A word or two about me: I toil professionally for a major Pennsylvania newspaper. And I’m the happily married father of a a young daughter, who, when she’s not happily toiling away in the primary grades, is either dancing ballet, playing violin or can be found glued to iCarly and Victorious.
When I’m not writing — which is most of the time — you can find me playing bass guitar in a local bar band. It’s absolutely cathartic. Should you be wondering about such things, I count R.E.M, U2, The Church, and Squeeze in my pantheon of favorite bands. All-time favorite record, bar none, is “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys, though “Rubber Soul,” by The Beatles often displaces it in the top spot.
I’m also a reggae obsessive and have a sprawling collection of vintage ska, rocksteady, roots and dub recordings kicking around the hard drive of my battered, but hardy, iMac G4.
Favorite writers include Ernest Hemingway, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Douglas Coupland, Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis and Robert B. Parker. But I wouldn’t have become a journalist without the deadly combination of P.J. O’Rourke and Hunter Thompson I was exposed to during my junior year of college. I also blame Christopher Hitchens (speedy recovery!) and Andrew Sullivan for helping to foster my unhealthy obsession with the printed word.
I blame my movie obsession mostly on my Mom, a devotee of the Golden Age of cinema, who made sure I knew who John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant were before I knew much about anything else. Ditto for the local NBC affiliate that, in the dying days of the 1970s, showed a vintage movie every day at 4 p.m.
And I’d be nothing without my Italian immigrant grandfather exposing me to The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy and The Little Rascals. It’s proof-positive that you don’t need to have a ton of English to know that whacking someone in the head with a frying pan is funny no matter what language you were brought up speaking.
All-time favorite movies include “Casablanca,” “Star Wars,” “High Noon,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Citizen Kane,” though the list is really too long to mention here. I will defend “Love Actually,” even unto death (you’re welcome Ms. Knightley), and will have words with anyone who defames the television career of Alyssa Milano.
Speaking of which, favorite TV programs include “Entourage,” “Californication,” “True Blood,” “Hung,” (which is starting to grow on me), “Mad Men,” (which is not, despite the wiles of Christina Hendricks), and “Battlestar Galactica.” I am an obsessive watcher of MSNBC and will happily sit through any episode of the original “Iron Chef” TV show, no matter what part of the fish they’re turning into a delicacy that week.