The fabulous Mary of Life, the Universe, and Everything sent me some interview questions to answer.
Let's see if I can be half as interesting as everyone else. :) Actually, let's see if a long-winded overthinker (like me) can even come up with an answer. ;)
Looking back, what do you think was your greatest intellectual influence?
This is a sort of chicken/egg question for me. I think my nature is to be supremely curious, always. As long as I can remember, I've had a driving need to know. Everyone around me caught on to this, and that I also was graced with enough intelligence to understand (most of) the information in front of me. This meant I got the smart label, and it became very important to me to fulfill that label.
So the major things I always relied on for my curiosity and role-fulfillment are:
1. The library. Nothing in the world demonstrates so very visually just how much there is to know and learn as an enormous building filled with books written about every topic under the sun. Topics I didn't even know existed until I saw a book about it. Once I grew out of the children's section, I cruised every area, fiction and nonfiction alike. I read medical, science, legal, philosophy, foreign language, travel, and so forth. Over thirty years later and I'm not even a quarter done.
2. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My mother is a teacher, who also happens to be a supremely curious person. She always encouraged me in my pursuit of knowledge, including talking to me about the books I read and displaying interest in what I learned. My father expects his children to pursue knowledge in all areas and disciplines. Period. Like the breath of life. I remember him giving me magazine subscriptions---such as Scientific American when I was in elementary school---to support a current interest. Just because he thought I could (and should), I did. I read things like that, researched, learned, and believed I could.
Basically, my parents supported my intellectual pursuits. For example, in the summer, I got to take extra courses for fun, such as astronomy and Russian history, foreign languages, and more. The local university offered these things to area kids. During my Mad Scientist phase (which I'm sure my parents both wished would soon pass, but hasn't yet LOL) my dad bought me a chemistry kit, microscope, chemistry book, telescope, and even arranged for me to tour a real lab and meet real chemists.
I was surrounded by curious (and highly educated) people. Both parents had college degrees (my dad advanced, his sister even more so). I'm actually the fourth generation (or more) educated beyond basic school. My grandmothers (and even great-grandmothers) had careers outside the home. My maternal great-grandmother moved off to the city (by herself!) and worked as one of the first telephone operators. My paternal great-grandmother was a working artist.
(Feminism was just a movement that supported what I already knew and saw.)
Learning and commitment to learning was never geeky in my family. I grew up wondering why some kids thought it was so cool to like "dumb."
Now I do it to my own kids, who are also both supremely curious. They come by it honestly. Yesterday, Patience and I watched one of our favorite shows: The Naked Archaeologist.
Please name the best television show from your growing up years and explain why.
This is easy: Mr. Rogers. Hands down. As to why, well, there's always my confession about being a member of the Mr. Rogers cult.
We did own a television, which was disguised as a large buffet. It lived in the living room and was on rarely, as I recall. My mother had strict limits on shows and time allowed to watch when I was a kid. The lights had to be on, and we were not allowed to sit close (which was a pain if you had to adjust the volume or change the channel since back then it was all knobs).
If you are at all curious what else I watched during my mind-forming years (and this might explain a lot):
The Superfriends Hour by Hanna-Barbera.
The Krofft Superstar Hour. Favorites were: The Bugaloos and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. I can still do the theme songs, if you like.
Batman and Robin (the TV show)
[Batgirl rescues The Dynamic Duo from peril]
Batman: How did you know?
Batgirl: Through the one thing you couldn't possibly have in your utility belt, Batman... a woman's intuition.
Nancy Drew Mystery Hour. Biggest trauma: Dad walking in and gasping, "Holy cow, that's last month's centerfold in Playboy!" I gasped back, "No it's NOT, Dad! That's NANCY DREW! She'd never be naked in a dirty boys magazine!" He felt compelled to prove me wrong. I cried. And cried. And cried. And never could watch the show with the same appreciation, so it faded out pretty quickly.
Little House on the Prairie. I've caught a couple of re-runs and I wonder, good grief, what in the world? But back then, I loved it. And no insulin was required.
