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september 2005




OCTOBER 31, 2005

John Leo on Dems and Rothbard

I got a little surprise today reading John Leo's NY Daily News column, "It's '72 All Over Again for Dems." Leo focuses on what he believes are the parallels between the failure of welfare liberalism, circa 1972, and the failure of liberalism in the post-9/11 era. He cites Austrian economist and libertarian social theorist Murray Rothbard at one point:

"The McGovernite movement," wrote Murray Rothbard, a prominent libertarian, "is, in its very nature, a kick in the gut to Middle America."

Leo argues, in essence, that it was the McGovernite movement that created the current-day phenomenon, the "modern split between red-state and blue-state America." He adds:

Many members of disfavored groups---Catholics, Southerners and much of the white working class and lower middle class---decamped for the Republican Party, while the Democrats emerged more clearly visible as the party of well-off liberals, the poor, identity and grievance groups, secularists and the cultural elite."

Leo is correct in one sense that the extreme swing toward identity politics in the late '60s and early '70s did create a cultural backlash of sorts. But that backlash has been as inspired by interventionist liberalism as the identity politics it views as anathema. As I have argued here and elsewhere, so-called "religious right" groups are just as enamored of statist intervention on their behalf as the so-called "left-wing" groups they oppose.

Much has, of course, changed since the 1960s, ideologically speaking. Some of these changes Leo ignores completely, like, for example, the emergence of neoconservatism as a political ideology, which integrates some of the worst left-wing and right-wing impulses.

In any event, it's an interesting read.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to the Mises Economics Blog.

Posted by chris at 04:38 PM | Permalink | Posted to Culture Politics (Theory, History, Now) Religion

Blondie's Happy Halloween

As readers of Notablog might recall, I indicated some weeks ago, in this essay that "we picked up a special Yankee uniform and matching cap" for Blondie because Halloween was "coming, after all, and she needed a new costume."

Well, Blondie wishes everybody a Happy Halloween!

She also insisted that we finally upload all of her "Summer Vacation" photos. There are additional Halloween photos as well in her photo gallery. Go to the index here, where you will see brand new Summer 2005 photos (hereherehereherehere, and here) and brand new Halloween 2005 photos (here and here).


Comments welcome ... but beware of dog!

Posted by chris at 08:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | Posted to Frivolity



Posted by: Harvey Morrell | October 31, 2005 01:36 PM

My sentiments exactly, Harvey. :)

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 3, 2005 09:45 AM

Apart from my cat, Saki (see, Blondie has to be the cutest thing going.

Posted by: Barbara Branden | November 4, 2005 03:43 PM

Does Blondie have lots of boyfriends?

Posted by: Jim Farmelant | November 4, 2005 08:40 PM

Saki is adorable, Barbara!

And Jim, Blondie has had her share of boyfriends (she even has a big feline admirer on the west coast). But she is most definitely a dominant female. You should see what she does with her stuffed animals. Here is a photo of one very close encounter with the Grinch (in keeping with the coming holiday season).

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 5, 2005 12:46 PM


Song of the Day #442

Song of the DaySatan Takes a Holiday is a 1917 song composed by Larry Clinton. It was recorded in a jazzy rendition by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra. Jazz was often condemned as the Devil's Music, after all. I loved hearing my Uncle Sam play this one on violin when I was a kid. Just in time for Halloween, listen to an audio clip of this spooky favorite here. And a Happy Halloween to one and all.

Posted by chris at 08:20 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 30, 2005

Joan Kennedy Taylor, RIP

I have heard from several friends and colleagues, including David M. Brown and Iris Bell, who report that Joan Kennedy Taylor passed away on the morning of October 29, 2005. This was confirmed by a visit, this morning, to Wendy McElroy's new forum, where Wendy has posted a brief notice.

The tentative plan is for calling hours at the Frank Campbell Funeral Home on 82nd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan on Wednesday, November 2, 2005, followed by calling hours in Lee, Massachusetts on Thursday, and a funeral and burial on Friday, November 4th in Stockbridge.

I had the honor and privilege of working very closely with Joan, who was a tireless defender of individual liberty; she contributed a fine essay to a volume I co-edited with Mimi Reisel Gladstein entitled Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. I enjoyed her work on individualism and feminism, including her book Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered. And I greatly valued her counsel and friendship.

Some time ago, during one of my own health setbacks, Joan took the subway out here to Brooklyn to visit me. We had a wonderful afternoon together. She was suffering from the illness that eventually took her life, but her spirit soared. Being with her was an inspiration.

I will miss her very, very much.

Rest in peace, friend.

Update #1: David M. Brown has posted an update on information concerning Joan Kennedy Taylor, which includes a statement by my friend and colleague Duncan Scott. Read that update here.

Update #2: David has posted additional reflections on Joan by my friend and colleague Jeff Riggenbach. Read those reflections here and at the "Friends of Joan" blog. See also reflections by Walter Olson.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | Posted to Remembrance


In the December 1965 Objectivist Newsletter Ayn Rand endorsed Presuasion. As a result I subscribed and later brought all the back issues. Prsuasion was an excellent publication and I hope someone will get the issues together and republish them. David Dawson's very fine articles on conscription and Joan's book reviews would not be stale. I too know Joan and I am sadden at her death.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | October 31, 2005 07:16 AM

Hey, Chris, thanks for your words of remembrance. There are a lot of nice tributes all over the Internet at this time. In addition to the ones I listed in my post, I also liked Charles Murray's piece in Reason magazine. See here.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 3, 2005 09:44 AM


Song of the Day #441

Song of the DayLydia ("Waltz") was composed by Miklos Rozsa, as part of the Academy Award-nominated score for the 1941 film, "Lydia," starring Merle Oberon and Joseph Cotten. It can be heard as part of a suite for solo piano, featuring soloist Albert Dominguez, on this soundtrack album.

Posted by chris at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 29, 2005

Passing Thoughts on Rand's Journals

Every so often I'm told by this person or that person that I'm being mentioned in the blogosphere. I am honestly and sincerely flattered that so many people think my musings worth mentioning, but it is impossible for me to keep up with the many discussions of my work. If bloggers or other writers wish to inspire me to a response, the best policy is to simply inform me of your writing, and I'll do my best to reply privately or, perhaps, with a public post. The engagement, after all, is the dialectical oil that keeps the blogosphere humming along.

So, recently, somebody informed me of this post by a gent named "Mike" who runs a blog called "Passing Thoughts." (I'd drop you a note Mike, but I don't see any email contact information at your blog.) Mike seems to be quite enamored of the Ayn Rand Institute, and has been engaging in an ongoing critique of ARI critics. One of those whom he criticizes is my friend and colleague Robert Campbell (see here and here). Robert's replies are worthwhile reading (see here and here, for example).

I'm not going to re-open the debate over The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies here. Suffice it to say: If some Rand scholars do not like JARS, they can and should take their business elsewhere. We are a nonpartisan journal and we would gladly publish any articles that pass our double-blind peer review process, and that most definitely includes any articles submitted by those of a more "orthodox" hue. Now in our seventh year of publication, we are abstracted by over a dozen professional indexing services and are doing fine. So while others are indicting the quality of the journal, writers as diverse as Erika Holzer and Bill Martin, George Reisman and Slavoj Zizek, have been represented in our pages.

Nevertheless, I was relieved to discover from Mike's postings that he and his ARI friends "don't have weekly burnings of Chris Sciabarra books (we only do that stuff once per year)."

Whew! At least now when there's a spike in sales of my books at that time of the year, I'll know it's due to some Farenheit 451 Celebration!

In an earlier post at Passing Thoughts, Mike takes me to task with regard to criticisms I once made of both the Estate of Ayn Rand and editor David Harriman on the subject of the editing of the book Journals of Ayn Rand. Those criticisms can be found here and here, where I note, for example, that the name "Albert Jay Nock," which appeared in an earlier publication of an entry from Rand's journals suddenly disappeared from that same entry republished in the Harriman-edited Journals of Ayn Rand.

Mike states:

Now, the first thing to notice for any objective observer is that this criticism can only be leveled at Peikoff and Harriman. They are responsible, not the ARI. Secondly, there is no motivation for intentional dishonesty (why on earth would Peikoff be interested in eliminating Albert Jay Nock from history when there are much worse people cited by Rand that remain in the notes?). So the only explanation that fits the facts is scholarly incompetence. A very bizarre scholarly incompetence. Sciabarra makes the very serious charge: "How many other revisions of the historical record are there?" Now, this implies that whatever got mixed up was intentional. There is no evidence to support this, so from the outset, Sciabarra is being a jack ass.


If Mike re-reads the essay in question, he'll see that I only mention the Ayn Rand Institute once and not in the context of altering the historical record. I state: "Officials at the Ayn Rand Institute are busy establishing a research archive, but until independent scholars are able to examine Rand's personal papers, serious doubts will remain."

Throughout the essay, my criticisms are of the Estate (i.e., Peikoff) and of Harriman.

Mike goes on:

But a quick look at the date of publication of this article is 1998. Sciabarra should have done his homework. In 1995 Harriman gave a lecture in which he pointed out that, after writing her notes, Rand would RE-WRITE them in a condensed form. This is confirmed by Harry Binswanger (it's in his first lecture on psycho-epistemology). So what has been available to all who are interested, since 1995 (at least), is the FACT that there are at least two versions of all of Rand's notes.

Alas, I get an F for not doing my homework. When I reviewed the book in question, it didn't occur to me that I'd then have to consult several audio lectures to understand the context of Harriman's editing. Instead, I made the mistake of taking Harriman's preface seriously, wherein he states the following:

AR sometimes rewrote her notes, often for the purpose of condensing and essentializing. I have included such later material only when it contains provocative new formulations.

This statement conflicts with the Binswanger statement that Mike reports on his blog. Harriman stresses that Rand "sometimes rewrote her notes" (emphasis added), not that there are "at least two versions of all of Rand's notes." And Harriman stresses further that in such instances of repetition, he uses the earlier version unless the newer one has some "provocative new formulations."

