Some Frequently Asked Questions in case you’re wondering…
Q: Who are you and why did you put together this website?
A: I’m a writer. And I’m a writer.
Q: What is A Great Number of Things?
It’s stuff about the world we live in that I think is cool, that I’ve written about and am sharing because it’s cool. Would you like to get away from “we’re all gonna die” forecasts and ideological propaganda that masquerades as news? You can do that here. You can read about music, food, ballparks, and other cool things about life here, and no ideology, hand-wringing, or snarky commentary about why I’m right…except about NASCAR, a sport I used to cover, where I was pretty much right about everything. (And millions of displaced fans agree.)
Q: How are the kids?
A: They’re wonderful, thanks for asking. It is a miraculous life privilege to be their dad every day. I can always tell you great stories.
Q: What’s the best Rush album?
A: There are many great ones, and you can’t go wrong with most of them. My tastes do change frequently on what my favorite is, but here’s a general ranking based on my feelings over the years.
Q: What’s your favorite ballpark?
A: I get asked this a lot, and I still don’t really have an answer. But my top four…of the ones I’ve been to, still haven’t been to San Francisco’s yet…are Camden Yards, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and PNC Park. The order I put them in depends on my mood.
I did a lot of research about 16 ballparks, so I can tell you there’s really cool things about every one of them. Yes, even Tropicana Field…take it from someone who brought the kids to a game on a brutally hot Florida day that featured a thunderstorm. Sometimes my favorite ballpark is whichever one I’m in at the time.
Miller Park in Milwaukee has an outstanding tailgating and local bar scene. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia features the best mascot in sports. Citi Field in Queens and Progressive Field in Cleveland have an outstanding food selection that reflects the region. And Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is full of historical artifacts and great sandwiches.
Q: What in the wide world of fudge happened to NASCAR?
Blame Sprint, Fox Sports, and Brian France. But mostly Brian France. NASCAR was growing like gangbusters in the early 2000s, seriously threatening to overtake the NFL in popularity. (Yes, that is actually true. I’ll wait for that to sink in.)
Then they inked a deal starting in 2004 with Sprint (then Nextel) for a bonkers amount of money, along with a TV deal with Fox Sports for an even more bonkers amount of money. They implemented a ridiculously contrived playoff over the extremely loud objections of the fan base, and the advertising-saturated broadcasts became literally unwatchable.
To make matters worse, one of the most popular drivers in the sport was rooked out of at least one and conceivably three championships through the playoff system.
I could go on, but consider NASCAR a case study in how the worst thing a business can do is disregard its core customers. You can read many articles here that I’ve written chronicling their downfall from 2008-2011, and attempting to explain to NASCAR why they were hemorrhaging fans. Even I didn’t think it would get as awful as it’s gotten, but I’m not surprised. Their full-blown embracing of a not-even-mediocre female driver because she looked good in a swimsuit is all you need to know.
Q: Who was your favorite NASCAR driver when you covered the sport?
A: Jeff Gordon.
Q: How about now?
A: NASCAR’s still around? OK, far be it for me to pile on. I root for Martin Truex Jr., because he’s a cool guy and he’s from New Jersey. I like Kyle Busch too because he’s fun to watch race. And if you are old enough to remember the Bill Elliott domination, you have to like his kid.
Q: Is your spaghetti sauce really better than your half-Italian mother’s?
A: Yes, but don’t tell her that.
Q: Where’s the best cheesesteak in Philly?
A: Get out of the city once you’re done at Jim’s on South Street, which is pretty good. Use the Betsy Ross Bridge. Travel up Route 130 to Willingboro and make a right onto Pennypacker Drive. On your left will be a small strip mall past where the car wash used to be. There you will find Gaetano’s Pennypacker, home of the best cheesesteaks in all the land. Get a “mini”, that will be enough to fill you up.
I grew up in Willingboro and lived there until the age of 32. It wasn’t and still isn’t known for fine dining, but I’ll take Gaetano’s cheesesteaks, East Ridge pizza, and No. 1 Chinese food (although I’ve heard No. 1’s gone downhill) over anything I’ve found under those three genres anywhere in South Jersey.
One caveat, you’ve got to go to the Pennypacker Gaetano’s. There are other franchises, but they aren’t as good. Go to Pennypacker.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: Impractical Jokers. Those guys are brilliant. I could binge watch it for days.
Q: What is your favorite color?
A: Blue. No, yel- AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!
Those are questions I answer a lot. If you have any other questions for me, drop me a line. Maybe I’ll add your question and my answer to this FAQ…
Oh and by the way, that humorous cover image on this page is courtesy of Yoyo at SlideCow – if you’d like to put together a presentation that truly wows your audience, check out their service here!