questionnaire

Questionnaire 20.

The following attempt to break the writer’s block comes from this hyperlinked website right here.

1. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WAKE UP EVERY MORNING AND PRETEND THAT YOU AREN’T DYING? Pretty easy. I’ve been doing it several thousand mornings in a row.

2. DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE DEATH PENALTY? Yes, given due process and metaphysical certitude. WHAT IF SOMEONE MURDERED YOUR MOTHER IN COLD BLOOD? Yes, unconditionally. WHAT IF SOMEONE MURDERED A STRANGER’S MOTHER, BUT SAVED YOUR LIFE THE MONTH BEFORE? Yes, of course. Saving a life doesn’t grant you a freebie. If it did, think what Norman Borlaug could’ve gotten away with.

3. IF YOU HAD A FRIEND WHO SPOKE TO YOU IN THE SAME WAY THAT YOU SOMETIMES SPEAK TO YOURSELF, HOW LONG WOULD YOU ALLOW THAT PERSON TO BE YOUR FRIEND? Not very long. I’ve seen the effect my voice has on others. Soporific. I wouldn’t tolerate it. I’d stick to emailing or texting myself.

4. WOULD YOU RATHER BE RICH AND PARALYZED FROM THE WAIST DOWN OR POOR AND ABLE BODIED? Tough call. Right now I’d have to say poor and able-bodied. I can always earn more money in the future, but I can’t overcome paralysis at a reasonable price yet. Ask me again after another decade or two of prosthetic technology development.

I must add that either answer seems subject to being interpreted as shallow. Either I value money over a basic human ability and experience, or I look down on the differently abled, even those with greater financial success than I have.

5. WHAT’S THE MOST EXPENSIVE GIFT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? IS IT THE BEST GIFT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? Probably my first car, which was my father’s before me and his father’s before him. It was a silver 1988 Oldsmobile Delta 88. If memory serves, it was given to me in 1998. Bluebook probably wasn’t very high, but it was a car when I needed a car and couldn’t afford one. I had to put flat pieces of wooden molding along the ceiling to keep the fabric from falling on my head. It was a good car.

6. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU LIED? Five minutes ago, in my answer to #3. IS IT POSSIBLE TO LIE WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING AT ALL? Yes, it is possible to lie without saying anything because there are forms of communication other than speaking.

7. STEALING IS IMMORAL, RIGHT? Yes. BUT WHAT IF STEALING WAS THE ONLY WAY TO FEED A STARVING CHILD? If it were literally the only way to feed a starving child, I’d feed the starving child. Most systems of law and morality recognize this. However, we are fortunate live in a time and place in which it is virtually never the only way to feed a starving child.

8. IF I GAVE YOU $20, WHAT PERCENTAGE WOULD YOU – REALLY – SAVE? IF I GAVE YOU $200,000, WHAT PERCENTAGE WOULD YOU SAVE? SHOULD THERE BE A DIFFERENCE? I’d probably save none of the $20, and virtually all of the $200,000. More specifically, I’d use the $200K to pay off my mortgage. There is a difference between the two scenarios because we’re talking about drastically difference increases in income, and Econ tells us that as wealth increases, so do rates of saving. Furthermore, there is a cost to the act of saving. That act would chew up more of the value of the $20 than the $200K.

9. IF SOMEONE COULD TELL YOU THE EXACT DAY AND TIME THAT YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, WOULD YOU WANT THEM TO TELL YOU? It would depend on how old I was at the time. Right now, the answer’s no. If you asked me again in, say, 2104, my answer might be different.

10. IF YOU FOUND OUT YOU WERE GOING TO DIE TODAY, WOULD YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS? Yes. WOULD YOU BE HAPPY WITH THE WAY YOU SPENT THE LAST 24 HOURS OF YOUR LIFE? Yes, though it could have been better. The wings could’ve gotten here a bit earlier. Lowe’s could’ve copied my key correctly the first time.

11. WHAT’S YOUR SINGLE GREATEST MOMENT OF PERSONAL FAILURE? I am not ready to share that. The wounds are too fresh, and too deep, and the next episode of TNG on Netflix is about to start. LOOKING BACK ON IT NOW, DID IT MAKE YOU WEAKER OR STRONGER? I don’t know. WHAT DID YOU LEARN? That The Rules always work.

12. DO THE WORDS ‘FREEDOM’ AND ‘LIBERTY’ MEAN NOT BEING PERSECUTED OR DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, OR DO THEY MEAN DOING WHATEVER YOU PLEASE? Generally, yes. A government that protects freedom and liberty shouldn’t discriminate against you on unreasonable grounds, shouldn’t persecute you at all, and should protect your right to do as you please without infringing on others rights. That’s about as succinctly as I can put it during the opening credits.

13. HAVE YOU EVER DISCRIMINATED AGAINST SOMEONE? There’s no good way to answer a loaded question such as this, so I’ll just go ahead and admit I hate the Swiss. “We’re sort of German, and we’re sort of French, and we’re sort of Italian, but we’re not actually any of those.” Make a damn call. IMAGINE THAT A STREET GANG NOTORIOUS FOR WEARING PURPLE SHIRTS HAS ROBBED AND MURDERED SEVERAL HUNDRED PEOPLE IN YOUR TOWN. IF A MAN WEARING A PURPLE SHIRT JUST RANG YOUR DOORBELL, WOULD YOU ANSWER IT? I’d answer it, but then, I’m better armed than the average door-answerer.

14. IS IT CRAZIER TO CHOOSE TO BE POOR OR TO SPEND 40 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE HATING 40 HOURS A WEEK? Neither is crazy, but the two are not mutually exclusive. How enjoyable or miserable is my job, assuming I have one, if I’m going to be poor? And how well does “hating 40 hours a week” pay?

15. DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME? Yes. HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK DO YOU SPEND WATCHING TV, OR PLAYING VIDEO GAMES, OR…? Not too many hours, but those aren’t the activities that chew up my time. School-related paperwork is what chews up my time.

16. DO YOU EVER CELEBRATE THE GREEN LIGHTS? Sometimes. I celebrate the green light at the exit off the beltway on my way home, because I hit it so rarely.

17. IF YOU COULD BE GIVEN ANOTHER TALENT OR ABILITY, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT IT TO BE? I’d want to be able to fly. HAVE YOU EVER – REALLY – TRIED TO PERFECT THIS ABILITY IN YOURSELF? …I didn’t realize that the first question was serious. Oh well. No, I have not tried to perfect my ability to fly.

18. NO MATTER HOW BAD THINGS GET, ARE YOU AWARE THAT SOMEONE ALWAYS HAS IT WORSE THAN YOU DO? Absolutely. Even when I’m at my worst, I’m pretty good at looking down on others.

19. WHEN YOU HELP SOMEONE, DO YOU EVER THINK, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” Yes. Not every time, but sometimes. Part of the reason is my econ training; I assume that everybody always acts to optimize net benefit. Thus whatever I do for others in part is also done for myself.

20. JOY IS FOUND WITH SIMPLE AWARENESS. WHAT DOES YOUR JOY LOOK LIKE TODAY? Today’s joy was a cool day in April.

21. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘LIVING’ AND ‘EXISTING?’ The former is a subset of the latter. If I ever die, I will still exist.

22. ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE THE LIFE OF YOUR CHILD OR LOVER TO SUPPORT A WAR? Not before my own. Even then, it would depend on the circumstances of the war. The cause would have to be just and the quarrel would have to be honorable. The Revolution? The Civil War? WWII? I’d have to. The Mexican-American War? The Aroostook War? The Monday Night War? Nope.

23. DO YOU ASK ENOUGH QUESTIONS, OR DO YOU SETTLE FOR WHAT YOU KNOW? I think I ask enough questions, but sometimes the econ training kicks in, and I recognize that it just isn’t worth the time or effort or agony to ask questions.

24. IF YOU COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, WOULD YOU CHANGE ANYTHING? Yes.

You probably meant to ask a follow-up question.

25. IF YOUR LIFE WAS A NOVEL, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE AND HOW WOULD YOUR STORY END? I’d go simple. The novel would be called The Fictional Autobiography of Vincent D. Viscariello. It would end with the destruction of all spacetime outside the framework of the story so as to ruin the viability of prequels, sequels, and sidequels.

Questionnaire 19.

The following attempt at cracking the writer’s block comes from this link here.