In my comparison of the passages in question in my original 1998 essay, there is nothing "provocative" or "new" in the Journals passage when compared to the same passage, which was published earlier in The Objectivist Forum. The only thing that is "provocative" or "new" is the absence of various words and the name of a key historical figure from the Old Right, Albert Jay Nock.

And if Mike re-reads my essay, he'll also see that I did not utter the word "dishonesty"; he may think that it is implied, but it is not. What is made explicit however is this: When scholars are offered two different versions of the same passage, and the differences are so stark, it makes it very difficult to quote from either version with certainty about its accuracy.

As I stated in my 1998 essay:

When such editorial changes are not made explicit, when not even ellipsis points are provided to indicate missing text, doubt is cast unnecessarily on the volume's authenticity. Even if this does not impugn the book's overall value to critically-minded readers, it makes the serious Rand scholar question the text's accuracy. These questions are generated not by any inherent distrust of the Estate, but by discrepancies in the same passage published in two different sources authorized by the Estate. Which version is accurate? The first? The second? Neither? (emphasis added)

With Mike's newest revelations, drawn from a lecture by Binswanger, we learn "the FACT that there are at least two versions of all of Rands notes." This revelation makes the scholar's task even worse, in my view: Not only are we left guessing which version is being quoted, but with the added proviso that Harriman made certain editorial line-changes, we must now question if one version or the other was used or if both versions were used to supplement one another. With no indication from the editor, it makes an historical reconstruction of Rand's evolution as a thinker that much more difficult.

The only way any scholar can be certain about the chronological contents of Rand's journals, then, is by getting into the Rand Archives and taking a look. But, of course, the odds of a non-ARI scholar getting into those archives are slim. James Valliant is one of those scholars who did get access, but as I said in my review of his book:

His book is one of a very select group of secondary sources actually listed on the ARI site, with links for purchase: "Books About Ayn Rand." Since I personally know reputable scholars who have not been allowed to work in the Archives, and I have had my own failed dealings with ARI in pursuit of certain archival records (see here), I can only applaud Valliant's access, and hope, with him, that the archives will be made more generally available in time.

So, to repeat, this is not an issue of Harriman's or Peikoff's "massive dishonesty." It's an issue of publishing important journal notes in a way that brings into question unnecessarily their accuracy. Whether the alterations were intended or not, or simply the result of what Mike calls "a very bizarre scholarly incompetence," the fact remains that the historical record has been altered, and this is a serious problem.

So, sorry, Mike, if you think I'm no longer the "gentleman," "fair critic," and "scholar" you once thought I was. But until or unless the Institute opens its doors to all bona fide scholars, these questions of authenticity and accuracy will remain. It's not because I "pick and choose" the "evidence ... for [my] evidence-independent theories"; it's because the evidence shows that alterations have been made. My worries are not eased by hearing now that "there are at least two versions of all of Rand's notes." For if that is, indeed, the case, then those of us who are not able to check the archives are forever at the mercy of those who do, in fact, "pick and choose" what journal entries to publish, and what journal entries not to publish. It makes the job of tracing Rand's intellectual development, her chronological "chewing" of various ideas, virtually impossible.

Dialectician that I am, I didn't want to conclude this post without at least mentioning a few of Mike's other comments, ever in search of the "full context" of my interlocutor's passing thoughts. So I actually discovered that Mike has some semi-nice things to say about me here. Except even there, he is more wrong than he is right.

For example, he is disappointed by early commentary I wrote on James Valliant's book, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. Fortunately, he adds a link in his update to my full review of the Valliant book, but it's still not enough to correct the distortions in his post. He's right that I have been critical in the past of the Estate's "handling of historical materials" and how the voices of Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden were airbrushed out of existence on various taped lectures. He claims that "it is clear that the voices were removed for legal reasons," but I don't believe that has ever been made clear.

He goes so far as to say that I should have been "deeply troubled" by the Brandens' books, given my concern with "the accuracy of the historical record," especially since I used the Brandens "as major sources for [my] book on Rand."

Uh, no, Mike. My work in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical did not depend on the Brandens as "major sources"; indeed, the "major source" for the historical aspects of my book was my own archival researches. That research has continued herehere, and here, but not a single ARI-affiliated scholar has ever publicly (and I do stress publicly) commented on the very detailed work that I continue to do in reconstructing the record of Rand's early education.

Let me say in conclusion that those who adhere to a "closed-system" view of Objectivism will get little argument from me; I have stated here, for example, that "[i]n essentials, every 'philosophy'---be it 'scientific socialism' or 'Objectivism'---is, by necessity, closed: It must be something definite, or it is not definable; it must have identity and it must have boundaries or there will be no way of distinguishing one doctrine from another."

But even a closed system view does not require that its adherents close themselves off to discussion with those who do not identify themselves as Objectivists. Such a policy can only lead to the formation, over time, of a kind of sclerotic intellectual ghettoization for which I have no use.

So I commend people like James Valliant, and even Mike at Passing Thoughts, for actually attempting to engage their interlocutors.

Appendix #1

At SOLO, a relevant discussion on these issues is taking place. Below, I reply to various points made by James Valliant and Magenta Hornet herehere, and here. My comments are also archived at SOLO starting here.

For the record, I did not find "very few (if still unexplained) problems" in Harriman's editing of Journals of Ayn Rand. I was only able to compare one journal entry from that book to the same passage published previously in The Objectivist Forum. And a comparison of these different versions of the same passage showed inexplicable editing, including the elimination of the name "Albert Jay Nock" from the Journals' version. I have never seen the actual journals in Rand's handwriting, and I've never seen any other published passages from Rand's journals by which to make a more general comparison. So, what few problems I identified were only identified because I had a basis for comparison. With no archival access and no alternatively published versions of the journal entries available, I have no basis for assessing the overall quality of Harriman's editing.

What I did say, in my initial essay on Harriman's editing (see here), however, was not that Harriman was being dishonest in his editing but that the introduction of these alterations, with no explanation, leaves scholars in the position of having to question their authenticity in part, or in toto. This is a totally unnecessary problem that emerged, which could have been very easily addressed by those responsible for the editing of Rand's personal papers. Unfortunately, the problem has never been addressed by Harriman or anybody else. (That's not quite correct; one blogger recently addressed some of these issues, but I think the questions this blogger raises only compound the problem. See Notablog here [above].)

I should state that whatever objections people have to Jim Valliant's parenthetical remarks in his publication of Rand's personal diaries, I praised him, from Square One, for having published the material raw and for having indicated every change he made with proper use of brackets and bold emphasis.

As for the issue of the Brandens' accounts: Jim has, no doubt, found a number of inconsistencies and conflicts within each of the Branden accounts and between them. But most of these conflicts revolve around "subjectivity" issues: how each person, deeply embedded in the interpersonal dynamics that constituted The Affair, interpreted the other person's thoughts, feelings, motivations, etc. in the context of that Affair. I am not saying that The Affair is unimportant; I just continue to maintain that it relates less to the philosophic system that is Objectivism than, say, an understanding of Rand's intellectual development (which has always been of more interest to me).

As for the removal of the Brandens' voices from audio lectures, such as Rand's lectures on fiction-writing: All this would be put to rest if those responsible for the editing simply provided us with an explanation. But this practice of airbrushing people out of existence once they've broken with Rand or her immediate followers is not restricted to the Brandens. See this lovely demonstration at the Free Radical site, for example.

I have a problem with practices that alter the historical record; differences such as those that exist between the Brandens' accounts of The Affair and Rand's own journals can at least be placed in the context of motivational or interpretive differences. Jim V and I can disagree over the motivations of the players in question on any number of issues; but at least Jim V decided to approach the issue head-on, rather than bracketing out the existence of the Brandens from public discussion.

When people simply disappear from an historical record, there is something important that is being eliminated, something that partially explains that record or provides a richer context for understanding it.

As for my use of the archival material in the possession of ARI: I was in touch with Leonard Peikoff briefly prior to the publication of my book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. He refused to provide me with any photos for my book because he had had a bad experience with the use of a photo by James Baker for a book that Baker wrote on Rand. Not only did I understand his apprehensiveness, I actually raised the issue of the Baker book before he had a chance to. He explained that unless he really knew the people involved, he would not share such material. That was his right.

I had also asked him relevant questions concerning Rand's relationship to Professor N.O. Lossky, which he was unable to answer, but he had promised me at the time that if he came into any information about the case, he'd get in touch with me.

After the publication of my book, I received a number of letters from people at ARI who were pleased with the seriousness that I brought to the study of Rand. This didn't imply agreement with my work. But they were completely aware of my relationship to the Brandens (they saw in my book my extensive treatment of the Brandens' contributions as well as photos provided to me by the Brandens), and this never stopped them from continuing a correspondence. In fact, they were fascinated by my uncovering of information about Rand's early education at the Stoiunin gymnasium and secured from me a photo of Lossky for use in the documentary "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life." I actually received a screen credit (along with Boris Lossky, N. O. Lossky's son) in that film.

Moreover, at the time, I had invited some ARI-affiliated scholars to contribute dissenting material to the volume Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand; they declined. Perhaps, in that instance, the presence of both Brandens in the volume posed a problem. But this was not the explanation they offered.

All I know is that I was on the verge of receiving a faxed copy of Rand's college transcript when they suddenly told me that I could do the research, provide them with my evaluation of the material, but never publish on the subject. They gave me no explanation as to why I would be denied the right to publish my findings; at first, I simply thought that they would want to make the "big splash" and that it was a "timing" issue. But that was not the issue, and they never explained why it was that I would have no right to reap the benefits of my own work. As it turned out, I sought those archival documents elsewhere, and eventually published my findings in the first issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

Let me stress my agreement here with Magenta Hornet, however, that "The Rand estate has every right to decide how and when Rand's journals are made public ~ in any manner it chooses," even if it has never been expressed to me, implicitly or explicitly, that I have been denied access to those archives because of my relationship with the Brandens. In any event, such would not explain the denial of access to many other scholars, like Mimi Gladstein or biographer Anne Heller.

