Our Little Dante at the Vet
At the Jacobson Veterinary Clinic, our Little Dante, in his coral cloak (photo courtesy of Dr. Linda Jacobson):
Well, would you be happy at the vet if you were a cat?
At the Jacobson Veterinary Clinic, our Little Dante, in his coral cloak (photo courtesy of Dr. Linda Jacobson):
Well, would you be happy at the vet if you were a cat?
Congratulations to Joey Chestnut, who set a world's record, scarfing down 66 hot dogs at the annual Nathan's Famous Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Competition.
Watching this on ESPN turned my stomach... I can only imagine what it did to Chestnut's! But seeing 30,000+ people crowd onto Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue, not ten minutes from my home... was terrific! Long live Coney Island!
Justin Timberlake was featured on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend, as both the host and the musical guest. I loved him when he first appeared on the show back in 2003, and he was just as terrific this time around.
One hilarious "digital short" was aired, with Justin and Andy Samberg. For those who enjoyed the "Lazy Sunday" clip last December, the new one, "Dick in a Box," will provide a few laughs. Check it out on YouTube.
Update: Jon posts the uncensored, unedited version, which also happens to feature audio and video that is more, uh, NSYNC. Watch it here.
My brother, jazz guitarist Carl Barry, was playing this past weekend at the popular Village jazz spot, "Rare," on Bleecker Street in Manhattan. The bass player, Jay Leonhart, taped the gig, and posted a snippet at You Tube.
It is a total riot. The guys are busy performing in the club, near an open door, and this woman walks over and asks Carl, "Where Can I Catch a Taxi?" And she returns for further directions! And Carl doesn't miss a beat. Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a jazz musician in the city!
Watch it here (you may have to sign-in first).
Steven Horwitz has tagged me for the "Meme-of-Four" (dammit indeed!)
Okay, here goes.
Four jobs I've had:
2. Assistant Orientation Director
3. Mobile Disc Jockey
Four movies I can watch over and over again:
1. Ben-Hur (1959)
2. Titanic (1997)
3. King Kong (1933)
4. War of the Worlds (1953)
Four places I've lived:
1. Brooklyn (West 5th Street)
2. Brooklyn (West 4th Street)
3. Brooklyn (West 9th Street)
4. Brooklyn (Dahill Road)
(Yeah, I have traveled a lot around this neighborhood...)
Four TV shows I love:
1. The Honeymooners
2. The Twilight Zone
3. The Fugitive
4. One Step Beyond
Four highly regarded and recommended TV shows I haven’t seen (much of):
1. The Sopranos
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. Law & Order (any of them)
4. CSI (any of them)
Four places I’ve vacationed:
1. Phoenix, Arizona
2. Miami, Florida
3. Los Angeles, California
4. Peconic, Long Island
Four of my favorite dishes (only 4?!):
3. Veal cutlet parmigiana
4. Spare ribs
(I could go on and on...)
Four sites I visit daily:
1. Bloglines (hehe)
2. Liberty & Power Group Blog
3. Once Upon a Time
4. Mises Economics Blog
Four places I’d rather be right now:
1. Hawaii (on a beach)
2. Las Vegas (by a pool)
3. Athens (sightseeing)
4. Rome (sightseeing)
Four albums I can't live without (today anyway):
1. "Ben-Hur" (soundtrack, Miklos Rozsa composer)
2. "For Django" (Joe Pass)
3. "Embraceable You" (Carl and Joanne Barry, my brother and sister-in-law)
4. "Boss Guitar" (Wes Montgomery)
Four new bloggers I'm tagging:
1. Sunni Maravillosa
2. Chip Gibbons
3. Sheldon Richman
4. Nick Manley
Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.
Readers of Notablog know that I'm a fan of both the film "Ben-Hur" and the game show "Jeopardy." So my heart skipped a beat when I turned on "Jeopardy" at 6 pm (Satellite TV provides both a 6 pm and 7 pm slot for the show) and saw a whole "double Jeopardy" category devoted to the 1959 film.
