Sunday, December 10, 2006

Not being in much of a writing mood, I have decided to do this meme I found over at Bothenook's blog.

Three things that scare me:

  • Iran getting the bomb.
  • The future of Europe.
  • Religious fundamentalists.
Three people who make me laugh:
  • My wife. She speaks her own dialect and sometimes spontaneously coins cute words or turns of phrase. My favorite of these is "satisfication".
  • The cast of Seinfeld.
  • John Kennedy Toole.
Three things I love:
  • My wife.
  • My mother.
  • My cat, Jerome.
Three things I hate:
  • Religious fundamentalists.
  • Nihilists.
  • Pacifists.
Three things I don't understand:
  • Boratomania. I saw Borat yesterday. It had its moments, but talk about over-hyped! I have nothing particularly against low humor -- so long as it's mixed in with other types. And there were too many inconsistencies. The depicted Kazakh culture was fictional, which is fine, but it was so unbelievable it hurt the humor a lot for me. One of the better scenes, in which Borat barged in on a weather forecast in my home town, was out of sequence. (Or does this southern bumpkin need to be told that Mississippi is somewhere along the Atlantic seaboard? All this time, I thought Mom and Dad were taking me to the Gulf Coast for summer vacation!)
  • Almost any kind of music one can find easily on the radio.
  • Italian food.
Three things on my desk (at home):
  • Jerome.
  • My computer.
  • A picture of my wife and me just before we got married.
Three things I'm doing right now:
  • Missing my wife.
  • Deciding whether to smoke a stogie. This is a minor fringe benefit to temporary bachelorhood, but my mouth will taste terrible and my throat will be uncomfortable tomorrow if I do this.
  • Wondering whether I will have a chance to get anything important done at work tomorrow.
Three things I want to do before I die:
  • Get paid specifically for something I have written.
  • Find a print outlet for my writing.
  • Build a satisfying career.
Three things I can do:
  • Cut through the fog in any issue being debated.
  • Make decisions.
  • Write.
Three things I can't do:
  • Sing. My voice is horrible. Fortunately, I am not afflicted with any desire whatsoever to sing.
  • Read music. I could fix this, but why?
  • Dance. I knew how after months of lessons motivated by ulterior motives several years ago. I -- like most other men who take dancing lessons -- wanted to meet women. Although I knew my wife before I started the lessons, they paid off when she became jealous of me dancing with other women. Eventually, my wife will make me take lessons again. Some day, I may even learn to enjoy dancing on its own merits! Pure gravy!
Three things you should listen to:
  • The roar of the ocean.
  • Songbirds on a spring morning in Mississippi.
  • My ska collection.
Three things you should never listen to:
  • The radio.
  • Anyone who claims to know what God wants you to do.
  • Anyone who claims there is such a thing as "the common good".
Three things I'd like to learn:
  • The possible identity of the animal whose fossilized backbone I found as a kid, if that is even possible.
  • How to do partial mash beer brewing. (This is my next goal as a home brewer.)
  • How to judge my own writing. My weakest point as a writer is that I seem not to be a good judge of whether something I have written is necessarily ready for publication. Very, very frustrating.
Three favorite foods:
  • Gumbo.
  • Eggs Benedict.
  • Corn.
Three beverages I drink regularly:
  • Coffee.
  • Beer.
  • Coke.
Three TV shows/Books I watched/read as a kid:
As a bonus, here are the results of a quiz I took on how introverted I am "in six dimensions".

Your Extroversion Profile:
Assertiveness: Medium
Activity Level: Low
Cheerfulness: Low
Sociability: Low
Excitement Seeking: Very Low
Friendliness: Very Low

Heh. Nothing new here! I already knew I was an introvert and that the test would make me sound like some kind of curmudgeon. I think an extrovert wrote the quiz.

-- CAV


12-11-06: Two corrections and added last two sentences.


Anonymous said...

"The possible identity of the animal whose fossilized backbone I found as a kid, if that is even possible."

Wow, you found a *fossilized* backbone? It's my understanding that fossilized vertebrates are rather rare, and almost certainly worth some money.

Do you still have it? Barring that, do you have a photo? Were there any other bones or markings? Where did you find it?

Gus Van Horn said...

Yes. I still have it, although I am not completely sure exactly where it is. I do not have a picture of it at the moment, either. I do appreciate the tip, though.

I found it in a creekbed in Mississippi. All I have is what looks like a spinal column and parts of, I guess from memory, 7-8 ribs on each side without any other bones, which would, I suspect, make identification hard. The whole thing is something like 4-5 inches long. (Vertebrae would be a bit less than a centimeter wide.)

Anonymous said...


Well this is exciting. I'd be interested to know the outcome if you ever do find it again. (And I'd love to see a photo!).

I'm not rock hound or devoted fossil hunter or anything, but I am interested in them and do occasionally go fossil hunting.

If, as you describe, there are *ribs* as well, then it seems to me it almost certainly is a vertebrate, but I'm hesitant to commit to that opinion without having seen a photo. At first I thought you might just be misidentifying a crinoid stem, see Crinoids are a type of invertebrate, related to starfish & sea urchins, and fossilized remains of their stems are found commonly throughout the Mississippi Valley.

I'll say this: Don't give up hope about identification just because you have a few bones--often times a fossil or dead animal can be identified according to subtle differences in the shapes of bones (e.g. I think it's possible to tell a mammal vertebrae from that of other vertebrates). The famous French naturalist Georges Cuvier was famous for stressing this fact in his famous "principle of correlation of parts", an idea central to comparative zoology (a field which in turn provides important evidence for evolution!).

Gus Van Horn said...

I am pretty sure it isn't a crinoid, although I will double-check anyway before doing anything with the fossil I have. Thanks for that reference.

Adrian Hester said...

My quiz popped out the following:

Cheerfulness: High
Assertiveness: Medium
Friendliness: Medium
Activity Level: Low
Sociability: Low
Excitement Seeking: Very Low

I'd say that's pretty accurate, except I'd have rated myself a bit higher on the friendliness scale. But then that's because like the French and the Russians I draw a very firm line, including linguistic, between acquaintances and friends. (In some ways I'm quite French. I generally don't smile at strangers, though I certainly smile around my friends. Constantly smiling, I am told, is a habit the French consider a sign of immaturity or hypocrisy--for me it's simply too much of a bother. I've heard a number of foreigners say that they find many Americans to be very friendly but not very good friends--what they were getting at, I think, is that Americans show acquaintances the sort of behavior that many Europeans only show to friends, then feel rebuffed when it transpires they're not as close to the Yanks as they thought.)

Gus Van Horn said...

I also err on the side of formality, which seems to really antagonize some people, who mistake it for snobbishness. I long ago decided that this would have to be their problem as I can't fake the superficial kind of friendliness you describe.

I find the "excitement-seeking" a odd categorization dependent on a rather perceptual-level criterion for excitement. The things I find exciting often require mental effort, hence concentration. When someone interrupts me for no particular reason, the fact is, he is keeping me away from my source of excitement by breaking my concentration, rather than adding to it -- even if I would otherwise be quite happy to chat.

So my reaction, if I am not careful, amkes me look like a real jerk, which means I get to pay twice for each such interruption.