Friday, June 29, 2007

Faded summer

I don’t really like summer the way I did when I was a kid growing up in Boise. I mean, back then you had something to look forward to because you got a break from school. Since I joined the working world when I was 16, there were no more summer breaks. It just meant I had the same routine as usual, but it was hotter out.

Seattle doesn’t even get hot the way Boise did. To this day I equate the pungent smell of sagebrush simmering in the sun with summer. Boise is surrounded by sagebrush desert and brown foothills. I found it oppressive. I longed so many times growing up to live near water.

Now I’m surrounded by water every day and I’ve grown to believe that the perpetual green of this rain sodden part of the country can be almost as oppressive as the heat-impaired brown of Boise. I guess there has to be a happy medium. I did like that Boise had seasons. It literally ran hot and cold. Seattle’s season ooze into one another.

It is hard to get used to place where idiots greet you with, “Hot enough for you?” when it is barely 65 degrees. In my Boise youth, summers were in the 100s. We often spent days indoors with the blinds down, listening to the buzz of a fan and counting down the hours until evening.

I did love summer evenings as a boy. One summer my brothers and I would rendezvous with the neighborhood kids and play flashlight tag almost every night. Or we would put red cellophane over a flashlight lens and hunt for nightcrawlers to feed my father’s fishing habit. Summer nights were alive with crickets chirping and June Bugs crashing up against window screens. I don’t hear crickets in Seattle for some reason.

I miss the crickets.

I used to look forward to Fourth of July almost as much as Christmas. I’d line up my Safe and Sane Fireworks assortment in the order I planned to light them. Occasionally we’d end up with some contraband firecrackers my older brother would score at one of the local Indian reservation booths. I could barely contain myself until it was dark enough to begin our backyard show, the parents sitting in lawn chairs trying to act impressed as we lit cones and tubes with exotic names like Blooming Ground Flower and Dragons Dancing.

I caught myself outside the other night yelling at some neighborhood kids setting off firecrackers nearby. Their response was, “Shut up old man.”

Did I mention I miss the crickets?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More dreams

Since my last dream post was so popular, I thought everyone would be fascinated to hear about the dream I had last night. I was in a room with lots of people where we had to take our shoes off. We were lying on the floor listening to some speaker. Suddenly we all jumped up to go to a restaurant. Everyone left but me. I was trying to find my shoes. Then, as it often happens in dreams, the room was filled with shoes, mainly athletic shoes. I was desperately trying to find a pair that fit. Then boots started appearing. I fancied a pair. I used to wear cowboy boots when I was less than middle aged. My arches can’t quite deal with them anymore. Anyway, I kept grabbing pair of boots hoping to find a men’s size 10, extra wide, but all I could find were these thigh highs like the cross dressers wore in the movie Kinky Boots (a film about a respected British shoe manufacturer that saved itself from bankruptcy by cranking out a line of boots for transvestites and female impersonators). I didn’t want thigh high cross dresser boots. By that time I just wanted to go to dinner. Then I woke up and the cat was sitting near my head staring at me.

That’s it.

I don’t want to hear anymore Freudian interpretations, thank you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I had a dream

I had a dream last night about throwing a party. It was in my mother’s house (the house I grew up in). Most of my dreams take place there or my grandmother’s house next door. I never seem to dream about the house I actually live in. I wonder why that is?

But I digress. In the dream I was trying to find something clean to wear to the party. I had a series of jackets in my closet. One of them was a fur coat that Tess had given me (not really, but in the dream). I felt guilty looking at it because I wouldn’t be caught dead in it. So it sat in the closet.

The party was pretty lame because I hadn’t thought to buy much in the way of party food. This is not surprising because although I’m a pretty good cook, I suck at planning parties. In fact, I really don’t like parties. I’m relatively antisocial. Ironic that marketing is my profession. Though I put marketing people in two categories -- creative introverts and slimy extroverts. I like to think of myself as more of the creative introvert, but I can be a slimy extrovert if the occasion merits it.

I don’t remember much more of the dream. I don’t think I wore the fur coat though.

Oh, but there were three or four kittens playing in my parents bedroom after the party. I love kittens.

I haven’t a clue as to where this dream came from. I was watching Robert DeNiro in Deer Hunter before I went to bed. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the inspiration. Though they do wear furry hunting hats in the film. I ate some barbecued chicken and macaroni and cheese for dinner. But I don’t subscribe to the theory that indigestion impacts dreams.

