My first spotlight is J. R. Gallagher (aka @gallaghermeow). J. R. is someone I've been following on Twitter for about two years. What stood out to me is that we have a similar affinity for movies and music. We don't always have the same taste, but the same passion for what we like. I also would call us both amateur scholars of pop culture.
What I like about J. R. is that he just tells it how it is. He has a funny candor, and a way of honestly interpreting his surroundings. This has become even more pronounced as he's blogged about a recent trip to Haiti.
Anyway, here are some questions I threw at J. R.:
Alan: Is it John or J.R.?
Alan: My oldest son's name is John, but we call him "Johnny." I'm not sure how long it will last. My dad's name is John, and it's my middle name, too. I told my wife, Anna, that if we had a son, I really wanted to name him after my dad. While she loves my dad, it took her some time getting used to having the son already named before he was even conceived.
Second only to their wedding day, women daydream about naming their children, so in some way, I took a lot of the fun away from her on that one. Thankfully, her oldest sister saved the day. She was saying that calling him "Johnny" would be cool because every Johnny is a rebel, and girls love the bad boy. Anna dug this idea, and the name Johnny stuck. The name Johnny totally suits him, but it's funny to hear his little brother call him "John" for short. Now, will he be Johnny when he's 30? I can only hope so. (Thanks for indulging me on that little tangent...)
Question 2: You're on a sinking ship and you can only save two out of the three of Billy Joel, Axl Rose or Andy Gibb - each of them in their prime - who do you let sink to his watery grave?
Alan: I think you made the right choice. Had Joel gone down in his prime, which I'm going to call the "Innocent Man" Billy Joel, we would have missed out on "We didn't start the Fire" a great song that was played to death and "River of Dreams" which was slightly weak by Joel's standard, but a strong album to anyone else's. That said, we would have also avoided the aptly named "Fantasies and Delusions" album. I'll just leave it at that.
As for Axl, I'm afraid we've seen the best of him. We may part ways on this, but he was at his best in the "Use Your Illusion" albums and has not matched that level since. If the "Illusion" albums were his prime, I'm afraid he could have disappeared into the Great Abyss after their release and we still would have the best of him today.
Next question: The music of Van Halen - bad ass, or just ass?
Alan: This is a bit of a trick question. IMO, the answer is "both." And I don't mean that in a disparaging way. Their music is both dismissible and totally awesome. You have to respect that about them.
"Little Dreamer" is a good one - a haunting ballad. I love "Ice Cream Man" from VH1. Am I assuming too much that you're dumping the whole "Van Hagar" era wholesale? I'm definitely a Diamond Dave guy, but I think the Red Rocker gets an unfair shake for his VH contribution. There is some solid music there. We're all just humans being, baby. Poundcake, anyone?
Talk a little about your visit to Haiti. Why did you go? What one image has stayed with you the most?
The school will host around 400 children, most of whom do not have electricity. They will be able to get an education, as well as a meal each day, which is important. Many people in this region of the country are semi-starved. The trip was a great success but also troubling.
Port Au Prince was beyond imaginable in regard to its devastation. Let's put it this way. The place was already "devastated" before the earthquake, and now it's just an utter nightmare. The image that stayed with me the most was the resiliency of the Haitian people, who, despite their situation, still believe that things can be better and can turn around.
Alan: Well said, J.R. I have nothing to add to that other than I think your involvement there is awesome. It's one thing to throw money at a problem (which is WAY better than nothing) but it's another to jump in and get your hands dirty and serve other people. Bravo to you!
If there is one food from Massachusetts you could share with the whole world, what would it be?
Alan: That reminds me of when Meatloaf was a little extra 'chesty' in "Fight Club." A disturbing and hilarious image.
I like the Red Sox, but don't LOVE them the way that I LOVE the Patriots. There are parts of the Sox organization I don't agree with, and ultimately I feel as though they need to build a newer and larger stadium to be able to accommodate families from all incomes. It's not fair the prices they charge for tickets. I'm all about sentimentality and the idea of Fenway, but the old park just isn't cutting it in 2010. Don't even get me started on the Green Monster and how it's kept us from various other playoffs and championships.
Alan: That's interesting. I've never heard a New Englander talk about the Green Monster with anything but reverence.
I was living in Connecticut in the mid-'90s when the Pats started to turn the corner from suckitude to the modern run of competence and championships. I was glad they dumped the old helmet logo with the colonist in the three-point stance. I never liked that and thought the new logo was sweet from day one.
Alan: I think you hit the nail on the head. Hollywood has just gotten lazy. There are good movies today, but not many of them make it to the local mega-theater. My wife and I don't get out to the theater like we used to before we had kids, so I've found a way to become a huge fan of Netflix. I've been going back and watching all kinds of old movies that I had never heard of and many of them blow my mind. They're much better than the tripe in the theaters these days.
That said, I'm counting down the days to the next Harry Potter movie.
That's all, folks. Thanks to J. R. for being a good sport and the first one to be introduced from my Twitterhood. Visit his blog at johnryangallagher.tumblr.com.