In fact, to my knowledge, no non-ARI scholars have been allowed to use the Rand Archives. Jim V may be the exception, but he had a relationship of sorts with Leonard Peikoff and his intellectual conclusions were certainly in sync with the negative assessment of the Brandens that Peikoff himself shares.

Such control over archives is not unusual; the Freud estate, the Nietzsche estate, and so many other estates, in their infancy, attempted to control the flow of information as a way of protecting the legacy of the person in question. But, over time, that control just doesn't work. Scholarly pursuits will not be held back no matter how many litmus tests are put in place to guide those pursuits.

I agree fundamentally with Jim on this point: "It is certainly to be hoped and expected that one day all scholars will be able to use all of it ..."

Appendix #2

Jim, you wrote:

But it's not suspiciously secretive of them, either. They significantly, then, did allow the examination of the materials you requested, just not their use, as I thought. Thank you for that. And for confirming that you do not contend that Harriman acted in bad faith.

No, you misunderstand. They actually did not allow my examination of the material. They wanted a verbal agreement from me before they faxed the material to my home that I never write on the subject. So, in truth, I never saw any of the material. Not until years later, after I'd spent tons of money and months upon months using research assistants to find another copy of the Rand transcript in the archives of the University of St. Petersburg.

I don't know if anybody else has asked to review the material from The Objectivist Forum, but I can tell you that I did find quite a few additional editorial changes in the passage comparisons that I did see. None of this implies dishonesty on the part of Harriman or anybody else; but it introduces unnecessary confusion.

As for the Reismans: I don't know the whole background; I just have a real problem with altering documents that were already published. I could be wrong, but it was my impression, for example, that even Edith Packer's lectures in Peikoff's brilliant course, "Understanding Objectivism," are no longer part of that course. Whatever the reasons are: Packer was a part of that series, and the lectures she gave were, in my view, indispensable to that series, the same way Branden's essays are indispensable to Rand's anthologies (which, thank goodness, for the most part, have not been altered... except one cannot find Branden's essays from Virtue of Selfishness or Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal in the searchable CD-ROM of Rand's books).

I am happy to hear that Andrew Bernstein cites Reisman appropriately in his new book; that's quite a difference from, say, Salsman, who is now at intellectual odds with Reisman and virtually the whole Austrian school of economics in his most recent series of articles in The Intellectual Activist. (On this last point, see my essay with Larry Sechrest in PDF form here.)

I understand your point, too, Jim, about not wanting to promote the work of those individuals whom one considers immoral. But I'm speaking strictly from the perspective of an intellectual historian: I don't want to see any alteration in a book or a tape once it has been published or produced. I would sooner appreciate an editor stating at the outset that Person X is no longer associated with me or my philosophy... while still publishing the essays that were part of the anthology to begin with. This is, in fact, what Rand herself did. Her followers should have done the same thing. It would have preserved the integrity of the historical record, while allowing them to "set the record straight" in a postscript or preface.

And that's what irks me: For all I know, the principals in any of these conflicts may have been in the right in morally condemning any number of people with whom they were previously associated. But the historical record is what it is; a scholar can contextualize it in a new edition, but erasing a contribution that was part of the record is just not the scholarly thing to do. And, no, nobody owes me or any other scholar an explanation; but then they should not be upset when people speculate wildly about their motives.

As for the issue of your book and your views of the Brandens: I'll not revisit it here, since we've both discussed it here. All of it, in my view, still revolves around the Affair and the personal interactions of these people, including "the bogus counseling, the false pretenses about the Brandens' marriage, and such other issues connected to the Affair ..." I never paid much attention to this Affair prior to your book. It constituted a couple of sentences in my entire Russian Radical, and no more than a couple of paragraphs in a subsequent essay on the documentary, "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life." I just don't focus on it because I don't believe it is essential to my understanding of Objectivism or Rand's intellectual development. (That's quite apart from the fact that I applauded you for bringing her private journals to light; I found that material very worthwhile reading.)

Appendix #3

Jim writes:

No, I think that you still misunderstand my point. You did have the opportunity to view and at least verify the material -- upon your agreement not to use it. Thus, the viewing and verification were not being denied, just the use of it. This is the distinction that I was making. It is an important one.

Ah, yes. Yes, indeed. I would have been allowed to read it, analyze it, give my results to ARI, but never use it personally. Praise be the virtue of selflessness and the theory-practice dichotomy! And to hell with the trader principle! :)

You misunderstand what I'm saying when I suggest "it's 'all' about The Affair." The Rand-Branden Affair certainly did involve much, much more. But it all revolved around their personal relationship, which developed over nearly two decades, entailing a host of complex psychological issues. And, quite frankly, Jim, you say that Rand thought the Affair was over; my reading of those notes shows me a woman who was deeply hurt, very angry, and, yet, still wanting to bring Branden back. Do we really have to revisit this here? I just don't see the point.

Same goes for our differences on the effect of the Brandens' works on Rand criticism: I still maintain that the people who despise Ayn Rand despise her because of her ideas; this attention to her Affair with Nathaniel is just icing on the cake for some; but it is a cake baked by those who have been ideologically opposed to everything she stands for.

That is where the battle must be fought: Over ideas. Not over the people Rand slept with, why, and for how long.

Appendix #4

Jim, thanks for your reply.

When I say something is "personal," I am not saying that it entails no intellectual or ideological components; as my review of your book acknowledges fully: Nathaniel Branden did much to bolster a rationalist misapplication of Objectivist principles and to engender a sycophantic subculture around Rand. His psychological manipulation of Rand was immoral.

But Branden was not the only one engaging in the intellectual error of rationalism. Peikoff himself has admitted to this tendency, as have many other Objectivists. And Rand herself was prone to intellectualizing real human beings and to engaging in a certain degree of moralizing.

None of this implies a moral equivalence between the wrongs of Nathaniel Branden and Rand's errors. But it is also a mistake to suggest that by abstracting "the Brandens" from the history of Objectivism, we also bracket out any problems in "Objectivism." That's just ahistorical, in my view.

Appendix #5

Just a note to say that after a day of discussion on this, I've just noticed that Mike from Passing Thoughts has posted a reply to me as well. Thanks for your comments, Mike.

In his reply, Mike states:

One of his major gripes with my post is that I accuse him of accusing Harriman and Peikoff of scholarly dishonesty. He says he does not think this. I will take him at his word and retract that. But I still don't understand what the meaning of this is: "In this single three-sentence paragraph, there are six alterations. And at least four are important to scholars and others who want to understand Rand. How many other revisions of the historical record are there?" [bold is mine]

The word "revision," as I understand it, implies intent. I read this as Sciabarra accusing Harriman and the Estate of Ayn Rand of intentionally covering up historical fact. I think such intentional distortion would be wrong. Like I said, I will take Dr. Sciabarra at his word, but I do not think my initial reaction to his paper was unwarranted in light of his concluding paragraph.

Fair enough, Mike. I can understand how you might have thought "revision" implies "intent." But "to revise" something can simply mean "to reconsider," "to change," or "to modify." I meant it strictly in those terms: A change was made to the passage that subsequently modified its meaning. I don't think my use of the word necessarily implies an evaluation of the character, quality, or motivation underlying the change. But, as I said, fair enough.

As for how others have understood (or misunderstood) my comments: I can't be responsible for how every person interprets my points. I have enough trouble keeping track of the number of dialogues in which I, myself, have participated. As I said from the opening of this post, "it is impossible for me to keep up with the many discussions of my work" or, indeed, of points that I have made over the past 15 years.

One final comment: I am utterly delighted to see more dissent within "orthodox" ranks on questions as varied as economics and the war. It is my hope that over time the engagement of the "orthodoxy" will extend outward to include scholars of many different hues.

Thanks again for your reply.

Appendix #6

Casey writes:

There is a difference between the historical record and products SOLD by the ARI for learning purposes. The record is, IN FACT, preserved, but ARI has no obligation, and probably legitimate legal concerns about SELLING educational materials to which the Brandens contributed without remunerating the Brandens for such sales. Isn't that clear?

That's very clear, Casey, and very well put.

But let me repeat for the umpteenth time: Ayn Rand herself never sought to alter the historical record of the books that are still being sold in which Branden's essays appear. (And I don't believe Branden gets one dime of remuneration from the ongoing sale of such anthologies as The Virtue of Selfishness or Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal). Indeed, the only thing Rand ever did was to remove the dedication she made to Nathaniel in Atlas Shrugged on post-1968 printings of the book. This was entirely understandable, in my view... as was the cessation of sales of courses in which the Brandens were principal lecturers ("Basic Principles of Objectivism," "Principles of Efficient Thinking," etc.). I suspect, however, that all of those recorded lecture courses are on file in the Ayn Rand Archives.

Rand was very clear in her anthologies that the Brandens were no longer associated with her or her philosophy, as I said earlier in this thread, but none of this required a rewriting of reality, even in the "SELLING" of what might be considered "educational materials to which the Brandens contributed." Adam Reed is right when he emphasizes this as an outgrowth of Rand's primacy of existence view.

If the Estate wished to continue the policy of keeping the historical record intact for saleable items, it could have done the exact same thing. And if it chose not to do the same thing, the Estate could have at least informed scholars, like myself, who spent exorbitant amounts of money on lectures and audio courses that the material had been edited for content because earlier unnamed participants were no longer associated with Rand's philosophy.

Understand that heterodox non-ARI affiliated scholars like myself have to depend on the materials that the Estate offers for sale because we will never gain access to the archives where the historical record is being "preserved." I'd like to be proven wrong.