So where do dreams come from? I probably shouldn’t ask that question. Because experience at blogging has taught me that for every question, some one out there has an answer. And sometimes we just ask questions.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

They treat me like family!

I saw an ad on the side of the bus last week for a local casino. It said, "THE QCC CASINO TREATS ME LIKE FAMILY." I started laughing when I thought about it. I know the copywriter meant it as a good thing. But it is kind of a loaded statement.

My family isn't close. I see my middle brother and his family once a year at Thanksgiving. I see my mother then, too. I call her ever couple of months. I rarely see my oldest brother. I maintain contact with his son, my nephew, through my blog.

It isn't that I don't care about my family. But for some reason we weren't raised with a sense of family. My father was adopted and was raised as an only child. My mother came from a family of 13 children. The opposite extremes left both of them without any real idea of what a family was.

Like everyone else raised in the 60s and 70s, I watched ideal families on television that enjoyed spending time together and went out of their way to help each other. There was Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, The Brady Bunch and Ozzie and Harriet. Father's advised, mother's nurtured and siblings talked. Ironically, today's behind the scenes nostalgia shows debunk any myths that may have been behind all of those shows.

I assume there are traditional families out there. But I think the way I was raised was pretty typical. Everyone did there own thing. My parents struggled just to pay bills. Their roles as providers didn't leave much time for being counselors and mentors. No one really talked. I was much older before I really sat down and had a conversation with my brothers. But we still didn't really talk. My father died before I could ask him who he really was. And now my mother is in her 80s and her main topic of conversation is what she had for lunch.

So ironically when I see an ad where they say a business treats you like family, I think they are inadvertently being honest. It means they treat you politely but you are still a stranger with a credit card.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stop the music

I'm one of those people who is always getting a song stuck in his head. People go by whistling or even mention a phrase that reminds me of a song and the damned thing starts playing a continuous loop in my brain. So far today it has been You can't always get what you want by the Rolling Stones followed by Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues.

My older brother used to play Nights in White Satin over and over when he was a teenager. I think it had something to do with puberty, but I can't be certain. I desperately wanted to smash that record along with his 45 rpm of Frida Payne's Band of Gold (no one under 30 probably even knows what I'm talking about when I say 45 rpm...young people annoy me). He also played Tommy James and the Shondells version of Crimson and Clover, over and over (there is a certain irony to this if you have ever heard the song).

It's not always the annoying songs that are stuck in my head. Sometimes I wake up with tunes circling about that I listened to while exercising the day before. Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette frequently serenade me in the waking hours. Generally it is some of there more obscure stuff that sticks in my head. For example I often have the line from Tori Amos' the Waitress scurrying about in my brain (...I want to kill, this waitress...she's worked here a year longer than I). I haven't a clue what that means, either.

I suppose it could be worse. I could be listening to voices telling me what to do. But it is pretty disconcerting to hear crap like Air Supply singing "I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you..." when I'm sitting on the toilet.

Occasionally I'll try and pass the stupid songs on to my co-workers by whistling or singing a few lines when I'm walking by their cubicles. There is a certain satisfaction when you walk by later and hear someone humming Islands in the Stream and grimacing because they don't know why or how to stop.

I'm going to leave you all with one final thought: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

Don't thank me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Run, blogger run...

As with most of my posts lately, the topic of this one is not necessarily new. The title was originally, "Where have all the bloggers gone?" But after doing a Google search for that phrase, I changed it, because apparently lots of bloggers have explored the phenomenon of bloggers missing in action and used that same title.
In my three years of blogging, I've watched many blogs come and go. Funny, but rarely do I see people simply delete their blogs and hightail it out of dodge. Most of the time they leave the derelict blog floating along like one of those ghost ships abandoned on the high seas with coffee still percolating on the stove. And you start to wonder what happened and whether it will happen to you.
One guy conjectured that one of the reasons bloggers stop for no apparent reason is that they are afraid their blog will be discovered by friends and family. So they bolt. That kills me. Most of us want to be discovered, want to be read, and these people are going south when they think they are getting too much attention?

Oh, I know that many people blog about a hidden life or personality that they are terrified co-workers or family will discover. But if you think about it, unless you give people your blog address and post a bunch of personal information, your blog is the proverbial blog needle in the Web haystack. There are so many blogs out there that the odds of anyone you know randomly discovering them are pretty darned astronomical.