I'm very easy to please.
And, yes, I knew all the answers... phrased properly in the form of a question, of course.
Update: I videotaped the category, but missed the first question, which, I believe, was pretty much the clue I use below. By popular demand ... any takers? (The clues give away a lot of info...)
1. He got an Oscar in the title role. [$400]
2. The role of Ben-Hur was reportedly turned down by Rock Hudson and this "Hud", son. [$800]
3. The film cutting ratio of this action sequence is over 260-1; for every 260' of film shot, 1' was used. [$1200]
4. Surely you know this "Airplane" star screen-tested for the role of Messala (& don't call him Shirley). [$1600]
5. This author of "Burr" & "Lincoln" did uncredited screenwriting for "Ben-Hur". [$2000]
I have been wishing my Jewish friends a Happy Chanukah... but before too long, we end up in a discussion over how to actually spell the name of the holiday. So it was with a considerable chuckle that I read Helen Kennedy's brief article in the NY Daily News today:
Either way, every way, a very happy holiday to all!
Blondie knows it is the 50th anniversary of Norad Tracks Santa, so she'll be tracking him till she hits the sack, hoping her treats are delivered before dawn!!! (Apparently, Santa has been busy this year... he's got a blog too!)
Comments welcome, but be nice! Blondie may not have as many teeth as she used to, but she can sport a mean bark.
I am a long-time fan of "Saturday Night Live," but I often think that the greatness of the show is a thing of the past. Still, I watch. Religiously. Every so often, a cartoon by Robert Smigel or a comment on "Weekend Update" or a particular skit gives me a chuckle.
Last week, I got a hearty chuckle out of a spoof-rap clip that featured "The Dudes," Chris Parnell and new guy Andy Samberg, entitled "Lazy Sunday," but should have been called "The Chronic-WHAT-cles of Narnia." Anyway, as the NY Daily News reports today, the clip recorded over a million Internet downloads before the week was out, and the rookie Sanberg has truly left obscurity behind.
You could go directly to the NBC-SNL site above or to "You Tube" to see the "Lazy Sunday" clip. For a long-time music fan who has followed rap from its inception (see here), I think the clip is a total riot.
As readers of Notablog might recall, I indicated some weeks ago, in this essay that "we picked up a special Yankee uniform and matching cap" for Blondie because Halloween was "coming, after all, and she needed a new costume."
Well, Blondie wishes everybody a Happy Halloween!
She also insisted that we finally upload all of her "Summer Vacation" photos. There are additional Halloween photos as well in her photo gallery. Go to the index here, where you will see brand new Summer 2005 photos (here, here, here, here, here, and here) and brand new Halloween 2005 photos (here and here).
Comments welcome ... but beware of dog!
A few summers back, I was going through a particularly difficult period. Everything seemed to be going wrong on so many levels. The weather was miserable. My health wasn't too great. Friends and family were in distress over other life problems.
On one hot, humid, sticky, and terribly cloudy day that summer, I walked down my block, a bit disheartened by this state of affairs. For one brief moment, I looked up at the sky and saw the most elegant Monarch butterfly. And for that one moment, a feeling of total relaxation came over me. A world with that kind of beauty, I reasoned, will allow for all these difficulties to pass.
And in that instant ... I kid you not ... a bird flew by, grabbed the Monarch in its beak, and flew off.
I looked up at the sky again. Shook my head in disbelief. And couldn't help but chuckle. It was as if the gods had sent me a message: "Life really is that dismal, Chris, and you'll get no relief today!"
But it all came to pass. And several consecutive summers with lousy weather have given way to one of the most glorious summers in New York City that we've had in recent years.
I love the summer.
Now, in its waning days, I have a slight sense of melancholy, which is tempered only by the still-warm temperatures in the still-Baking Apple. They'll reach 84 degrees today, and the 80s throughout the rest of this week.
One of the things I'll most miss about summer, however, are the bugs. The insects. Flying. Crawling. Creeping. They are a perennial sign of life. And this summer in the city was like the classic summers of old. Bugs that were not too plentiful in recent years seem to have come back in droves. Maybe it was the weather.
