Today, we dust off the very first interview in The LG Report's 50-State Interview Series. It was posted a year and a day ago. Our interviewee was Dannie, a relatively unknown schlub (sorry Dannie) at the time, who has since skyrocketed to international fame.
Dannie's people didn't return our call seeking a comment on this re-posting. Actually, we called Dannie's people's people. Dannie is now so big that his people have people. Anyway, we hope you'll enjoy this golden oldie, many feel that it was one of the highlights of the series to date.
New York’s Dannie Kicks Off The LG Report’s 50-State Interview ProjectThe LG Report is proud to kick-off its new feature, a series of interviews with residents of all 50 states (sorry District of Columbia, you’ll just have to take a flying suck.)
Interviewees will field a variety of hard-hitting questions, including some regarding the merits and drawbacks of living in their state. We’ll also pepper them with random and inane inquiries. Hopefully, something amusing will come of it.
Our first subject, representing New York, is Dannie (our spelling, not his.) He was chosen because of his unique worldview, entertaining wit and powerful intellect. He was also the only one, so far, who would go along with this crazy idea. We hope to find 49 other similarly-situated individuals.
Very brief overview: Dannie, a married father of two, lives in New York City. He was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, and is a fervent advocate of all things related to that city, especially its pro sports teams. Truth be told, Dannie would rather be representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but since he lives in New York, The LG Report’s editorial board wouldn’t allow it. After all, The LG Report can’t just abandon its tradition of honesty and integrity which stretches all the way back to…December.
Dannie works for a major U.S. corporation, but we won’t say the company's name. He’s reportedly one of their top 100,000 employees, although The LG Report was not able to verify that by press time.
WARNING: THIS SESSION IS BEING CONDUCTED BY A PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEWER ON A CLOSED COURSE; DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. WE MEAN IT!
Without further delay, let’s get to the hard-hitting questions that you all crave:
LG Report (LGR): Dannie, you’ve been compared to J.D. Salinger, the famously reclusive author. Why agree to an interview now, after all these years of obscurity?
Dannie (Dannie): I’m working on an extreme makeover.
LGR: Interesting… As you know, your friend Geo has become somewhat of an Internet icon, earning himself fans worldwide. How do you stack up to Geo?
Dannie: I could never stack up to Geo, as demonstrated by his performance in Greece.
[Editor's Note: Here we see Geo stacking up some sun beds.]
LGR: In one word or less, describe your worldview.
LGR: Let’s get to some of the New York questions. Why do you choose to live in New York?
Dannie: I didn’t really, my wife won’t move out of the City. Remember “Green Acres”??...that’s us except we don’t live on Park Ave. (and no Arnold the Pig references, please).
LGR: Dannie, why do you think they call New York, “The Empire State?”
Dannie: I don’t know, let me dig up some empirical evidence and get back to you.
LGR: Billy Joel sings of a “New York State of Mind.” Can you describe such a state of mind for us?
Dannie: Even though I’ve lived in New York City for most of my last 24 years (shout out to Tim and Pat for helping me to escape for a few years), I really don’t consider myself a New Yorker (side note – drives my wife nuts whenever we go away and people ask where I’m from and I say, “Pittsburgh.”) So…..I really have to say I draw a blank when asked to describe what exactly a “New York State of Mind” is. Sorry.
LGR: We’re glad we picked you Dannie, a person displaced from elsewhere, now that’s a typical New Yorker! What a stroke of brilliance on our part, choosing a guy who doesn’t even really like New York….Anyway, what reasonably-priced restaurant would you recommend to someone who was visiting New York City for one night? And do you have any particular reason for choosing this place?
Dannie: Once I talked them out of going to the Olive Garden in Times Square, I’d have to say Olde Town Tavern on 18th Street. Good burger, great fries, diverse crowd, centrally located.
LGR: If you had to be a NYC landmark, which would it be and why?
Dannie: Carnegie Hall – built by an incredibly successful, yet humble, Pittsburgher who pulled himself up by his own boot straps - think we could all use a little bit if this ethic these days (sorry for that quasi-political statement.)
And while we’re on the topic, I digress…..please let me clarify once and for all the correct pronunciation of this landmark for all of my snooty friends (none of whom read this blog) who continue to insist on mispronouncing it. (From NYT - http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/20/nyregion/fyi-019240.html):
[Editor’s Note, Again: Dannie included a rather long and boring excerpt from the New York Times establishing that the correct pronunciation is car-NAY-giene-gie.) We’ve substituted this short and boring passage for his. Go to the link above if you really want Dannie’s version.]
LGR: Dannie, if the City of New York paid you one million dollars to come up with a new tourism slogan to replace “I love New York,” what would it be?
Dannie: “Take the money and run” – applies to both me for this ridiculous offer, as well as me and my fellow residents for what’s coming down the pike on the state’s fiscal nightmare.
LGR: OK Dannie, enough of the New York questions. You’ve lived in Pittsburgh, suburban Philadelphia, New York, London, Hong Kong, West Orange, NJ and South Orange, NJ. Are there any other citrus fruit towns you’d consider living in?
Dannie: I’ll do it the other way around next time and live in a city that had a fruit named in its honor….know what that city is?
LGR: No. All I can think of is the fruit that was named after Dolly Parton's mangoes.
Dannie: Wrong...it's Tangiers, Morocco.
LGR: Now that you mention it, it's been a while since I've eaten a nice juicy tangiers.
Dannie (rolling his eyes, but thinking LG didn't notice, which he did): The fruit named after Tangiers is a tangerine.
LGR: Well, well…look at the big brain on Dannie.... So, what's your biggest regret in life to date?
Dannie: Can I wait to answer until after this interview is published?
LGR: If you had to rob someone’s grave and take the corpse to a ballroom dancing lesson with you, who would it be? (This is a fairly standard, and boring, "60 Minutes"-type question, we know...)
Dannie: This sounds eerily like my high school senior prom experience.
LGR: If gunmen forced you to perform in the talent portion of the Miss America pageant wearing a blond wig and red Jimmy Choo high heels (we've never thought about this question before, honest....), what talent would you showcase?
Dannie: Plate twirling.
LGR: Have you ever done something really, really embarrassing that you wouldn't, under any circumstances, want people to know about? If so, please tell us now.
LGR: If a celebrity were to play the role of you in the movie version of this interview with The LG Report (with George Clooney, obviously, playing LG), who would it be?
Dannie: Richard E. Grant.
LGR: Dannie, the children are our future. React to that statement please.
Dannie: Who else would be?
LGR: If you were elected to the newly-created office of President of North America, what would be the first law you’d pass? Remember, we said "law," not "gas."
Dannie: If it’s empty fill it, if it’s full empty it, and scratch where it itches.
LGR: What is the best thing about Pittsburgh in nine-and-a-half words or less?
Dannie: Major city with a small town ‘tude.
LGR: Nice use of the half-word there Dannie. You're good. Would you cut off your right pinky at the second knuckle in exchange for having the Steelers win the 2011 Super Bowl? If you say "yes," we can do the deal right now.
Dannie: If I did that, I wouldn’t be able to wear additional Super Bowl rings since 6 fingers are already taken and we’re running out of digits….so…no.
LGR: Who were you in a previous life?
Dannie: Same person I am now, which is why I lead such a frustrated existence.
LGR: If you were me, what question would you ask you, and why? And by "yourself," I mean you, Dannie, even though I said if "you were me," which might lead you to believe that "yourself" is me. Forget this question.
LGR: If you were going to the electric chair and had to choose your last meal from KFC, Wendy's or Subway, what specifically would you order? Would you be worried about the fat and salt content?
Dannie: I’d ask one of them to stop by Mariella’s on 3rd Avenue and 16th Street in NYC and pick up a large pie with extra cheese and give them a big fat tip for helping out a guy who’s a little down on his luck. Is there fat and salt in pizza?
LGR: You can take three DVDs to a desert island for a year. What do you carry them there in? [Readers: you thought we'd ask which DVDs they'd be...too obvious.]
Dannie: I’d say a DVD player….or else I may not be able to watch them. Re movies, they would be: "Withnail and I," a DVD of my family home movies (which took me &%*#@-ing forever to transfer from VCR to DVD so I want to be damn sure I watch them), and the 1985 NCAA Villanova-Georgetown game (I still get a little nervous at the end when I watch, but the score never changes.)
LGR: If Geo were an emotion, which would it be?
LGR: Can you succinctly describe the "Korean Chest Implosion" and its origins?
Dannie: Reflexive self-defensive maneuver – origins are Finger Lakes (1990.)
LGR: Please tell us one interesting fact about you or anything in the world that we didn't know. We're trying to salvage the interview here...
Dannie: I don’t know why I’m telling you (and the world, this, but…..) my great uncle was a very close “friend” of Liberace’s and delivered one of the eulogies at his funeral.
LGR: If you could trade places with anybody on earth for a day, who would it be and why?
Dannie: Tiger Woods six months ago. You figure it out…..
LGR: Finish this sentence for us, "I feel like opening fire with an Uzi and killing everyone in sight when...."
Dannie: …I am attending Osama Bin Laden’s Leadership meeting.
LGR: If you could be the best in the world at one thing, what would it be?
LGR: Let’s talk about the McDonald’s delivery service that you co-founded in college. It seemed like a brilliant idea, but it didn’t last long. What went wrong? Do you wish that you had founded Microsoft instead?
Dannie: We graduated. No re: Microsoft…rains too much in Seattle.
LGR: If you were forced to leave the United States for five years, with your family, which country would you live in during that time? [We know you'd go to Thailand if it were without your family.]
Dannie: New Jersey.
LGR: Interesting. Technically, New Jersey is part of this country, but OK....Is there anything you'd like to say -- perhaps give a "shout out" -- to anyone back home in Pittsburgh or anywhere else? You're in the spotlight here Dannie, make good use of it.
Dannie: Hey Big Ben, grow up!!!!!!!!!!!
LGR: If you were at a child’s birthday party and, coincidentally, the pinata resembled Geo, would you take a gratuitous – and exceedingly violent – swing at it, pretending to be merely showing the kids how it’s done?
Dannie: I’d take a peek under the blindfold and try for a cheap crotch shot. Do pinatas have crotches??
LGR: Are there any major unsolved crimes that you’d like to confess to?
Dannie: Unsolved? No.
LGR: Everyone in your family is better looking and smarter than you. Have you ever thought that maybe you're adopted? (This is my cheap and transparent ploy to get everyone in Dannie's family to click in...)
Dannie: No. Someone has to be the runt of the litter, why not me??
LGR: How many questions ago did you first regret agreeing to this interview?
Dannie: Your original email asking me to do this.
LGR: Christina Aguilera went to the same high school as you. She has catapulted to worldwide fame, and, now, you are in the spotlight with this interview. Is that just a coincidence?
Dannie: No. With 850 kids in a graduating class at NA [North Allegheny], someone’s bound to do something noteworthy.
LGR: The Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Justin Bieber, Obamacare, The Iceland volcano...We have no questions relating to any of these, we just want the buzzwords to attract Google hits. "Dannie" alone just doesn't do it. Sorry.
LGR: Thanks for appearing on the blog today Dannie. You'll receive a set of St. Mary's sheets and pillowcases and a case of Mallo bars [Editor's Note: not really, but that's what they always used to give out on "Beat the Clock" in the 1970s.] Any final parting words to the audience Dannie?
Dannie: Is this my last interview???
LGR: No, we didn't mean it that way Dannie. It's just that if the readership doesn't spike on the strength of this interview, you won't be invited back for another. Sorry, that's the cold cruel reality of the ratings game. If you don't bring in Geo-like numbers, you're gone. And if you do come back again, could you please keep your shoes on during the interview?
Actually, we’ll throw you one more question: Other than New York City, what’s the best place to live in New York State?
Dannie: That’s an easy one: “Montauk – The End”
[Yet Another Editor’s Note: For those of you who may be unaware, Montauk is at the eastern end of Long Island and uses the tourist slogan “Montauk – The End.” Therefore, Dannie just concluded his interview with a very witty remark. He’s certainly setting the bar high for the 49 interviewees to follow. Below is a map showing where Montauk is located in relation to Pittsburgh.]
We appreciate your stopping by Dannie, you're a good sport and you represented the State of New York proudly (and, surreptitiously, Pennsylvania, although we’ll have an actual Pennsylvania resident here for that state’s interview.) This was our best interview since last month, when we spoke with the major international film star Richard E. Grant.
Thanks for reading folks, and be sure to click in for the next 49 in this series which has been made possible, in part, by a grant from the Carnegie Deli Foundation.