey, who named the mountain in his guest's honor. The mountain was known by various names until that time, including Sugarloaf Mountain, Cougar Mountain, and the Keystone Cliffs, but the new name of Mount Rushmore stuck.
And who was David Swanzey? The man who would marry Carrie Ingalls (sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder) in 1912.
The constellation Sagittarius represents Chiron, an archer and a centaur. Hercules, in pursuit of other centaurs, accidentally hit Chiron with an arrow. Chiron was in immense pain from the poison of the arrow, but he was immortal and could not die. One version of the story is that Zeus put Chiron in the stars to put him out of his misery.
Guilty pleasures of the television variety. Do you have any shows you love but hate to admit it?
"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."
-H. L. Mencken
Happy birthday, General Lee.
But I'm glad you lost.
Thanks to the magic of trickle, I could pre-write a whole mess of posts and then run off for a few days...and you'd be none the wiser.
You know, in theory.
Just, umm, don't expect me to answer any e-mail for a couple days.
It's the Baby Wings Interview!
In the extended...
What made you start blogging?
I first discovered Blogs via www.strategypage.com by reading some great stuff from Lt. Smash. He's kind of my blogfather. I was hooked from then on and surfed from his page to several others – namely Blackfive. So I claim them both as blogfathers. I think they would both deny any knowledge of me, and rightly so.
What kind of pajamas do you wear whilst blogging?
Red, White, and Blue flannel. I love flannel.
Boxers or briefs?
What 3 things make you the most angry?
Liberals, Islamofascists, and Terrorists. When I think of the other two, I’ll send you an email.
You are in jail. Who do you make your one phone call to?
My lovely wife!
Why are you in jail to begin with?
I’m not in jail. I was never ‘there’, I didn’t converse with that person, and I don’t know how the terrorist ended up dead – looks like suicide to me… 20+ stab wounds? A very, very determined suicide! Must be all those virgins he was looking forward to.
Are you the kind of friend you want your friends to be?
Yes and no. I’m a good listener. Sorry, you were saying?
If you killed a spider in your house would you use your bare hand?
Uuummmm… NO. My lovely wife and I have an agreement. I never have to ‘deal with spiders’, and she never has to ‘deal with snakes.’
Zoos--fun for everyone or depressing?
Depressing in a fun sort of way.
If you had the One Ring, what would you do?
Control Usama – and make him tell all his little fascist friends to immediately commit suicide - in a very determined manner.
How did you find out Santa Claus was a fraud?
YOU LIE! He is NOT a fraud! How dare you! Sheesh! Are you a liberal or something?
If you were really really hungry and there was nothing in the fridge but mayo, olives, hersheys chocolate syrup, salsa and a few stale candy corns from last Halloween, what would you do?
Funny thing is I still have some great recipes in my head from my bachelor days. With all those fantastic ingredients, I’d have a feast! Oh, and Candy Corn is capitalized since it is the very finest of candies, and further, it doesn’t go stale. Ever.
If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Kitten Tika Masala
Do you think colonizing Mars is the best use of our resources?
Absolutely. The VRC needs someplace to send all the liberofascists that want to leave America now that President Bush has been elected again.
If you had to change lives with someone from any period of history, who would it be?
Winston Churchill. I would love to have been at the party when the old lady told him he was drunk. His reply is so very classic, and I’d love to deliver it myself: “Yes Madame, I am drunk. You, on the other hand, are ugly. Tomorrow I will be sober; but you will still be ugly.” (As close as I can remember it!)
What'd be your weapon of choice if confronted with Osama bin Laden?
A safety pin. It’d take longer that way.
Why do you think it is so rare to find an American presidential candidate with facial hair?
I think most feel it’s bad luck. Besides when things go bad in a debate, it leaves your opponent with one more spot to grab you.
They say you should learn from your mistakes: what was the biggest one you made, why did you make it, and what did you learn from it?
Seriously? Turning my back on God at a very young age. After many years of floundering and searching, I came to the realization that I would not get out of this life alive, and I really needed Gods’ help in everything I did. I went to church with a friend (who later became my lovely wife) and I found the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Not Seriously: Getting a cat. Two words: Cat Wings. Tobasco sauce fixes everything!
What is your favorite conspiracy theory?
That Al Gore really did invent the Internet.
What would you change about yourself? What wouldn't you change about yourself?
My publicist. My family.
This one really only applies to bloggers who use their real names...to what extent do you censor yourself on your blog so that your grandmother/boss/high school boyfriend doesn't read something unflattering or risque?
And--theoretically--would you be interested in a collaborative blog where you could anonymously post whatever random nonsense pops into your head?
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Woodrow Wilson is the Democratic President who made women's suffrage part of his re-election platform.
But he was also a segregationist who made segregation in the military official policy. Before Wilson, there were of course segregated units, but he also required segregated housing.
The constellation Scorpio comes from the story of Orion, the hunter. Orion bragged about killing all the animals in Crete, which displeased the goddess Artemis. Artemis was the goddess of hunting, but she was also a wildlife conservationist. She produced a giant scorpion from the earth to sting Orion to death.
There are other myths surrounding Scorpio, but the majority involve some variant of the Orion/Artemis/scorpion story.
If you could spend next weekend with any one living person in the world, who would it be?
"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together."
-Vista M. Kelly
I'd wish Martin Luther King, Jr. a happy birthday, but it's not his birthday.
It is, however, Ben Franklin's birthday. He was the oldest signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, being born in 1706. He is also the only Founding Father to sign the Declaration, Constitution, and Treaty of Paris. So happy birthday, Benjamin!
It's the Flying Space Monkey interview!
In the extended...
First thing everyone wants to know is, where did you get the name for your blog?
Why, I pulled it out of my pinkytoe. I like flying, I like space, and
I like monkeys. Monkeys have been into space and they flew once in
fiercesome fashion on the Wizard of Oz. I added the chroncles word
because it was the touch of class the name needed to balance out the
silly stuff. Flying space monkey was a term I used to use all the
time to represent some thing people had irrational fear of' "Why don't
they upgrade? Are they afraid the flying space monkeys are gonna get
them if they do?" I guess becaue if flying monkeys are scary, give
them interstellar travel THEN how scary are they? Pretty Scary.
The horrifed look on my best friend and blogfather's face when I told
him the name cinched it for me. THAT'S the look I was looking for.
I originally wanted to keep a handwritten journal to chronicle stuff
but my handwriting is atrocious. My typing is really bad too, but the
paper journal has no spellcheck.
