May 9, 2006

Think of it as one of those clip shows they run halfway through a season of Survivor

Eric Berlin jumps on an LJ meme. I'm adapting it here partly because a friend recently confessed that he never understands my blog posts (the words "so coded" were used), partly out of laziness, and largely out of curiosity about what I'll get. It's still cheesy, I know, but I left out all the truly goofy LJ angst.

Basically, this is your chance to ask anything you want about anything you've seen on this blog — or anything you think you missed. If you've refrained from asking about something in the past because you felt like you should have known, now's your chance. If you were confused about whether I meant something ironically or not, I'll try to clear it up for you. If you've been wondering about anything basic about your humble blogger — where I live, how old I am, what my favorite teen pop group is — you can ask that too. This one time only, I promise to answer in an honest and straightforward manner. Probably.

Or you can not ask anything, and I will be mortified by the sound of the crickets.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Well, since I indirectly inspired this post, I'll go first:

I get the impression from past posts that your father is a hoo-ha among conservatives. Is that right? Er, correct? If so, are you able to filter politics our of your everyday relationship with him?

Eric: My father, Ron Radosh, is indeed a neo-con (mostly), but he's an historian rather than a pundit or politician, so "hoo-ha" here is a relative term (assuming that it is a term at all; are you sure you don't mean poobah?). That is, he's not widely known outside of fairly rarified circles (which is to his credit, as far as I'm concerned).

We do indeed argue about politics (mostly by e-mail as he lives in West Virginia) and I periodically need to declare a cooling-off period when things get too aggravating. But for the most part we focus on things we agree about: Bob Dylan, action movies, the adorableness of his grandchildren, and the brilliance of my writing.

His latest book, Red Star Over Hollywood, is also his least objectionable, and is available at fine bookstores everywhere.

What kind of college degree (if any -- I know it's unlikely you don't, but I don't want to seem, um, classist, I guess) do you have? And where from?

Since you brought it up, what is your favorite teen pop group? I'm assuming that question is there not as a joke, but as a way of signaling that you've found something better than Huckapoo that you're just dying to tell us all about.

99: I have a BA in English and Religion from Oberlin College, so feel free to make fun of the poor folks all you like.

Jesse: No, that was a joke. It's Huckapoo 4 eva. Although I recently discovered a potential replacement that I am, in fact, dying to tell you about. They deserve their own post, though.

Okay Daniel, since I owe you an almost infinite amount of gratitude for turning me on to Ultraviolet and getting me to retry Firefly on DVD, I trust your artistic opinions implicitly. In some of your posts concerning your Ipod on shuffle, it was obvious you have a pretty electic taste in music: how about naming some musical favorites that I shouldn't spend another day not knowing about? (In the same vein, I just bought some front row Bill Frisell tickets and you should be jealous as hell about that).

how come i never win the anti-caption contest?

I remember a misguided crack from some bitter journalist or other about you living in Park Slope which you corrected. From your correction I had the impression that you lived on the F line at the Ft. Hamilton stop. Is that right? I ask because at the time I was living at the same stop, at E. 5th between Ft. Hamilton and Caton. But I don't remember ever seeing you at the subway (I met you once at some useless blogging thing so I would have recognized you), which I imagine I would have had we shared the same subway stop.

(Well, don't blame me. You did invite this sort of question.)

I'll tackle the easy one first. Chris: Forget the subway. The question is why you didn't see me sitting on my stoop on the weekends, seeing as how I'm at E. 4th and Caton. I shoulda done this Q&A thing earlier. We could have met for a slice at Tonino's.

Anyway, on the two or three days a week that I go into Manhattan to work, I hop a ride with my wife, who drives the twins into the daycare center across the street from her office, so mostly Ft. Hamilton is a return stop for me.

E. 4th and Caton! Huh. I must have walked past your house with my dog (a beagle) a zillion times.

How did you and Francis meet? You seem to have known each other forever? Not from NewsQuiz, I hope.

given your enthusiasm for teen bubblegum bands i'm curious what your thoughts are on American Idol and whether or not you ever watch it.