June into early July started out with the biggest burst of fireflies ("lightning bugs") that I've ever seen in my entire life while living here in Brooklyn. So sparkling was the nightly display that the front lawns and backyards of my neighborhood looked as if it were Christmas in July. Mating insects never seemed so sexy.
The fireflies eventually went away ... only to be replaced by hordes of various kinds of butterflies. There were even more Monarch butterflies this summer. One afternoon, two Monarchs were fluttering around one another in a spiral; I followed their dance for almost the length of my entire block, my dog Blondie in tow. I'm sure they found romance beyond my field of vision. At least there were no birds descending this time 'round!
I've had a Beetle land in my hair, a Ladybug land on my hand, a Jurassic-sized Dragonfly (or "Dining Needle") land bingo on my beach blanket. I've marveled at athletic grasshoppers and diligent ants. In fact, as my aging dog's diet has changed, I had all this leftover Fit and Trim. I chopped it into a fine substance, and dumped it on the borders of sand and grass at Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn. When I came back the following week, I saw that the ants had made a hotel out of it ... the kind of hotel that you could eat if you got tired of living there!
As July literally melted into the "Dog Days of August," the Cicadas arrived like clockwork for their annual appearance. In unison, they sing, though their melody sounds more like a sprawling sprinkler system, reverberating for miles around, reassuring us that they'll hold off the Fall for as long as they can.
September is here. Their sounds are almost gone.
And I confess that I'll miss the sounds and sights of the Bugs of Summer.
But there are Sounds and Sights of Autumn too.
Soon the Boys of Summer will be gearing up for the Fall Classic. For me, the crack of the October bat is as musical as the nightly chorus of crickets still serenading us (they'll stick around for quite a while yet...).
Do not ask me about the Yankees' chances; I'm having periodic nervous breakdowns with this team all season! But that's part of the summer too! At least these Damn Yankees (who have adopted the phrase "Grind It" as their mantra) are giving us a fun run in the final weeks of the regular season (Bubba Crosby's walk-off home run last night was terrific).
So here's to the Summer of 2005 ... you and your bugs were nice to be around.
Friday night's "Nightline" broadcast opened with a special segment on the "Lost Liberty Hotel," an effort by Logan Darrow Clements to use the power of eminent domain to condemn the New Hampshire property of Supreme Court Justice David Souter for uses that would provide a greater "benefit" to the community. (Souter voted with the 5-4 majority in the infamous Kelo decision.)
I must admit it was hilarious to see Clements with a very visible copy of Atlas Shrugged on the ABC broadcast, which he inscribed:
Dear Mr. Souter: A story about the importance of property rights. Enjoy!
Logan Darrow Clements
Talk about milking the inner contradictions of the system to prove a point.
Taking a look at Souter's property... I can understand why anyone would want it condemned. Are the taxpayers not paying Souter a good enough salary? Can't he afford a paint job for that house?
I posted some follow-up at SOLO on that 10th Anniversary Thread. In that post, I mentioned the Classic Brooklyn Egg Cream, in my attempts to explain what I meant by "seltzer" (my drink of choice):
Seltzer is seltzer-water, or carbonated water, or soda-water. It's like club soda (without the sodium) or mineral water (without the minerals). I add this explanation because anytime I've traveled out of the NYC area, and I order Seltzer, some waiter or waitress thinks I mean "Alka-Seltzer" or "Bromo-Seltzer" for the tummy. But seltzer is a classic New York drink. You can even make Egg Creams with seltzer. (I'd add another footnote to this footnote, but that's not standard academic practice. Suffice it to say: Egg Creams do not include Eggs or Cream. See here for instructions on how to make a classic New York Egg Cream. Also see here. And yes, we have real seltzer water delivered to our home in Brooklyn.)
