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Monday, 09 July 2018


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Impossible to answer as "interest" is in the eye of the beholder.

To elaborate: I might think the most interesting thing about you is that you have managed to bring together disparate individuals from around the world to participate in an on-going discussion loosely based on photography. Dang, that takes some doing.

However, you might say that Xander is the most interesting thing about you, because he is the most interesting person you know and he is tied to you by bonds of love and family. Raising a reasonably happy, well-adjusted kid takes some luck, but also a ton of skill, patience, and willingness to learn. That's darn interesting, but not why TOPpers visit daily.

Least'aways that's how I see it. No doubt "Late Night" is looking for a winning combo of the absurd and outlandish self-delusion that will make for good sound-bite TV. Not your stock in trade, I think.

I would answer as you did: "Nothing to see here, folks. Move along."

With best regards,


One would have thought that writing for TOP would be up there - not so sure about the editing side ;-)

My answer - a long term project. Working on being a middle-aged eccentric, preferably of the unconventional type than peculiar or strange.

Just answer “The Mystery.” and walk away. Just like so many great photos, the question and my imagination as the viewer is often more interesting than the actual event.

Damn, Mike. Give yourself some credit. You were an editor of a highly-regarded photo magazine. You've written millions of words that are read by thousands. You're a talented photographer. You have a good ear for music and its reproduction.

And you could beat most people in a game of pool.

I would answer the same way you did.

On the positive side, it took you two days to conclude that there is nothing special about you.

Unfortunately, I arrived at the same conclusion about me in just a few minutes...

Well, I could write that the most interesting thing about you is that you make the most interesting photography blog, but I won’t. Might make you too big for your boots.

Am I happy enough? Do I have enough sex? Do I have enough time for myself? Selfie questions!
I always found the world around me much more fascinating than myself and I want to keep it like that.

Bah. The most interesting thing about you, Mike, is that you don't quit.

Your son's a testament to that.

So, how is the writing your book coming along? I'll predict that your readers will contradict your self assessment.

And btw, an aphorism I picked up some decades ago: It's much better to be interested, than interesting.

That depends on what you find interesting and how our interests align. If you love history, you might find my knowledge of early American and Biblical eras interesting. If not you might find that boring. If you like photography you might love my photographs and talking about photography and art with me. If not you might find that aspect of me boring. None of us are single-faceted and being interesting to another person depends on a connection between interests.

I find your life story, what you have told of it on this blog, interesting. The obstacles you have overcome and the novel way you make a living today. We share an interest in photography and some of your off-topic subjects but not all. Were we talking face-to-face I would politely listen to the things that don't interest me while trying to steer the conversation to more mutual interests. We are who we are and what is interesting about us to others is a matter of where our lives intersect.

That's a pretty hard question to answer about oneself. After all, most of us probably think we lead pretty dull lives, while another chunk might be reluctant to boast about the interesting bits!

I was taken however by a similar question asked of a young fellow who grew up with Harry Kane (the high-scoring England soccer captain): "What's the most interesting thing about Harry Kane that the public doesn't know". Sadly, the young man in question fluffed his opportunity, saying basically, you know, he's a pretty normal guy, like... [facepalm]

"You'll know the answer after you've had sex with me"

Interesting to whom? Obviously what you have to say is interesting to a bunch of photographers. To yourself I can't give a better answer than you. To your dog you'll throw the ball, so you're probably the most interesting person in the world.

As for me, I bore myself most of the time.

When I get to negatively obsessing about my photography, my supposed art, What I Have to Say, what's my message? I always eventually follow that thread down to am I an interesting person?

And the answer is usually: well, no. I don't like to travel, I'm not up on the latest social media memes, I wait for movies to show up in the bargain DVD bin before watching them.

On the other hand, there's only one of me. I'm unique! So there's that.

