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#497211 - Wed Sep 23 2009 06:56 AM Interview with Tabby Tom
BxBarracuda Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Wed Sep 05 2007
Posts: 5117
Loc: Bronx
New�York�USA�...
How long have you been a member of FunTrivia and what kept you coming back?

I discovered the site in the summer of 2001, when I was trying to find answers to a postal trivia quiz. Although we didn't have much internet access at the office in those days, there were one or two online machines for general use; and using one of these I hit on the Ask Fun Trivia area of the site. From there I gradually discovered the quizzes and forums and liked what I saw. So when I retired in October 2001 I went online at home and formally joined FT. I've stayed here because the quizzes and games continue to provide plenty of fun and instruction, and there's always plenty of stimulating and amusing discussion in the forums. I also like the generally friendly and supportive tone of the place for example, the way that members are always ready to offer others congratulations on all kinds of successes and sympathy in all kinds of trouble.



What is it like to live in Hastings and did you chose there to live because of all the history in the area?

I was born and brought up in the town. In my twenties I moved to London to work, and lived there for 30-odd years. In retirement, though I enjoyed the cultural life of London, I got tired of the increasingly unreliable public transport (I don't drive), and decided to move out. Somehow the most obvious move seemed to be back to my home town.

The historical associations of Hastings and Sussex are certainly an attraction. Otherwise Hastings is a pretty ordinary town. The historic Old Town is picturesque (though it's been largely gentrified) and parts of Burton's St Leonards are pleasant, but most of the town is fairly nondescript. Like most traditional seaside resorts, it has a good deal of poverty and seasonal unemployment. There's plenty to see and visit in the surrounding countryside.


Being a seaside town, can the weather and seas be exceptionally rough at times in Hastings?

We get high winds occasionally and now and again we get sea-spray flung across the seafront promenade. Generally though, this eastern end of the Channel is probably one of the calmest stretches of the coastline. If you want a fair chance of seeing real storms, you need to go to the North Sea or Atlantic coasts.


How did you end up becoming a moderator and are there any members who you would say were mentors to you when you were new here?

I was invited to be a moderator and so I accepted. I remember Bruyere, Sue and Ren being very supportive in my early days.


What is it like being the moderator for "The Sky is Blue" and how did "Toilet Paper" become so popular?

Fortunately the forum doesn't really need a lot of intervention, though I sometimes wonder whether I ought to be more active in trying to keep things going during quiet periods.

As for the Toilet Paper thread, I think it gave posters an opportunity for the lavatorial humour which has a great appeal for Brits (just think of the Crazy Gang and the Carry On films) and obviously for some people in other parts of the world as well.


You have a very varied and unique group of topics which you have done quizzes on, what are some of the inspirations which brought these quizzes about?

The London quizzes were triggered simply by living in the city for so long and having a certain interest in history. I don't think you can never really exhaust London as a subject, although it's been closed as a sub-category for quizzes. I was working on a couple of further London quizzes when that happened (maybe I'll submit some of the questions individually for the new multi-author quizzes).

The literary quizzes were similarly inspired by a general interest in literature, sometimes by spotting some sort of connection between a couple of works or authors (books written in prison or books known in translation) and wondering whether it could be worked up into a quiz. This sort of thinking was probably behind some of the other more or less thematic quizzes as well.


What makes Cricket a great sport to you and if you could play on pitch? in the world, where would it be? If possible, assuming I know the game of baseball, can you explain the basics of the game of Cricket to me?

I think my post here a long time ago sums up why I love cricket. It seems slow to people who are used to games like ice hockey or baseball or soccer, but it can be a game of immense subtlety. Players may not be doing anything for much of their time in the field, but you can be darned sure they're thinking.

As for the ground I'd like to play on, this is pure fantasy because I've never been good enough to hold a place in any team at even the lowliest village level. There are plenty of beautiful grounds around the world that would give me visual pleasure to play on, like Newlands in Cape Town with its view of Table Mountain, or Worcester with the cathedral across the river. But of course any English cricket fan's fantasy has to be playing at Lord's, the traditional headquarters of cricket in north London.

Cricket is like baseball in that it's a team game (11 men on a side) that involves trying to hit a ball with a bat and to score more runs than the opposition in a number of innings (two innings in a first-class game); but that's where the similarity ends. In cricket, for some reason, the word innings is both singular and plural: we never speak of an inning.

Play is centred on the two wickets (each consisting of three upright stumps topped by two crosspieces (bails), which stand 22 yards apart in the middle of the field with painted lines (creases) 4 feet in front of them.

Before play starts, a coin is tossed to decide which team bats first: the captain who wins the toss can decide whether to bat or field. All eleven members of the fielding side will take the field, together with two batsmen (batters), one at each wicket.

