Catherine (Kate) McMillan grew up on a working grain farm near Arcola, Saskatchewan. Now living in the small town of Delisle, SK (pop. 900), she works as a commercial and automotive airbrush artist and has been self-employed since leaving college. She also breeds and shows Miniature Schnauzers, and has exported dogs to every continent save Antarctica. Her background in writing started as an extension to that hobby, with columns and articles appearing in dog sport magazines and breed publications for many years. Kate blogs at Small Dead Animals.
Why do you blog? > It's more satisfying than yelling at the radio.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Getting to know some of the people out there who do this - online and in person. For example, I know a lot of people would pay good money to see Jeff Goldstein drunk. Well, I can say I have - I ended up buying most of his rounds.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Being quoted out of context and misrepresented by those who don't have the intellectual capacity to take on my views at face value.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > I actually host a Carnival of the Newbies from time to time, and as part of the last one, several bloggers offered their tips. This was mine: Push the envelope, even if it means being wrong from time to time.
What are your favourite blogs? > I read a lot of blogs, and my favourites vary according to the nature of the political/news cycle - but my shortlist includes Protein Wisdom, Belmont Club and, until he suddenly stopped posting a short time ago, Andrew Coyne.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Ayn Rand, Victor Davis Hanson, Mark Helprin.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > A Soldier Of The Great War, by Mark Helprin.
What is your favourite poem? > 'In Flanders Fields'.
What is your favourite movie? > The Black Stallion - Frances Ford Coppola
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to support gun control in principle.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > 'The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.'
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That objective truth does not exist.
Who are your political heroes? > Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Maggie Thatcher.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Never sit with your back to a door.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > To eliminate the party whip and allow MPs to pass or defeat legislation on its merits.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Donald Rumsfeld - just to watch the spontanious human combustions in the Canadian media.
What would you do with the UN? > I'd evict the current occupants and sell the building to Rupert Murdoch.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The cult of anti-Americanism.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > It's yet to come - though it's going to be hard pressed to surpass the dedication and sacrifice that was demonstrated by those who fought and won WWII. They will be a very tough act for future generations to follow.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > I'll answer that with an anecdote. Several years ago I was sub-contracting as an art director for a neon sign company. One morning, I went on a ride-along with the shop foreman and an installation crew to get a first hand view of a job we were bidding on. As he drove, the foreman raged about an incident that had occurred earlier that day - they had gone to a location with a sign they had worked overtime to complete by deadline, only to discover the bulkhead it was to be installed on wasn't finished. His face was turning a rather blotchy purple colour when I turned to him and said, 'Eh... it's just a sign. We're not building heart-lung machines here.' That pretty much sums up my advice towards dealing with everyday life, and I guess it probably applies to most people. 1) Don't sweat the small stuff. 2) It's almost all small stuff.
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. My political beliefs have evolved out of my lifestyle and personality. In my chosen profession I have never known where the next pay-cheque is coming from, and there are times where it hasn't come at all. My conservative/ objectivist world-view is a practical tool for coping with that reality. I couldn't set my beliefs aside to get along with a partner, any more than I could set aside my gas-guzzling pickup truck to get along with the Kyoto protocols.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Respect for truth - without it, all other qualities or talents are corruptible.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Pretentiousness.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To protect someone from genuine harm or unnecessary emotional pain.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Sure. I won't eat seafood, even though I've seldom actually tasted any of it. Apart from the revolting smell, there's just something creepy about eating what has the same number of limbs as a cockroach.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Two wrongs don't make a right. However, three wrongs break a tie' - which is my own.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Golf. Most television. Exercise classes. Self-improvement courses.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > I don't tend to worry about very much - mostly because it's utterly unproductive. Problems that can't be solved with a little effort, or resolved through patience, can usually be endured or ignored.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > While there are specific choices I would like to have back or should have made earlier, on the whole I think I'd do much of it over again. Whenever I start to think of what I could have done with more formal education and a stable career, or what my life would have been like if I'd put more effort into getting married, I consider the freedom I enjoy. I don't know if I'd give that up for financial security and the rewards of a more conventional lifestyle.
What would you call your autobiography? > Mischief Is Important
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > If he had better boobs, I'd suggest Peter O'Toole.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Montana - somewhere in the triangle formed between Missoula, Great Falls and Helena. The Grassrange area has always appealed to me, too.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A week long trail ride with a few good friends.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > People who know me would laugh out loud at that question. My lifestyle is a loose arrangement of doing what I like in my 'spare time', including working. It's all spare time.
What is your most treasured possession? > My dogs and the unique bloodline I've built over the past 20 years. Breeding show dogs is like creating living sculpture - it's an extremely complex, challenging hobby. The nature of genetics and selective breeding within closed gene pools means that one's decisions have the potential to have long-lasting repercussions for an entire breed (both good and bad) long after you're gone.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > If I had to? Probably to Gwen, which is my middle name.
What talent would you most like to have? > Reading people. I have almost no ability to detect insincerity. Perhaps it comes from growing up in a rural area where neighbours knew each other for generations, and there was no advantage in being duplicitous. My default setting is to trust the motives of others, and it has gotten me in trouble more than once. I also have tremendous difficulty recalling names and faces. I have to meet someone several times before I will be able to recognize them or remember their name.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Veterinary cosmetic surgery.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Steve Martin.
Who are your sporting heroes? > I don't think that the word 'hero' applies to sport. That said, I have tremendous appreciation for thoroughbred racehorses - fragile, powerful animals that come as close to the spirit of pure competition as it probably gets.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I originally couldn't think of an answer for this, as I don't really have any pressing unanswered wishes - but since I get one, and in keeping with the previous question, it would be to disallow the racing of 2-year-old thoroughbreds. There might be fewer crippled 5-year-olds.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I think I can safely say it wouldn't change my life in any major way. I already do pretty much as I please - though I could do it more comfortably if I were to enjoy a financial windfall.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > From the present - the American writer and conservative 'hawk' Mark Helprin, and rocker Ted Nugent. Helprin is on a lot of shortlists as 'world's greatest living writer', but that's not the only reason I'd invite him. I figure that given a few drinks, he could help me convince Nugent to beat the crap out of the third guest I'd invite - Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the socialist Canadian Prime Minister who set into motion the intellectual, military and political decay of a once proud nation.