1. WHAT WAS THE LAST PICTURE YOU TOOK WITH YOUR PHONE? My dental insurance card. Look at that, there’s a crack in my shield.
2. DO YOU KNOW ANY BIG GOSSIPS? Wouldn’t you like to know.
3. HAVE YOU BEEN PULLED OVER BY A COP? Yep. Five times. One ticket.
4. DO YOU KNOW YOUR HERITAGE? Yes. Three-quarters Italian, one-quarter Irish, 100% Medigone.
5. WHAT HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED? DID YOU EVER GET IT? Heat vision. Not yet.
6. WHAT KIND OF SICKNESS HAVE YOU LIED ABOUT SO YOU WOULDN’T GO TO WORK? Hasn’t happened. I have to be damn-near dying to miss work.
7. WHAT WAS THE LAST LIE YOU TOLD? See #5.
8. HAVE YOU EVER DANCED IN THE RAIN? Not sure. Probably not. I don’t think so.
9. WHAT IS YOUR BLOOD TYPE? T-negative.
10. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A CAR ACCIDENT? Yes. When I was 16 I hit the back of a truck. Broke the right headlight and tore the fiberglass on the front right quarter panel.
12. BEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE RECEIVED? [Still redacted]
13. DO YOU TRUST ANYONE WITH YOUR LIFE? Yes.
14. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH OR WEAKNESS? I decline to answer due to the possibility that my arch-nemesis survived.
15. WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT PIZZA? One made with love. But if we’re talking about restaurant pizzas, I like Lou Malnati’s Chicago-style deep-dish with pepperoni (which you can have shipped nationwide if necessary. It’s awesome). Unfortunately, each slice takes eight months off your life. I like the margarita from Carmella’s in Palm Coast– rich marinara, good basil, a few big dollops of mozzarella.
16. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT WHEN YOU WOKE UP THIS MORNING? M.Q.
17. DO YOU GET ALONG WITH YOUR FAMILY? WHY OR WHY NOT? Generally. Because.
18. UGLY AND LIVE FOREVER, OR ATTRACTIVE AND DIE IN A YEAR? The former. I’ll live long enough for them to transfer my mind, and hopefully my soul, into a good-lookin’ mechanical body, or for them to figure out how to perform plastic surgery that doesn’t look weird.
20. WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO LIE TO A COURT FOR A CLOSE FRIEND IF IT MEANT SAVING YOUR FRIEND FROM GOING TO JAIL FOR LIFE? No.
21. WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO EAT A BOWL OF CRICKETS FOR $40,000? Yes.
22. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANYONE LOCKED IN A ROOM SO THAT YOU COULD TORMENT THEM FOR A DAY, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND HOW WOULD YOU TORMENT THEM? “Could” is not “must,” thus I would not choose anyone and would not torment them.
23. DO YOU FEEL THAT CHILDREN SHOULD BE SHELTERED FROM UNHAPPINESS? Only if you want to stunt their growth and make them dysfunctional.
24. IF YOU COULD HAVE PERSONALLY WITNESSED ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO HAVE SEEN? The moon landing.
25. IF YOU COULD WAKE UP TOMORROW IN THE BODY OF SOMEONE ELSE, WHO WOULD YOU PICK AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO? If this condition were temporary, I’d be Bill Gates for just long enough to write the real me a nice check. If this condition were permanent… I’d have to think about that a while longer.
26. IF YOU COULD BE ANY AGE FOR A WEEK, WHAT AGE WOULD THAT BE? 25 or so. Everything would ache and creak a lot less.
28. IF YOU COULD ONLY HAVE ONE MEAL FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Slop, which in my family is elbow macaroni, meat sauce, and butter.
29. WHERE DO YOU GO TO GET ON A COMPUTER? This is 2015. The computer goes wherever I go.
30. HOW DO YOU START A CONVERSATION? “Hello.”
31. WHAT KEYS ON A KEYBOARD DO YOU NOT USE? The tilde, the forward slash, and F5/F6, which (on this MacBook) regulate the brightness of the keyboard backlight.
32. IF YOU HAD A BRAINWASHING MACHINE, WHO WOULD YOU USE IT ON? Dear Leader.
33. YOU ARE WALKING HOME IN THE DARK, YOU SEE SOMETHING MOVE. WHAT/WHO IS IT(GUESS)? WHAT DO YOU DO? It’s the author of this questionnaire. I pummel him for asking a stupid question.
34. WHAT IS THE STRANGEST NAME SOMEONE HAS INTRODUCED THEMSELVES AS TO YOU? WHAT IS THEIR REAL NAME? Her name was a homophone for a body part. It was her real name. She was not amused when I asked if she was serious, and if she knew what that was.
35. WHERE WERE YOU 3 HOURS AGO? DO YOU THINK SOMEONE WAS STALKING YOU? I was here. No.
36. HAVE YOU EVER EATEN A CRAYON, OR GLUE? OR, WHAT STRANGE THING HAVE YOU EATEN? When I was a toddler, I drank half a bottle of glue.
37. WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? (GENRE, ARTISTS, SONGS?) All sorts, but most of the music I like comes from soundtracks and scores because I can associate it with movies or shows. Right now I’m repeatedly listening to David Arnold’s composition of “OHMSS/Space March”, very similar to the one used in the Propellerheads’ version back in the late 90s.
38. WHAT CHEERS YOU UP? See #16 and #28.
39. WHAT DO YOU CONSTANTLY THINK ABOUT THAT MAKES YOU SAD? I tend not to constantly think about things that make me sad.
40. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CONSTANTLY LOSE AT YOUR HOUSE OR ANYWHERE? The clicker at work.
41. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK OR READ MUCH? WHY OR WHY NOT? I’ve answered the book question before, but I do not have a favorite read much.
42. WHAT IS THE LONGEST YOU HAVE GONE WITHOUT SLEEP? Forty hours. It was unnecessary and unpleasant.
43. DO YOU HAVE ANYONE YOU GO TO FOR ADVICE? IN PERSON OR ONLINE? Twice weekly I meet with a council of friends, confidants, paid consultants, and representatives of major world religions. A couple of them have to Skype.
44. WHAT IS THE HABIT YOU ARE PROUDEST OF BREAKING OR WANT TO BREAK? I am proudest of giving up sweet tea back in 2010. I want to stop ingesting soft drinks and most added sugars, though I don’t anticipate putting a whole lot of effort into it.
45. IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW? Yes, but not until it’s too late for you to do anything about it.
46. WHAT DO YOU ORDER OR NOT ORDER AT A RESTAURANT YOU HAVE BEEN TO OR NEVER BEEN TO? What idiot wrote this question?
47. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD? LEAST FAVORITE? Favorite: Accelerate. Least favorite: I.
48. DESCRIBE SOMETHING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU FOR WHICH HAD NO EXPLANATION. When I was a kid, there was a UFO right outside my window. It flooded the room with light. My little brother was there, he’ll vouch for me. Alien spaceship? No way, I don’t think they visited Jacksonville back in the 80s. But I can’t explain what happened. Yet.
49. WHAT DID YOU DO FOR YOUR LATEST BIRTHDAY? Cake with my folks, dinner at Latitude 30 with my M.Q. It was a good day.
50. WHAT HOLIDAYS DO YOU CELEBRATE? ARE YOU A RELIGIOUS PERSON OR NOT? The right ones. Not really.
51. IF YOU HAD TO BE NAMED AFTER A CITY, STATE, OR COUNTRY (ETC.), WHICH WOULD YOU WANT IT TO BE? I imagine that there are places named “Vincent” and “Dominic”, so I’ll stick with my name.
53. WHICH DO YOU USE MORE OFTEN, THE DICTIONARY OR THE THESAURUS? The dictionary, which I encourage everyone to study more carefully and more often.
54. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN STUNG BY A BEE? Yes.
55. HAVE YOU EVER TIPPED A COW? No. They’re salaried.
56. WHAT’S THE SICKEST YOU HAVE EVER BEEN? Back in aught-ten, I suffered from severe dehydration and resultant heart problems.
57. ARE YOU STILL LEARNING WHO YOU ARE? No, I figured that out pretty early on. I could even spell it.
58. ARE YOU AFRAID OF HEIGHTS? OR WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? I am not afraid of heights. They just make me really, really dizzy.
59. HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN DANCE LESSONS? WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO DANCE WITH? Excluding gym-class square-dancing, I have not taken dance lessons yet. I’ll dance with M.Q.
62. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KNOCK-KNOCK JOKE? You go first.
63. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COMMERCIAL? Too many come to mind to pick one: the Carlsberg team talk and pub team, Nike’s “Good vs Evil”, “Spa Bomb” for Hahn Premium Light, the Urlacher Fathead with the live bear, and AXE’s “Billions” set to Dies Irae.
64. IF YOU COULD SPEND THE DAY WITH ANY CELEBRITY, WHO WOULD IT BE? Sean Connery.
65. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BREAKFAST FOOD? Tough call, tough call… I’m going to go with toasted wheat bread, well-buttered and blessed with grape or strawberry jelly.
66. DO YOU LIKE GUACAMOLE? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A FOOD FIGHT? It’s ok. Freshman year of college, I was hit by the first dinner roll thrown in the Harcombe food fight at the end of the semester. I evacuated quickly. I have little patience for food fights. Seriously, it’s bad enough we waste as much food as we do, there’s no reason to waste it further.
67. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO SPEND MONEY ON? Food. It means I get to eat.
68. WHAT IS THE WEIRDEST THING ABOUT YOU? ARE YOU PROUD OF IT? I’ve been told I’m so normal it’s weird. No.
69. EVER BEEN IN LOVE WITH 2 PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME? DO YOU THINK THAT’S WRONG? No. It’s not wrong if you’re single. If you’re taken, it’s a problem.
70. EVER HAD ANY RELATIVES IN JAIL? Yes.
71. GLASS HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY? OR IS THE GLASS JUST MALFORMED? Unless the glass is in a vacuum, the glass is full, period. The second question is silly and has no bearing on the first.
72. MOUNTAINS OR THE BEACH? VIEW, OR THE TV? I could go for a mountain view right about now. We’re inundated with glowing rectangles.
73. PLANE, TRAIN, OR CAR? BOAT, SUBWAY, OR TELEPORTATION DEVICE? Car. Teleporter.
74. IF YOU COULD RETIRE TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Probably run out of money really, really fast. I suspect you meant “afford to retire.”
75. EVER SOLD/DONATED YOUR BLOOD? IF YOU HAVEN’T DO YOU WANT TO? I have not. Maybe one day.
76. CROWDS, SMALL GROUPS, OR GO AWAY, I’M A LONER? Small groups.
78. WHAT FAMOUS PERSON DO PEOPLE TELL YOU THAT YOU MOST RESEMBLE? I choose not to engage in this little piece of vanity.
79. WHAT IS THE STRANGEST THING YOU HAVE EVER EATEN? I’m a pretty conventional eater, so I’m hard-pressed to think of an answer. An unagi roll, maybe? That’s eel sushi if I’m not mistaken.
80. IF YOU COULD BRING ANY PERSON BACK TO LIFE, WHO WOULD IT BE? Keynes, so he could get around to the retractions.
81. DO YOU BELIEVE HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY? Yes.
82. WHAT DEAD PERSON WOULD YOU LEAST WANT TO BE HAUNTED BY? Again, wouldn’t you like to know?
83. WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO BE STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR WITH? The elevator repairman, but hopefully not for long.
84. WHO WOULD YOU LEAST LIKE TO BE …? Al Qaeda #2.
85. WHAT DO YOU THINK VICTORIA’S SECRET IS? Polydactyly. No one has ever noticed.
86. WHICH CARTOON CHARACTER DO YOU RESEMBLE THE MOST? I’m not sure who I look like the most, but I feel like Linus.
87. WOULD YOU RATHER GO A WEEK WITHOUT BATHING, BUT BE ABLE TO CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES? OR A WEEK WITHOUT CHANGING YOUR CLOTHES BUT BE ABLE TO BATHE. I’d rather bathe without changing clothes. I’d just devote most of the week to bathing.
88. WHICH OF THE FOUR SEASONS DO YOU MOST LOVE? OR HATE? Tough call between fall and winter. I’ll go with fall because it captures two-thirds of the Halloween-to-Epiphany Corridor of Festivities.
89. IF YOU COULD CHOOSE YOUR METHOD OF DYING OR WHERE, WHAT WOULD THEY BE? I want to die in my sleep at an advanced age on Mars.
90. IF YOU HAD TO BE TRAPPED IN A TV SHOW FOR A MONTH, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE? The Simpsons. No one ages, few die.
91. LIST SOMEONE YOU KNOW, AND DESCRIBE THEM IN 5 WORDS. Dr. Hmnahmna is tall, bald, smart, bald, and… bald.
92. YOU CAN SELECT ONE PERSON FROM HISTORY AND HAVE THEM TRUTHFULLY ANSWER ONE QUESTION, WHO WOULD YOU SELECT AND WHAT IS THE QUESTION? The person: James Madison. The question: “Could you be more specific?”
93. IF YOU JOIN THE CIRCUS, WHAT WOULD YOU PERFORM? I’d be Management.
94. IS THERE ANYTHING PURPLE WITHIN 10 FEET OF YOU? WHAT IS IT? A stress ball.
95. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU BOUGHT SOMETHING? WHAT WAS IT? I bought an ice cream cone this afternoon.
96. ARE YOU WEARING SOCKS RIGHT NOW? No.
97. HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE MOVIES IN THE LAST 5 DAYS? No.
98. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU RAN/WENT FOR A JOG? When moving out of my tower, I was parked in a suboptimal location. When I realized a better location opened up, I sprinted to the SUV, sped around the corner, and parked in the better location.
99. YOUR DREAM VACATION? WORST VACATION? BEST VACATION? Mars. Trip through southern Florida when I was a little kid. Trip to New Jersey/Connecticut in 1998.
100. WORST INJURY YOU HAVE HAD? This one.

Questionnaire 18.

The following questionnaire came from a website called PluginID. Click here for the link. The original questions are in all caps, my answers are not. Here goes:

1. IF YOU DISLIKE YOUR FAMILY, ARE YOU OBLIGATED TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM? Erm….
SHOW UP AT FAMILY FUNCTIONS? Well…
HELP THEM OUT IN THEIR TIME OF NEED? You know, I would, but there’s this thing on TV that night, so…
IS A FAMILY EVEN RELEVANT ANYMORE – ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE A CLOSE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS?
Because it’s late, I can only answer this question like so:
When I first read Brave New World, I could not bring myself to finish it. The abolition of family and monogamy horrified me. I’m sure there are convincing, compelling articles and books and speeches out there about just why the family is increasingly irrelevant, or why genetic attachments are instinctual rather than rational, but that horror remains.

2. IS IT BETTER TO EAT HEALTHILY ALL THE TIME, OR SHOULD WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO INDULGE ONCE IN A WHILE? SIMILARLY, DOES THIS ARGUMENT APPLY TO DRUG USE – EVEN ILLEGAL DRUG USE? You should allow yourself to indulge once in a while, if only for the same reason you get vaccinated: to get your body a little bit used to unhealthy food, in case the apocalypse comes and the power goes out and society breaks down and you have to survive on the Ramen noodles or Girl Scout cookies or Coca-Cola you found in the truck you hijacked en route to the Safe Zone. It was you or them, man.

3. WHY DO WE CALL SOME RELIGIONS “MYTHOLOGIES” (ANCIENT GREEK, NORSE, EGYPTIAN, ETC.) AND OTHERS RELIGIONS? IS THIS FAIR? WHAT DOES THIS SHOW ABOUT HOW RELEVANT CERTAIN IDEAS ARE AS SOCIETY PROGRESSES? Mythologies are religions people stopped believing in. Fair’s got nothing to do with it, or much else. It shows that whether they’re right or wrong to believe X, the fact that people believe X affects the world around them. This’ll come up again in the next question.

4. PEOPLE OFTEN TALK ABOUT THE GROWING GAP BETWEEN THE RICH AND POOR. HOWEVER, TODAY’S POOR (IN THE UNITED STATES, AT LEAST) ARE MUCH BETTER OFF THAN MOST PEOPLE (NOT JUST THE POOR) WERE A CENTURY AGO. DOES IT MATTER THAT THERE’S AN INCREASING GAP BETWEEN THE RICH AND THE POOR IF THE STANDARD OF LIVING FOR THE POOR KEEPS GOING UP? I started writing a few paragraphs in response to this, and thought I’d better make a separate blog post. In short: “Yes, but not for a good enough reason.”

5. HOW WOULD YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE IF YOU HAD A WEEK TO LIVE? HOW WOULD YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE IF YOU HAD 5 YEARS LEFT TO LIVE? HOW WOULD YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE IF YOU WERE GOING TO LIVE FOREVER? A week: ruthlessly. Five years: contentedly. Forever: patiently.

6. IS IT TRULY WORTH IT TO DIE FOR A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND? YES, YOU’D BE A HERO, BUT THAT PERSON WOULD FEEL GUILTY FOR YOUR DEATH FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. IS THAT “BRAVE” ACT ACTUALLY COWARDLY BECAUSE YOU’RE TRANSFERRING THE GUILT THAT YOU’D HAVE FELT IF YOU DID NOTHING AND WATCHED THEM DIE TO YOUR FRIEND, WHO HAS TO DEAL WITH THE GUILT OF CAUSING YOUR DEATH? I’d rather them feel guilty than be dead, so nyah.

7. IS A DAY SPENT WATCHING MOVIES WHEN YOU COULD’VE BEEN WORKING A DAY WASTED OR WELL SPENT? That depends on the quality of the movies and the quality of the work.

8. WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO A RELATIONSHIP: COMMON VALUES OR OTHER COMMONALITIES (LIKE TASTES IN MUSIC, INTERESTS, ETC.)? Common values. We don’t have to like the same music; that’s why God created headphones. But if your values are too different, you occupy different worlds instead of the same space and you travel on tangents instead of the same path.

9. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON LOVE? ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES? CAN WE SEPARATE LOVE FROM INFATUATION? ARE THERE ANY QUALIFIERS TO MAKE LOVE “TRUE” (RATHER THAN “FAKE”)? Qualifiers? Ask a philosopher. My logic is uncertain where love is concerned.

10. CAN WE EVER BE SURE THAT OUR PERCEPTION OF THINGS IS RIGHT – WITHOUT CONSULTING OTHER PEOPLE?IF WE DO CONSULT OTHERS, HOW ARE WE TO KNOW WHETHER THEIRS IS TRUE OR IF WE’RE BOTH DELUDED? We can be sure, we might just be wrong. Do the best you can.

11. WOULD YOUR LIFE BE BETTER OR WORSE IF YOU KNEW THE DAY, TIME, AND PLACE THAT YOU WERE GOING TO DIE? Worse.

12. WHAT IS HONOR? DOES HONOR MATTER ANYMORE? Honor is integrity, which will matter as long as there’s even one person left with any. God help us if it ever ceases to matter.

13. IS IT REASONABLE TO HAVE A SENSE OF DELUSIONAL CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ABILITIES, OR WOULD YOU RATHER BUILD CONFIDENCE BY PERFORMING WELL IN THE PAST? IF YOU CHOOSE THE LATTER, DOESN’T THAT MEAN THAT A SINGLE BAD PERFORMANCE CAN SHATTER YOUR CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF? Isn’t “delusional confidence” unreasonable by definition? And of course a bad performance can shatter your confidence. Whether it does is up to you.