How did you wander into Munuvia?
I was dragged kicking and screaming into it by Pixy Misa. Who in one
of his rare mistakes thought I was a good blogger languishing on
blog*spot. The reality is I was potentially the best blogger ever who
had been damaged beyond repair and also beyond hope of ever reaching
my potential, tragically due to use of inferior blog software.
Actually it was an honor being asked. And as you can attest the
munuvians are generous to a fault.
What is the strangest thing you've ever seen or done that you haven't
Once I wore white and this is the strange part it was AFTER LABOR DAY.
There's more to that story, obviously.
Have you ever regretted blogging about something?
Oh you want details? Um , yeah ok. That Denigrating the Overblog thing I did sort of got out of hand but the traffic it generated so totally rocked, I wasn't mature enough as a blogger to handle the crticisms of asking people to be critical but y'know they say gotta get tough fast when you're prone to stupid stuff
Would you do something like the Bonfire again, or was it too much work?
It was a lot more work that I've thought it would be. But it was
WAAAYYY worth it. I got lots of sweet, sweet traffic and since I did
get lots of sweet, sweet traffic YES I'll be doing the carnival of all
mammals, Carnival of the vaccum clean repairmen, carnival of
nonbloggers internet surfers. That ones going to be tough, I'll have
to link directly to their IP addresses. But yeah I plan to do every
carnival, bonfire, and cornfire known to man and any known to nonhuman
alien races I might encounter.
What's up with your Frank J. Fan Club?
Nothing's much up with it now, I've let it die I guess. But it was my
first big stab for fame and glory in blogdom. Frank J of
IMAO demanded a fan club, so I made him a fan club knowing he would link to it and it made for a funny story. I am straight though, you understand? STRAIGHT. The irony of the whole
thing was the fan club blog got a ton of traffic and an instalanche if
memory serves. My blogspot blog got very little from it, I got a nice
big headache and some loyal readers out of it though. Got on the
inside track with Frank J. though as self appointed chief minion. Plus
I'm straight. Of course you made him a fan club too but you...you
already had grabbed the brass ring of blog greatness. I had just heard
that such a ring existed. STRAIGHT!
Who did your graphic for you (one of your kids? you?)
Ah yes the one thing about my blog I've gotten repeated praise for the
graphic. It came to me in a dream and when I woke up the dream had
come true. Actually another blogger, Bert Dreifuss is the source of my graphic.
Random styling question: Now that Rathergate is over and CBS has
issued its report, do you plan to change your main font back to a
proportionally-spaced font ?
I've thought about it and I might just complete my co-opting of scrappleface's design and rename my blog spacemonkeyface.
What's your favorite nickname you've been given?
I'm uncle Bobo to my nephew. I have less than favorite and less than
favorable nicknames as well. I'll not drag them up.
What's it like living in a house with 4 females?
Crazy. They come up with some crazy stuff. But my kids are still
young. They still think I know something about something. Of course
the ever lovely Mrs. Spacemonkey has no such illusions. When the
others figure it all out too, and start leaving going to college and
getting married is when it going to really become difficult.
Completely unrelated to the above question, have any cool scars?
I have a nifty scar on my forehead where I caught a rock. I also have
a scar on my knee where I bit myself one time. There's a story there.
Do you have any of those concrete blocks for sale?
You just missed out. All I have now is concrete spheres, cylinders and
cones and they are not for sale. They are availible for short-term
lease with your approved credit application. Seriosuly, I do get
serious sometimes, honest! I once had a business partnership with
Shane at Kudzu. We set up computers and installed computer hardware and software but we kept getting calls for concrete blocks on our answering service. We'd call them back but
always got their machine. We may have made more money selling concrete
blocks. Now we'll never know. [sigh]
Which would you rather give up: caffeinated soda or your insulin pump?
I would give up caffeinated soda in a heartbeat before I'd give up my
Well, I figure I could always find a way to infuse my insulin with
caffeine. Did you know pure caffeine is a white powder just like some
other things? Going the other way wouldn't work, stomach acid
tears insulin apart. Plus, insulin shots really suck.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?
About a mouth full. Then he upchucks. Little known fact-woodchucks are
wood-intolerant, hence the name.
What's your favorite book (fiction) and why?
I'd have to say it's Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Even though I
figured it out before the big reveal was made it was super uber good.
I'm trying not to give it away for people who haven't yet read it.
It's too good to have someone ruin the ending for you.
How did your daughter's science fair turn out? What project did she do?
She still hasn't turned it in yet, It's due on the Tuesday after this
interview is due. She did the one using a model rocket. We added clay
and extrapolated how the maximum height was affected using then angle
of observation and a measure distance...stop rolling your eyes.
Tell us about Space Camp.
I loved it when I went, way back in 1983, It hadn't changed much when
I went back last year with my daughter, but I had. I think I got older or something. All the space monkeys have now all died.
If you had a voodoo doll, who would you use it on?
Probably on myself, to scratch those itches I can
What is the best thing to ever happen to you?
I once found a fifty. HAH! Not really. Actually I did find a fifty one
time. The best was meeting and marrying my wife. She's something else
and she gave me some wonderful kids. For what its worth, she doesn't
read my blog, like most of humanity. She gets her fill of what I'm
thinking live and in person. Finding the fifty was mighty nice though.
Oh! and getting interviewed by you was nice too. Thanks for
interviewing me! I hope my answers aren't too long.
Is the swastika more offensive than the Confederate flag? Why or why not?
"If you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas."
I almost forgot to wish Benedict Arnold a happy birthday.
No, I didn't.
It's the Carpe Bonum interview!
In the extended...
Tell us a little about yourself--married? children? career?
I'm married and have four children, ages 2 to 11. I am a software
engineer turned system integrator turned manager turned sales guy.
I've worked in the defense, personal computer and telecommunications
When/how did you learn about blogs?
About a year ago I saw something in the news about blogs. I
bookmarked a few like Scrapple Face, Belmont Club and Betsy's Page. I actually used Scott Ott's ScrappleFace blogroll as my blog reader. I just clicked through to
newly updated blogs as they popped to the top of the list. That got
to be too unwieldy, so I experimented with an RSS feed reader (don't
remember which one). But I soon lost interest.
A few months ago I read an article in a magazine singing the praises
of RSS Bandit. I was wanting to keep up to date on electoral
shenannigans anyway, so I downloaded it and starting using it. Soon I
switched to SharpReader. Now, it's just about the only means I use to
read regularly updated content online.
