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July 31, 2005

Song of the Day #348

Song of the Day: But Not For Me is a classic George and Ira Gershwin song (introduced in the 1930 Broadway production of "Girl Crazy" and performed in both the 1932 and 1943 film versions too) that has been recorded by countless artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Sarah Vaughan to Linda Ronstadt (audio clips at those links). For a change of pace, check out an audio clip of a version by the original "space cadet," Sun Ra. A happy and a healthy to #1 Herman Blount (Sun Ra) Expert, my colleague and pal Robert Campbell, who also celebrates his birthday today.

Song of the Day #347

Song of the Day: The Flying Song (audio clip at that link) is an instrumental composition written and performed by Joe Maurone (aka Spaceplayer). I first heard this track years ago and it still resonates with me. A very happy and healthy birthday to its composer.

July 30, 2005

Song of the Day #346

Song of the Day: Don't Go, music and lyrics by Vince Clarke, is another Yaz (or Yazoo) dance gem from the 1980s. Listen to an audio clip here.

July 29, 2005

Song of the Day #345

Song of the Day: Situation features the words and music of vocalist Alison Moyet and synth player Vince Clarke (who went on to Erasure fame). This duo constituted the Electro pop group Yazoo (or Yaz, as it was known in the US). Listen to an audio clip from the album "Upstairs at Eric's" (at that link) and a sample of the original Francois Kevorkian 12" remix at this link.

July 28, 2005

Whetting a "Russian Radical" Appetite

The thread at SOLO HQ on the James Valliant book is now over 200 posts! While I decided to move on from the discussion, a number of points were made by a SOLO HQ participant dealing with my book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. I intend to post a number of articles on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of that book in mid-August. My reply to the SOLO HQ participant is posted here. I reproduce much of it here for the benefit of Notablog readers:

My recent Free Radical essay marking the tenth anniversary of Marx, Hayek, and Utopia and Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, will be published ... on SOLO HQ in mid-August. ...

James Lennox and Allan Gotthelf agree on many things; they have known each other for many years and they co-edited a book on Aristotle's biology. I respect their work in that area and have cited both of them in my own work. And David Kelley is also a fine philosopher, and I have cited his work too.

That doesn't mean I always agree with Lennox, Gotthelf, and Kelley—far from it; nor does it mean that Kelley agreed with Lennox's review of my book simply because he published that review in the IOS Journal. In fact, Kelley went out of his way to sponsor a live IOS discussion of Russian Radical before it was published, and he also published a Roundtable discussion of my book after he published Lennox's review. He also made a number of very positive comments about Russian Radical at the time.

Understand, however, that if we are to judge the validity of an argument by the number of scholars who object to it, then Ayn Rand's work itself would be among the most harshly judged philosophies on earth.

As for other colleagues and professionals who engaged my work, take a look at my website and the various relevant reviews posted here and here. Those links include a full index of all the reviews of my work, some quite positive (see, for example, philosopher Lester Hunt's discussion). Also take a look at the endorsements of my book by such philosophers as Tibor Machan, John Hospers, George Walsh, and Douglas Rasmussen.

But this is not about name-dropping. It's about a fundamental divergence between Lennox and me on a number of issues, including the very meaning of dialectics. To a certain extent, I am to blame for some of the problems that emerged in the aftermath of the publication of Russian Radical, but it was unavoidable. The book was part two of a trilogy of books that aimed to reconstruct and reclaim dialectical method for a (small-l) libertarian social theory. So, the full reconstruction of the history and meaning of dialectics was not published until the final (third) book in my trilogy, Total Freedom. I couldn't reinvent the wheel in one, two, or three books—but I sure couldn't include my whole take on dialectics in a book about Rand, even if such a discussion would have clarified the points for many readers.

In fact, I have heard from many readers through the years who have said, upon reading part one of Total Freedom (TF): "Oh! Now I know what the hell you're talking about!" And, in fact, when I teach my trilogy, I actually begin with part one of TF before getting to Marx-Hayek and the Rand volume.

