1. If you could eat dinner with and "get to know" one famous person (living or dead), who would you choose? It's a tie. One choice would be Srinivasa Ramanujan. He was possibly the smartest mathematician that ever lived. One of the tragedies of his life is that he was isolated from Western mathematics for a long time, so much of his effort was spent rederiving stuff that we already knew. The other person is Dr. Dan Gottlieb, a family therapist who writes a column for the paper and has a show on NPR. He just understands so much about people, and I would love to try to glean a little of what he knows. I think it would be an incredible experience.
2. Has the death of a famous person ever had an effect on you? Who was it and how did you feel? The first famous person I remember dying was Jerome Brown, a star for the Philadelphia Eagles, who died ten years ago, when I was eleven. Days afterward, and sometimes weeks, it would occasionally occur to me suddenly that he was really gone, and that he wouldn't be playing line the next year. I never knew why it bothered me so much, but I basically went through a really mild form of the five steps of mourning. He was really the first person I ever knew who died.
3. If you could BE a famous person for 24 hours, who would you choose? It's really hard for me to picture being anyone but myself. So let's just pick any Major League Baseball player. To feel what it's like to be able to play a game every day, and make a living (and a damn good one) out of it, would be something.
4. Do people ever tell you that you look like someone famous? Who? The only one I ever get is Jerry O'Connell.
5. Have you ever met anyone famous? Nope, not really. I met Ed Rendell once, if he counts. It was almost 9 years ago, and he was greeting people at the annual Main Street Stroll. I shook his hand. He asked me why I was wearing a Marlins hat. I told him that they were my second-favorite baseball team, not to worry. I wish I had my Phillies hat on...