Software Development

10 types of programmers you'll encounter in the field

Programmers enjoy a reputation for being peculiar people. In fact, even within the development community, there are certain programmer archetypes that other programmers find strange. Here are 10 types of programmers you are likely to run across.

Programmers enjoy a reputation for being peculiar people. In fact, even within the development community, there are certain programmer archetypes that other programmers find strange. Here are 10 types of programmers you are likely to run across. Can you think of any more?

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#1: Gandalf

This programmer type looks like a short-list candidate to play Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. He (or even she!) has a beard halfway to his knees, a goofy looking hat, and may wear a cape or a cloak in the winter. Luckily for the team, this person is just as adept at working magic as Gandalf. Unluckily for the team, they will need to endure hours of stories from Gandalf about how he or she to walk uphill both ways in the snow to drop off the punch cards at the computer room. The Gandalf type is your heaviest hitter, but you try to leave them in the rear and call them up only in times of desperation.

#2: The Martyr

In any other profession, The Martyr is simply a "workaholic." But in the development field, The Martyr goes beyond that and into another dimension. Workaholics at least go home to shower and sleep. The Martyr takes pride in sleeping at the desk amidst empty pizza boxes. The problem is, no one ever asked The Martyr to work like this. And he or she tries to guilt-trip the rest of the team with phrases like, "Yeah, go home and enjoy dinner. I'll finish up the next three week's worth of code tonight."

#3: Fanboy

Watch out for Fanboy. If he or she corners you, you're in for a three-hour lecture about the superiority of Dragonball Z compared to Gundam Wing, or why the Playstation 3 is better than the XB 360. Fanboy's workspace is filled with posters, action figures, and other knick-knacks related to some obsession, most likely imported from Japan. Not only are Fanboys obnoxious to deal with, they often put so much time into the obsession (both in and out of the office) that they have no clue when it comes to doing what they were hired to do.

#4: Vince Neil

This 40-something is a throwback to 1984 in all of the wrong ways. Sporting big hair, ripped stonewashed jeans, and a bandana here or there, Vince sits in the office humming Bon Jovi and Def Leppard tunes throughout the workday. This would not be so bad if "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was not so darned infectious.

Vince is generally a fun person to work with, and actually has a ton of experience, but just never grew up. But Vince becomes a hassle when he or she tries living the rock ‘n roll lifestyle to go with the hair and hi-tops. It's fairly hard to work with someone who carries a hangover to work every day.

#5: The Ninja

The Ninja is your team's MVP, and no one knows it. Like the legendary assassins, you do not know that The Ninja is even in the building or working, but you discover the evidence in the morning. You fire up the source control system and see that at 4 AM, The Ninja checked in code that addresses the problem you planned to spend all week working on, and you did not even know that The Ninja was aware of the project! See, while you were in Yet Another Meeting, The Ninja was working.

Ninjas are so stealthy, you might not even know their name, but you know that every project they're on seems to go much more smoothly. Tread carefully, though. The Ninja is a lone warrior; don't try to force him or her to work with rank and file.

#6: The Theoretician

The Theoretician knows everything there is to know about programming. He or she can spend four hours lecturing about the history of an obscure programming language or providing a proof of how the code you wrote is less than perfectly optimal and may take an extra three nanoseconds to run. The problem is, The Theoretician does not know a thing about software development. When The Theoretician writes code, it is so "elegant" that mere mortals cannot make sense of it. His or her favorite technique is recursion, and every block of code is tweaked to the max, at the expense of timelines and readability.

The Theoretician is also easily distracted. A simple task that should take an hour takes Theoreticians three months, since they decide that the existing tools are not sufficient and they must build new tools to build new libraries to build a whole new system that meets their high standards. The Theoretician can be turned into one of your best players, if you can get him or her to play within the boundaries of the project itself and stop spending time working on The Ultimate Sorting Algorithm.

#7: The Code Cowboy

The Code Cowboy is a force of nature that cannot be stopped. He or she is almost always a great programmer and can do work two or three times faster than anyone else. The problem is, at least half of that speed comes by cutting corners.  The Code Cowboy feels that checking code into source control takes too long, storing configuration data outside of the code itself takes too long, communicating with anyone else takes too long... you get the idea.

