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June 21, 2019

Song of the Day #1647

Song of the Day: Summer of '69 features the words and music of Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams, who recorded this song for his 1984 album, "Reckless." New York City celebrates the Summer Solstice, which comes to the Northern Hemisphere at 11:54 a.m. (EDT)---which means that Notablog begins its Fourth Annual Summer Music Festival (Woodstock Fiftieth Anniversary Edition). I'm not here to debate the moral underbelly of the "Apollonian" moon landing (which, as a child who grew up in awe of the space program, I will also celebrate in song) versus the "Dionysian" mudfest that was the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, as Ayn Rand once contrasted these events (though Jeff Riggenbach once called the Woodstock generation among "the disowned children of Ayn Rand"). This year's festival will run mostly on a weekly basis from the first to the last day of summer. It will place special emphasis on the participating Woodstock artists and the songs they recorded in that era. With some notable exceptions (marking a few birthdays, for example), Notablog will also mark the Golden Anniversary of some of the defining events of the Summer of '69. Our first song is not from that era, but its very title speaks to the year of our focus---when I was only nine years old---though Adams himself has long maintained that the number "69" in the title had less to do with the year and far more to do with a particular love-making position. This single went to the Top Five on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1985; check out the Bryan Adams recording [YouTube link]. As is customary, I will open and close our annual Music Festival with songs from the same artist, so don't forget Bryan, since we'll be returning to him on the last day of summer (it was Chubby Checker who bookended the 2018 Notablog Summer Music Festival).

Happy Birthday Cali: The Terrible Twos

Today, the first day of summer, is Cali's birthday. She has now officially reached the Terrible Twos. But her mischief has been present since the beginning. Wherever she sits becomes a new place to relax---when she's not chasing after one of her balls, feathers, or pistachio nutshells. Here are just a few pics of our little baby doing her own thing.

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Open a dresser drawer, and it becomes Cali's bed...

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Even bubble wrap becomes Cali's bed...

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Even a Petco Plastic Bag becomes Cali's bed...


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Is it a bird? A fly? Curious Cali...

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Oh... time to wash the dishes!

We wish our little, lovable Cali-co many more happy and healthy returns!

June 17, 2019

Song of the Day #1646

Song of the Day: Big City Blues, words and music by Adrienne Anderson, appears on "2:00 AM Paradise Cafe," Barry Manilow's fourteenth studio album. In what is one of his best albums, the artist---who turns 76 today---brings together a host of jazz musicians, including pianist Bill Mays, baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan, drummer Shelly Manne, bassist George Duvivier, and guitarist Mundell Lowe, whose pleasant pickings can be heard at the beginning and end of today's recording. The 1984 album is one of Manilow's finest, including the gorgeous "When October Goes," based partially on an unfinished lyric from the great Johnny Mercer and a melody composed by Manilow. The album also includes two wonderful duets: one with the Divine One, Sarah Vaughan, and the other---today's Song of the Day---with Mel Torme, who left us twenty years ago (June 5, 1999). Check out this Manilow and Mel duet [YouTube link] in honor of today's birthday boy.

June 11, 2019

The Dialectics of Liberty: About That Cover Design

So I've gotten lots of sweet feedback about the really cool cover design that was put together for us with the use of Getty images and templates, but a lot of very nice input from lots of people (Roger found the best image, IMHO), and especially, Suzanne Hausman.

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But take a look at that image. On the surface, it looks like it might be a person whose chains are broken, and who is liberated---The Dialectics of Liberty providing the antidote to the corruption of enslavement as manifested on many levels of generality. And the job of its contributors exhibits their commitment to exploring the context that would both nourish and sustain such liberation (even though few of them agree on the precise nature of that context!).

Take a look at that image a little bit more closely though. The chain links are going up into the sky... like liberated birds. But wait! It's not a bird! It's not a plane! It's not even Superman. The links look like they are in the shape of the letter "M". Could it be that the image itself captures the liberation of dialectical method from (drumroll please): Its conventional connection to Marxism. Who knows!? Who knows what you get out of the cover design!?