All I can say is: If you've never had a Brooklyn Egg Cream, you've never had a refreshing drink! There are all sorts of debates as to how to make it. The ingredients are simple: syrup (chocolate, but some heretics use vanilla), milk, and seltzer. Some add the milk and seltzer first and stir in the chocolate syrup; some add seltzer and chocolate syrup first and stir in the milk.
But this is the recipe I learned, growing up in Brooklyn:
Begin with chocolate syrup; in a tall 8 oz. glass (glass is the only way to go!), add about 3/4 of an inch-to-an inch of syrup; then another inch or so of milk; then add seltzer from a Seltzer Bottle (only resort to a newly-opened can of seltzer if you're desperate).
And there you have it: The Classic Brooklyn Egg Cream, with a nice thick white foam at the top, and a delicious carbonated beverage that will quench your thirst. Great for the "Dog Days" of August.
I was reminded of the "Summer of Sam" by today's NY Times "On This Day" feature. On this day, in 1977, David Berkowitz was caught before yet another wave of his ".44 Caliber" terrorizing of the citizens of NYC.
During that time period, I remember distinctly that we were all on edge. Less than two weeks before his capture, Berkowitz attacked and killed a young woman named Stacy Moskowitz who sat in a car not too far from my home in Brooklyn.
Two or three nights before Berkowitz was arrested, I was accompanying my sister and mother home from my grandmother's house. It was after 2 a.m. The streets were deserted. And oh so silent. We had been talking about the Son of Sam all evening, and were, naturally, a little tense.
Being the overprotective male figure that I was, and 17 years old, I announced to my mother and sister: "Don't worry, I'll protect you."
As we passed an all-night gas station just a few blocks from our home, a car that had just pulled up to the pump... backfired.
I am not sure if I screamed or if it was just a lower, more masculine expression of surprise. But I am pretty sure that I must have jumped about two feet in the air from pure fright.
The ribbing I caught from my mother and sister—"Oh sure, you're gonna protect us!"—had us laughing for some time thereafter.
The Son of Sam was taken into custody days later. The trail of blood he had left behind was no laughing matter.
But at least on that one night, our laughter helped us to face our fear.
I got a note from Peter Cresswell who is spreading a meme that asks us to name three people with whom we frequently disagree and say something nice about them. Cresswell says this about me:
First cab of the block is a Sicilian  from Brooklyn. Chris Sciabarra PhD, PhD, PhD favours extensive footnotes  over forceful prose and chairs over buildings,  and while his musical taste is generally execrable  -- current 'Song of the Day' on his site is 'Boogie Nights' for Freud's sake  -- he can write the hind leg off a very big donkey.
Footnotes Added by Sciabarra
 I'm actually half-Sicilian and half-Greek. Then, again, the Sicilians are part EVERYTHING.
 I hope that all this qualifies as "extensive footnotes."
 The only reason I mentioned my partiality toward chairs in that SOLO HQ thread was that I was comparing it to the puke that is sometimes paraded as "art" on the walls of the Museum of Modern Art. In truth, however, I'd take the Empire State Building over any chair. :)
 Jesus Christ! Ever since Charles Rolo called Atlas Shrugged "execrable claptrap," these damn Objectivists have used that word!!!
 And this is why I don't open up my "Song of the Day" listings to comments. Peter would never be able to control himself!!! In any event, I can't help it that I like to dance!!! :) But my list of favorite songs is going to go on for as long as I'm alive, and it includes a few hundred titles right now, stretching from classical to jazz to disco, and from "Ain't Nobody" to "You Must Believe in Spring." Sheesh! Surely we intersect on some of those songs, Peter! Make up your own list if you don't like mine.
Oh, wait. I forgot. This is supposed to be "The Respectful Disagreement Meme." Or the "Being Nice" Meme.
Peter Cresswell and I have exchanged music. And he's a very nice guy. :)
Well, that's all for now. No reason for me to come up with three people I disagree with to say something nice about them. I already have a reputation for being too nice to too many people! Bah humbug.