The Code Cowboy's code is a spaghetti code mess, because he or she was working so quickly that the needed refactoring never happened. Chances are, seven pages' worth of core functionality looks like the "don't do this" example of a programming textbook, but it magically works. The Code Cowboy definitely does not play well with others. And if you put two Code Cowboys on the same project, it is guaranteed to fail, as they trample on each other's changes and shoot each other in the foot.

Put a Code Cowboy on a project where hitting the deadline is more important than doing it right, and the code will be done just before deadline every time. The Code Cowboy is really just a loud, boisterous version of The Ninja. While The Ninja executes with surgical precision, The Code Cowboy is a raging bull and will gore anything that gets in the way.

#8: The Paratrooper

You know those movies where a sole commando is air-dropped deep behind enemy lines and comes out with the secret battle plans? That person in a software development shop is The Paratrooper. The Paratrooper is the last resort programmer you send in to save a dying project. Paratroopers lack the patience to work on a long-term assignment, but their best asset is an uncanny ability to learn an unfamiliar codebase and work within it. Other programmers might take weeks or months to learn enough about a project to effectively work on it; The Paratrooper takes hours or days. Paratroopers might not learn enough to work on the core of the code, but the lack of ramp-up time means that they can succeed where an entire team might fail.

#9: Mediocre Man

"Good enough" is the best you will ever get from Mediocre Man. Don't let the name fool you; there are female varieties of Mediocre Man too. And he or she always takes longer to produce worse code than anyone else on the team. "Slow and steady barely finishes the race" could describe Mediocre Man's projects. But Mediocre Man is always just "good enough" to remain employed.

When you interview this type, they can tell you a lot about the projects they've been involved with but not much about their actual involvement. Filtering out the Mediocre Man type is fairly easy: Ask for actual details of the work they've done, and they suddenly get a case of amnesia. Let them into your organization, though, and it might take years to get rid of them.

#10: The Evangelist

No matter what kind of environment you have, The Evangelist insists that it can be improved by throwing away all of your tools and processes and replacing them with something else. The Evangelist is actually the opposite of The Theoretician. The Evangelist is outspoken, knows an awful lot about software development, but performs very little actual programming.

The Evangelist is secretly a project manager or department manager at heart but lacks the knowledge or experience to make the jump. So until The Evangelist is able to get into a purely managerial role, everyone else needs to put up with his or her attempts to revolutionize the workplace.

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

106 comments
theonlyrealpersonhere
theonlyrealpersonhere

Missed the FRAUD. This is the guy with an IQ of 80 who wanted a "job in computing" for the prestige and the money. Since IT managers rarely exceed an IQ of 60, the FRAUD has managed to talk his way into 99% of the jobs going. Also missed the GRADUATE (closely related to the FRAUD). This is a guy with a degree in "computer science". There is, of course, no such thing as "computer science" unless you're an electronic engineer - in which case you have a proper degree (in electronic engineering). Programming is an art but since artists are born and not made, universities cannot actually teach the subject - which is why they all lied and called it science. Then again, just about anything passes for science these days. Take the great god 'Big Bang' for just one example. Religion must masquerade as science these days since religiomaniacs of all stripes are determined to take the world back into the Dark Ages - and they're succeeding. Just look what they've done to Iraq. You might think Iraq is a long way away but tomorrow it will be YOU.

rwilson
rwilson

You forgot the "CIA Programmer". That is the one that indugles in "magic number theory", i.e. "put the right 'magic number' in the 'right spot', and you can fix that, but also keeps the "right spot" and the "magic number" a secret . . . need to know and all that, you understand. These are the ones who have found where certain bugs are and how to work around them by "plugging" an instruction/value/whatever in just the right place but they don't feel the need to either document the issue and solution or correct the code . . . after all, unless you need to know it, why should they tell you?

erikmidtskogen
erikmidtskogen

Theoretician here. The problem is that your assessment isn't entirely correct. "Elegant" code is elegant precisely because it *is* so easy to read, understand, and maintain. And recursion? What's the big deal? It's just programming technique. And it's not even usually the most processor-efficient one, in contradiction to your inference. And you're mostly wrong about how quickly we work, too. OK, granted, if it's a small "throwaway" project of just a few days or weeks, it might be overkill to bring in an IOC container, an ORM tool, set up an automated build/integration tool, and create a comprehensive automated test suite. But on a project of any significant size, my own experience is that this initial investment of time actually results in the project getting finished sooner than if you try to go the Cowboy Coder route and just start flailing away. Not only that, but the result is a project with fewer defects, which can later be extended and maintained far more easily than some loosely held together pile of unreadable spaghetti.

