County Roads, Take Me Home

My mother was convinced that Lee Road was the most dangerous road in the Auburn area – because she was constantly reading in the paper about crimes or car accidents or natural disasters that had happened on Lee Road 72 or Lee Road 159 or whatever. She thought that “Lee Road” was the name of a specific road, and that the numbers which followed were addresses on that road. I eventually convinced her that all of the many county roads in the 600-square-mile Lee County were named Lee Road this and Lee Road that, so that the various news stories were all about different roads – but it wasn’t easy.

Pibijé: My Recipe, My Adventure

I discovered this recipe when I was journeying through the Eiglophian mountains of northern Cimmeria. Winter had come early, and the cold wind bit like a knife through my all-too-thin cloak. A red glow in the west told me that dusk would soon be upon me, and my chances of reaching my intended destination, the small mountain village of Sparnuota Mirtis, before nightfall were clearly going to be slim.

I looked about for a place of shelter among the steep and cragged rocks, and initially had little luck. But then fortune favoured me, or so it seemed, for by and by I glimpsed a dark cleft ahead, slightly to the left of the rather rudimentary gravel trail I had been following since the morning. Scrabbling over shattered granite, I found myself at the entrance to a small cave – a welcome spot of shelter for the night.

Welcome, at least, so long as it was unclaimed and uncontested; for I knew well that snow leopards haunted these heights, and I had no desire to face the fierce jaws and talons of one of those swift and powerful beasts. Lighting the elvenlight that had been gifted to me by Lady Fafine Valea at the gates of the faery palace of Sloc Boglach, back in what now seemed an eternity ago, I proceeded cautiously, but saw no signs of prior occupancy.

As I walked farther into the recesses of the cave, however, the walls began to assume the regular angles of masonry rather than the haphazard ruggedness of nature, and I began to suspect that this tunnel had been hewn not by the random violence of the mountain but by the craft of men. My suspicions were confirmed by what seemed to be a doorway at the very end of the cavern, marked with strange runes that ….

[1254 pages later]

… as I climbed hastily up the ladder, for below me I could hear the angry shrieks of the lizard men growing closer. Risking a glance behind me, I saw the entire vast underground city of Lai Koht Teel, still lit by the eerie pale lichen that graced the high-arched ceiling, begin to crumble to dust, its lacy towers cracking and splintering like ice in spring. At last I reached the promised Night Door, and vaulting upward through it I slammed the portal behind me. I found myself in another tunnel much like the one I had entered a year ago, though in this instance the door lay upon the floor rather than being built into the wall. Seeing a large boulder near the door, I not without great effort rolled it onto the door. Soon I could hear the threatening scraping of the lizard men’s claws beneath the door as they hissed in frustration, but they lacked the strength and leverage to dislodge the rock, and at length their sounds faded, as they no doubt returned to the ruins of the fair city that I had, partly through intention and partly through inadvertence, so utterly destroyed.

I made my way to the cave’s mouth and saw the dark forests of Nordheim below me in the morning light, stretching to a far and misty northern horizon, for I had emerged on the other side of the mountains. The gems I had gathered in the great Treasury had been dropped in my flight, so that the only wealth I was able to take away with me from my adventure was my memory of the fabulous meal of Pibijé on which I had dined with the High Priest and Priestess of Fahadalana on the terrace of their lofty stone temple, jutting out over the turbulent subterranean sea as leather-winged zenido birds wheeled cawing overhead. Fortunately, I had committed the recipe to memory, and I am happy to share it with you on my recipe blog today.

Pibijé recipe:

1. 2 slices of bread
2. Some jelly
3. Some peanut butter
4. Some regular butter (optional)
5. Some skulls of your enemies (optional)

Spread regular butter (optional) and peanut butter on one slice.
Spread jelly on the other.
Place the first slice, peanut butter side down, on top of the second slice, jelly side up.

Garnish with skulls of your enemies (optional).


