There are too many beautiful things in the world, not to discuss them at every opportunity.

Up until now, I have not lived the above sentiment. Despite the fact that I consume as much cultural content as possible, and do it, frankly, in a compulsive manner, I don’t meditate nearly enough on the things that move me, and why. That’s about to change, thanks to the encouragement of my wife, with whom readers of this blog are familiar as Rant. She’s an amazing writer, and has done great things with her blog as a forum for processing both the personal and the political.

Now, she is giving me my own forum, to think about, discuss and share the various things that inspire and move me.  I don’t know how widely I will roam–certainly I will talk about music, movies and books, but also about people, acts of conscience, provocative political ideas, and the occasional irritant. My model, in some respects, is Jesse Thorne’s podcast “Bullseye,” wherein he shines a light on things he loves, particularly in the closing statement that he calls “The Outshot,” during which he recommends a cultural artifact that he loves. Oh, and I do intend to talk about Jesse Thorne and his amazing work in the not too distant future.

Would it help if, before I begin, I describe myself? I’m a frustrated artist, and a fairly successful activist. A doting father of a teen age girl, and a devoted husband to a forty-something wife. I can play a few instruments pretty badly, and can sing well enough–better than Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, at least. I went to art (really, film) school in New York, have otherwise lived my entire life in the Midwest, and have never been outside of North America.

This last fact is important, I think, because I also suffer from an inferiority complex that drives my consumption of culture. I am an autodidact. There is always room for improvement.

Okay, enough. I hope to contribute often enough to AmandatoryRant that you get to know me better, and hopefully enjoy some of the things that make me feel the world is bountiful and amazing. I am indebted to Rant for allowing me to share her virtual space (and her life).

Lastly, for the sake of fully distinguishing myself, please think of me as Riff.