What matters most is what you'll get when you open the book, and find that there are essays you'll fall in love with, and other essays that will provoke you to throw the book (or your e-book device) against the nearest wall! Any book that can inspire such diametrically opposed reactions with each passing chapter can't be all that bad!

Lots more to come on the book and its contents; the official release date is still four days away: June 15, 2019.

Enjoy!

Postcript on Facebook [14 June 2019]:

It has been delightful seeing the flow of pics from contributors to The Dialectics of Liberty upon receipt of the book, which officially goes on sale tomorrow. We do have 19 contributors, so I hope the flow of happy pics will continue. I'm glad I had the ba..., uh, audacity, to start this trend upon receipt of the volume earlier this week---despite the fact that I looked like hell (bronchitis, spring allergies, you don't wanna know!). But the "Ben-Hur" T-shirt did help to hype the epic character of the new book!

To those readers who are suffering sticker shock over the hardcover and e-book prices, I once again wish to remind you that there is a 30% off discount flyer available. And we encourage interested readers to make requests to their local public (or private), business, not-for-profit, university and research libraries to stock up on the book. Yes, a much more affordable paperback will be issued in early 2020, just in time for our planned "Authors-Meet-Readers" moderated discussion (which is likely to take place right here on Facebook). But this is one book worth having, if I may say so myself, given the diversity of perspectives that it encompasses.

Indeed, I encourage these early celebrations, because the critical blowback should begin soon. After all, there are not many volumes that will inspire the reader to fall in love with one chapter, only to be tempted to throw the book (or their equivalent e-book devices) against the wall in disgust with the very next chapter. Yet, that's the nature of the "Big Tent" approach of "dialectical libertarianism," which embraces no single party line; it spurs critical dialogue among its adherents (indeed, "dialectic" is cognate with "dialogue").

Enjoy!

Postscript (19 June 2019): In a lively discussion of the contents of the book, the contributors have all been admiring the fact that there is so much "disagreement" in the volume. Some lamented the absence of essays from contributors who are no longer with us, like, for example, my dear friend, the late Don Lavoie. I added these further thoughts, which I share with Notablog readers:

I'm sorry to say that we actually got the rights to include in our collection an essay by the late Don Lavoie, "The Market as a Procedure for the Discovery and Conveyance of Inarticulate Knowledge," but as many of you know, we were forced to go back to the drawing board of our prospectus and cut back dramatically on previously published essays. Don was a very dear friend of mine and a trailblazing thinker. But with Lavoie's essay ending up on the cutting-room floor, I deeply appreciated Nathan Goodman's contribution to our volume!
Only three previously published essays exist in our collection and at least two of them were reworked for the anthology (the essays by Stephan Kinsella and Deirdre McCloskey). While many of the other essays summarize points of previously published works, the bulk of them are original to the volume. And lo and behold, Roderick Tracy Long is right: There is no massive agreement among those who think dialectically in this volume. Which makes this a living project ... open to much growth in the future! All of you here made that possible and I can't thank you folks enough for all the work you did.
There really is a treasure trove of material that could be anthologized in a collection of Don Lavoie’s essays. Aside from being a very dear friend of mine, Don and I had somewhat parallel paths while we were at NYU: he was in the Economics Department pursuing a Ph.D. with Austrian economist Israel Kirzner as his dissertation advisor and Marxist James Becker on his dissertation committee; I was in the Politics Department pursuing a Ph.D. with Marxist Bertell Ollman as my dissertation advisor and Austrian economist Mario Rizzo on my dissertation committee. Don not only encouraged my work with dialectical method, but was probably the very first professor to adopt one of my books (Marx, Hayek, and Utopia) for one of his courses on Comparative Economic Systems.

June 10, 2019

JARS: The New July 2019 Issue and A New Website

It is with great pleasure that I announce today not only the contents of the new July 2019 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, but the debut of our new home page!

The journal made its first appearance in the early Fall of 1999, so, technically, we are entering our twentieth anniversary year; but we are beginning our nineteenth volume with a July issue that provides some hefty discussions of some very interesting philosophical issues. With our December 2019 issue already in the works, we are, in fact, planning out our two 2020 issues, which will officially mark our twentieth anniversary. Imagine that!

