As I've written before, November's a tricky month. When you expect golden fall foliage, you wake up one morning to find the leaves gone, the trees suddenly gray skeletons. When you expect crisp, clear autumn weather as a prelude to the holiday chill, it's typically warmer and wetter than you remember. While you remember Thanksgiving fondly, the day itself feels anticlimactic: "oh, there's dinner? And then we sleep?"
That's why November's Fan of the Month had to be a rabid fan of all things autumnal, heady, wet, wild, fast, furious, and unpredictable. They need to like--nay, LOVE--Thanksgiving, and make me see its weird, tryptophanic haze in the appropriate light. They need to like sweaters. A lot. Ideally, they own some scarves and drink more coffee than is appropriate. Most of their life needs to be the aggressive pursuit of, in their own words, "all things Snuggly."
I'm proud to present this month's fan, a man who brings November to February, a man who typifies the season in every wonderful respect, a man who requested to be called "Dr. Benway" for the purposes of internet anonymity, but is neither a doctor or a Benway...I give to you...
November's Fan of the Month, Dr. Benway in Philadelphia!
What does he win?
--Season 1 DVD of Lipstick Jungle!
--A stack of complimentary Starbucks Via samples!
--The dog that lives next door! (Breed TBD)
--Three toboggans! (the hat, not the sled)
--One toboggan! (the sled, not the hat)
--Eighteen stacks of post-it notes!
--The love and admiration of millions!
--Nine dollars in cash!
(As always, if you'd like to be a future Fan of the Month, just drop me a line.)
Now, let's learn some more about Dr. Benway of Philadelphia and his Philosophy of Snuggle:
Something the average interweb browser wouldn't know about me is...?
I didn't start eating pizza until I was 21...but not I LOVE it. ;) [wink face, not a typo]
(Editor's Note: Noted.)
The music scene in Philadelphia is...?
Eh, skinny jeans mostly. And guitars.
Whatcha do for a living?
When was the last time you ate at Burger King?
Golly...more than 7+ years ago, I think.
You have one meal left in life but it has to be fast food. You can pick and choose different items from different joints. Name that meal!
Popeye's spicy chicken strips meal with an extra biscuit. Fries as the side item. Four containers of their barbecue sauce. Water for the drink.
What is your favorite adjective in the English language?
What is snuggly? What is snuggliness? Would you call snuggliness a life strategy? A pursuit? A journey? An overarching philosophy? Is it simply what the world needs now?
I’d probably call it an overarching philosophy. That said, snuggliness is hard to put into words. It’s more of an “I know it when I feel it” sort of phenomenon. I think it has to do with identifying the people and circumstances that make you happiest (see real joy, not MTV android-happiness), and then seeking them out and enjoying them as best you can.
Snuggliness is the antithesis of materialism; Bill Gates doesn’t have the capacity to experience it any better/worse than Joe Ordinary. It’s being Home for the holidays and remembering why you get homesick; it’s seeing a friend of 20+ years after a long absence and feeling like you were never more than a bike ride away; it’s waking up at 9 on a Saturday morning and walking to the coffee shop simply to dig the 40 degree temp and the sunshine while whistling. It stands for the proposition that life is more good than bad.
(Editor's Note: This Philosophy of Snuggliness is a wonderful prospect. I think I'm a changed man. But not changed enough to resist posting this picture of a Snuggie-ensconced dude.)
Pick your dream concert. Any three (living) artists, anywhere, any venue, any month, any time of day. What is it? What's it called?
Artists: My Morning Jacket, Lucero, and Drive-By Truckers.
Venue: A southern bar with sticky floors, and PBR on tap, that can't hold more than 50 people.
Month: July. Sweaty and thick.
Time of Day: 10PM.
Title: Rock and Roll.
You can pick one album as your morning alarm for a year. The songs and their "wake-up" segments will shuffle randomly, but you are stuck with this album for 365 days. What is it?
Charlie Parker's Dial, Disc 1: jazz makes me want to swing, and that's a good way to start a day.
What music publications/blogs/sites do you read? Any of them good?
Hmmmm. Besides this blogorama, I am a regular online visitor to the New York Times and the Weather Channel. I used to read Guitar World in order to obtain tabs for my favorite Creed songs.
(Editor's Note: This is a fearless and riveting Q&A. It's an editor's nightmare. I keep having ethical dilemmas over whether or not I should delete stuff like "obtaining Creed tabs" to preserve public reputations. Then I remember there's no such person as "Dr. Benway." Proceed, sir!)
If you could fight any public figure, who would it be and why?
The kid who beat up his R&B singer girlfriend...he needs a sound thrashing.
(Editor's Note: Yep, here we go...)
That would be Chris Brown. 100% honesty, all things are equal, no weapons, no friends, mano-a-mano: could you take him? How would this fight actually play out?
Hmmm, good question. I had to consult Wikipedia for the hot info on this Chris Brown character. He is from a small town in Virginia, singing and dancing since a young age, discovered by a talent agency at 13. Therefore, he has no inherent hardness factors (i.e. gang experience, raw urban upbringing, evidence of juvenile rowdiness a la Matt Damon). I then looked at his picture. While he seems to be in shape, he’s in no way intimidating or large/in charge. The scenario I had in mind initially involved him having an entourage. With that out of the equation, we have something like this:
I am visiting in LA, and hear that he’ll be partying at a certain club or bar on a given night. I decide that his incredibly cowardly behavior somehow warrants me making the effort to go to said nightspot and hang out until he leaves. I approach him outside the club and say something to the effect of “it doesn’t take much to beat up a girl, try this on for size, etc.” I’m horrible at trash talk so whatever I say will be lame. Then I hit him, and keep hitting him/trying to hit him until we get broken up. I won’t try to predict the ultimate outcome of any fight, but based on my preliminary findings I think there’s a pretty good chance I’d hit him clean 2 or 3 times while he flails around like someone who got discovered at age 13. Then I’d be arrested for assault.
