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November 26, 2006

Song of the Day #758

Song of the Day: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', words and music by Michael Jackson, was the first track heard in the line-up on his best-selling album, "Thriller." This one combines a percolating rhythm, killer bass line, some social commentary, a line about "Billie Jean," and a few "Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa's" along the way. Listen to an audio clip here.

November 25, 2006

Song of the Day #757

Song of the Day: New York, New York, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, is a highlight from both the Broadway musical "On the Town" and its 1949 film version. A great song dedicated to my hometown, this one is selected today to honor the memory of Betty Comden, who passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 2006. Listen here to an audio clip from the original Broadway show.

November 24, 2006

Song of the Day #756

Song of the Day: Them There Eyes, words and music by Maceo Pinkard, William Tracy, and Doris Tauber, is a song that has been recorded many times over since its debut in the 1930s. Today, however, I spotlight an audio clip here of a rendition sung by one of my all-time favorite jazz singers, Anita O'Day, who passed away yesterday at the age of 87.

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

November 22, 2006

Jeter Wuz Robbed!

Readers of Notablog know that I'm a huge New York Yankees fan and a big Derek Jeter fan, and let me just say that, with regard to yesterday's balloting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, in which Jeter came in second, I'd like to give the Baseball Writers a BIG BRONX CHEER!

This year, Jeter won the Hank Aaron Award, the Silver Slugger Award, and the Gold Glove. And yet, it was Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins who took home MVP honors.

Now, I am not saying that Morneau isn't a fine player; but I don't see how anybody votes for Morneau as the MVP when the Twins line-up also includes the terrifically talented 2006 AL batting champion Joe Mauer.

In a season during which so many Yankee players were injured (e.g., Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui) or relatively ineffective (e.g., Alex Rodriguez), Jeter remained Mr. Consistency: one of baseball's fiercest clutch hitters, who hit .381 with runners in scoring position. Take Jeter out of that Yankee line-up and I don't believe the team makes the playoffs. He was that valuable to their success this year.

While Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News thinks the vote was "most logical," I tell ya, Jeter Wuz Robbed!.

Wait 'til next year!

Update: I have already been questioned by a few people with regard to the comparative statistics for Morneau and Jeter. Okay, okay, let's talk numbers:

Morneau beats Jeter in only three categories: RBIs (Morneau has 130 to Jeter's 97); Home Runs (Morneau has 34 to Jeter's 14), and the batting average with runners-in-scoring-position stat (Morneau .375 to Jeter's .343).

So let's talk about every other category: Jeter beats Morneau in runs scored (118 to 97); hits (214 to 190); doubles (39 to 37); triples (3 to 1); walks (69 to 53); steals (34 to 3); batting average (.343 to .321); on-base percentage (.417 to .375); runners-in-scoring-position with two outs (.369 to .303) and batting average "close and late" (.325 to .299).

And, again, Jeter did it in a line-up that was struck by injuries to key offensive players (Sheffield, Matsui, Cano, and others for limited times) and awful inconsistency from regular players, like A-Rod. His fielding was also consistent, earning him a Gold Glove, and he brings to the table all the "intangibles" that make him one of the greatest Yankees of his generation.

'Nuff said.

November 20, 2006

Song of the Day #755

Song of the Day: Killer Joe was composed and first recorded by jazz saxophonist Benny Golson. Listen to audio clips of that version here and here. My favorite version is the one recorded by Quincy Jones, featuring Hubert Laws and Freddie Hubbard. Listen to that cool audio clip and also clips of renditions by Toots Thielemans and Manhattan Transfer.

November 17, 2006

New Fall 2006 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies

The new Fall 2006 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies has been published. The issue includes essays from contributors such as Steven H. Shmurak, Marc Champagne, Fred Seddon (two from Fred!), Algirdas Degutis, Susan Love Brown, David Graham & Nathan Nobis, Kirsti Minsaas, Greg Nyquist, Gregory M. Browne and Roderick T. Long. And I'm delighted to report that with this issue, Roderick joins the Editorial Board of JARS!

New Fall 2006 JARS!  Features a Special CD-ROM Presentation!

Here is the Fall line-up:

Demystifying Emotion: Introducing the Affect Theory of Silvan Tomkins to Objectivists - Steven H. Shmurak
(Shmurak's article is accompanied by a special CD-ROM presentation)

Some Convergences and Divergences in the Realism of Charles Peirce and Ayn Rand - Marc Champagne

Rand and Rescher on Truth - Fred Seddon

Deconstructing Postmodern Xenophilia - Algirdas Degutis

Essays on Ayn Rand’s Fiction - Susan Love Brown

Putting Humans First? - David Graham and Nathan Nobis

Ayn Rand as Literary Mentor - Kirsti Minsaas

Reply to Fred Seddon, “Nyquist Contra Rand”
Rand and Empirical Responsibility - Greg Nyquist

Rejoinder to Greg Nyquist
Nyquist Contra Rand, Part II - Fred Seddon

Reply to Roderick T. Long, “Reference and Necessity: A Rand-Kripke Synthesis”
The ‘Grotesque’ Dichotomies Still Unbeautified - Gregory M. Browne

Rejoinder to Gregory M. Browne
A Beauty Contest for Dichotomies: Browne’s Terminological Revolutions - Roderick T. Long

Check out the abstracts for the new issue here, and the contributor biographies here.

Cross-posted to L&P.

November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman, RIP

Milton Friedman, Chicago-school economist, has passed away, tragically, at the age of 94. For me, reading his Capitalism and Freedom at a young age was a truly remarkable experience; it remains one of the seminal works of liberty. My deepest condolences to his family. A sad day for liberty, indeed.

November 13, 2006

Carl Barry on You Tube

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).

Song of the Day #754

Song of the Day: Symphony No. 4 in A Major (Op. 90, "Italian Symphony") is one of my favorite of Felix Mendelssohn's compositions. I especially enjoy listening to the rousing Fourth Movement. Listen to an audio clip recorded by the Berliner Philharmoniker.

November 06, 2006

Song of the Day #753

Song of the Day: This Can't Be Love is another great Lorenz Hart-Richard Rodgers collaboration. It debuted on the Broadway stage in the 1938 show, "The Boys from Syracuse," and was also featured in the 1962 film, "Jumbo" (audio clip at that link). Listen to audio clips of renditions by Jack Cassidy and Holly Harris (from the 1953 studio cast album), Dinah Washington, Shirley Horn, Stephane Grappelli, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan, and a scatting Ella Fitzgerald.

November 02, 2006

Song of the Day #752

Song of the Day: Dancing in Heaven (Orbital Be Bop), words and music by Martin Page and Brian Fairweather, was a Q-Feel techno hit. Listen to an audio clip here, just in time for All Souls' Day.

November 01, 2006

Mid-Term Elections, 2006

I've received a bit of email from people who were wondering why it is I have not commented on the upcoming mid-term elections. "Sciabarra, you're a political scientist, for Chrissake! What do you think?"

Well, let's leave aside the question of how much science goes into politics: It's always nice to know that some people find value in what I say. But with all due respect: There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. I have not changed my views of this two-party, two-pronged attack on individual freedom by one iota: A Pox on Both Their Houses! In truth, however, the modern Democratic Party has always been honest about its Big Government agenda. But the "small-government" GOP has long embraced the politics of Big Government. As the majority party, they are a total, unmitigated disaster for individual liberty, whether they are religious rightists or so-called "progressive conservatives"—who are actually much truer to the GOP's 19th-century interventionist roots than so-called "Goldwater" or "Reagan" Republicans (those who embraced the rhetoric of limited government, while still paving the way for a growth in the scope of government intervention). You have to chuckle when even Hillary Clinton sees the hypocrisy: "The people who promised less government," she said, "have instead given us the largest and least competent government we have ever had."

Still, I must admit that my political perversity would like very much to see the Bush administration get a royal slap across the face, such that the Democrats take the House of Representatives and, at the very least, close the gap in the GOP-controlled Senate. This is purely a strategic desire: Party divisions can have utility in frustrating the power-lust on both ends. In any event, I think it's probably true that the GOP will suffer a setback, and I have been saying so for over a year.

Please understand, however: THIS WILL DO NOTHING TO CHANGE THE CURRENT DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN POLICY DISASTERS. I don't mean to shout, but with regard to foreign policy alone: The Democrats handed this administration the current foreign policy debacle on a silver platter. They will not challenge one inch of the Bush administration's Iraq policy or its ideological rationalizations for that policy: that "democracy" can be imposed on societies that have little or no appreciation of the complex cultural roots of human freedom.

Either way, I'll be watching the results of politics-as-bloodsport on Tuesday, November 7th.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted at L&P.

Song of the Day #751

Song of the Day: Persephone (The Gathering of Flowers), words and music by Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, is a Dead Can Dance track, which is deeply moving (in fact, the first time I heard this track I was moved to tears). The recording features a dramatic layering of melodic strings, woodwinds, and brass (violins, viola, cellos, trombones, tuba, and oboe), percussion (timpani and military snare), and choral harmonies. On this Day of the Dead (All Saints Day too!), listen to an audio clip from the album, "Within the Realm of the Dying Sun."