Aside from that, all of the historical speculations that I made about Rand's formative influences were based on inconclusive evidence—as I acknowledged. But I was building an historical narrative, and each step of the narrative depended on the presumptions before it. The initial speculations I made concerning what Ayn Rand was actually taught at Petrograd State University have now been bolstered by evidence that is as conclusive as it's going to get. The additional Russian archival material that I uncovered over the past 10 years has, in the words of William Thomas, lent "far greater warrant to [my] historical hypothesis .... successfully exploit[ing a] line of research [that] bolsters [my] key claim of a link between Russian philosopher N. O. Lossky, his followers, and the young Rand."

Comments welcome, but as I say at SOLO HQ: "Let that whet your appetite, and just shelve this discussion until mid-August. As long as we can chat with civility, I'm open to any and all points of contention."

Song of the Day #344

Song of the Day: Everything Happens to Me, words and music by Tom Adair and Matt Dennis, is one of those Murphy's Law meets Romance songs. It's delivered with typical heartbreak by Billie Holiday in an audio clip here. Listen also to a Frank Sinatra audio clip, with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra here and, in a later version, here. And check out an audio clip here of a version featuring alto saxophonist Charlie Parker with strings.

July 27, 2005

Song of the Day #343

Song of the Day: This Swingin' Life (audio clip at that link) features the music and lyrics of Jeff Driskill and Don Miller. It was recorded by the Don Miller Orchestra, which was the house band for "Jerry Seinfeld Live on Broadway." I adore the trombone solo of my pal Roger Bissell.

July 26, 2005

Perhaps You've Noticed a Change ...

Yes, yes, since February and March 2005 I've been searching for something both stylish and readable for Notablog. I've gone from a "Stormy" stylesheet to a "Georgia Blue" stylesheet for the site. I then returned to Stormy, but many complained that it was just too difficult to read. And with nearly 60 comments on my "Reason, Passion, and History" essay, I simply had to make the move back toward a more "readable" format. So "Georgia Blue" has resurfaced with a few custom twists to "jazz it up." Until or unless I can implement a "stylesheet" switch option, practicality wins out over aesthetics. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from readers on this switch, and I hope it does facilitate the reading experience.

Also, in response to this comment from Kernon, I've now worked with NYU's Jodi Goldberg to enable HTML tags in the comments section! I will, however, have to close comments after a reasonable period of time on open entries in order to keep the spammers from placing their links on Notablog.

Speaking of which, one person at SOLO HQ took exception to my having closed the comments section on the "Reason, Passion, and History" thread after a week of debate (and he took the opportunity to attack my scholarship as well). As I explain here (and here):

I come from a scholarly culture. In a scholarly context, the typical model is: review-reply-rejoinder. Sometimes, it goes a bit further. But I don't have an endless amount of time to debate issues when the lines are so clearly drawn and there is not likely to be any movement one way or the other. ... I should also mention that it is not fair to my readers to allow a comments section to go on endlessly when I don't have the time to pay close attention to that level of traffic, given my other research, writing, and editing commitments. I love blogging and I love cyber-culture, but I do have a life.

I conclude: "I am the host of Notablog. I wrote the review at Notablog. I have the last word at Notablog."

And that is as it should be.

Though I'm deeply involved right now in the preparation of the Fall 2005 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, I'm still delighted to see the comments section humming along, and enjoy the engagement.

So, let me know what you think of the new format.

Comments welcome.

Revolutionary Jokes

I really like the name of this magazine. In it, Carl Schreck reviews a new book by Bruce Adams entitled Tiny Revolutions in Russia: Twentieth-Century Soviet and Russian History in Anecdotes. I've not read the book, but it does look as if it is "No Laughing Matter," insofar as it shows how jokes served as a means of critiquing the Soviet police state.

Here are a few excerpts from Schreck's piece:

Jokes, or anekdoty, were indeed risky business in the Soviet Union, Bruce Adams maintains in the introduction to "Tiny Revolutions in Russia," his light if thoroughly entertaining recap of Soviet history told through a mix of amusing, tragicomic, baffling and plain unfunny jokes that will strike a familiar chord with any foreigner who has shared a couple bottles of vodka with a table full of Russians.

