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Thursday, April 28, 2005

My Interview by Target Centermass

It’s a meme. Gunner at TargetCentermass subjected himself, and now it’s my turn.

He asked the questions. I’ll give the answers. To perpetuate the meme, leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed. The first five doing so will be asked six questions, of which you can choose to answer five. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post. I’ll provide a link to your answers.

Here are Gunner’s questions and my responses:

1. You started your blog with the following:

By my reckoning, the most important aspect of a succesful blog is not humor, character, communication, logic, entertainment value, technical issues, or even decency. It is discipline - the discipline to regularly update the blog. We’ll see if we have it…

Now, as time has passed, do you still feel that way? If not, what then is the most important aspect of a successful blog? For that matter, how would you define a “successful” blog?


I would still say that statement holds true. Of course, it is determined by what I think is “successful”. I certainly wasn’t ever out for fame or traffic, but any blogger wants to be read. Therefore, I define successful as “interesting to someone besides you and your mom”. I have probably five or six regular visitors who stop by at least once a day, then a dozen or so more who are familiar with my site and stop by at times, then the random ones I get through the Carnival, Blogs4Bush, and Homespun. If my readership never increases, I’ll consider it quite successful.

Now, if I want to be wildly successful and have comments all the time (which would be fun) I would need to make changes – I’d have to make the site look better and get a lot funnier (or more controversial). The first is part of the long-term plan; the second would require supernatural intervention.

I’ve probably hit the max on the number of hits I get from Mrs. Hammer’s picture already. I bet I would have quadruple the traffic if I perpetrated I was her from the start.

2. You went to USMA. I spent a week there for an academic (e.g. recruiting) workshop before my senior year of high school. One morning I saw a doe outside the dorm window, on a hillside not even thirty feet away. What is a moment from your time there that will always remind you of the natural beauty of the Hudson Highlands?

Neat question! I have had the opportunity to see a view of West Point that few have – from the top of the bell tower of the Cadet Chapel. It is simply the most beautiful scene I can imagine, particularly in the fall. No place does autumn like the Northeast, I tell ya. The South doesn’t know what it is missing out on.
Honestly, you don’t fully appreciate most of the picturesque views there until you are finished with the place. You get tied up in survival early on, then the grind later, and only notice the beauty intermittently. That day, on a bell tower that had “Ike was here, 1912” inscribed in tiny scratches near the doorway, was the most memorable of those times.

3. You’re an athletic, sports-loving video-game nut. What are your favorite sports to play personally, to watch live, to watch on television and to play on a video game? If there are discrepancies between the four, explain briefly why?

Personally play – Boxing (individual) and Rugby/Basketball (team)
Watch Live – Basketball

Watch on TV – NCAA Football (Go Irish!)

Play on a game – NCAA Football

I chose rugby and basketball to play because the answer is rugby, but since I haven’t played in 10 years I thought it was kind of disqualified. I actually did not get any good at basketball until my senior year at USMA. Essentially, I realized that I was going into the Army, that soldiers played basketball (and were probably decent at it), and that I didn’t want them saying, “You take the lieutenant. No, you take him!” I got some pals to work with me for a few months and was pretty persistent my first few years, even playing in a city league at Fort Drum. I’m probably in the top 10-20% skill-wise by now.

Basketball is fun to watch live because I can see all of the action. It’s a game I enjoy that is on a small field, compared to football, and I seldom have to try to discern what is going on. TV removed the viewing challenges of the football field and rapid fire action in a pile of bodies with the camera work, so it is the winner for television viewing. As far as video games go, I like most sports games, but a good football game has the high level of complexity and challenges to keep me interested longer than most other sports games. I have yet to play a boxing game I enjoy since “4-D Boxing” on the PC back in 1994. In that one you could jack up a guy that had a head like the “Money for Nothing” cartoon character with an uppercut, using your spherical hands. It was the movement that sold me – movement I have yet to see reproduced.

4. Army has a planned home-and-home football schedule with my alma mater Texas A&M in ‘06 and ‘08. During your time as an officer in the Army, you certainly had some degree of interaction with Aggies. What is your honest impression of them and do you have any interest in attending a game at A&M? If not, why not? If so, has any particular Aggie tradition caught your interest?

