Anne Cunningham keeps thinking she'll move to London permanently, but somehow never does, perhaps because she doesn't really believe she can live in a city where the subway shuts down for the night. She blogs at One-Sided Wonder.
Why do you blog? > I was having a lot of political arguments with friends of mine and I was getting frustrated that I never had time, in these discussions, to lay out the historical background to my views. I wanted a place to do that. I refer to my friends from time to time, and one friend in particular, K, has become a kind of character on my blog. She complains that she's a straw man, but secretly she likes it. Her whole family reads my blog. In fact, I'd say her family is my core audience.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Having someone reach my site via a Google search for 'how to be witty and charming'.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > I like Alain de Botton, he treats small-time concerns in a philosophical way, which is my basic mode in life. I'm also a big fan of Conor Cruise O'Brien and Christopher Hitchens.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy was so engrossing I read all fifteen hundred pages in a week.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Bloody Men' by Wendy Cope. ('Bloody men are like bloody buses / You wait for about a year / And as soon as one approaches your stop / Two or three others appear.')
What is your favourite movie? > A Kind of Loving. I feel that movie belongs to me, because it seems like a portrait of my parents' marriage. My father looked exactly like Alan Bates at that age, my mother looked just like June Ritchie.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I'm rethinking a lot of issues right now. The death penalty, for instance. I used to think I objected to it in principle, but now I think it's more a question of practice. It's the fact that there are miscarriages of justice that bothers me, not the sentence itself. I suppose it amounts to the same thing in the vast majority of cases, but it seems an important distinction to me.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The Chomsky/Pilger blame-America-first line.
Who are your political heroes? > Edmund Burke and Winston Churchill. Burke is particularly fascinating to me at the moment, given his split with his more radical friends over the French Revolution.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Always pee when you get the chance. Didn't Margaret Thatcher say that?
What would you do with the UN? > Right at the moment I'd like to use it to diffuse the tension with Sistani. I suppose the organization does have a role to play, both as a forum and in nation-building, but we have to be honest about its failures and weaknesses, which are legion.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamic extremists and their Western apologists.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Have low expectations so you'll either be confirmed in your views or pleasantly surprised.
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? > Different, yes; radically different, no. I could date someone a few degrees to the left or right of me, but not a member of the Democratic Underground or a Christian fundamentalist.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Steadfastness.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Lack of self-knowledge.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > I'm a big believer in the tactful omission or diplomatic white lie. I think a lot of people who advocate honesty in all situations are ultimately unwilling to take responsibility for their decisions, or for other people's feelings.
What is your favourite proverb? > It is impossible to love and be wise.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Seeing things as they are, rather than how I want them to be. I'm constantly trying to adjust my prescription to see things in proper perspective.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I would have tried to make a better impression during my date with 'the Indian Mr Darcy'. I could be answering these questions from my house in the Hamptons if I hadn't messed that one up.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Sailing around the Aegean, visiting sites of historical interest.
What is your most treasured possession? > A ceramic apothecary box for a Victorian-era quack remedy called 'The Egyptian Salve'.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Xaviera.
What talent would you most like to have? > Artistic. I have a strong aesthetic sense - and a particular appreciation for the decorative arts - but no ability whatsoever to draw or paint or make things.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I'd like to be a radio announcer or the voice of books on tape. I love reading things aloud.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Eddie Izzard. ('Coffee is code for sex. Unless you're having coffee with the President of Burundi. Then it's probably just coffee.')
Who are your sporting heroes? > I like Swedish tennis players from the 80s, particularly Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg. They were very gentlemanly.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > I should support Leeds, since that's where my English family is concentrated. But I've always been drawn to Liverpool. I'm very contrary.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Oscar Wilde, and, so Oscar and I would have some eye candy to admire while we chat, Nolan Hemmings and Orlando Bloom.
[Previous profiles: Ophelia Benson (Nov 7); Chris Bertram (Sep 26); Alan Brain (Oct 10); Chris Brooke (Jan 2); Francois Brutsch (Dec 5); Jackie D (Oct 17); Brad DeLong (Jan 16); Harry Hatchet (Oct 24); Saddam Hussein (Nov 14); Jeff Jarvis (Dec 26); Oliver Kamm (Nov 21); Sheila O'Malley (Dec 19); Glenn Reynolds (Jan 9); Natalie Solent (Nov 28); Roger L. Simon (Oct 31); Michael J. Totten (Oct 3); Brian Weatherson (Dec 12). The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature.]