Patti Niehoff lives in Cincinnati, surrounded by a husband, a son and assorted quadrupeds. She's had several lives, including as writer and poet, business owner, computer science and maths student, amateur ornithologist, web-master and editor. Currently, she's heading up the Public Culture section of Bayit Chadash, a Jewish spiritual community in Israel, studying to be a maggid, and travelling way too much. Patti blogs at White Pebble.
Why do you blog? > I suppose I blog because I can. I've had a personal web page since this has been possible, and I want the discipline of writing daily.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Blogging from Israel. Both in what I'm able to write, and from the sheer joy of being able to log on from seven time zones away.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Keep at it, and contribute something of your own - don't just do 'me too' blogging.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Evariste Galois, Margaret Morse Nice (ornithologist).
What are you reading at the moment? > Mervyn Peake's trilogy, Neal Stephenson's The Confusion, Ken Wilber's Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, and Anthony Powell's 12-novel series, A Dance to the Music of Time.
Who are your cultural heroes? > George Eliot, Issa... Lots, actually. I love too many artists to rank them, but those two are definitely on the list. Oh, and Ray Bradbury, just for existing.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > George Eliot's Middlemarch.
What is your favourite poem? > 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' - for sentimental reasons.
What is your favourite movie? > Harold and Maude.
What is your favourite song? > 'Every Time We Say Goodbye', as done by Chet Baker.
Who is your favourite composer? > George Gershwin.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Not sure if this counts, but I'm converting to Judaism from Catholicism.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Rabid fundamentalism, of any stripe.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Walden. It helped keep me sane through high school.
Who are your political heroes? > FDR, Churchill.
What would you do with the UN? > Make it so that their next 1000 resolutions have nothing whatsoever to do with Israel. They're like a broken record.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > The world won't end with us. There will be better; there will be worse.
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? > Yes - I've done it for 26 years.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Open-mindedness.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The safety of my friends in Israel.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I would have bought that one antique Japanese fireman's jacket I saw about 20 years ago. But no, nothing really big would change. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here, and I like here.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Johnny Depp, in drag. Or Meryl Streep.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Blogging.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to sing.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Jonathan Winters.
Who are your sporting heroes? > The Cincinnati Reds, both 1975 and 1976 teams.
Which English Premiership football team do you support > Man United. My son watches them on satellite all the time.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Ronald Colman.
What animal would you most like to be? > A cat.