Not all bloggers just vanish into the ether, either. Some leave the blogger's version of a suicide note explaining they can't take it anymore. The constant pressure of posting, reading, commenting and replying takes its toll and they snap. But at least by leaving a blog swan song, they take the wondering about where they went out of the equation. But they don't take away the real "why" of why they went.
I suppose we all teeter on edge of giving up our blogs when we dwell on the seeming futility of it all. If you rely on the waxing and waning comments, stat counters and blog rolls I think you are doomed to failure in the blog world. Once, early on in my blogging venture, I equated blogging to launching the Voyager 1 spacecraft three decades ago. You launch that puppy and hope eventually it will be discovered by intelligent life.
I guess the real question is, "Does it exist, and if so, do you think it will blog roll me?"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

In my father's day

It has become a tradition of sorts for me to write about my father on Father's Day. He has been dead for about 15 years now, but he still shows up in my dreams now and then. I also see him more and more when I look in the mirror.

My father was born in Portland, Oregon in 1915. He was in an orphanage until he was five years old before my grandparents adopted him and took him to live at a vacation camp resort they owned on the Oregon Coast. It was at Neah-kah-nie Beach near Nehalem, Oregon. You can't see it very well, but I believe that is my grandmother on the far left in the photo below.

I don't know the reason, but my grandparents sold the H**** Tent City and moved to Boise, Idaho in about 1925 or so. I often wonder what it would have been like if they'd held onto that property on the Oregon Coast and I'd grown up near the ocean. I definitely would have had a better view growing up and the potential for inheriting a fortune. But then again I probably wouldn't have been me then, so it is a moot point.

The photo above is the way I always remember my father. He rarely wore a shirt during the summer, but always had on long work pants covered with a paint stains. My father never cared about how he looked despite my mother's many attempts to get him to.

My father loved the outdoors. His favorite thing was to be in the mountains standing in the Boise River with a fishing rod in his hand. We scattered his cremated remains next to that river and I knew at the time he appreciated the release.

It surprises me at times how different I am than my father. I hate fishing. I would rather stay in a hotel than sleep in a sleeping bag. And I refuse to walk around without a shirt.

But then again I still feel his influence in my character. It is impossible for me to litter. I can build and start a fire with one match. I love reading (my father would take me to the library almost every weekend). I mow the lawn in an inherited pattern and I don't mind washing dishes. I also am honest and loyal to a fault.

These things come from my father.Thanks for the gifts dad. Even on Father's Day you keep giving.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Seinfeld of bloggers

Let's face it, my blog is essentially about nothing. The upside is that when I have nothing to say, I'm on topic. The downside is that when I do have something to say, it confuses people because they come here for nothing and seem disappointed when they find something.

I guess the paradox with me is that since I blog about nothing, how can I ever run out of topics? There were none to begin with. But man, lately...I don't know? Nothing isn't quite cutting it for me. I really want to say something that means something. But nothing keeps coming out.

Let this be a lesson to those of you who are new to blogging. Free form blogging may seem like an uplifting idea when you start, but eventually, no matter how much you think you have to say, you are going to run out of topics. The temptation is to rerun some of your early stuff with the assumption that no one read it anyway. Personally I think that is a cop out. Life and television is full of enough reruns without having to read recycled blog posts.

What's worst than rerunning old blog posts is starting to blog about not being able to blog. Wait a minute, that's what I'm doing now. How pitiful. I've become the stereotypical, loser blogger writing about not being able to write about anything.

Oh well, I guess it's better than writing nothing.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


We attended the graduation ceremony for our nephew last night. It was held in the hinterlands of the Puget Sound in the events center of a county fairgrounds. We parked in a dirt overflow lot and made our way through the swells of families milling about before the ceremony.

There was no room remaining on the main floor of the hall when we entered, so we foraged for seats in the bleachers amongst teens and grandmothers fanning themselves with the commencement program. The high school band warmed up in the corner of the room, muffled by the general cacophony of the families waiting for their chance to snapshot the momentous occasion.

I had my digital camera in my hand as well, knowing intuitively that any photo snapped in a room designed to house gun shows and crafts fairs would fail to capture anything other than the heads of the people in front of me. But I knew how important it was for Tess. She'd helped raise this nephew and still saw a toddler posing as a awkward teenager when she looked at him through her maternal aunt eyes.