George Orwell was the first to dub jokes "tiny revolutions," but it's an especially fitting title for Adams' book, which reminds us that humor can have very serious consequences when the joke is on a totalitarian regime. The eight years Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent in prisons and labor camps came as punishment for jokes he had made about Josef Stalin in his private correspondence, Adams writes. "The anecdotes were necessarily underground humor shared only with close friends."

So, how about a few jokes?

When no African delegates showed up at a Comintern Congress, Moscow wired Odessa [a very cosmopolitan port city with a large Jewish population]: "Send us a Negro immediately." "Odessa wired right back: 'Rabinovich has been dyed. He's drying.'"

"Who built the White Sea-Baltic Canal? "On the right bank -- those who told anecdotes, on the left bank -- those who heard them."

Because the BBC always seemed to know Soviet secrets so quickly, it was decided to hold the next meeting of the Politburo behind closed doors. No one was permitted in or out. Suddenly Kosygin grasped his belly and asked permission to leave. Permission was denied. A few minutes later there was a knock at the door. A janitress stood there with a pail: "The BBC just reported that Aleksei Nikolayevich shit himself."

Read the whole article here. And check out Adams' book here.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.

Song of the Day #342

Song of the Day: Second Time Around, music and lyrics by L. Sylvers and W. Shelby, performed by the group Shalamar, has a nice groove and hook. Listen to an audio clip here.

July 25, 2005

Song of the Day #341

Song of the Day: Dream On features music by Bill Frisell, lyrics by Steven Tyler, and the powerful performance of Aerosmith. It's a rock classic. Listen to an audio clip here.

July 24, 2005

Song of the Day #340

Song of the Day: Burn Rubber on Me, music and lyrics by Charlie Wilson, Lonnie Simmons, and Rudy Taylor, was performed by the funky Gap Band. Listen to an audio clip here.

July 23, 2005

Song of the Day #339

Song of the Day: That's the Way I've Always Heard it Should Be, music and lyrics by Jacob Brackman, was recorded by a melancholy Carly Simon. Listen to an audio clip of this plaintive track here.

July 22, 2005

Song of the Day #338

Song of the Day: Street Life, music by Joe Sample, words by Oscar-winning lyricist Will Jennings, was performed by The Crusaders, with Randy Crawford as guest vocalist. The song has been heard on several soundtracks as well, including for the films "Sharky's Machine" and "Jackie Brown." Listen to audio clips here and here.

July 21, 2005

Song of the Day #337

Song of the Day: Give Me the Night features words and music by Rod Temperton, production by the great Quincy Jones, and performance by jazz guitarist and singer, George Benson. It has a nice groove, with those sweet unison vocal-guitar lines that Benson does so well. Listen to an audio clip here. And check out two audio clips of alternative versions, featuring singer Randy Crawford, who formerly performed with the Crusaders.

July 20, 2005

The Forsyte Saga

Stan Rozenfeld gives a good review to one of my favorite all-time TV series: the original "Forsyte Saga" (a 1967 BBC production). Check out his review here. I left a brief comment here.

Comments welcome, but drop by Stan's Live Journal.

Reason, Passion, and History

Today, a Notablog exclusive is published: My comprehensive review essay dealing with James S. Valliant's book, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against the Brandens (Dallas: Durban House, 2005):

Reason, Passion, and History

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #336

Song of the Day: Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon, music and lyrics by Jimmy Webb, was originally performed by the Philly soul group Three Degrees, but has been recorded also by Buddy Greco, Thelma Houston, and Dusty Springfield (live). I used to love seeing my sister-in-law perform this live. What better way to mark the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in song... listen to a Three Degrees audio clip here.

July 19, 2005

Song of the Day #335

Song of the Day: Believe, credited to six writers, was performed by Cher, whose recording was Billboard magazine's #1 Hot 100 Single of 1999. It was the biggest single of her career, and provided her with her first Grammy Award (for "Best Dance Recording"). It is known also for its use of the vocoder (though that particular link adds vocoder effects not on the actual recording). Listen to an audio clip of this well-produced dance track here.

