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November 30, 2004

And the Answer Is...

I posted a mini-tribute to Jeopardy contestant Ken Jennings at L&P: "And the Answer Is..."

Update: Like the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, this game show is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year too! Also, check out the follow-up discussion at L&P: "Interesting to Consider the Final Question Too." Also, check out the L&P entry for an update on Jennings' winnings, and the fate of the woman who beat him.

Song of the Day #95

Song of the Day: Lady Be Good, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, from the 1924 musical comedy of the same name. I watched, listened to, and still have an old audio cassette copy of, an absolutely unbelievable live duet of this on the old Merv Griffin Show, in which Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme traded lyrics and fiery scatting. And Stephane Grappelli recorded an equally scalding live rendition of it at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Having seen him live when he was still with us, I was a witness to his brilliance as one of the greatest of jazz violinists.

November 29, 2004

A Trio of SOLO Comments

I have posted brief comments on three SOLO pieces here, here, and here, on threads devoted to "Ayn Rand and Apriorism," "From the Horror Files: 'The Battle for Your Brain'," and "Atheism: A Question of Conscience."

Song of the Day #94

Song of the Day: If I Ruled the World, words by Leslie Bricusse, music by Ciral Ornadel, from the 1963 musical "Pickwick." Recorded by artists such as Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder, and in a splendid version with jazz trio by my sister-in-law Joanne Barry, for her first album, "This is Me."

November 28, 2004

God Hates Fags... But Shepard's Killers Don't

At L&P, I reflect on a recent 20/20 report concerning the 1998 Laramie, Wyoming murder of young gay student Matthew Shepard: "God Hates Fags... But Shepard's Killers Don't."

Update: Check out follow-up discussion at L&P, focusing on Falwell and Ben Franklin!

Song of the Day #93

Song of the Day: Skylark, a Hoagy Carmichael-Johnny Mercer composition, has been sung by Linda Ronstadt, Rosemary Clooney, Diane Reeves, and many others (check out artist-links for sample clips). I also love an instrumental rendition by jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard.

November 27, 2004

Song of the Day #92

Song of the Day: Laura, music by David Raksin, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, ever the poet among lyricists. The melody, bathed in mystery, originated in the Raksin score to the 1944 film noir of the same title, one of the finest soundtracks of all time.

November 26, 2004

Song of the Day #91

Song of the Day: Make It Happen, lyrics and performance by Mariah Carey, music by Carey and Robert Clivilles and the late David Cole (of C&C Music Factory), may have sampled melodically, or, uh, borrowed from "I Want to Thank You," which may explain why I like it so much.  But like its predecessor, it has an infectious bass groove. Check out a clip at amazon.com.

November 25, 2004

Song of the Day #90

Song of the Day: I Want to Thank You, a mid-tempo 1981 dance classic composed by Kevin McCord and singer Alicia Myers. Listen to a clip at amazon.com. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2004

Libertarian Cultural Studies

I left a comment on an L&P thread ("The Motorcycle Diaries...and a mea culpa") concerning cultural studies and libertarian social theory.

Update: There is more discussion on that thread, post-November 25th, dealing with individual rights and the issue of revolution.

Of Locusts, Lincoln, and the Lord

An L&P post on the debate over films and books in use at national parks: "Of Locusts, Lincoln, and the Lord."

SOLO HQ Election Postscript

I posted a few more comments on SOLO HQ in response to continuing threads on Election 2004. See here and here. I also post pre-Thanksgiving good wishes.

Ryan Sager Thread Continues

I have a few more comments posted to L&P on the "Ryan Sager Rethinks Libertarianism" thread. In the most recent comment, I address the issue of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Incredible Update

Take a look at additional, follow-up commentary on "The Incredibles" by David Brown at the LFB.com blog ("The Incredible Dialectic"), and a very interesting essay on the animated flick by my colleague David Kelley.