When exactly is the twelfth of never anyway? This has bugged me for quite awhile.

Related to Marty's question, how soon is now?

Actually, Eric, it's from News Quiz.

how about naming some musical favorites that I shouldn't spend another day not knowing about?

Steve: While I will humbly agree that I have awesome taste in TV shows, the sad truth is that I'm terribly uncool when it comes to music. I probably haven't really gotten into a new artist since I turned 30. If you pressed me for albums I couldn't live without, I'd pretty quickly come up with In The Wee Small Hours and Blood on the Tracks, but beyond that, my hypothetical list of 100 best albums of all time would be only slightly less boring and predictable than, say, Rolling Stone's.

The best thing that ever happened to my iTunes shuffles was Elvis Costello's list of "500 albums that can only improve your life." I downloaded pretty much every spotlighted song from every album he names. You should do the same.

Beyond that, here are a few albums that should have been on his list but inexplicably are not: Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs; Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City; The Threepenny Opera - 1954 cast recording; Uakti - Mapa

how come i never win the anti-caption contest?

TBL: Your joke about the fat/pregnant men naming the baby Commander Riker after his father came close. Your other captions, while undeniably bad, tend to be bad in a sort of free-floating way, rather than so specifically bad that they make you see the cartoon in an entirely new, and worse, light. That's what you should be shooting for.

How did you and Francis meet?
Eric: I think Francis is correct, but who can remember that far back?

Marty/Hrvatsky: If anyone asks why we park in a driveway but drive on a parkway, I'm shutting this whole thing down.

I live on Ocean Parkway and Caton. Where should I eat? I'm getting tired of the Thai place, and haven't found anything good on Church Avenue. I'm guessing from your comment above that Little Tonino's is at least adequate -- though I'm troubled by the double diminutive in the name. Any other recommenations?

Also, shouldn't there be some kind of neighborhood committee working on getting us some better restaurants? And maybe a bar, too.

Too bad about your taste in music. Just as I moved away from the neighbourhood (to Coney Island and Newkirk Ave about a mile away) Crossroads Cafe starting putting on good music fairly regularly. It's on the other side of the Prospect Expwy, right at the exit to the F (disclaimer: my wife performs there occasionally). You wouldn't expect to find good music so far out into Brooklyn, but there you have it.

I afraid.

Now the world knows where my wonderful grandkids live! Oh my Oh my

How old are your twins and how do you like being a parent of twins?

Where should I eat?

Ah, but It's not unusual for excellent New York pizza to go hand in hand with dubious grammar. For more substantial fare, you can get decent comfort food at the new-ish Windsor House Cafe on Ft. H bet 3rd & 4th and terrific comfort food at Picket Fence on Cortelyou if you don't mind the walk (they deliver, as do most of the yuppie joints on PPW). Suganda, the Indian joint on Mc D and Church doesn't look like much, but it's worth a try. I haven't tried Lonelyville which just opened next to Louie G's, but it looks promising. Also, I hear they have good music at Crossroads Cafe (Chris: to clarify, I think I have pretty good taste in music, just not a lot of familiarity with newer/hipper stuff).

shouldn't there be some kind of neighborhood committee

What is this, the 1960's? We here in the future call them listservs (to the persistant annoyance of Eric Thomas). The Kensington/Windsor Terrace one is here.

Now the world knows where my wonderful grandkids live!

Wait till she sees their MySpace page.

How old are your twins and how do you like being a parent of twins?

They're two and a half (and three weeks) and it's great. And I don't mean, like, Huckapoo-great, but the kind of great that I can't really blog about because the ironic detachment would only diminish it. Yes, it was really, really, really hard at first, but now I feel sorry for people who only have one at a time.

Wait till she sees their MySpace page.

Lue: They don't have a MySpace page. That's a joke. I'll explain later.

i'm curious what your thoughts are on American Idol and whether or not you ever watch it.

