Saturday, August 13, 2005

New Quiz Meme

There’s been a lot of quizzes going around. But those quizzes never ask the questions I want to answer. So here’s my set of questions which anyone who wants can borrow.

What’s the most underrated type of food?

Fresh ground peanut butter, the kind dripping with oil. After you’ve been on it for a while, going back to the commercial varieties is just ghastly. Cornbread is also terribly underrated; it’s wonderful stuff, but most people don’t appreciate it.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?

Oat meal with milk, brown sugar and (when I can get it) raisins or (oh heaven!) craisins. I also love it when my wife makes cornbread.

What’s your favorite local bird?

Hard to say, I like them all (except maybe blue jays, they are so obnoxious), but I guess I’d have to chose the yellow-shafted flicker (it’s a kind of woodpecker).

What’s your favorite local tree?

The tulip tree: no comparison! The orange and green flowers are delightful, and the leaf shape so unique, and the curve of the branches so delicate. Like a lady. The American holly isn’t bad either, but the ground around becomes unwalkable in bare feet.

What’s your favorite season?

Depends on where I am. In Bloomington, the winters are totally useless (cold rain, not snow), but the spring and fall are gorgeous. The summer is a bit on the humid side. But winters in a real northern land, like Maine, are lovely. (Of course summer in Maine is always a real bust–if you’re not sweating, it’s not summer). Mongolian countryside: it’s definitely summer (steady breeze, total silence, except for the grasshoppers and crickets jumping, huge sky with clouds like sheep) and winter (still air, total silence, ground frosted with an inch or two of windswept snow, dark blue sky).

What’s the best night sky (Northern hemisphere)?

Winter of course, you just can’t beat Orion. The cold makes the air especially clear too. BUT, if you have binoculars, summer and the Milky Way around Sagittarius and Cygnus is lovely.

What is your favorite way to imbibe alcohol?

When I do drink, I enjoy dry red wines (I’m no connoisseur–since Australian Shiraz is really cheap and quite good, that’s my favorite these days) and also Mongolian vodka (Chinggis Khan brand is very smooth) straight up. I don’t know why I’m a Lutheran; I don’t actually even like beer. And in the great Russians vs. Germans kulturkampf in Russian novels, I’m always on the side of the Russians. Speaking of which . . .

What is your favorite drinking fantasy?

This comes from Tolstoy. I would love one day to toast champaigne with friends and family on some dramatic occasion and then smash the glass down on the floor and every else follows suit. The servants would sweep the shards up afterwards. But I couldn’t afford it and I don’t have any servants.

What’s the new band that you most shamefacedly admit to really liking?

Sugarland. Is it pop? Is it country? Whatever, Jennifer Nettles has the kind of country chanteuse twang that just gets me going but always provokes my daughter Claire to snide southern accent imitations. (And she’s got a future as a satirist.) But there you go, "Baby Girl" comes in on the car radio and up it goes.

OK, I listened again. I am not ashamed! (Just don’t tell anyone in the department I’m listening to country music on company time.)

What’s your favorite golden oldie?

Bob Dylan’s "Like a Rolling Stone"; "Mr. Tambourine Man" is wonderful too.

I know you’re in Borders, and I need to find you quick. What section would I find you in?

Hard to say, but start in the history section (Russian especially, the Chinese section is Bloomington’s Borders doesn’t have anything good). If I’m not there, then try the Christian theology section or the popular science section (recent favorite reads along those lines, Why Elephants Have Big Ears and Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World.) Finally, if my daughter Claire’s here with me, I might be in the café section helping her polish off a smoothie.

What literary character do you kind of sneakingly hope you might be compared to some day?

Bill "the Blizzard" Hingest in That Hideous Strength. Very cool.

What literary character do you have a sinking sensation you might be compared to?

Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Funny in a book, but the kind of irresponsible Dad who in real life makes a nightmare for his family.

Originally posted at Here We Stand