Song of the Day #89

Song of the Day: More Today Than Yesterday, a swinging Pat Upton-penned hit for Spiral Staircase from 1969. Check out an audio clip as featured on a Super Hits collection.

November 23, 2004

PBS and Wal-Mart

I comment on Keith Halderman's L&P post, "End Taxpayer Support of PBS Propaganda," with a question of my own: "End Taxpayer Support of ... Walmart?"

Hurd on Same-Sex Marriage

Michael J. Hurd has written a piece critical of "The Institution of Marriage." I comment on it at L&P: "Hurd on Same-Sex Marriage."

Update: Check out follow-up comments here and an essay here.

Doubting Thomas Doubts Again

George Cordero, who once before wrote me an open letter, has written "Yet Another Open Letter to Chris Matthew Sciabarra." And I respond to it here, all on the subject of the influence of religion on Election 2004.

Update: I have some further thoughts at SOLO HQ that explain my obsessive focus on fundamentalism and neoconservatism as the motivating ideologies of the current administration. See here.

Song of the Day #88

Song of the Day: If You Really Love Me is a 1971 Stevie Wonder-Syreeta Wright composition. They were married when this tune was recorded, and it shows. Check out audio clip here.

November 22, 2004

Ryan Sager Rethinks Libertarianism

Writer Ryan Sager has been making a lot noise at Tech Central Station and elsewhere about the need for libertarians to become more "muscular" in their foreign policy proposals. I respond more generally to Sager's points in an L&P post: "Ryan Sager Rethinks Libertarianism." I also posted a comment to Ryan's blog here.

Update: Check out follow-up discussion at L&P here

SOLO Discussions on Election 2004

A developing discussion, similar to the one that ensued at L&P some weeks ago, is now taking place at SOLO HQ on the topic of Election 2004, an outgrowth of my "I Told You So" article. On the growth of a socially conservative religious bloc of voters, I contribute additional thoughts here, here, and here.

Song of the Day #87

Song of the Day: Right in the Socket, words and music by Kevin Spencer, Leon Sylvers, and Dick Griffey, performed by the R&B/dance Solar (Sound of Los Angeles Records) recording artists Shalamar (which featured among its members Jody Watley, Howard Hewitt, and Jeffrey Daniels). From the Shalamar album Big Fun (check out the audio clip). What else could this be, but electric?

November 21, 2004

I Told You So (Again)

In the upcoming December 2004-March 2005 issue of The Free Radical, a distillation of my views on Election 2004 will be published. SOLO HQ has posted it today on its website because it will be ancient history in the new year (much as it's ancient history already!) Nevertheless, if you'd like a little index of my various writings on Election 2004, take a look at my article: "I Told You So." And take a look at the follow-up discussion, in which I participate. Noted at L&P as well.

Song of the Day #86

Song of the Day: An Affair to Remember, a 1957 Academy Award nominated song, music by Harry Warren, words by Harold Adamson and Leo McCarey, recorded by such singers as Vic Damone and Nat King Cole. "Our love affair is a wondrous thing. That we'll rejoice when remembering. Our love was born with our first embrace. And a page was torn out of time and space." Well, believe it or not ... that's exactly how I feel when I take my bike and ride along the bike path that sweeps under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Boy, you know you're getting a little older when you're older than a bridge. Today just happens to be the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, still the longest suspension bridge in the United States. Happy Birthday! The bridge is so long that the tops of its towers are 1 5/8 inches further apart than their bases ... to allow for the curvature of the Earth. I remember being overwhelmed by its majesty from the time when E.J. Korvettes was a stone's throw away. I've seen the QE2 and the QM2 pass under its span. It has welcomed Tall Ships into New York harbor in celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial. It's one of my great loves in my hometown. Oh, and listen to a clip of this pretty song at amazon.com from the original soundtrack album of the romantic film, "An Affair to Remember," starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. For those who are "starving for stars," as my colleague David Hinckley puts it, those were the days. (The film was made even more famous by references to it in the 1993 film, "Sleepless in Seattle"). Ironically, another great love of mine, The Empire State Building, figures prominently in the plot.