I actually started a blog on Blogger in August 2003. That was only
because I wanted to play with the Blog This! button on the Google
toolbar. I didn't make any public-interest posts on it.
Did any bloggers inspire you to start your own?
Well, the main inspiration to start making public-interest posts was
to have a place to point stuff out to family and friends. Previously
I was doing this by sending out spammish emails to people. I decided
to leave their mailboxes alone and post the same kind of stuff on a
Milbloggers like Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette and Neil Prakash at Armor Geddon are also inspirational. Here are service members in harms way making history day by day, and posting it to the world in something near real time. I have a similar feeling toward diplomablogs Diplomad and Daily Demarche.
Shortly after I started Carpe Bonum, I noticed Joe Carter's awesome
"How to start a blog" series. He's got tons of great information for aspiring bloggers. I try the best I can to follow his advice (except I use Blogger, oops!).
I really adimire the rapport Frank J has with his IMAO readers, not to mention his outrageous humor and his unbelievably bold t-shirt babe/girlfriend search ruse.
Inspirational, but in a different way are leftie bloggers like Kos, Kevin Drum and Atrios. I've gotten in the habit of
ankle-biting these guys by sending trackbacks to their posts. A lot
of my traffic is click-throughs from these trackbacks. In accordance
with Joe Carter's etiquitte guidelines, my posts always link back to
theirs and are on topic. And my summaries generally make it clear I
am in dissent. But I get the clickthrougs anyway, so that's fun. And
I haven't gotten banned.
What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
At first, I just wanted to post stuff for friends and family to read
that they might not otherwise find themselves. But there is something
addictive about seeing those hit counts incrementing througout the
day. So my goal now is to build a group of regular readers who get
something out of reading the blog each day.
I'd like to contribute in whatever small way I can in the battle
against what Melanie Phillips called "media induced ignorance." I
wrote about it here.
In the same vein, I'd like to help route around the mainstream media
by posting original content that we will never see there. Keep
checking with Carpe Bonum for more on this.
How do you have so much time to keep your blog up to date?
Ah, yes. Well I don't really have the time. I started the blog over
the Christmas (yes, Christmas!) holiday when I had lots of time to
write and tinker with the blog (between family Monopoly games, that
is). Now that I'm back to work, there is less time. This first
couple of weeks definitely seems like a honeymoon period.
I have written down a routine of what I'd like to accomplish daily or
weekly on the blog. I'll plug away on the list as best I can. But
several times I have seen something I absolutely had to write about to
the exclusion of unimportant things like exercise, sleep and eating.
I assume that as time goes by, I'll be able to let things go a little
I'd like to see (or write) an article on the phases of blogging. I
know Honeymoon is first. What's next?
Where do you get such wonderful insight?
Ha ha haa, I think I can guess who sent this one, and she's on sitting
the couch watching Brit Hume on the TiVo.
Well my father is a Jesuit-educated US Naval officer so he instilled
in me a strong sense of morals and rigor. My high school was very
serious about academics: huge vocabulary lists, lots of AP History,
English, Science, Math and foreign language classes. So that filled
my head with lots of facts. And as an undergrad, in addition to my
Computer Science major I minored in Philosophy. So that sharpened my
critical thinking skills.
All of which helps explain that bad habit mentioned below...
What politicians do you admire?
Zell Miller: "George W. Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip."
That speech still gives me goosebumps.
Dick Murphy, Mayor of San Diego. He understands things like
separation of powers, which is so rare in politicians. Yes he's got
some leadership problems, and the election was a bit irregular. But I
admire his clarity of thought.
Finally my father-in-law. At age 66, he ran for a seat in his state
legislature. It was his first run for public office, and he won. He
has been like a kid in a toy store ever since. So excited. His first
chance to say the opening prayer, he asked God to bless all the unborn
babies. Imagine the uproar it caused in his Democrat controlled state
house! He has been reelected twice.
What kind of music do you prefer?
Headbanger cranked loud when I am on the way to or from a mountain
bike ride, or when I am angry. Country and classic rock otherwise.
Blues when I have a CD at hand. And I would really like some good
Gospel Choir music, but I have no idea what group to look for down at
the record store.
What kind of music do you avoid like the plague?
Show tunes: "Each Gaaaame of CHESSSS, means Therrrrs one LESSSS,
variaaaaaaation tooo be PLAYYYED..." Ugh.
If you could watch just one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Can I make it a book instead? The Silmarillion by Tolkein. If it has
to be a movie I'd say The Blues Brothers. Great music and Carrie
Fisher getting dropped in a sewer. Runner up: The Committments.
Do you have any bad habits? If so, did you resolve to break them?
Yes. And no.
Oh you wanted me to say what they are? I'm not going to tell any of
the juicy ones, but here's one. I often toy with people by catching
them in dumb little logic traps like the one above. Annoying, isn't
Do you believe in ghosts? Would you be willing to spend the night in a supposedly haunted house?
I believe in Angels and Saints, so I guess that means I believe in
ghosts. But there is nothing in my faith or in any science I know of
that gives credibility to ghost stories where the ghost chases people
around and throws things at them, or whatever.
So yes, I would spend a night in a supposedly haunted house. Just
like all those other white guys in horror movies, a la Eddie Murphy.
Having said that, I'm not going camping in any haunted forest, no.
If you had to live somewhere other than the USA, where would you go?
Italy? Austrailia? Ireland? I don't know really. There are so many
great places to live in the USA, I haven't really considered leaving.
Do you think the world will be better or worse off in 100 years than it is now?
Definitely better. There is no question in my mind.
Worldwide in the last 100 years, we have boosted the population, the
amount of food produced per capita, the amount of leisure time, and
education levels. We have reduced poverty and infant mortality. We
have made astonishing advances in technology, science, art and
culture. Known oil reserves are increasing.
Yes we have a lot of problems to solve, and we may even face
considerable periods of regression, but today's kids are great. They
and their kids will carry the world forward, I know it.
Which sex do you think has it easier in our society, and why?
Even though men are pulled in lots of conflicting directions in terms
of gender roles and behavior, it is more difficult for women. They
are pulled at least as many different directions as we are, but they
are the only ones who can actually bear children. And the window in
their lives when they can safely do it is narrower than ours. That
makes the pressure that much worse.
Describe a perfect weekend in your world, please.
I would like to spend the weekend mountain biking with my kids and
having them kick my ass. It will be a few years yet, but I'm sure it
What superpower would you choose?
America, f__k yeah.
See, there I go again.