Secrets of the Musketeers

[cross-posted at POT and Facebook]

Why is it called “The Three Musketeers” rather than “The Four Musketeers”? Was Alexandre Dumas really the author? Was Auguste Maquet the author? Was the novel based on real people and events? Was it based on a previous novel by somebody else? Were there any sequels or spinoffs? Do all the existing translations suck? Was Dumas racist against blacks? Was he black himself? Was d’Artagnan more of a villain than a hero? Did he fight Cyrano de Bergerac? Are the publishers of Dumas’s works guilty of literary fraud? And finally, and most importantly, is the “Three Musketeers” candy bar actually made out of musketeers? If these questions have got you tossing and turning all night – get fast, fast relief with this one weird video!

Tomfoolery in the Overhead Compartment

[cross-posted at POT]

The Agoric Cafe is serving once again!

In my latest video, I chat with globetrotting, gunslinging, contraband-smuggling libertarian scholar Tom G. Palmer on the legitimacy of self-defense; the militarisation of police; prison abolitionism; the wars on drugs, guns, and gays; the economics and ethics of bounty hunting; the French liberal demystification of the state; lawlessness vs. anarchy; the perversities of the FDA and CDC; Afghan libertarianism; hatred as a treacherous muse; how to sneak a photocopy machine into the Soviet bloc; and the height of the sky.

Why They Wrote Such Good Books

[cross-posted at POT and Facebook]

I’ve just finished up my seminar (the teaching portion, not the grading portion – oh, not remotely the grading portion!) on Nietzsche and Modern Literature, where along with various readings from Nietzsche we also read works by Thomas Mann, André Gide, D. H. Lawrence, and Ayn Rand. I created an “audiovisual companion” website for the course to illustrate the various people, places, and works of art and music that are discussed by all five authors; and I’m posting the link to it here in case my broader readership is also interested.

As many of my readers are likely to have a particular interest in Rand, I’ll note that the pages where I discuss Rand are Weeks 9-14. See the four “horse tamer” statues that Rand describes at the beginning of Part II of We the Living! Hear the “John Gray” song (misidentified by Michael Berliner) that pervaded the streets of Kira’s Petrograd! See the theatres that Kira attended with Andrei, and the restaurant where they ate! Hear clips from the Kálmán operetta that inspired her, and the swingtime version of Wagner’s “Evening Star” that Gail Wynand suffered through during his late-night walk through the streets of New York! See the real-life models for Leo Kovalensky, Essie Twomey, Ellsworth Toohey, Lois Cook, Lancelot Clokey, Dominique Francon, Henry Cameron, Ralston Holcombe, and Austen Heller – as well as the real-life models for the buildings of Roark and Cameron, the coffee shop where Peter says goodbye to Katie, and much much more!

And check out similar sights and sounds for the works of Mann (Weeks 1-4), Gide (Weeks 4-5), Lawrence (Weeks 5-9), and of course Nietzsche (passim).

Virtual Molinari Society Panel on Rights: The Reboot

[cross-posted at POT]

This coming Monday, April 5th, the Molinari Society will be holding its mostly-annual Pacific Symposium in conjunction with the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association (5-10 April) via Zoom.

This panel has some overlap, both in personnel and in content, with the one we did in January for the Eastern APA, but it’s not identical.

Only those who cough up the hefty registration fee will be able to access the session, so no chance of free-riding this time around (the APA’s decision, definitely not ours; the APA is both pragmatically and morally confused about the costs and benefits of allowing free-riding at its conferences, but that’s another story). But there’s a substantial student discount, verb. sap. Anyway, here’s the schedule info:

Molinari Society symposium:
Radical Rights Theory

G2A. Monday, 5 April 2021, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Pacific time

     Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

     Jesse Spafford (The Graduate Center, CUNY), “You Own Yourself and Nothing Else: A Radical Left-Libertarian Solution to the Self-Ownership Thesis’ Pollution Problem
     Jason Lee Byas (University of Michigan), “Stolen Bikes & Broken Bones: Restitution as Defense
     Zachary Woodman (Western Michigan University), “Extended Cognition as Property Acquisition
     Gary Chartier (La Sierra University), “Natural Law and Socioeconomic Rights
     Cory Massimino (Center for a Stateless Society), “Two Cheers for Rothbardianism
     Roderick T. Long (Auburn University), “How to Have Your No-Proviso Lockeanism and Eat It Too

See the full schedule here.

I’ll be chairing the panel from the road, so let’s hope my motel’s wifi is up to the challenge. Still, can’t be worse than the Eastern session, when my power actually went out in the middle of it.

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