November 20, 2004

The Washington Nationals Are Born!

An old baseball team is relocated to the nation's capital: "The Washington Nationals Are Born!" (noted at Liberty & Power Group Blog).

Update: See comments at L&P here.

Building an Incredible Revolution

Discussion of my "Rand the Incredible" post continues at L&P (see the various threads at that link) and also at the LFB site. I've also posted comments on David Beito's entry, "Fundamentalists Question the Rapture." See here, here, and here.

Today's new L&P essay extends this discussion of the relationship between cultural and political change: "Building an Incredible Revolution."

Update: Take a look at comments here.

Song of the Day #84 & #85

Song of the Day: The Man I Love / Lover Man, the former song's music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, originally from the 1924 production of "Lady Be Good" but actually dropped from the show before its New York opening. It became a standard in the hands of such jazz singers as Billie Holiday (and rendered well by Diana Ross in the 1972 film, "Lady Sings the Blues") and by such torch singers as Helen Morgan. I remember "The Man I Love" being sung in Gogi Grant's voice but coming out of the mouth of Ann Blyth, who played the lead character in "The Helen Morgan Story," a 1957 film also starring a very hunky blue-eyed Paul Newman." My sister-in-law Joanne Barry does a killer rendition of this, in a medley with "Lover Man," a very pretty song of longing, written by Jimmy Davis, Jimmy Sherman, and Roger Ram Ramirez. So that's two songs for the price of one and a double song of the day!

November 19, 2004

Song of the Day #83

Song of the Day: Black Velvet, words and music by Allanah Myles, who, with this song, beat out Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" at the 1991 Grammy Awards, for "Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female." Has a really nice churning bluesy groove. From her debut album; check out the clip at amazon.com.

November 18, 2004

Rand the Incredible

I write about "Rand the Incredible" in a post at L&P dealing with Randian ideas in a new animated flick, and in popular culture in general.

Update: Check out the comments here, here and here.

Welcome Aboard, Mark Brady

I welcome a long-time colleague and pal, Mark Brady, to Liberty & Power Group Blog. See here and here.

Song of the Day #82

Song of the Day: Black Cat, written and performed by Janet Jackson, from her socially conscious "Rhythm Nation 1814" album (check out that audio clip). It may not be Black Dog and Janet may not be a bona fide rock singer, but she got a much-deserved 1991 Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female."

November 17, 2004

FCC U Soon

I wrote an L&P postscript to last week's "Saving Private Ryan" drama: "FCC U Soon."

Song of the Day #81

Song of the Day: Black Dog, words and music by John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, of the immortal rock band, Led Zeppelin. One of their most memorable hits with a classic rock riff. Check out audio clip here.

November 16, 2004

Song of the Day #80

Song of the Day: Yeah, a hip hop hit featuring Usher, Lil' John, and Ludacris. A minimalist track with a killer hook and rapid-fire rapping, among the big winners at the 32nd Annual American Music Awards from the album "Confessions" (check for sample clip) by Usher, who, like Justin Timberlake, owes a thing or two to Michael Jackson.

November 15, 2004

To Be or Not To Be ... Democracy?

At L&P, I post excerpts from two interesting NY Times articles concerning the issue of democratic nation-building in Iraq: "To Be or Not To Be ... Democracy?"

Song of the Day #79

Song of the Day: You Give Love a Bad Name, words, music, and arrangement by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child, a big hit for the rock band Bon Jovi, which, last night, won the AMA "Award of Merit."

November 14, 2004

More on the FCC and "Saving Private Ryan"

I posted a brief comment on SOLO HQ about how "Fear of Bush's FCC Trumps Veteran's Day Film."

Update: Follow-up discussion at SOLO HQ here and here. Also, thanks to Roderick Long for his enlightening post (and plug of Total Freedom) at Austro-Athenian Empire, "God and the State."

