Category Archives: Culture

Major League Sportsmanship from the Little Leaguers

After the batter was hit by a pitch and takes first base, he comforts the pitcher… who is so obviously shaken up. Now granted, this wasn’t a purposeful drilling. But I can think of a few major league ballplayers who can take lessons from the kids on great sportsmanship.

Check out more on this story here.

40 Years Later: 1982 Films Still Having an Impact

Check out this NY Times article, “Five Sci-Fi Classics, One Summer: How 1982 Shaped Our Present.” This is a really interesting read on 5 films from 1982 that are still having an impact on the sci-fi genre 40 years later: “ET, The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Blade Runner,” “Tron,” and John Carpenter’s “The Thing“.

Also see the discussion on Facebook.

Vin Scully, RIP

A great baseball broadcaster, Vin Scully (1927-2022), has died at the age of 94. Check out retrospectives on the life of the man who started broadcasting for the Dodgers back in 1950, when they were still in Brooklyn! 67 seasons, not only as the Voice of the Dodgers but of so many memorable moments in baseball history …

In the NY Times here and here, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and MLB. It was actually through the NY Yankees that I learned of Scully’s passsing late last night; they put up a loving tribute to him. Also: check out Mike Lupica’s tribute.

Vin Scully (from Wikipedia)

Notablog: 20 Years, 3500 Posts

On July 26, 2002, I posted my first Notablog entry. It was to announce the New York Daily News publication on that date of my essay, “From The Fountainhead: Howard Roark“, part of the newspaper’s series, “Big Town Classic Characters: New Yorkers of the American Imagination.”

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of that first post. And this just so happens to be my 3,500th blog post in two decades. And if you believe this is a total coincidence, I got a nice bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you!

I started posting on Notablog when it was on the NYU server (archives of all those posts, July 26, 2002 to August 1, 2020 can be found here). On August 1, 2020, I migrated to my own Notablog.net.

Speaking of dates, it was back on May 14, 2022 that my long-time friend Roger Bissell said, tongue-in-cheek, “Chris himself has a long-running internet presence he styles in delightfully quasi-Hegelian fashion as ‘Notablog’.” Though I clearly have my quasi-Hegelian tendencies, I have indeed long been asked why I call what is obviously a blog, “Notablog”. As I explained on February 15, 2005:

Some readers have wondered why I continue to call this site “Not a Blog,” even though it seems to become more blog-like with each passing week. Well, it’s going to stay “Not a Blog”—though from now on it will appear with closed spaces between the words: “Notablog.” That phrase can just as easily be viewed as an acronym for “None Of The Above Blog” (as suggested here) or “Nota Blog” (as suggested here), recalling the Latin phrase “Nota Bene,” featuring entries on topics of which one might take particular notice.  

In any event, I’m happy that I’ve not let up in twenty years. I hope to continue blogging for a long time to come, and to continue sharing some of the blog’s contents on Facebook as well!

Postscript: Discussion of this post can be found on Facebook. Also: Much thanks to Tom Knapp for his kind congrats!

Song of the Day #1954

Song of the Day: Strawberry Fields Forever is considered part of the Lennon-McCartney Songbook, but John Lennon was its composer. In the wake of his tragic death, a section of New York City’s Central Park was declared Strawberry Fields, where his ashes were scattered by Yoko Ono in 1981. The song, recorded by The Beatles, was released as a double-A side single (along with “Penny Lane“) in 1967. It had a huge impact on the development of the emerging psychedlic genre and is credited as a pioneering work in music video. Check out that video, as well as a really cool jazzy rendition by the Nick Grondin Group and a Latin-tinged rendition by vocalist Karen Souza [YouTube links].

Dexter the Dog

Dexter the Dog … an inspiration, from Ouray, Colorado (the place that inspired Galt’s Gulch in Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged) …

“The Dialectics of Liberty” Reviewed in RAE

I was notified today of a wonderful review of The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (2019, Lexington Books) which I coedited with Roger Bissell and Ed Younkins. “Freedom in Context” by Alexander W. Craig, appears in the current Review of Austrian Economics. An excerpt from that review is on the book’s homepage.

