Monday, March 28, 2011


I promised myself this wouldn't be all serious political philosophy religion stuff all the time.  So, to introduce myself (and my admittedly diverse hobbies), here's a bit of a list.  Obviously, it's not inclusive.

Things I like (with some explanations):
-Music, generally all sorts apart from country.  Of course, I have artists I like and don't like, but I'm not going to list them all.  That would take weeks.  I also enjoy making music.  I've had experience playing a lot of different instruments, but guitar was the one I've stuck with for life.  I own two guitars, one electric and one electric-acoustic.
-Cars and driving.  I enjoy watching Formula One racing (I don't enjoy NASCAR, which I find horribly boring), playing auto racing video games like Gran Turismo, and admiring nice cars.  I have a special affinity for BMWs, going back to the one time (thus far) I have been able to drive one (a 7-series).  It was a sublime experience.  From time to time, if I see a nice car, I might just mention it here.
-British television.  Top Gear, Doctor Who, and the best international news coverage in the world.  Yes, please.
-Most things from Britain.  I'm a confessed anglophile.
-Movies.  I have very definite likes and dislikes.  A few of the likes: The Seventh Seal, Layer Cake, The Godfather, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Field of Dreams (any man who says he didn't cry at the end either is an emotionless robot or a complete liar), spaghetti westerns, Bond movies, Office Space.  I like artsy movies, I like (some) trashy movies.  I like the odd chic flick (You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally spring to mind).  I love action movies.  Which leads us to...
-Mafia history.  Don't get me wrong, I don't romanticize the Mafia.  But I once watched The Godfather Part I, The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, and Casino in one weekend, and it was a great weekend.  I had a philosophy prof in college who did his doctoral dissertation on the philosophical status of the gangster archetype in American crime films, and I guess it rubbed off.  I own The Mafia Encyclopedia, and I'm currently reading Selwyn Raab's Five Families.  I've never had HBO, so I wasn't able to follow The Sopranos, but I'll watch it at some point.  Say what you want about their thuggish, brutal, and criminal behavior, but the Mafia is an significant and often entertaining aspect of American history.
-Books, preferably non-fiction.  I don't find much fiction that I enjoy, honestly.  I very much enjoy philosophy, history, biography, and serious political material (not so much with the Michael Moore/Ann Coulter stuff).  Books that challenge my comprehension are always good.  When I was in high school I thought I could read Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.  Only when I actually studied it in college did I learn that that particular volume is not so much one you "read" as one you survive after your cruel, sadistic professor inflicts it upon you.  That experience probably explains why I've never even attempted to read Martin Heidegger's Being and Time.
-Drinks.  I'm not a heavy drinker by any means, but I do imbibe.  Before the author took it down, I read a blog called "Scotch and Politics" that I enjoyed very much.  When I drink cocktails, I keep it very simple: Manhattans, scotch and soda, gin and tonic.  I even have a bottle of cognac that I keep for very special occasions.
-Food.  I'll try almost anything.  Except durian.  Anyone who has had the experience of smelling one knows why.
-Humor, almost any kind.  Be it dry, deadpan, sardonic, sarcastic, goofy, dirty, slapstick, dark, satirical, one-liners or even the odd anti-joke, I love humor, and I love to make people laugh.  I don't know of many sensations more satisfying than causing a person to laugh.
-(Parentheses).  See my writing style.  I interject my own thoughts very often.  It's a habit.
-Chess and poker.
-Certain types of artwork.  I'm very particular.
-Men's fashion.  I'm a fairly sharp dresser, when I want to be.
-The Green Bay Packers, the Chicago White Sox, the Milwaukee Brewers, and Red Bull Racing.

Things I don't like (and a few responses to such things):
-Stupid and/or offensive bumper stickers and combinations thereof.  Like the minivan I saw yesterday with one that said "Are you closer to this than you are to Jesus?" and another with that happy-evil-bunny-thing smiling that said "I just remembered, I don't care!"  Or the enormous pickup truck with a sticker that read, "Drill here, drill now, pay less."  Word to the wise, jackass, you'd pay a hell of a lot less if you hadn't bought an urban assault vehicle.
-People who drive like idiots, especially when they're driving very expensive cars.  Example: a guy in an S-class Mercedes Benz pulls out of a driveway right in front of me without looking, nearly hitting me.  I know you're in a hurry, sir, but your car is so expensive that that accident would have doubled both our insurance rates for the next thousand years.
-Obnoxious gamers.  They give the rest of us who like video games a bad name.
-Pop art.  I have no idea what Andy Warhol was getting at, but I fail to see how pictures of a Campbell's soup can and Mao Tse Tung represent art unless the whole thing is some sort of joke that I'm not in on.
-Cognitive dissonance.  As opposed to playing devil's advocate, which I do all the time.
-The Tea Party movement.  Oops, here we go with the seriousness.  But honestly, if people think comparing President Obama to Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot is really the best way to get their point across, then those people need to sit down and shut the hell up.  Raising your taxes is not equal to throwing you in a concentration camp or the GULAG, QED.  So on that note...
-Hitler comparisons in general.  Hitler was Hitler.  He was one of the most deranged and evil men who ever lived.  No one now living is anywhere in the same solar system as Hitler as far as evil is concerned, and no argument on any part of the political spectrum is aided by enlisting the trusty chestnut of what Leo Strauss (I'm not at all a fan of his, but whatever...) called "Reductio ad Hitlerum."
-Grey's Anatomy.  My wife is nuts about it.  I cannot stand it.  The next time I'm in the hospital, I'm going to be worrying about whether my doctors really care about my condition, or if they're just biding their time between having sex in the on-call room, whining about getting this or that new position, and desperately needing to be told that they're "a great doctor."  And it's all this show's fault.
-People who claim to know what happens after we die.  Religious or not, I'm pretty sure that if you're standing in front of me telling me what happens when you die, you have not the slightest idea.
-In no particular order, the Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago Cubs, the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees, the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Lakers, Scuderia Ferrari, and the entire National Hockey League.
-Hypodermic needles.  I'm not phobic, but I'm strongly averse to them.
-Insects with stingers.  To me, they're just needles with wings.

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