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Thread: AW's Day of Listening - Interviews Thread

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    Moderator AW Moderator Stew21's Avatar
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    Stew21 interviews Robeiae

    You’re a Jack-Of-All-Trades, Rob. When we first met here on AW, I saw “the funny Rob". Sharp rapid-fire wit - the guy I’d want to have a beer with and quote movies line for line. That personality was mixed with this serious, politically and socially-minded Rob, they guy I wouldn’t want to cross in debate (so didn’t). The other parts of your personality make themselves known on closer acquaintance: the writer, the sentimental sap, the auto parts specialist, the caring and sincere friend. All together: intriguing.
    The questions I could ask could never span all of the trivia, critical theories and vast random info stored in your head, so I’m going to pick on a few.

    Welcome to my Ode to Robeiae Randomness:

    You’ve had several very diverse occupations in your life including auto parts specialist and financial planner.
    Name some of the others.
    Which was your favorite?


    I've worked in the grocery business, from stocking to management. And I've worked as contract killer. Really, that's about it.

    I loved the grocery business, though. If I didn't have to deal with boneheads above me and below me, I would have never left.

    Who is your favorite philosopher?

    Well, I'm the last of the Hobbesians, so I guess it's an easy question to answer: Voltaire.

    Nah, it's Hobbes. Followed by too many to list, though Plato and Han Fei Tzu are right there.

    Choose your favorite historical era. Why is it your favorite?
    What do you mean? My favorite historical era for studying is certainly Alexander to the Roman Republic. Isn't that everyone's?

    But my favorite historical era in terms of wishing I could have been there is probably the early twentieth century. Really, I was born too late. I was made to be walking through the the pre and post war remnants of the British Empire, European colonialism in Africa, and the like.

    What is the best sitcom of all time?

    I'd say Seinfeld, but it's not really a sitcom. Ask Poetinahat...

    But the best? I'd say the race was between MASH, All in the Family, and Cheers. In the end, Cheers wins, because it never tried to be anything more than a comedy.

    Who was the most bad-ass US President? Why do you think so?

    Andy Jackson. Anyone that thinks different doesn't know beans about the Presidents.

    Jackson brilliantly walked a line in the Nullification Crisis of the 1830's that I believe few others could have held. He staved off war, yet so many historians insist on painting him as less-than-smart. Remember, read history but never trust historians.

    You can travel back in time to see one live concert. The year you go back to is 1976. Which band do you choose to see?

    I don't know. I'm friggin old, now. I'd say Zeppelin or Skynard, but I don't wanna get stoned, anymore. And I certainly don't want to be shoulder to shoulder with sweaty, drunk cretins that badly need showers and haircuts.

    Maybe Linda Ronstadt...

    Of course, if you'd given me a few more years to go back, I would have said The Doors, anyway.

    You spend a good deal of your AW time in politics, music and movie forums. Tell us about the “writer-you” that brought you to AW. What are the aspirations of this writer? What are you working on now?

    I believe I have five books in my head, right now, waiting to come out. Two are non-fiction, three are fiction. It's fiction that I'm struggling with at the moment. But the baby and kids suck away all the time I once had, so I'm managing to get very little done. Plus, I have to keep schooling the P&CE crowd...

    But I hope to finish the first fiction book in the next year, get it published, win the Nobel Prize, sell the film rights for a gazillion dollars, let my wife quit working, and have the time and notoriety to write and publish my non-fiction and force academia to restructure their history, economics, and political science departments across the board, while forcing them to eliminate sociology as a discipline completely.

    Which came first:
    You love to debate. Did you learn a lot about a lot of things to enable you to debate on nearly any topic or do you debate because you just happen to know so much about so many things that are worth debating?


    Good question. My parents read--and still do--like the Dickens (and the Longfellow). So, I've always read, fiction and nonfiction. But I've always been a smart ass, too.

    Beyond that, I think all the time. Seriously. I think when I'm driving. I think when I'm watching TV. Hell, I think I think when I'm having sex.