(Editor's Note: That was everything I wanted it to be. And so much more.)
Fill in the blanks!
Five favorite artists from the 60's are...?
Hendrix, Dylan, Allman Brothers (formed in 1969, but they feel like the 60's to me), The Band, and CCR.
Five favorite artists from the 90's are...?
Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Uncle Tupelo, Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots
Five favorite artists from the 2000's are...?
Lucero, MMJ, DBT, New Pornographers, Kanye West
Some singer/songwriters I love are...?
The Chris Milam himself, Jim James solo, Cat Stevens, Cory Branan
...is my favorite Beatle.
I have to be honest here: I'm not a Beatles fan, so I fear answering this question as written would be living a lie. Let's say my least objectionable Beatle is George Harrison, but I dig Lennon post-Beatles for his rad Communist ways.
I'm fascinated...why does everyone love George Harrison? That's three months in a row he's picked as the favorite, or "least objectionable." What is it about George???
Not too sure. I feel like he retained the most dignity post-Beatles in terms of not being a publicity whore or trading in on his Beatles status in humiliating ways to pay for a new vacation home.
The most underrated city in America is...?
I’m prejudiced, but I think a strong case can be made for Little Rock, AR. From personal experience it seems like no one wants to give Little Rock the time of day, but it is small (a good thing in my mind), has way more quality restaurants than it ought to, is a relatively short drive from various outdoor pursuits, is on a river, and when you’re there you actually feel like you’re in the South (take note anyone in Dallas, Atlanta, or Nashville).
(Editor's Note: I can vouch for Little Rock. It's like Birmingham, but smaller and weirder. Which is to say, probably cooler. But WOW--fighting words to Nashville! In the words of Zach de la Rocha, "I think I heard a shot!")
Favorite wrongly-heard song lyric is...? (e.g. "Excuse me while I kiss this guy...")
The classic: "It must be your skin, it's oxygen."
(Editor's Note: Research indicates that this lyric is from Bush's classic powerballad "Glycerine." The actual lyric is: "It must be your skin/that I'm sinking in." But really, it's Gavin Rossdale--anything goes.)
Rank these items in order of awesomeness: The Bill of Rights, Las Vegas, Kate Beckinsale, Thanksgiving, bourbon, the Real World Seasons 1-4 Reunion.
2) Real World Reunion
4) Kate Beckinsale
5) Las Vegas
6) The Bill of Rights
Thanksgiving: underrated or overrated?
Vastly underrated. Often overlooked due to premature placement of Christmas lights. The official beginning to the period I call the "Snuggle Belt," which runs from the beginning of Thanksgiving break to New Year's Day.
In the grand ranking of holidays, would you place Thanksgiving ahead of Halloween? Would you put either ahead of Christmas?
Thanksgiving is a gazillion times ahead of Halloween. I don’t care for Halloween; it inevitably disappoints and doesn’t represent any of Man’s higher ideals. Christmas is my favorite overall holiday, but I think it and Thanksgiving are part of an umbrella “holiday season” which manifests itself in get-togethers with family and old friends and other snuggly behaviors.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "Chris eats vegan chili," 10 being "Chris is a guest judge at the BBQ Olympics," how excited are you EVER to eat cranberries?
A solid 2.
Pecan pie or pumpkin pie? And would you rather just have a piece of cake than either of them?
I vibe with Pumpkin Pie. I eat it and pretend to be John Hancock.
Did John Hancock eat a lot of pumpkin pie?
Impossible to say at this time. Afraid to research the issue b/c I don’t want my dreams to die.
(Editor's Note: Weirdest. FOM. Ever. I love my job.)
You can move anywhere in America for six months. Money, time, and job situation are no object. Name the place.
Big Sky, Montana. September-February.
You can move anywhere on earth for six months. Same deal. Same place?
Paris. Same months.
You are going out tonight. You are going to do whatever it is you would like to do for a night of festivity and frivolity. This can include anything from vandalizing mailboxes to baking an English trifle to ironic bowling. You get to assemble your posse for the night. You can pick any four men or women on the planet: friends, celebrities, athletes, etc. Who is in your entourage and why?
3) My brother
4) Ernest Hemingway
Because it deserves to happen.
Great answer. Now, what if everyone chosen has to be alive? Who replaces Hemingway?
Tough question. I think I’m going with Christopher Hitchens. He’s an incredible writer/scholar/commentator, and I’ve heard he is soused approximately 80% of the time he appears on television.
Where will music be in 5 years? What will be the next "big thing"? Where would you like to see it go?
Basically the same place it is now. Media conglomerates saturate the market with palatable garbage, some quality sneaks through, the Greats do their thing, and the hipsters whine about their bands "selling out." P2P file sharing doesn't go away, but the Ivy League MBA's who run the majors remain stuck in 1985. Singer-songwriters and indies get increasingly radder opportunities to spread the love through social networking and who-knows-what other tech advancements. A man can still get his face rocked off if he so desires.
I wish the next big thing was a 21st century Bob Dylan satirizing our one party plutocratic government...but it will probably be a Soulja Boy derivative.
Finally, how can I ever thank you for the support?
Don't ever paddle to New Zealand without me.
(Editor's Note: From Christopher Hitchens to Point Break in 3 questions or less. I love my job.)
Done, and I wouldn't dream of it.
Until next time,