Category Archives: Remembrance

Song of the Day #1895

Song of the Day: Salsoul Christmas Medley, produced, arranged, and conducted by Vincent Montana, Jr., is from the 1976 album, “Christmas Jollies,” by the Salsoul Orchestra. The album actually hit the Top 40 on the R&B chart. It’s a fun disco journey through carols and songs of the holiday season. And if you cringe over this … that’s part of the fun! Anyway, at 10:59 am (ET) today, it’s the Winter Solstice … which means, in the Northern Hemisphere, we begin our march toward the light! And only a few more days till Santa takes flight!

Song of the Day #1894

Song of the Day: Bobby DJ’s Disconet Christmas Medley [YouTube link], mixed by the late Bobby “DJ” Guttadaro, was released in December 1978 by the Disconet Subscription Service. This past summer, I featured a tribute to the many wonderful dance medleys produced by the fine DJs at Disconet—and Bobby was one of the original team of remixers for the service. For a man who started out as a professional pharmacist, he would go on to become one of the great pioneers in beatmixing and disco remixing. Born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Bobby was the first DJ to be presented with a Gold Disc and was a Billboard National DJ of the Year Award recipient. This fun, if eclectic, Disconet medley has a certain poignancy. Bobby loved Christmas. He died the day after Christmas in 1989, due to complications from HIV/AIDS. But his spirit lives on in the music he left behind. His sense of humor blesses this medley, which concludes with The Singing Dogs barking out “Jingle Bells“. I’ll be posting three additional Christmas holiday music selections until Santa touches down on Christmas Day! Stay tuned!

Serpico: 50 Years Ago Today!

It’s hard to believe… but fifty years ago today, detective Frank Serpico sat before the Knapp Commission in NYC to expose systematic corruption in the NYPD. The whistleblower’s experiences became the subject of a terrific 1973 film, “Serpico,” starring Al Pacino.

From a New York Daily News article marking this anniversary, Larry McShane writes:

Serpico remembers the day clearly. He sat before a bank of 11 television cameras inside the jam-packed Great Hall of the New York Chamber of Commerce. He recalls no nervousness, just a deep belief in his message. … Serpico testified about a meeting with a top Lindsay administration official where he provided names, places and the amount of payoffs to crooked cops. “After hearing all I said, he said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do about it?’” he told members of the commission. Those words resonated through the decades given the NYPD corruption cases that exploded over the years: The Mafia Cops, the “Dirty Thirty” precinct, drug-dealing cops in the 75th Precinct, the “Buddy Boys” of the 77th Precinct.

“We must create an atmosphere in which the dishonest officer fears the honest one, and not the other way around,” he said bluntly. “I hope that this investigation and any future ones will deal with corruption at all levels within the department.”

“The #BWS (blue wall of silence) like the KGB is more of a threat to equality, freedom and justice in a society than the Mafia’s Omertà,” read one recent [Serpico] tweet. “Until it is abolished policing will not improve.”

Song of the Day #1893

Song of the Day: Anything Goes is the title song of the 1934 Broadway musical penned by the great Cole Porter. So many wonderful versions of this song have been recorded through the years, but today, I feature a rendition found on the Nelson Riddle-arranged 1956 album, “Songs for Swingin’ Lovers,” by Frank Sinatra, who was born on this date in 1915. Check it out here (below). And check out the new statue of Ol’ Blue Eyes unveiled today in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Facebook: Philosophers as Profile Month 2021 (I)

Philosophers as Profile Pictures Month is an annual event in which we get to show off all the useless knowledge we gained through our humanities education. It’s also a chance to introduce people to lesser known philosophers/quotes and spur discussion! Participate by changing your profile picture to a philosopher (and one of their quotes) you especially like and post the photo/quote here in the event. Feel free to change your philosopher as many times as you want for the month of December!”

For my first profile pic of December 2021, I have chosen Don Lavoie (1951-2001).

Don Lavoie

There are important lessons … to be learned from both the successes and the failures of the twentieth century’s revolutionary movements. The triumphs of these popular revolutions seem … to be evidence of the power of ideology, while the reversals are evidence of the weakness of most of the particular ideologies that have driven these revolutions. They have generally striven to drive the current oppressors out of power, only to replace them with new rulers. If an ideology is found … that can transcend this mere replacement of rulers, aiming instead at a society without need for rule of some of its members by others, but in which, in some sense, the people can democratically rule themselves, then the triumph might be secured.

— Don Lavoie, National Economic Planning: What is Left? (1985, pp. 233-34)

In the Facebook discussions that followed, I added the following:

Don was one of my very dearest friends and one of the most intellectually challenging people I’ve ever met. We followed parallel trajectories in many ways: He had an Austrian-school advisor (Israel Kirzner) and a Marxist economist (James Becker) on his dissertation committee; I had a Marxist advisor (Bertell Ollman) and an Austrian economist (Mario Rizzo) on my dissertation committee.

On a personal level, Don was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of my work on the integration of dialectical method and libertarian social analysis. He was also the first professor to integrate one of my books (Marx, Hayek, and Utopia) into his curriculum (his course “Comparative Socio-Economic Systems”, in 1999).

I look forward to digitizing and uploading onto my YouTube channel some of his many lectures given before the NYU chapter of Students for a Libertarian Society. The lectures are on immigration, US Foreign Policy, and a discussion on Marxism vs. anarcho-libertarianism with Bertell Ollman (my mentor), all having taken place at New York University.

Song of the Day #1892

Song of the Day: You Rascal You was composed by Sam Theard in 1929, under the less diplomatic, original title, “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead“. It has been recorded by many artists throughout the years, including Louis Armstrong [YouTube link]. Today, however, I feature an equally hilarious version by the late Louis Prima, who was born on this day in 1910, long before it was “a date which will live in infamy.” Deeply influenced by Satchmo, Prima changes up the lyrics with Sicilian flair—with references to ravioli and meatballs! The track is a highlight of his album, “The Wildest!“, with its eclectic mix of early rock and roll, jump blues, jazz, and off-the-wall humor. Check out this swinging version here (see below), which features the birthday boy on trumpet, Sam Butera on tenor saxophone, and James Blount, Jr. on trombone.

Song of the Day #1890

Song of the Day: Not a Day Goes, words and music by Stephen Sondheim, is one of the highlights from the 1981 Broadway musical, “Merrily We Roll Along.” Today, Sondheim died at the age of 91. He leaves behind a vast musical legacy. This is only one of so many Sondheim songs I’ve featured through the years. In the original Broadway production, it was performed by Jim Walton [YouTube link]. But the song was recorded subsequently by singers as diverse as Carly Simon, Patti LuPone, Barbra Streisand, and Bernadette Peters (below) [YouTube links]. RIP, Sondheim.

Song of the Day #1888

Song of the Day: Thankful features the words and music of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas, and Kelly Clarkson, who sings this song with a jolt of soul. It is the title track from Clarkson’s 2003 debut album. This song expresses the kind of thanks you feel when you’re blessed enough to have special people in your life—those who bring you joy, visibility, support, and love. Check out the album version below. And a Happy Thanksgiving to All!