14. WHAT SHOULD BE THE ROLE OF SEX IN SOCIETY? IS IT A BIG DEAL? A SMALL DEAL? SOMEWHERE IN-BETWEEN? I can’t afford to lose any more sponsors, so I decline to answer this question.

15. WOULD YOU BE A MARTYR AND GIVE UP YOUR REPUTATION AMONGST YOUR PEERS TO DO WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT? OR IS IT BETTER TO BE PRAGMATIC AND SIT AND DO NOTHING? It depends on the issue. Pragmatism means knowing when to martyr yourself.

16. WOULD YOU RATHER BE INSANE IN A FUNCTIONAL SOCIETY, OR ONE OF THE PEOPLE RUNNING A PROFOUNDLY DYSFUNCTIONAL SOCIETY? I’d rather run a profoundly dysfunctional society. It pays 400 grand a year, plus perks.

17. COULD YOU BE PERSUADED TO KILL? IF YOUR ANSWER IS NO, THEN HOW MUCH MONEY WOULD IT TAKE TO GET YOU TO CHANGE YOUR MIND? Yes. I believe everybody is capable of anything. Truly believing you could never do something horrible is a good first step towards demagnetizing your moral compass. It’s better to realize that you’re capable of horrible things, and to take care to avoid the near occasion of sin.

18. IF SAVING THE HUMAN RACE REQUIRED THE SACRIFICE OF YOURSELF AND EVERYONE YOU LOVE, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO SAVE – YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES OR HUMANITY AT LARGE? I’d save myself and my loved ones, but only after announcing that humans only have so many hours or days left to become my loved ones.

19. WHAT IF YOUR GOD DOESN’T EXIST? Hopefully I wouldn’t behave any differently.

20. ARE THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES ABOUT OUR PAST TRUE, OR DO WE BEND THE TRUTH SO WE CAN CREATE OUR STORIES? IF THE LATTER IS TRUE, THEN WHAT WORTH IS THERE IN THE STORIES IF THEY AREN’T TRUE? The answer to the first question is both, depending on the beholder. Whoever lies to himself about his past sees value in doing so– ask him. I think and hope I’m honest with myself about my past, or at least that I bend the truth as little as possible.

21. WHAT IS TRUE STRENGTH? The quality or condition of being truly strong.

22. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU NEVER WASTED ANOTHER MINUTE OF YOUR LIFE? WHAT WOULD THAT LOOK LIKE? I’d either be perfect or dead.

23. SOME SAY THAT STRIVING FOR PERFECTION IS UNHEALTHY. WHAT IF STRIVING FOR PERFECTION MADE YOU IMPROVE FASTER THAN YOU WOULD HAVE IF YOU HAD LOWER EXPECTATIONS FOR YOURSELF? WHICH WAY WOULD BE BETTER? Striving for perfection would be better. I think you’re begging the question. Hopefully the rhetoricians and logicians in my readership can chime in.

24. WOULD YOU RATHER LIVE FOR 10 YEARS IN EXCELLENT HEALTH, OR 30 IN “AVERAGE” HEALTH, ASSUMING THAT PERIOD STARTED ON YOUR 18TH BIRTHDAY? Would I still be alive at the end of those years? If so, what sort of condition would I lapse into at the end? There’s a lot missing from this question. That said, I’d probably have to take the 10 years in excellent health. It’d be a good start on the rest of my life.

25. IS OPEN-MINDEDNESS REALLY A VIRTUE IF TRULY DESTRUCTIVE IDEAS ARE SPREADING IN SOCIETY? Open-mindedness does not preclude rejecting stupid and/or evil ideas. Would that more people understood that.

26. WHAT WOULD CRUSH YOU MORE: SEEING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE DIE BY GETTING HIT BY A CAR, OR GETTING THE CALL FROM YOUR DOCTOR THAT TOLD YOU THAT YOU HAD CANCER AND HAD 6 WEEKS TO LIVE? The former. As Steve Dallas would’ve said, a man can pack a lot of living into six weeks.

27. HOW DO YOU THINK OF YOURSELF – HERO OR VILLAIN? IS THE WORST IDENTITY TO HAVE NOT THE VILLAIN, BUT THE PERSON WHO IS POWERLESS? I try to be more heroic than villainous. No one whose mind works is powerless.

28. HOW MUCH CONTROL DO YOU REALLY HAVE OVER YOURSELF? Enough that I have no excuses.

29. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHITE LIES? WHY DO WE TELL OTHERS THEM? WHAT IF WE WENT WITHOUT THEM? I have never, ever told a white lie, so I can’t really say.

30. WHO ARE YOU? NAMES, NATIONALITIES, AND VIRTUALLY ANY OTHER SOCIALLY-DEFINED ATTRIBUTES DO NOT COUNT. DEEP DOWN, WHO ARE YOU? I am the man who wrote this.

Questionnaire 17.

I’ve excised most of those questions I answered in earlier questionnaires. Here’s the source.

1. HOW OLD ARE YOU? 37.
2. ARE YOU SURE? Reasonably, but to be honest I have to take other people’s word for it. I was certainly there when I was born, but I wasn’t looking around for a clock or calendar.
3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK? Rum and coke.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VEGETABLE? Zucchini. Sliced, buttered, salted, peppered, roasted.
6. DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL? Vaguely. I remember sitting in the cafetorium with a bunch of other students and having no clear idea what was going on.
7. WHAT IS THE WORST EXAM RESULT YOU REMEMBER EVER GETTING? Probably a D. I honestly don’t remember ever failing a test. I got an F on a presentation in seventh grade, and I remember thinking the teacher looked happy about it.
8. CAN YOU SWIM? Well enough to save myself for at least five, ten seconds.
9. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE ACTRESS? Sigourney Weaver.
10. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE ACTOR? Sean Connery.
11. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE COMEDIAN? Mitch Hedburg. Unfortunately, the kid died from a speedball ten years ago.
12. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE POLITICIAN? Tough call. The more I study history the less I like most of them. And my answer varies depending on the time of year, i.e., it is often biased towards whatever time period I’m teaching about at the moment. But I’ll go with Coolidge.
13. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE HISTORICAL FIGURE (BEEN DEAD FOR AT LEAST 100 YEARS)? Lincoln.
14. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SUPER-HEROINE? Linda Carter.
15. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SUPER-HERO? Batman.
16. CAN YOU NAME A FEMALE SCIENTIST OTHER THAN MADAME CURIE? Dian Fossey. Rachel Carson. Anna Schwartz.
17. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE GOD OR GODDESS? I’ll interpret this to mean “from myth”. Tough call. I’ll go with Baldr, but that’s probably because I’ve got American Gods on the mind.
18. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE WOMAN OF ALL TIME? From history? Right now, Harriet Tubman.
19. DO YOU AGREE WITH “AN EYE FOR AN EYE, A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH”? Whenever appropriate, though I don’t object to forgiveness. Wisdom is knowing when to apply which.
20. DO YOU AGREE WITH “LIFE DOES NOT FORGIVE WEAKNESS”? No, because sometimes it does.
21. DO YOU AGREE WITH “IT IS THE ENEMY WHO CAN TRULY TEACH US TO PRACTICE THE VIRTUES OF COMPASSION AND TOLERANCE”? Yes. It’s easy to tolerate those we already tolerate, and to have compassion for those we already love or like.
22. DO YOU AGREE WITH “THE STATE CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO”? No. In short, the state exists for my convenience, so that I can do what I want to do.
23. DO YOU AGREE WITH “IF I HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN BETRAYING MY COUNTRY AND BETRAYING MY FRIEND, I HOPE I SHOULD HAVE THE GUTS TO BETRAY MY COUNTRY”? That really depends on what my friend was up to.
24. DO YOU AGREE WITH “IF THE PATH BE BEAUTIFUL, LET US NOT ASK WHERE IT LEADS”? They say good intentions are beautiful.
25. DO YOU AGREE WITH “CRIME IS A PRODUCT OF SOCIAL EXCESS”? Not all crime is a product of social excess. Some people are jerks, some are evil.
26. DO YOU AGREE WITH “DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU”? Yes.
27. DO YOU AGREE WITH “AND MANKIND IS NAUGHT BUT A SINGLE NATION”? No. I am much prouder of being an American than I am of being a human.
28. DO YOU AGREE WITH “BULIMIA IS SOOOO ’87”? I don’t know what this means. If it’s a quote from a movie… I just googled the quote, and am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t recognize it from Heathers. Good Lord. Anyhow, if the quote is used to mean that bulimia should be avoided and overcome, then yes. But if it is used seriously (i.e., not in a darkly comic sense) to mean that there are newer, trendier eating disorders, then I think the quote makes too light of a serious problem.
29. WHAT IS THE WORST MOVIE YOU HAVE EVER SEEN? Superman IV comes to mind as being especially horrible. That’s why I loved Superman Returns so much; it retconned Superman III and IV out of existence.
30. WHAT IS THE WORST TV SHOW YOU HAVE EVER SEEN? Ferris Bueller.
31. WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK YOU HAVE EVER READ? The Road.
32. WHAT IS THE WORST SONG YOU HAVE EVER HEARD? Probably something on YouTube about life in Detroit. It was atrocious.
33. WHAT IS THE WORST SPORT YOU KNOW OF? Not a big fan of golf. All those courses could be soccer pitches, or football fields, or basketball courts. Or hockey rinks, if you’re far enough north.
34. WHO IS THE BEST AUTHOR EVER? Just going by sales alone, Moses.
35. WHO IS THE WORST SPORTS “STAR” YOU HAVE EVER SEEN? Worst in what sense? It’s pretty hard to fake great success in the sporting arena; it’s not really a matter of judgement. My most hated sports figure, based simply on what happened on the field, would have to be Charles Martin, mid-80s defensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers, for body slamming Jim McMahon.
36. IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO WITNESS A HISTORICAL EVENT IN PERSON, WHAT EVENT WOULD YOU WANT TO SEE? The Tunguska meteor strike in 1908, from a safe distance.
37. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? Italy.
38. IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD YOU MEET? The winner of the next five Super Bowls, so I could make some money prognosticating.
39. IF YOU COULD BECOME FAMOUS FOR ONE THING, WHAT WOULD THAT THING BE? Education reform.
40. IF YOU COULD BUY ANYTHING REGARDLESS OF COST, WHAT WOULD YOU BUY? A house in a quiet corner of the world.
41. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANY ONE THING ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? There are entirely too few states. I say add three. I am not a crackpot.
42. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANY ONE THING ABOUT INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, WHAT WOULD IT BE? See #41.
43. IF YOU COULD MEET ANY FAMOUS PERSON WHO IS DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE? Keynes, to see what he thought of what he hath wrought.
44. IF YOU COULD BECOME DICTATOR OF THE WORLD, WOULD YOU? Yes, but only so I could, like, do stuff that was good for humanity, and then I totally promise I’d step down.
45. IF YOU COULD EAT AN ENTIRE COW AT ONE SITTING, WOULD YOU? No.
46. HAVE YOU EVER ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADED MUSIC/TV SHOWS/MOVIES FROM THE NET? Nice try, Metallica.
47. HAVE YOU EVER USED ILLEGAL NARCOTICS (YES, EVEN POT COUNTS IF IT WAS ILLEGAL AT THE TIME)? No, but once I accidentally took five amoxicillin pills instead of four before a dentist visit. Hopefully the American people will understand that it was a youthful indiscretion.
48. HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN ANY POINTS ON YOUR DRIVING LICENSE? I don’t bleeve so.
49. HAVE YOU EVER STOLEN ANYTHING FROM A SHOP? No.
50. HAVE YOU EVER BOUGHT ALCOHOL OR CIGARETTES WHILE UNDERAGE? No.
51. HAVE YOU EVER BOUGHT ALCOHOL OR CIGARETTES FOR ANOTHER PERSON WHO WAS UNDERAGE? No.
52. HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO CHEAT THE TAXMAN/SOCIAL SECURITY/OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY? Cheat? No. Out-cheat? Yes.
53. HAVE YOU EVER RIDDEN ON A TRAIN OR BUS WITHOUT PAYING? No.
54. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ARRESTED? No.
55. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME? No.
56. WHAT’S THE FURTHEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN FROM HOME? San Diego.
57. WHERE HAVE YOU VISITED THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GO BACK TO? Chicago. New Hampshire. Arizona.
58. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT THAT YOU HAVEN’T YET? Italy. Alaska.
59. WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD? Wherever my sweet patootie is.
60. WHERE HAVE YOU VISITED THAT YOU HOPE NEVER TO GO TO AGAIN? Not a big fan of Middleburg.
61. WHERE WOULD YOU DEFINITELY NEVER GO TO? Venus, probably.
62. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO TRAVEL? Driving.
63. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE WAY TO TRAVEL? Airplane.
64. WHAT IS THE CAPITAL OF ASSYRIA? {}
65. WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW? Comme une image (Look at me).
66. WAS IT ANY GOOD? I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. I thought the relationships were almost perfectly structured: almost every character ignored someone, and almost every character was ignored by someone else.
67. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? Working on American Emperor, about Aaron Burr.
68. WAS IT ANY GOOD? So far.
69. WHAT WAS THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO? Chet Faker’s cover of “No Diggity”.
70. WAS IT ANY GOOD? Yes.
71. WHAT WAS THE LAST COMPUTER GAME YOU PLAYED? If phone apps count, then Chess with Friends. If they don’t, then probably bullet chess on Chess.com.
72. DID YOU DO WELL? In some matches, yes. In others, no.
73. WHAT WAS THE LAST MEAL YOU ATE? Turkey and cranberries on wheat, sweet potato chips with hummus, water. Ate it on the north dock of the lake in my old neighborhood, which was nice after the sun sank below the tree line. I’ll save you the trouble of the next question: it was good.
74. DO YOU AGREE WITH THE WAR IN IRAQ? Yes.
75. DO YOU BELIEVE IN ALIENS? Yes, but it isn’t silly or unreasonable to think we’re alone in the universe. I would be as surprised to find proof of their existence as I would be to find proof of their non-existence. I do not believe that aliens have visited Earth.
76. DO YOU AGREE WITH THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION? I believe evolution happened and is happening. However, I haven’t actually spoken with the Theory and thus don’t know whether we’d agree on much.
77. DO YOU BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION? No.
78. DO YOU AGREE WITH THE IDEA OF THE UNITED NATIONS? Sorta kinda.
79. DO YOU BELIEVE IN KARMA? Not as I understand it. Some people never get what’s supposedly coming back around to them.
80. DO YOU AGREE WITH THE THEORIES OF MAN-INDUCED GLOBAL WARMING? Yes, but I’d probably disagree with AGW adherents about what to do about it.
81. DO YOU BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY ABOVE ALL OTHER SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT? Democracy is a method. So far it seems to be the best method of protecting my rights, so yes.
82. DO YOU AGREE WITH FREDDIE MERCURY WHEN HE SINGS “FAT-BOTTOMED GIRLS YOU MAKE THE ROCKIN’ WORLD GO ROUND”? Yes, but so do non-fat-bottomed girls and so do boys. I believe that we all affect the Earth’s rotation in some way, however miniscule.
83. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CITY? See #59.
84. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? Soccer.
85. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD? How many different ways are you going to ask this question?
86. GIVE US A QUOTE TO END ON: Cicero: “Nescire autem quid antequam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum.” To ignore what came before you is to forever remain a child.