As the second season begins, Ari is trying to persuade Vince to accept the studio's offer to star in a new comic-book action franchise blockbuster, based on the DC Comics character Aquaman. Vince is wary of being typecast—but Ari, pleading his case while sitting courtside with the boys at a Lakers game, points across the arena and says, "There's the Joker! There's Batman! There's Spider-Man! They're all typecast—as rich guys!" We don't see Jack Nicholson, Tobey Maguire or whichever Batman Ari is pointing out—but the scene does play out on the Lakers' floor seats. ... For the gorgeous (and often naked) women and freebies to keep coming, Vince and his friends shortly will have to make certain sacrifices—including, perhaps, starring as Aquaman. It sounds like fun, and the second season of "Entourage" certainly starts out that way.
Now, I hope I'm misreading this... but is Bianculli actually suggesting that "starring as Aquaman" is a "sacrifice," in the "conventional" sense of doing something of a lesser value in order to achieve something of a higher value?
Well, of all the nerve!
I suppose this means that I must finally bust open the closet doors and admit it to the hearing of the world. Growing up... my favorite superhero ... was ...
Go ahead. LAUGH. Laugh all you want! But he was. It probably had something to do with the blond hair (I love blonds) or maybe because I was born an Aquarian. Whatever the reason... I picked a superhero to like that almost everybody else disses. And clearly the dissing continues till this day.
It's time to stop feeling like a fish out of water, fellow fans! Aquaman Admirers of the World, Unite!
Comments welcome. But be afraid. Be very afraid.
The NY Daily News also reports that despite a tragedy brought about by some nutcase who brutally killed two swans in a Bronx park, the little cygnets they left behind were hatched without incident.
Some time ago, 30-year old Soccer hottie David Beckham, who is married to Posh Spice, named his kid "Brooklyn." Well, apparently, lots of people are naming their kids "Brooklyn"! The New York Daily News reports that "[a]n astounding 3,211 kiddies" were named for the borough that is my birthplace and home. This makes it "the 101st most popular name in the country."
Ah, but do all these kiddies know how to say "Yo!"???
What an Easter story this is: That mallard duck who was sitting on her eggs in front of the Treasury Department, finally hatched her ducklings yesterday. The little ones are adorable. Check out story and photos here and here.
I'm a sucker for ducks. I feed them regularly at our local duck ponds here in Brooklyn. What!? Duck ponds!? In Brooklyn!?? Yes. At Poly Prep Country Day School ... and Prospect Park ... and many other duck hot spots.
Update: The ducklings have been led to the water at Rose Creek Park. See follow-up photo and story here.
Say what you will about the President. He has a sense of humor, sometimes intentionally (as in this description of the scene after Bill Clinton's recent surgery: "When he woke up he was surrounded by his loved ones: Hillary, Chelsea and my Dad"), sometimes unintentionally.
Everybody is having a field day with that photo of George W. Bush holding the hand of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. (Talk about a fearless man date!) That, coupled with this comment by Bush—with regard to the annual Galveston, Texas gay beach party known as "Splash Day"—has given me a good belly laugh this afternoon.
My pal Chip at Binary Circumstance is having a laugh too.
I comment at L&P on a few surprise links (subsequently deleted) in today's NY Times article by Maureen Dowd: "Perversion at the NY Times."
Update: L&P discussion is posted here, but the thread is "hijacked" here, in an outburst of good wishes for my 45th birthday! Thanks also to Sunni for sweet wishes on her blog (where I leave a message too).
Anyway, I will cross-post "Reflecting on the Ayn Rand Centenary, Conclusion" when L&P is back up and running.
Happy Groundhog Day! (Apparently, "Punxsutawney Phil" saw his shadow... which means 6 more weeks of winter!)
Update: L&P is back up and running ... for now ...
I post at L&P on a rejected military proposal to develop a "Sex Bomb" for use on enemy troops.
My pal (and unofficial event host) Don Hauptman tells me that a February 2, 2005 party (from 6:30-9:30 p.m.) has been scheduled in Gala Celebration of Ayn Rand's 100th Birthday. The venue is Porters, a stylish restaurant with great food in Manhattan's newly trendy Chelsea neighborhood. Porters is located at 216 Seventh Avenue (between 22nd and 23rd Streets).
