I am a middle-aged Christian professional, an over-educated intellectual lightweight, intellectually lazy and resolutely middlebrow, the father of three perfect kids and the imperfect husband to a lovely, loving lady. I grew up, and now live, in New England, after stints in NYC and Kentucky. Like the other non-retired beasts who contribute to Maggie's Farm, the eclectic site I created and which I supposedly edit, I chose to be anonymous for professional reasons, and at my wife's insistence. I write mainly because I find it difficult to think anything through without having to begin a sentence - and then feel required to complete it. Our team on Maggie's Farm posts for the fun of it. What does 'Maggie's Farm' refer to? Not just Bob Dylan's song. It's a reference to the family farm in the western Massachusetts Berkshires, a land grant from King George III to my presumably Loyalist ancestors. It is (happily) still in the family, still under our good stewardship, despite the death taxes which would like to force us to sell and turn it into quarter-acre building lots, a sylvan retirement condo complex, or a WalMart. We love our turtles and ducks and meadow birds.
Why do you blog? > Damned if I know. I am not a psychoanalyst. All writing is a form of insanity, a sick need to get into other peoples' heads. It is just more benign than most compulsions.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Learning new things every day.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Lengthy power outages because of storms. Frustrating as hell.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't start. It can get addictive. Big waste of time when you have more important things to do in real life.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Burke, Plato, Frederic Bastiat.
What are you reading at the moment? > I always read several books at a time. Just finished Unger's bio of Lorenzo de Medici, now on Tang Twan Eng's The Gift of Rain, Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Painter of Battles, Jaquetta Hawkes's Atlas of Early Man, and re-reading Jacques Barzun's The Culture We Deserve.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Jesus, St Paul, Socrates, St Augustine, Alexis de Tocqueville, Mark Twain, Cezanne, Bob Dylan (the human jukebox).
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Moby Dick.
What is your favourite movie? > The Hunt for Red October.
What is your favourite song? > Favourite 'popular' song? Almost any Dylan. Perhaps 'Visions of Johanna'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Brahms. Or maybe Schubert.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Two of them: (1) Was a Liberal/Lefty type until I realized that government is just another special interest with its own perverse, selfish, and narcissistic incentives and pursuits. (2) Was a non-believer until Christ knocked on my door hard enough for me to finally hear Him knocking. No, I am not insane.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > In Bob's words, 'that I become my own enemy the instant that I preach'.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The terrifying notion of the perfectibility of man or society.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain. Why? A coming of age book, and I am always trying to come of age.
Who are your political heroes? > Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, George Washington, John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, Maggie Thatcher.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > (1) 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' (2) 'If you would change the world, first change yourself.' (Gandhi). (3) 'The Greater Good is usually an excuse for totalitarianism.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Returning the value of individual freedom and the virtue and human dignity of self-reliance to every policy equation.
What would you do with the UN? > Turn it into a condominium complex. Lovely views of Brooklyn and the East River.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I do not believe in the concept of Progress – only in differences. If somebody can do better than Mozart or Homer or the cave artists of Lascaux, I might reconsider.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > 'Life is not a rehearsal.'
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Being honest with oneself.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Certainty.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching other people play sports. Much rather play them myself.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Money, and the happiness of my kids and of my parents.
What would you call your autobiography? > I'm an Asshole, You're an Asshole.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > The Cotswolds, or Virginia, or New Hampshire.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A month sailing the Aegean, stopping at the islands and cruising down the Turkish coast. (With crew and chef, of course, and with my family and an Oxford classical historian tour guide.)
What is your most treasured possession? > My family.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Manager of conservation lands.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Peter De Vries, P.G. Wodehouse, P.J. O'Rourke, and Carl Hiaasen.
Who are your sporting heroes? > John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > Whirled peas.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Take more vacations, give more money away, repair the barn, and buy Mrs Bird Dog more shoes.
What animal would you most like to be? > I am already an animal. I am a pointing Labrador Retriever with the ability to use a keyboard, sort of like Clever Hans.
[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.]