Ummm, I choose super strength. That way, even though I am not
permitted to arm myself in many likely targets (airplanes, schools,
etc.), I will at least be able to kill the terrorists with my bare
As a teenager I would have chosen invisibility.
What is your most treasured childhood memory?
Oh, lots of holiday moments with grandparents. By the time I turned
twelve, three of them had passed away.
What is the best thing anyone ever did for you?
About fourteen years ago a photographer/sailing buddy invited me out
to shoot pictures of a couple of aspiring America's Cup teams. The
teams were out doing an exhibition race as a publicity stunt. I spent
most of the day bombing around the bay in a little Boston Whaler.
Toward the end of the day we rotated out to a helipad. We waited
around while photographers took turns going out in a little MD 500 helicopter, two turns each. When it came time for my buddy's second turn, he let me
go instead. What a blast: feet on the skid, leaning out over the
water, with all of my weight hanging in the harness. Took some great
But really the best thing was my wife marrying me and having our four kids.
Oh, stop blubbering, everybody says that.
Have you ever done a good deed anonymously?
Well this question is a paradox. If I talk about an anonymous good
deed it won't be anonymous any more, will it?
Actually, I can't think of a significant and truly anonymous good
deed. I used to put a lot of hours in volunteering with a County
disaster services organization, and we make charitable contributions
mostly to or through the Church. The beneficiaries will never know
who I am, but there are records. So are those anonymous? I don't
Thanks, readers, for the questions. They were very thought provoking.
I hope you enjoy the answers.
And thank you very much Jennifer for running these interviews.
If your spouse had a drunken fling with a stranger who they would never see again, would you want to know?
"A little advice about feelings, kiddo--don't expect it always to tickle."
-Judd Hirsch's character in Ordinary People
President Andrew Jackson picked the spot for the Treasury Building--east of the White House, obstructing the view of the Capitol Building.
Jackson didn't get along much with Congress.
Would you rather live to be 100 with the body of a 25-year-old, or the mind of a 25-year-old?
Libra, as I understand it, was another constellation honoring Astraea, who was the goddess of justice.
Of course, there are other legends.
"There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you'll be free if you truly wish to be."
-Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka
It's the Swanky Conservative interview!
In the extended...
What is the best drink you've invented (if you've invented any of your
I perfected a Mexican Martini. The original recipe is that of Trudy's in
Austin. I made it a bit dirtier and less tart.
Who is your biggest influence in life?
My parents. They helped shape me in ways I never knew.
Any online influences?
Why do you blog?
I used to be a journalist. I recognized blogging as a paradigm shift in
the way information is disseminated. It is the Gütenberg Press of the
21st century, and I wanted to be a part of it. My journalism days were
spent as a photojournalist, so my writing has never been very strong. As
I blog, I hope to refine my writing skills.
How would you describe your blog to a stranger?
Conservative, but with a fun, independent and classically liberal twist.
Do your family and friends know you blog? If so, what do they think
Yes, some aren't in tune with what it really is, others read it frequently.
Do you blog from work? If so, does your boss know?
Yes and No.
Is this your first traffic/link-whoring experience? If so, what took
you so long?
What, if anything, is too serious for you to joke about?
It varies. I can crack a joke at a funeral. That's countered with a
relatively good sense of tact, though.
Why does the PM of Israel go to NYC before he heads down to
Washington, DC? No other head of state does this. Why?
The road less traveled? He wants to hit Katz's Deli on the way? I really do
If there were public executions on TV, would you watch?
Absolutely not. There is no value of such an event to me. Having said
that, reality shows are also useless to me.
You can save one thing from your burning house (all living things are
out safely)...what do you save and why?
Ooo... Hard Choice. Probably my pistol safe. It'd be a toss-up between a
laptop or the pistol. The file cabinet is a goner - not getting that out
of the closet anytime quickly. The ultra-important files are in a
fire-proof box, so I'd dig that out later.
You can choose 5 dinner guests--dead or alive--who do you choose?
Ernest Hemingway, Plato, Christ, Teddy Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra and
Martin Luther King. I think this crowd would be able to sit around (with
or without drinks and smokes) and have some great discussions.
You are given 20 guns, but only one is loaded. How much money would
you have to get to put one to your head and pull the trigger?
20 million and the gun is a cap gun.
You slightly damage another car while parking, but there aren't any
witnesses. Do you leave a note?
Door ding? No. Rip part of their fender skirt or plastic bumper, yes.
Would you rather spend a month on vacation with your most annoying
family member, or work overtime for a month without extra pay?
The latter. I haven't been paid overtime for years.
For what in your life are you most grateful?
My centered well-being and self-confidence. They've allowed me to get
through some seriously rough times and helped me discover the love of me
Is there anyone you regularly take advice from?
Before making phone calls, do you rehearse what you'll say?
I am a Naval Reservist and in tech support. When I have to be "on" I
rehearse in my head what I'm going to say. You don't talk on the phone
in the Navy the same way you do friends or family. Tech calls also
require a bit of protocol.
Do you sing to yourself?
Yep. I have an internal soundtrack that I sing along to sometimes..
Happy birthday, John Hancock. We all know you had a really big...signature. You know, from the Declaration of Independence.
Hancock was born in Braintree, MA and died in Quincy, MA. (It was the same town, go figure.) Same place that produced Presidents John and John Quincy* Adams.
* This is no coincidence. Quincy was Abigail Adams's grandfather.
"It's amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy."
-Rupert Everett's character in My Best Friend's Wedding
It's the Random Fate interview!
In the extended...
Being the centrist you are, who do you think would be good for both
sides to have run in the next election?
That’s difficult to say, because as near as I can determine, all major
politicians have essentially sold their souls to get into the positions
of power they have now. So, in essence, our selection process for
President is to find the WORST man for the job. There are no “major”
politician/potential candidates that do not suffer from this fatal flaw
that I am aware of. Sorry I can’t give names, but that’s why I’m a
centrist, I don’t like ANYONE in politics.
And who do you think would be a good President to get us out of this
current mess we're in?
Other than me?
Seriously, it will take more than a President to fix what I perceive as
the problems the United States has both domestically and in the world
as a whole right now. Snarky comments about a “global test” don't cut
it, either. We need true leadership, not just in the Executive Branch,
but in the Legislative Branch as well. I’m not sure anyone currently
well known is capable of that kind of leadership (including the current
administration). To paraphrase what was said so eloquently by our
Secretary of Defense, we go to war with the politicians we have, not
the leaders we would like to have.