Battlestar Galactica. The original, real one. Bad special effects and pitiful story lines and all. Where Starbuck was a guy. And Apollo was a hottie. But I didn't watch it solely for the eye-candy, although that abounded.
Buck Rogers. Do you see a theme?
For the record, my mom let me watch the sweet shows (like Little House, and Nancy Drew, although was a little worried it was "too scary") and my Dad indulged me in all my sci-fi loves.
To this day, my TIVO line up reads the same: sweet show, sci-fi, mystery.
Borrowing this question from Sunshine Scribe, what are your guilty pleasures?
I come from a long line of tidy, curious and guilty people. Therefore, pretty much anything I do for me, especially if it is pleasurable, invokes guilt. Those, you see, are wants, not needs.
Okay so quick list I can think of over the past week:
Indulging in pride of my children (who are the most intelligent, most interesting, most beautiful children ever)
Buying three books at Half Price Books (instead of hitting the library)
Hiding and reading (it used to just be reading, but now I have to hide, too)
Reading mysteries (Tess Gerritsen on the side table)
Reading "women's fiction" which we might as well call by its real name: torrid romances (Suzanne Brockmann rules)
Watching "crap" TV like reality shows
Half and half at Starbucks (green tea and lemonade, low on ice, grande)
Weight Watchers chocolate and caramel one point treats
Tres Leches cake (1/4 of one small slice, probably still 8 billion grams of fat)
Surfing the Internet
Errr...good enough I think.
Which is of greater necessity - justice or forgiveness?
Oh hit me where it hurts.
Justice and order are cornerstones of my personality.
I was the playground police. You better believe I noted every wrong and did my best to turn it around to a right. After my shoe experience, I became the kid who stood up to bullies. In fifth grade it was Tasha, who had me pinned against the wall, feet dangling. I defied her, and in fact, with the persuasive edge of my golden tongue, I convinced her to give up her bullying ways. I was the Classroom Superhero for about 2 days, then we all forgot about it.
It's a little known fact but my original career plan (and, in fact, first professional job) was to be a lawyer. Yep, I was even an officer of Phi Alpha Delta. Unfortunately, I did not follow-through. I will probably always regret this a little, but as I grow older I see how it might not have been for the best, anyway.
The point is, justice is essential to me. It doesn't matter if something involves me or not: injustice burns me inside, like a fire.
Take last week. There was a massive office building that burned down. I'm livid that because it was built in 1979, it actually (though up to code for buildings on that era) wasn't safe. There wasn't a sprinkler system, nor adequate alarms. Word of mouth is how people---most---found out they were in danger. Some never did, and died, including the mother of a young girl. The mother was scheduled to testify in a court case the next day against a man who molested her daughter.
I can't hardly stand it.
The building owners and managers will escape culpability in all liklihood because this is a ridiculous loophole that allows their building to not have to keep up with the times to SOME degree.
A molestor may go free because the key testimony died with the mother.
And worst of all, a little girl---in the middle of a terrible trauma---lost her mother.
And other families lost their loved ones.
And in another situation that will probably be a blog post this week, the city has worked hard to find a reason to cancel the lease for land a hospital for the mentally handicapped sits on. They managed it. They are rescinding the lease, and handing out eviction notices. They said, as if it is a big DUH, that selling the prime real estate land will net bigger profit than the lease to the "retarded hospital." I wanted to scream, I might have done, a little.
I grieve. I burn.
In the end, justice is a complicated thing, often out of our control. It's a complex issue, and this quetion...I could write an entire essay.
Therefore, from a personal vantage point, I think forgiveness is of greater necessity. However, I don't define forgiveness the way a lot of people do. And that's definitely another blog post.
Who do you think is the most important person alive today?
It really depends upon how you mean important and from which vantage point, you know?
I think The Pope is one of the most influential people. Bush is one of the most powerful. If this was a year ago, Saddam Hussein might be a good answer since he sure got a lot of crickets hopping.
But at the end of the day, I think I'm going to go with Paris Hilton. It's not respect from me, either. She just represents so much---I mean, she's such a symbol for these days.
Thanks Mary and thanks to anyone who read!
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert