Saturday, January 20, 2007

Joe Blog's Interview #46 Historian Extraudinaire!

Name : J. L. Bell
Age : 41
Location : Suburban Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Vocation : Writer/editor/historian
Philosophy : Skepticism, but I'm not committed to it.

Sum up what your blog is about.
"History, analysis, and unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution in Massachusetts."

Why are you doing your blog?
To share my fascination with this small slice of world history, and some of my little discoveries and opinions in the field. And to get off a few snarky comments about modern politics and human nature along the way.

What's the funniest entry on your blog?
This is where my 10+ years of work as an editor becomes evident: please, for all that is good in this world, put an apostrophe in "Whats". People will love you more. (You can take the apostrophe from "actress's" below while you turn that into "actresses.") So what was the question? Oh, yes, funniest entry. Legislative bodies are always good for a laugh, and the Florida legislature even more so. This posting was a response to the state's ridiculous education guidelines. You don't get better material than that. Unless you stumble across a man who signed the Declaration of Independence dropping his purse into a toilet.
(JoeBlogs : Grammatical mistakes duly noted and corrected! Thanks Mr Bell)

What is your writing style?
I aim for straightforward erudition, usually correctly spelled and punctuated, without too many backtracking parenthetical phrases and only occasional puns. I'm more concise when I've had more time.

How much would you sell your blog for?
8,000 guineas.

What do people commonly say about your site?
"Oh, I meant to look at that, really. What was the address again?"

Why should someone visit your site?
For a few peeks into America's founding in a different, solidly documented, and never totally respectful way. Or, if you're using a search engine to look up something for tomorrow's history report, just enough information to realize that the history is more interesting than you thought, and your report thus more difficult.

Climate change is caused by man. Myth or reality?
Reality, most likely.

Are there any blogs, you enjoy reading?
Fuse #8 by Betsy Bird of the New York Public Library system is a can't-eat-just-one exploration of the world of modern children's books. Civil War Memory does for the U.S. Civil War what Boston 1775 does for a bit of the American War for Independence. Talking Points Memo keeps me up to date on the history being made today. And I like the way this guy thinks.

What would you have written on your tombstone?
"Well, We Thought He Was in Here."

Would you go on a reality TV show?

What one website would you recommend and why?
Unshelved is funny. In, of course, a totally librarian way.

Tell us a random funny story that comes to mind.
A kangaroo walks into a coffee shop and orders a medium latte. The barista pumps it out, puts the cup in the kangaroo's paws, and says, "That'll be eight dollars. You know, we don't see a lot of kangaroos in here." The kanga snaps, "With those prices, of course you don't!" (Oh, you want a story about something funny that happened to me? In that case, replace "kangaroo" with "bison.")

Had any supernatural experiences?
None. Except for one talking bison incident.

What advice would you have given yourself 5 years ago?
"Get a Palm PDA two years before you actually do. Yeah, you think the things look dorky, but trust me--the two of you will become inseparable, and you'll never have to schlep around a laptop again."

Can you tell us a joke?

Tell us just one of your favourite actors, actresses, comedian, song and film.
Joel McCrea. Toni Collette. Jacques Tati. "Azure Te." Time Bandits.

And finally, what would you wish for with 3 wishes?
More bookshelf space, a lifetime pass on Virgin Atlantic, and knowledge of where blacksmith Obadiah Whiston went after March 1776.

Now it’s your turn! Ask me one question, anything you like.
What's the deal with beans for breakfast?
Joe Blogs : Baked beans are perfect for breakfast. You can dip the toast in, it goes well with sausage, egg, and bacon. English breakfast's are world renowned. Though a continental breakfast includes great Danish pastries. Not pastries with dog in, that would possibly be Chinese.

Your Site Address : Boston 1775