Better Know a Skeptics: 10 Questions for Pat Roach
“Better Know a Skeptic” is a series of articles introducing the members of the Ottawa skeptics by asking ten questions. Seeing as I asked everyone else to play along, here is mine. I will email a few people to keep the series going but feel free to offer up your profile. Details are in the forums.
Name: Pat Roach
Screen name: Pat
Member Since: Almost Day 1
Chosen quote: “Why you gotta act like you know when you don’t know? It’s ok if you don’t know everything.” -Ben Folds
1) Briefly describe yourself. What do you do for a living, etc.
I’m a career civil servant but have been studying french for the last 10 months and have just passed my exams. I have taken several sabbaticals in the past to tour as a professional musician and have released four albums. I currently split my time between Ottawa, where I work and Toronto, where my wife and step-son live.
2) Why are you a “skeptic”? Was there a “wow” moment?
As a child, I always wanted to know how the magic trick was done. When I saw Fox TV’s “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?” I was no longer sure that we had. A friend presented me with some research as to why it was nonsense. This included Phil Plait’s article on the subject. That stuck with me and created an incredible appetite for science. I blame a guy named Arnold Rutherford.
Bill Nye’s 100 greatest discoveries – Astronomy episode – was a “wow” moment. There have been many since.
3) What are your hobbies/interests?
I play basketball and squash. I help run ottawaskeptics.org. I am interested in astronomy and astrophysics and enjoy looking at the sky through a telescope or binoculars. I am still involved in music, occasionally, and am responsible for the theme music for our very own the reality check and Justin Trottier’s (CFI) The Pendulum Effect (episode 2 and after).
4) What are you passionate about at the moment?
At this moment: language. I come to the skeptical/science conversation as an advocate for everyone who wants to take part but is afraid to, for fear of “looking stupid.”
5) Do you have a hero? Why him/her?
I look up to Muhammad Ali. He was truly “the greatest” in many ways.
6) If you could have dinner with 5 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Einstein, Jack Kerouac, Henry Rollins, George Washington Carver and Norman Borlaug. Why? Wouldn’t you want to be there?
7) Do you have a favourite: album, musician, sports team, movie, TV show, book? (Feel free to list one, some, or all.)
– On any given day I could be listening to Justin Timberlake, Lamb of God, Jurassic 5 and Yo-Yo Ma on the same playlist.
– Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” and Rufus Wainwright’s “Want Two” are favourites.
– I think Tom Waits is a truly great songwriter and Rage Against the Machine just did something special for me.
– There is a little known Argentinian film called “Hombre Mirando Al Sudeste (Man Facing South East)” that holds a special place in my heart.
– I don’t watch sports, except boxing.
-T.V. Shows: “Eyes of Nye”, “PBS Nova”, “Elegant Universe”
– So many wonderful books. “Junky” by William S. Burroughs comes to mind.
8) What grinds your gears?
People who stand in doorways.
9) Tell me something I don’t know about you.
DC comics started legal action against me in the 90’s. I’ve played guitar in front of crowds of thousands. I lived in a van on and off for years. I grew up in the “hood.”
10) Why are we here?
The fact that we are is the most wonderful thing imaginable.
I think Jill Tarter said it best:
“We are, all of us, what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.”