30 August 2006


For Kari, at the News-Journal

When and why did you start the blog?
This, the second go 'round at this blogging activity, formally started on 15 October 2005, but I didn't really start to post again until 10 December 2005. I started the original Timatollah blog on 16 May 2002 and put it to sleep on 1 September 2003.

Why? I had opinions and a point-of-view that I wanted to share. Also, it gives me a way to keep in touch with people I care about.
What’s the size of your readership e.g. hits per day?
Somewhere between five and twenty-five. You can check this Site Meter link. In this incarnation, I was getting the most hits regularly for a while after this post about the late Denise Denton. I still get several hits a day from people searching on her name.

Most of the people who read this are family and friends. Thanks to my brother Dan and to his sons Sam and Mike and to Sam's girlfriend Abby in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, to Bryan T. in Nashville, to MKH in Miami, to Mr. Lane in Ormond Beach, to Kit in Pensacola, to Ken G. in California, to Jim J. in Ormond Beach, to Joe F. in Boston, and to Brent McK in Elkhart, Kansas, for reading regularly, as well as to several other regulars who I don't know who they are. And to anyone else who happens to give this a minute of their precious time on this planet.

(Dragonleg: If you're out there, drop me a note! I miss you and your blog.)
Do you ever write about personal things?
I'm a gay man in a committed long-term relationship, and I write about that. My partner, Mack, and I have, all in all, great relations with our families, and I write about that. I write about quite a few things that matter to me personally here, including religion, politics, and sexuality, in addition to music I like, movies I see, nonsense I find on the web, and more.

But, let's get real: I'm almost fifty. This isn't some teenager's diary of frustration. If anything, I hope it's a celebration of life lived. A phrase that has long moved me comes from the words of the television adaptation of The Martian Chronicles (nowhere found in Bradbury's anthology of short stories): "Life is a gift from the creator of the universe. To be savored. To be luxuriated in."
Do you feel safe putting info about yourself online?
Basically. As far as I can tell, not too many of the people I work with or who are my students read this, but I've always accepted the fact that they could. If my writing publicly were to have negative impact at work because of something I've said here that has nothing to do with work, that wouldn't speak very well for my employer or the people I'm around at work, would it? The fact is that ERAU is a quality employer, my peers are great people, and we have a talented and tuned-in student body. It's difficult for me to imagine my writing here causing me trouble at work, unless I wrote poorly or said something incredibly stupid or factually wrong. I like to play dumb, but I try not to be stupid.

The single thing I'm most embarrassed about is the name. As a nickname, it was given to me by a co-worker when I was a driver/technician for the Nuclear Pharmacy in Nashville, Tennessee, during 1981 and 1982; i.e., when Ayatollah Khomeini was still in the news. Since I had solutions to all the worlds problems and didn't shy away from announcing them, he dubbed me the Timatollah. I wonder what people think when they run across that.
Do you censor yourself when you blog?
Yes. I can't control other peoples' sensitivities, but I don't have to pretend they don't have them. I don't have to kowtow to them, but it doesn't hurt to strive to be polite. I may not always achieve that ideal, but I do try.
Do you enjoy blogging? Why?
Sure. I get to talk about my own non-mainstream politics: I'm a yellow dog Democrat who believes in (1) a strong national defense and military and vigorous international presence, (2) human rights protection through civil rights legislation for all Americans, including those who aren't heterosexual (no surprise there) -- that includes marriage or the functional equivalent thereof. I know how much extra taxes I paid when I was working and Mack was going to school compared to a similarly situationed heterosexual couple, and I know how much Social Security benefits don't get transfered to him when I die -- and (3) Western civilization as something worth defending vigorously. I'd rather not live under Islamic totalitarianism (or any other form of totalitarianism, secular or religious), regardless of what the polite word for describing that this week is.

I still think there was a real casus belli with Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11: Iraq had repeatedly disregarded UN resolutions regarding weapons inspection, and enforcement of the resolutions through military force was perfectly justified. I've had to acknowledge since then that in addition to a casus belli, a victorious army has to be prepared to do what it takes to ensure the security of an occupied nation. We didn't do that, leading to much justified consternation with us among the Iraqis. Couple that with the fact that the Iraqi army got away with their munitions to form the core of the Baath part of the insurgency, and you have what evolved into the situation we have now, all courtesy of bad civilian leadership of the U.S. military (fill-in-the-blank: Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld). Our rank-and-file military deserve nothing but our respect and appreciation. Some of the military leadership might have made better arguments for the need for additional troops, but, in the end, they have to do what the civilian leadership tells them to do. That's our system. That means we hold the civilian leadership responsible.

The Iraqi people may have had the opportunity to vote in an election, but without physical security, they can't be said to have the kinds of freedoms that we take for granted every day. Which is not to say that even if they did, their years of repressions with required revenge and their own religious disputes wouldn't make it impossible for them to savor those freedoms. To luxuriate in them.

Thanks, Tim. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
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