The band struck up a weak rendition of Pomp and Circumstance and the graduates began filing in with very little pomp and more casual circumstance. Tess clicked her tongue at flip flogs and tennis shoes sticking out below the graduation gowns. "We dressed up for graduation," she whispered in disapproval. I patted her hand. Inside I wondered when we had become the finger wagging, older generation.

I put my camera to my eye, ready to photograph our nephew when the line of blue and white snaked past us below towards their rows of empty seats for what they probably viewed as their last assembly. But we were so far up and the graduates were so uniformly anonymous in their gowns that somehow we missed him.

The ceremony began with a speech by the principal. Then there was a welcome speech by a boy who was obviously one of the school elite. His name was all over the program along with a smattering of other honor students and class presidents.

I felt a twinge as I listened to the speech. How is it that each generation of high school students divides themselves into groups of popular kids, jock, freaks and the invisible? Even alphabetized and robed, these kids were no different.

It struck me, too, how young these graduates were. The valedictorians highlighted the milestones of their young lives in terms of kindergarten, grade school, middle school and the pinnacle: high school. They waxed nostalgically about homecomings, cross country races and final tests as if they were now grown up and stuck in that looking back phase of life instead of perched on the edge of the beginning of it.

The restless graduates nudged each other and stifled giggles as if they were indeed at one more assembly. The speeches wound down and the moment of receiving diplomas began. The rows rose and filed by as the clusters of family and friends cheered. Some of the graduates gave victory gestures and hoots of happiness at freedom. Some were somber and awed by being in one of life's brief "center of attention" moments. Others simply accepted their diplomas and scurried off the stage into the shadows.

When our nephew's name was read, the stage lights burned out suddenly and I lost yet another opportunity to capture the fuzzy moment from my hapless perch in the bleachers. But Tess still glowed with pride as she watched the amorphous shape in the gloom accept his diploma. When he had filed off, someone found the house lights and illuminated the event once more.

We sat through the reading of the rest of the names of young people we didn't know. The heat from all of the bodies clustered in the hall was stifling. As it reached the unbearable stage the graduating class was introduced and they tossed their mortarboards into the air. Once again they formed into their last lines of high school and filed out. Our nephew's line turned the opposite direction from where we sit and my final photo opportunity disappeared. I put the camera back into my bag and we clumped our way down the bleachers towards the fresh air and to rendezvous with our nephew and his family.

Outside Tess' maternal radar honed in on our grinning nephew still in his hat and gown. Tess rushed in and pinned him between herself and his high school girlfriend (also graduating that night). I pulled out the neglected camera and snapped away, hoping every one's eyes were open (literally and figuratively).

I stood back as the strange faces of our nephew's family darted in and out of the circle. I am a relative newcomer in this family and there is no time in all the commotion for many introductions. That is okay. I'm used to being that shadow in the photographs cast by the one taking the photo.

Our nephew peeled off his gown. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. He pulled on a sweatshirt and Tess hugged him one last time while he impatiently looked for his escape route to go to his all night senior party.

We drove the long route home talking about the ceremony, our nephew's future and what it had been like when we graduated from high school. Some memory synapses fired in the dim recesses of my brain and I recalled that night 30-some years ago when I'd grasped that diploma folder in my hand and wondered vaguely at what had just happened and where I was going next.

"You know," I said to Tess as she squinted at the headlights and drove back to our own present, "I don't think any of those kids have a clue as to how much of their life is still ahead of them."

We drove the rest of the way home in silence.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Centaur of attention

Centaurs are a mythological creature that are half man and half horse. Generally they are depicted with a man's torso on a horse's body because let's face it, a horse's head on a man's body would look downright silly.

Now I suppose talk of Centaurs may conjure up in some people's minds the nasty little incident that occurred in Enumclaw, Washington not too long ago where a Boeing Engineer took his love of horses to an extreme level. His love affair with a stallion ended poorly (pun intended).

Centaurs get their name from Centaurus, the son of Apollo and a nymph named Stilbe. Centaurus apparently loved horses, too and fathered the mythological herd of half horse and half horses that would be known as Centaurs after sowing some wild oats with a few fillies.

Historians theorize that the myth of the centaur was actually spawned when tribes of people who hadn't domesticated horses encountered tribes of nomadic people who had figured out it is much easier to ride than walk. The horseless tribes mistook the men mounted on horses as one creature.