July 18, 2005

Song of the Day #334

Song of the Day: Love Come Down, composed by former B.T. Express band member Kashif, who also provides those nice keyboard licks, was performed with funky verve by Evelyn "Champagne" King. Listen to an audio clip here.

July 17, 2005

Song of the Day #333

Song of the Day: Fresh features the music and lyrics of J. T. Taylor, S. Linzer, and Kool and the Gang. "Fresh as a summer breeze," indeed; listen to an audio clip of this 1984 dance-pop hit here.

July 16, 2005

Song of the Day #332

Song of the Day: Tempus Fugit (or as it is sometimes rendered, "Tempus Fugue-It," in contrast to "Tempus Fuggedabodit," as my pal Aeon Skoble would say) is a composition by be-bop pianist Bud Powell. Listen here to a Powell audio clip of this superior uptempo bop track, featuring bassist Ray Brown. Also check out a Chick Corea audio clip tribute to Powell. And I especially love a burning version by Stan Getz with a terrific ensemble that features pianist and NYU educator Jim McNeely (listen to an audio clip here).

July 15, 2005

Ifeminist Newsletter

Speaking of feminism, women, and women philosophers, I note that the Ifeminist Newsletter has been suspended from distribution for a variety of regulatory reasons. Read Wendy McElroy's comments here (and follow-up posts here).

To keep up with the Ifeminist news, point your browser here.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #331

Song of the Day: The Song is You, music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, is from the 1932 Broadway musical, "Music in the Air." It was also featured in the 1934 film version with Gloria Swanson. It has been recorded by vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey and guitarist Chuck Wayne, whose fleet-of-finger jazz version I like best (audio clips at those links).

July 14, 2005

Paglia, Rand, and Women in Philosophy

Camille Paglia, who contributed to the anthology Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, which I co-edited with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, has raised her voice in defense of women philosophers who were marginalized by a recent BBC-Radio 4 Greatest Philosopher poll that placed Karl Marx at the top. Paglia writes in The Independent:

For most of history, the groundbreaking philosophers have all been men, and philosophy has always been a male genre. Women had neither the education nor the time to pursue the life of the mind. ... Now that women have at last gained access to higher education, we are waiting to see what they can achieve in the fields where men have distinguished themselves, above all in philosophy. At the moment, however, the genre of philosophy is not flourishing; systematic reasoning no longer has the prestige or cultural value that it once had. ... Today's lack of major female philosophers is not due to lack of talent but to the collapse of philosophy. Philosophy as traditionally practised may be a dead genre. This is the age of the internet in which we are constantly flooded by information in fragments. Each person at the computer is embarked on a quest for and fabrication of his or her identity. The web mimics human neurology, and it is fundmentally altering young people's brains. The web, for good or ill, is instantaneous. Philosophy belongs to a vanished age of much slower and rhetorically formal inquiry.

Paglia is spot on with regard to a number of points here. Systematic reasoning is clearly at a disadvantage in a culture that embraces atomizing and dis-integration as the preferred mode of analysis.

But there are a number of women thinkers, says Paglia, who merit our attention. Among these: Simone de Beauvoir and Ayn Rand. Paglia writes:

Both Simone de Beauvoir and Ayn Rand, another favourite of mine, have their own highly influential system of thought, and therefore they belong on any list of great philosophers. Rand's mix of theory, social observations and commentary was very original, though we see her Romantic sources. Her system is broad and complex and well deserves to be incorporated into the philosophy curriculum. Simone de Beauvoir's magnum opus, The Second Sex (which hugely influenced me in my youth), demonstrates her hybrid consciousness. It doesn't conform to the strict definition of philosophy because it's an amalgamation of abstract thought and history and anthropology—real facts. The genre problem is probably why both these women are absent from the list. But Plato too was a writer of dramatic fiction—so that it is no basis for dismissing Rand.