bob.zormeir
bob.zormeir

Looks like the top ten lists have bottomed out. Next time, how about listing the top ten bad ideas for lists?

cajtech
cajtech

I am a "developer" only because the training sessions I completed said I was. C++, Visual Basic, etc. I know almost nothing about software/databases in general, but I know all I need to do ONE TASK. All I need is a help menu and I can program it correctly EVENTUALLY!! The code works as intended. Maybe it's "good code", maybe it's not. Here's the catch: I don't work for any software department, I work in the hardware side, so, my boss doesn't know if my code is "good" or on time or anything, but is impressed that I can make this computer work "like magic" In my current job, my bosses all know their stuff, and I have since learned actual skills, but have you encountered THE WANNABE?

etkinsd
etkinsd

dude were you stoned when you wrote that? what planet are you on?

dcastillo
dcastillo

you forgot about us 911 truth programmers, we are a lot we are smart and fast and we want the truth!

royhayward
royhayward

This guy/gal never enters a conversation without having had a better/worse experience. "At my last job..." is a common phrase that comes into play as the segue their way in. This also applies to software. No matter how well what is in place is working, they think it can be done better. (Primarily by a guy at his/her last job.) Often these are consultants, but not always. And they can be mistaken for the contrarian or the fanboy when not talking about technology.

Aaron A Baker
Aaron A Baker

You've done a good job of pointing out the worst in people, how about pointing out the Good Programmers, might make a change. I'm sure there must be at least Ten out there somewhere. I know quite a few excellent programmers personally, far more than Ten. So perhaps you would care to balance the act a little? Give credit where credit is due. Thank You Regards Aaron

bragr
bragr

Some of these are painfully familiar. Painfully familiar in the "why don't i keep a revolver with just one bullet next to my keyboard" kinda of way... Besides that very funny.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

Personally, I've found I never trust a programmer who listens to country music and/or reads Zane Grey novels....

donp
donp

Funny! I couldn't help see people's faces as I read about each type - including my own. Actually I fit into more than one pigeon-hole! Good piece of writing Donald James Parker

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]There is, of course, no such thing as 'computer science' unless you're an electronic engineer - in which case you have a proper degree (in electronic engineering).[/i]" Incorrect. "Computer science" is the science of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_computation]computational theory[/url] and [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_theory]information theory[/url] -- which are not directly related to what most people think of as "computers", and have almost nothing to do with electronics engineering. What most universities teach as "computer science" is not actually computer science, however, so if your statement is based on your observations of what's taught as "computer science" in universities, the mistake is forgivable and understandable. What most universities teach as "computer science" is, in fact, little more than a vocational course plus calculus.

Justin James
Justin James

... that there is some of myself is *all* of those items. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

Yeah, the "Job Security" guy, thinks that if he is the only one who can do his job, he'll always have a job... J.Ja

royhayward
royhayward

I have worked with some of these and have even been indoctrinated into some of the exploit coding rules. But I learned when it came time to upgrade to the next version of the database, that these "solutions" were now bugs that had to be coded around like we should have done in the beginning. Just like real spooks, the Covert Ops Developer needs to be watched.

jk2001
jk2001

The Smart Fool is the clever guy who takes on the project that management thinks is easy, that most computer programmers know is hard-to-impossible, but would be extremely cool if it actually worked. The cool factor and a lack of experience keeps this fool from saying "no." "It's all in how you model the problem," says the Smart Fool. Then he goes off and works on it, and works on it, and never completes it. Everyone agrees - it would have been very cool if it worked (or if it was possible to complete without a few grad students and a multi-year NSF grant.) The Automator (who bears a resemblance to me), always wants to write software to run everything, even when there's nobody to maintain the systems or train employees. A complex real-world task is transformed into a complex real-world task with complex software. When business processes change, the automator is not around to update the software. The software is abandoned, making it pretty damned expensive.