Now James wonders why it is that those of us on this side of the divide aren't as upset by the "alterations" in the historical record perpetuated by the Brandens. But Nathaniel Branden wrote a memoir, and Barbara Branden wrote a biography with heavy doses of memoir. Neither of them has ever posed as a "keeper of the flame" and neither of them has a monopoly on knowledge or information about Rand. The fact that a book has now been written and published that provides a starkly different portrait of Rand in many respects is proof that this enterprise will continue. And there are other biographies in the works, including one being written by Shoshana Milgram, who has full access to the archives, and one being written by Anne Heller, who was denied access. The Brandens may have offered the first word on Rand biography, but they will most certainly not be the last word. Praise be to the proliferation of competition in the intellectual marketplace!

But competition is not something the Estate seems to want; it possesses a virtual monopoly on most of the written and oral record of Rand and her early associates and it heavily restricts access to that record. Those of us writing in the area of historical biography or on the evolution of Rand's thought and movement must depend upon that record, even as we must seek out alternative sources of information (like those being offered by the Objectivist History Project, with which I am associated). If we are denied access to the historical record because we just don't have the proper credentials or know the right people, our dependence on the saleable record is clearly not enough. Because that record is being edited, in some respects, heavily edited.

And, to repeat: the practice of bracketing out people who are persona non grata from the "saleable" items is not restricted to the Brandens. Until or unless the archives are opened to all bona fide scholars, we will forever be in the dark, guessing what has been excised and speculating, unnecessarily, for better or for worse, about the motives of those who do the excising.

So, James, you may justifiably feel that no injustice has been perpetuated by the editing of saleable items, but you've gone to the mountain top and you've seen the promised land. You were granted access to the archives.

The rest of us are still waiting. And a part of me suspects that we will all be dead before any heterodox non-ARI-affiliated scholar gets into those archives.

Appendix #7

James writes:

So, if Nathaniel Branden were to reprint "The Moral Revolution in 'Atlas Shrugged'" from WHO IS AYN RAND?, and then to have suppressed a credit reference to Leonard Peikoff in an original footnote within it, would that be same kinda thing being complained about here? (Thank you, Craig Ceely.**)


Except that the one reprint of that essay was by The Objectivist Center, and Nathaniel Branden indicates explicitly that he made "a few cuts." (He was not explicit about what the cuts were, but Rand herself was not fully explicit about the cuts she made to the 1959 edition of We the Living, so I'm not going to fault Branden for not providing an essay-length discussion of the cuts he actually made; the Peikoff note is only one of several.)

Branden also states in his preface to the reprint that the essay "was written at a time when my thinking was totally in alignment with that of Ayn Rand's, and thus none of the reservations or questions about her work that I would convey in later books and lectures is in evidence."

In point of fact, however, "Basic Principles of Objectivism," Nathaniel Branden's recorded lecture course, which TOC currently offers for sale, and "Principles of Efficient Thinking" (a Barbara Branden lecture course) have both been sold in the years after the break, and neither course has been altered at all, in any way, shape, or form, to my knowledge.

**Added note: BTW, Craig was also the one who reminded me recently about my screen credit in the "Sense of Life" documentary that I mentioned in this post. Not that I needed too much reminding; seeing my name on the big screen, I admit, was a thrill. :)

Appendix #8

Casey writes: "But in the end, this issue is a pretty thin reed to hang all the uproar against ARI on. ... And getting all hot about this and not about the Brandens' disregard for the historic record is a little hard for me to buy at this point."

Sorry, Casey, what I'm saying is no thin reed.

As for the Brandens: It's not as if none of us was aware of the Branden deceptions prior to Jim's book. And whatever you want to say about Rand's critics, there isn't a reputable scholar alive that I know who did not place the Branden books in their proper context as "first words" from witnesses who had a very personal stake in the events they described.

We can keep debating this, but it will not be resolved to our mutual satisfaction. I continue to maintain that what the Brandens did and what they have said about Rand pertained primarily to their personal experiences with her. And they are not the only people who knew Rand and who have said unflattering things about Rand.

But even if Rand were the biggest bitch imaginable or the kindest person who ever lived, it would not matter to me one iota in terms of my evaluation of the truth of her philosophy or my understanding of her intellectual origins or legacy. I don't reduce my analysis of a philosophy to an analysis of the life of the person who forged it. And this is coming from somebody who spent an inordinate amount of time in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical trying to come to terms with a specific aspect of Rand's life, namely, her early education.

It is because my attention is focused on Rand's philosophy, and on her intellectual origins, development, and evolution as a thinker, that the Ayn Rand Archives are important to me.

Let me also state for the hearing of the world: I actually send a small annual contribution to the Ayn Rand Institute, because I believe that they are doing important work. From their essay contests to their archival preservation, there is much to commend here. That doesn't mean that they can't do better.

Perhaps if you better understood and appreciated the unnecessarily adversarial and often litigious relationship* of ARI to most non-ARI scholars (some recent promising changes notwithstanding at the Institute), you'd be better able "to buy" the passion that some of us bring to this discussion.

*The litigiousness pertains not to ARI, actually, but to the Estate of Ayn Rand.

Appendix #9

I need to preface this post with a personal note. I want to thank the participants here for dragging me out of my doldrums, and inspiring me with "twisted balls" as we say here in Brooklyn, to jump into the fray. It has been difficult to do much of anything as I've been nursed back to my "normal" level of ill-health, coming out of a severe medical setback. I extended an official "thank you" at Notablog to all my well-wishers, but I wanted to extend it here as well.

Because of these recent medical woes, and because of some circumstances that are beyond my control, I am needing to "pull the reins" back a bit. I am behind in my normal work responsibilities by about a month, and I am poised to begin (again) a major research project on Aleksandr Blok, the Nietzschean Russian Symbolist writer whom Rand named as her "favorite poet."

More importantly, I am spending a lot of time on responsibilities connected to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, of which I am a founding co-editor. One of the journal's co-founders, Bill Bradford, is suffering from severe health problems himself (see here).

And, I'm sorry to report today that I received word the other night that my Associate Editor, and prolific SOLO contributor, Robert Campbell, was involved in a serious bike accident in which he broke both his wrists. He underwent surgery and is currently in the hospital. He is scheduled to be released soon, but will be unable to use his hands much in the coming month or two. (Well-wishers may want to leave their "get well" thoughts here at SOLO.)

All this means that I have an enormous amount of work to do, more than usual, in readying the next issue of JARS.

I'm sure I'll get my "balls twisted" on occasion to post at SOLO again at some point and I will continue my daily blogging at Notablog. But I do need to adjust my work responsibilities accordingly in the face of these current difficulties.

All of this said, I do wish to respond at length to Casey and James. You've both been indefatigable interlocutors and I think that something should be said in response to your latest posts.


In response to Casey here: I am not going to speculate as to why Nathaniel Branden characterized his cut of a footnote (among other cuts) crediting Peikoff as a "superfluous" cut. I don't think one has to be a rocket scientist to know that these two men are not exactly affectionate toward one another. The point I was making, however, is that Branden at least told us that he cut something. Of course, most Rand scholars do have access to Who is Ayn Rand?, which, even though it is no longer in print, remains an important historical document in the evolution of Objectivism. (It is certainly in the hands of far more people than the TOC reprint.)

In any event, you won't find anything approaching an acknowledgment of editing in any current publications emanating from ARI-affiliated sources.

My comment that reputable scholars view "the Branden books in their proper context as 'first words' from witnesses who had a very personal stake in the events they described" is also not a new one. Most recently, I made virtually the same comment in my review of James Valliant's book (see the section on "Historical Methodology" in that review here).

As far as scholars go, I have never been to a conference at either The Objectivist Center or the Ayn Rand Institute. I have attended several "day" lectures through the years sponsored by TOC in New York City. At those conferences, the attention was on ethics, politics, or aesthetics. Nary a word was ever said about Ayn Rand's personal life.

My comments about the marginal character of the Affair in genuine Rand scholarship are based on years of contributing to, editing, and reading in the Rand scholarly literature.

For example: JARS is now entering its seventh year of publication. We have 13 issues to our credit since the Fall of 1999. I count a total of 152 articles published over this time period. Of these articles only a very few mention Rand's personal life, and only a very few of these mention Rand's "moral shortcomings." In these limited number of cases, the authors' judgments of Rand are based on their reading of the Branden works for sure. You will find a comment about Rand's "moral shortcomings" in Lisa Dolling's Spring 2000 review of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (a book that includes an essay by Barbara Branden); Joseph Maurone's Spring 2002 essay, "The Trickster Icon and Objectivism" (which deals with much more than Rand's "personal life," focusing on important Romantic themes in Rand's novels); and the James Arnt Aune Fall 2002 essay referenced in Valliant's book (an essay that was met with devastating critique by Leland Yeager in our pages). Other essays that mention Rand's personal life: Dean Brooks's review of the Sures memoir; and a 3-article exchange between Karen Michalson and Sky Gilbert on Gilbert's Branden-inspired play, The Emotionalists.

But a book review of David Kelley's Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand focuses almost no attention on Rand's personal life or the "movement" schisms; Jonathan Jacobs, the reviewer, is much more interested in philosophical issues and actually yearns for a "more purely philosoph[ical] book."

It is true that some left-wing critics, like Gene Bell-Villada, mention Barbara Branden's biography---but he sees Barbara as Rand's "frank yet devoted biographer" ("Nabokov and Rand," Fall 2001 JARS).

Other left-wingers, like Slavoj Zizek ("The Actuality of Ayn Rand," Spring 2002 JARS) go so far as to praise Rand for the way she handled The Affair. Writes Zizek: "There is a well-known story about Rand whose superficially scandalous aspect often eclipses its extraordinary ethical significance." That "ethical significance," for Zizek, is not located in Rand-as-Moral Monster, but in the fact that "Rand did not cheat" (Zizek's emphasis). He concludes:"To show such firmness in the most intimate domain bears witness to an ethical stance of extraordinary strength: while Rand was here arguably 'immoral' [in the conventional sense, a reference to the extramarital affair], she was ethical in the most profound meaning of the word. It is this ethical stance of inner freedom that accounts for the authenticity clearly discernible in Rand's description of ... Howard Roark." And Zizek then goes on to praise Roark as one of the most authentic and benevolent of fictional characters.

