Now should commence the usual coating of one’s imperfections in many shades of honesty, sincerity, compassion, ambition, skill, a love for animals, the elderly, and the infirm, as well as the requisite marvelous cocksmanship. To be sure, I possess all of these clichéd traits in abundance (most men probably qualify at least some times in their lives), but I’m afraid that I do deviate dramatically and happily from the norm. Before moving back to the States in 2011 to do a PhD, I had spent the previous seven years as a journalist and teaching journalism in Lebanon. And yes, I saw a lot of man’s inhumanity to man.
The 12 years before that I had lived in post-communist Europe; I arrived in 1992, not long after communism fell, and it was the best party I’ve ever been to. It was also an absolutely engrossing, three-dimensional, and real-time laboratory of all-encompassing social change. I spent 11 years in Prague.
I dislike starting so many sentences with “I”; I do yoga every day and went to an ashram in India and was silent. I don’t eat meat anymore. My bliss, however, is not total; I still haven't learned to love Republicans. I haven't owned a television in 25 years... I read a lot.
I teach and I study, but there is still time to go to the gym, run, or hit the climbing wall just about every day. I play ultimate frisbee--what could be more granola? I’ve been told that I don't look my age. I feel like dancing most of the time.
If your hopes and plans revolve around the acquiring of much money, nice cars, a man who wears a tie and tinkers with things, that’s great; I wish you a big house in the suburbs with much lawn maintenance (please go easy on the water, though, OK?) and many home-improvement projects that you enjoy. I've always gotten along best with women who enjoy the humor of both Karl and Groucho Marx.
And no, I am not the arrogant, haughty type. I grew up in Milwaukee, for fuck's sake. Travel and clever stuff are great, but I'm rarely happier than when I'm drinking a good beer, laughing my ass off, and sorting out the world's problems. And then dancing. Awkwardly.
Grammar nerds welcome!
I read mostly nonfiction now, but I still get really excited for new books by Ian McEwan, Amin Maalouf, and Jonathan Franzen. I love Maugham, William S. Burroughs, Huxley, Orwell, Milan Kundera, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe's nonfiction, Nate Silver, Sherry Turkle, Foucault, and Bourdieu.
As for movies, yes, yes, all the artsy cliches--my favorites are Tarkovsky and Bergman. I love Fritz Lang, film noir, Billy Wilder, Godard, Coppola, Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers, Werner Herzog's documentaries (lots of documentaries, actually...). Beyond the artsy bits, I enjoy escapist entertainment, too--"Tropic Thunder," "Anchorman," "South Park," "Team America," and "Ted" all made me laugh until my face hurt.
In music, jazz is my nerdy passion, but I love everything from classic rock (Led Zeppelin) to hip-hop (The Roots) to grunge (Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden) to classical (Beethoven; I should probably listen to more Bach...) to funk (The Meters!) to electronica (Stereolab, Jazz con Bazz) to far-out-there stuff (Tool, Soul Coughing, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, and, yes, the Grateful Dead). No Top-40, please, and never got into punk, typical 80s music (that decade sucked enough the first time through; I blame Reagan for everything), or "indie"--white people with angst? No, thank you--I'll just listen to musicians who can play their instruments well.
I'm quite impressed with the depth and seriousness of the lists people come up with here for their music favorites. I'm sure that we'd find some common ground--although jazz is pretty crucial--but differences of opinion are fine. Many fascinating people seem to be really into indie/alternative stuff; no, I don't worship Radiohead (well, OK, "The Bends" was some good rock'n'roll) or Bon Iver (The White Stripes, however, are an absolute revelation), but there are obviously a lot of new things that I have missed by being out of the country--and I always want to hear new stuff. It's music, not a fascistic dogma. If you rock out to Zeppelin, we're going to get along well.
When I travel, the art museum is one of the first sights I want to see.
As for food, I love Thai, Indian, Arab, French, sushi, Mediterranean, anything spicy, fresh vegetables and fruits, and I have a weakness for the grill and seafood. I love to eat; I also love to cook, even though I'm laughably unskilled.
arts & culture
intense physical activity
sunshine and warm weather