It's a worthwhile read.

Hat tip to David Boaz.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P, where comments are posted here, here, and here.

Song of the Day #330

Song of the Day: You Make Me Feel Mighty Real features words and music by James "Tip" Wirrick and Sylvester, who performs the song like the diva he was. Listen to an audio clip of this rhythmic disco nugget here. And listen to audio clips of remakes by Jimmy Sommerville and Byron Stingily.

July 13, 2005

Anarchism and Dualism

Geoffrey Allan Plauche, over at Libertas, engages my point that there is (or has been) a profound relationship between anarchism and dualism.

In my reply to Roderick Long's critique of Total Freedom, I wrote:

Though I identify certain problems with anarchism, I’m equally suspicious of minarchism. I take very seriously some of the trenchant anarchist criticisms of limited government. I greatly value the contributions of anarchist thinkers to libertarian class theory and revisionist historical understanding. If my own perspective helps minarchists and anarchists to move toward a dialectical resolution of sorts, I will be pleased. And if it contributes to a similar transcendence of the conventional left-right continuum that both Long and I reject, I will be even more pleased.

In Total Freedom, I actually held out some hope for a "nondualistic anarchism." The fact that anybody other than Sciabarra and Long is even thinking about this issue makes me smile.

As for Geoffrey's points, I actually agree with him that statism introduces various dualities into social life. I also agree with him that there is a distinction between "government" as an ideal concept and, at the very least, every existing historical example of the "State." But I'm not fully convinced that "anarchism" and "statism" are not two sides of the same dualistic coin. Perhaps it all comes down to what Plauche says: "there are different kinds of anarchism" (just as there are different kinds of statism, of course).

My chief point in part two of Total Freedom was that Rothbard endorsed one kind of anarchism that seemed to reify (as "dualistic") a number of legitimate distinctions: personal morality v. public ethos; the voluntary v. the coercive; the contractual v. the hegemonic; market v. state; liberty v. power; culture v. politics. On one level, his analysis showed much more interaction between these distinctions than his more "monistic" resolution would allow.

In any event, good to see some discussion of this.

Comments welcome, but check out Geoffrey's post too.

Song of the Day #329

Song of the Day: The Windmills of Your Mind, music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, was featured in both film versions of "The Thomas Crown Affair": the Steve McQueen-Faye Dunaway 1968 romp and the 1999 flick starring Pierce Brosnan and a scalding Rene Russo, who shares a birthday with me. Winner of an Academy Award for "Best Song," it has been performed by Noel Harrison (for the original film), Sting (for the remake), Jack Jones, and Dusty Springfield (audio clips at each link). I also love an instrumental take on it by Phil Woods.

July 12, 2005

Song of the Day #328

Song of the Day: Let's Get it Started is credited to six writers, including Jamie Gomez and Allan Pineda of the hip hop hybrid group known as Black Eyed Peas. It has become a rhythmic anthem of sorts in many sports venues ... perfect for tonight's baseball All-Star GameYankee fan that I am... I'll be rooting for the American League. In All-Star Game history, only one Yankee has gotten an MVP trophy in this exhibition game (Derek Jeter). But the National League still leads in the record books for most wins since the inception of this mid-summer classic in 1933: NL: 40 wins; AL: 33 wins; 2 ties. Nowadays, the league that wins takes home field advantage in the World Series. From the album "Elephunk," listen to an audio clip of this song, or its original un-PC incarnation as "Let's Get Retarded" ... here.

July 11, 2005

Rand and Nietzsche

As readers of Notablog know, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies plans to publish a symposium dealing with Nietzsche and Rand. The symposium probably won't be published before Fall 2006 or Spring 2007. We have quite a few articles in the queue currently, including material in the next issue still celebrating the Rand Centenary, and an ethics-heavy Spring 2006 issue.

In any event, discussions about Rand and Nietzsche can be found throughout the web and in various publications. Today, I posted a brief comment to Libertas, the blog of Geoffrey Allan Plauche. Geoffrey plugs my work here and here, and I post my comment on Nietzsche and the Russian Silver Age here.