    I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I believe I think deeply about things far more than most people. Far more. I strive to make connections: my views on abortion, for instance, are--in my mind--completely consistent with my views on international trade. Really. Don't laugh.

    So, I've kinda got built in bullet points for pretty much any subject. Does that make sense?

    You love words. You use them as tools to educate, debate, provide exact understanding, and to communicate as clearly as possible. You also use them as playthings, and use humor as precisely as you debate. So which requires more brain power for you: using words in a serious way or a humorous one?

    A serious way, no doubt. In my view, humor is best when it comes naturally, without too much forethought. Obviously, different people are better at different sorts of humor.

    You recently listed these as your part of the AW list of the top 100 singers:
    1) Marvin Gaye
    2) Martha Reeves
    3) Linda Ronstadt
    4) Ian Gillian
    5) Buddy Holly
    6) Hank Williams (not Jr.)
    7) Gregg Allman
    8) Steve Winwood
    9) Aretha Franklin
    10) Otis Redding
    11) Barbra Streisand
    12) Neil Diamond
    13) Dean Martin
    14) Stevie Wonder
    15) Steve Perry
    16) Steven Tyler
    17) Bowie
    18) Mercury
    19) Sting
    20) Paul Simon
    Your diverse taste in music seems to be representative of your diverse taste in nearly every artistic endeavor – either as a participant or an observer. You have a sharp critical eye, and express the opinion very pointedly. This takes a lot of skill – to not only know you like or dislike something but to understand why.

    Did someone help you develop such inclusion and open-mindedness in all things artistic or is it something that stems from natural curiosity?
    How did you develop the tastes and critical eye (or ear) with which you experience and critique these things?

    Wow, that's a long question.

    But look, while my musical tastes are far-ranging, not all my tastes are. Take art (as in painting and sculpture), for instance. I'm very traditional. I like very little modern art. I don't much care for Picasso or Rembrandt. But really, this kind of art is not all that important to me, regardless.

    But I guess in my heart--despite my analytical robes--I'm Dionysian, ala Nietzsche.

    "Et in Arcadia ego" means what to you?

    I'm on an island. I see the past and I see the future--or least the roads that lead there. As I once pointed out to Mac, I'm the biggest iconoclast I know. It's not always apparent, but it's there.

    A self-description from your blog: “I'm arrogant, judgmental, overly critical, cynical, and sarcastic in the extreme.” How do you reconcile that with being such a darn nice guy?

    Know thyself. A better philosophy of life has never been given.

    Favorite Mel Brooks movie?

    Blazing Saddles, by far.

    Why do you hate Alan Alda?

    Because he destroyed Hawkeye Pierce as a character. He was okay in the beginning, but eventually MASH became the Alan Alda Moral Superiority Show. Unforgivable.

    If you were a movie, what would your theme song be?

    What?!!!??

    I don't know. If I were a movie, would anyone come to see me?

    But I guess, Midnight Rider by the Allman Brothers...
    It doesn't fit so well, know that I have kids, however.

    I know you love that you can be a stay-at-home dad.
    What is the greatest reward?
    What’s the hardest part?


    Greatest reward? Easy: watching the the wonder and awe in a childs eyes as he/she grows into the world.

    Hardest part? Really, there isn't one. I don't mind laundry or cleaning. I've got it easy.

    If someone used you as a model for a comic book character, what would the character’s name be and what is the premise?
    Buck Naked?

    Hmmm...I guess my character in a comic book would be some kind of government ops analyst. I'd be the guy with the info that the superhero needs. Bobby Cruncher?

    Favorite quote from the movie Bull Durham?

    You already know what it is.

    Trish Comment: {yes. I suppose I do.)

    It’s karaoke night again. All of your favorite songs are in the book. You pick three and carefully write down the numbers and titles on the little slips of paper. Each one that you sing is dedicated to someone. What are the songs and who are they dedicated to?
    Maybe I'm Amazed--my wife
    Long-haired Country Boy--a couple of my good buddies
    Hold on Loosely--you

    Don't look so surprised. You knew that was coming, too.
    Last edited by Stew21; 12-14-2008 at 05:46 PM.

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