Since Sep 29, 1998

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ABOUT ME: I am a rather tall fellow, 6'3" and a semi-retired private school teacher with a love of golden retrievers and a weakness for peanut butter. I love to travel, went to 11 countries in Europe(summer 2000), Britain again in 2006, and here at FR I get a lot of questions about my name. Yes, it is from the book and film(s) of the novel Goodbye Mr. Chips. Like the character in the novel, I was also a Latin teacher, in my case, for 23 years. I also taught European history and English Lit. I attended the University of the South, in Sewanee, TN in the early 80's, and ended up teaching in four different boarding schools, where I also coached and dormed, and in three other day schools. After obtaining my M.A. in History in '96, we lost my mother in '98, and I lived in Savannah, taking care of my father. Upon his passing, I moved to North Carolina to be near friends.

Be warned: education is always my favorite soapbox. I think the public schools have gone to Hell, and I tend to wax violent on the subject of educationism and "certified inferiority." I converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism at Easter, 2000, and find it terribly sad to see so many Catholic schools mimicking their public school counterparts. Still, hope lives.

My favorite film should be obvious, Goodbye Mr. Chips but my favorite novel is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. My favorite artists are the 17th century Dutch, but I am something of a Medievalist and am fond of the works of Breugel. My favorite music is surprisingly romantic, or more precisely, anti-modern: Sibelius' 5th. But I do love Shostakovich's 7th, Gorecki's 3rd, which I find hauntingly beautiful.

Politically, I waxed conservative at about the same time that the FICA guy started tampering with my first paychecks, and I began to think, and to read. Some of the major influences upon me were religious men like C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton. I think many religious people are conservative because, for one thing, God speaks to them in one way or another, and also, a belief in the Absolute leads them to a belief in absolute values, unchangeable values, and to objectivity (whereas liberals are wholly subjective and solipsistic). My conservative conversion came along just about the time Reagan was shot. It suddenly made me like him, I suppose, and within a year or two everything had fallen into place. I am more conservative than is President Bush, but I am also a pragmatist and supported him because I think he was a good and decent man. I try not to be a cynic.

But I also despise almost all that Democrats stand for, as well as their smug, solipsistic air of superiority and their constant display of political correctness. Ugh. I am more moderate on some issues which I think are more the purview of the courts, and I suppose I am not a true capitalist, either. While I am a loyal Southerner who loathes big government, I also distrust big corporations. I have clued in to what Carly Fiorina so thoroughly articulated: the crony capitalism that makes for unsavory collusion between government and corporations. Obamacare is the prime example. Anyone have a good word for Insurance companies? Pharmaceutical companies? I'm just into people, simplicity, localism, and anything that helps foster individual initiative, although I am not a libertarian. George F. Will's Statecraft As Soulcraft turned out to be just the right book for me . . . at least on the question of what role government should and should not have in our lives, and I recommend it. Well, enough said. That's me. If you want to correspond, just write me.