Perhaps the following remarks fall under the category of “reviewing a review” of a book, but, in my opinion, Craig provides the most insightful and profoundly dialectical discussion of this eclectic volume yet published. In short: He gets it! What he has to say about a dialectical mode of inquiry is worthy enough to have been included in the anthology. He writes:

The contributors to ‘The Dialectics of Liberty’ demonstrate that libertarians can engage in a careful context-sensitive analysis of social behavior and political ideals. The book refutes the notion that libertarians must be insensitive to nuances in social environments and reliant on a woefully oversimplified conception of individuals, businesses, and governments. In this review, I first discuss the nature of dialectics, making explicit the mostly implicit definition running between the chapters of ‘The Dialectics’. I then summarize several of the chapters, synthesizing from them generalizable lessons about what Austrian economists and classical liberal scholars more generally can learn by being mindful of social context, synthesizing disparate ideas, and transcending dichotomies. …

Where logic supplies the principles whereby one may validly move from premise to conclusion and empirics discover the line between what is actual and what is merely possible, dialectics serves to keep the analyst mindful of how propositions surrounding the main object of study may change the meaning of facts under discussion. … Although all data is theory-laden, data never speaks for itself, etc., one can often take these data as they are and proceed, the empirical stage of research now giving way to the analysis stage. Logic retrospectively analyzes an argument and declares its conclusion valid or invalid based on the premises, which it has relatively little ability to discuss in themselves. Dialectics, however, is an approach to active inquiry. It makes recommendations about how an investigator might make progress in understanding a subject. Many issues one encounters in ongoing research are not so much questions of the internal and external validity of one’s empirics or the logical validity of one’s argument. They are issues of relevance and salience. …

This orientation towards the active process of investigation raises two more salient features of dialectical thinking: tacking between subjects; and transcending divides. In many situations, a researcher must find their place between at least two alternatives that are in tension with one another. … Dialectics often proceeds by transcending such dichotomies by situating them within a context. …

[The] deliberate intention to think dialectically about one’s work is likely to yield fruit for Austrian economists and classical liberal scholars. … [This book] succeeds in demonstrating the existence and value of dialectical thinkers. It is a stimulating series of inspirations for further work, and a useful reference for many interesting directions of contemporary libertarian scholarship. I would be pleased to see more scholars ask themselves not only ‘Is my evidence compelling?’ and ‘Is my argument sound?’ but also ‘Have I considered the context carefully?’

The review consists of a nice survey of many of the articles within the book. I heartily recommend the review—and the book (!)—to your attention! Readers can pick up a heavily discounted autographed copy of the volume from the C4SS Store.

James Caan, RIP

I first saw the Bronx-born James Caan in a heartbreaking 1971 ABC Movie of the Week, “Brian’s Song“, about the life of Chicago Bears football player Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer at the age of 26. The poignant story was told through the eyes of Piccolo’s friend, Gale Sayers (played by Billy Dee Williams).

Nothing in that tearjerker of a film, about the deep friendship of two men from different backgrounds and different races, could have prepared me for Caan’s explosive portrayal of Sonny Corleone in the 1972 film, “The Godfather“, for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor (along with two of his costars, Robert Duvall and Al Pacino). In 1999, his hilarious sendup as another mob character in “Mickey Blue Eyes” showed yet another side to his talent. And in a standout performance opposite the Oscar-winning Kathy Bates, he made us feel the “Misery” in the 1990 film adaptation of the novel by Stephen King. He was in nearly 70 films in a career that spanned from the early 1960s thru 2021, from “Lady in a Cage” and “Cinderella Liberty” to “Funny Lady“, “Rollerball” and “Elf“.

I was saddened to learn that James Caan died yesterday at the age of 82. RIP. [See some discussion on my Facebook post.]

James Caan (1940-2022)

Song of the Day #1952

Song of the Day: American Pie, words and music by Don McLean, was the title track to the artist’s 1971 album. The folk-rock song would hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1972, and would be dubbed “one of the most successful and debated songs of the 20th century”—due to an array of interpretations as to its meaning. (And McLean is still making headlines till this day!) Check out the original album version (below), a truncated Madonna rendition, a jazz funk rendition by Groove Holmes, and a “Weird Al” Yankovic ‘Star Wars’ parody, “The Saga Begins” [YouTube links]. A Happy Independence Day to All!

And in Brooklyn, it’s not Independence Day without Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest! Joey Chestnut is vying for his 15th win … after last year’s record-setting 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Ugh.

Go Joey! (Live stream here.)

Postscript: With a ruptured tendon, Joey Chestnut takes his 15th win, consuming 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes in Coney Island!

See Facebook comments here, here, and here.