The ball is bowled (pitched) from one wicket to the batsman at the other. After six balls have been bowled from one end, bowling switches to the other end, and so on throughout the innings (that's why there has to be a batsman at each end). These six-ball spells are called overs.The fielding captain can change his bowlers as often as he likes, but the same man must not bowl two consecutive overs from opposite wickets. The ball itself cannot normally be replaced until it's been used for 80 overs (i.e. at least 480 legitimate pitches).

The only invariable fielding position is that of the wicket-keeper, who stands behind the wicket of the batsman who is currently facing the bowling. He corresponds roughly to the catcher, and is the only fielder allowed to wear leg-protecting pads or gloves. Other fielders will be positioned at the captain's discretion.

A batsman scores runs by running from wicket to wicket (strictly from crease to crease) after hitting the ball. Both batsmen must run towards the opposite crease, and a run is scored when they cross. If the ball is hit far enough, they may take two or three or even more runs before the ball is returned. A hit to the boundary of the field scores 4 runs; a hit over the boundary on the fly scores 6. Runs can also be taken when the ball has not been hit: these byes count towards the team's total but not towards the batsman's own score. The batting side will also get penalty runs (no-balls and wides) if the ball is not legitimately bowled or if it is bowled out of reach of the batsman. There is no such thing as a foul ball or hit: the batsman is allowed to hit the ball behind him if he likes and to score from such hits. As you can see, runs are rather easier to come by in cricket than baseball: a good batsman should get several individual innings of 100 or more in a season, and a team's innings total may sometimes exceed 500.

A batsman is never obliged to hit the ball or to run. He cannot be put out simply by failing to hit the ball three times in succession or by failing to take a run when he has hit it. This helps to explain why a first-class match needs four or five days for completion, and even then can end in a draw.

A batsman is out:

if a ball bowled by the bowler hits his wicket, either directly or off his bat or body, and dislodges at least one of the bails;
if he hits the ball and it is caught on the fly by a fielder;
if he steps beyond his crease to hit the ball and his wicket is hit with the ball by the wicket-keeper or a fielder before he gets back behind it;
if he attempts a run and the wicket is hit with the ball by a fielder before he completes the run;
in certain circumstances, if the ball hits his body and would have hit the wicket had it not hit him (this leg-before-wicket or lbw law is very complicated and probably causes more disputes than anything else);
if he hits his own wicket with his bat or body and dislodges a bail.


There are other ways of being pur out, but they are pretty rare.

A team's innings ends when ten batsmen are out, since the eleventh has nobody to partner him. The batting captain can, however, decide to put an end to his team's innings at any time (this is called a declaration).

As in baseball, the teams normally take their innings alternately. However, if the side batting first (in the top of the first) gets a first-innings lead of 150 or more (200 in a five-day game) it can require the other side to take its second innings immediately.

A game is won by the team scoring the greater total of runs in the two innings. If a team scores more in a single innings than its opponents score in two it wins by an innings. However, unless a captain declares, ten wickets have to fall (i.e. ten batters have to be put out) in order to end an innings. If time runs out in the last innings (the bottom of the second) before all the batters are out, neither team wins and the game is a draw.

Cricket has evolved slowly over at least 400 years, and today's laws, equipment and methods of play are a result of this evolution. The ball is usually bowled so as to reach the batsman on the half-volley (not full-pitch, as in baseball), and the ball is not changed, on average, more than once a day. This means that the changing state of the pitch, the ball and the weather can have a great influence on the course of the game. Conditions will never be the same towards the end of a first-class game as they were at the beginning: sometimes the original flip of the coin can seem to play a big part in the outcome. In short, cricket is just like life: however much people legislate about it, it can never be fair, but it can nearly always be enjoyable.

I've only been talking about the first-class game: other forms of the game are now played in which it is possible to win simply by scoring the most runs in a given number of overs without having to put the whole of the opposing side out. These games are certainly very popular, but to my mind don't qualify as cricket at all.



I know a bit about not driving, since I don't drive myself, due to being epileptic. I know of the unreliability and added time of public transport. What methods of transportation do you use, which form of transportation do you enjoy, outside of walking and cars, and how would you pass the time while riding public transportation?

Generally I use buses locally (as a senior citizen I get free bus travel at most times), and trains for longer distances. I rarely leave the country because I can't stand all the fuss and bother involved in getting on to a plane at an airport. I can't say that I really enjoy any form of transport, but a long train journey with very few stops is probably the most bearable. I usually pass the time by reading, For some reason that I can't explain, when I'm travelling, I usually prefer to re-read a book that I've read before, rather than start on one that's completely new to me.


Where inside you home and outside your home, do you find you are able to do your best thinking?

I'm not sure that I can claim to do a great deal of thinking, but nowadays, I probably think best when I'm sitting at my computer. Otherwise, sprawling on the sofa with a pot of coffee within reach.