Questionnaire 16.

1. HOW DO YOU DEFINE HONESTY? The willingness to make thought and speech reflect fact and reality.

2. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR OR WORRY? That the AC will stop working.

3. WHAT IS THE MAIN THING THAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE? A tiny fraction of my DNA.

4. IF YOU HAD TO EVACUATE YOUR HOUSE IMMEDIATELY, WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD GRAB ON THE WAY OUT? A pre-packed bag of clothing, toiletries, my contact lenses, cell phone, laptop… I can say this with great authority. When this happened, I was fortunate to have packed a bag a few days earlier for a short trip. The trip was cancelled, but I hadn’t unpacked the bag yet.

5. WHAT FACIAL EXPRESSION OR MOVEMENT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE LYING? Whichever one is necessary to convince my audience that I’m telling not just the truth, but the most profound and inescapable truth ever told.

6. WHAT IS THE OLDEST ITEM YOU OWN? That I can think of off the top of my head: some artifacts from the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg).

7. IF SOMEONE WERE TO GIVE YOU ONE GIFT, MONEY IS NO OBJECT, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO RECEIVE? My needs are small. As it turns out, I have this affinity for beachfront property… Australia.

8. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE COURAGE? The willingness to do something despite fear.

9. DO YOU LIKE YOUR NAME? Yes.

10. DO YOU HAVE A NICKNAME? WHAT IS IT? Yes. “Mr. V.”

11. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SPECIAL MAGIC, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I’ll go with one I haven’t mentioned before: perfect memory and recall.

12. IF YOU HAD THREE WISHES, WHAT WOULD YOU WISH? See #56 from Questionnaire 2.

13. IF YOU COULD PREDICT THE FUTURE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE? Abuse it, probably.

14. IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME THE PAST, PRESENT OR THE FUTURE? The past was my favorite, the present is my favorite, the future will be my favorite.

15. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 20 YEARS? Earth. If not there, then Mars.

16. WHO IS THE ONE PERSON THAT HELPED TO MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE TODAY? In the most technical sense, probably one of my parents. Aside from either of them, and again in the most technical sense, either Dave Thomas or Dick Portillo. Maybe the guy who runs General Mills.

17. IF YOU WERE PUNISHED FOR A CRIME, WHAT TYPE OF PUNISHMENT WOULD YOU CHOOSE? …the lightest one possible?

18. DESCRIBE A TIME YOU GOT INTO TROUBLE. My senior year of high school, I yawned in class, and my physics teacher yelled “NO YAWNING!” I finished yawning, and then must’ve smirked because he yelled “NO SMIRKING!” It took me a long time to realize that he wasn’t being a jerk, or rather wasn’t just being a jerk, he was doing it to entertain himself. The guy really was a good teacher. He also looked like a viking.

19. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FIRST WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Turn off my backup alarms.

20. WHAT MAKES YOU A GOOD PERSON? As I’ve pointed out in the past, I exchange oxygen gas for carbon dioxide as well as any person alive. So, that.

21. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST REGRET? I’ll go with something conventional: that upon graduating from college, I still had no idea what I wanted to do and no decent plan.

22. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE STANDING ON A BEACH LOOKING AT THE OCEAN? Loud. On my last trip to a beach, I missed about half the conversation.

23. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT TO WEAR? Shirt. Jeans. Belt. Underwear. Socks. Shoes. I like to accessorize that little ensemble with a wristwatch and my contact lenses.

24. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING ALONE IN A CAR? Listen to the radio or my playlist.

25. IF A FRIEND IS BEING BULLIED OR HARASSED BY SOMEONE, WHAT DO YOU DO? When you say “someone”, do you mean me? Hopefully I’ll stop; that wouldn’t be very nice of me.

26. REFLECT ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR BEST FRIEND. WHAT MAKES HIM OR HER SO SPECIAL? He hasn’t tried to kill me yet, as far as I know.

27. CAN YOU KEEP SECRETS? DESCRIBE A TIME YOU DIDN’T. I can keep secrets, but I won’t describe a time I didn’t. I figure describing it would only exacerbate the betrayal of trust. That said, when someone asks if I can keep a secret (in the sense of asking me if I’ll keep his/her secret), my response is “I can, but fair warning: I will exercise my own judgement regarding whether I will keep that secret.”

28. HOW DO YOU SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR OTHERS? An elaborate ritualistic dance-like agitation in which I puff up as much as possible, pound my chest, and howl in an effort to demonstrate dominance and fertility.

29. WHAT IS THE NICEST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE FOR YOU? [REDACTED]

30. IF YOU COULD BECOME ANYONE’S FRIEND THAT YOU WANT, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE? Bill Gates.

31. ARE YOU THE TYPE OF PERSON WITH LOTS OF FRIENDS OR JUST A FEW CLOSE ONES? A few close friends, many acquaintances, many more people I’m vaguely aware of having encountered.

32. WHAT IS ONE QUALITY YOU ADMIRE MOST IN OTHERS? I’ll be lazy and go with honesty and courage.

33. DO YOU PREFER TO BE WITH THOSE WHO ARE YOUNGER OR OLDER THAN YOU ARE? I’m indifferent.

34. IF YOU COULD ASK ME ONE QUESTION, AND I HAD TO ANSWER YOU TRUTHFULLY, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW? I don’t need you to answer truthfully. I already know what I need to know about you.

35. WHAT IS THE MEANEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE TO SOMEONE? I dare not repeat it here.

36. DESCRIBE AN ACTIVITY THAT YOU THINK IS TRULY ROMANTIC. We’d spend an evening rejecting rationalism and the scientific method, reading counter-Enlightenment poetry, and maybe writing short bits of Gothic horror.

37. IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A LOVE NOTE TO YOUR SWEETHEART, WHAT WOULD IT SAY? “DEAR X, DO YOU LIKE ME? [ ] YES [ ] MAYBE”

38. WHEN YOU ARE IN TROUBLE, WHOM DO YOU CALL FOR HELP? Trouble’s arch-nemesis: Robert Baukman.

39. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE THE MOST? They know who they are.

40. IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE PLACE IN YOUR TOWN TO BRING A TOURIST, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? My house.

41. WHAT IS THE ONE CAUSE THAT YOU FEEL MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT? Economic education.

42. IF YOU LIVED IN THE PIONEER DAYS, WOULD YOU HAVE TRAVELED WEST OR STAYED PUT IN THE EAST? Tough call. Probably stayed in the East… life was tough enough without having to take on the elements, and bears, and pissed-off Native Americans, and the Scots-Irish.

43. WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION? WHAT DO YOU DO TO HELP THEM? I suppose it’s Clemson University’s scholarship fund, because I send them the most cash.

44. IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO SPACE, WOULD YOU GO? Yep.

45. WOULD YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD ON A BOAT IN THE SEA? Nope, unless I knew the boat would not stop moving forward. Motion sickness, y’see.

46. WHEN YOU TRAVEL AWAY FROM HOME, DO YOU MISS IT? A little.

47. WHAT IS THE GREATEST CRISIS WE FACE AS A WORLD? “Stupid economic policy” covers a lot of ground, so I’ll go with that.

48. DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE VACATION. Probably my 2009 summer vacation, as described in a series of blog posts at the time. I also enjoyed my spring break trip up to Maryland/DC/PA in 2004, which was based at Mole’s Mountain.

49. IF YOU COULD WRITE YOUR OWN BILL OF RIGHTS, WHAT WOULD YOU INCLUDE? Long story short: in addition to what’s already in our national Bill of Rights, at the very least I’d add the right to make contracts, the right to own/buy/sell/bequeath/divest property.

50. WHAT IS GOING ON TODAY IN THE WORLD THAT AFFECTS YOU THE MOST? Sunbeams cascading upon the good Earth.

51. WHAT BAD HABIT WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO GIVE UP IF IT GUARANTEED YOU WOULD LIVE TO BE 100? Do you mean “at least 100” or “exactly 100”? Either way, probably chewing ice.

52. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO EAT? …food?

53. WHAT IS ONE FOOD THAT YOU WILL NOT EAT? I should probably stop eating crustaceans. Those things are disgusting, the more I think about it.

54. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO EXERCISE? Aside from playing soccer, I’d go with riding a recumbent bike.

55. IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE TO BE BLIND OR DEAF, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK? Deaf.

56. IF YOU COULD HAVE SOMEONE ELSE’S FACE, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE? My evil twin’s face.

57. DESCRIBE A VIVID DREAM YOU HAVE HAD. I do a lot of that already. Click on the “dream” tag.

58. WHAT PHYSICAL FEATURE DO YOU LEAST LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? Whatever physical feature makes breathing difficult.

59. WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW THE EXACT DAY OF YOUR DEATH? I suppose so. It’d give me some real advantages in terms of asymmetrical information.

60. IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE HERO, WHO WOULD IT BE? To do what? Better safe than sorry: Superman.

61. IF YOU COULD PICK ONE THING TO CHANGE ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL OR JOB, WHAT WOULD IT BE? It’d pay thirty times more than it currently does.

62. WHAT ARE MOST PROUD OF? My humility.

63. ARE YOU THE KIND OF PERSON WHO WANTS TO BE THE BIG FISH IN A LITTLE POND OR THE LITTLE FISH IN THE BIG POND? I don’t want either.

64. DESCRIBE A TIME WHEN YOU WANTED TO QUIT, BUT DIDN’T. In summer of 1998, I started at an utterly soul-crushing job. I’d walk in the building, take a deep breath, and it’d smell like despair and hopelessness. But I didn’t quit, until October. Then I quit.

65. IS COMPETITION GOOD FOR YOU? Yes.

66. IF YOU COULD STUDY ANYTHING YOU WANTED IN SCHOOL, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT? More economics.

67. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED IN SCHOOL THAT YOU THINK IS USELESS TO YOU TODAY? My 11th grade “logic” course was an utter and complete waste of time. It had nothing to do with logic, formal or otherwise, and was essentially just goof-off time for the teacher. I always suspected the admins gave him that course in hopes that he’d do less damage there than elsewhere.

68. WHEN SOMEONE FAILS AT SOMETHING, WHAT SHOULD HE OR SHE DO? Assuming that the “something” is something constructive, fun, or otherwise positive, he or she should try, try again. If the “something” is something negative, he or she should stop immediately.

69. IF YOU COULD PICK ANY CAREER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE? Professional money-spender.

70. DO YOU WANT TO BE FAMOUS? No.

71. IF YOU COULD BECOME A CHARACTER IN A TV SHOW OR MOVIE, WHO WOULD YOU CHOSE TO BE? FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.

72. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OUTSIDE ACTIVITY? First, breathing. Second, soccer.

73. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY AND HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE IT? My birthday, and however I damn well please.

74. HAVE YOU BEEN ON A ROLLER COASTER? WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE? I have. It was unpleasant. I get dizzy walking sometimes, so you can imagine how the roller coaster went.

75. IF YOU HAD TO SPEND A DAY NOT USING ANY TECHNOLOGY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Walk around and look at stuff. But not, like, any technological stuff.

76. DESCRIBE THE PERFECT PARTY. Read this.

77. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF ART? Good art.

78. WHAT SPORT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE BEST AT? If by “the best” you mean “personally most proficient”, then soccer. If you literally mean “the best” as in “best in the world”, then… soccer.

79. IF YOU COULD BE A CARTOON CHARACTER, WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE? Space Ghost.

80. DO YOU KNOW ANY JOKES? IF SO, TELL ME ONE. I know jokes. This one came from my niece:

X: Knock, knock.
Y: Who’s there?
X: Banana.
Y: Banana who?
X: Grape.

81. WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH THE HARDEST? Tough call. Perhaps some old “Whose Line” re-runs, from the Drew Carey and Clive Anderson days.

82. WHAT MAKES YOUR FAMILY UNIQUE FROM OTHERS? I’m going to have to go with the DNA thing again.

83. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAMILY’S TRADITIONS? Pizza and shrimp on Christmas day.

84. DO YOU KNOW HOW YOU GOT YOUR NAME? I bested the previous Vincent Dominic Viscariello in trial by combat and won his title and lands. I spared his family.