If you could have any job other than the one you have, what would it
be, money being no object?
Well, I had my “dream job” right out of graduate school, although I
didn’t know it at the time. I had a job in R&D, lots of resources, and
few constraints. An incredible amount of freedom for a man in his late
20s, full of “piss and vinegar” who wanted to discover the secrets
nature had hidden away. In the aftermath of that experience (a long
story that I may one day write about), I tell people that I hope they
don't get their dream job until late in their careers. Like the
dilemma that Neil Armstrong faced, once you've walked on the Moon as a
young man, what do you do with the rest of your life?
Thirteen years later, there are several things I have as desires and
possible options for my retirement, but those are “retirement jobs”,
although I certainly wouldn’t mind doing any one of them now. I wish I
would make time to write (fiction or non-fiction), because that’s a job
that has always appealed to me. Spreading ideas...
If you could go back in history and meet any WOMAN and really get to
know her (on any plane *wink*), who would it be? (She must currently be
Hmmmm... Difficult to say. Queen Elizabeth I would be interesting to
know simply because she was a survivor in a time that it wasn’t easy
for a woman to be in power. Katherine the Great of Russia would also be
interesting, along with Lucrezia Borgia. However, Katherine Hepburn was
a beauty in her youth, and intelligent to boot!
I don’t spend much time thinking about women from the past. I’m more
interested in figuring out the people who are around now.
Are you really going to the Jawja Blog Meet this spring?
After Eric called me (an international call) and personally invited me,
how could I not go? I plan to go, pending any insanity at work that
might prevent me from traveling.
Where can we find a picture of you?
Why would you want to see my ugly mug? If you really want to, I posted
a photo as part of my 1000th post.
How many blogs are you involved with these days?
Depends on how you mean “involved”. I’m helping blog-sit
sortapundit (although I’ve done a terrible job of it), and I recently joined Chris Noble’s blog The Noble Pundit as a co-author. I’m also a co-author
on the recently renamed Iraq Elections
Diatribes, a project by the Commissar of The Politburo Diktat that went a bit awry from his intentions. I haven’t posted much there because I just got back
from a home-leave trip to the US, and I didn’t have time to put
together posts that followed his original guidelines for the site,
which I plan to follow regardless of the hijacking by the other
authors. I’ve also got the keys to a few other blogs where I’ve posted
when the owner was away.
I’m also thinking of starting a “secret” blog where I can be a lot more
cynical and bitter when that angry mood strikes me. I wouldn’t tell you
the URL for it, though...
What happened to the "We the People" blog?
I'm surprised anyone remembers that! That blog died an ignoble death
due to neglect, shortly after I moved to France. I didn’t have time to
help keep it up and encourage people to post to it. I was and still am
planning to resurrect it, but I had used Bloghosts.com as my hosting
service, and not only have they gone out of business, but they did not
transfer domain names as promised. I have lost control of my personal
domain name that I set up as a permanent email for folks who wanted to
get in touch with me in France, but I haven’t found a new host for “We
the People” yet. I’ve had some expenses recently (like a huge property
tax bill on my house in Austin) that preclude me from getting a new
host right away, but I do have the URL paid up for the next two years
So, if anyone out there wants to help me run a blog focused on
discussion about issues rather than simple partisan name-calling, a
blog focused on being “for” things rather than “against” things, let me
With Donnie being gone along with several other bloggers...and with all
the new blood, who would you say influences you now, blogwise?
I’d have to say I don’t have nearly as many conscious influences now as
I had a year ago. I don’t know if that’s because I’m following my own
path or because my ego is keeping me from seeing who is affecting my
Unfortunately, if you follow your own path, unless there is something
remarkably compelling in what you are doing or writing, often you have
few people who follow you down that path.
Are your quotes inspired by life events?
Only occasionally are they are related to what’s going on in my life,
far more often they are related to what I see going on in blogworld or
the real world. I use them as indirect commentary because often they
say in a succinct statement something that would take me paragraphs to
Any plans to update the look of your blog?
What, you don’t like my homemade graphics and generic MovableType
Seriously, though, yes I do plan to update the look of Random
Fate. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps have delayed the new design. I
hope to have the new look up before the end of January.
How's the money in blogging?
For me, there is no money in blogging, unless you mean how much money I
What did you do for New Year's Eve?
Spent the evening with friends in Austin I hadn’t seen in a while
(because I moved to France!). I fortunately did not get sick from the
combination of Scotch, wine, and tequila shots.
Tell us, are you still available?
Yes, for parties, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals...
As a follow-up to your first interview, what is your weight and shoe
Geez, now I need to go look at the first interview to find out what
question this is a “follow-up” to.
Believe it or not, I don’t have a scale here in France, so I’m not sure
of my weight, other than my clothes still fit. I stopped my
weight-lifting (the gyms here suck), so I’ve lost a bit of muscle mass
in the shoulders. I plan to restart the weight-lifting workouts soon,
I’m buying my own equipment here. Shoe size? 42 (European) which I find
rather amusing... The geekier crowd will understand why.
You once said, "Would you turn down a chance to live in Europe for
three years with someone else picking up the tab, especially if you
were a single guy?" Do you still recommend it?
Yes, I recommend it highly. I’ve been able to visit places I’ve only
read about, and I’m gaining a better understanding of history, the
actual “feel” of history. I know I come across as all about
rationalism, but I also have an intuitive side that has helped me
immensely in my research: sometimes I just know the right path to
take. The “feel” I’m getting is from being surrounded by so much from
so many different eras. For example, within 100 yards of the door to my
apartment building there is a church that was built in the 13th
century, and I have to pass a section of wall built by the Romans as
part of the town defenses back in around 40AD. When I drove through
Tuscany to go to the wedding of some friends, I got to see first hand
how every ridge that extended into the plains of Tuscany had a town
with a castle and defensive walls, and how the towns are not very far
apart. I’ve looked out the windows of the Palace of the Popes in
Avignon over a vista that hasn’t changed much in 600 years.
I’ve also learned more about people. Actually living in a different
culture (which I have done milder versions of moving from Memphis to
Phoenix to Portland, OR to Austin while working with people from Japan,
China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland,
Russia, South Korea, Australia, and other places) has taught me a great
deal about what is common among the vast majority of people and what is
from cultural influences.
I’ve gained a lot.
Besides the exchange rate, any regrets about moving?
