Malcolm Pollack, 53, lives and works in New York City. For most of his adult life he made his living as a recording engineer (with a Grammy nomination in 2004), but started a second career in software engineering a few years ago. He has also been deeply involved in southern Chinese martial arts since 1975, and teaches Hung Ga kung fu near his home in Brooklyn. Malcolm and his lovely wife Nina have been married for 28 years, and have two grown children. He blogs at waka waka waka.
Why do you blog? > I'm curious about all sorts of things, and writing forces me to organize my thoughts. I've been fortunate, also, to have attracted some very sharp commenters, who are always glad to let me know when I'm talking nonsense. As E.M. Forster wrote: 'How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?'
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Being dressed down in public, by a more knowledgeable critic, for an ignorant comment or post. It's a real opportunity to learn something, but it's painfully embarrassing, and arouses all sorts of mechanical, defensive reactions.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Being dressed down in public, by a more knowledgeable critic, for an ignorant comment or post. It's painfully embarrassing, and it arouses all sorts of mechanical, defensive reactions. But it's good to be forced to see those reactions arising in yourself, and if you are blogging for the right sort of reasons, it's a real opportunity to learn something.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Write something every day, if you can. Go to other blogs that you admire, and once you have spent enough time reading, start commenting. Think twice before you publish anything. Proof-read. Don't be sloppy. Mean what you say. Get your facts straight. Always be civil.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Feynman. Hume. Darwin. Einstein. Newton.
What are you reading at the moment? > I'm usually reading a few things at once. Right now it's Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor, and The Federalist Papers.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > That's so hard. Maybe Moby-Dick.
Who is your favourite composer? > Beethoven.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Liberal multiculturalism.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Cultural relativism (if that can fairly be called a philosophical thesis and not just an ideology).
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind had a powerful effect on me. I had grown up in the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s, and it forced me - at a time, in my early 30s, when I was already beginning to re-examine my assumptions about a great many things - to acknowledge the enormous depth and importance of what we had so glibly, and for the most part ignorantly, rejected.
Who are your political heroes? > Churchill, Franklin, Jefferson.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'You must look at the facts, because they look at you.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > An end to the cult-worship of Diversity.
What would you do with the UN? > What Frodo did with the Ring.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islam. I hate to have to say it, but there it is.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Study yourself. Try to identify your aim.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Thoughtfulness.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Vanity.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To spare someone needless pain or humiliation.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The well-being of the people I love, and the future of Western civilization.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Well, everybody's made some bad decisions, and careless mistakes. But although I've wondered sometimes how things might have been if I had chosen a different career - in particular, I think that if I had become a scientist, like both my parents, I would have been a good one - I'd have to say that I'm happy overall with the choices I've made. I've had a very good life so far, and I would hate to have missed out on all the years I spent in recording studios with some of the world's most gifted musicians. And I certainly married the right woman.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Northern California is very nice, and I also have a special fondness for Scotland, where my mother grew up. But I'm best off here in the American Northeast: New York, New England, Cape Cod. It's my home.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading, writing, playing music, training.
What talent would you most like to have? > Outstanding musical creativity.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Musician, or writer. Perhaps some sort of academic. Forest ranger might suit me well, too.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > S.J. Perelman.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > To be master of myself.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd stop selling off my dwindling store of days, and keep them for myself.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Churchill, Franklin, and Gurdjieff. Perhaps not at the same time, though.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]