So, all in all, in seven years of publishing JARS, I count a total 10 articles out of 152 that mention Rand's personal life, and not all of these references are unflattering, as we have seen from the Zizek article.

Zizek didn't need to read Valliant's book (this was Spring 2002 after all) in order to come to this conclusion, and he had every reason, as a left-wing pomo, to make lots of snide comments about Rand. Instead, he formed his own positive conclusions from his own reading of the Branden books.

So, clearly, not everybody, including the critics, walks away from the Branden books with a view of Rand-as-Moral-Monster.

Remember, btw, that JARS is being "boycotted" by the likes of ARI-scholar Andrew Bernstein because of the "people" we publish. Bernstein called for that boycott of the journal and of all my works (which he admits to never having read), in the Spring of 2002, after we'd published a single paragraph reply Bernstein had written for the journal to a Kirsti Minsaas review of his Cliffsnotes (see here and here). I'll leave it to others to speculate on the character of Bernstein's denunciation. Clearly, from where I sit, it has nothing to do with the fact that we publish "the Brandens" (ooops, we have published an essay or two by the Great Mini-Satan, David Kelley!!!) or that we are some kind of Branden "front organization." That JARS is a "nonpartisan" publication has done nothing to ease the tension (see here and here).

Now, if I extend my inquiry to include the larger Rand scholarly literature, I can tell you that one finds very few references to Rand's personal life. ARI-affiliated scholars who have published fine books (I count the writing and editing work of Robert Mayhew, the work of Tara Smith, and others) never say a negative word about Rand's personal life. No surprise there. But non-ARI-affiliated scholars have a similar track record. Take a look at the countless volumes of essays and books on Ayn Rand, by Douglas Den Uyl (The Fountainhead: An American Novel); Douglas Rasmussen (with Den Uyl, The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand; ); Mimi Gladstein (Atlas Shrugged: A Manifesto of the MindThe Ayn Rand Companion); Tibor Machan (Ayn Rand, and hundreds of other articles), and you'll find almost an exclusive focus on Rand's philosophy or literary legacy. And that's where the focus should be.

(As an aside, I should mention that none of these non-ARI-affiliated writers is ever referenced in the works of any ARI-affiliated scholars. I can think of a single exception: Tara Smith, who has referenced Rasmussen in her work. But the overwhelming number of publications coming from ARI-affiliated scholars is marked by citational partisanship; non-ARI-affiliated scholars freely reference ARI-affiliated scholars, but not the other way around. On this peculiar phenomenon, see here.)

So, we're back to Square One: The smears of Ayn Rand are coming mostly from people who despise Ayn Rand's philosophy, and whose comments on her personal life are the icing on a cake baked in the oven of a primarily ideological opposition (the Commentary article that James references is a case in point; see here).

Folks, I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree about our different views of the nature of the Branden books. From where I sit, scholars and other readers have been aware for nearly two decades of the central deceptions that the Brandens perpetuated toward the end of their relationship with Ayn Rand.

Where we are at odds is that I do not believe the Brandens are the focus of evil in the modern world; I do not ascribe every action and reaction of the Brandens to lying, deception, and manipulation; and I do not see conflict between or within the books as symptomatic of that evil. This was a complex tragedy that involved the poor choices and lives of four people directly and, apparently, countless numbers of people indirectly.

I suspect that this entire generation is going to have to die out before we relegate this whole mess to a footnote in the larger text that is Ayn Rand's profoundly important philosophical legacy.

Appendix #10

Just a very brief rejoinder.

James, you have to allow that my participation in this forum and at Notablog, contextualized further by reading through several hundred (or is that thousand?) posts on this topic, might lead me to a little hyperbole. But if you clearly don't believe that the Brandens are the focus of evil in the modern world, I sure do get the impression that you---and others who support your position---really do believe that the Brandens are irredeemably evil and that their motivations are almost always base. I could be wrong about this ...

Let me state four further clarifications for the record:

1. I honestly don't see how my previous post was "a giant and irrelevant distraction from the book or its goals." I thought one of your points, James, was that too much criticism of Rand is rooted in charges made by the Brandens. I simply pointed to over 150 articles in JARS and much of the critical scholarship done on Rand, and I find that the discussion of Rand is not informed (much, if at all) by the Branden books. This much is true: We do need to be vigilant and call ad hominem for what it is, whether it shows up in Commentary or National Review.

2. The Zizek article was published in the Spring 2002 JARS; however, it is a revision and expansion of an article that Zizek wrote for the Fall 1997 issue of Lacanian Ink, so his views on this topic predate both his JARS article and the electronic publication of part 1 of your book.

3. I'll let David Kelley speak for himself. I think the issues he deals with in Contested Legacy, however, go far beyond Rand's biography and speak to the problems inherent in the very sycophancy that the Brandens played a part in creating in the historical evolution of the Objectivist movement. It is a sycophancy that is still with us today in some circles.

4. I do not feel that I've been dealt with uncharitably---in any way, shape, or form---by either you or Casey. I think we've been mutually respectful from the beginning. It's natural to get a little hot-under-the-collar on some of these issues, but I think we've conducted ourselves just fine.


Appendix #11: A Postscript

I asked the Brandens about the issues surrounding the editing out of their voices on tapes still being marketed by the Ayn Rand Institute. I asked two questions:

1. Could it be that ARI and/or the Estate might have been worried that they'd have to pay a royalty to the Brandens if their voices were left on the tapes?

2. Did either of you or both of you negotiate an end to the use of your voices by Rand and her heirs in taped lecture courses?

Both Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden answered "No" to both questions.

Barbara added that she could not imagine why anyone would be worried about paying royalties to the Brandens and not to everyone else whose voices were left in. She said she has had no communication or negotiation whatever with anyone at ARI or with the Estate about this or any other related issue. And she states further that she did not require or suggest that ARI cease using her voice. Nathaniel confirms this with regard to his own voice.

I also asked others who were around in the early days to confirm if, in the post-1968 era, the voices of the Brandens were ever heard on marketed recordings. Apparently, some recall that the Branden voices were originally left on marketed recordings but that every mention of the Branden names was deleted. Perhaps because the voices remained recognizable, later marketed recordings deleted the voices as well and substituted a narrator's voice.

(Other discussants have continued the dialogue over these points at SOLO, starting here.)


Discussions of the Valliant book and the Branden books continues in various Objectivist forums. See, for example, Robert Campbell's article at SOLO, and the discussion that follows there.

A lot has been made of the fact that the Brandens don't discuss much of the content of Nathaniel Branden's psychotherapy sessions with Rand in the time leading up to the end of their relationship. Rand's journals reveal that Branden was complaining of sexual paralysis. When, later, she learns of his lies, it is reported in the Branden books that Rand slapped his face, and proclaimed: "If you have an ounce of morality left in you, an ounce of psychological health---you'll be impotent for the next twenty years! And if you achieve any potency, you'll know it's a sign of still worse moral degradation!" And then she slapped him three times.

In Passion, Barbara tells us that the affair had been put on hold for 6 years, and that over that time, it "had rarely been sexual" (331). She reports that NB tells Ayn that he has no "emotional capacity" left for his relationship with her---because of his collapsing marriage. This is in sync with AR's report: that's why AR started to become a kind of "marriage counselor" to the Brandens.

She reports that NB starts withdrawing from AR, but talked obsessively about his relationship with Patrecia. He spoke of "physical and emotional" problems to AR (335) and AR began "to question the reality of his love." BB reports that NB felt guilt because he was not having the 'requisite' response to AR---his "highest value" and something that he believed he should have felt, given the Objectivist theory of romantic love. He was hoping that he'd be able to exhibit that "passionate sexual response to Ayn," but kept telling AR that his lack of response to her, "the problems besetting their relationship had nothing to do with his love for her."

It was my understanding when I first read these passages, and it is my understanding now, that this was BB's way of saying that NB wasn't getting aroused for AR, telling AR, in effect: "It's not you, it's me." He made every excuse: it was the "triangle," he said; etc. And AR began to counsel him on his problem, through "endless psychological sessions, endless excruciatingly difficult labor for her---and the tortured sense that everything she did and said was somehow beside the point, that she was losing him." (335)

"I love Ayn, but I can't release the feeling; something is blocking it---that's the only problem," NB tells himself (says BB).

always interpreted these passages as grand self-deception and excuse-making (not only to AR but to himself) for Branden's inability to feel anything sexual toward AR. And he was also consciously deceiving AR: He felt the need to pretend that it was a generalized sexual problem, because if he didn't represent it as such, he'd have to admit that he was fully aroused for Patrecia.

But this shows the depth of Branden's deception: it was self-deception first, because he was accepting the theory of romantic love as response to "highest values" (read: highest intellectual values), thus rationalizing the whole theory, and if he were not responding to AR, it meant that the problem, in his mind, was, indeed, deep---pointing to his inner corruption. In other words, he not only accepted "the theory," but blamed himself for not living up to the theory or to AR, and had to lie to AR and to himself in order to deal with a mounting guilt, a devastating internal contradiction between his conscious ideas, subconscious desires, feelings, thoughts, and actions.

By p. 336, BB is talking about AR's questioning of the "age difference": trying to find every which reason to explain NB's lack of "desire" for her. NB seems to muster some "honeymoon periods"---but then he fell back "into guilt, into remorse, into further deceit." And then AR turns to BB---and BB now has to act as AR's "friend"---while protecting NB's secret. Oy. What a mess.

BB's rendering of AR's thoughts here seem in sync with what we now know from Rand's private journals ... though Valliant interprets it as AR conceding that NB can never really be her lover. But I don't think this is necessarily so: Clearly by "early in 1968," AR is saying that she thinks NB only loves her "theoretically, but it has no emotional reality." She does feel as if she's lost him and can't understand his obsession with Patrecia. She claims to believe NB that he wasn't in love with Patrecia (let alone involved with her sexually).

Finally, in July 1968, NB writes that letter to AR where he admits that "their ages had become an impassable barrier to his sexual feeling"; in effect, he enunciates that which he kept denying: "age differences have contributed to my sexual impotence with you."

