Facing the Firing Squad: Allen Rash
A person is interesting to the degree he thinks and acts outside of himself.
The people I find most interesting are those who extend themselves beyond self-interest. They willingly confront bigger issues and challenges. They stand for princples.
Those are the kinds of people I like to be around. Those are the people I enjoy writing about. These are the people I tend to call my friends.
And so, I shall.
Facing the Firing Squad is my new feature. But guns or bullets are not allowed. Only questions and answers.
This idea came from a suggestion by my longtime comrade known as “El Tontoligo,” the Jewish Spaniard raised in France who became an American and now lives in Los Angeles. I know — that’s a blender full of issues. By the way, “El Tontoligo” essentially means “the village idiot.”
The basic concept was to borow the “Proust Questionnaire” from Vanity Fair and fire my own set of questions to the most interesting people I know, and even some I don’t know but hope to know better.
Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, everyone who lives and loves life — I hereby present Facing the Firing Squad.
Meet Allen Rash (a.k.a. Al Rash or “AlCantHang”)
Allen Rash was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia making him genetically predisposed to painful sport fandoms. He spent his post college years working for a major international tech company before it stole enough of his soul. After 20 years of working the corporate life, he quit his job to start writing, travelling, and personally researching the relaxing places in the world. Al has spent his post-corporate life working and writing for Full Tilt Poker, Epic/GPI, PokerStars, Pokerati, PokerListings, and several other short-term projects. While Al still calls Philly his home, he would much rather spend his time in Key West or New Orleans or any place near a big body of water. He enjoys big-game fishing, day-time bacchanalia, and will watch any baseball put in front of him. Al can be found writing about poker during his work hours and has a long dormant novel that needs work before anyone lays eyes on it. Al can be found on Twitter at @AlCantHang and his writing on any site which picks up his freelance option throughout the year.
What are some of the things you stand for?
Basic human rights, the government staying out of my business, and the abolition of the Designated Hitter rule.
What are some of the things you stand against?
The Designated Hitter rule. Also willful ignorance, unchecked arrogance, close-minded blowhards, and reality TV shows.
What living person do you admire the most, and why?
Brad “Otis” Willis; seems to manage the perfect combination of dedicated family man, respectable degenerate, poker player, and incredible writer.
What historical figure do you admire the most, and why?
Mark Twain; talent combined with a nice streak of smartass. He would be a washed up sitcom writer if he lived in modern times, not enough dick and fart jokes to survive.
What living person do you despise?
Pretty much every sitting U.S. elected politician from top to bottom. And the guy who heads Westboro Baptist Church, he gets his own special degree of despicable.
If money were not an object, what profession would you chose?
I would own and captain a charter fishing boat somewhere warm and tropical that puts those little umbrellas in the drinks.
What is it about yourself that you are most proud of?
On all but the most extreme situations, I’m not a complete asshat. I like to think of myself as a pretty decent fellow.
What is about yourself that you’d like to change?
Talk less, listen more, study harder, write gooder.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
A tie between fighting a big sailfish on light tackle for 45 minutes, surviving an hour-long puddle jumper flight through a thunderstorm, and quitting a lucrative job after 20 years to start a completely new career.
What the most unusual time and place you’ve ever visited?
January 2001 in Cologne, Germany. I was there with my new wife and some friends when we found ourselves in the midst of a massive anti-US rally. Tried our best to act German.
Name a place you’ve never visited where you still want to go?
Italy, the entire country. For the food and wine and culture and their centuries of history to explore.
Favorite book, favorite music, and favorite musician?
Impossible question as each changes with my mood. Currently it would be Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, anything guitar-centric, and Joe Bonamassa.
What upsets you the most?
Encountering people who are so close-minded they refuse any rational discussion and when the Phillies lose (I’m upset a lot these days).
What bores you?
Bored people are boring. Read a book, listen to an album, strike up a conversation with a stranger. “If you’re bored, then you are boring.” – Harvey Danger.
Do you believe in an afterlife and why do you believe it so?
I certainly believe in an afterlife, if for no other reason than I have plenty of argument material with my friends. I’ll often take a contrary position, even if I don’t believe, just to spur on a little heated debate. These would be my asshat days.