erikmidtskogen
erikmidtskogen

...are the one-uppers. At my last job (not really) there was this guy (who often rode the train with me) who would respond to probably three out of every four statements you made by nearly shouting the phrase "Been there, done that, designed the tee-shirt!" In a single conversation with him, you would hear that phrase at least one time per minute. And it wouldn't take long for most people to discover that he actually hadn't heard a single thing that had been said to him--or at least not understood any of it. He talks; other people listen--not the other way around. He was probably the most irritating person I've ever met. At first I thought he was actually putting on an act by way of humor ? la John Cleese. But he never dropped the shtick, so I had to conclude that actually was the way he was. He didn't even strike me as being particularly bright--just sort of a parrot who kept repeating this one phrase he had heard somewhere. Amazingly enough, this guy retired a couple of years ago worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Justin James
Justin James

The funny thing is, it is nearly always on the negative scale... "oh, you had a cold last week? I had pneumonia!" or "your story about the fender bender reminds me of the time I got rear ended by a 787 Dreamliner!" Definitely right, it is always "at the last job" or in high school or college. Like they went straight from school to their last job. :) J.Ja

royhayward
royhayward

I think you are detecting a cynical attitude is something that is spawned in the late nights and early mornings where we are dealing with the hapless and the helpless. After receiving a call from a guy that has a PC that won't boot, and you go through your exhaustive trouble shooting steps only to discover that he plugged the power strip into itself (this was a real call.) it gets easy to get the feeling of superiority over those we support. And from this loft point it is tempting to look down upon others. We aren't perfect. And having a list like this is therapeutic. Next to the worm, there is the wizard. Next to the slacker that wants you to think he works hard, is the guy you hardly see, but he is producing more work than everyone else. And these are in the eye of the beholder many times. I would personally like to think that I have been a paratrooping ninja. But to others I may have been just a Gandalf that lost his way. And I won't know what I look like now, until some time next year. There were a few posts here that were a bit over the top on negativity, but this dry, cynical humor that is cultivated among us is something that we always have to watch. I have found that when I get too cynical, I am less happy. I bet other have had the same experience if they have been in the industry long enough.

Justin James
Justin James

Aaron - I think that if you really look at that list, you'll see that many of those descriptions were indeed quite complimentary! I have yet to meet the perfect person (let alone at the workplace), and indeed, sometimes painting the positive (or the negative!) with a slightly broader brush than is realistic for humor reasons can highlight the truth better than anything else. :) J.Ja

rwilson
rwilson

We don't trust you, either. Never trust someone who categorizes people by their taste in literature or music and then bases _their_ trust on that categorization . . . those people are bigots.

erikmidtskogen
erikmidtskogen

I would interpret a love of country music as a sign that indicates a greater likelihood that I can trust a person's morality. And that's great, but I've noticed that lovers of country music tend not to be heavily represented in the ranks of the eggheads at places like MIT and RIT, who often prefer prog-rock or classical music. So the lower IQ generally indicated by a love of country music would point to a lower probability that a country music fan would be a particularly good software engineer. Not that this would be a reason to write off such a person as a candidate for a job position, since it is possible that a country music fan could be a superb software engineer (though I've never seen such a person myself). But if you had two candidates who were neck-to-neck for a position, it might be the tie-breaker.

Justin James
Justin James

Glad you liked it! To be sadly honest, there is a little bit of myself in *all* of these. :) J.Ja

gerardo.diaz
gerardo.diaz

yeah, i agree with you that anyone who has been in programming longer than a few years might have felt pretty much the same like you but wait a second, are you saying that _neither_ of those cliches resembles yourself any better than the others? good for you as a real balanced developer (i had never known one before!)

apotheon
apotheon

As I'm sure you're well aware, that kind of "job security" goes away the moment someone figures out how to obsolesce your job -- if not sooner.

MikeBlane
MikeBlane

The Automator automated the manual processes, and then did not see any reason to save the documentation that their system automated, so the documentation of the manual processes were deleted. Lesson Learned: Archive the manual process documentation and document which program(s) are used to automate which parts of the process.