Questionnaire 15.

The following questions come from various sources, and I’m too lazy to link them all here. Here goes:

1. PUT YOUR MUSIC PLAYER OF CHOICE ON SHUFFLE AND LIST THE FIRST 10 SONGS. “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (Platters), “Fascination Street” (Cure), “Catcha the Monkey” (dunno the artist), “Don’t Stop Honey” (R.L. Burnside), “One Thing Leads to Another” (Fixx), “In the Cold, Cold Night” (White Stripes), “Only You” (Portishead), “Sweet Jane” (Cowboy Junkies), “Gimme Shelter” (Rolling Stones), “Miss You” (Rolling Stone and Dr. Dre).

2. IF YOU COULD SPEND A WEEK ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WOULD YOU TAKE ANYONE WITH YOU? I’d go to Italy to see where most of ancestors came from, to eat in the finest restaurants, to watch some of the most talented footballers play some of the most boring soccer on Earth, to climb the mountains and to walk the beaches. I’d bring a beautiful woman with a lot more money than I have. Fluency in Italian would be unnecessary because they all speak English over there.

3. WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED WRITING IMPLEMENT? (EG. BLUE PEN, PENCIL, GREEN PEN) Keyboard aside, I’d say a fine-tipped black ballpoint pen.

4. FAVOURITE MONTH AND WHY? November, because it’s the high point of my birthday corridor (October 31st-January 6th).

5. WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST DESPISE? Elvis.

6. NAME 3 ITEMS YOU COULD PICK UP FROM WHERE YOU ARE. A History of Economic Thought by William J. Barber. A small red notebook. A fine-tipped black ballpoint pen.

7. WHAT BRAND LOGO IS CLOSEST TO YOU CURRENTLY? Hanes.

8. DO YOU EVER PLAY BOARD GAMES OR OTHER NON-COMPUTER GAMES? GOT ANY FAVOURITES? Chess.

9. A MUSICAL ARTIST YOU LOVE THAT ISN’T WELL KNOWN. R.L. Burnside, rest in peace.

10. A MUSICAL ARTIST YOU LOVE THAT IS WELL KNOWN. Led Zeppelin.

11. WHAT IS YOUR DESKTOP BACKGROUND CURRENTLY? Hold on, let me check… a stock photo of a rocky, hilltopped island across a choppy bay.

12. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO, AND THROUGH WHAT YOU TALKED TO THEM. Some stranger in the elevator. I talked to him through the air.

13. FIRST COLOUR NAME YOU CAN THINK OF THAT ISN’T IN THE RAINBOW. Brown.

14. WHAT TIMEKEEPING DEVICES ARE IN THE ROOM YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN? Computers, cellphones, watches, microwave, stove.

15. WHAT KIND OF HEADPHONES DO YOU USE? White ones.

16. WHAT MUSICAL ARTISTS HAVE YOU SEEN PERFORM LIVE? I’m not a big fan of live performances. The last professionals I saw live were the Von Bondies. That was a while back.

17. WHAT GAMING CONSOLES DO YOU OR YOUR FAMILY OWN? I have a PS3 that serves as little more than a Netflix device.

18. WHAT’S THE BEST JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD? My current job: vice cop posing as high school teacher.

19. WHAT’S THE WORST JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD? For a little less than two weeks, I worked at a call center doing telephone surveys. It was soul-crushing.

20. WHAT MAGAZINES DO YOU READ, IF ANY? None. It’s all online.

21. INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR URL? It’s… it’s my name.

22. INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR BLOG TITLE? It started off as “VDV’s Journal”. Then, while trying to update the software, I deleted it. Then it was called “VDV’s Journal, Part II”. It happened twice more, and here we are.

23. FAVOURITE ITEM OF CLOTHING? Back in 1998, I bought a pair of brown Skechers Alley Cats. When they wore out, I bought another pair of brown Skechers Alley Cats. I’m on my fifth pair, I think.

24. ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH ANY EXES? No.

25. WHAT’S YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE? IF THAT LANGUAGE HAS DISTINCT REGIONAL VARIATIONS, WHICH VARIATION? (EG. AU ENGLISH, US ENGLISH) I speak American English.

26. IS THERE ANYTHING HANGING ON THE WALLS OF THE ROOM YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN? Pictures, drawn and painted.

27. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE NUMBER, AND WHY? Eleven. Here’s why.

28. WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR DINNER YESTERDAY? Chicken pad thai.

29. HOW OFTEN DO YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH? At least twice a day.

30. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CANDY/CHOCOLATE? Tough call. I’m going to go with refrigerated Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the miniature version. Actually, there’s an even smaller version now, so I mean the smallest version that comes in a foil rapper.

31. IF YOU WERE SUDDENLY REALLY HUNGRY, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO EAT? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

32. IF YOU COULD STUDY ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Another tough call. Perhaps a foreign language other than Italian. Maybe some more advanced math.

33. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SENSE OF HUMOUR? Sharp.

34. WHAT THINGS ANNOY YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE? People annoy me more than other types of things do.

35. WHAT KIND OF POSITION ARE YOU IN AT THE MOMENT? I am reclining in my recliner.

36. DO YOU WEAR MUCH JEWELLERY? Nope. Just a watch.

37. WHAT DO YOU CARRY YOUR MONEY IN? My wallet.

38. DO YOU ENJOY DRIVING? WHY OR WHY NOT? I enjoy it sometimes and can’t get out of the car fast enough other times.

39. LONGEST DRIVE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN ON? Jacksonville to Las Cruces, New Mexico and back. One of my northern sojourns might’ve been longer, but those are usually broken up by day-or-two-long visits with friends and family.

40. FURTHEST AWAY FROM HOME YOU HAVE EVER BEEN? San Diego.

41. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU MOVED HOUSE? I have never moved house. If you mean moved my living quarters from one place to another, that would be a whole bunch of times once you factor in dorm- and apartment-living in Clemson.

42. WHAT IS ON THE FLOOR OF THE ROOM YOU’RE CURRENTLY IN, NOT INCLUDING FURNITURE? Rugs. Doormats. Some cords for the electronics. The ceramic wine chiller that Mole gave me.

43. HOW MANY DEVICES DO YOU OWN WHICH CAN ACCESS THE INTERNET? Five that I can think of.

44. IS THERE IS ANYTHING THAT IS GUARANTEED TO ALWAYS MAKE YOU HAPPY? No.

45. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU SAD? No.

46. WHAT PROGRAMS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE OPEN? Chrome, Google Docs.

47. WHAT DO YOU ASSOCIATE THE COLOUR RED WITH? Blood. Heat. Sauce.

48. LAST STRONG SMELL YOU CAN REMEMBER SMELLING? Bleach.

49. LAST HEALTHY THING YOU ATE? I had some chicken earlier today. Pretty certain it was healthy.

50. DO YOU DRINK TEA OR COFFEE, AND HOW MUCH PER DAY? I drink at least one cup of hot tea a day (with whole milk if possible, with a bit of sugar or none), and a few glasses of unsweetened iced tea a day. I don’t drink coffee.

51. WHAT DO YOU ASSOCIATE THE COLOUR BLUE WITH? Calm. Reason. Fruit.

52. HOW LONG IS THE CLOSEST RULER YOU CAN FIND? lt’s a normal ruler, so twelve inches.

53. WHAT COLOUR PANTS/SKIRT/ETC ARE YOU CURRENTLY WEARING? Navy blue.

54. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU DRANK WATER? Maybe thirty minutes ago.

55. HOW OFTEN DO YOU CLEAR YOUR BROWSER HISTORY? Rarely.

56. DO YOU BELIEVE NUDE PHOTOS CAN BE ARTISTIC, RATHER THAN EROTIC? Yes.

57. EVER WRITTEN FANFICTION FOR ANYTHING? Yes. Many moons ago I wrote fan fiction about myself. I went back in time to stop a man named Winter, who had killed Hitler so he could take over Europe for himself.

58. IF YOU HAD TO MOVE YOUR BIRTHDAY TO ANOTHER DATE, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY? January 1st. It’d be easier to keep track of everything, and Christmas would kick off the last week leading up to my birthday.

59. WOULD YOU PREFER TO BE AT A BEACH OR IN THE COUNTRYSIDE? At this moment, the countryside– in a house atop rolling hills, on a cloudless and moonless night, stars dotting the sky– would be a welcome change from waking up to hearing some poor homeless woman screaming “One more time, @#$%^&, one more time! I’LL KILL YOU!”

60. ROUGHLY HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE IN YOUR TOWN? One million.

61. DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WITH THE SAME BIRTHDAY AS YOU? Yes.

62. FAVOURITE PLACE TO SHOP? CAN BE A CERTAIN STORE OR A PLACE WHERE THERE ARE MULTIPLE STORES? Locally, I’d say a place called “Publix”. They have food there.

63. DO YOU HAVE A SMARTPHONE? WHAT KIND? IF YOU DON’T, DO YOU WANT ONE? I have an iPhone 5.

64. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE COLOUR, AND WHY? I don’t have a least favorite color.

65. HOW DO YOU SPELL GREY/GRAY? Depends on my mood. “Grey” suggests a bit more gravitas, but I think “gray” connotes advanced age better.

66. WHEN YOU WASH YOUR HANDS, DO YOU USE THE COLD OR HOT TAP (FAUCET)? Hot.

67. IF YOU HAD TO BE STRAIGHT/GAY FOR A DAY (WHICHEVER YOU’RE CURRENTLY NOT!), WHAT CELEBRITY WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO TAKE ON A DATE? Sean Connery, because (A) it’s Sean frickin’ Connery, and (B) at his age, nothing untoward would happen.

68. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST INJURY YOU’VE EVER SUSTAINED AND HOW DID YOU DO IT? Tough call. I’ll go with nearly getting crushed between two machines at work as described here.

69. WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL FOOD YOU’VE EVER EATEN? Probably some awful Mexican candy that ended up in the garbage as soon as “Ingrid” wasn’t looking.

70. WHAT IS THE MOST UNIQUE ANIMAL YOU’VE EVER TOUCHED? Either an elephant or a shark. The elephant was alive, the shark was not.

71. WHICH 3 COUNTRIES WOULD YOU LEAST LIKE TO LIVE IN AND WHY? Off the top of my head: North Korea. Singapore. Iran. They’re the first three that came to mind when I thought of repression, though North Korea’s really in a class by itself.

72. IF YOU COULD MAKE JUST ONE CHANGE TO THIS WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? People would abide the Golden Rule/Silver Rule/Zero Aggression Principle.

73. IF YOU COULD WAKE UP TOMORROW AND BE FLUENT IN 3 ADDITIONAL LANGUAGES, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE? Spanish, Arabic, Russian.

74. WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER OUT OF THESE 3 OPTIONS? A: BE GOOD LOOKING AND EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT BUT SO POOR YOU LIVE ON THE STREETS. B: BE EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT AND A MILLIONAIRE BUT WHAT SOCIETY CLASSES AS UGLY. OR C: BE GOOD LOOKING AND A MILLIONAIRE BUT EXTREMELY ACADEMICALLY CHALLENGED? WHY? I would want go with Option A because it doesn’t sound like I’d be poor and homeless for long.

75. WHAT ARE THE TOP 10 MOVIES TO MAKE YOU CRY? (OR AT LEAST MAKE YOU SAD!)? I need to name ten? I think I remember being very depressed by The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd when I was a little boy, especially when the prison guard broke some meaningful trinket of Mudd’s. I won’t list any others, lest my enemies use them against me.

76. WOULD YOU RATHER RAISE 25 CHILDREN OR HAVE THE CHANCE OF EVER HAVING CHILDREN TAKEN AWAY? WHY? I’d rather raise 25 children because I know how to delegate authority.

77. WOULD YOU RATHER GO ON A RELAXING BEACH TYPE HOLIDAY TO THE CARIBBEAN, A CULTURAL HOLIDAY TO JAPAN OR AN ADVENTURE PACKED HOLIDAY TO SOUTH AFRICA? Cultural holiday to Japan.

78. IF YOU WENT TO A DESERT ISLAND FOR JUST 6 MONTHS BUT COULD ONLY TAKE ONE ALBUM WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE? Dark Side of the Moon. A facile but solid choice.

79. PUT THESE IN ORDER OF YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE GENRE TO LEAST: HORROR, ACTION, THRILLER, ADVENTURE, SUPERHERO, ROMANCE, DRAMA, COMEDY, MUSICAL AND DANCE? No.

80. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE WE AS HUMAN BEINGS TAKE MOST FOR GRANTED IN THIS WORLD? Oxygen.

81. WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF PERFECT HAPPINESS? Classified.

82. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MARKED CHARACTERISTIC? Steven Wright thinks I’m low-key.

83. WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN YOURSELF? I don’t actually deplore anything about myself. I could probably be a little more patient with people.

84. ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE? Whenever I need to defeat an army of androids by gumming up their logic routines.

85. WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE? One of my fingers doesn’t bend properly. I think it looks strange.

86. WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVERUSE? “Essentially” and “generally”. It might be neat to make a world cloud for my entire blog and figure it out.

87. WHO IS THE GREATEST LOVE OF YOUR LIFE? If I answer this honestly, half the world’s women would cry out in despair and dash themselves on the rocks beneath the nearest cliffs, but not before leaving some really bad poetry behind. The other half would erupt in rapturous, riotous celebration that would spill into the world’s streets, overwhelm local law enforcement and kill hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of innocent bystanders. They’d all have their reasons.

88. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT? I won 25 consecutive games of paper football in seventh grade. It’s been downhill from there.

89. IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR THING, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE? It would be awesome. Reincarnation, proven? Awesome, I say.

90. HOW MANY POSTS DO YOU HAVE? If the counter on my blog’s dash is correct, then this is #596.

Questionnaire 14.