Song of the Day #78

Song of the Day: A House is Not a Home, another Hal David-Burt Bacharach song, has been performed lovingly by both Luther Vandross and Dionne Warwick, and in an utterly shattering instrumental version by pianist Bill Evans (from his "I Will Say Goodbye" album; check out a sample at amazon.com too).

November 13, 2004

Song of the Day #77

Song of the Day: Alfie, the Oscar-nominated title song to the original 1966 Michael Caine film version (remade in 2004 as a starring vehicle for Jude Law), has been sung by everyone from Cher to Dionne Warwick. But the version that tugs at my tear ducts is an instrumental, with Stevie Wonder on harmonica. It's a Hal David-Burt Bacharach classic.

November 12, 2004

The Force of Morality

In light of yesterday's "Saving Private Ryan" controversy, I discuss the problems of trying to force people to be "decent" and "moral." See my L&P essay: "The Force of Morality."

Update: In response to comments from Aeon Skoble and Jason Pappas, I write on "Moral Choices and Actions." Among those citing the essay and the comments are AgnostoLibertarianTechnoGeek.

Fairy Brigade

There's a bizarre SOLO HQ thread entitled "WTF: 'John Galt SOLO Fairy Brigade to Fallujah'." So, of course, I couldn't resist posting comments here and here.

Song of the Day #76

Song of the Day: Find Another Fool, composed by guitarist Marv Ross, performed by the group Quarterflash. Vocalist Rindy Ross sounds Benatar-ish, and the "fours" (trading solos for four measures) between Rindy on sax and violinist Bruce Sweetman elevates this pop-rock track to another level. Listen to a clip at amazon.com.

November 11, 2004

Is Something Wrong with This Picture?

I've posted an L&P entry on the apprehensiveness of some ABC affiliates to show "Saving Private Ryan" tonight, in honor of Veteran's Day: "Is Something Wrong with this Picture?"

Song of the Day #75

Song of the Day (b): Everybody, Everybody, composed by M. Limoni, D. Davoli, and V. Semplici, for the diva-and-piano-driven Italian house music recording outfit known as Blackbox, on their album Dreamland. But don't let them fool you. The Big Voice on this recording, and so many others, is Martha Wash, who, with the late Izora Rhodes Armstead, made up both The Weather Girls and Two Tons o' Fun (and the back-up singers for R&B/dance artist Sylvester). I think of my friend Peter when I hear this dance floor jam; and it's his birthday. Happy Birthday, pal!

Song of the Day #74

Song of the Day (a): Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B, words by Don Raye, music by Hughie Prince, was performed by the Andrews Sisters, and was nominated for a 1941 Academy Award as "Best Song" (from the Abbott and Costello film, "Buck Privates"). It was also recorded in 1972, in an updated, revved-up version by Bette Midler, who dubbed all three vocal parts, and took it into the Billboard Top Ten. Reminds me of my Uncle Sam, a veteran of World War II. For Veteran's Day! Check out amazon.com for a clip.

November 10, 2004

Rednecks, Greenbacks, and Democracy

I posted two brief comments today at L&P. The first comment is in response to Roderick Long's essay, "Rednecks or Greenbacks?" The second comment is in response to Aeon Skoble's essay, "Quagmire Exit Strategy."

Song of the Day #73

Song of the Day: Heartbreaker, words and music by G. Gill and C. Wade, was recorded in typically fiery form by Pat Benatar. "Your love is like a tidal wave," and that's how this song feels ... with the volume way up. Listen to a clip at amazon.com.

November 09, 2004

The Problem of Iran

I've posted a brief L&P entry on "The Problem of Iran."

Song of the Day #72

Song of the Day: Beautiful Love, the Victor Young romantic ballad (lyrics by Egbert Van Alstyne), has been recorded by countless artists. And yet, the version that sticks in my mind is a mysterious instrumental waltz rendering, heard as source music for the 1932 Universal Monster Classic, "The Mummy" with Boris Karloff. Listen to tenor saxophonist Benny Golson talk about it for Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center.