Justin James
Justin James

That phrase is indeed one of the most annoying things anyone can say. It assumes that the reason I am saying something is merely to convey knowledge of the experience itself, and not the lesson learned from it, which may or may not be the same one that someone else got out of the same experience... J.Ja

kehill50
kehill50

Thats why we laugh at ourselves. Thats why we can poke fun at each other. "Never, ever grow up....." -Peter Pan

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

In football terms, teams need good defensive line men, most of them are crap wide receivers.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

This was meant as a tongue-in-cheek quote that obviously struck a few nerves. For the record, my wife and daughter love country music, so I don't feel the "bigot" label is justified here. Musical taste is often decided by exposure at a young age. I grew up on a farm where local radio stations were mostly country, but was also exposed to classical music by my father (a farmer and road construction worker at the time). I found that I preferred the classical because it was more precise. To my ears, country music slid around the notes too much. That is purely my own taste, as they say, your mileage may vary. That being said, my favorite 4 oxymorons are: Country Music Postal Service Military Intelligence ....and.... Microsoft Works! _______________________________________ WARNING: May contain traces of nuts.

rwilson
rwilson

Perhaps, the fact that MIT and RIT are well above the "Frost Line" and immersed in the Yankee culture, coupled with your location in New York, could explain why there is a greater preference for prog-rock and classical music and less of a likelihood of your seeing superb software engineers who like counry music. On the other hand, maybe it could be attributed to the fact that thoseof us who tend to like country music have also figured out that it's bloody cold up there in the region of RIT (which I always thought was a shampoo for lice ;-) and MIT and we have enough sense to stay where it is warmer. I've know a lot of great developers who not only weren't at MIT or RIT but also liked a wide variety of music, including country, folk, and bagpipe. Cetgorizing people by their taste in music, where they live, or whether they prefer to wear a Stetson rather than carrying an umbrella seems, to me at least, to display a rather shallow thought process rather than a higher IQ. But, then again, I also tend to find those who live west of the Mississippi and east of of the California border to be more hospitable anyway. ;-)

rclark
rclark

My IQ is 142 and I have never listened seriously to anything else. Except at Christmas time. Then I listen to that. Or when we go somewhere and my 6 year old puts kids bop in the CD. Most of the South (US) listens to country. And we have quite a few programmers down here. Do the companies WalMart and Acxiom ring any bells? How about Intel? Texas Instruments? Perot Systems? Dell Computer? The South is a heritage and we get a little tired of other folks making fun of us because we like "Cheatin Songs" and remember the "War of Northern Agression" as Grannie says.

Justin James
Justin James

... if I ruled out all country fans, I'd have an empty office... J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

Not only that, but as soon as folks think that you are cordoning off knowledge for protection, you lose you job before you can make anything else hidden. J.Ja

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Got the briefing! My wife was USAF intel She always described intel as "an AFSC (MOS, for you Army types), not a state of mind."

kehill50
kehill50

Military Intelligence.....NOT!!!! Now, before I get "flamed" by the lot of you... Let me set the stage. 1. I was prior service. 2. I had 15-years (just got out) 3. Flew Attack Helicopters 4. Did the 19K thing. And I love the Military, so again, I love the take on MI.

Justin James
Justin James

The reason why the quantity of folks is important is that under *most* circumstances, the percentages of bad, mediocre, average, good, great, rock start programmers is about the same everywhere you go. As a result, you will have better access to the better folks when there are more around. Exceptions abound, of course like you listed. As someone currently in Columbia, SC, I empathize completely. I came here from Northern New Jersey, and had worked a few times in Manhattan. Are there things I miss about those dense, urban areas? Sure. Italian food, for starters. But you are 100% right, the more rural areas have a lot to offer, particularly those interested in a more laid-back atmosphere. I found that as I settled down with the woman, and then had a child, much of the need for "stuff to do" died out; I am too busy keeping up with "stuff I need to do"! J.Ja