AR is now furious... because he'd been denying it was an "age problem" all along. But he still fails to admit his relationship with Patrecia. Finally in mid-July, he admits to AR his love for Patrecia, but still denies the affair, and tells AR that he knows what this must mean to her, "to be rejected for a lesser value." She's furious, rightly so.

Finally, by August, all the truth comes out... and AR breaks with the Brandens completely. (She, of course, is in touch with BB again in 1981... and becomes aware that BB is writing her biography.)

I think NB's basic points here are in sync with BB's. He does tell us in his memoir that he felt AR "too old to inspire romantic feelings in me." [Read: sexual feelings.] It's clear throughout this entire time that despite his lies, he is, I think, subconsciously, putting all the "information" out there for Rand to see: his obsessiveness over Patrecia, talks of hypotheticals, etc.---all his way of telling her the truth, without having to tell her the truth... and in total contradiction to what he is saying to Rand on every other level.

So, getting back to Rand's comment that Branden ought to be impotent: When I first read the Branden books, and read that "impotence" comment from Rand, I interpreted it as follows: "You bastard! You claimed you had all these problems that prevented you from having an intimate relationship with me... and all along, you were having sex with Patrecia!" And if you factor in how rejected she must have felt by that point, how his lies tried to "soften the blow"---only to make the blow worse than ever---I must say that I had no negative reaction to Rand raising that impotence issue or to the number of times she slapped his face. I walked away from those books with a much more positive view of AR and a much more negative view of NB. (And the Valliant book has actually made Rand even more sympathetic.)

And I don't think my original reaction was so atypical: As I said above, even Slavoj Zizek, a left-wing pomo, drew the same conclusions, when he had every reason to use this against Rand, given his ideological opposition to her philosophy.

One final point: Valliant argues that NB had projected in his memoir that AR was literally insane. Except that the one place where he uses that word ("insane"), it is Patrecia who makes the statement (on p. 369 in Judgment Day, 1st edition) and NB never seems to use the word literally, placing it in quotes (on p. 372): "If Ayn was 'insane' [ed: notice he places that word within q

Posted by chris at 01:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | Posted to Rand Studies

Chris said: Nevertheless, I was relieved to discover from Mike's postings that he and his ARI friends "don't have weekly burnings of Chris Sciabarra books (we only do that stuff once per year)."

ROFL - That was priceless!

No doubt, all of your work should be placed on the 'Index Librorum Prohibitorum'. On the other hand, the fate of a Copernicus may be too good for you. Consider the possibility that the only reason they don't burn your books, is because they are saving the gasoline and matches for your actual person!

Heretic that you are, I will now rename you, Giordano Bruno; a fellow Italian with whom you have a bit in common; hopefully you can escape sharing the same finale as your new namesake!

Take care Bruno, and try not to let the flies bother you too much.

Best regards, George

Posted by: George Cordero | October 29, 2005 04:09 PM

Appendix 1, Appendix 2, 3, 4, .... 104, 105, 106 ....

Someone, and I will not mention names, is failing to properly convalesce as they should.

Bruno, take a hammer to that keyboard and relax.


Posted by: George Cordero | October 29, 2005 07:11 PM


... and the good news is: I've already had my Appendix taken out! LOL

Okay... I've done enough for one day, doncha think? Work can be therapeutic... but I do need my rest. :)

Mucho appreciation for your comments.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 29, 2005 07:17 PM

CS, aka GG, quietly whispers: "But still, they erase..."

Well, Chris, good to see you convalescing in your now obviously-typical, exhausting way.

And, you still are the penultimate of a perfect diplomat in your counter-arguing style. You are such an exemplar re doing this that I'm still trying to integrate it to my way of, um, 'debating.' We should all be so oriented.


Posted by: John Dailey | October 30, 2005 02:34 PM

People say "If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck, and acts like a duck -- it's probably a duck!" When it comes to censoring the Branden voices on those audio tapes, The Ayn Rand Institute walks, talks, looks, and acts like a CULT.

Posted by: Andre Zantonavitch | November 2, 2005 09:42 AM

Gawd Chris,
You are just too nice and patient! Now how you can have a taste of Sicilian, I'll never understand. Where are the knives? The poison?
Just a thought.
Just Ken

PS: Valliant was interviewed in Axiomatic Magazine here:

Posted by: Kenneth R. Gregg | November 2, 2005 07:55 PM

Hey, John, I surely do need to, uh, pay attention to my own convalescence, eh?

Thanks for your kind words about my diplomacy, which seems to stupefy Ken. LOL

Rest assured, Ken: I'm from Brooklyn and I am half-Sicilian. Once the line has been crossed with me, it can be very messy. :) (I'm also half-Greek, which might explain a few dialectical things...).

As for ARI and cultism, Andre: I do think the Institute has come a long way over the years. Dissent over such issues as the Bush presidency, the war, and Austrian economics is not something that would have happened ten years ago.

But the jury is still out on these editing issues, which have yet to be resolved. It is a source of great frustration for those of us on the outside who would like an explanation.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 3, 2005 09:39 AM


Song of the Day #440

Song of the DayTime After Time ("Time Machine Waltz"), composed by Miklos Rozsa, is one of the composer's most melodic screen waltzes. It is played by pianist Eric Parkin on the soundtrack album.

Posted by chris at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 28, 2005

Song of the Day #439

Song of the DayThe Skaters' Waltz (Op. 183), composed by Emile Waldteufel, offers a lovely, graceful theme. Listen to audio clips here and here.

Posted by chris at 09:14 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 27, 2005

Song of the Day #438 (for #1 Sox)

Song of the Day (b)Chicago (That Toddlin' Town) features the words and music of Fred Fischer, a popular Tin Pan Alley composer. It's my musical tribute to the Chicago White Sox for winning their first World Series Championship since 1917. They swept the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros, and took 11 out of 12 in the postseasonShoeless JoeDirty Black Sox? After the Red Sox, there are no more curses in baseball. Maybe the Chicago Cubs are next! Or maybe these triumphs are only possible for teams named after different kinds of, uh, socks. Either way, listen here to an audio clip of Frank Sinatra singing this timeless tune.

Posted by chris at 07:55 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music Sports

Song of the Day #437

Song of the Day (a)Waltz in C-Sharp Minor (Op. 64, No. 2) (full length theme at that link) is from Movement 9 of "Les Sylphides" by Frederic Chopin. Listen also to another audio clip with pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Posted by chris at 07:40 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 26, 2005

Song of the Day #436

Song of the DayBlue Danube Waltz is a very famous waltz composed by Johann Strauss, Jr. It was used to classic effect in the Stanley Kubrick-directed 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey." Listen to an audio clip here.

Posted by chris at 09:06 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 25, 2005


A benchmark of sorts has been reached in the War in Iraq: 2000 American military deaths.

For this brief post, I have nothing to say about U.S. foreign policy that I have not already said, umpteen times in the past.

For this brief post, I only offer my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their loved ones.

For this brief post, I offer too a special salute to the living who are grappling with the tragedy of warfare on a daily basis: the 15,000+ visibly wounded and the thousands upon thousands of soldiers still suffering from scars invisible to the naked eye.

For this brief post, no comments are necessary.


Posted by chris at 07:15 PM | Permalink | Posted to Remembrance

Patrick Giles, RIP

Patrick Giles was a writer. His articles appeared in the NY TimesNewsdayInterview, and so many other periodicals. I first met Patrick online on one of those contentious e-forums. We had a few things in common: We were both born in Brooklyn, and we were passionate about our love of music (he was an opera fan) and baseball.

I posted my condolences to a memory book in his honor. In it, I wrote:

I never met Patrick; we participated on an e-list or two together, and over time, I discovered that he shared the same passion for Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees that I did. We eventually spoke on the phone and hoped to get together to catch a game in the Bronx. It never worked out. But Patrick was kind enough to send me his 'unauthorized biography' of Jeter: Derek Jeter: Pride of the Yankees. It's still among the most entertaining biographical introductions to the great Yankee shortstop.

Patrick's passion was infectious. It will live on.

If any of you knew Patrick, and would like to add your thoughts to the memory book, feel free to contact me and I'll direct you to the appropriate link.

Rest in Peace, Patrick.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 06:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | Posted to Remembrance


Dear Sir,
Thank you, so much for your kind words about my brother, Patrick. His passion was contagious and he is truly missed. His Memorial service will be on 11/18 at 7 pm and his obit will be printed in the Ny Times. Thank you for being a part of this wonderful man's life.
Sincerely yours,
Meg Giles Kerlin

Posted by: Meg Giles Kerlin | November 12, 2005 10:11 PM


Happy Birthday, S.I. Ferry

I took my first ride on the Staten Island Ferry on a hot summer night when I was a kid. It has always provided the most breathtaking view of New York harbor.

And it's still the cheapest and the best boat ride in New York City.

Today, the Staten Island Ferry celebrates its Centennial!

Happy Birthday!

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 06:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | Posted to Remembrance


Ah, Staten Island Ferry. I've taken it four or five times - for I always missed the Statue of Liberty Ferry, which stops at about 3pm.

"And it's still the cheapest and the best boat ride in New York City."


Posted by: Hong | October 25, 2005 09:55 PM

I've only taken the Ferry once, on my first visit in 1986 to your beautiful city. What a rush! I still have the photos of those proud Twin Towers, who loomed like friendly giants, such a proud symbol of our grand nation. Those photos, and the pictures in my memory, make me a little teary-eyed now. I did not have the opportunity to visit your magnificent city again until after the attack, and I could not bring myself to take it again--the skyline fills me with such an aching sense of loss. Even so, the Ferry is such a wonderful NYC experience.

Hope you continue to be on the mend, Chris.


Posted by: Peri Sword | October 26, 2005 10:27 AM

Hong, Peri, thanks for your comments, as always.

Peri, I actually took this photo from the S.I. ferry; I use it as the opening for all of my WTC remembrance essays (start here).

