- The Simpsons or South Park?
- Root beer or cream soda?
Root beer. I hate cream soda.
- Arcade games: '80s or '90s?
'80s. The games of the '90s are much flashier, yes, but you can't beat
the '80s games for playability. Besides, that's when I spent the most time
in the arcade...
- To be, or not to be?
Better not to have been in the first place... but once you're already
here, better to be.
- How do you like your toast?
Very lightly toasted; barely singed, in fact. Usually eaten plain, or
in the form of peanut-butter-on-toast sandwiches with Skippy Super Chunk
spread on immediately upon taking it out of the toaster.
- How has your name been misspelled?
Oh, I've lost track of all the ways. Shmvel, Shnuel, Schmoyal, and
Smuel have all made appearances, among many others. In my junk mail, Samuel
is probably the most frequent "correction." Online, Shumel and Schmuel are
the top misspellings.
- What's your favorite Monopoly property?
Reading Railroad. It helps that I didn't know it was pronounced
"redding" when I was younger.
- What's your favorite Internet mailing list?
CopyEditing-L. I don't often have time to keep up with it, but it
rules. Useful and entertaining.
- If you could have any one superpower, what would it be? Why?
This is the one question I took from an outside source, swiping it from
a "Meet the Editors" survey in my college paper a couple of years ago. My
answer was and is "invulnerability," and I'm still amazed that I was the
only person on staff to choose that answer; it seemed obvious to me. I
guess I'm more interested in defending myself than in having power over
- When you write, do you prefer to work in silence, or with something
(music, television, etc.) on in the background?
I nearly always have something on. Radio and CDs used to be the usual
sources of background noise; since getting a TV set, I've tended to have
that on instead. At deadline, there are particular CD tracks I tend to put
on endless repeat: notably Pat Benatar's "Ooh Ooh Song" and Sister Act's
"Hail Holy Queen."
- You're a guest on Sesame Street, and they want you to sing a song
with the Muppet(s) of your choice. Which song would you sing, and with
Now, this was a tough one. Well, actually, the song is an easy
call: "Sing." There's a reason why it's been covered a zillion
times by now; it's a great song. As for the Muppets... after some
reflection, I think I'd go with Rosita and Prairie Dawn.
(As it happens, Rosita and Gloria Estefan are responsible for my current
favorite version of the song, performed in English and Spanish.)
- Choose two of the following, and suppose that they have joined forces in
a corporate merger. Describe the resultant commercial:
- Old Navy
- Taco Bell
- Any car dealership
- America Online
- Any phone service
This is the tough one. I've left it for last, and I'm still not sure
how to respond. And I wrote the question. It would help if I were
Problem is, I'm not getting any more awake, and I really have to post this
Now, if only I'd included Folger's Crystals... ("We've secretly replaced
Mr. Jones's phone service with AT&T One Rate. Let's see what happens.")
But what the heck. Here goes nothing:
(Setting: A mall)
OLDER TEEN BOY:
What are we going to do?
YOUNGER TEEN BOY:
(On a red sofa covered with Performance Fleece, inexplicably in the middle
of a wishing well)
What's the problem?
Well, our Dad gave us some money to get an Internet account, so we could
keep in touch by e-mail this summer, when we're staying with our Aunt
So we got America Online. His e-mail filter sensibly bounces all our mail,
and he has no way of knowing that. What'll we do?
Easy! Use 1-800-COLLECT and save him a buck or two! He'll be so happy,
he'll just chalk it up as a learning experience.
Say, is that a Performance Fleece sofa?
Camera cuts to TEENS, who chorus:
Camera cuts to 1-800-COLLECT GUY and AUNT SALLY, who
dance around the set, getting more and more excited as they do so. Fade to
black as they begin ripping off their Old Navy blazers, then display:
VIAGRA WAS THERE.
See? See? This is what happens when I try typing when I'm out of
- Finally, this one's almost cliché by now, but what the heck... You
have the opportunity to kill Hitler while he's still in the cradle. Do you
do so, or not? Why or why not?
For one thing, I don't believe in the death penalty, period... self-defense
is something else, but that's only in cases of clear and immediate danger
(e.g., somebody standing over you with a gun), which wouldn't apply here.
For another, I'd consider it immoral to punish somebody for something he's
going to do, but hasn't done yet.
Finally, it wouldn't do any good. Hitler was only able to do what he did
because the society at his time and place demanded somebody like him. If
he hadn't been there, somebody else would have done the job.