All Memes Necessary, 2013 Edition

The Wombat reminds me that I used to do this sort of thing all the time.

Self-indulgent?  Sure.  Why not?  It’s my blog, and I can do what I want.

1. Was 2013 a good year for you?:  All in all, sure.  Notables:  I got a new job that was a real step forward.  When you’re a contractor for a long time, you find that each year is pretty much a rerun of every other year you spend as a contractor.  I’m an employee for the first time in a while, I’m leading a group, and it’s been a lot of fun so far.

2. What was your favorite moment(s) of the year?:  Seeing my niece Sniperbaby for the first time.  (She’s six, and while Sniperbaby isn’t her actual name, she actually does get hits on prairie dogs at 100 yards with a .22 Magnum).

3. What was your least favorite moment(s) of the year?:  We’ll talk about that over a drink sometime.  If we have a drink sometime.

4. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?:  Went to the east coast of Florida.  Ate scallops.  Played a ukulele.  Kicked one of my demons in the groin.

5. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?: I never do them.

6. Where were you when 2013 began?:  At home.

7. Who were you with?:  A dog, two cats, and my guitar.

8. Where will you be when 2013 ends?: About the same.

9. Who will you be with when 2013 ends?:  A dog and two cats and my guitars.

10. Did anyone close to you give birth?:  Other than some Facebook friends, no.

11. Did you lose anybody close to you in 2013?:  No, thank God.  It’s been a while.

12. Who did you miss?:  Nobody, really.

13. Who was the best new person you met in 2013?:  No one person.  Lots of new co-workers.  The guy who works for me is a great fella.

14. What was your favorite month of 2013?:   I can’t imagine ever having a favorite “month”.  May was kinda fun.

15. Did you travel outside of the US in 2013?:  I haven’t been outside the US since college.  That kinda depresses me.   I may just drive to Canada this year for the hell of it.

16. How many different states did you travel to in 2013?:  North Dakota, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio.

17. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?:  Time for a project I’ve been noodling with for over a year.  I’d like to have something ready to go by April at the latest.

18. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?:  Plenty of days; no dates.

19. What was your biggest achievement of the year?:  I’m finally managing  people at work.  It’s never been a goal, but it’s an achievement.  Sorta.

20. What was your biggest failure?:  Not finishing the project I mentioned above.

21. Did you suffer illness or injury?:  So far so good.  Knock wood.

22. What was the best thing you bought?:  This is weird – nothing.  I don’t actually recall buying anything all year.  Some books, some music, groceries.

23. Whose behavior merited celebration?:  My kids made some good progress.  Long story, and you’ll have to know me  pretty well to hear the story.

24. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?:  Our government at all levels.

25. Where did most of your money go?: The mortgage from hell. I live with it, but it’s the bane of my existence.

26. What did you get really, really, really excited about?:  Music.  Long story.

27. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2013?:  I haven’t drunk “a lot” of alcohol since about 1990.  I haven’t had “a lot” of alcohol at one sitting since 2008, and that was only once.  I drink so rarely – seriously, the MOB parties and a couple of semi-regular happy hours with some college and work friends are about it.

28. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2013?:  Ibuprofen.  Which, other than the odd antibiotic, is the only drug I ever use…

29. Did you treat somebody badly in 2013?:  Er…not that I remember?  I usually try to treat people well…

30. Did somebody treat you badly in 2013?:  Nothing I couldn’t not only handle, but mock with style.

31. Compared to this time last year, are you:  A little happier, about the same weight, a little richer.

32. What do you wish you’d done more of in 2013?:  I wish I’d had an actual vacation.  I have been a contractor most of my career, so I have little concept of or skill at down time.

33. What do you wish you’d done less of?:  Worry.  Same as last year.

34. Did you fall in love in 2013?:  Yeah, Kate Mara.  But don’t tell Scarlett Johannson.

35. What was your favorite TV program(s)?:  This is the first time in decades I’ve watched first-run television or cable.  I loved House of Cards and Breaking Bad.  And I hate to say it, but Walking Dead is really good.  And the final episode of “The Office” was really really excellent, in an absolutely absurd way.

36. What song will always remind you of 2013?:  One of my own.  Maybe I’ll let you hear it someday.

37. How many concerts did you see in 2013?:  It occurs to me that I haven’t been to a concert of any kind since Springsteen in 2002.  Pathetic, huh?

38. Did you have a favorite concert in 2013?:  Asked and answered, indirectly.

39. What was your greatest musical discovery?:  Mark Knopfler’s been hiding in plain sight for thirty years.  I’ve always been aware of his most notable stuff, but I’d never really done the deep dive into the Knopfler/Dire Straits catalogue.  I did this year.

40. What was the best book you read?:  ”The German Invasion of Norway” by Geir Haar.

41. What was your favorite film of this year?:  I saw some good ones – more than usual.  I used to go to actual theatres maybe once every two years or so. It’s been more frequent this past year.  Best one, though, is probably Lone Survivor.

42. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?:  Nothing interesting, and none of your business.

43. What did you want and get?:  A birthday without having to deal with someone else’s crisis.  And for the first time in six or seven years, I got it!

44. What did you want and not get?:  I never want much.

45. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?: Having Premiere start lining me up to replace Limbaugh when he retires.

46. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?:  Personal fashion concept?  ”No beards without mustaches”

47. What kept you sane?: Same as every year; having an outlet.

48. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?:  Kate Mara was giving Scarlett Johannson a run for the money.

49. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:  Stay hydrated.  Persevere.  Let it turn to something else.

50. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:   OK:

Heel y’ho boys, let her go, boys

Bring her head round into the weather.

Heel y’ho boys, let her go boys

Sailing homeward to Mingulay!

Anyway – Happy New Year to you and yours!  I hope 2014 is a good year for all of you!

A Life More Ordinary

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these blog memes.

This one is via the random Candice.

Bold means “Mission Accomplished”.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink – I did it once.  My two friends and I were the only two people there.  I made a big show of yelling “A round for the whole house!”  Bartender was not amused.
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula – it was a MN Zoo thing.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree - mainly to show that I was a uniter, not a divider.
10. Bungee jumped – Um, no.  I’ll parachute before I bungee jump.
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea – My time on the English Channel was cloudless and smooth as glass.  Indeed, every time I’ve been to a traditionally rainy, dank place – Seattle, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, London – it’s been unseasonably sunny.  It must be me.
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg – Well, not at sea, anyway.
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
- I calculated that I changed about 9,000 of them.
21. Taken a trip on a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Got drunk on champagne

24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse – Sorta.  I had a system where if I figured a horse would win, I bet “place” just to be safe.   I made a bit of money at it.
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse – a partial one, anyway, back in tenth grade.
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run – In softball?  A few.  Including one against WCCO in media league softball back in 1986.  Glory days…
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking – It’s been a while.
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was s**tfaced - it may have been my college minor.
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country - In a club in Köln, Germany.  And on a ferry between Harwich and Hoek Van Holland.  And in a bar in Edinburgh.  And at a party in a little village north of Amsterdam.  I should point out that I really discovered beer when I was in Europe…
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip

48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving – Someday!
51. Visited Ireland – my budget ran out before I could try.
52. Been heartbroken for longer than when you were in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke – “You’re the only guy I’ve met who has the b*lls to do “Born to Run”.”
59. Lounged around in bed all day – Never.
60. Posed nude in front of strangers – not that I remember.
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites – The Hjemkomst counts, right?  No, seriously – all sorts of ‘em, including Augusta Raurica, near Basel (amazing Roman ruins) and a ton of ‘em in the UK and Scotland.
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight - Have I mentioned the lengths we had to go to to kill time in college in North Dakota if you didn’t have a girlfriend or much of a social life?  Although in my defense, I haven’t played D&D since the summer after high school.  I’ve done Traveller and Twilight 2000, though…
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
  – I did audio for a really crummy indie production back in 1988.
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days – Once, I had some strange, nonspecific fever.  Between Sunday and Thursday, I had two enchiladas and four soda crackers.  I think that counts.
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo – never will.
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert” – Does radio count?
83. Got flowers for no reason – I’ve gotten ‘em for a reason – twice, I think.
84. Performed on stage – dozens of times, maybe hundreds.  Many plays, many many bands, not a few solo gigs on guitar, and a ton of gigs with orchestras (cello)  and concert (percussion) and stage and pit (guitar) bands.
85. Been to Las Vegas – I have almost no interest in this.
86. Recorded music – Why, yes.  At home, and in the studio.
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
– people do lots of dumb things after they get divorced.
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship – I’m sure a North Sea ferry doesn’t count…
94. Spoken more than one language fluently   – “Fluently” is a big word – but I spoke German well enough that nobody made me as a Yank. I think they thought I was Dutch.  And I spoke bad Dutch and French with a German accent, so they thought I was German…
95. Performed in Rocky Horror – as in “yelled on cue for the various parts of the movie”, or “dressed up”?  I did the former.  But I bet that’s not what they’re talking about…
96. Live in a foreign country, even for a brief time
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country  - Dunno how “exotic” it was; I rode from Uitgeest to Haarlem and, later, from Grave to Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over -  Well, to “start” more than “start over”.
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication – Define “large”?
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback – Not a “flashback”, but while they were having a very dissociative episode, yes.
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced – never voluntarily.  Never will.
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol – many of them, including – twice – full-automatic.
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours – when I had the aforementioned fever.
123. Visited non-US foreign countries – Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, the UK and Canada.
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school – for a class or two.
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach – if by “pet” you mean “stomp”?
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions – Tough one.  I will crawl across broken glass to make my high school reunions.  But I haven’t been to any college ones.
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream – Briefly.
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ – KEYJ, KDAK, KQDJ, KDWB AM/FM, and a zillion crappy bars.
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone’s life – Not sure that I’d be quite that dramatic.  I’ve called the ambulance for several people who were sick, had had accidents, or were passed out on the street over the years.

I Can’t Write 55

It’s a meme.  This time, it’s from Rev Ma, over at Night Writer.

I can’t help myself.  It’s true.

55 Things
1. The phone rings; whom do you want it to be?
Mostly?  Friends.

At 3AM?  A manageable problem.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
To the little corral thing?  Absolutely.  I’d hate to make someone chase my cart around.

3. If you had to kiss the last person you kissed, would you?
Seems a safe bet.

4. Do you take compliments well?
Well?  Sure.  Often?  Not so much.

More below the fold.

Continue reading

It’s My Blog, And I’ll Be Solipsistic If I Want To

It’s been a while – but it’s time for another of Red’s memes.

1.ONE OF YOUR SCARS, HOW DID YOU GET IT?

Right above my right eye. I was two years old and standing in the back seat of the car (this was long before car seats) of a ’59 Buick when Mom slammed on the brakes. I went fliying over the passenger-side seat (this was before seats locked into place) and did a face-plant into the glove box (this was before dashboards were padded). I got a bunch of stitches. The scar’s still there. Twenty years to the day later, I had another head injury – I smacked myself in the forehead with a rifle scope because like a moron I didn’t brace the stock against my shoulder. Six more stitches.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?

Pictures of the kids, and some hand-prints and hand-casts they made when they were little.

3. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?

3:18PM. I think there was a snowstorm underway although – this is important – I’m getting this second-hand.

4. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?

A few of the typical (and not-so-typical) teenage difficulties to just abate..

5. WHAT DO YOU MISS?

Playing music I wrote in a band in front of a crowd in a bar.

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION?

Hard to choose; my guitars, or a little pocketwatch my son bought me at a flea market that says “Dad” on the case.

7. HOW TALL ARE YOU?

Just a hair shy of 6’5.

8. DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DAY?

Not “Scared”, per se. Just anxious. I’m kinda a worrier.

9. WHAT’S YOUR WORST FEAR?

Outliving my kids.

10. WHAT KIND OF HAIR COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?

Red – especially the dark auburn/copper kind of thing.

11. WHAT ABOUT EYE COLOR?

Maybe this makes me an insensitive philistine, but I rarely notice eyes until I’ve known someone for a while. Except for my kids.

12. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINK?

Please. Coffee. “Energy drinks” taste like tutti-frutti battery acid, and they all make me feel ill.

13. FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPING?

Margarita style – tomato, olive oil, basil, onion, oregano, and just a dash of really good mozzarella.