I would have no trouble at all thinking of a few things other people might find most interesting about me. More to the point, why are you having trouble thinking of one or two interesting things about yourself? For example, "I make a living writing about whatever happens to capture my fancy on any given day -- mostly photography, but it could also be appliances, cars, audio equipment, coffee, pool, stand-up desks... And then for the rest of the day, I do it." I doubt the typical response would be, "Oh, you too?"

What's the most interesting thing about you, Mike?

I think it is the degree to which you are so self-obsessed.

You asked.


[That's not very nice. Or is that the way you're interesting? --Mike]

I did a search on the Kimmel bit and the first result was from January of 2014 (Girl grew up Amish - Guy born with an extra tooth – Guy who is a stripper – Girl from small town (Pinetop AZ) who sews). For the moment, the most interesting thing about me is that I was in Pinetop (Pop 4400) for the Fourth of July!

I drove out to the Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area on July fifth just to check it out and spoke with the nice couple who manage the facility. They have no Internet access or cell service at their location and had no complaints. There are wildlife researcher’s onsite studying several species and we spoke at length about the Mexican wolf reintroduction program. I’ve been interested in wolves since I went backpacking on Isle Royale as a teenager. At the time, Isle Royale (45x9 miles, middle of Lake Superior) had two wolf packs but I never saw a wolf. The closest I came was when walking at sunset with our MYF group leader. We had just pitched camp and were walking around a small pond when we heard this alarmingly loud crashing sound coming toward us through the brush. It turned out to be a cow moose moving fast. She crossed the trail twenty yards ahead of us before plunging into the pond. We assumed the wolves were in hot persuit and the cow was looking for a defensive position. She can kick the crap out of a wolf as it swims out to her.

On the way back to Pinetop from the Sipe Wildlife Area, I drove through a torrential down pour and then a serious hail/sleet storm that left a half inch accumulated on the ground. To be honest, I don’t think Cousin Sal (Kimmel’s man on the street) is all that qualified to determine what’s interesting. The girl from Pinetop who sews was the only one found to be uninteresting and so she did not get a free burrito. She just walked off into the night. I find the Pinetop area to be very interesting and I’m sure the girl from Pinetop has some tales to tell. It’s just that the subtleties of a small town don’t play well on Hollywood Boulevard.

Mike: You gptta be kidding. For starters how about the wonderful story you told us last year about claiming and raising your son. Pretty interesting to me, anyway.

"I'm often stopped by random strangers and asked questions."

It goes against the Midwestern grain to admit that you might actually be interesting in some way. Much more comfortable to be average. Plus, what I think is interesting about me is likely quite boring to many people (like my heavy involvement in local lefty activism).

I often cry when I laugh. I can juggle with three balls (used to be four. I sometimes take an interesting picture.
You’re right, not really interesting.
But I am human. That is interesting.

You're probably wrong. Haven't you got some secret about yourself you don't date tell anyone?

It would be hard to answer that question because of the way it was phrased, but I believe my closest friends would say my highly developed sense of humility is one of my more interesting facets. There are others, honesty, kindness, and empathy come immediately to mind, but I don't like to talk about myself.

Well, anyone with a quick answer to that one has been spending time thinking about it.
'Interesting' is in the 'eye of the beholder', and not something we should worry about or try to control.
Working on being pleasing to ourselves and what we stand for seems a more worthwhile endeavor.

This website, and more importantly, your words whether on photography or the other topics that interest you, are a staple of my reading on the internet for a very long time. Since you were on LL.

You are the one famous person I have ever made an effort to meet, and having met you too briefly, I have been scheming ways to do that again, ever since.

Not too impressed with the appeal for validation (😋) but I have to endorse and repeat Kurt, and if you knew the things to say to answer that question, you probably wouldn't truly be an interesting person anyway.

Deserves a devilish answer "Nothing I would admit to in public"

Gee, I am literally writing a book* on this subject.

Most of what is interesting is a matter of context.

It's rarely one thing that makes someone "interesting" unless it's walking on the moon, but those guys were pretty interesting for a lot of stuff before that anyway.