The following questions come from here. I don’t know where that author got the questions from. I’ve answered some of these questions before, so I just included links to the older answers.

1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HOBBY? Blogging. It’s the only one I’ve stuck with, even though from time to time writer’s block kicks in.

2. HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU LEFT SCHOOL? High school: 16. College: 20.

3. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PET? When I was born, we had a Siberian Husky named Devil and five seal-point Siamese cats named Waglio (Guaglio), Phoebe, Roscoe, Belinda, and Baby.

4. IF YOU WERE A FRUIT, WHAT KIND WOULD YOU BE? I’m going to go with a grape. Between the wine, the grape juice, the jelly on PB&Js/turkey sandwiches/toast/English muffins, and the actual grapes, that’s probably my most-consumed fruit, so that’s the fruit, based on pre-school logic and mythos, I’m most likely to turn into.

5. IF YOU WERE A DRINK, WHAT KIND WOULD YOU BE? I am water, albeit in some strange packaging for the next 70 to 100 years.

6. HAVE YOU EVER WON A PRIZE? Of course.

7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD? See “Questionnaire.”

8. IF YOU RULED THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FIRST WORDS? “My fellow Americans…” Yes, I know the question specified “WORLD”.

9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FILM? See “Questionnaire 3.” Actually, see most of my blog.

10. IF EVERYONE WAS BORN WITHOUT THE UNHAPPY GENE, WOULD YOU BE HAPPY ABOUT THIS? Yes. The answer in the previous iteration of this question (at the above link) was “If everyone was born with one…I wouldn’t have a choice would I?” but that depends on how you interpret the question. I assume the question is talking about clinical depression, not occasional sadness.

11. IF YOU WERE THE OPPOSITE SEX WHICH CELEBRITY WOULD YOU BE? Oprah, minus the giveaways.

12. IF YOU COULD TIME TRAVEL, WHAT TIME WOULD YOU GO TO? Philadelphia, summer of 1787, just to throw my two cents in. The trick is, what would I bring with me to prove to them that I was from the future and therefore knew better?


13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FLOWER OR PLANT? Whatever wood my house is built out of. Love that stuff.

14. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NAME? My own.

15. IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY WHAT WOULD YOU BUY? A moat.

16. WHAT WOULD YOU PUT ON YOUR HEADSTONE? My name, date of birth, date of death. Nothing pompous.

17. IF YOU HAD A CHOICE OF ANY ARTWORK FROM REDBUBBLE,WHO/WHAT WOULD IT BE? I have no idea what RedBubble is, despite having taken this survey from their website. Perhaps I owe them a look. Hopefully it’s nothing horrifying.

18. DINNER WITH FIVE: WHO WOULD THEY BE? Milton Friedman, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx, James Madison, Carla Gugino.

19. IF YOU WERE A RECIPE WHAT WOULD YOU BE? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Simple. Classic.

20. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ART MEDIUM? Laptop and internet connection.

21. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST? Jack L. Ahr.

22. NAME THE ONE PLACE YOU WOULD LOVE TO VISIT? I don’t like to visit places. I like to visit people. But if I had to pick a place, I’d say Mars.

23. DO YOU PREFER DAYTIME OR NIGHTIME? I’m a night owl.

24. WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST TYPO YOU HAVE TYPED? My typos are generally no funnier than typing “TGE” instead of “THE”. However, I once made a humorous verbal gaffe in class whilst attempting to say “four bucks”.

25. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? The earliest memory that I know was an actual memory was playing hide and seek with my big sister. I think I remember being bathed in the sink in New Hampshire.

26. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SONG FOR KARAOKE? “Climbatize” by the Prodigy.


27. IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT WOULD BE THE FIRST SENTENCE? See “Questionnaire 8.”

28. WHAT IS YOUR OWN FAVOURITE ART WORK? I was a mediocre art-er at best, but my favorite pieces were the ones that were the most fun to make. Linoleum prints and scratchboards were fun. My favorite-est piece was a painting of my dog Bogie, washed in India ink. The original is missing, but I still have the slides and the images. Here it is, by me at age 13:

Bogie

29. PET PEEVE, WHAT IS IT? People who assume malice where there is likely none.

30. YOUR FAVOURITE TV SHOW? Twin Peaks, even though it completely fell apart in the second season.

31. IF YOU WERE AN ANIMAL, WHICH KIND WOULD YOU BE? A shark. People would generally leave me alone and I (presumably) couldn’t drown.

32. WHAT KIND OF SUPER HERO WOULD YOU BE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR GIFT? Assuming I can only pick one, I’d keep it simple: telekinesis. That covers a lot of ground.

33. IF YOU COULD CHANGE SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF,WHAT WOULD IT BE? I’d change my voice to what I hear in my head instead of what I hear in recordings.

34. IF YOU MET AN ALIEN WHAT WOULD YOUR FIRST WORDS BE? I’d say all those nice things about peace and harmony while coughing on it in hopes that Earth germs will kill it. Better safe than sorry.

35. WHAT IS YOUR BEST SUBJECT FOR YOUR ARTWORK? Generic sailing ships. I doodle them often.

36. IF YOU SEEN A UFO WOULD IT CHANGE YOUR LIFE? Yes. I’d have one more story to tell.

37. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING THAT YOU LAUGHED ABOUT? Playing with my year-old first-cousin-twice-removed the other day. He got in a box and I slid it around on the floor like he was driving.


38. DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE AFTER-LIFE? One way or another, there will be life after I die.

39. DO YOU BELIEVE IN RE-INCARNATION, IF SO, WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS? No. But if I were reincarnated, I would presumably come back as a human.

40. WHAT IS THE OLDEST POSSESION YOU HAVE? I have an Italian Bible from the 1890s. I will inherit even older items one day.

41. HAVE YOU GOT ANY TATTOO’S, WHERE WOULD YOU HAVE ONE? I have no tattoos. If I had to get one, it would be two sets of simple medical data and instructions on my chest and back. I figure that way, the data/instructions can’t be lost in an amputation, and if the medics don’t want to turn me over for fear of worsening the injury, they’ll still have my info.

42. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK? The Invisible Heart by Russell Roberts.

43. IF REDBUBBLE HAD ITS OWN TV CHANNEL WOULD YOU STILL BE ONLINE OR BOTH? This is the first I’ve heard of RedBubble, so this question has no meaning to me. I feel no guilt.

44. SEA OR LAND? Land. I get motion-sick too easily to enjoy the sea.

45. WHAT IS THE MOST BIZARRE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU? In 2001, my roommate offered me $25 to kill him so that he wouldn’t go to Hell for having committed suicide.

46. IF YOU WERE A FAIRY TALE WHAT ONE WOULD YOU BE? I’d be Hansel. He ate well and survived.


47. WHAT IS THE MOST FUNNIEST, HUMOUROUS THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU. “Most funniest”? Come on. Who writes like that?

48. WHAT IS THE LONGEST TIME YOU HAVE WENT WITHOUT SLEEP? That I can think of? 40-something hours, back in college. Stayed up all night discussing philosophy with Mole and a kid I’ll call McGolden, who was my friend Winter’s arch-nemesis (in Winter’s head, at least)– you had to be there.

49. WHAT IS THE BEST THING THAT YOU LOVE ABOUT REDBUBBLE? So far? This survey, because I have nothing else to go on.

50. DID YOU LIKE THIS QUESTIONAIRE? Meh.

Questionnaire 13.

As I run up against my weekly deadline, I resort yet again to a questionnaire. The following questionnaire was adapted from this website right here, which plucked it from somewhere else on the internet, which plucked it from a series of newspaper articles… I’m not going to track down the source. Here goes:

1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE AND WHY? The library. I love everything about it. I love sitting in my new recliner under a modern lamp and inhaling that fresh print smell before reading under the bright fluorescent light from my mod lamp. I love lighting up the fireplace, sitting in my ancient high-backed leather-tufted chair and flipping through a musty, gilt-edged classic while sipping fifty-year old whiskey and smoking a cigar. I love the oil paintings depicting the exploits of my distant ancestor, Vincent Tibère le Biscardi. I love gazing upon shelf after shelf of the books I’ve collected and bought and inherited, and sometimes I’ll climb up the brass-handled rolling ladder to the second level just to count all my copies of The Wealth of Nations or Crime and Punishment, or to gaze down upon the forty-foot Waldseemüller map rug– or just to stand up there and think.

2. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU MISS FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD? I miss snow. We lived in New Hampshire ’til 1980 and Virginia ’til 1985. They have snow up there.

3. WHO WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADULT PERSON, OTHER THAN YOUR PARENTS, IN YOUR LIFE GROWING UP AND WHY? My grandfather. When I grew up, I wanted to be just like him except a lot younger.

4. WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAM PROFESSION AND WOULD YOU STILL WANT TO DO IT? I kinda sorta wanted to be an astronaut or join the navy. That was before I understood motion sickness.

5. IF YOU WERE TO GIVE YOURSELF A NEW NAME WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE IT? Something short and simple that I wouldn’t have to repeat and explain to people, like “Tom Jones” or “Bob Evans” or “Dave Thomas.”

6. WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY? I think I remember being bathed in the sink, but that could be a product of imagination. My earliest memory that I know for sure wasn’t fabricated was playing hide-and-seek with my big sister. I hid in her closet and looked out through the slats. When she opened the door she managed to poke me in the eye.

7. NAME AN EVERYDAY HERO IN YOUR LIFE – SOMEONE WHO SEEMS TO SAVE YOUR DAY WHEN YOU NEED IT. Whoever makes sure the microwave in the faculty lounge is still working. Without that person, I couldn’t have my tea every day. Thank you, kind stranger.

8. WHY DO YOU LIVE IN THE CITY (COUNTRY) YOU DO? AND WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ‘HAUNTS’? I live in America because I was born here and I like it here. It’s not complicated. I don’t haunt anyplace, for I am not a ghost.

9. IF YOU COULD TRY ANY PROFESSION FOR ONE DAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Script editor. I’m not a very creative person, but I think I could tighten up (or drag out, if necessary) a good bit of what I see and hear in movies and TV shows.

10. WHAT IS YOUR BEST QUALITY AND WHY? I don’t like to brag, but I don’t like to brag.

11. NAME FIVE LUXURIES OF YOUR DAILY LIFE AND WHY DO YOU LIKE/USE THEM? First: My car. All but a handful of my ancestors had to walk everywhere. Second: My MacBook. Non-Macs seem to take forever to start up and shut down, and waiting for either process is not the ideal way to dither away what precious few seconds I have on this Earth. Third: My recliner. I enjoy sitting down. Fourth: Tea. It tastes good. Fifth: My contact lenses. I’ve enjoyed seeing stuff so far, and the contacts make it easier. They’re a lot more convenient than glasses, generally.

12. WHAT 5 THINGS WOULD YOU TAKE TO A DESERTED ISLAND? Assuming I’m going to be stuck there a while: a big honkin’ knife, a lot of matches, a heavy plastic sheet for protection from the rain, some sort of water filter, some sort of all-purpose pot or pan.

13A. NAME A TALENT YOU WISH YOU HAD. I wish I could breathe better.

13B. NAME ONE TALENT YOU DO HAVE. I can look bored under any circumstances.

14. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAD A FREE DAY TO DO ANYTHING? We’ll find out come Monday. That’s spring break.

15. WHAT QUALITIES HAVE YOU PASSED ON TO YOUR CHILDREN? Raffaele Thomas is an old soul and loves books. Roscoe Waglio is clever and enjoys pranks. Teresa Angelina is respectful to her elders and is a minimalist. Junior has a nasal voice.

16. WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU, HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHETHER IT IS A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING? Does it work in my favor? Yes? Then it is good.

17. WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR CERTAIN? Cogito, ergo sum. Cogito.

18. WHAT IS THE NO. 1 THING YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR CHILDREN TO KNOW OR UNDERSTAND? English.

19. ONE MEMORY FROM EACH OF YOUR CHILDREN’S BIRTHS. Passing out, all four times.

20. FAVORITE MOVIE GROWING UP/FAVORITE MOVIE NOW. Star Trek II for both, for reasons I have discussed ad nauseum. In short: because it’s awesome.

21. WHEN DID YOU THINK YOU WERE IN LOVE FOR THE FIRST TIME? WITH WHOM? I suppose that growing up each time is more intense than the last time, so you tend to think that the current time is the first time you were really in love. Notice I’m weaseling my way out of this one because the last time I wrote about her she tracked me down from the other side of the planet.

22. WHEN /HOW DID YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST BROKEN HEART? Forget it– it’s still too painful.

23. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT? Life— every day, dawn heralds a new journey, and dusk means it’s time to rest up for the next day’s venture. Life, and Portillo’s.

24. NAME A TIME WHEN YOU SACRIFICED SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE. I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments… they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.

25. HAVE YOU HAD JOY IN YOUR LIFE? Certainly.

26. HAVE YOU BROUGHT JOY TO OTHERS IN YOUR LIFE? If not, tough noogie.

27. WHO WAS/WERE YOUR BEST FRIEND(S) GROWING UP? My best friends were, and are, the ones I made in college. It’s nearly 20 years since I met the first of them, and I’m grateful that they still speak to me.

28. WHERE DID YOU GO TO DAYDREAM WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG? WHERE DO YOU GO AS AN ADULT? In both cases: wherever I happened/happen to be.

29. WHAT DID YOU PLAN TO DO WITH WITH YOUR LIFE? I had no concrete plans until I was nearly killed in an industrial accident in 1999. After the stars cleared, a very specific plan was formulated within seconds.

30. HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED ALL YOUR PLANS? HOW? OR WHY NOT? Not yet, but as the time draws near, you puny mortals shall– I mean, no.

31. HOW DO YOU INTERPRET THE WORD ADMONITION? To admonish is to warn and advise someone. I don’t like being admonished. Just give me advice.

32. HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU ‘COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES’? Pretty dumb, actually. It’s not a difficult skill, just hold the crayon careful and don’t rush– the drawing isn’t going anywhere. This is not a metaphor.

33. WHAT MUSICAL STYLE BEST REPRESENTS YOUR LIFE? Blues. Plodding but amusing.

34. DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEAL. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

35. LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW TODAY AND DESCRIBE WHAT YOU FEEL. It’s dark, and I need to finish getting this typed ASAP. I need sleep.

36. RECALL AND DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE GRADE SCHOOL TEACHER. I guess it would be my kindergarten teacher, because she’s the only one I don’t remember getting mad at.

37. WHAT DID YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOURSELF DURING YOUR TEEN YEARS? Being in college.

38. DESCRIBE THE CONTENTS OF THE FRONT SEAT OF YOUR CAR (VEHICLE). There is nothing on the front seat of my car. It is clean. That’s a point of pride.

39. WHAT IS THE ODDEST THING YOU CARRY IN YOUR PURSE AND WHY DO YOU CARRY IT WITH YOU? I… I don’t have a purse.

40. NAME AN OBJECT THAT YOU HAVE INHERITED (OR HOPE TO INHERIT) AND WHY IT IS SPECIAL TO YOU. I have my grandfather’s last wallet. It’s a black compact vertical billfold. He gave it to me a few months before he died, and his name is still burned into the plastic, which is nifty because it’s two-thirds of my name.

41. DESCRIBE ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PETS – PAST OR PRESENT. My family’s first dog was a Siberian husky named Devil. He was black and white and furry. We had him until a year or two after we moved to Florida. He was old by that time, and the old guy and that thick coat of fur just weren’t made for Florida. He was a good boy.

42. DESCRIBE A PLACE YOU VISITED THAT TOUCHED A PART OF YOU, WHETHER YOU EVER WANTED TO LIVE THERE, OR JUST VISIT. WHAT AWAKENED IN YOU WHEN YOU VISITED? Some time ago, I’d visit “Ingrid Bergman” in Flat Rock, North Carolina. She lived in an older development, in a very hilly, very wooded area. Going to see her was like going back in time, partly because she was from a very old-fashioned family and partly because of her house, which had an interior that dated from the late 1970s. The wallpaper, the walls, the furnishings, and the appliances reminded me of the homes I lived in when I was very young. Driving up Route 25 to get there, I’d go over a particular hump in the road, see the low mountains rise over the horizon, hit a certain elevation and feel my ears pop– and honest to God, I actually looked forward to that moment, because it meant I was getting closer to Ingrid and to that very homey place. Driving back to Clemson was like waking up from a pleasant dream, realizing that it wasn’t real, and despairing at having to get ready for work.

43. WHAT QUESTION DO YOU DREAD IN SMALL TALK – AND WHY? I don’t really dread any bit of small talk. It’s small talk— the whole point of it is that it’s innocuous.

44. WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD GAMES, PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT, ETC? I liked a few video games, but my favorite piece of playground equipment was the cylindrical jungle gym. It was a perfect make-believe spaceship. It was probably torn down years ago for having sharp edges, or asbestos or lead paint or something.

45. WHAT WOULD YOUR 16YR OF SELF BE MOST SHOCKED ABOUT YOU NOW? That I was as tall as I was ever going to get.

46. WHAT KIND OF ART INSPIRES YOU? …Good art?

47. WHAT IS YOUR CELEBRATION FOOD OF CHOICE? I don’t have a go-to celebration food. I view every meal I eat as a reward for a job well-done.

Questionnaire 12.

Running low on time before I have to post, so here’s old reliable: a questionnaire plucked from online.

1. ARE YOU YOUNG AT HEART, OR AN OLD SOUL? I’ve been told the latter more than the former. That I’ve phrased it that way should tell you which is accurate.

2. WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A BEST FRIEND? The most important factor is time. Go from there.

3. WHAT CHRISTMAS (OR HANUKKAH) PRESENT DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOST? I remember a few birthday gifts and an Easter gift, but I can’t remember any particular gift as being given on Christmas or Hanukkah. In fact, I’ve never received a Hanukkah gift, which is odd.

4. TELL ME ABOUT A MOVIE/SONG/TV SHOW/PLAY/BOOK THAT HAS CHANGED YOUR LIFE. In an early episode of Twin Peaks, Cooper told Truman, “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.” I don’t drink coffee, but a nap will do in a pinch.

5. NAME A MOVIE THAT YOU KNEW WOULD BE TERRIBLE JUST FROM READING THE TITLE. American Psycho 2.

6. WHAT HOLIDAY DO YOU MOST LOOK FORWARD TO? Thanksgiving, because it’s my birthday.

7. HOW IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR PARENTS? The age gap has held constant since we first met, but I’ve caught up heightwise.

8. YOU’VE GOT THE TV ON, BUT YOU’RE NOT REALLY WATCHING. WHAT CHANNEL IS THE TV ON? The channel with football on it.

9. NAME A SONG THAT NEVER FAILS TO MAKE YOU HAPPY. “Grass Roots” by Havalina Rail Co. I don’t listen to it that often.

10. YOU KNOW AT LEAST ONE PERSON NAMED MICHAEL. TELL ME ABOUT HIM. He was a buddy from Clemson. Just about the time he started to act like a decent human being, he got in a car wreck that wiped 15 to 20 years off his memory. He didn’t know his wife or kids. He didn’t know his high school, college, or work buddies. He acted like a little kid. But he slowly started to recover, and from what I can tell he’s functioning like a high-schooler now.

11. HAVE YOU EVER READ THE “MISSED CONNECTIONS” ON CRAIGSLIST? HAVE YOU EVER POSTED ONE, OR WANTED TO? No and no.

12. CAN MONEY BUY HAPPINESS? It can try.

13. DO YOU DRINK? SMOKE? DO DRUGS? WHY, OR WHY NOT? I don’t smoke because I have enough trouble breathing. I don’t do drugs because I have enough trouble thinking and keeping my heart beating. I drink a little because steaks and pasta aren’t going to wash themselves down.

14. IS THERE ANYONE CLOSE TO YOU THAT YOU KNOW YOU CAN’T TRUST? YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE NAMES. Yes, but they’re being closely monitored.

15. WHERE WAS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE KID? The tall jungle gym at my elementary school in Virginia. It doubled as a spaceship.

16. DO YOU ENJOY BEING WITH ONLY ONE OR TWO FRIENDS, OR WITH A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE? Depends on the friends and the group. But all else being equal, I prefer being with only one or two friends. Fewer witnesses.

17. DO YOU LIKE THE TYPE OF MUSIC YOUR PARENTS LISTEN TO? My parents’ musical preferences are generally tolerable.

18. DO YOUR PARENTS LIKE THE TYPE OF MUSIC YOU LISTEN TO? Who cares?

19. IF YOU COULD ONLY EAT ONE THING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Slop (elbow macaroni with meat sauce).

20. WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF/YOUR FAMILY “MIDDLE CLASS?” Yes.

21. NAME A TV SERIES YOU DIDN’T ENJOY UNTIL AFTER IT ENDED. There are several that I didn’t even start watching until after it ended. The original Star Trek, Twin Peaks, The Wire, Arrested Development come to mind.

22. HAVE YOU EVER BOUGHT A PRODUCT FROM AN INFOMERCIAL? Does a George Foreman grill count?

23. IF YOU COULD GIVE UP YOUR CAR AND NEVER HAVE TO DRIVE AGAIN, WOULD YOU? Only if I could afford to be chauffeured around for the rest of my life.

24. IF YOU GO BACK TO ONE POINT IN TIME TO GIVE ADVICE TO YOURSELF, WHEN WOULD YOU GO AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? Spring 1996. Skip the steak dinner. Go with Martha.

25. WHAT’S YOUR “QUIRKIEST” HABIT? I make sure the fridge is closed before turning in for the evening.

26. SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU IS DYING. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO LET THIS PERSON LIVE FOR 10 MORE YEARS, BUT IF YOU DO, YOU CAUSE THE DEATH OF 10 STRANGERS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SEE THEM DIE. DO YOU TAKE THE OFFER? Tough call. Too many variables. Who are the strangers? Could I pick them? Because I must confess that I’d kill ten bad guys in order to extend the life of a loved one. But even then, it’d depend on the age and condition of the dying– he or she might not want ten more years.

27. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU COULD NEVER FORGIVE? The unforgiven has already been informed.

28. WOULD YOU RATHER BE IN A RELATIONSHIP AFTER THE HONEYMOON PERIOD ENDS, OR BE SINGLE? In the relationship. A wise man once said that life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.

29. WRITE THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR OBITUARY. Here goes:

VISCARIELLO, Vincent Dominic, 128, declared dead April 4, 2105 (Mars 80/9/495). Mr. Viscariello disappeared from his suite in the Caveside Hilton at the Coca-Cola/ZeitBank Arsia Mons Colony on April 1, 2104 (Mars 80/3/137) and was declared dead in absentia upon petition by his family. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Orinthius Octavian Winterbourne Foundation for Economic Education.

30. DO YOU WANT TO HAVE MORE FRIENDS THAN YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW? I’m okay with the number of friends I have now.

31. WHAT PART OF THE PAST YEAR STICKS OUT IN YOUR MIND? Seeing my niece.

32. YOU WIN A SCRATCH-OFF LOTTERY GAME THAT GIVES YOU $2000 A WEEK (AFTER TAXES) FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. DO YOU KEEP YOUR JOB? $104,000 a year? I might hang on to my job, just in case that two grand isn’t going to be adjusted for inflation.

33. COULD YOU BE IN A LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP? IF YOU’RE IN ONE, WHAT MAKES YOURS WORK? Not easily. Not applicable.

34. WHAT’S THE BEST ROUTE TO YOUR HEART? Up under the sternum.

35. HAVE YOU EVER MET SOMEONE THROUGH THE INTERNET, THEN MET THEM IN REAL LIFE? Yes.

36. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? Soccer.

37. WHAT HAS BEEN TROUBLING YOU LATELY? Back.

38. DID YOU ENJOY YOUR HIGH SCHOOL PROM? IF YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN THERE YET, DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO IT? IF YOU DIDN’T GO, WHY NOT? I didn’t go because I attended a soccer tournament, which we won by defeating a much-hated arch-rival. I scored either the most or the second-most goals for my team in that tournament.

39. WHAT DO YOU USE MORE OFTEN: YOUR INTUITION OR LOGICAL REASONING? Reasoning, but even my intuition is pretty darned logical.

40. WHAT IS THE NICEST COMPLIMENT YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? [Redacted]

41. WHO WAS YOUR FIRST CRUSH? A girl named Tracy.

42. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THERE IS LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS? Yes, for now.

43. PREDICT WHAT YOUR LIFE WILL LOOK LIKE A YEAR FROM NOW. Pretty darned similar to now, except in a different house.

44. OFTEN, PEOPLE WILL ASK HOW YOUR LAST RELATIONSHIP ENDED. I WANT TO KNOW HOW IT BEGAN. In a bookstore.

45. WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO OUT AND EAT? Portillo’s.

46. EARLY BIRD OR NIGHT OWL? Night owl.

47. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT YOUR CURRENT SITUATION? I’d rather be an early bird.

48. ARE THERE ANY CHILDHOOD POSSESSIONS YOU STILL HOLD ON TO? Certainly.

49. GIVE ME AN UNPOPULAR OPINION YOU HAVE. Just one? We should have more states.

50. WHAT WAS THE LAST SONG THAT WAS STUCK IN YOUR HEAD? “I’m not like everybody else,” by the Kinks.

51. WHERE DO YOU LIVE? BE AS GENERAL OR SPECIFIC AS YOU WANT. Inside the Oort Cloud.

52. DO YOU BELIEVE IN GIVING KIDS MEDALS AND TROPHIES FOR PARTICIPATION? No. Maybe certificates.

53. WHAT WAS THE LONGEST CAR RIDE YOU’VE EVER TAKEN? Drove to El Paso and back, although some of my sojourns to the northeast and out to Chicago and back may have technically been longer.

54. HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN PART IN A PROTEST? Yes.

55. WHAT IS YOUR ETHNIC HERITAGE? Depends on who you ask. I say three-quarters Italian, one-quarter Irish.

56. DESCRIBE A PERSON THAT INSPIRES YOU.

57. IF YOU EARN MINIMUM WAGE DOING WHAT YOU LOVE, WOULD YOU? If it were running the multimillion dollar business that I own and that’s rapidly rising in value, then yes.

58. DO YOU BELIEVE IN LUCK? Yes.

59. DESCRIBE THE LAST TIME YOU WERE VERY ANGRY AT SOMEONE. I’d rather not, so that the next time, my target is totally unprepared.

60. DO YOU WANT TO LIVE UNTIL YOU’RE 100? Yes.

61. DO PEOPLE CHANGE? IF SO, HOW DO YOU KEEP A RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER WHEN BOTH OF YOU START TO CHANGE? Yes. Work and love.

62. HAVE YOU EVER RISKED A FRIENDSHIP BY TELLING SOMEONE YOU LIKED THEM? Yes.

63. WOULD YOU RATHER BE ALONE DOING SOMETHING YOU ENJOY, OR DOING SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE WITH YOUR BEST FRIENDS? The latter.

64. DO YOU PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH? Generally.

65. IF YOU TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO STAY SAFE, DO YOU ULTIMATELY ACT MORE RECKLESSLY? Yes. This is almost true by definition, and the phenomenon is not unknown to those of us who study econ.

66. WHAT DO YOU VALUE MORE IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: ATTRACTIVENESS OR INTELLIGENCE? Intelligence is part of the attraction, so intelligence.