14. IF YOU COULD EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I have a total jones for Bun Heo Nuong – Vietnamese char-grilled porkcops with rice noodles – right about now.

15. FAVORITE COLOR OF ALL TIME?

Green. It makes me relaxed and happy.

16. HAVE YOU EVER EATEN A GOLDFISH?

Nope. I couldn’t bear to do that. I empathize too much.

17. WHAT WAS THE FIRST MEANINGFUL GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED?

I don’t know that I can pick a first. I know that my parents gave me a watch when I turned 16 that meant a lot to me.

18. DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH?

You could say that.

19. FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND?

Dude. I’m a straight guy. I’m lucky if I remember store names, much less brands.

20. WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU WANT?

I’d go for a Jeep CJ5.

21. WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING?

I’ve fallen in love under dumber circumstances…

22. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE USA?

Yes.

23. YOUR WEAKNESSES?

Appeals to sentiment (especially from the kids).  The siren song of a hot bright day and an open bike trail.  A gorgeous hook.  Collarbones.

24. MET ANYONE FAMOUS?

Many, many of them. It’s from having been a talk show producer 20 years ago, being a disc jockey, hanging around the Minneapolis music scene, and my blogging/talk hosting today. It’s’ turning into quite a list; just free-associating, I’ve met President Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Jean-Pierre Hallet, Janet Jackson, Prince, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Paul Westerberg, Bob and Tommy Stinson, Chris Mars, Bob Mould/Grant Hart/Greg Norton, Chris Osgood, Ingrid Chavez, Garrison Keillor, Courtney Love, Kat Bjelland, Peter Garrett, Andy Partridge, Timothy Leary, Meier Kahane, Shadoe Stevens, David Pirner, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, the surviving members (as of 1986) of Badfinger, Mark Brzezicki, Daryl Strawberry, Mark Farner, Wendy O. Williams, LeeLee Sobieski, Ron Wood, John Prine, John Lott, Jimmy Dean, Debbie Gibson, Emmylou Harris, Curt Sliwa, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Jack Buck, Tommy Kramer, Jeff Osborne, Herb Brooks, Herb Carneal, Arne Carlson, and of course (duh) Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Rusty Humphreys, Ed Schultz, Tim Pawlenty, Jesse Ventura, Norm Coleman, and most of Minnesota’s congressional delegation. If you count phone interviews, you could add Duke Cunningham, Ann Coulter, Bob Costas, Roy Firestone, Rich Lowrey, Michael Ledeen, Mitt Romney, Ken Mehlman, Michelle Malkin, and a slew of authors, bloggers and pundits.

25. FIRST JOB?

Other than a paper route for the Jamestown Sun, it woulda been my gig at KEYJ Radio when I was 16.

26. EVER DONE A PRANK CALL?

Not with a stranger. With friends, many.  Not sure, but I’m uncomfortable doing them; I always think people will make out my voice.

27. DO YOU THINK EVERYONE OUT THERE HAS A SOUL MATE?

I do not believe in soulmates. .

28. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU FILLED THIS OUT?

Waiting for my kids to come home from the rec center.

29. HAVE YOU EVER HAD SURGERY?

Twice; an abdominal thing when I was two, and a badly-broken hand when I was 26.

30. WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ABOUT MOST?

My sense of humor, my skill at my day job, my blog. No, really.

31. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY?

24 hours where nobody knows where or how to find me.

32. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT?

Right now? Two fewer than I have.

I’m a kidder.  I  kid.

No, two is two more than I, or anyone I ever grew up with, figured I’d ever have.

33. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?

Family legend has it I was named after the Mitchell (South Dakota) Corn Palace.

34. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TURN OFF WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX?

Women who can’t hold up their end of a consversation.

35. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU MISS ABOUT GRADE SCHOOL?

The sense that the world was a big puzzle just dying to get solved.

36. WHAT KIND OF SHAMPOO DO YOU USE?

“I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet”.

37. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?

My handwriting is inscrutable. People think I’m writing Arabic.

38. ANY BAD HABITS?

So many. Twisting my hair. Chewing my fingernails and toenails. Drumming my fingers (in incredibly complex polyrhythms; my jazz technique is most advanced on the drumming finger). I’m like the Keith Moon or Dave Brubek Gene Krupa of finger-drumming.