It's a sense of loss that is virtually universal around here.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 27, 2005 04:06 PM


Song of the Day #435

Song of the DayVienna Blood Waltz (Op. 354) (audio clip at that link) was composed by Johann Strauss, Jr., the Waltz King, who was born 180 years ago today. In honor of Strauss, I'll spend the next week focused on a few of my favorite waltzes.

Posted by chris at 08:12 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 24, 2005

Thank You

Well, at the risk of turning Notablog into the Daily Sciabarra Medical Report, with hourly updates on X-rays and fluid samples, I figured I'd weigh-in and just pull all these threads together with a simple "Thank You." I've got a long way to go, folks, but I'm still home, getting assistance from family, friends, and two very close bosom buddies, one with brown hair and a gorgeous smile and the other with blond hair and a wagging tail.

All of this beats a hospital emergency room.

Cliche or not: "Thank You" just isn't enough to express the deep gratitude and appreciation I feel for the many public and private expressions of support that I've received. It has come regardless of philosophic or political orientation; it has been expressed on Randian forums such as SOLO (thanks Lindsay Perigo for this and this) and Marxian forums like Marxism-Thaxis (thanks Jim Farmelant for your post on my blog and for this as well; for those who don't know, I was a founding co-moderator of Marxism-Thaxis and actually came up with the "Thaxis" group name signalling the integration of THeory and prAXIS).

Thanks to the individual well-wishers at SOLO who posted here, including: Jody Allen Gomez, Lance Moore, Marnee, Marcus Bachler, William A. Nevin, Bob Palin, Teresa Summerlee Isanhart (I still have the caps!!!), Pete, Ed Thompson, and Matthew Ashby.

Thanks to the individual posters at Notablog for their good wishes (and I'll try not to duplicate names for those who posted on multiple threads):

On the "Karl Rove and Me" thread, thanks once again to Hong, John Dailey, Max, Jason Dixon, Chris Grieb, Vid Axel, Peter Cresswell (have no fear, Not PC, Ellington is Coming, and so glad you noticed Perdido), David M. Brown, Derek McGovern, Philip Coates, Glenn Lamont and Sam, Michael and Kat, Shane, Andrew Bates, Jane Yoder (yummy, and you know what I mean!!!), Matthew Humphreys, Robert Malcom, Luke Setzer, Matthew Graybosch, Duncan Bayne, Brant Gaede, Joe Maurone (and Aquaman), Rush, Cameron, Sunni (squeezesssssssssssssss), Debbie Clark (fellow Aquarian), and Kate Herrick (your note brought tears to my eyes; have no fear: I'm not going anywhere!).

On the "Back in Hospital" thread, which was prompted by an awful 24-hour ordeal in the ER, thanks to Nathaniel Branden, Barbara Branden, Thomas L. Knapp, Tim and Moira, Roger Bissell, Jim Valliant, Ilana Mercer (trying not to be too compulsive about replying to everybody, as you can see!), Michael Southern, Timur and Donna, Mick Russell, Peri Sword, Jason Walker, Mattias, and Mike Shapiro (who proves he will never fall for any scare tactics, no matter how desperate ... take your time, buddy, with the JARS essay, it's okay! Honest!).

On the "Aquaman" thread, thanks again to my pal Aeon Skoble.

On the "Back Home, For Now" thread, thanks to George Cordero (I will be keeping clear of all public libraries in June 2009), John Enright, Chip Gibbons, Robert Campbell, Jonathan Rick, Jon Wolfenbarger, Geoffrey Allan Plauche, and st, eve (I promise we will return to that "libertarian" question in a new thread; good to see you again!).

Finally, special thanks to my very dear sister Elizabeth: I know your short post here at Notablog scared the daylights out of a lot of people. But that's only because the circumstances were, admittedly, pretty scary. I'm still standing, and I love you for holding me up (quite literally) when I could hardly stand on my own.

Things may still be operating in slo-mo around here, and I do plan to take my sweet time getting into the groove. But I'm certain that, sooner rather than later, my focus will be returning to the issues of war and peace, politics and music, sports and scholarship.

So, a big Brooklyn hug to every individual who offered private or public words of support. I am very deeply touched by your kindness.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 04:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | Posted to Blog / Personal Business


And here's a big Welsh hug back! ;-)

Posted by: Matthew Humphreys | October 24, 2005 06:07 PM

Mr. Sciabarra,
Sorry you were(?) unwell, glad you are recovering...and inspired to see the warm responses in your blog comments.

I hear Satchmo with a sweet, sentimental, old song of the moment (paraphrased):

I see friends bloggin' by,
Saying how do you do,
They're really sayin'
I love you.

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world....

Posted by: Cliff Styles | October 24, 2005 07:25 PM

Hey Cliff, thanks for the wonderful words from Satchmo and for the good wishes. And thanks MH again!


Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 27, 2005 04:03 PM


I am so glad to hear you are back home and recovering. You are a precious gem on this earth!

Big hug,


Posted by: Andrew Schwartz | October 28, 2005 05:31 PM

Get well soon, Chris!

We need you -- you are unique: after all, who
else out there has such a bizarre understanding of the relation between Marx and Hayek?


Posted by: Jerry Levy | October 29, 2005 12:33 PM

Andrew, thanks so much for your support, and Jerry Levy -- how terrific to see you here!

Thanks again for all your kind words and support. I'm hangin' in! :)

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 29, 2005 07:37 PM


Song of the Day #434

Song of the DayBut Beautiful, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke, was first sung by Bing Crosby (audio clip at that link) in the 1947 film "Road to Rio." Today, however, I remember this lovely American standard as interpreted by the late vocalist-pianist Shirley Horn, who died on October 20, 2005. Listen to an audio clip of one of her tender renditions here.

Posted by chris at 06:52 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music Remembrance

OCTOBER 23, 2005

Song of the Day #433

Song of the DayMaid with the Flaxen Hair (aka Girl with the Flaxen Hair; Prelude for Piano, L. 117/8 No. 08) is a classic Claude Debussy composition. (This composition is not to be confused with the Artie Shaw recording of Eddie Sauter's "Maid with the Flaccid Air," audio clip at that link). Listen to an audio clip of the Debussy composition here, performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra. This expressive Debussy theme has shown up in many films, including the mysterious 1948 movie "Portrait of Jennie" (for which there has also been an homage). I adore especially a beautiful rendition by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith. He's recorded it a number of times; I love the one featured here, but he has an acoustic guitar version that is captured in this audio clip.

Posted by chris at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 22, 2005

Song of the Day #432

Song of the DayHungarian Dance No. 5, composed by Johannes Brahms, is my favorite of his lively Hungarian Dances. Listen to an audio clip here (and sample all 21 of them).

Posted by chris at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 21, 2005

Aquaman, Serenity, and Utopia

Things are still moving in slo-mo around here, but I took the opportunity, while convalescing, to tape and watch last night's "Smallville" episode.

Readers of Notablog should know that, since childhood, I've been a fan of Aquaman. I know, I know. What can I say? I'm, uh, different.

The folks at "Entourage" were having a field-day with an Aquaman sub-plot.

But last night, the folks at "Smallville" delivered a more serious treatment: Aquaman made a guest appearance on the show and it was fun.

While I've been a long-time fan of Aquaman, I can't say the same for either "Firefly" or "Serenity": I've never seen a single episode of the former, and have yet to see the latter. Many people I know have been raving about it, so maybe someday. (I'm long familiar with actor Nathan Fillion, however; he played the character "Joey" on "One Life to Live" for a while.)

Not being familiar with "Serenity," I nevertheless enjoyed this article by my pal, Ari Armstrong. And any guy who connects certain themes in the movie with Sciabarra's work on utopianism in Marx, Hayek, and Utopia has obviously endeared himself to me for life.

Read Ari's article in its entirety.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | Posted to Film / TV / Theater Review


You have to see the movie, Chris. It has everything a good movie needs humor, love, tragedy, some hand-fights and a libertarian theme ;)

It's definitely one of the few outstanding movies this year, because it employs plot elements that are usually forsaken by Hollywood in favor of a wider audience.

Posted by: Max | October 21, 2005 01:19 PM

Hope you're feeling better, and are recovering quickly.

Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | October 21, 2005 01:40 PM

I knew you'd be alright, there was no way you were going to miss Aquaman's small screen debut!
Get your rest.:)

Posted by: Joe Maurone | October 21, 2005 01:48 PM

Good to see you posting again Chris :) Smallville is a great show!

Posted by: Matthew Humphreys | October 21, 2005 02:32 PM

I will take your advice and try and see "Smallville for this week. I watched the first couple of years but have stopped. Thanks for the tip. Glad to see you're posting.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | October 21, 2005 03:18 PM

Hi Chris!

Please make a mental note that I've added mine to the chorus of voices that in your hearing praise the TV series, Firefly (which is available on DVD in better form than the one in which it first aired), and the movie, Serenity, which my wife, Cherita, and I have thoroughly enjoyed. I do hope you can given them a try someday.

Posted by: Vid Axel | October 22, 2005 01:45 AM


Song of the Day #431

Song of the DayJailhouse Rock, a Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller gem, was the first song to debut at #1 on the British singles chart (it went to the top spot again in 2005). Elvis Presley also took it to #1 on the U.S. Billboard chart, for a 7-week run that began on this day in 1957 (it was paired with "Treat Me Nice" on the B-side, which also charted). The song was the title track and highlight production number of Elvis's third film, which opened in theaters also on this day in 1957. Three weeks after the song fell from the top spot, Elvis was drafted into the U.S. army. This song remains one of my all-time favorites in the Presley catalogue; it's a
blues-based burner. Listen to an audio clip here.

Posted by chris at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 20, 2005

Back Home, For Now

I got home a couple of hours ago, and finally had the opportunity to download my email (or risk having NYU bounce a few from an overloaded queue). I also took a look at the good wishes posted here and here on Notablog.

I want to thank my dear sister for having the patience to walk-through, with me, the directions for posting on the blog, and I'm moved by the outpouring of support.