I don't watch it, though I think I'd like the early, mean rounds. I have heard some of the music that comes out of it, and it's the opposite of what I love about bubblegum pop: joyless, overly-sincere, and shmaltzy.

Buffy or Starbuck?

Number 6 or 7 of 9?

The Doctor or House?

Jeff Probst or Phil Keoghan?

But seriously: what's the deal with Huckapoo? I've never heard of them anywhere other than this site. It occurs to me suddenly that they might not actually exist.

Also, 99, I'm a college dropout, as are many of the smartest people I know, and we're all doing quite well, thank you very much!

Buffy or Starbuck?

Number 6 or 7 of 9?
Agent 99

The Doctor or House?
Wait, we're not still talking about which one I'd have sex with, right?

Jeff Probst or Phil Keoghan?
Probst. But remember when Anderson Cooper was the host of the Mole? How funny is that in retrospect?

Lindsay: Are you kidding? There was a major feature on them in New York magazine!

I know I promised straightforward answers, but the question "what's the deal with Huckapoo?" simply doesn't lend itself to one. Now if you want to ask something more specific, like, "Precisely how awesome is Huckapoo?" I'll be glad to oblige.

Lindsay, the Atlantic Post & Ripost, Gothamist, now here: will the hating ever stop?

I asked because I remember a tossed off comment about the Oberlin alumni list, and, even though his illustrious career seemed to indicate far more wisdom and greater years, I hazard we may have been attending dueling wacko liberals arts colleges at the same time. I was at Antioch from 91-93, and had even applied to transfer to Oberlin, but visited Antioch first.

Since we are on the topic, if you were at Oberlin around the,n did you 'know' Liz Phair?

I should have asked that question first.

Oh, and since everyone seems to have read my comment backwards -- I didn't want to be presumptive in assuming DR had gone to or graduated, even from high school.

But since we are tiresomely throwing down, of my 13 aunts and uncles, only my mother graduated high school. Of my estimated 130 first and second cousins (encompassing the relatives in a 15 year band on either side of me in age, which happens when you have cousins older than uncles), there are only 5 college degrees (three of which are held by my sister and I). My father quit school when he was 12 because he was embarassed by his shoes. Blah blah blah.

Of my estimated 130 first and second cousins (encompassing the relatives in a 15 year band on either side of me in age, which happens when you have cousins older than uncles), there are only 5 college degrees (three of which are held by my sister and I).

Possibly relevant: "99" is (I am not making this up) short for "Mr 99th percentile". Apparently he took a test once. But it would seem that members of his percentile are still not so hot on the difference between "me" and "I".

Touche; grammer checking really the new Godwin's law. You missed my failure to include an 'e' on Riposte, while you're at it.

I was trying to show how down I was with Lindsay's "I dropped out of college to come to the big city and become a writer" roots, since I already knew I wasn't good enough to hang with blood relatives of the Earl of Sandwich.

I'm calling a halt to the flame war before it takes off for reals. I understood 99's comment, which is why I responded with a joke of my own, and I doubt Lindsay was seriously offended. Everybody happy now?

I met Liz Phair and we had some friends in comment, but I didn't know her, biblically or otherwise.

At this point, you may be getting more questions than you wanted but here's one more: how do you go about finding people to interview/places to visit for your Rapture Ready book? Do you just scour the Internet (and God knows it needs scouring)
or is there more to it? (If I'm asking you to give up some closely guarded trade secrets, then I apologize and withdraw the question).

He wasn't an Earl, he was a Law Lord. But this is Dan's site, and if he calls a halt to the flame wars, I guess we'll have to take it outside to memefirst.

Anyway, if this is my one and only opportunity to ask DR anything I like, I guess it would be this: how hard do you work? And do you consider yourself well paid, considering the work you do?

Oops, looks like my clever HTML didn't work. The "outside" was meant to be in strikethrough.

how do you go about finding people to interview/places to visit for your Rapture Ready book?