rclark
rclark

I'll give you numbers of programmers, but quality of programmers depends on individuals. Also, the reason there are more programmers in those places is because there is more demand. If the demand wasn't there, the quantity would go down. So you are no more likely to find a programmer available there than you are anywhere else unless the economy of the city is undergoing a downturn. And the differnce in quality of life and cost of living in the city means that you'll pay a premium for your expert. The other fallicy in that argument is that experts congregate in population centers. Every IT expert I know has a little on the ball and quality of life issues matter alot. And if we beleive the HR people, quality of life issues are even more important than money. I take that with a grain of salt as money is the reason I show up. My first blush guess is that experts go where the jobs are unless they have a big reason not to. So they congregate where the most jobs are. Most tech companies are in it for the money also. They congregate where they get the best return on their money. Thats why Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio, Houstan, Montgomery, Orlando, Little Rock, Tulsa and Memphis are growing tech centers. These areas may not be as culturally sophisticated as New York/Chicago/LA but they have everything else, and what they do have compares favorably to those venues. Besides, there is nothing stopping me from going anywhere in CONUS if I want a dose of culture (taken in small doses only). But if I want to hear a fat lady in braids yelling at the top of her lungs all I have to do is mosey over to the next holler. She at least speaks the same (base) language. And I'd rather listen to my daughters playing in the local band than any professional orchestra. My little hometown theatre plays the same movies a megaplex does, and I usually don't have to wait in line to get in. My satelite gives me both East and West Coast local programming. So what does the city give me that I can't get in hometown middle America? I was stationed in Athens for 3 years back in the 70's. During that time, a friend of mine was learning to drive as one of his job duties. He had grown up in New York and couldn't understand why everyone didn't live in the City. He had spent 27 years in a 10 block area. Thats a little over 3/4 a square mile. He had never needed to know how to drive. Us country folk routinely go a hundred miles to shop for Christmas. But the rest of the year, we have peace and quiet and don't have to worry about nothin. We do of course, but don't have to.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

In about 10-15 years, your kids will discover "classic" music like Rammstein, Godsmack, Megadeth, and Metallica.

Justin James
Justin James

... I sold my Rammstein albums (along with Megadeth, Cradle of Filth, and Dr. Dre) about a year ago. Not that I do not like them per se, but that I don't feel that music like that really needs to be in my life any more. Long story. Kids can change someone, a lot. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

It's actually simple math, to me. SC has about 4 million people *as a state*. NYC has 8 million people living there, and 16 million people in the city during the workday *as a city*. Guess where I am more likely to find someone who who is an expert at *anything* (except for things that cannot be done in a city, of course!)? New York, of course. Add to it that people tend to go towards urban areas in their youth, settle there, and move away around retirement, and you have a brain drain. So I would definitely be guessing a great developers are overwhelmingly found in places like California, NYC, and northern NJ, I will also say that it has nothing to do with where they live, where they are from, and definitely not their choice in music. It is just simple math, where the schools are, where the jobs are, and so on. J.Ja

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]preference for prog-rock and classical music[/i]" I like a fair bit of both. "[i]like counry music[/i]" There's very little country music I like, but there's a lot of related music that I like quite a lot -- such as Johnny Cash (yes, I liked him before he covered Hurt) and bluegrass. "[i]a wide variety of music, including country, folk, and bagpipe.[/i]" There's some decent folk out there, too. Most bagpipe music is a bit over the top for me, though, I'm afraid. "[i]whether they prefer to wear a Stetson rather than carrying an umbrella[/i]" I'm not much of a fan of either. Stetson brims tend to interfere with the ability to relax in a chair, and umbrellas are just another thing to get in the way of using my hands. "[i]I also tend to find those who live west of the Mississippi and east of of the California border to be more hospitable anyway.[/i]" While I live west of the Mississippi and east of the Left Coast, I've also met a fair number of people in this state (Colorado) who [url=http://www.denverpost.com/harsanyi/ci_7501264]aren't the most hospitable[/url]. . . . or [url=http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071120/NEWS01/711200342/1002/CUSTOMERSERVICE02]aren't the most hospitable[/url]. Your mileage may vary, of course. Anyway . . . I know I'm kinda veering off-topic for your little debate, but I kinda found the entire existence of this fight about the correlation (or lack thereof) of appreciation for country music to stupidity somewhat silly.

gypkap
gypkap

The only "country" music I actually like is Bluegrass and Western Swing (yes I did see Bob Wills in concert once). The rest of country is awful (especially the "cheatin' songs"), with the exception of the Dixie Chicks and Willie Nelson. I also like rock and classical music. On the Civil War: you lost. Get over it.