67. ARE YOU HARD-HEADED? Yes.

68. HAVE YOU EVER LAUGHED UNCONTROLLABLY WHEN IT WAS SOCIALLY INAPPROPRIATE? Yes.

69. WOULD YOU PREFER TO LIVE? A CITY? THE SUBURBS? THE COUNTRYSIDE? THE MOUNTAINS? Suburbs, especially if equidistant from the city, the countryside, and the mountains.

70. DO YOU OFTEN SKIP BREAKFAST? I’d say 95% of the time.

71. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT TRUE LOVE IS? I can’t tell you, but it lasts forever. (The lyrics don’t exactly match, but whatever.)

72. WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW THE EXACT DATE AND TIME YOU WERE GOING TO DIE? Yes.

73. WHERE IS “HOME” FOR YOU? Nice try, stalker.

74. DO YOU WANT TO BE PERFECT? “Want to be”?

75. WHAT HAVE YOU NEVER TRIED, BUT WOULD REALLY LIKE TO SOMEDAY? WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK? Flying a plane. I haven’t been diagnosed with a terminal illness yet.

76. HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY? This here blog’s about as close to creativity as I get.

77. DESCRIBE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. I’m not going to fall for this.

78. NAME SOMETHING YOU ONLY LIKED BECAUSE IT WAS POPULAR. I’d have to dig around the old memory palace before finding an answer. I realized a very long time ago that “fitting in” isn’t me.

79. GIVE ME THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE IN SIX WORDS. “Mind your own damn business. Please.”

Questionnaire 11.

With about 45 minutes left to avoid violating my writing resolution, I lean yet again on my favorite crutch: the questionnaire. This one, like the last few, draws from multiple sources.

1. ONE OF YOUR SCARS, HOW DID YOU GET IT? Surgery to remove a lymph node.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM? Paint.

3. WHAT DOES YOUR CELL PHONE LOOK LIKE? A black rectangular hexahedron with buttons.

4. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? Many different kinds. I was recently introduced to Pandora’s instrumental hip hop channel, which was good for background noise until I realized that about a third of their “instrumentals” include singing.

5. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN? Yes, I do.

6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW? To sleep well.

7. WHAT DO YOU MISS? I never miss.

8. WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION/S? Tough call. What would I be most upset about losing… probably my grandfather’s wallet.

9. WHAT IS YOUR ZODIAC SIGN? Gemitarius.

10. DO YOU GET CLAUSTROPHOBIC? No. I get mad.

11. DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DARK? When I was a little boy, I did. Then I resolved to kill anything that messes with me in the dark, and I slept far more soundly.

12. THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY? Mr. Hooper, when he died.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOGNE/PERFUME? Soap.

14. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX? I generally like women with longish hair and white sclerae.

15. WHERE CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF BEING PROPOSED TO? Being a man, I generally don’t see myself being proposed to. However, I shall one day propose to my sweet patootie atop a live volcano after besting my arch nemesis in mortal combat.

16. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINK? If I have to pick one, coffee. Lots of cream and a little sugar.

17. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPINGS? Aside from the cheese and the sauce? Pepperoni, Italian sausage, black olives, green bell peppers.

18. IF YOU CAN EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? More steak.

19. WHO IS THE LAST PERSON YOU MADE MAD? Don’t want to think about it.

20. WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIFT SOMEONE EVER GAVE YOU? That I can remember? I vaguely remember some small, fuzzy puppets, but I can’t quite remember the occasion. It was either after I burned my hands on the wood stove or after the first time I ate macaroni with meat and tomato sauce.

21. DO YOU LIKE ANYBODY? Of course.

22. ARE YOU DOUBLE JOINTED? Not yet.

23. FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND? I guess adidas, because historically they have made the cleats that fit my feet best.

24. WHAT’S YOUR DREAM CAR? My current car is my dream car. The more I think about it, the more I think it looks like a blend of my last two cars.

25. DO YOU HAVE A PET RIGHT NOW? No.

26. WHAT KIND IS IT? Um, no.

27. WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING? Not intentionally, but I s’pose that’s why it’s called “falling.” It’s unintentional.

28. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TELL SOMEONE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU? A PowerPoint with lots and lots of graphs.

29. SAY A NUMBER FROM ONE TO A HUNDRED: Hold on… done. It was ninety-three.

30. BLONDES OR BRUNETTES? Yes.

31. WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL OFTEN? Voicemail.

32. WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST? Why, so you can use it against me? Nice try.

33. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY? No.

34. YOUR WEAKNESSES? It turns out that I handle most life-threatening injuries far better than scratches on my eyeballs.

35. FIRST JOB? Clerk at the Soccer Stop in Baymeadows/Mandarin.

36. EVER DONE A PRANK CALL? Yes, in 1989.

37. WHAT WHERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU FILLED OUT THIS? Recording grades.

38. IF YOU COULD GET PLASTIC SURGERY WHAT WOULD IT BE? It would be vain.

39. WHY DID YOU FILL OUT THIS SURVEY? Needed to get an entry in before midnight.

40. WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ABOUT MOST? My appearance, behavior, thoughts, and reputation.

41. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF ALCOHOL BECAME ILLEGAL? Get re-prohibition re-repealed.

42. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY? Cake.

43. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT? Twelve: one for each month.

44. DO YOU WISH ON STARS? No. I wish right here.

45. WHAT DID YOU DO THIS MORNING? Awaken, drink some tea, do some paperwork.

46. WHAT DID YOU LAST EAT? Flank steak.

47. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Usually not.

48. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Roast beef.

49. ANY BAD HABITS? Yup. I go way too long without cleaning my refrigerator coils.

50. WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CD ON THE SHELF? Each of my CDs is an embodiment of timelessness. Each track on each of those CDs makes people go, “Oh my God, I haven’t heard this in like forever! This was my favorite song!” Thus I am not ashamed of any of my CDs.

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

52. HAVE YOU EVER TOLD A SECRET YOU SWORE NOT TO TELL? I’m sorry, I can’t say.

53. DO LOOKS MATTER? Yes.

54. HOW DO YOU RELEASE ANGER? Memorably.

55. WHERE IS YOUR SECOND HOME? Clemson.

56. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? Black shirt, black shorts, glasses.

57. HOW MANY NUMBERS ARE IN YOUR CELL PHONE? 168.

58. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A MOSH PIT? No.

59. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Chocolate.

60. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLOR(S)? Those with wavelengths between 389 and 754 nanometers.

61. HOW MANY WISDOM TEETH DO YOU HAVE? Three.

62. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? Sunday Night Football.

63. LAST THING YOU DRANK? Ginger ale.

64. FAVORITE THOUGHT PROVOKING SONG? “Second Skin,” the Chameleons.

65. FAVORITE THING TO HATE? Commie Nazis.

66. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? Soccer.

67. DO YOU LIKE SUSHI? Some sushi.

68. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR? First day of jacket weather.

69. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? A Renegade History of the United States, by Thaddeus Russell.

70. ANYONE IN LOVE WITH YOU? Of course.

71. YOUR BEST FRIEND IS TAKING A NAP ON THE FLOOR OF YOUR LIVING ROOM. SUDDENLY, YOU ARE FACED WITH A BIZARRE EXISTENTIAL PROBLEM: THIS FRIEND IS GOING TO DIE UNLESS YOU KICK THEM (AS HARD AS YOU CAN) IN THE RIB CAGE. IF YOU DON’T KICK THEM WHILE THEY SLUMBER, THEY WILL NEVER WAKE UP. HOWEVER, YOU CAN NEVER EXPLAIN THIS TO YOUR FRIEND; IF YOU LATER INFORM THEM THAT YOU DID THIS TO SAVE THEIR LIFE, THEY WILL ALSO DIE FROM THAT. SO YOU HAVE TO KICK A SLEEPING FRIEND IN THE RIBS, AND YOU CAN’T TELL THEM WHY…SINCE YOU CANNOT TELL YOUR FRIEND THE TRUTH, WHAT EXCUSE WILL YOU FABRICATE TO EXPLAIN THIS (SEEMINGLY INEXPLICABLE) ATTACK? One of two ways:

(A) “If I didn’t kick you, you would have woken up.” Then I wink. “If I ever tell you the real reason I kicked you, then everybody on Earth will die except you.” Then I wink again. “Don’t trust me.” Then I wink one last time and go back to whatever I was doing.

(B) “I thought you were a thief. What are you doing on my floor anyways?”

72. FOR WHATEVER THE REASON, TWO UNAUTHORIZED MOVIES ARE MADE ABOUT YOUR LIFE. THE FIRST IS AN INDEPENDENTLY RELEASED DOCUMENTARY, PRIMARILY COMPRISED OF INTERVIEWS WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOU AND BOOTLEG FOOTAGE FROM YOUR ACTUAL LIFE. CRITICS ARE DESCRIBING THE DOCUMENTARY AS “BRUTALLY HONEST AND RELENTLESSLY FAIR.” MEANWHILE, COLUMBIA TRI-STAR HAS PRODUCED A BIG-BUDGET BIOPIC OF YOUR LIFE, CASTING MAJOR HOLLYWOOD STARS AS YOU AND ALL YOUR ACQUAINTANCES; THOUGH THE MOVIE IS BASED ON ACTUAL EVENTS, SCREENWRITERS HAVE TAKEN SOME LIBERTIES WITH THE FACTS. CRITICS ARE SPLIT ON THE ARTISTIC MERITS OF THIS FICTIONALIZED ACCOUNT, BUT AUDIENCES LOVE IT. WHICH FILM WOULD YOU BE MOST INTERESTED IN SEEING & WHY? The fictionalized version. I already know the truth.

73. YOU ARE SITTING IN AN EMPTY BAR (IN A TOWN YOU’VE NEVER BEFORE VISITED), DRINKING BACARDI WITH A SOFT-SPOKEN ACQUAINTANCE YOU BARELY KNOW. AFTER AN HOUR, A THIRD INDIVIDUAL WALKS INTO THE TAVERN AND SITS BY HIMSELF, AND YOU ASK YOUR ACQUAINTANCE WHO THE NEW MAN IS. “BE CAREFUL OF THAT GUY,” YOU ARE TOLD. “HE IS A MAN WITH A PAST.” A FEW MINUTES LATER, A FOURTH PERSON ENTERS THE BAR; HE ALSO SITS ALONE. YOU ASK YOUR ACQUAINTANCE WHO THIS NEW INDIVIDUAL IS. “BE CAREFUL OF THAT GUY, TOO,” HE SAYS. “HE IS A MAN WITH NO PAST.” WHICH OF THESE TWO PEOPLE DO YOU TRUST LESS? The man with a past. The man with no past is presumably a baby and therefore harmless.

74. YOU HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR. THOUGH THERE IS NO DISCOMFORT AT THE MOMENT, THIS TUMOR WOULD UNQUESTIONABLY KILL YOU IN SIX MONTHS. HOWEVER, YOUR LIFE CAN (AND WILL) BE SAVED BY AN OPERATION; THE ONLY DOWNSIDE IS THAT THERE WILL BE A BRUTAL INCISION TO YOUR FRONTAL LOBE. AFTER THE SURGERY, YOU WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS INTELLIGENT. YOU WILL STILL BE A FULLY FUNCTIONING ADULT, BUT YOU WILL BE LESS LOGICAL, YOU WILL HAVE A TERRIBLE MEMORY, AND YOU WILL HAVE LITTLE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND COMPLEX CONCEPTS OR DIFFICULT IDEAS. THE SURGERY IS IN TWO WEEKS. HOW DO YOU SPEND THE NEXT FOURTEEN DAYS? Writing and recording (audio or video) as many of those more complex/difficult thoughts as possible.

75. FOR REASONS THAT CANNOT BE EXPLAINED, CATS CAN SUDDENLY READ AT A TWELFTH-GRADE LEVEL. THEY CAN’T TALK AND THEY CAN’T WRITE, BUT THEY CAN READ SILENTLY AND UNDERSTAND THE TEXT. MANY CATS LOVE THIS NEW SKILL, BECAUSE THEY NOW HAVE SOMETHING TO DO ALL DAY WHILE THEY LAY AROUND THE HOUSE; HOWEVER, A FEW CATS BECOME DEPRESSED, BECAUSE READING FORCES THEM TO REALIZE THE LIMITATIONS OF THEIR EXISTENCE (NOT TO MENTION THE UTTER FRUSTRATION OF BEING UNABLE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES). THIS BEING THE CASE, DO YOU THINK THE AVERAGE CAT WOULD ENJOY GARFIELD, OR WOULD CATS FIND THIS CARTOON TO BE AN INSULTING CARICATURE? I don’t think they’d enjoy it or find it insulting. It’s Garfield. It’s just kind of there.

76. LET US ASSUME YOU MET A RUDIMENTARY MAGICIAN. LET US ASSUME HE CAN DO FIVE SIMPLE TRICKS – HE CAN PULL A RABBIT OUT OF HIS HAT, HE CAN MAKE A COIN DISAPPEAR, HE CAN TURN THE ACE OF SPADES INTO THE JOKER CARD, AND TWO OTHERS IN A SIMILAR VEIN. THESE ARE HIS ONLY TRICKS AND HE CAN’T LEARN ANY MORE; HE CAN ONLY DO THESE FIVE. HOWEVER, IT TURNS OUT HE’S DOING THESE FIVE TRICKS WITH REAL MAGIC. IT’S NOT AN ILLUSION; HE CAN ACTUALLY CONJURE THE BUNNY OUT OF THE ETHER AND HE CAN MOVE THE COIN THROUGH SPACE. HE’S LEGITIMATELY MAGICAL, BUT EXTREMELY LIMITED IN SCOPE AND INFLUENCE. WOULD THIS PERSON BE MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN ALBERT EINSTEIN? Not at all. Perhaps if he had some more useful tricks, he’d be more impressive than Einstein. But I think parlor tricks aren’t as big as deal as, say, revolutionizing physics.