The Normblog questions answered by Dustbury

Stolen from normblog
A couple months back, Dustbury wrote about Norm Geras, who died in October of prostate cancer, again belying the narrative that no one dies from it; my father did.

Chaz wrote: “In the online community, however, he may be best remembered for the normblog profile, in which he sent four dozen or so questions to leading bloggers and asked them to answer any thirty of their choice.” Here is a list of all the hundreds of bloggers who answered the call.

I had opted to answer the questions that Norm posed to Dustbury that Chaz deigned to answer.

Well, except that the next day, Chaz wrote Norm’s instructions:

“Please NB that you should not answer all 50 questions, but (as requested on the document itself) just 30 of them — enabling you to select those questions most congenial to you and leave out any that aren’t.”

Chaz added: “The wisdom of this practice really didn’t dawn on me until I’d submitted my answers, when I realized that this was how Norm knew what you really valued above all else.” Which means I’m going to chuck *Which English Premiership football team do you support? since it is NOT in my area of expertise.

But I will add some questions answered by John Green, but NOT by Dustbury, just because.

*Why do you blog?

Therapy is too expense.

*What has been your best blogging experience?

Getting comments about my grandfather, who died in 1980, years after I wrote about him.

*What has been your worst blogging experience?

Some haranguing guy at my Times Union blog who was complaining every day about something I wrote.

*What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger?

Find a schedule and try to stick with it. Once a week or twice a day, but be consistent. Three posts in a day, then nothing for three days isn’t as good as once a day.

*What are you reading at the moment?

Xerox Ferox, which is a thick book of essays.

*Who are your cultural heroes?

Ben Franklin and Paul Simon? John Lennon and Thomas Jefferson? Actually, my first thought was Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

*What is the best novel you’ve ever read?

11/22/63 by Stephen King has supplanted A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

*What is your favourite poem?

Ever since I learned it was parody, it’s probably The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

*Who is your favourite composer?

Mozart, though I am quite fond of Beethoven.

*Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you’ve ever changed your mind?

When I was 14, I supported the Vietnam War; when I was 15, I opposed it. I’ve gone through lots of changes involving religion, from fundamentalist fervor to rejection of religion to my current, always evolving beliefs.

*What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate?

Being civil and decent does not mean weakness.

*What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat?

Yelling the loudest does not make you correct. I think people confuse clever retorts with sound policy, which scares the heck out of me.

*If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be?

There needs to be a chance for third parties, and given the way the Republicans and Democrats rig the rules, we need another way to cast the ballot, such as Instant Runoff Voting.

*What would you do with the UN?

The problem with the UN is that the things it does well, in health care, e.g., is largely invisible. It probably should not put out the presumption that it can do peacekeeping.

*What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world?

Global warming, which will affect availability of water (too much or too little, it appears), cost of fighting natural disasters, from mudslides to fire.

*Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come?

I’d like to be positive; not sure that I am.

*What would be your most important piece of advice about life?

Don’t be a schmuck.

*Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own?

Probably not, because she would keep saying stuff that would inevitably tick me off.

*What do you consider the most important personal quality?

The pursuit of honesty.

*What personal fault do you most dislike?


*In what circumstances would you be willing to lie?

Interesting question. As I’ve noted here before, I’ve been hugely influenced by the book Lying by Sissela Bok. Would I lie to protect someone? Maybe. But what if I lied and said someone was in the closet, when I thought he was in the kitchen, in order to protect him, but he had actually moved to the closet?

*Do you have any prejudices you’re willing to acknowledge?

People who are wealthy and think they did it all by themselves tend to annoy me.

*What is your favourite proverb?

“A stitch in time saves nine.” I’m lazy by nature.

*What would you call your autobiography?

Rambling with Roger. Actually, I have no idea.

*What would your ideal holiday be?

A rail pass to places where they play Major League Baseball.

*What talent would you most like to have?

Play the piano. THAT’S not going to happen.

*What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job?

Teaching remedial math to adults, but not using that ugly Core Curriculum stuff they’re using in New York State.

*How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money?

I’d spend some time working on genealogy, working more with the Friends of the Library, and maybe volunteering for the Red Cross.

*What animal would you most like to be?

Golden retriever. I’m not a dog person, but I do like them.
*Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Forest Whitaker. As a child, I have no idea.

*What is your most treasured possession?

A copy of Abbey Road allegedly signed by four Beatles.

*If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?


*Who is your favourite comedian or humorist?

Bill Cosby. Or Bob Newhart.

*Who are your sporting heroes?

Muhammad Ali, Willie Mays, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

*If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for?

Truth serum in the Washington, DC water supply, so we’d know for sure that Lobbyist A owns Congressman B, et al.

*If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be?

I must have answered this a half dozen times and never tire of it: John Lennon, René Magritte, and Jack Kirby, for no particular reason, except to see if Magritte would complain about the appropriation of his apple for the Beatles’ Apple Records; I suspect he would not care. They could talk about art from different perspectives.

One thought on “The Normblog questions answered by Dustbury”

  1. I like this list of questions! I shall answer a few of them.

    *Why do you blog?

    To get to know people in foreign countries and to meet them if possible.

    *What has been your best blogging experience?

    Meeting some of the bloggers and going to Israel to meet Dina.

    *What has been your worst blogging experience?

    When I was in the reward giving and getting period, I once got a reward, which was, according to a young blogger, something I didn’t deserve for my entries were far too boring, simple or …whatever.

    *What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger?

    Find a schedule and try to stick with it. Once a week or twice a day, but be consistent. Three posts in a day, then nothing for three days isn’t as good as once a day.I agree with this and would add to it: Don’t make your posts too long!

    *Who are your cultural heroes?
    Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.and Nelson Mandela.

    *What is the best novel you’ve ever read?
    The Chosen, by Chaim Potok

    *What is your favourite poem?

    Some Dutch poetry..

    *Who is your favourite composer?
    Bach and Handel, but also Corelli, Mozart and good old Beethoven. Actually all those old guys.


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