Comments welcome, but visit Libertas and leave Geoffrey some feedback.

Song of the Day #327

Song of the Day: Violin Concerto in E Minor, composed by Felix Mendelssohn, has been one of my favorites ever since I saw a young girl named Nanete Gampel play it on television with the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler. Listen to these audio clips from a glorious version by Jascha Heifetz, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch.

July 10, 2005

Song of the Day #326

Song of the Day: Moonglow, music by Will Hudson and Irving Mills, lyrics by Eddie De Lange, was played most memorably by the Benny Goodman Quartet (listen to an audio clip here).

July 09, 2005

Song of the Day #325

Song of the Day: The Very Thought of You, words and music by Ray Noble, has been sung by many artists, including Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Vaughn Monroe, and Rick Nelson (listen to audio clips at those links).

July 08, 2005

"Home" is Now London

Regular readers of Notablog know where I stand on many foreign policy questions, and debating those issues here is not my intention.

Suffice it to say, we have been told by the leaders of the "coalition of the willing" that "we" have to "take the war to the terrorists" and fight "over there" so that "we" don't have to face death and destruction "over here." Or as President Bush put it: "Either we take the war to the terrorists and fight them where they are ... or at some point we will have to fight them here at home."

Well, "home" is now London.

And fighting terrorists "where they are" does nothing to stem the tide of their ever-increasing numbers.

This is not an argument, pro or con, for military action in places like Afghanistan or in Iraq. I favored military action in the former case, but opposed it in the latter instance. I have argued that Afghanistan was a hotbed of Al Qaeda activity, and nothing less than the annihilation of that terror group would do in a post-9/11 era. Long-run, however, I have argued that the US needs to change fundamentally its foreign policy.

Putting all these questions aside, my heart goes out to my friends in the UK during this period. To say I empathize is an understatement. Mourn the dead, but keep your crying eyes open. Better to see what lies ahead.

It is very easy to give into fear. "Fear is the antonym of thought." I tell myself: Don't let the politicians manipulate your fear and take away your life and liberty in an effort to "preserve" them. But don't bury your head in the sand either, thinking that Al Qaeda and its affiliates are going to "give up" anytime soon.

I can tell my readers that since September 2001, I have had at least one fear. That someday, probably in late fall or winter, people, full of rage, will wrap themselves up in explosives, hidden carefully beneath layers of clothing typical for the season. And they will enter the subway system, by boarding subway cars in the outer boroughs of New York City, perhaps in Queens, or the Bronx, or my beloved Brooklyn. And they'll sit quietly in the subway car, among unsuspecting people on their way to work, until the train is pulling into a major Manhattan destination, like Times Square, or Penn Station, or Grand Central, or, perhaps, while going over an East River Bridge or through an East River tunnel crossing. And they'll just detonate themselves.

Thousands, tens of thousands of lives, could be snuffed out in a coordinated attack of this nature on the sprawling NYC subway system. And infrastructure could be devastated for months at considerable cost to the economy. Terrorists don't need nuclear material; they don't need biological or chemical weapons. They don't need planes. They need only the will.

Seeing Londoners brave an attack of this nature feels too much like a premonition of things to come. The expressions on the faces of New Yorkers tell me that the fear is real. And if terror revisits US shores, New Yorkers know that they are wearing a bull's eye on their backs.

Short-run, the protection of citizens' lives and liberties should be the most important priority. And, in fact, the protection of life and liberty is the only legitimate role to be played by any governing body. And this requires skilled intelligence, human intelligence. But no security system is 100% effective. And the creation of a police state through the manipulation of citizens' fears is not a solution either, since that merely replaces one form of terrorism for another.

That's why, in the long-run, a fundamental change in direction, in policy, will be necessary.

For now, my deepest, heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones. My good wishes to those who are dealing with injury to body and spirit.

Comments welcome. Mentioned at L&P here and Technomaget's Journal

Song of the Day #324

Song of the Day: (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, words and music by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe, hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart on this date in 1957. It's one of my favorite Elvis Presley songs (he would have turned 70 years old this year). Listen to an audio clip here.