November 08, 2004

Email Notification for "Not a Blog"

I've had a lot of traffic here, and a lot of private email asking me if I have "email notification" capacity, so that I might inform regular readers every time a new post goes up on "Not a Blog." Truth is, I've hesitated to send these notifications because not everybody is into the wide array of topics that I address here. And I don't want to be accused of spamming.

So, if you'd like to have your name added to an "email notification" list, please send me a formal request at my NYU address, which I render here as:

chris DOT sciabarra AT nyu DOT edu

I have not added a direct email link because I, myself, wish to avoid spiders-generating-spam. So replace that DOT with a . and that AT with a @

As a matter of policy, I won't send out my daily "Song of the Day" as a notification. You can rest assured that these little musical tidbits will be up here regularly. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Update: Readers should also know that the latest "Not a Blog" posts are available in RDF format at http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/index.rdf, using a program like SharpReader http://www.sharpreader.net/ .

Conservative Crackup, Part Deux

As a follow-up to an old post from April 2004, I post briefly on the "Conservative Crackup, Part Deux" at L&P. And take a look at the comments too.

Also, check out a little L&P tidbit about chariot games in Iraq: "'Ben-Hur' Comes to Iraq."

Post-Election Discussions Continue

Check out the ongoing, and fascinating discussions at Liberty and Power Group Blog on the election. I've added one point this morning on the GOP strategy in Ohio, which brought together both Protestant and Catholic voters on social issues, thus aiding the President's capturing of that state's electoral votes. See, also, some additional reader exchanges on Reagan vs. Bush.

Song of the Day #71

Song of the Day: Armageddon It, composed by Steve Clark, Phil Collen, Joe Elliott, Mutt Lange, and Rick Savage, from the Def Leppard hard rock album Hysteria (check out that link for sample clip). Listen to it once, and hum the catchy chorus for days ...

November 07, 2004

Post-Election Talk Heats Up

The discussion continues at L&P, as Sheldon Richman, Arthur Silber, Irfan Khawaja and others here, here, and here, comment on the 2004 Presidential election.

I've added another lengthy reflection in response to all these comments: "The Base Secure ... Now Check Its Premises."

Update: Comments on my L&P essay can be found here and here.

Song of the Day #70

Song of the Day: Ain't Nobody, music and lyrics by David Wolinski, was a huge sleaze-beat R&B hit for Rufus and Chaka Khan. The way Chaka bends and sails over these notes earned her a 1983 Grammy award for "Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal." It's ironic that this was the year of Michael Jackson's big Grammy haul for "Thriller"; Quincy Jones tried to get this track for Jackson's album before Chaka recorded it.

November 06, 2004

Clarifying the Bush Victory: Understanding a Multi-Pronged Threat

I have had many public and private responses to my various post-election essays (including quite a bit of dialogue here). No electoral victory can be reduced to a single causal factor. But to minimize the evangelical vote, as some commentators are doing in response to an early media frenzy focusing on the religious bloc, is just plain wrong. I address this issue in my newest L&P essay: "Clarifying the Bush Victory: Understanding a Multi-Pronged Threat." And take a look at follow-up comments as well.

Song of the Day #69

Song of the Day: Just the Way You Are, music and lyrics by Billy Joel, from his memorable album, The Stranger (check out the clip at the album link). I'll never forget hearing this melody for the first time; the moment that classic jazz alto saxophone "sultry solo" started, I looked at my sister and we both said, simultaneously: Phil Woods.

November 05, 2004

Post-Election Post-Mortem

I have a lot more to say about the election at Liberty and Power Group Blog. In a new post, I exclaim: "A Pox on Both Their Houses." My concern here is that there is no fundamental opposition to either the religious right or to the activist state that both Democrats and Republicans favor. (See follow-up comments here.)

