Howard Mortman: The FishbowlDC Interview

This week, we sit down with the Extreme-ness himself: Seasoned media veteran Howard Mortman.

How many suits do you own? 7, excluding my sensational Sonny Crockett collection

What word do you routinely misspell? Mispell

Did you see Brokeback Mountain? I saw the cheap knock off — Brokeback Mortman. Cried my eyes out — particularly during the broken leg scene. Now called Brokeleg Mortman. I can’t quit Hugh.

Did you see The Da Vinci Code? I saw the cheaper knock off — Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Vinci.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? “Darth Vader Arrives”

What time did you get up this morning? We have a young child at home, so I got up at 4:30. Then again at 5. Then 5:30. Again at 6:00. Then I showered, brushed my teeth, went poop, and at 6:30 got out of bed.

When did you last cry and why? Truthfully? During one of the scenes in “Crash” when the guy’s daughter almost gets shot trying to rescue him. Before that, I last cried when John Riggins ran for the touchdown in the ’83 Super Bowl. Of course, like most Americans, my eyes always get a wee bit moist on those rare occasions when Chuck Schumer or John McCain are on TV.

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Which of the seven deadly sins are you? Equal parts sloth and gluttony — with a dash of Tabasco.

Beach, city or country? “Potomac Beach” written by my friend Eron Shosteck, now available on Amazon. It’s a must-read. In fact, one of these days I must read it. Now in it’s second printing. The first one got smeared.

Would you say you’re cute? Pretty? Hot? Beautiful? I’m frequently mistaken for Eliot Abrams, so yes, I’m hot. Damn hot.

What color is your bathroom? The same as my parachute — golden.

How many emails do you receive a day, roughly? Hundreds. Turns out, there are lots of really nice people whom I’ve never met who think I could benefit from enlarging special parts of my body. How thoughtful. I’m also big on sending my paycheck to Nigeria.

What’s your opinion of New York City? Like Sinatra, I wanna wake up in a city that never sweeps. Seriously, when I think of New York, I think of an apple. A big apple. A really big apple. I mean, this apple is HUGE. This apple is so big you can actually see the top of it over a huge pile of garbage lined up on the street during a New York City trash collection strike. We’re talking gigantic. Hey, there’s an idea – let’s call New York City the Gigantic Apple. You can use that, by the way.

What’s your favorite letter? I have three favorite letters — NMS, for New Media Strategies, where I proudly work.

What single person played the biggest role / had the biggest influence on your journalism career? The great comedian Garry Shandling. Never met him. But I’ve always admired how he structures jokes. Enormously helped my writing. He also got me thinking my ass is too big.

Have you ever downloaded a podcast? If so, which one? Yes — podcasts produced by New Media Strategies, where I still proudly work.

Who’s your all-time favorite American Idol candidate? Does Billy Idol count?

When’s the last time you volunteered? Where? I volunteered to fight to bring freedom and democracy to Grenada, to help search for weapons of mass destruction — and empties. Alas, my flight was delayed and I missed the whole thing. But trust me, I would have bravely stormed those tiki bars.

Who is your favorite active journalist? My old boss Ken Tomlinson — technically not active, but still greatly involved in international broadcasting, and as former Readers Digest editor, a tremendous writer. Among active journalists, Brit Hume. Love the name.

What did you have for breakfast? A big apple. A huge apple. The size of Manhattan.

What’s your favorite item of clothing? Yarmulke.

What one toiletry item could you not live without? Black shoe polish for my graying beard.

If you could have one superpower, which one would it be? The power to digest corn.

Better role model: GIJoe? Barbie? Neither. Barbies glorify ditzy women and are a sexist leftover from unenlightened earlier times. GIJoes are insensitive, don’t communicate well, prefer introspection, and don’t help around the house. I’d say the best role model is still Michael Jackson.

Each FishbowlDC Interview subject is asked to contribute a word to this ongoing thread. Thus far we have…”Leprechaun suits shimmer Sensenbrennerly. Never regurgitate, orginate! Ideally, chutzpah…” feathers…