July 07, 2005

Song of the Day #323

Song of the Day: Fantasy, music and lyrics by Maurice White, Eddie del Barrio, and Verdine White, is one of those classic Earth, Wind, and Fire performances. It has fine, jazzy harmonies and a great pulse. Listen to an audio clip here.

July 06, 2005

Song of the Day #322

Song of the Day: I Only Have Eyes for You, music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, was written for the 1934 Busby Berkeley film "Dames," starring Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, and Ruby Keeler (listen to audio clips from the film's soundtrack here). It was a big hit for pianist Eddy Duchin (audio clip here). I especially love a rendition by Carmen McRae ("I only have eyes for you... Joe-oh-oh Pass"). Listen to an audio clip of that playful live version here. Today is my precious dog Blondie's Sweet 16th Birthday; her eyes ain't what they used to be. But she's still the #1 blond in my life. Happy Birthday, Blondie!

Happy Birthday, Blondie!

July 05, 2005

Song of the Day #321

Song of the Day: The More I See You, music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Mack Gordon, has been performed by many instrumentalists, including Harry James, and many singers, including Nat King Cole, Jack Jones, 60s Latin rocker Chris Montez, and Carmen McRae, who sings the lovely introduction (audio clips at each link). The song was written for the 1945 Betty Grable film "Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe," in which it was sung by Dick Haymes (audio clip at that link). Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

July 04, 2005

Song of the Day #320

Song of the Day: America the Beautiful, music by Samuel Ward, lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, is my favorite "patriotic" song, and so appropriate on this Independence Day. My favorite version remains that of the soulful, heartfelt Brother Ray (Charles). Listen to an audio clip here. A happy and a healthy Fourth of July to all.

July 03, 2005

"If We Don't Change the World...

... the world's gonna change us."

That's what Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said today on "Meet the Press."

And in that simple phrase, Hunter has summarized one of the crucial constructivist principles at the foundation of the Bush administration's stated neo-Wilsonian initiative in the Middle East.

Cross-posted at L&P, where discussion can be found here.

Comments welcome. Noted by Jonathan Rick here.

Song of the Day #319

Song of the Day: Searching, words and music by Mauro Malavasi and Paul Slade, was performed by Change, with lead vocals by the late, great Luther Vandross. Our tribute to Luther continues today. Listen to an audio clip of this soulful dance classic here.

July 02, 2005

The "Being Nice" Meme

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 [1] from Brooklyn. Chris Sciabarra PhD, PhD, PhD favours extensive footnotes [2] over forceful prose and chairs over buildings, [3] and while his musical taste is generally execrable [4] -- current 'Song of the Day' on his site is 'Boogie Nights' for Freud's sake [5] -- he can write the hind leg off a very big donkey.

Footnotes Added by Sciabarra
[1] I'm actually half-Sicilian and half-Greek. Then, again, the Sicilians are part EVERYTHING.
[2] I hope that all this qualifies as "extensive footnotes."
[3] 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. :)
[4] Jesus Christ! Ever since Charles Rolo called Atlas Shrugged "execrable claptrap," these damn Objectivists have used that word!!!
[5] 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.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #318

Song of the Day: Never Too Much was composed and performed by the late, great Luther Vandross, who passed away yesterday (1 July 2005). A wonderful crooner, with a silky smooth voice, Luther also knew how to mix it up with some of the hottest R&B dance beats. I'm very sad to see him go, but eternally grateful to Luther for leaving such wonderful music behind. Rest in peace. Listen to an audio clip of this classic track from his debut solo album here. And listen to an audio clip of Mary J. Blige, from an all-star Luther tribute.

July 01, 2005

Song of the Day #317

Song of the Day: Boogie Nights, words and music by Rod Temperton (who wrote quite a few hits for Michael Jackson), was performed by the R&B-disco fusion band Heatwave. The opening and closing bars of this classic dance track are oh-so-jazzy. Listen to an audio clip here.