Yes, it’s another meme — and this one seems to be an enhanced (or even more annoying) version of the “five things” meme that was going around about a year ago, when Vanessa tagged me and I wrote this post. Why it’s eight things now instead of just five I have no idea — inflation? Anyway, Leigh and Keith have both tagged me, so here goes:
1. My middle name is Duff. It was supposed to be Doyle, but my grandmother (a scholarly sort) liked the name Duff because I was premature, and therefore I was “from my mother’s womb untimely ripp’d,” as Shakespeare said of MacDuff in Macbeth. I was called Duff or Duffy until I was about 15 and made people stop.
2. I come from a long line of pilots. My dad was a fighter pilot in the Canadian Air Force (there’s a page about him here) and his father was also a pilot and helped to start the flying club in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, where they trained pilots during the Second World War. I don’t know how to fly, but another guy named Mathew Ingram does.
3. I was born in the same town as CBC hockey commentator Ron Mclean: Zweibrucken, Germany. Both of our fathers were stationed there with 3 Wing, a small NATO fighter base. Another guy who lived there the same time as me: Rob Hyndman, my mesh-organizing pal.
4. I helped break the story about Royal Bank of Canada taking over Richardson Greenshields in 1996, one of the biggest takeovers in the financial sector at the time. I was sitting behind a guy on the VIA train to Kingston and being a nosy sort I was reading over his shoulder and he had a file with all the details of the deal.
5. I worked at Alberta Report magazine in the late 1980s, when Ken Whyte was in the midst of his transition from small-town sports reporter to big-time Toronto journalist. Also at Alberta Report then: my friend Mark Stevenson, who joined Ken at Saturday Night magazine and then the National Post and is now at Macleans.
6. Like Leigh, I am a huge Star Trek geek and have seen every episode of the original probably hundreds of times, and can recite much of the dialogue verbatim, whether you want me to or not. I can also do this for the movies Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Plains, Trains and Automobiles, as well as most of Blade Runner.
7. I interviewed David Walsh of Bre-X not long before he died of a heart attack, leaving the world in doubt about whether he deliberately planned the world’s largest gold-mining scandal or whether he was a naive patsy.
8. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week — and when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation, I once successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. **
** I just threw that one in to see if anyone would make it to the end. It’s a quote from a famous essay