Tag Archives | Personal

Get Met, It Pays

I’m back from NYC. Dylan Delikta unfortunately couldn’t make it to our Molinari Society anarchist panel, but otherwise the session went well; Jason’s and Alex’s papers were great, and we had a decent turnout (which for me means: the audience outnumbered the presenters).

I went to some good sessions, had some good meals, and got to hang out with some of my favourite people. I got to both Harlem and Brooklyn for the first time; and I got to spend more time at the Met than my previous, frustrating 90-minute dash, though still not seeing more than a small fraction of the whole: exhiliratingly, exhaustingly endless rooms of stunning beauty.

The book I took with me to read in idle hours (well, idle minutes) was, appropriately, Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140, in which the half-sunken (owing to global warming) but still-vibrant Manhattan that figures peripherally in some of Robinson’s other science fiction takes center stage. I’m about halfway through, finding it excellent so far (even if the economic views it dramatises are not precisely to my own Austro-mutualist taste).

Clouds had wrapped the sky and had descended as fog to wrap the streets below, as if the sky were engulfing the city. She could see the whole of Manhattan Island, a long, triangular shape cutting into an invisible ocean. It looked like the prow of a sinking ship; a few tall buildings still rose above it, like funnels, but the rest was disappearing under gray-blue coils, going down slowly into vapor and space. This was how they had gone – she thought – Atlantis, the city that sank into the ocean, and all the other kingdoms that vanished, leaving the same legend in all the languages of men, and the same longing.

          – from Ayn Rand’s review of New York 2140


Crushing Italian Freedom Fighters and Getting Drunk in a Bat Costume

One of my longstanding New Year’s traditions is watching the annual New Year’s concert from the Vienna Musikverein (where I finally had a chance to attend a concert [though not the New Year’s concert] during my two-day trip to Vienna in 2010). Here in Alabammy my local PBS station doesn’t carry the concert; but that’s what the internet is for:

Clapping along to the Radetzky March (at 1:21:50) is a little less fun when you realise the piece is celebrating the defeat of Italian forces fighting for independence from the Austrian Empire (the bad one, not this blog). But then a lot of great art is devoted to the celebration of bad stuff. (I’m not sure the Radetzky March is great art, but it’s pleasant art.)

Another New Year’s tradition, one I celebrate somewhat more irregularly, is watching Die Fledermaus, an operetta I’ve loved ever since I was very young. I didn’t watch it this year (too busy writing up pieces I owe various publishers – with no daylight in sight as yet!), but I made sure to listen to the overture at least, as it features many of my favourite themes from the larger work:

My history with Die Fledermaus is a bit odd. When I was nine or so, I came across the book Merry Go Round in Oz, which was written by the grandmother of someone who would eventually become a good friend of mine in grad school. One of the characters in the book was a winged mouse (not a bat, he would insist) called a Flittermouse, which is why, in a San Diego used bookstore one day, a dusty libretto of Die Fledermaus caught my eye. I must be one of the few people to have become a fan of Die Fledermaus through the libretto first. But then a few years later I caught the operetta on tv and became, properly, a still greater fan of the music.


Remembering the Fagos

CBR today has a story about my old friend Vincent Fago. Vincent was a cartoonist who had at one time been the editor of Marvel Comics (then called Timely) during World War II.

When I was living in Hanover, New Hampshire, during my high school years (1977-1981), Vincent Fago (who died in 2002) and his wife D’Ann (who died just this year, at the age of either 99 or 100) were friends of my family though church. Although I knew he wrote cartoon books, he never mentioned his history at Marvel (modesty on his part, I guess) despite his knowing I was a comic book fan, so I didn’t find out about that until years later.

The Fagos were an utterly delightful, warm, eccentric couple; I have fond memories of dinners at their cozy house across the state line in Vermont, with Vincent showing me his latest cartoons (the one that stuck in my mind was a whimsical picture of a flock of migrating birds being held aloft on platforms carried by beavers, with the caption “Very lazy are twilly eavers; when they fly down south they use trained beavers”), and D’Ann waxing indignant over a passage in a history book that described the Pilgrims as “coming to America, bringing their wives” (a consciousness-raising moment for me).

When I was making an animated film for a high school project, Vincent helped arrange for me to be interviewed on the radio about it. (Alas, both the film itself and the recording of the interview are long gone – though I do have all the stills for the film.) Later, when our family’s belongings were being sold off for debt, Vincent also helped save most of my comic book collection (long story). (Another set of friends saved our book collection.) I’m sorry I lost touch with the Fagos after we left Hanover; they are definitely missed.


Still Not Voting

Two years ago to the day, I wrote this piece on voting, winding up with: “And that’s why I’ll be boycotting the vote this Tuesday.”

Looking it over today, I don’t see anything I disagree with. Hence I’ll be sitting this election out too.

Mind you, I hope the Democrats end up with enough seats to stymie Trump. Until we can manage to dissolve government in the economic organism, divided government is second best, especially when the president is unusually bad. All the same, for the reasons I explain in the linked post, I think I make a greater contribution to the public good by not voting than by voting for the lesser evil.


Home, Home, Home From the Sea

I’m back from the Alabama Philosophical Society annual conference – the first time in three years that I’ve been able to make it back there. The forecast was for rain all weekend, but happily, while there was heavy rain on the drive down and light rain on the drive back, the weather in Pensacola was fair and sunny.

I gave a paper on labour exploitation from a left-libertarian perspective. I got to hang out with my friend Irfan Khawaja, whom I haven’t seen in quite a few years; he was there to give a paper on the ethics of voting. Irfan and I chatted on such subjects as “Randians be crazy,” “libertarians be crazy,” “cops be crazy,” und so weiter.

Roderick T. Long and Irfan Khawaja - photo credit Irfan Khawaja

Roderick T. Long and Irfan Khawaja – photo credit Irfan Khawaja


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