We are actually approaching two decades of providing a double-blind, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary, biannual, university-press-published (since 2013) periodical focused on Ayn Rand and her times. When Bill Bradford proposed this idea to me more than twenty years ago, I thought he was crazy! But here we are... moving forward still, with a journal that provides a safe scholarly haven for people coming from remarkably different critical and interpretive perspectives, covering virtually every aspect of Rand studies imaginable---from nitty-gritty discussions on Rand's ethics and aesthetics to engagement on "Rand among the Austrians" and enlightening dialogue over the cultural impact of Rand on progressive rock!

Back in 2016, when we published our first double issue (the first book-length symposium on "Nathaniel Branden: His Work and Legacy"), we unveiled a brand-new website, re-designed by our original webmaster, Michael Southern, who had been with us from the beginning. Michael was a dear friend of nearly forty years and transformed our original site with a custom-made template for a new site that made its debut with that symposium. Michael actually provided a centerpiece essay in that symposium, "My Years with Nathaniel Branden," which told the very personal story of his relationship with Branden, first as a client, then as an intern and associate, and, finally, as a friend.

Sadly, tragically, my dear friend was killed in September 2017. With his death, so too died the custom template he developed for our website. He was poised to re-do my own home page, and told me we had "time" for him to share the JARS template with me so that I could easily update it on my own. Alas, we took much for granted. With Michael gone, I tried to maintain the site, but found it increasingly difficult.

I count my blessings that I have come to know many beautiful, honorable, decent, kind, and generous human beings in my life; Michael was one of them.

So too is my dear friend Peter Saint-Andre, who stepped up and completely re-constructed the site, retaining aspects of Michael's design, integrated into a new template, knowing full well that we required a practical plan moving forward for the years to come. I truly cannot quite find the words that would adequately express just how deeply I appreciate Peter's hard work throughout all these months. He is truly a Saint(-Andre)!

JARS readers will recall Peter's long-time relationship with the journal as well. He contributed essays as far back as Volume 4 (2002-2003) ("Conceptualism in Abelard and Rand"; "Zamyatin and Rand"); Volume 5 ("Saying Yes to Rand and Rock," a contribution to the journal's symposium, "Rand, Rush, and Rock"); Volume 7, Number 2 ("Image and Integration in Ayn Rand's Descriptive Style"); Volume 9, Number 1 ("Ayn Rand, Novelist"---a review of The Literary Art of Ayn Rand); and Volume 10, Number 2 ("Nietzsche, Rand, and the Ethics of the Great Task," a contribution to the journal's "Symposium on Friedrich Nietzche and Ayn Rand"). In fact---of great interest to this particular editor, with Peter's current program of deep research into Aristotle (see here, for details), his interests extend to the role of dialectic in Aristotle and how it compares with dialectical libertarianism.

Take a look at the new site and all that it has to offer. Welcome back to: The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

And while you're visiting, take a look at the new July 2019 issue!

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The abstracts for the essays in the new issue can be found here and the Contributor Biographies can be found here. Here is the Table of Contents of the new issue:

Foundational Frames: Descartes and Rand - Stephen Boydstun

Ayn Rand’s Credit Problem - Lamont Rodgers

Ayn Rand and the Lost Axiom of Aristotle: A Philosophical Mystery---Solved? - Roger E. Bissell

The Return of the Arbitrary: Peikoff’s Trinity, Binswanger’s Inferno, Unwanted Possibilities---and a Parrot for President - Robert L. Campbell

As I have vowed since the very first issue of this journal, every issue would bring aboard at least one new contributor to the JARS family of authors. This issue, it is Lamont Rodgers whom we welcome to our pages. And we thank each of the contributors for providing such thought-provoking essays as we begin our nineteenth volume.

I would like to remind prospective contributors to submit their original essays through our Editorial Manager interface provided by Pennsylvania State University Press. And those looking to subscribe to print and/or online editions of the journal can find additional information here. The new issue will soon be making its debut on JSTOR and Project Muse, with print copies going out to subscribers in the weeks to come.

My thanks to all of those who have supported this journal through the years. We are happy to be entering a new phase of our development.

