The “Culture Maven’s 2008 History Warp Day Timer” was just published. The author, a long-time LEO freelancer, guilt-tripped us into interviewing him. Only one person volunteered for the task. The interview took place in the Culture Maven’s office, where he sat by his computer underneath his fiancé’s stunning portrait of their dog, Lila.
c d kaplan: So, Mr. Culture Maven — what should I call you? — I guess you’re pretty excited about the book?
Culture Maven: You look really familiar.
cdk: I don’t mean any disrespect, but, duh? You look in the mirror this morning?
CM: Actually, no. I didn’t shave today.
cdk: OK, then, what about yesterday? The day before?
CM: Well, of course.
cdk: And? When you look at me, surely you notice something familiar, like my face, right?
CM: Before we go any further, don’t call me Shirley. Capeche? I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at. I look in the mirror. I see myself. OK? I do not for the life of me understand what that has to do with you. Are we going to talk about my book or what?
cdk: I know you do film reviews Tuesday mornings on WFPK — “Culture Maven on Film” — so I get the joke about Shirley. I saw “Airplane.” So tell me, CM, that’s what I’m going to call you …
CM: Call me whatever, I guess. But I wasn’t joking. I don’t like to be called Shirley. If you do it again, this interview is over.
cdk: Fair enough. Tell us about the book.
CM: Thanks for asking. I ran into Bill and Carol Butler, my publishers, and told them I’d been ruminating about duality. They said, hey, that would make a great book.
CM: Yes, duality. A symmetry within a mathematical system such that a theorem remains valid if certain objects, relations or operations are interchanged, as the interchange of points and lines in a plane in projective geometry.
cdk: What on earth are you talking about?
CM: Gotcha. That’s an alternative definition. Duality meaning, you know, something that has two purposes. So I got to philosophizing and thought — hey, people need a calendar to write down appointments. And folks like history, stories about people and places and things that happened a long time ago. So why not put those two things together, you know …
cdk: A duality.
CM: Bingo. And I figured for the historical part I’d talk about things from the past. And the calendar part would be for the future. Which would make it real practical. So there’d be not only duality, but a real symmetry. So it’s got that going for it.
cdk: Sort of like a Days of Future Past?
CM: Moody Blues fan, are ya? Actually, the album is Days of Future Passed.
cdk: How did you know how I spelled that?
CM: I told you, you seem so very familiar to me. It’s like I can see into your mind, know what you are thinking.
cdk: Can we move on?
CM: Surely. Rim shot please. Gotcha again. Just kidding.
cdk: Have you always been a history buff?
CM: I was born with a copy of “All Quiet On The Western Front” in my mouth.
cdk: You were what?
CM: It’s true. A nurse in the maternity unit at the hospital was reading it. She snuck it into the operating room. And just as I was coming out, the book fell out of her apron into my mouth, before the doc cut the umbilical cord. So history is just part of my DNA. Besides, my parents used to read Toynbee to me so I’d fall asleep faster.
cdk: Are you looking to write a sequel?
CM: Premature c. Or is it c d? But sure, if enough people buy this edition. It’s for 2008. Which is the coming year. And if I wrote a sequel, it would be for 2009, which is the year that comes next. The historical nuggets in any sequel would continue to be from the past. I’d want to maintain that consistency. Calendar of the future. History of the past.
cdk: Very good, Mr. Maven. Any parting words to LEO’s readers.
CM: Yes. “Culture Maven’s 2008 History Warp Day Planner” is practical, educational, entertaining, Kosher for Passover and reasonably priced. It’s safe for the kiddos and grannie, fits into a holiday stocking and is gift-wrap friendly. It’s available online at culturemaven.com, at book stores, ear X-tacy, Quest Outdoors, Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, The Temple Gift Shop, all Heine Bros. Coffee locations and maybe some other places that we’re working on.
Contact the writer at [email protected]