Yesterday, I got tagged by Steve Buccheit over on Storybones with a bloggy challenge. Four things in several categories (for some reason I’m picturing Steve as Jack Palance in City Slickers with a finger raised, One thing, Jim, one thing…) I find this a fun and interesting assignment, so without further ado:
1. US Navy Chief Warrant Officer: not for the faint of heart, but if you’re the right kind of person the single most satisfying job on the planet. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I feel diminished now that I am no longer on active duty. I think I wrote a post about my feelings on this subject a while back.
2. US Navy Enlisted Cryptologist: Same as above.
3. Chef: before I enlisted in the Navy I was a professional chef, one of the worst jobs on the planet. No matter how good or talented, or how classy the establishment (and I worked in the best), you go home at night smelling of grease, the customers are assholes, and the owners always sleep with the pretty waitresses and treat you like shit.
4. Assembly Lineman: I once worked (briefly) as a lineman on the paint line for the auto industry. It sucked beyond all descriptions of suckatude and soured me forever on anything having to do with Organized Labor.
Four Countries I have been to:
Only four? I’ve been to many places, thanks to the US Navy. Some good, some bad, all interesting and mind expanding.
Four places I would rather be right now:
Are you kidding? I live in
Four foods I like to eat:
1. Spanish (NOT Mexican): In small town southern Spain, the evening streets are awash with the aroma of garlic and sea green extra virgin olive oil pressed from Spanish olives grown on the Costa del Sol. Paella made with fresh saffron, patatas tortilla on fresh crusty bread with black olive tapanade, tapa hopping, calamari fresh from the Marcado Publica, with lemon (stomach growls, feed me! Now!).
2. Seafood of any kind: Fresh Alaskan silver salmon smothered in a raspberry/birch-syrup glaze on the grill. Alaskan red salmon hot smoked over alderwood using the traditional Athabascan method, with brie. My specialty, seafood pasta: smoked salmon, scallops, and shrimp in a sherry reduction cream sauce over farfel bow-tie pasta. Fresh
3. Irish: Irish stew made in the traditional Darina Allen Ballymore method – with fresh lamb, baby carrots, pearl onions, white potatoes and barley done sloooowly in a cast iron Dutch oven. Sheppard’s Pie. Irish potato cakes fried in bacon grease, made by a redheaded lass with a lilting accent and mysterious smile from the
4. Cheeseburgers: That’s right. Handmade, greasy, char-grilled over open flame and covered in sautéed mushrooms and topped with blue cheese. With kosher dill pickle spears and steak fries accompanied by a bitter Irish Red Ale so cold it makes your teeth ache. Henry’s in the Gas Lamp district,
Four personal heroes-past or present:
1. My wife, Becky: Childbirth, and that’s all I have to say about that.
2. My dad: nothing has ever gotten him down. Ever. He’s the toughest SOB I know, for a little runty little Irishman. He’s beaten everything,
3. Teddy Roosevelt: a man of deep conviction, a man born into wealth and privilege who chose instead to spend his life in service to his fellow citizens, a man born with debilitating asthma who overcame it through perseverance, iron will, and strength of character. Rancher, writer, raconteur, trust buster, a man who led the charge up both San Juan and Kettle Hills into the teeth of death, adventurer, and the first President who ushered a black man through the front door of the White House as an equal.
Four books I have read:
1. The Two Ocean War, Samuel B. Morrison: WWII, in a nutshell.
2. Nova, Samuel Delany: a dark disturbingly strange and vivid tale of the things a man will do for love, hate, revenge, and exploding stars.
3. The Dying of the Light, George R.R. Martin: a dark disturbingly strange and vivid tale of the things a man will do for love, hate, honor, and an old flame on a melancholy dying world beneath the fading light of Fat Satan. Goddamn but I wish GRRM would go back to writing fiction set in this universe. With Morning Comes Mistfall, Tuf Voyaging, Nightflyers, The Glass Flower, The Way of Cross and Dragon, The Stone City and the bone chilling alien In the House of the Worm are some of my very favorites. GRRM’s aliens are not of the Star Trek variety (i.e. recognizable humans with funny looking foreheads and all too human motivations), nor are they jumped-up cats like so many characters in modern Scifi, no they are alien, their motivations and minds are not human and you may never understand them, this may cause you discomfort. Martin’s work makes me feel small, in a vast and ancient universe.
And just because I can never not fiddle, let me add Four movies that I love:
1. The Thirteenth Warrior: On the surface a bloody adventure/action flick, but if you watch carefully you’ll realize that it is really a coming of age story with layers of subtlety and an incredible musical score. Antonio Banderas’s brilliant performance as a man truly out of his depth but game anyway. Watch his face carefully during the warrior selection scene, here’s a guy who knows he is witnessing a moment in history, and yet has no idea what’s going on. You can see it in his face as he laughs uncomprehendingly along with the Vikings, caught up in the moment – and then the hammer falls. Stunned disbelief, What the hell are you saying? And here he takes the first step into a world much larger than he ever imagined. But more than anything, this movie is about intelligence, using your mind and not just brawn. And the Vikings know this, they value and respect Ahmed Ibn Fadlan not because he is a warrior (he's emphatically not), but because he has something they don't, insight, education, and a viewpoint different from their own. They are no dummies either. And phenomenal performances by actors Dennis Storhoi and Vladimir Kulich. Goddamn I love this movie.
2. Mister Roberts: For Jack Lemmon’s brilliant performance as Ensign Franklin Thurlow Pulver, Soldier, Statesman, and friend to the working girl. Captain! It is I, Ensign Pulver! Now, what’s all this crud about no movie tonight? And Cagney puts his long suffering face into his hands as the credits begin to roll. Classic.
3. McClintock! The Duke at his absolute hysterical finest, and Maureen O’Hara. Yeah, it stereotypes the crap out Native Americans, the mythical Old West, the Chinese, and John Wayne himself, so what? The fight at the clay pit is the best brawl ever filmed, and the dynamic between Wayne and O’Hara is worth the price of the DVD. And the line Don't say it's a fine morning or I'll shoot ya! Sums up my feeling most days perfectly. Donovan’s Reef and The Quiet Man are close seconds.
4. The High Road to
Anyway, there you go, Steve, hope you’re happy.