Moving almost always has some regrets associated with it, even if the
move isn’t international. There are friends I left behind in Austin
that I miss seeing, and there are things I did in Austin that I can’t
do in Grenoble (like sit on the deck of Opal Divine’s and use the wireless internet connection while drinking some fine single-malt Scotch). I had lived in
Austin for 8 years when I moved to France, before that I had never
lived anywhere as an adult for more than 5 years, so I had been feeling
pretty uneasy living without a major upheaval for so long, not that the
previous upheavals had been pleasant. The move to France satisfied that
strange need for upheaval, and it hasn’t been bad (other than the
stinky cheese... I live in a country with over 300 varieties of cheese,
and NOT ONE OF THOSE VARIETIES IS CHEDDAR... I’m *dying* here... I
*love* cheddar cheese).
My move to Austin was prompted by my divorce, so it was really a new
start in my life. Somehow after living there 8 years, it still felt
like a “new life” instead of becoming part of my life. My recent visit
back to my house in Austin suddenly forced me to realize that I had a
history in Austin now. I haven’t felt I’ve had a “home” for over 20
years, and now I do. It’s an odd feeling for me.
How are you treated in France, being American and all?
Quite well. Certainly no complaints. Usually people assume I’m French,
then when I say I’m not, they assume I’m English or German, then when I
tell them I’m American, they are very, VERY friendly and outgoing,
asking questions and telling me how friendly they think Americans
are. They don’t understand why George W. Bush was re-elected, but they
don’t say “America is bad” or anything like that. It’s hard to
describe, but there’s a definite separation between who *I* am and what
the government of my country does.
If you could spend a month anywhere in the world, money not a
consideration, where would you go?
“In the world”? See, otherwise I’d say “the Moon” or “Mars” or “Titan”
or “in orbit around Saturn”.
Hmmm... depends on if I’m alone or with someone. Alone, I’d spend that
month traveling around, seeing first-hand all those places I’ve read
about (like what I’m doing now in Europe). With someone, probably
Hawaii or some other tropical location, with an isolated, private
When given compliments, do you acknowledge them, or suggest you don't deserve them?
Hmmmm... I wonder who asked this question...
I try to acknowledge them, but I also try to minimize them. I have a
long history that makes me feel uncomfortable with compliments, a
history that I won’t go into here.
Now I really want to know what prompted this question!!!
Happy birthday, Alexander Hamilton. You were never president, but you're welcome to hang out in my wallet anyway.
Most people are aware of their astrological sign and the basic symbol behind it. Fewer people know the Greek mythology behind their Zodiac sign...
Take Virgo, which is my personal favorite sign. There are several myths and legends behind this constellation, but I'll share just one.
Virgo is the constellation commemorating Astraea, virgin goddess of purity, innocence, and justice. She was the daughter of Zeus and Themis, and the last deity to leave earth during the Iron Age. This period of time was marked by depravity and war.
Virgil wrote in his Fourth Eclogue that Astraea would return, "Now the Virgin returns, too; now Saturn's Golden Age returns." This was later thought to be a prophecy of the birth of Jesus.
If you went to a beach and it turned out to be a nude beach, would you stick around? Would you go nude?
"Nationalism and patriotism are the two most evil forces that I know of in this century or in any century and cause more wars and more death and more destruction to the soul and to human life than anything else."
"If I were George Bush, I would shoot myself. I think he lives in fear of drinking again. There's nothing more dangerous for America than an ex-alcoholic President who tells you to believe in Jesus."
Countless musicians have been invited to the White House over the years. Some were asked to perform, and some were guests at State Dinners. The first time a White House dinner was held in honor of a musician was in 1969.
Richard Nixon had a dinner honoring Duke Ellington, and presented him with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
You're at a dinner party hosted by the CEO of your company, and you see a nasty bug in your food. What do you do?
I don't do "on this day" type posts anymore, but today's a good one...
1776--Thomas Paine's Common Sense was published.
1878--Women's Suffrage Amendment introduced into Congress by A.A. Sargent. (Would not be ratified until August 26, 1920.)
1920--League of Nations founded.
1946--First United Nations General Assembly meeting.
Entertainment quotes this week, prepping for the Golden Globes.
"Shoot a few scenes out of focus. I want to win the foreign film award."
My computer had been getting loud. Occasionally, I'd hear a nasty grinding sound. Not good. Then in the last week it was becoming more frequent. This morning it became constant.
So...took the cover off, cleaned it out...still making a racket. I thought it was the cooling fan thingie...disassembled it, cleaned, put a drop of machinery oil thingiestuff in it...still making noise.
Hmm. Hmm. There's another fan...touch it, and the noise stops. Sigh...it's the CPU fan. Fiddle, fiddle, disassemble, clean...yuck. There were about five pounds of dust in there and under there and all around there. Clean, drop of oil thingiestuff, reassemble...no more noise.
So now all is relatively quiet. I didn't realize how loud it was getting around here until now. Plus I swear everything is working faster. Happy day!
Of course...now I jinxed it and my hard drive will explode tomorrow.
Matt has answered your questions!
In the extended...
What did you do with Mr. Green's body?
What? OMG, I thought you knew…Mr. Green is really Al
Franken and he’s been busy lately.
Where does "Blackfive" come from?
It was one of my callsigns. I write about it here.
How has your blog changed since it was a relative
unknown compared to the big swanking summer sausage type blog it is now?
It has gained a life of it’s own (and it’s really more
of a bratwurst than a summer sausage). At first, I
looked for stories to post or write about, and now, I
get a hundred or so emails per day with suggestions
for posts or links to stories that should be read.
It’s to the point now where I struggle to answer most
Any human sacrifice involved in your popularity jump?
No, and there’s no truth to the rumor that I provided
over two hundred Rottweiler puppies for Glenn
How has your attitude toward blogging changed since
Harvey at Bad Example once posted about the dangers of
getting too popular and he was correct about the loss
of connection to other bloggers. It’s not as much fun
as used to be, but now it means more to me. For
instance, I really miss getting in on some of the fun
out there or reading all the other blogs. Now, I’m on
a mission to highlight the good that our military men
and women do every day. That can be fun too but it’s
also a responsibility (to me). It takes a few hours
per day so I don’t have as much time to surf and
participate at my favorite blogs.
Is it more important to get a post done or to get a
post done right?
That depends on the urgency. Is it important to raise
$ for someone that needs it or is it just to scoop the
blogosphere? Normally, I would say that it’s more
important to get the post done right. Everytime that
I rushed a post and then got a ‘lanche from a big
blogger, I regretted not taking the time to do it
right (especially, after a few thousand people have
read it). I would look at the post and think that
people must have thought that I am a cretin.
