GQ decided to have a final 2011 interview with the bloggers extraordinaire behind Buddhist Catnaps. As both Carl and Josh have separate NYE plans (though they are together in spirit) the interview format is broken into to two parts. You can also check out the interview in the February edition of GQ. Happy New Year!
Josh’s interview –
Josh, thank you for joining GQ for our 2011 Review Interview. I know you are busy being on school vacation, playing with your new dog and planning for a wedding but thank you for taking the time for our meeting. Also, Happy New Year.
JB – Thanks for having me and Happy New Year to you and all the GQ readers out there.
GQ – My first question is one that I always think of around December 31st – What did you accomplish – and what do you wish you accomplished this year?
JB – Well the obvious accomplishment is that I bamboozled a beautiful, talented, intelligent, compassionate woman to marry me! The major accomplishments after getting engaged I would say were getting a house and a terrific, yet overly hyper, puppy. Now to the tough part – what did I wish I accomplished. Well, I wish that I got more ahead in my teaching – even when you are caught up on lesson planning you can always do more and get ahead. Also, I could have been a little more patient and compassionate – which is actually my New Year’s resolution.
GQ – What your plans for a New Year’s resolution was going to be my last question but since you brought it up…
JB – My fiancee gave me the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness for Christmas. I am about 2/3s of the way through it and the insight and positive messages in this book are amazing. I know it is generic and a little cheesy Richard Gere-style to be like ‘oh the Dalai he changed my life’. Well I haven’t converted, however, in between recently teaching my 6th graders about Buddhism and reading this book I have a changed, or at least modified, my outlook on life. Though some of the messages of the Dalai Lama are not that different from Jesus, I have really taken to the idea of being more compassionate and understanding of other people. I believe that I am a fairly compassionate person anyway, but like most, I can get frustrated, be incredibly selfish or take things too personally. What I have taken so far from the Dalai Lama is that you need to rise above the petty issues that get people wound up. Combine that with limiting your cravings (more cars, bigger houses etc.) and try to curb your fear of the unknown and you will be a happier person. I consider myself lucky and happy but you can always be more of both.
GQ – Why don’t we transition from one touchy subject to another – politics. Both you and Carl were born in NH, what are your thoughts on the upcoming Republican NH Primary on January 10th?
JB – You know I had a dream about Jon Huntsman the other day?
GQ – Not what I pictured you dream about.
JB – Me neither but it happened. Speaking of Jon Hunstman he seems, to me at least, to be the only reasonable Republican candidate out there. I am not sure why Huntsman isn’t one of the front runners – it is either he has done a poor job campaigning or people just aren’t interested in a moderate Republican. You have to either be a whack job like that Bachwoman or Herman Cain or a total chameleon like Mitt Romney. That man has switched his opinion on issues that most people would never switch on. Then you have Gingrich, who I actually agree with on a number of issues but he is even sketchier than Romney. So to finally answer your question I would say Romney will win and probably win the Republican nomination. But why the establishment and regular Republicans, not the Tea Partiers or the alternative reality Republicans (Obama is a foreign born Muslim-type), are not more behind Huntsman is beyond me.
GQ – Why is that do you think?
JB – Well the whole primary system is set up to allow the fringes, on either side, to dominate the discourse. However, when you get to the general election what independent who is not particularly happy with Obama is going to say ‘oh yeah Perry would be great he gets my vote’? Huntsman appeals to me because he is a reasonable Republican – he admits that climate change is an issue we must deal with, wants to invest in our education system and infrastructure, and gets the highest grade for his tax code reform ideas. It just seems to me that he is someone who an independent would go for – but what do I know.
GQ – Moving on from the depressing subject of American politics lets switch to something much more important – sports. I know you are a big sports fan, what games or events or people stand out for you this year.
JB – Ah sports! What is better?! Well I am a little scared about my beloved Celtics though I am very excited about the NBA being back in action. Besides the Celtics creaky knees and lack of depth lets talk about Kevin Durant. At this point in Durant’s career it reminds me of when I, like every other kid in America, fell in love with Jordan. Durant is so much fun to watch and just so GOOD. Did you see his deep fade away 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to beat the Mavericks the other night? I mean anyone can do that but you KNEW that Durant would. He can do just about anything and he just makes it seem so easy so effortless. I am actually really excited about the NBA despite the fading hopes for my C’s. On to the beautiful game -soccer. Well, other than my play on our hometown Matchfield, soccer, for me, has been disappointing lately. The New England Revolution are coming off their worse season ever and Arsenal, my EPL team, were in the relegation zone at one point this year. Red Sox I don’t even want to discuss, especially with them trading Lowrie and Reddick, however how about them Bruins?! I have become a Bruins fan, and hockey fan in general, over the last four or five years. Watching the Bruins, and my beloved alma mater UNH, has been a blast and my appreciation for hockey has greatly increased. Ok. I could go on and on but I am excited about Tiger’s comeback too. Anyway, sorry. Next question…
GQ – Thats ok why don’t we shift to music. Any band particularly catch your ear lately?
