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De Pasquale’s Dozen with TV Host Mike Rowe

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

In the 25 years or so since I became a published writer (yes, I started almost as young as Ben Shapiro), I’ve quoted TV host Mike Rowe’s wisdom much more than I’ve quoted any politician.  Whether it’s his advice on finding Mr. Right or a modern man vs. a man’s man, Rowe’s brand of common sense is refreshing. 

As many know, Rowe is the host of “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” on CNN and previously the host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel.  Rowe has been an important advocate for skilled, often high-paying jobs that desperately need to be filled.  On Labor Day in 2008, he launched the Mike Rowe Works Foundation to help educate people and provide scholarships for skilled jobs. 

I could continue swooning for hundreds more words, but I’ll let Rowe’s answers give you more insight into this inspirational hero for the regular guy and girl.

The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.

1. What's your favorite movie line and who would you like to say it to?

“What we’ve got here, is a failure to communicate.”? The Human Race.

2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.

That would be my high school music teacher, Fred King. Like Mr. Holland, Mr. King taught a good deal more than music, and changed more lives than I can count. He introduced me to musical theater, barbershop harmony, draft beer, and girls. Not always PTA approved, but in hindsight, the most influential teacher I’ve ever had. At his funeral, hundreds of people stood in the rain outside the church, which was overflowing with former students, friends, and musicians from all over the world. It’s impossible to sum the man up in a Q&A, so if you’re really interested, check out the eulogy I wrote. It was turned into a podcast a few years later, and from what I’m told, people like it. Listen here: The podcast is #5


3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?

The other day, I was trying to find a place to park at the mall. It was packed, and I noticed a late-model Mercedes occupying two spaces. I felt a weird level of annoyance that didn’t pass nearly as soon as I would have expected. In fact, it’s metastasized, and ever since, I’ve been imagining a job wherein I am empowered to cruise around San Francisco in an old Town and Country station wagon - the ones that used to have real lumber on the sides - and drive head long into poorly parked, late-model vehicles, crunching them back into the single space where they belong. I suppose that’s petty, and probably indicative of some deep-seated psychological issue. But honestly, aside from closing the skills gap, I can think of nothing more gratifying. As for money, I’d be content with the minimum wage. In fact, I’d pay to do it.

4. What canceled show would you put back on the air?

Fawlty Towers. Or maybe Justified.

5. What's your favorite "guilty pleasure" TV show?

The Joy of Painting, with Bob Ross. No plot, no writers, no characters. Just a white guy with an afro and the inevitable “happy little bush.” The guilt comes not from watching, but from never learning to paint.

6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?

When I was nine, I got a Crosman Arms M1 Air Rifle. It was just like the scene in “A Christmas Story,” except it was my birthday. My mother was worried I’d shoot my eye out, but my father overruled her. I’ve never felt so much excitement or anticipation as I did pulling that Crosman M1 Air Rifle from it’s long, cylindrical box and felt it’s comforting weight in my sweaty nine-year old palms. An hour later, I shot the tire swing in the back yard. The BB bounced back and hit me in the forehead, really hard. Scared the hell out me. I told my mother the red welt above my eye was a pimple.


7. What’s the best present you ever gave?

The day after I turned nine, I gave my little bother a Crosman Arms M1 Air Rifle. And wished him well.

8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you?

My mother once told me the best way to make friends was to “first like yourself.” She was mistaken, of course. My father on the other hand, once told me to “duck,” which turned out to be some of the very best advice I’ve ever received.

9. If you hosted a late-night show, who would be your guests and band?

I would call it “The Mike Rowe Go Pro Show.” Everyone would be given a Go Pro camera, and be responsible for filming everything around them. My guests would include a long list of anonymous people with large brains and big dreams. The local bands would vary every night, and be as unknown as the guests. This is why I don’t have a late night talk show. 

10. What books are on your reading list?

I don’t keep lists, but if I did, The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough, Skinny Legs and All, by Tom Robbins, and whatever the newest Jack Reacher book is called, by Lee Child.

11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?

Mass Suicide Ends ISIS.

12. What advice do you have for high school and college graduates?

Well, as luck would have it, I was just asked to give a five minute commencement address at Prager University. The short version is “Don’t Follow Your Passion, but Always Bring it With You.” So far, three million people have watched it - half of whom appear to be pissed off. Kids. What are you gonna do? Watch here:


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