What inspired you to begin blogging and what motivates
you to maintain the highest integrity in the stories you relate and
comments/rants you post? Whatever it is, thank you.
Here’s a post about it.
I owe it to Mat, Cooter, and Mike…
If you had more time to blog, what topics would you
cover that you don't cover now?
I was going to start a blog about the antics of me and
my friends here in Chicago. Had a plan, had material,
had the blog set up, but then I just gave up because
it took too much time. Believe me, the stories are
freakin’ hilarious…I have friends with nicknames like
Slop, Buttafuco, etc. It’d be like Old School meets
Van Wilder on mescaline.
I also thought about starting a blog for writers to
post their novels as they work on them, chapter by
I’d like to write more about being a father. My kids
are so much fun. I’ve gotten one or two emails
requesting more little Blackfive stories.
What is the strangest thing to happen to you as a
result of your blogging?
I became an activist. It’s weird. Never thought that
I would be one, but that’s exactly what I do when I
post about our heroes or support causes to take care
of them. For instance, if the Marine who shot the
unarmed terrorist that was feigning death in Fallujah
ever gets charged, I’m going to start a defense fund
for him and I know some of the best Civilian lawyers
that specialize in military cases. We’ll take care of
that Marine. He’s been taking care of us. It’s the
least we can do.
Also, being invited to participate in a blog
conference at Harvard and meeting the Iraq-The-Model
brothers – Omar and Mohammed. It wasn’t strange as
much as incredible. When meeting the brothers, I
seriously felt like I was meeting the Ben Franklins or
Thomas Paines of Iraq. Most of all, after meeting
them, I knew that my friends, who gave their lives
liberating Iraq, did not die in vain.
What is the best?
Making connections – I get to know people I never
would have known or heard about had I not started
blogging - and getting Americans to know these regular
military folks and understand the sacrifices they make
on a daily basis.
Being able to actually make a difference for some of
these people is absolutely the best thing. And
helping people to realize that they CAN make a
difference by donating or volunteering is incredible.
While I feel great every time I can help out, there’s
always more to do.
Maybe when this war is over, I’ll hang it up…
What did you do between transferring to the Reserves
in '85 and Gulf War in '91?
El Salvador, Honduras, Korea (Olympic Games), College,
Armor OBC, Scout Platoon Leaders Course, Ranger
School. About the college item – I had the choice of
going to West Point or another University (Green to
Gold program). I chose the U of I because I could
drink beer, meet girls, have a good time, and learn
something. I had had enough military BS at that point
that I decided that I would rather have a three year
college experience than the experience of four years
as a Cadet. I had a great GPA and was Rush Chairman
of my fraternity two years in a row. I had the time
of my life (up to that point) and I learned a lot…and
drank a lot of beer and met a lot of girls.
Care to talk about calling artillery danger close, as
talked about in another interview?
That refers to combat in the Gulf War. It’s no big
deal and happened on a mission that I led. It pales
in comparison to what our military is doing in Iraq
and Afghanistan right now.
I lost about 50% of my hearing in my left ear.
And what does the Army do with a deaf guy? They put
him in Communications. The result was the Army moving
me into the Signal Corps where I got my start in Info
Tech. And that got me involved in Intelligence.
You publish quite a bit related to the Marines. What's
the reason or motivation behind this?
Ah, someone asks about that every now and then. Well,
the Marine Corps family network is probably one of the
best intelligence gathering organizations in the
world. So, once I got plugged into that network and
started gaining a reputation as trying to help, I got
inundated with information. Also, I think I’ve gained
the trust of some Marines by not caving into pressure
from the press to release names of some of the people
that I post about.
Also, the Marines do great PR. The Army doesn’t have
a clue about PR (and some people that have given me
photos or stories that turn into posts have been
threatened by their chain of command in order to get
me to remove the posts). The Marines like stories
about their good work to get around the internet. The
Army doesn’t. So, I tend to get more Marine stories,
emails, links, than I do about Army things.
I also have a few friends that are in the Marines.
One’s a pilot, one’s a sniper, and one is a General
Officer. I get plenty of tips from them, too.
What blogs do you read on a daily basis and why?
The smartass Foreign Officers at Diplomad are quickly
becoming my favorite read.
IMAO, Argghhh!, Mudville, Smash, Dean’s World are
usually read every day. I try to read Wizbang, Right
Wing News, Belmont Club, Instapundit, Hugh Hewitt,
Michelle Malkin, and others every day. While I never
really thought of myself as Conservative, you can see
from the list that that’s what I like to read.
My guilty pleasure blogs are – Trying to Grok, Grim’s
Hall, Laughing Wolf, Sondra K, Chrenkoff, Gut Rumbles,
Banagor’s, Bad Example, Dog Snot Diaries, Baldilocks,
Just One Minute, Tim Blair and Vodkapundit. Usually,
when I get some free time and a cup of coffee, I like
to spend time at those blogs and the others on my
What was the vilest piece of hatemail you've gotten?
Some @$$ sent me a threat – they had my wife’s name,
our home address, etc. It was horrible. I gave it to
a friend of mine at the FBI. That’s about all I can
say about it right now.
Is it fun to keep trolls as pets, or just not worth
the effort to feed them?
They are not worth the time or energy. I usually just
ban them. What’s more irritating to me are bloggers
spamming comments. I really have a hard time
understanding the bloggers who post off topic comments
but include a URL to something that they are writing
about (again, off topic of the original post). That’s
just bad form.
I never visit a troll’s URL because they just want the
hits or the attention.
Will you be supporting Lucky the Leprechaun's
presidential campaign in 2008?
What kind of drunk Irish Paratrooper would I be if I
didn’t fully support his campaign? I could be his
social chairman - ”And here, Mr. Lucky, is the
Lollipop Kid delegation from Oz…they know how to
When your daughter, Pinkfive, attains "dating age",
how will you screen her suitors?
Suitors? What suitors? I find comfort in that fact
that the Mother Superior doesn’t let suitors into the
What is it, exactly, that you do? For money.
I keep my pimp-hand strong…
Paid: I’m a CIO. Occasionally, I teach Network
Architecture and Engineering for a University here in
Chicago. The best job that I ever had was as a ski
tech (when I was in College).
Undpaid: I’m on the board of a research institution
(raise funds for research and build bridges between
scientists, grad student researchers and businesses –
parallel computing is one area), and I try to help
minority owned businesses understand how to get
contracts with the DOD.