I considered skipping this question, simply due to lack of knowledge. I only recall two Aggies over my whole career. I don’t know why it was so few. After all, I remember more Citadel grads. Maybe they aren’t into the whole Cav thing. My Division Cavalry Squadron in Korea had seven troop commanders – 4 USMA, Rose-Hulman, Seattle U, and an OCS guy.

One Aggie was a guy at USMA who transferred after a year, so I don’t know if he even counts. The other was my squadron commander in the above unit. He was one of my best commanders ever, so I have a positive view of A&M. However, I don’t know much about its traditions, and it is too far for someone who is about to have no job to visit.

5. Name the top three people that lived during your lifetime that you would consider heroic. What other person living today could make this list and what would that person have to do to bump one of the three?

1) LTC James N. Rowe, author of “Five Years to Freedom”. He is one of only two people to ever escape captivity in VietNam, and it was after five years. His story is remarkable. He was assassinated in 1989. I have his book, autographed (although it is written to someone else).

2) MSG Gordon and SFC Shughart, the Delta Force soldiers who volunteered to go down to Michael Durant’s downed Blackhawk in Somalia, knowing they would not survive. Their Medal of Honor citations are here.

3) My friend, J. What he does is so scary I can’t even use his name while only vaguely describing it. While some think it is hard to stand in front of a large group of people and preach Jesus, it is ridiculously easy compared to what he does – brings Bibles and aid to Christians in countries where it is a crime punishable by death. His actions are heroic, not because he doesn’t get scared, but because he does them anyway. Even more impressive is that he takes the “royal road” to do it – meaning he never lies or covers up what he is doing or carrying…and yet, he had never been detained or had his goods taken from him. The man is walking proof of the active part God plays in our world, every day.

Maybe you can guess from the list, but the kinds of things I admire and consider heroic aren’t the kinds of things famous people do. All three would be considered just regular guys, until the chips were down. Only then have they been revealed as heroes. The one to jump onto the list won’t be some general who orchestrates a great victory – it will be a fireman who dies to save a child, or something like that. Stuff that I know goes on, but one I would know of personally.

6. (Blatantly lifting from my interview by TexasBestGrok) What got you into blogging? If you had to write a mission statement for your blog, what would it be? Do you have any conscious role models for or influences in your blogging?

It was The Corner over at National Review. I started reading NRO and would check out places linked there. I saw Ace of Spades HQ and The Jawa Report kind of regularly, and would check out other blogs they linked. I wasn’t sure I had what it takes to keep anyone interested, but figured it would be a way for my wife to communicate with her long-distance friends. Little did I know it would primarily be a venting place for me!

Mission: To provide a place for intelligent, respectful discourse on issues I am interested in and to prevent me from ranting at Mrs. Hammer.

My conscious role models and influences…I don’t know. While Ace and Dr. Rusty have always been admired by Team Hammer, my writing style is very different from theirs. I had been a regular contributor to some local papers, so I had a writing style of my own already. I’m sure I have modified it, but it has to have been subconsciously achieved. It can only have improved me.

6 Comments:

  • No, I won't play! Though it looks fun, and I did enjoy reading it.

    This Grand Jury thing is murder.

    I checked through my writing and didn't use the term you said I did; did use "right winger" once which I think is fair.

    If I left it in the comment I made yesteday--please delete it
    Thanks

    By Anonymous pia, at 4/28/2005 11:16:00 AM  

  • Good answers -- I've linked them. By the way, you'll be on my next blogroll update.

    By Anonymous Gunner, at 4/28/2005 11:51:00 AM  

  • Hammer,

    I really like your mix of interests and what you have to say on your blog. I have learned a lot from your Bible lessons. From my perspective, you are getting better all of the time. I'm glad you are a blogger.

    By Blogger David M. Smith, at 4/28/2005 12:15:00 PM  

  • Pia,
    It wasn't you - it was another commenter. Sorry for the confusion.

    Genner - thanks for the opportunity and the link!

    David - likewise, brother.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/28/2005 10:48:00 PM  

  • Very interesting answers, and an interesting site! Good choice with the ND stuff on the side-bar, too.

    By Blogger Phil, at 4/30/2005 04:14:00 PM  

  • That should say, "Gunner - thanks for the opportunity and the link."

    "Genner"? What the heck was that? 'E' and 'U' aren't even near each other on the keyboard. I think Gunner nuked me from his blogroll for that one!

    Phil,
    Thanks for the compliment! I'll surf on over to your site shortly and see your answers.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/30/2005 11:36:00 PM  

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