For instance, I met Andy Warhol and Paulette Goddard in 1979**, and in the course of introductions it was mentioned that one of my family's cows had just been declared the worlds most beautiful cow, "Cleverlands Darimost Chrystal" if you want to google her, and Andy was fascinated. All he wanted to talk about was what made a cow beautiful.

Back on the farm it what was interesting was the Andy Warhol part of the story but not the cow part.

It is, in fact, impossible to be uninteresting, see = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interesting_number_paradox

* "how to be interesting" the worlds worst self-help book.

**not nearly as interesting as the 21 club, punk band, my mother driving a truck, the really annoyed secret service, and the ambassador to Belgium incident a couple weeks earlier.

I was once in a training session where everyone was asked as an "icebreaker question" to tell the group something about themselves that wasn't obvious. My turn came very late as we went around the group and my answer was that it wasn't obvious that there was something not obvious about me. That didn't go down well with the session leader as a response but I really dislike the practice of putting that sort of question to people. It's a bit like asking "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Whether you answer "yes" or "no" you end up damning yourself.

I don't think there isn't anything interesting about you, after all the fact that none of us is the same as everyone else is interesting in itself. There's something interesting about all of us, we wouldn't have friends and/or enemies if we weren't interesting in some way

Questions like this are made to encourage us to put ourselves on the spot and to say something that may be embarrassing to ourselves. I think the most interesting thing about me, and about you and about everyone else is that we are interesting.

I am incurably inquisitive. You too.

I have been a Featured Commenter on TOP on more than one occasion.

Whats interesting about me? Well, as it turns out, I was fortunate enough in my scientific career to be an inventor of, and "reduce to practice" (along with a team of very talented scientists at Cetus Corporation) the technology known as the polymerase chain reaction; aka PCR, which profoundly changed molecular biology, and even society as a whole, and won the person who originally conceived it, Kary Mullis, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993. As someone who spent their entire professional career as a scientist, it is gratifying to know that I was able to make a contribution, however small, that changed society for the better.

Bill Tyler's comment is the first part of a famous theorem. Theorem: there are no uninteresting people. Proof: order people by age, and go through them starting with the youngest; at some point you will reach an uninteresting person. Well being the youngest ininteresting person is pretty interesting, so that person is clearly not uninteresting after all. Carry on with this process.

(This theorem is originally due to Ramanujan, I believe (it might be due to Hardy), and originally applied to numbers. It depends on a way of ordering people but you can pick any suitable one: height, age, or whatever.)

How's the book coming? I thought that was interesting.

Graffito on wall in old East Berlin: "Only the secret police know how cool I really am."

You’ve probably seen this https://youtu.be/CAO48WSZnRU but it is interesting.

As Hugh Crawford said, above, “Most of what is interesting is a matter of context”. Speculation of what others might find interesting about oneself is a fool’s errand.

"…the degree to which you are so self-obsessed."

Instead, I should have written "self-indulgent". Don't want to confuse you with 'The donald'.

And you didn't specify that one should only say 'nice' things about you.

[No worries, and no hard feelings! I was just being snarky back. --Mike]

Bill Tyler's argument is a cousin of the classic proof that there are no uninteresting numbers. (If there were, then one of them would be the smallest uninteresting number, which makes it interesting; and hence, by induction, all numbers are interesting.)

The things we think are interesting about ourselves are frequently not the things that others find interesting.

Possibly an aspect of myself that is interesting is that I've never been paid money for doing anything I learned through formal training. I do have formal certifications in one area I've been paid money for, but it's the least significant of the three in many ways including the amount of money involved, and those certifications are not how I learned it, they were acquired after the fact.


I shoot these for a living, and a lot of times I think that I would probably be just as dumbfounded as the people in front of my camera.. Also, I am not sure whether you have seen any "Lie Witness News" but as crazy as it seems that these people are blatantly lying, you can't ever tell who is going to lie when they are in front of a TV camera.

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