June 09, 2019

Song of the Day #1645

Song of the Day: The Music Man ("Seventy-Six Trombones"), music and lyrics by Meredith Wilson, is one of the rousing highlights from this 1957 Tony Award-winning musical, starring Robert Preston (who won for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical) and Barbara Cook (who won for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical). The cast album would go on to win a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. In October 2020, a revival of the musical, starring the irrepressible Hugh Jackman, will make its debut on Broadway. (Jackman actually performed "Rock Island" [YouTube link] with LL Cool J and T.I. on the 2014 Tony Awards, giving us a glimpse into the "rap" nature of one of the classic opening numbers to the musical!) Check out the original Broadway cast version of today's song from the musical and the 1962 film version [YouTube links], both led by the great Robert Preston. And I'm one to enjoy even one [YouTube link], let alone seventy-six, trombones. Enjoy the Tony Award's celebration of the Broadway stage tonight!

June 08, 2019

It Arrived!

It Arrived!

My New Ben-Hur T-Shirt!

Oh, and so did my very first hardcover copy of The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, co-edited with my friends and colleagues Roger E. Bissell and Edward W. Younkins.

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Don't laugh. I'm trying to stand still in that photo, and not to Jump, Jive, an' Wail!

Song of the Day #1644

Song of the Day: Cabaret ("Maybe This Time"), music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, was one of the winning songs not included in the original 1966 Broadway musical, which nonetheless won a total of eight out of the eleven Tony Awards for which it was nominated: Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role (Joel Grey), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role (Peg Murray), Best Choreography, Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design. I wasn't fortunate enough to see the original Broadway production, but I did see its absolutely spectacular 1998 revival, which won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (the stupendous Alan Cumming), Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Natasha Richardson), and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role (Ron Rifkin)---four awards out of a total of an additional ten nominations. The musical derives from the 1951 play, "I Am a Camera," which itself was adapted from the short story by Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin. This song made its way from the film into the musical revival and it remains one of its highlights, sung by the character Sally Bowles. Check out the rendition sung by Natasha Richardson in the 1998 reboot, and, of course, the Oscar-winning Best Actress performance of Liza Minelli [YouTube links], in the Bob Fosse-directed 1972 film adaptation. Today starts a two-day tribute to the 2019 Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, which will air on Sunday, June 9th, on the CBS Network.

June 07, 2019

Song of the Day #1643

Song of the Day: Le Grind, composed by Prince, is from his "Black Album" (aka "The Funk Bible"), which was recorded in 1986-87, but not released until 1994, largely because the artist believed it was created under the influence of an "evil" demonic entity "Spooky Electric." With all honesty, it's hard to figure out precisely what was so evil about this funk-heavy track with the same sensuous lyrics we'd all come to expect from The Artist. Despite his tragic death in 2016, his music lives on. Today would have been his sixty-first birthday. Check out the rare track on YouTube.

June 06, 2019

Song of the Day #1642

Song of the Day: I Love You, words and music by Cole Porter, was the #1 song on this day, June 6, 1944, for the fifth week in a row, as sung by Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra. The song came from Porter's 1944 stage musical "Mexican Hayride." It was first recorded by Wilbur Evans (who played the character David) in that musical, but it was Bing Crosby's recording of the song that took it to the top of the charts. This weekend, other musicals will be honored at the Tony Awards. But it is of particular interest that the American public had embraced a sentimental song of love for the five weeks leading up to the Allied invasion of Normandy, the largest air, land, and sea invasion in human history that proved to be the beginning of the end of World War II. That war, which led to estimated fatalities of 70 to 85 million people, may have signified the "nadir of the Old Right"---but it also brought forth the intellectual seeds of a libertarian resurgence in the decades to come. Nevertheless, I post this song today as an expression of love to my own family members who fought and died in that most horrific of wars, and in honor of those who survived that battle on the beaches of Normandy, and who have returned to those beaches today, to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of that invasion, knowing that, in the words of Herman Wouk: "The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance." Check out the original Wilbur Evans version of this song and the #1 Bing Crosby hit [YouTube links] that serenaded Americans at home, who listened to the music on the radio, with news bulletins that, they prayed, would move the world one step closer to peace.