Well, I've been fascinated by the subject for many years now, so I've been kind of mentally collecting material as I stumble on it -- often on the Internet, but in newspapers and magazines too. Given that, much of this (e.g., Christian comedians) you'll likely have read about before, though I hope not in the same way. But I've also found some stuff that has never been covered in the secular media. A lot of these ideas came from the shelves of the big Christian bookstore in Times Square, which I used to browse a lot. Once I got serious about the book, I tried to follow trends online and in Christian publications too. Some of what I do you might call scouring, but a lot of it was more a matter of getting plugged into an active subculture and waiting to see what topics generated the most internal energy (sorry if this sounds almost mystical, it's not intended to be). Then some stuff I've found through pure serendipity. And of course now that I'm deep into the research, I always make a point of asking the people I'm interviewing on one topic for their thoughts on other possible topics, and some of this has led to new avenues.

how hard do you work? And do you consider yourself well paid, considering the work you do?

You mean because I seem to have so much leisure time for the blog, right? I'm really undisciplined in some ways, so I'll often blow off work and then go on binges to get it finished in time. In other words, sometimes I don't work hard at all, and then I work way too hard, so I think it evens out.

I'm at a point where I am well paid, yes, but it came at the cost of working for years being paid very poorly (my first steady freelance gig paid 10 cents a word; now I make $2-$5). So again, it evens out. And I definitely think I give people their money's worth. Whether a particular story comes to me really easily or (more likely) with great difficulty, I judge how well I'm paid not by the effort I put in but by the quality of the finished product.

this is Dan's site

I'm going to take the liberty of addressing the unstated question here. Nobody I know personally calls me Dan. I've been Daniel my entire life. It doesn't bother me or anything, but it sounds wrong. Also, my last name is pronounced RAYdosh.

Who did you like in the last two wide-open Democratic primaries (1992 and 2004)?

So, your M-i-L doesn't know you well enough to know that was a joke? You should be so lucky! But when they do have their own page on MySpace, I will expect equal billing with the rest of the G. P's!

Who did you like in the last two wide-open Democratic primaries?

Jerry Brown and Howard Dean or John Edwards. How'd those guys work out, anyway?

I have to ask a follow up: how could you identify me? I was astonished that you knew I proposed the cmdr Riker caption, since I always used fake email addresses and used different names every time. And that one was so long ago. Was it just a guess or do you have some secret/genius way of knowing who I am?

I'd wondered the same thing, Lindsay. When "Huckapoo" rides Radosh's last breath, Charles Foster Kane-stizz, probably best to point folks here.

(Is it against the rules to post a comment on this entry that isn't a question? Doesn't that count as a question? Should I save my rhetorical questions for a later entry? For God's sake, why haven't I showered, yet?)

TBL: Yeah, but you always use the same fake e-mail address (or very similar ones). There's no need for that, by the way; you don't need to enter an e-mail address to post a comment.

And don't worry, I won't tell the folks at Pacificare that you're doing the anti-caption contest at work.

"I've been Daniel my entire life. It doesn't bother me or anything, but it sounds wrong. "

So why does my wife call you "Danny," then? Are you saying she's wrong? Watch how you answer...

So why does my wife call you "Danny," then?

Admittedly, back in high school I sometimes gave pretty girls a pass.

Query: Who pays $2 to $5 for freelance work? (I don't see too many celeb puff pieces by you in Vanity Fair, which is the only place I can think of.)

Who pays $2 to $5 for freelance work?

That's just my rate for keeping Ron Burkle's name out of Page Six.

Damn this honest answer promise! OK: $2 is my base. I don't write for less than that except under special circumstances (e.g., for a friend's publication or a good cause). The upper end is for women's magazine stuff (you mean you missed my "what guys think about..." series for Glamour?) or infrequent advertorial whoring.

my god. $5 a word! I thought that was a rumor, like the black American Express card. Just when I thought I was riding high!

Ok, here's a question. What the hell is the "LJ meme"?

What the hell is the "LJ meme"?

Now you're just getting lazy. I made that phrase a link. Click on it for the answer.

Dear Mr. Radosh: exactly how awesome is Huckapoo?

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