JB – Black Taxi! They are out of Brooklyn and the drummer is my fiancee’s cousin. They are incredible and they are one of these bands, that even though they are rock, they transcend the normal rock genre and are just truly amazing. A great live band and I am hoping that they continue to get even better and ‘make it big’. Besides Black Taxi… well I bought the new Wilco album and just hearing the first three seconds of ‘I Might’ puts a huge smile on my face. I have also enjoyed finding Bonobo and of course Kid Cudi. I can’t say enough about Kid Cudi so I will just say that he has had a big impact on the ole JB. Honorable mentions include the new albums by the Black Keys, Cee-lo and Ghostface Killah.
GQ – Sticking with art what about some movies that you liked or recommend. There were certainly some blockbusters this year.
JB – Yes, there were but my favorite is undoubtedly ‘The Adventures of Tintin’. Love Tintin. My paternal grandfather was a geologist so my father lived a few years in Algeria and Turkey and when they moved back to American they brought with them the French versions of Tintin. When we were really little our grandfather would read them to us then my parents got us the English versions. My brothers and I and my cousin fell in love with Tintin and Captain Haddock et al. The cinematic version was incredibly and would have made Herge proud (I can only assume). Go see it in 3-D at an IMAX theater asap.
GQ – Movies that touch on your youth can be very exciting to see, however, they can be a bit of letdown.
JB – Like Spiderman? Ha! Don’t tell Carl I said that. Yeah I am at a great age for a movie goer. Everything from the X-Men to Transformers to GI Joe is being remade. The majority of them have been good, in fact the new X-Men is incredible – not just a good X-Men movie but a great great film. I enjoyed Thor and I plan on watching Captain America this weekend. It is cool to see the things you watched, played with and dreamt about are now on the big screen. You know what I think would make a kickass movie? Voltron. That would be sweet.
GQ – Forming like Voltron indeed. Speaking of forming you are getting married this summer. Thoughts?
JB – Thoughts? Well it feels good. I think I mentioned some of the characteristics of my fiancee earlier in the interview. I truly feel lucky and blessed. She is a truly magnificent woman and a spectacular ‘catch’. Not sure if I am ready to publicly drop the ‘soulmate’ label but she is definitely the one of a kind and I can’t have found a better woman to marry and spend the rest of my life with. Things have formed quite perfectly for me and I certainly hope and expect them to get even better as time goes along.
GQ – Well we already have your New Year’s resolution any parting thoughts or words of wisdom?
JB – Words of wisdom huh? Well here are some words to live by from two very unique and distinct individuals – Buddha and Bobby Knight. The Buddha’s last words were ‘Strive on diligently’. Great words – Yoda-like (which the Force and Jedis are very Buddhist-like). And Bobby Knight said ‘Most have the will to win – few have the will to prepare to win’. I think both quotes are great words to live by. The message is do your best, but not only do your best but prepare yourself to be the best. I try to apply these maxims to all aspects of my life but also in terms of my teaching. In fact I had a dream last night that I was teaching a science class and hadn’t prepared any lesson plans. Needless to say I was a little panicked, seeing as I don’t know a lot about science and more importantly not having anything prepared. I am certainly a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guys on a lot of things. However, as you get older and have more responsibilities you realize that attitude isn’t the one that will always get the best results. I guess another piece of advice is practice compassion and patience. This will go a long way to relieving stress and living a happy life. Oh, and be creative when you can. Perhaps what I love most about teaching is my ability to be creative. I feel like a lot of people don’t have jobs that allow them to be creative. I feel truly blessed to have a job that allows me freedom and creativity. Having an outlet for you thoughts and creativity is essential in life I believe.
GQ – Well thank you very much and best of luck on your marriage and Buddhist Catnaps.
JB – Thank you as well. I really enjoyed it and best of luck to you and yours.