This was more common then one might think. The Aztecs, for example, thought Cortez's mounted soldiers were half man and half beast. Considering what happened to the Aztec culture after encountering Cortez, they were probably right.

Isn't it funny how we saddle ourselves with these myths.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I read it in a magazine

It never ceases to amaze me how many people will spout information and when pressed for their source, they'll smugly tell you, "I read it in a magazine." Well, then of course it is true.


I'm willing to bet that a majority of the articles in popular magazines are written by people whose sources are also other magazines or worse yet, the Internet. I find it frightening that people will Google a topic, read the first several pages they find on the Web and then become an expert on the topic. This is especially frightening when I discover via my blog stats that nine out of ten people who pop into Dizgraceland do so by conducting a Web search on some serious topic. Trust me people, I am not a "source" you should be quoting anywhere.

Why is it we think that something becomes true when we find it written down? It is getting so you can't even trust photos, video or eyewitness accounts anymore. It is just too pitifully easy to fake anything.

So what can you trust? Oh, I suppose there are a few legimate sources of information left in the world. The first being your own common sense. Obviously if something seems to good to be true, it likely isn't.

Before you trust a fact, cross check it. Keep in mind, however, even if several news sources cite the same fact it doesn't confirm it. Lazy reporters sometimes rely on news services and each other for facts. One bit of false information can easily spread quickly before it is tripped up by the truth.

Also keep in mind that truth is a relative thing. The Rush Limbaugh news network isn't likely to give you an unbiased opinion of the lates Democratic platform. And the Beef Farmer's Association isn't the best source for nutritional facts on how healthy red meat is.

Finally, blogs, especially those that regurgitate the news, should be your last source of the truth. Are you really ready to put lots of faith in someone who spends nine hours a day obsessively surfing the Web for topics that support their own theories and beliefs?

I guess when it comes down to it, the X-Files was right: Trust No One.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Over the hump

I had this idea to do a hump themed post every Wednesday. Okay, get your dirty little minds out of the gutter. Hump Day is what we Americans like to call Wednesday. It is the "hump" of the week and everything is down hill to the Weekend from here on out. And there are lots of things with humps so I figured I could milk this puppy for months worth of posts. The first thing with a hump that came to mind to me Holy Joe.

I seriously doubt any of you know who Holy Joe is. When I was growing up in Boise, there was a poor old guy who used to live next to my grade school in this dilapidated shack. Everyone called him Holy Joe because he was always seen walking down the alleyways by our houses carrying a Bible in one hand and an old canvas bag slung over his shoulder. He foraged through garbage cans looking for items he could use or sell. I guess that's how he survived.

Why do I bring up Holy Joe for my first 'Over the Hump' post? What made Holy Joe famous to the kids in my neighborhood was a very prominent hump on his back. And there is nothing like a deformity to bring out the curiousity and cruelty in children. I remember watching kids taunt Holy Joe from the edge of the school yard when he'd walk past to get to his shack. He shake a bony fist at them and mutter something unintelligible in a high-pitched voice. The kids would just laugh and move along with him, staying well out of his reach until he would disappear into his shanty.

I didn't join in the taunts. I felt sorry for him. But I was fascinated by the hump on Holy Joe's back. It reminded me of the most famous character in literature with a hump on his back -- the Hunchback of Notre Dame. And I'd felt sorry for him, too when I saw the movie version of the book starring Charles Laughton for the first time.

I imagine Victor Hugo would not have gotten away with writing the Hunchback of Notre Dame if he'd written it today. After all, the novel's central character is a deaf hunchback named Quasimodo who is more or less tortured throughout the book because of his deformity. Even Imus would have hesitated to stroll down that pathway strewn with politically incorrect land minds (well maybe not).

I'm surprised Disney got away with turning it into a cute little cartoon feature a few years ago without developing a more sanitized title. I'm willing to bet that they did focus groups on a few alternatives like "Person with a Noticeably Swollen Back of Notre Dame" or "Humpy, the Friendly Clown of Notre Dame." I imagine that someone in marketing finally said something like, "I've got a hunch the original title will sell better at the box office," and they kept it.

Disney may have kept the original title, but they toned down the grotesque nature of Quasimodo's appearance to a more gentle looking Shrek-like creature (if Quasimodo is a hunchback, I wonder what a Fullmodo would be...get it...Quasi-modo...Full-modo....oh never mind). I guess it's easier to make a cartoon about a hunchback if you make him all cuddly and lovable.