Which of your quizzes was the toughest to complete and which one is your favorite quiz of your own?

The toughest was probably Done into English: 1,000 Years of Translation: the problem was trying to try and come up with translations that could virtually rank as works of literature in their own right.

My favourites are, I think, Hogarth, The Life of Samuel Johnson and Sir Walter Raleigh, simply because those are among the people I admire most in history.


When people hear you are from Hastings is there any one question that everyone asks, which you get tired of answering and is there anything which is publicly believed of the battle and area, which is actually not fact?

I don't think there's any particular question that people ask. This is probably because everybody knows that there was a battle here in 1066, and the place isn't well known for anything else (though I tried to dig up a few historical associations for my Historic Hastings quiz).

We can't be sure about the facts of the battle, but it's very unlikely that King Harold was killed, as we generally suppose, by an arrow in his eye. It's more likely that he was thrown or pulled from his horse and hacked to death by a number of Norman knights.

Hastings sometimes proves disappointing for visitors who assume that the seaside always provides miles of shining sands. On this part of the coast you may see a bit of sand when the tide is out, but for the most part the beach consists of pebbles and isn't very comfortable for sunbathing or walking.


If there was any museum, music hall or sports arena in the world that you could be in charge of, which would it be, would you change anything about it and how would increase interest there?

As a sucker for the eighteenth century, I suppose I'd choose the Wallace Collection, a wonderful museum and gallery in Marylebone with one of the greatest collections of French eighteenth-century painting anywhere in the world. It also has plenty of Dutch and Venetian paintings and English watercolours, as well as a magnificent display of furniture. I wouldn't want to change a thing (though I don't suppose I'd look at the arms and armour collection very often).

Just thanks for reading this, and for making Fun Trivia the great site that it is.

Just thanks for reading this, and for making Fun Trivia the great site that it is.


Great interview and I think I can follow the action better if watching a Cricket match, Thanks.

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#497212 - Wed Sep 23 2009 11:06 PM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
romeomikegolf Offline
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Registered: Wed Apr 07 2004
Posts: 4875
Loc: Rothwell Northants EnglandUK
If you had your time again, and you could choose absolutely any job to do, what would you pick and why?
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#497213 - Thu Sep 24 2009 04:53 AM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
TabbyTom Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Oct 17 2001
Posts: 8451
Loc: Hastings Sussex EnglandUK
Quote:

If you had your time again, and you could choose absolutely any job to do, what would you pick and why?




On the face of it, the obvious choice would be a job consisting of something I enjoy doing anyway. Neville Cardus (the music and cricket correspondent for the old Manchester Guardian) thought he was incredibly lucky to be paid for watching cricket all day and then going on to a concert, and that certainly seems like a wonderful job to have.

But, like the cats I try to emulate, I have an instinctive aversion to constraints. If I have to do something, it becomes a bore. So for that reason I'd deliberately avoid a job that involved doing what I might otherwise enjoy, because I know it would cease to be fun as soon as I was obliged to do it. So I think I'd ignore the type of work and choose the job (whatever it was) where I'd have the most congenial colleagues.
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#497214 - Thu Sep 24 2009 03:48 PM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
shuehorn Offline
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Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 3613
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia�USA�...
What a funny answer! Perhaps you've had that experience with work because it hasn't been a passion.

I enjoyed reading the interview very much, especially learning about cricket.

I also love the fact that you say you try to emulate cats. Can you expound a bit more on this? Are there special cats in your life now? Are there any particular cats who have been an inspiration?

Thanks,

Sue

(edited to correct a typo)


Edited by shuehorn (Thu Sep 24 2009 03:49 PM)
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#497215 - Fri Sep 25 2009 05:05 AM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
TabbyTom Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Oct 17 2001
Posts: 8451
Loc: Hastings Sussex EnglandUK
Quote:

I also love the fact that you say you try to emulate cats. Can you expound a bit more on this? Are there special cats in your life now? Are there any particular cats who have been an inspiration?




The first story I can remember reading as a kid was Rudyard Kipling's The Cat that Walked by Himself, and it's the attitude of the cat in that story that I admire and basically share. Unlike the dog and the horse, the cat makes its bargain with the humans on its own terms. Like Kipling's cat, I like to think that, if possible, I will walk on my wet wild lone through the wet wild woods waving my wet wild tail rather than trade independence for comfort or the good opinions of others. Of course, anyone who compares himself with a cat is flattering himself ridiculously; but I like to think I have some affinity with them.

There are no cats in my life now. When I made my move out of London I decided that I was going to get a place with no garden or yard to look after. So I'm now living in a small flat with no space for a cat to prowl around.