Gourmet hors d'oeuvres will be served by uniformed strolling waiters. A selection of premium-quality red and white wines and a variety of soft drinks will be available. There will also be a birthday cake, served with coffee and tea. A souvenir brochure of little-known, unpublished fun facts about Rand and Objectivism will be provided exclusively to attendees.
Admission is $55 per person, including gratuities and tax. Laissez Faire Books is taking credit card reservations by phone at 1-800-326-0996 (or 501-975-3650), Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time, by email, or by check through snail mail (payable to Laissez Faire Books, 7123 Interstate 30, #42, Little Rock, AR 72209; write "Rand Centennial" in memo line, include your name and the names of your guests, and an email address for confirmation purposes).
Reservations must be received no later than close of business, Friday, January 21.
Click here for more information. Email your questions to Don Hauptman.
David M. Brown notes a Sciabarra Past Post in his LFB entry, "Chris Sciabarra on the Spirit of Christmas Present." Links to other past Christmas posts are here.
With the sinking of the Kerik nomination for Homeland Security chief, I post a brief entry at L&P: "Bernie, Rudy ... and George."
I just came upon this hilarious Stephan Kinsella post at the LewRockwell.com blog: "Curse you, Raico!" Yes. Kinsella lost his bet on Election 2004. I do intend to collect.
I report on a new cartoon at L&P that depicts the "New Terror Alert Levels."
A number of people have wondered why they can't use the comment function at "Not a Blog." I try to remind my readers that this is "Not a Blog." :) Well, okay, it's more blog-like than ever! But it is still primarily an index to writings that appear in other venues, and at those other venues, all of you can comment on my work as often as you like! I encourage it! And I usually respond! (Unfortunately, you'll still see the word "comment" accompanying every blog entry here, even though the function has been disabled. But that's just something that can't be avoided; it's part of the software with which NYU provides me.)
Of course, if any reader would like to send me personal comments, my email box is always open: chris DOT sciabarra AT nyu DOT edu
I have been busy with a number of tasks this week, including my editing of the forthcoming Spring 2005 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (our second Centenary symposium issue, which will focus on "Ayn Rand Among the Austrians"). I've also been proofreading the forthcoming issue of The Free Radical, and involved with various research and writing projects. One of these is a review of Objectivist Peter Schwartz's 2004 book, The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest: A Moral Ideal for America; the review will be posted in five parts at Liberty & Power Group Blog starting Monday, December 6th.
A few other updates to mention: My pal Chip at Binary Circumstance has a few links to all the hoopla over the film "The Incredibles," which refers to my various posts.
My "Song of the Day" ritual continues uninterrupted, however; expect tributes to some of my favorite Frank Sinatra songs starting December 12th (Ol' Blue Eyes' birthday) and tributes to some of my favorite holiday songs starting Christmas Eve.
Read all about my "Election Prediction: Dracula Wins!" at Liberty and Power Group Blog!
An L&P comment on the Roasting of Donald Trump.
My posts from yesterday have elicited quite a few interesting discussions.
The question I posed at the Rozsa forum has generated some good answers.
My "Neocon Newbie" post at L&P has several threads. First, there's my discussion with Jonathan Dresner and Pat Lynch on the "three-state solution." I actually reproduce a much larger essay of mine on this subject from November 2003. Second, there's my exchange with John Arthur Shaffer on the implications for social policy that the current election might have. Third, there's my discussions with Aeon Skoble, here and here touching upon my favorite songs and what I'll be watching tonight. (Hint: Baseball trumps politics...)
I've been busy working on an article about the great 20th century composer, Miklos Rozsa, and posed a question about a curious statement that Rozsa made in his autobiography, Double Life. Take a look at the Miklos Rozsa Society forum for the question and the follow-up.
I also had the occasion to stop in at SOLO HQ, where I address, once again, the even more important question: "How is 'Sciabarra' pronounced?"