39. ARE YOU A JEALOUS PERSON?

Not as a rule. If I’m jealous, something’s very wrong.

40. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?

Whatever my many other faults, I’m generally a good friend. Stress and overwork has led me to let some connections lapse that I regret – but I do my best.

41. DO YOU AGREE WITH FRIENDS WIH BENEFITS?

“Agree?” Well, I don’t think it works often; someone almost always gets their heart broken, eventually.

42. HOW DO YOU RELEASE ANGER?

Chopping wood. A couple hours at the range. Playing the electric guitar. Going to Karaoke nght and singing Clash and Pistols songs.

43. WHAT’S YOUR MAIN GOAL IN LIFE?

Drive my enemies before me and hear the lamentation of his women.

No, really – raise kids who aren’t too f***ed up. Hopefully. There’s a ways to go.

44. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD?

Don’t think I had one.  I had a few that I enjoyed.  Lincoln Logs rocked.

45. HOW MANY NUMBERS ARE IN YOUR CELL PHONE?

I counted; 87.  My cell phone is also pretty much my PDA. Not that it’s like designed for that, like a Blackberry or an IPhone; it’s one of those ultra-cheepo “Marbl” phones from Virgin Mobile. But I keep every number in my life in there.

46. WERE YOU A FAN OF BARNEY AS A LITTLE KID?

I was a fan of Barney when I was 29. When Bun was a baby, her mom worked days and I worked nights and stayed home with the baby. “Barney” was two half-hours a day where I could relax, go to the bathroom, make a sandwich, whatever; Bun was always completely rapt. I used to roll my eyes at my hYpStr friends who ragged on Barney; you bobbleheads have no idea.

47. MASHED POTATOES OR MACARONI AND CHEESE?

Potatoes by a nose. With lots of garlic. (For that matter, I put garlic in my Mac and Cheez, too).

48. DO YOU HAVE ALL YOUR FINGERS AND TOES?

Close call, but…yes.

49. DO YOU HAVE A COMPUTER IN YOUR ROOM?

Nope. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

50. PLANS FOR TONIGHT?

Good question!

51. WHAT’S THE FASTEST YOU’VE EVER GONE IN A CAR?

135-140 or so.  The fastest I’ve ever driven was maybe 110.

52. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?

I have ITunes on Shuffle. Right now – “Sign O The Times”, Prince.

53. LAST THING YOU DRANK?

I had a beer or two at Flash‘s garage the other night.

54. REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT?

Center-right libertarian-conservative first and foremost. That makes me a Republican, although I’ve left the party in the past. My litmus tests are defense, taxes, government intervention, constitutional originalism, civil liberties and spending.  I summed up what I believe pretty well over here.

55. DO YOU HAVE A LOW SELF ESTEEM OR A HIGH SELF ESTEEM?

Somewhere in the middle.

I have a decent sense of myself. But like a lot of people from the rural midwest, I grew up with a bit of an inferiority complex; “knowing your place” is such a big part of rural Scandinavian culture.  I never subscribed to it, so I went out into the world with a huuuge chip on my shoulder about it.  It’s faded a lot since I was in my twenties – getting sorta established with ones’ life and having, frankly, bigger things to worry about will do that – but there’s still a little bit of it in there still.  Being from the rural great plains and going to an obscure little college to some people translates to “dumb rube”.  And that impression – real or imagined – motivated me with an intensity that scares me today, looking back.  I have never lost a competition that mattered – for a job, a contract, a promotion, whatever – to an Ivy Leaguer, to a New Yorker, to a person with the “right credentials”, to anyone who has ever discounted or underestimated me because of my background, my “credentials”, my alma mater or gender or anything else. Whatever I lack in “credentials” or innate intelligence, I make up for in hard work, selective callousness (I’m usually a pretty warm person, but not when this pathology is in play) and, frankly, that kind of monomania that comes from letting the chip on your shoulder turn into that sort of deep-down simmering rage that warms your tummy on cold days, and sustains you when you really need food or sleep.

But I’m better now.

56. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING?

Right now, a how-to book on ocean sailing boats.