I also have comments in response to various threads inspired by my "Declaring War on Religious Zealotry" post. On the issue of "Moderate Republicans," see here and here. With "thoughts on fundamentalism," and the relationship between libertarianism and cultural issues, see here. And a little discussion over what Irfan Khawaja calls "Garry Wills's Abject Hypocrisy," begins here.

I also weigh-in briefly at Washington Monthly, where Amy Sullivan guests for Kevin Drum's Political Animal, telling people to "Slow Down There," with regards to their view of the religious right's impact. See my comments here.

Song of the Day #68

Song of the Day: Lowdown, music and lyrics by William "Boz" Scaggs and David Paich (of Toto), sung by Boz himself (from the album Silk Degrees, where you can hear a clip). A smooth and funky groove.

November 04, 2004

Declaring War Against Zealotry

At L&P, I posted a new piece, reflecting on today's Garry Wills NY Times essay: "Declaring War Against Zealotry."

Update: Comments on my L&P post can be found here, here, here, and here, along with a response from moi.

More "I Told You So's"

Follow-up discussion relevant to my "I Told You So" post-election essay can be found here and here.

Congratulations to Ken and Willie

In the world of games and sports, big congratulations to two winners today:

Ken Jennings, who, after 66 appearances on "Jeopardy," has cumulative winnings of $2,197,000, making him the biggest game-show winner ever.

And to former Yankee second baseman and coach Willie Randolph, who joins the New York Mets as their new manager: Good luck, Willie. We'll miss your presence at The Stadium!

Song of the Day #67

Song of the Day: May I Come In?, music by Marvin Fisher and lyrics by Jack Segal (songwriting team of "When Sunny Gets Blue"), to dramatic effect by Nancy Wilson in a way that only she could deliver. From her "Welcome to My Love" album (that album link includes a clip of the song). Also sung by Blossom Dearie and Rosemary Clooney (clips at those links too). "Speaking of the devil, well here I am... may I come in?"

November 03, 2004

I Told You So

I'm ecstatic over the results of yesterday's vote!

Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter won his first Gold Glove! (See follow-up "Go Jeter!" comments at L&P.)

As for that other race, the one in which President George W. Bush won four more years? Aside from a brief mention at SOLO HQ, read my lengthier, if preliminary, post-election analysis at L&P: "I Told You So." A PDF is available here. And check out follow-up comments here at L&P.

Song of the Day #66

Song of the Day: The Sweetest Sounds, music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers, was used in an updated version of Cinderella, which starred Brandy, who sang it in the title role, and Whitney Houston, as the Fairy Godmother. The song, however, was originally written for Rodgers' only solo Broadway score, the 1962 production "No Strings." Listen to a clip of this song of yearning and promise ... here.

November 02, 2004

More Comments on "A Vote for Nobody"

Check out additional comments at L&P on yesterday's article, "A Vote for Nobody Because It Won't Matter."

Civility in Public Discourse

The discussion of U.S. foreign policy frequently degenerates into uncivil discourse. It's happened at SOLO HQ and many other forums. My SOLO HQ comments today (posted here) address discussion threads here, here, here, and here.

Update: The discussion continues, along with some comments about today's Election. See my follow-ups here and here.

Song of the Day #65

Song of the Day: Tonight, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, choreography by Jerome Robbins, from the classic Broadway musical and Oscar-winning movie, "West Side Story." The ensemble version of this song is a staggering montage of point-counterpoint in the film, and a vocal tour de force. With talks of a "rumble ... tonight," what better song to sing on Election Day?

November 01, 2004

Rand and Unintended Consequences Thread, Continued

A few more comments have been registered at L&P concerning my essay, "Ayn Rand and Unintended Consequences."

A Vote for Nobody Because It Won't Matter

At L&P: "A Vote for Nobody Because It Won't Matter," followed by an exchange with Matt Barganier. Also see follow-up from David Beito and Steve Horwitz.

Song of the Day #64

Song of the Day: Two for the Road, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, music by Henry Mancini, the title track of a sweet score from the 1967 film starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney.