The following are the frequently asked questions people have about me, or at least those questions that I know about. Send any new questions that you would like answered to email@example.com.
Q: Where did the blind justice graphic on your homepage come
A: I got it from then-law student Dara Sales' legal pad website page of clip art. (Her website includes a very funny diary of a 1L law student.) Unfortunately, the clip art page has been out of service for about two years now. I have always had an interest in depictions of Justice, who is apparently personified as a Roman or Greek goddess. Other interesting versions include those from Prepaid Legal Services and Peter Max. Traditionally, Justice was to be shown with one bare breast, see some of these traditionally accurate images to the right and here. (Image at right courtesy of Lycos.) One of my favorites is a modern interpretation of Justice as a vamp. See my Images of Justice page for additional links to statues, drawings, and other images of the goddess on the web (and send suggestions).
Q: Your car
license plate says NAGLFAR. Like, what's up with that?
A: Although most people think it is an abbreviation of some kind, Naglfar is the name of a Scandinavian ship. A few years back, when I was living in Nebraska, I was wondering what word I should pick for a personalized license plate (the price had just dropped from $75 to $35, making this a key economic field test of the basic supply & demand curve theory). One night while reading The Poetic Edda (translation by Lee M. Hollander, 2nd edition, 1986), a book with the surviving texts of poems discussing Scandinavian mythology, in the poem Voluspa ("the Sibyl's prophecy," a story of the end of the world) at verses 49 and 50, I came across the following:
Fares Hyrm from the east,
the Mithgard Worm
scatters the waves;
his nib tears the dead;
holding his shield;
in mighty rage
screams the eagle,
Sails a ship from the east
o'er the ocean stream
in the rake of the Wolf
who with baleful Byleist's
with shades from Hel
steers it Loki;
rushes witless hordes
brother do fare.
A very scary passage indeed! When I read it, I immediately knew that the perfect name for my car was NAGLFAR. Strangely, for some reason, no other car owner had taken the word Naglfar for a license plate issued in either Nebraska or in Maryland. For further information, see the full text of the Voluspa in both English and Norse; there is also a Swedish heavy metal band called Naglfar.
Q: You decided to go to law school, like, what's
up with that?
A: I made the final decision to go to law school at the University of Baltimore as the result of a suggestion made by a Hearing Examiner (type of an administrative law judge) at the Maryland Public Service Commission after I suggested that a depreciation issue in a case be resolved in a certain way because that was the way the PSC had resolved it in a previous case. I thought this should be done this way since, for public policy reasons, administrative agencies should be predictable in their rulings. However, I have since learned that it involves a significant legal concept in English and American law called stare decisis. However, many of the jobs that I have been doing in the Navy and at Cooper Nuclear Station and the Maryland Public Service Commission had a legal aspect to them.
Q: You also attended the United States
Naval Academy, like, what's up
with that? You don't seem to be the military type (normally asked
during those times when my hair is long and/or I have a beard).
A: To learn boolian algebra. See my life at USNA page for more details about me and the class of 1979.
Q: Why did you switch from the Republican Party to
the Democratic Party?
A: I originally was a registered Republican. However, the branch of the party that attracted me, the Rockefeller branch, no longer exists. With the rise of Reaganism in 1980, I found myself not voting for the party candidate. So when I moved to Auburn, Nebraska, in 1986, when I filled out my voter registration card I decided to shift to the party for which I had been voting for the past several elections. Furthermore, I have become very disgusted with some of the tactics used by the various local state Republican parties in the early 1990s to suppress voter turnout in states with any significant African American population. As such, I will probably never vote Republican again.
I went out and had a beer to celebrate the initial congressional election returns in 1998, which led to the downfall of Newt Gingrich.
Q: What are you doing in Baltimore, Maryland
(asked after someone notices my accent, or, from my opinion, my lack
of an accent)?
A: Trying to get a job!
Q: What music is running through your head right
A: Probably "Dirty Back Roads" by the B-52s off of their Wild Planet album. I don's know why, but this masterpiece in minimalism just pops into my head real often, such as when I walk out of a building. I think it is the bass part that some part of my brain likes. Other songs running through my head include lots of songs by Yes (see my homepage) such as "Universal Garden," "Siberian Khatru," "And You and I," "The Gates of Delirium," "Release, Release," and plenty of stuff off the Talk, Drama, and Tales From Topographic Oceans albums. Other music that pops into my head include songs off of T'pau and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer albums.
Q: You seem obsessed with the music of the rock
band Yes, what's up with that?
A: That is completely wrong, I do not seem to be obsessed, I am obsessed. Why I am, it is hard to say. The first time that I heard their music, which was the Close to the Edge album borrowed from the Gilroy, California, library, I knew that this was the best band in the world. The structure of the song Siberian Khatru blew me away, it was unlike any rock song that I had ever heard. What I like best about the music probably is a combination of the classical influences and its complexity, but mainly it is because it is very easy for my mind to listen to it. For more information, see my Yes page. I have been privileged to have been listening to their music for over 25 years.
Of course, other people may be bigger fans: See Rae's Olias and Roger Dean style tattoos.
Q: Do you glow in the dark?
A: Not very much. Although much of my time in the U.S. Navy and at Nebraska Public Power District's Cooper Nuclear Station was spent in radiation fields, you should know that radiation is everywhere. In fact, you are sitting in a radiation field right now.
Q: Is nuclear power safe? I mean, really?
A: Yes. However, that means that the people in charge of it (speaking of civilian nuclear power plants) have to take it seriously. That means that maintenance and testing has to be done exactly per the procedures, and the plant Technical Specifications (rules that must be followed that are part of the plant's operating license) must be adhered to. I always felt safe living near a civilian nuclear power plant.
Q: Why did the Naval Academy class
of 1979 put a negative comment
about women attending the Naval Academy beginning in 1980 on their
A: This is a misunderstanding that is often repeated. I was a member of the committee that designed the USNA class of 1979 class crest which is shown on one side of the class ring (each company had a representative). When the first proposed designs for the crest were submitted, there was some disenchantment. The committee decided that it wanted to have a more unique design, something that would be different from the other classes' crests, which seemed to just repeat the same motifs. The class of 1976 had a different styled ring which celebrated the 200th anniversery of the United States. It was decided to note that ours would be the very last Naval Academy class that was all male as that would always be our distinction in United States naval history. We came up with a crest design with an eagle with a banner in its beak carrying the Latin phrase Omnes Viri, or last male, on it. This was intended as a positive, distinctive comment about our class, and not anything negative about the next class, although the press took it that way (see various articles in the Washington Post). I liked the chosen design right away.
Incidently, the submitted design did not have a nuclear symbol on it. However, the USNA administration had one added. At the time, there was a lot of pressure to get midshipmen with high class rankings to volunteer for nuclear power officer training. In fact, I later volunteered for this.
Oddly, many of the original members of the committee that designed the crest for the class of 1979 resigned from the Naval Academy during their first two years.
Q: What is your favorite star? (Well, o.k., maybe
that is not a question that I am frequently asked.)
A: Deneb, the blue star in the northern sky constellation Cygnus. I used to look for it often during the early summer evenings when I lived in small-town Nebraska. Deneb is bright enough to also be visible on evenings from downtown Baltimore, Maryland. Cygnus is also the location of a supernova which, when seen from earth 15,000 years ago, reached the size of a full moon. The remains of the explosion is an x-ray source, and the shock wave from the explosion, as seen from the space telescope, is very beautiful but deadly to nearby life forms.
Initially posted November 26, 1998; last revised
on August 17, 2000. Send comments and new questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© copyright 1998-2000 Michael A. Dean. My thanks to the Tripod Network of Lykos for providing this space.