April 19th, 2008


Interests Explained

It’s been a lo-o-o-ong time since I filled out one of these on-line surveys. A lot of them seem designed to appeal to the sensibilities of the junior high crowd. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not who I am. This one is different, though, since it’s a flexible premise that ties directly into the interests listed on your LJ. Thanks to meryddian for finding this and selecting my 7 topics. I know that most of my readers do not have an LJ, but I hope you’ll enjoy this post.

The premise: “Comment on this post and say YO BABY! I WANT TO DO THAT ‘INTEREST MEME’ or something like that. I will choose seven interests from your profile, and in your own journal, you will explain what they mean, and why you are interested in them. Post this along with your answers in your own journal so that others can play along.”

As with so many other things, I have my mother to thank for this. From the moment I had them on a pizza she’d ordered, I have been hooked. That is how I usually have them, though I’m always happy to find a restaurant that will put them on a Caesar salad. I once bought a jar of cracker spread at Whole Foods that was a mixture of ground anchovies, ground black olives, and olive oil. I downed the entire jar in one sitting – crack in a jar! I’ve never bought another jar of it, because I’m genuinely afraid I would eat way too much of it! I’m well aware that many (most?) folks find anchovies gross and inedible, so I’m always glad to find a fellow parishoner from the C of A.

Cross Sums
Prior to my starting up with Sudoku several years ago, I was a regular Cross Sums solver for almost 15 years. It’s a number puzzle sold by Dell, among other publishers. While it may look similar to Sudoku at a glance, it should be noted that Sudoku requires no math whatsoever, while Cross Sums require a great deal of addition. I still do them from time to time, though they are no longer a daily pursuit.

That’s a word that has a lot of different meanings. Many who would list Fantasy as an interest would probably mean it solely in the sense of a particular genre of fiction. My intention is for it to carry multiple meanings. Certainly the fiction genre sense of it applies. I think of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I first read as a teenager. It was a considerable treat for me several years ago when, as a volunteer at the Blind Service Association here in Chicago, one of the blind folks I was helping had me read her the entire trilogy (and The Hobbit as well), while she recorded them for her own future use. Yes, it took many months to complete, as we would meet for only a couple of hours a week. As both a fan and a ham actor, it was great fun to portray every character in the trilogy (you’ve never heard a more heroic Aragorn, if I do say so myself!). But that word Fantasy also applies to me in the basic sense of an elaborate, fantastical, personal fiction. I don’t feel at all badly about that – I’ve gotten some good creative ideas and worked out a lot of personal things in my head through the symbolic language of the inner fantasy. And besides, it’s fun. I view it not as a substitute for real life, but rather as an enhancement.

History Detectives
I’m referring here to the PBS series in which a group of historians with varying sub-specialties try to get at the truth of artifacts held by private citizens. A typical story might involve someone who owns an old sword that’s been in the family for generations. Perhaps the family’s oral tradition holds that the sword once belonged to Andrew Jackson. The History Detectives come in and research the hell out of the object, combing through old historical records to see what they may learn. It’s also amusing to note the total crush my roommate CC has on historian Wes Cowan. She usually mutters something like, “Why doesn’t Wes come to Chicago? I’ve got an artifact he could investigate…”

Language is what makes us… oh, there are so many ways to complete that sentence… human; connected; pissed-off; the list goes on and on. It’s what we’re engaged in at this very moment while I write these words, as well as the later moment when you read them. Without language, our lives would be very basic and limited. Some may make the argument that we’d be a far happier race without language. I can’t go there; it’s an argument for idle fools. Language is intrinsic to human society, so my sentiment is that we’d be happier if more people embraced language and achieved a greater mastery of it. And language is not just what people speak and write in a particular locality. There’s also body language and other non-verbal forms of communication. Each has its own vocabulary and syntax. There is so much to learn; in the realm of language, I consider myself to be little more than an earnest neophyte.

I’ve always loved them, even when I was a child who wasn’t supposed to like such grown-up food yet. I can remember sitting on the front porch as a child with two paper cups in my hands. One contained milk and the other contained pimento-stuffed green olives out of the jar. That may seem an unlikely pairing, but you should know that I drank more milk that any of my siblings. I probably mooed in my sleep back then. Ah, but then, well into adulthood, I was introduced to the sublime pleasure of Kalamata olives. There’s no going back. “Once you go Kalamatas, nothing else mattahs!”

Science fiction
I think this is more about novels and short stories than movies, TV shows, or comic books. Those other forms can be a lot of fun, and can even be downright wonderful, but the fantastical nature of sci-fi often demands that it be seen in the mind’s eye, in forms and images no visual medium has yet been able to conjure. Top of the list – Frank Herbert’s Dune. One book reviewer got it right when they said that Dune succeeded as both science fiction and literature. I haven’t read all of them, but I’ve read the first three.
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Red Wings1

Are there any sports fans at Sports Illustrated?

I wasn’t planning on writing more about the hockey playoffs until after the first round was completed, but I saw something tonight I have to share. A few hours ago, Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings scored in overtime to give the Wings an overtime victory over the Nashville Predators, giving Detroit a 3 games to 2 lead in their series. Let me go over that once more – the Red Wings beat the Predators. Yes, I’m sure – I watched the game on TV.

The folks at the CNN/Sports Illustrated web site appear to have been watching a different game. In the screen shot below, I have merely added the box around the article title near the lower right-hand corner; everything else you see is exactly as displayed on the CNNSI web site. It looks as if Friday Happy Hour went on a little late tonight!
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