I think my last cat, a big tigerish-looking tabby called Taffy, was the one I admired most, because he was probably the most independent of them all. I took him over from a neighbour when he was about five years old and had him for eleven years; so we started out as virtual strangers and gradually became friends on his terms.
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#497216 - Fri Sep 25 2009 09:48 AM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
romeomikegolf Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Wed Apr 07 2004
Posts: 4875
Loc: Rothwell Northants EnglandUK
For those of you that still don't understand cricket here is a much shorter explaination than the one TT posted:


The Rules of Cricket

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!
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Reality is an illusion brought about by lack of alcohol

Would the last person to leave the planet please turn off the lights.

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#497217 - Fri Sep 25 2009 11:16 AM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
TabbyTom Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Oct 17 2001
Posts: 8451
Loc: Hastings Sussex EnglandUK
That's a much more compendious explanation than mine. The most important rule of all, of course, follows on from it:

When everyone who's gone out to go in has come back in because he's out, everybody goes out to the inn.
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#497218 - Fri Sep 25 2009 04:49 PM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
Gatsby722 Offline
Pure Diamond

Registered: Fri May 18 2001
Posts: 123698
Loc: Canton
OhioUSA
I can't help but (unashamedly) say so on this one: TabbyTom has been, since I joined the site so long ago, one of the most entirely respectable members I've read (and not known, on a personal level, I should say) on FunTrivia. There are lots of "respectable" ones, for sure, but Mr. Tom stands out among the best of 'em. Note: And I'm not 'sucking up', either --- I'm pretty sure I'd have nothing to gain, by doing so. TabbyTom --- what is it that you most hope to be *respected* for in your life? I'm sure you've got plenty, but try to pick just one.


Edited by Gatsby722 (Fri Sep 25 2009 05:11 PM)
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#497219 - Fri Sep 25 2009 05:03 PM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12431
Loc: Kowloon Tong HongKong
I wanted to ask much the same thing, Tabby Tom. I think of you as one of the real "gentlemen" on the site, and as Gats says, much respected. What achievement makes you most proud?
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#497220 - Sun Sep 27 2009 03:52 AM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
TabbyTom Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Oct 17 2001
Posts: 8451
Loc: Hastings Sussex EnglandUK
I can't claim to have achieved anything remarkable: I've always been content to keep the noiseless tenor of my way and cultivate my own garden (not literally I'm indifferent to plants and detest gardening). Maybe I'd just like to be respected for maintaining my independence of mind as far as possible, especially in those distant days when I had to work for my living.
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#497221 - Wed Sep 30 2009 02:07 PM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
CellarDoor Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 12 2000
Posts: 4894
Loc: Seattle
Washington USA
Interesting interview!

TabbyTom, I also grew up in a tourist town, and I know that there can be some tensions when tourists aren't familiar with some local custom. (In my hometown's case, it's public transit etiquette that tends to jar people's nerves.) Is there any one thing that you wish visitors to Hastings knew before arriving?

Your comment that Hastings is on a calmer stretch of coastline, weather-wise, really struck me. I was fortunate to visit Hastings several years ago (I hope I didn't commit any major tourist faux pas) and I remember being rather stunned at reading that a large part of the castle had fallen into the ocean, along with the part of the cliff it was sitting on, in a big storm hundreds of years ago. It made me a little anxious for the town beneath the remaining cliff! Was this a once-in-a-millennium type occurrence, or do Hastings residents prepare for erosion and landslides the way, say, Southern Californians do in the U.S.?
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#497222 - Wed Sep 30 2009 04:09 PM Re: Interview with Tabby Tom
TabbyTom Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Oct 17 2001
Posts: 8451
Loc: Hastings Sussex EnglandUK
The Great Storm of 1287 was, as you put it, a once-in-a-millennium type of occurrence, although there were several other severe storms earlier in the thirteenth century. The weather in that century played a big part in the decline of the Cinque Ports, including Hastings: there's a brief account of the effects of the storm on the local landscape here.

More recently, there were severe storms across the south of England in October 1987 and January 1990. I was living in London then, so I don't know at first hand how they affected Hastings. There was a good deal of damage in the Sussex countryside, with large numbers of trees uprooted (including 70-odd across the railway line between London and Hastings in 1987). In Hastings itself there seems to have been some structural damage (a couple of church spires were demolished), but I don't think there was havoc on the scale of 1287.

There are minor cliff falls from time to time to the east of the town: visitors are officially discouraged from taking the path down the cliffs to the beach at Fairlight and it's advisable to keep away from the cliff face if you decide to take a walk along the beach outside the town at low tide. In the town itself I don't remember any serious problems with the cliffs.

I don't think tourists give me any real problems, if only because they don't exactly dominate the place. British tourists these days are more likely to take their holidays in continental Europe or further abroad, and for overseas visitors the town doesn't have the pull of London or Stratford-upon-Avon
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