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Meme of interests

Here's seven interests from my profile that chebutykin wanted to know about.
Comment in my journal and I'll give you seven of yours and then you post... and on and on and on.

H. Beam Piper
Author of seminal SF works such as Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, Space Viking, and Little Fuzzy, Piper had a large effect on SF, extending even to authors such as Ursula K. LeGuin and Charles Stross, who you wouldn't think had anything in common with Piper. One of my favorite authors.

Jerry Pournelle
He's probably better known as a former columnist for BYTE magazine and as Larry Niven's co-writer, but I came to know him through his stories in Analog, starting with "The Mercenary" in 1974. We corresponded for a while in the late 1970s/early 1980s, during which he talked me out of a really dumb career move that would most likely have gotten me killed, but we both got busy(ier) after that, and I haven't seen him since Constellation in 1983.

This is a really cute little city-state at the junction of Belgium, France and Germany. Very much worth visiting, not just because it's where General George S. Patton and several thousand of his troops are buried, but because many Luxembourgeois speak English well and seem to really like Americans. I wouldn't mind seeing it again, and I can't say that about too many other places in Europe.

Megumi Hayashibara
The Paul Newman of Japanese voice actresses - if she's in an anime, it's worth watching. (YMMV, especially WRT Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Saber Marionette series.) She is also one hell of a singer - her rendition of "Oshiete koi wa happiness?" (the EP for All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku) still makes me cry after seven years, and probably always will.

Third Culture Kids
Basically, any child that grows up exposed to a culture other than that of his/her home country, usually because their parents are stationed overseas with the military or as missionaries. Also applies to military brats in general, even if they spend all their childhood in CONUSstan as I did. There's a great website on the topic here.

Vatican City
Come on, I'm Catholic. Of course I'm interested in the Vatican. :)
Seriously, it's a cool little city-state, the leftovers from the old Papal States packed full of history both secular and spiritual.

Warsaw Pact Nations
How's that "We will bury you!" thing working out, Comrade Khrushchev? Oh, right, he's dead. So is the Warsaw Pact, most of which has joined NATO and jacked the Russians' paranoia meter to 11. Ain't client states a bitch? I'm mainly interested in the history of the former WP nations from 1945-1991, partially as an offshoot of my interest in "contemporary" military history and wargaming, but also as a sideline to my interest in the former Soviet Union.