June 21, 2019

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.


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


Even bubble wrap becomes Cali's bed...


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


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


Oh... time to wash the dishes!

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

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.


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.


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").


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 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.


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

May 17, 2019

Politically Incorrect: Dennis Miller & Don Rickles on Frank Sinatra

A friend sent me a link to a Dennis Miller monologue on his dinner with Frank Sinatra. It really has to be watched to be appreciated. Miller recounts that this was toward the end of Sinatra's life, and that comedian Don Rickles remarked that Frank was suffering from Sicilian Alzheimer's Disease: "He only remembers the grudges."

Folks could never get away with that kind of humor today. But this is worth a watch; check it out on YouTube.

May 15, 2019

Sexiest Accents in the United States?

So Big Seven Travel surveyed its 1.5 million social followers, who ranked fifty U.S. accents from the most attractive to the least. Dead last was the Long Island accent (sorry, family members), though New Jersey came in at #49 (I don't know if this will make my friend Irfan Khawaja happy or sad).

At #3, is the New York accent. NUMBER THREE? You talkin' to me? [YouTube link]. What the hell do they know!!!???

First of all, New York has at least five distinctive accents among its borough residents from Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and of course Brooklyn. Not counting the hundreds of variations among the boroughs because of our incredibly diverse population!!! Number Three? They must be kidding! Fuhgedaboudit [YouTube link]!

At #2, is the Boston accent. Really? New Yawkers will never hear the end of it! First they take a few World Series victories after an 86-year wait, and now, this humiliation! Unbelievable.

But at #1 is... drum roll please... TEXAS. Texas???? Huh? Now I've gotta listen to my Sugar Land friend, Ryan Neugebauer, for lessons on having a sexy accent??? (Though, truth be told, I know for a fact that he's got some East Coast roots---even if New Jersey and Long Island were dead last in the survey).

Anyway, Brooklyn's still got better pizza and Junior's cheesecake!!! Top that!

April 21, 2019

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to the Westerners

Well, it's just after midnight here in New York City, and the ABC Network is showing "The Ten Commandments," and Chuck Heston (as Moses) just parted the Red Sea, all of which can mean only one thing: A Happy Passover to all my Jewish friends and a Happy Easter to all my Western Christian friends. (Yes, I was going to say "A Happy Western Easter", but my dear friend, Roger Bissell, said that the phrase sounded a bit like an oxymoron.)

Either way, for those who celebrate, enjoy the holidays, and for those who don't, embrace the joys of Spring (though my tree pollen allergies put a damper on its joys!). Next week, it will be "Christos Anesti" to all my Eastern Orthodox friends, something with which I'm much more familiar, having been baptized Greek Orthodox not too long after I was born!

Postscript (added on 22 April 2019, from Facebook):

I wrote on Sanford Ikeda's timeline, after he commented that he couldn't believe how few Biblical films were on television this weekend; I figured I'd share my reply to him here---because the link I posted is still (to me) hilarious:

I agree! Something was very wrong with TV this weekend. I saw more listings for slasher films and films of demonic possession than any Biblical epics.
However, as noted, "The Ten Commandments" was on the ABC network on Saturday night, and while "Demetrius and the Gladiators" played on FX Movie Channel, "The Robe" was nowhere to be found---either in its widescreen or flat-screen versions (the latter, far better acted version of that classic, hasn't been seen in about 30 years on any station!).
However, the great "Ben-Hur" was making its rounds last week on the big screen for its 60th anniversary, so it too was nowhere to be found (TCM regularly plays "Ben-Hur": it was shown around Christmas, during their "Sword and Sandals" January feature, and again during their "31 Days of Oscar" in February).
But TCM did play "The Silver Chalice" (with Paul Newman) and "Barabbas" (with Anthony Quinn) in the early afternoon, and, at night, after "Easter Parade", they played the Nicholas Ray-directed "King of Kings" (1961)---with the blond-haired, blue-eyed Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, the film that sent Oprah Winfrey to confession because after she saw it, she felt she had sinned for having 'lusted after Jesus'. The was followed by the silent DeMille version with H.B. Warner as Jesus (known as "The King of Kings").
But an obscure cable channel did play the 1965 epic, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (with Max von Sydow as Jesus, who would become Father Merrin in 1973's "The Exorcist"), of which I caught only the last scenes---starting with the absolutely classic lines uttered by John Wayne as the Centurion. The film is filled with cameos from many Hollywood stars, but the Duke sounds like he just got off his horse in some old Western: "Truly this man was the son of Gaad."
And that's your sparse Biblical movie round-up for this past holiday weekend!

March 22, 2019

Getting Old, Ageism, and The Alternative

Yesterday, Paul Jacob had an absolutely classic piece on his Common Sense site, an essay called "Trans-philosophical." Apparently, The Journal of Medical Ethics published a piece by Joona Rasanen, a bioethicist, who argues that individuals who feel that their legal age does not correspond to their "experienced" age should be allowed to legally change their age. And this was published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

Well, having recently turned 59, I have been reminded that, yes, I'm getting old, or at least older.

But today, I read in the New York Daily News that Jimmy Carter, now 94 years and 172 days old, has become the longest-living President in the history of the United States. While not a fan of Carter when he was President, I do have to applaud one thing he said in 1998:

What could possibly be good about growing old? The most obvious answer, of course, is to consider the alternative to aging. . . . But there are plenty of other good answers --- many based on our personal experiences and observations.

Or as another President, John Adams (who also made it to 90) once said: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

And the fact is, biologically and temporally, you are what you are. And in the end, does it really matter? We are all headed in the same direction anyway. What matters most is not your biological age, but how youthful you are in spirit.

And on that score, Trans-Ageists be damned! I'm still a kid with all the wondrous spirit of a 2 year old!

December 29, 2018

It's a Cali Christmas!

I could not resist posting this photo, since this has been our first Christmas with our new cat and most beloved family member, Cali, who just turned 1 on June 21, 2018. Here she is on her Christmas comforter and we look forward to many more Christmas holidays to come!


December 04, 2018

Chris Sciabarra Memes for Dialectical Teens

A couple of fun-loving Facebook friends have put up a Facebook page of "Chris Sciabarra Memes for Dialectical Teens." Follow the frivolity of this page, as I am following it. I have no clue what to expect, but indeed, it is "Just for Fun."

August 21, 2018

N Train Goats Saved in Brooklyn

The Kids are alright! The New York Daily News tells us of this "Greatest (story) of All Time: Goats on Subway Tracks Head to Upstate Sanctuary." Just 6 stops away from the N-train Kings Highway station that is closest to my apartment, between 8th Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn, two goats, Willy and Billy, spent two hours on the tracks. Eating grass. Chilling out.

They backed up subway traffic for a couple of hours, but were eventually rescued, with the help of former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey, who runs a New jersey animal shelter. The goats are now residents of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Hooray for the Goats!

Check out yesterday's action on WABC's Eyewitness News.

February 23, 2017

Song of the Day #1436

As I stated on Facebook:

Today, as our Film Music February series moves toward its final weekend, I tribute Manton Moreland---one of the greatest and most talented African American comic actors, a trailblazer who broke through the walls of the cinema with his remarkable timing and often improvised use of the double entendre. It's exhibited in today's featured music from Kay's soundtrack to this 1941 film.

Song of the Day: King of the Zombies ("Main Title") [YouTube link, full movie, check the first minute), composed by Edward J. Kay, is from one of those classic comedy/horror hybrids. The 1941 film opens with music over ominous drumming. Remember that drumming, because it is key to one of the most memorable lines in the movie (at 1:00:52). With "voodoo" drums playing in the distance, Bill Summers, played by John Archer, asks his valet, Jefferson Jackson, played by the utterly hilarious Manton Moreland: "What does that sound like to you?" Moreland replies: "I don't know, but it ain't Gene Krupa."

August 09, 2016

Rio, Remixes and the Ridiculous

While sitting here watching Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, and Simone Biles and the US Women's Gymnastics Team kick ass, at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, I have been answering two-month old emails (that's what happens when you spend so much time working with a couple of dozen people on a pathbreaking double-issue of JARS... you fall behind in too many other things!!!). I have also updated my entry for "Song of the Day #1343," "Can't Stop the Feeling!," by Justin Timberlake, which went to #1 on the Billboard charts for the Hot 100, Digital Songs Sales, Adult Contemporary, Adult Top 40, Dance Club, and Mainstream Top 40, as well as hitting the Top 5 on both the Dance/Mix Show Airplay and Rhythmic charts. And that's just in the U.S.; Timberlake hit #1 in 22 other countries as well. I picked the song way back on May 20th. Can I pick 'em, or what?

In the meanwhile, do check out the updated links to my Song of the Day #1343 Timberlake entry, which now includes many diverse remixes of the song and a few hilarious "Storm Trooper" videos. No, I can't explain them; they are whacked out!

June 25, 2016

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?

July 05, 2007

Joey Chestnut, Top Dog

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!

December 18, 2006

Justin and Andy on SNL

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.

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).

March 08, 2006

Meme of Four

Steven Horwitz has tagged me for the "Meme-of-Four" (dammit indeed!)

Okay, here goes.

Four jobs I've had:
1. Bookkeeper
2. Assistant Orientation Director
3. Mobile Disc Jockey
4. Editor

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?!):
1. Pizza
2. Lasagna
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.

January 20, 2006

"Ben-Hur" on "Jeopardy"

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]

Comments welcome.

December 29, 2005

Happy Chanukah or Is That Hannuka or...

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:

"Chanukah ... Hannuka ... Hahfuhgedit!"

Either way, every way, a very happy holiday to all!

Comments welcome.

December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas Wishes from Blondie!

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!)

I'm here with the Grinch and Rudolph, and they insisted I put these antlers on my head.  Grrrr... Okay... MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!

Best wishes to all Notablog readers for a very Merry Christmas!!! Happy holidays to all!!! (And best wishes to other readers here and here.)

Comments welcome, but be nice! Blondie may not have as many teeth as she used to, but she can sport a mean bark.

December 24, 2005

The Chronic-WHAT-cles of Narnia

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.

Comments welcome.

November 16, 2005

A Belated Happy Birthday

... to Harriet the Turtle, who turned 175 years old yesterday.

What's your secret, sweetheart?

Comments welcome.

October 31, 2005

Blondie's Happy Halloween

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!

Happy Halloween, Notablog Readers!

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!

September 20, 2005

The Bugs of Summer

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.

Comments welcome.

August 27, 2005

"Lost Liberty" on "Nightline"

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?

Comments welcome.

August 19, 2005

The Brooklyn Egg Cream

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 I love the original Brooklyn Egg Cream. Some insist this is the Bronx Egg Cream and that the Brooklyn Egg Cream starts with seltzer and milk, instead of chocolate syrup.

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.

Comments welcome.

August 10, 2005

Summer of Sam

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.

Comments welcome.

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.

June 03, 2005

Aquaman's Entourage

I don't watch the HBO series "Entourage," but I took an interest in David Bianculli's comments this morning in his 3-star review of the second season's premiere episode. Bianculli writes:

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 ...


And I mean the original Aquaman! (Okay... the Alex Ross depiction is cool too...)

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.

May 20, 2005

Bird City

After posting on the subject of ducklings, I thought I'd mention the new baby Peregrine falcons who make their home at 55 Water Street in Manhattan (there is a live "Birdcam" at that link).

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.

Comments welcome.

What's in a Brooklyn Name?

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!"???

Comments welcome.

May 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Yogi!

No, not Yogi Bear!

Yogi BERRA! He turns 80 years young today.

And his Yogi-isms still crack me up.

Happy Birthday to a great Yankee!

Comments welcome.

May 01, 2005

Ducklings Hatch!

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.

Comments welcome.

Update: The ducklings have been led to the water at Rose Creek Park. See follow-up photo and story here.

April 27, 2005


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.

Comments welcome.

February 19, 2005

Bugs Bunny Blasphemy!

Here, I have added my voice to Aeon Skoble's L&P "Blasphemers!" thread on Bugs Bunny.

February 17, 2005

Perversion at the NY Times

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).

February 15, 2005

SOLO Tidbits

I dropped a few comments at SOLO HQ: Here in reply to Alec Mouhibian's "Who's Afraid of Ayn Rand?"; here and here concerning the soundtrack to the film "Titanic"; and here in reply to Lindsay Perigo's SOLO "Writers' Report Cards!"

February 02, 2005

Technical Difficulties at L&P

There have been some technical difficulties at the Liberty and Power Group Blog for the last two days. As I remark here, it's starting to feel like that movie "Groundhog Day."

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 ...

January 21, 2005

Sex Bomb

I post at L&P on a rejected military proposal to develop a "Sex Bomb" for use on enemy troops.

January 03, 2005

Rand Centennial Celebration in NYC

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.

December 26, 2004

The Spirit of Christmas Past is Present

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.

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas from Blondie!

Merry Christmas from Blondie!

Merry Christmas!

Check out Blondie's 2004 Christmas pics in Blondie's Photo Gallery here, here, here, and here. Also check out some ol' Christmas pictures here, here, and here.

December 12, 2004

Bernie, Rudy ... and George

With the sinking of the Kerik nomination for Homeland Security chief, I post a brief entry at L&P: "Bernie, Rudy ... and George."

December 08, 2004

Collecting on a Bet

I just came upon this hilarious Stephan Kinsella post at the blog: "Curse you, Raico!" Yes. Kinsella lost his bet on Election 2004. I do intend to collect.

December 07, 2004

New Terror Alert Levels

I report on a new cartoon at L&P that depicts the "New Terror Alert Levels."

December 03, 2004

Blog Update

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.

And I posted a frivolous reply to Lindsay Perigo on a SOLO HQ thread dealing with Joseph Rowlands' "Transitioning to Self-Interest."

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.

November 12, 2004

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.

October 31, 2004

Election Prediction: Dracula Wins!

Read all about my "Election Prediction: Dracula Wins!" at Liberty and Power Group Blog!

Happy Halloween from Blondie!

Happy Halloween from Blondie!

Blondie - I Dream of Jeanie

Check out Blondie's brand new "I Dream of Jeanie" Halloween Pictures here, here, and here, and her summer vacation photos here, here, here, here, and here. And for a trip down memory lane, check out Halloween 2000.

October 16, 2004

The Donald Roasts

An L&P comment on the Roasting of Donald Trump.

October 05, 2004

Newbie, Rozsa, and Twin Toes Threads

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...)

Finally, the Sciabarra pronunciation thread continues, with a profound personal confession about my ... twin toes. And see other discussions here and here.

October 04, 2004

Sha? Ska? Barra?

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?"