Author Archive | Roderick

The Rebirth of LIBERTY

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

1. Shawn Wilbur is God!

He has just completed posting the entire run of Benjamin Tucker’s Liberty in PDF form. Details here.

At the height of its popularity Liberty had a circulation of perhaps 600. Now, thanks to Shawn, it is accessible to millions worldwide.

Liberty The interface is bare-bones at the moment, but Shawn has plans for text-search capacity and other cool stuff.

As he urges: “download, download, download!” to ensure that “there is never again any question of Liberty not being available.”

I’ve also hailed the advent of Liberty on the Mises Blog.

Proudhon 2. Another gift from Shawn Wilbur: a list of Proudhon texts available on Google Books.

You may ask: What’s so special about that? Can’t anyone compile such a list by going to Google Books and doing an author search on Proudhon?

No. Having tussled with the unpredictable quirks of Google Books myself, I can sympathise with the woes Shawn describes here and here.

3. On an entirely unrelated topic, those planning to attend the Alabama Philosophical Society may need a reminder that the deadline for submitting a paper is just over two weeks away.


Party Like It’s 1979

Catch a quick glimpse of an original-series style Cylon behind Adama in this teaser for Razor, the upcoming Galactica tv-movie / season premiere.

Return of the Left

Good news! The Left-libertarian blog aggregator, down since July 13th for a server switch, is now back up (with many backed-up pages of aggregation to look through).

I didn’t put this post on the Left-libertarian feed because if you’re reading you already know it’s back up.

Movie Night

I’m back from seeing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Some random thoughts:

Dolores Umbridge 1. Umbridge and Lovegood were perfect!

2. The countryside around Hogwarts looked like the Scottish highlands (where I had a bus tour last spring). Well, it probably was!

3. The thestrals looked half-thestral, half-shantak.

4. When Hermione has her hair back she looks like Ivanova.

5. Why does the Ministry of Magic look like a Vegas casino?

6. Not enough Snape!

7. Hermione, Luna, and Ginny are all much more plausible love interests for Harry than the drearily boring and bland Cho Chang. What’s Harry’s problem? (Still, he’s too harsh on her later; Umbridge used truth serum on her, what could she do?)

8. The book explained who sent the dementors to attack Harry. The movie really should have too.

9. The book also showed explicitly that it was Snape who carried Harry’s warning to the Order; this is implicit in the movie, but given the looming importance of Snape’s loyalties it should have been shown.

10. Toward the end of my high school years our original principal, a cool, laid-back man we all loved, was replaced by a micromanaging, rule-oriented woman who talked down to us. No, she wasn’t a millionth as bad as Umbridge – it was just that she’d been transferred in from being middle school principal and didn’t know how to relate to older kids – but that aspect of the film sure gave me déjà vu.

11. One of the trailers before the film was for The Dark is Rising. I was a fan of that series as a kid. But the trailer did not inspire in me a desire to see the movie; nothing in the trailer felt like the books.

12. Switching from Potter movie 5 to Potter book 7 – I preordered it from Amazon but foolishly had it sent to my office address, so I won’t be able to see it until next week. I realise I’ll be more upset if either Ron or Hermione dies than if Harry does ….

Escape to K’dasha-dheen

Escape on Venus I remember a visit to an Idaho Falls bookstore some time in the 1970s. Among the books that caught my eye I recall four: the first two Pern books by Anne McCaffrey, and the second and fourth Venus novels (the only ones they had) by Edgar Rice Burroughs. My mother and I picked out so many books on that visit that we had to put half of them on layaway; so I went home with Dragonflight and Lost on Venus, and then had to wait impatiently for Dragonquest and Escape on Venus the following month. I’d never read Burroughs before (I owned Tarzan of the Apes but had never opened it) but I quickly became a fan, tracking down those Ace paperbacks with the wonderful Frazetta covers. Soon I was writing my own comics (which I presumably still have somewhere) of Barsoom, Amtor, and Pellucidar. (My art was not quite as good as Frazetta’s.)

Claw the Unconquered #2 - The Doom That Came to K'dasha-dheen While I discovered Burroughs through his own books, H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard I at first came to indirectly, through comic books – both in adaptations of their actual stories (for Lovecraft I remember “Pickman’s Model” and “The Music of Erich Zann”; for Howard, “The Right Hand of Doom,” “Dig Me No Grave,” and various Conan stories) and Lovecraftian/Howardian touches in original comics like The Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing, The Unexpected, and Claw the Unconquered. After stories like “The Doom That Came to K’dasha-dheen,” I would inevitably feel a sense of familiarity when I eventually discovered Lovecraft’s Kadath, Dylath-leen, and “The Doom That Came to Sarnath.”  Even Arkham Asylum in Batman prepared me to expect the worst from Arkham, Massachusetts. (Similarly, I read Jonah Hex before I saw any Clint Eastwood westerns – so when I finally saw the latter they had an unintended familiarity.)

And my point is? Nay, I have no point! Just aimlessly chatting while getting ready to see the new Harry Potter movie.

Harry Popper

Did Olbermann just say that the idea of Harry Potter “literally popped into her [J. K. Rowling’s] head”? Sounds painful.

Or maybe he was using the term “literally” non-literally.

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