Oh well, that was a long, rambling way to say, "Happy Hump Day." God knows what I'll write about next Wednesday.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Predictable Combustion

"What doesn't kill us makes us blog."

Kat recently wrote a post called Spontaneous Combustion in which she suggested there should be some early warning mechnanism that would alert people if they were about to spontaneously combust. My smartass comment was that it wouldn't be spontaneous combustion if you knew it was going to happen. It would be predictable combustion.

I am a literalist at times.

This conjures up a scene from Monty Python's movie Meaning of Life in which a waiter urges an obese man to eat just "one thin mint" after he as gorged himself beyond his limit. Even after the obese man protests that he can't or he would explode the waiter continues to taunt him with the mint. He eats it and explodes.

I believe Kat's original point was that we all reach a point where we've taken on much more than we can accomplish and that a visible sign that we were at our combustion point would give is an out. But there is always someone who wants you to eat that one, thin mint.

I have come to the conclusion that my blog is the pressure valve that keeps my head from exploding. It is a vomitorium of sorts that allows me to purge myself of the stuff that is circling about in my brain looking for a way out. I think it is a good sign if you can blog about something. The alternative is to lay in your shower in the fetal position clutching a toilet brush and wait for your head to explode.

I just wanted to pass this pearl on to those of you who are suffering from blogger's block. Perhaps all your blog needs is an enema. You'll be so relieved when the words start flowing again.

No need to thank me for that mental image. Have a nice day!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Interview with the Tim

Hayden taunted me with another meme with these rules:

Directions for the Interview Meme:
1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview Me."
2. I will respond by asking you 5 questions. (I get to pick the questions.)
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

I of course took the bait. Here is her interview with me:

1) When you are day dreaming, where do you most often go – (past, present, future) and what do you do there?

When I day dream, I generally return to the past and relive happy times or rewrite scripts of things I would have done differently. I attend different colleges and earn different degrees. I take different jobs and take different chances. Sometimes I daydream that I am different people. When I was a boy, I imagined I was one of the Beatles. I would also put myself in various heroes’ roles from movies I’d seen. The beauty of day dreaming is that you can become anything: better looking, rich, successful and talented. I have day dreamed all those things.

2) If you could take your gnome anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’d take the little bugger on one of those expeditions down to visit the wreck of the Titanic. Then I’d use one of the robot arms to place him on the bow of the wreck with a sign around his neck that reads: I’M THE KING OF THE WORLD! This would just be for the benefit of the gnome, mind you.
If it were a place I wanted to go, it would be either the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the French West Indies on a Windjammer Barefoot Cruise (preferably the Polynesian) or walking down Royal Street in New Orleans on my way to St. Louis Cathedral to watch the street performers and artists.

3) You’ve found a magic bottle with a djinn in it. It’s a very old djinn, and while his magic is still powerful, his willingness is weak. He grants you only one wish. What is it?

Any kid who has ever thought about this question will tell you the correct wish is to wish for more wishes. But since there seems to be lots of policies, disclaimers and caveats in the djinn world, I suppose I couldn’t get away with that. I suppose then I would wish for unlimited monetary wealth without constraints or penalties. Because, although money can’t buy you love, it can buy you freedom, security and the ability to provide for your loved ones.

If for some reason I couldn’t get that wish, I would wish for the ability to become invisible at will. Because I think invisibility could also provide freedom, security and the ability to provide for your loved ones.

4) If you could be any character in history, who would it be and why?

Cyrano de Bergerac. He was heroic, he was romantic, he was poetic, he was strong and he was beautiful on the inside. He just wasn’t beautiful on the outside. He lived in a romantic time where great gestures and honor were more important than superficial things. Plus I always wanted to be a great swordsman and swashbuckler.

5) You have been granted infinite power to change one thing in your life. What is it that you change, and why?

Again with the one thing. I suppose then, I would eliminate self-doubt. It stands in the way of so much in our lives and prevents us from reaching our potential. Eliminating my double chin would be a close runner up.

Bonus question: is there anything that you would hesitate to put your face on, and why or why not?

I am assuming you are referring to Photoshopping my face on things, and not literally putting my face on things. The answers would be substantially different. I have Photoshopped my face on whale vomit, pumpkins, Kim chi stew, quesadillas and head cheese. But I would not put my face on George W. Bush. Even I have standards.