Briefs, boxers or thong?
Boxers (lots of plaids – Polo or Tommy Bahama). I
usually blog in Sponge Bob Square Pants pajamas…long
story, my son has SBSP pajamas and my wife bought my
father-in-law and I SBSP pajamas so all the boys in
the family were the same for Xmas morning. My 3 and a
half year old son thought that was cool. I might post
a picture of me blogging in them for the LA Times.
Ever been arrested?
You wanted details?
The last time was for a brawl. Three guys were
beating up my friend for being Jewish. They were
yelling “Hebrew Boy!” and other epithets. He’s the
nicest and most harmless guy in the whole world. I
think one of their girlfriends was talking to him.
I jumped into that one.
Oh, BTW, my friend is Catholic. How ridiculous is
Any tattoos, piercings, or other distinguishing
markings we should know about?
Got a tattoo that you’ll never see…and I might get one
to cover a scar – one of those memories from GWI. My
wife hates the scar so I might decorate it.
Have you mellowed in your attitude towards Alec
Baldwin in the last year, or do you just hate him even more?
Nope. He is a giant horse’s ass. I think I’ve
mellowed on the 9/11 commission and a few others, but
not Alec Baldwin.
Really, though, what did you do with Mr. Green? And
was The Bejuspundit somehow involved?
Damn, I wish Bejus/Donnie was still around…
Mr. Green and I are friends. I talk to him just about
every day or so. He’s okay, just has his hands full
with life right now.
(Invoke Marilyn Monroe voice...)
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, Mister President,
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday, Millard. May you always be known as the president with the goofiest name.
"It has been proven that the pig is the only homosexual animal. As this perversion is most prevalent in pork-eating nations, it is obvious that it gets into your genes through the meat."
-Tasleem Ahmed, Islamic missionary
Well, I was going to post about the etymology of the word "mausoleum" and how it originated with the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. As you all know, of course (okay, maybe not), the Mausoleum was one of the Seven Wonders.
But I don't think I'll find the time, so...here are some links to information on the Mausoleum instead! Yay, links!
Basic information, which fails to mention that the Mausoleum is the only Wonder known to have been built by a woman. Well, not personally built, but you know what I mean. It was her little project.
More specifics on the building of the tomb and its history.
The British Museum is home to most surviving sculpture of the Mausoleum...several pictures are available. (Click on the COMPASS links at the bottom to see additional objects in their collection.)
"It is impossible to obtain a conviction for sodomy from an English jury. Half of them don't believe it can be physically done, and the other half are doing it."
Calvin Coolidge's will did nothing to change the perception that he was a man of few words:
"Not unmindful of my son, I give all of my estate, both real and personal, to my wife, Grace Coolidge, in fee simple."
If only all legal documents (or politicians, for that matter) could be as short and to-the-point.
As a former Chicago suburbanite, imagine my relief to find out Chicago's nickname wasn't bestowed by a dreadful New Yorker after all!
"Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things. One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth. And you should save it for someone you love."
I woke up to the symphony of a half-dozen snowblowers this morning. We have some inches of snow out there...I've yet to go out to measure it myself.
These mornings always make me think of my dad. He's from northern Wisconsin and is one of those types who doesn't think it's a proper snowstorm unless you measure it by feet rather than inches.
Dad isn't a snowblower kinda guy. Never wanted one. Never bought one.
Oh, no. Snowblowers are for pansies, you see.
Dad has an ATV outfitted with a snowplow blade.
He wakes up on mornings like this, no earlier than normal. He drinks his coffee. No rush to clear a path. All the neighbors have been blowing snow for half an hour or so...then dad'll open up the garage door and fire up the ATV. It takes about 5 minutes to clear the driveway and sidewalk, and then he's on his way.
And don't think for a minute he doesn't enjoy all five minutes of envious looks from the other men.
Ancient inhabitants of India believed that female genitalia had magical powers. After all, the womb is the giver of life. Worshippers hung symbols of the vagina over temple doors, and wore charms to fend off evil spells and disease. Stone carvings of the vagina date as far back as 35,000 B.C. The shape of the symbol was an oval with an open end, much like a more modern good luck symbol...
There are various theories and legends about the origin of the good luck associated with the horseshoe, but the one I prefer to believe is that it's just an extension of ancient vagina-worship.
"Sexuality is the great battle between biology and society."
I'd been thinking maybe I should bring back the Interviews. Then I remembered how much work they were, and I thought, "Forget that! I only did it as a thinly veiled scheme to link-whore anyway. Where's the amaretto?"
Then Matt sent me an e-mail. I didn't save it, but it probably went something like this:
Hey, Jen, I'm too big to read your site anymore, especially since you always liked my friend Mr. Green more than me, but you should bring back the interviews!
Well, no one can prove anything about me and Mister Green (sadly defunct and worthless now). But the point is, I'm bringing back the interviews.
How do they work?
A blogger (such as yourself...yes, you, reading this) decides they need to share their innermost, deepest, darkest secrets with the world. And they want more exposure. So they e-mail me and volunteer for an interview.
They are then put on a list in the order of volunteerism. They sit on the list and wait...and wait...and wait some more. (It pays to volunteer early.)
Eventually, I open up the floor for questions. The blogger's readers send me their questions, which remain anonymous. (If the blogger has no readers, I take pity on them and make up a bunch of questions myself. Not that this ever happens.)
Then I send the questions to the blogger, who answers the questions. I post the interview on my blog. The interviewee (hopefully) links to the interview and tells all their friends. My traffic increases.
See how this benefits both of us?
Oh, and it'll also send some traffic your way, too. Especially if you're new around here, or have a smaller following than you so obviously deserve.
So...if you would like to be interviewed, send me an e-mail and I'll put you on the list.
George Washington freed his slaves when he died. Everybody knows that.
Erm, yes. Well.
Truth is that his will provided for their freedom upon Martha's death, and that only included the slaves he himself personally owned. Martha, rich widow that she was before marrying George, owned most of the slaves herself. The only slave that was actually freed when George kicked the bucket was his former valet, a crippled old man named William.
In his defense, it would have been problematic for George to suddenly free all the slaves anyway. For one thing, they would have been hard-pressed to find work and feed themselves. So to his credit, he provided they be taught to read and write, and for those of appropriate age to learn a trade. He also stipulated that his heirs were to take care of any freed slaves unable to take care of themselves due to age or illness.
Martha decided to free the slaves before her death, by the way, so they were freed a year after George died.