I promise you that I will actually respond in greater detail on Notablog to the comments left here. Right now, however, I am much too weak to post anything more than a song and a smile. In truth, I'm not totally "out of the woods" just yet, but I am doing better than I was two days ago.

Just a warning to those who have contacted me via email: the response will come, but I'll need a little time. Bear with me.

Comments welcome, as always.

Posted by chris at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | Posted to Blog / Personal Business


Wonderful news, Chris.

Keep on fighting. We are rooting for you.

Love from Kat and me.


Posted by: Michael Stuart Kelly | October 20, 2005 02:43 PM

I hope you are on the road to full health again. It seemed that your state had been in quite a rollercoaster-run. Hopefully, you are up and running again in no time (or at least, blogging, because this is a good sign you are on the better side of life ;)).

Best wishes from Germany,


Posted by: Max | October 20, 2005 02:46 PM

Don't worry Chris, an old gypsy woman has told me, that a certain New York dialectician will fare well beginning October of this year. Unfortunately, she also said that in June of 2009 you would be hospitalized after a freak accident at the public library; it appears that an entire shelf of books written by Hegel, Marx, and Kant will fall on you.

Hang in there, and get well soon.

Best wishes and regards,


Posted by: George Cordero | October 20, 2005 03:58 PM

Good to see you back, Chris, if not yet firing on all eight cylinders. Look after yourself.
(Good pick too for Song #430 by the way. Doo-di-doh! :-) )

Posted by: Peter Cresswell (Not PC) | October 20, 2005 04:12 PM


I'm delighted that you're back home :-) Best wishes for a speedy recovery my friend!


Posted by: Matthew Humphreys | October 20, 2005 04:28 PM

I'm glad to hear you're feeling a bit better.

Posted by: John Enright | October 20, 2005 07:10 PM

Hey Chris,
Sorry you had to head back to the hospital with complications and goods news they let you go again. I can hear them mumbling at ARI, "Shit, he's back AGAIN."


Posted by: Chip Gibbons | October 20, 2005 07:17 PM

HURRAH! Oh dear Chris, I'm SO glad you are doing so much better. ((giant hugs and kisses))

Posted by: M o I | October 20, 2005 07:20 PM

I'm happy you're doing better. You are one of our brightest lights.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | October 20, 2005 07:28 PM


You have a lot of lessons still to teach us.

Take care,


Posted by: Robert Campbell | October 20, 2005 08:00 PM

Hello dearest Chris,

Glad you are home. Don't be compulsive about replying; just REST.



Posted by: Ilana Mercer | October 20, 2005 09:59 PM


I don't know what the equivalent phrase is for an atheist, but you're in my prayers. Get well soon buddy. I miss your blogging.


Posted by: Jonathan Rick | October 21, 2005 12:37 AM

Get well soon, Chris! I love all your work and want to see alot more!!!

Jon Wolfenbarger

Posted by: Jon Wolfenbarger | October 21, 2005 09:15 PM

Dear Chris,

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. You're such a brave guy.


Posted by: Cameron | October 21, 2005 10:35 PM

I'm glad to hear you made it through and are recovering. The way you keep your chin up through all this is inspiring. I'll drop you a line before long about my very probable Ph.D. dissertation; it's positively dialectical.

Posted by: Geoffrey Allan Plauche | October 22, 2005 10:58 AM

My best wishes to your quick return to good health.

I post infrequently. I thought it was quite gracious for a scholar like yourself to respond to my posts. In case you don't remember me, our last discussion involved whether Ayn could properly be called a "libertarian". You directed me to chapter 10 of ARRR-----which I have now read. I'll save my comments for a healthier future date.

Posted by: st, eve | October 23, 2005 12:11 AM


I take it that you are feeling a bit better if you are posting songs of the day, again. Maybe when you feeling up to it, you may post something on Marxism and Objectivism or some such thing over on Thaxis.

Hoping that you have a speedy recovery.

Jim F.

Posted by: Jim Farmelant | October 23, 2005 05:16 PM


Song of the Day #430

Song of the DayPerdido, music by Juan Tizol, words by Harry Lenk and Ervin Drake, has been recorded by many artists, starting with the great Duke Ellington. Listen here to an audio clip of a version heard at the Duke's 70th birthday back in 1969. Also listen here to a two-part audio clip by saxophonist James Moody. I also love a lyrical version by the Gerald Wilson Big Band (no audio clip available, unfortunately).

Posted by chris at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 19, 2005

Back in Hospital

This is Elizabeth Sciabarra, Chris's sister. As I said yesterday, my brother's email directory is inaccessible to me at the current time, making it impossible for me to send out emails to those who have expressed their concern about his health.

He has asked me to post this to his blog to inform his readers that he's been taken back to the hospital with complications from his surgical procedure.

We'll update you when we can.

Thanks for your concern and support.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 10:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | Posted to Blog / Personal Business


All my love and my thoughts are with you, my friend.

Posted by: Nathaniel Branden | October 19, 2005 10:55 AM

Get well soon, Doc!

Posted by: Thomas L. Knapp | October 19, 2005 11:41 AM

Please tell Chris we (Tim and Moira) love and miss him and hope he recovers quickly.

Posted by: Moira | October 19, 2005 12:18 PM

Chris dear, I'm so sorry the procedure didn't go as smoothly as you had hoped. Please know that my love and all good thoughts are wih you. Take good care, and come home soon.

Elizabeth, thank you for keeping us posted.

Posted by: Barbara Branden | October 19, 2005 01:07 PM

Hey, buddy, I hope your complications are short-lived and that you quickly get back to doing what you do best, being a great pal and scholar!

Posted by: Roger Bissell | October 19, 2005 01:19 PM

Sheesh, Chris: what an excuse to extend your gold-bricking.

We're all pulling for you, really.


Posted by: John Dailey | October 19, 2005 01:37 PM

Thanks for the update Elizabeth. Tell Chris he is in my thoughts.


Posted by: Matthew Humphreys | October 19, 2005 01:38 PM

Hang in there, buddy!

Posted by: Jim Valliant | October 19, 2005 02:39 PM

Dearest Chris,
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Get well soon.

P.S. Thanks, Elizabeth.

Posted by: Ilana Mercer | October 19, 2005 06:14 PM

Hi Elizabeth -
Please tell Chris I'm thinking of him and wish him a speedy recovery. Also remind him that just because the Yankees aren't in the WS this year not to get this sick over it...there's always next year!

Posted by: Michael Southern | October 19, 2005 07:30 PM

Both Donna and I wish you the speediest recovery!!!

Posted by: Timur and Donna | October 19, 2005 09:22 PM

Chris, get well soon and get back home to Blondie.

Posted by: Mick Russell | October 19, 2005 10:06 PM

Chris, I'm sorry to hear you're feeling poorly. We're all rooting for you. Thank you, Elizabeth, for keeping us posted. Love to all of you and Blondie!

Posted by: Peri Sword | October 19, 2005 11:17 PM


We're all pulling for you. If I were a believer in God, I'd be praying for you. Elizabeth, let me join the chorus and thank you for keeping us posted.

With all love and admiration,

Posted by: Jason Walker | October 20, 2005 01:32 AM


My deepest wishes for the speediest possible recovery.

(But don't think this is going to make me hurry up with that JARS article! I'm hip to your scare tactics.)


Posted by: Mike Shapiro | October 20, 2005 02:06 AM

Hope you get well soon. All the best.


Posted by: Mattias $ | October 20, 2005 03:41 AM

Good luck, Chris. Thanks Elizabeth...good luck to you, too...

Posted by: Joe Maurone | October 20, 2005 08:38 AM

I hope you start feeling better, Chris, and soon.

Posted by: John Enright | October 20, 2005 07:08 PM


Song of the Day #429

Song of the DayRock with You, music and lyrics by Rod Temperton, is a smooth, soulful, mid-tempo track featured on the terrific Michael Jackson album "Off the Wall" (audio clip at that link).

Posted by chris at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 18, 2005

Song of the Day #428

Song of the DaySo What the Fuss?, words and music by Stevie Wonder, is from his newly released album: "A Time 2 Love" (audio clip at that link). I've been waiting for this album for a long time. Funky and socially conscious, this song has that Stevie sound, along with Prince on guitar and En Vogue providing background vocals.

Posted by chris at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 17, 2005

Song of the Day #427

Song of the DayMoonlight in Vermont, words and music by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf, is a romantic song for all nights... including tonight, the night of the Full Hunter's Moon. It has been recorded most famously as an instrumental by guitarist Johnny Smith and saxophonist Stan Getz, and vocally by such singers as Sarah VaughanFrank Sinatra, and Mel Torme (audio clips at artist links).

Posted by chris at 06:27 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 16, 2005

Song of the Day #426

Song of the DayOut of Nowhere, music by Johnny Green, lyrics by Edward Heyman, was Bing Crosby's first #1 hit (in 1931). Listen to a Bing audio clip here, and a nice Artie Shaw big band arrangement here.

Posted by chris at 09:09 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 15, 2005

Song of the Day #425

Song of the DayWho Will Buy?, words and music by Lionel Bart, is from the 1963 musical, "Oliver!," where it was performed by Bruce Prochnik (listen to an audio clip here). It was performed by Mark Lester in the 1968 film (audio clip here). I especially like a Russ Kassoff jazz arrangement of this song, performed by Catherine Dupuis (yeah, it has been one of those weeks for Dupuis... see here and here). Listen to this Dupuis audio clip.

Posted by chris at 09:06 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 14, 2005

Song of the Day #424

Song of the DayBeginnings features the words and music of Robert Lamm of the group Chicago, from its jazz-rock fusion heyday. It's one of my favorite Chicago tracks; listen to an audio clip here. And for an alternative jazzy take on this classic track, listen to the Russ Kassoff arrangement for Catherine Dupuis at this link.

Posted by chris at 08:25 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 13, 2005

Song of the Day #423

Song of the DayYou're Everything features the lyrics of Neville Potter and the music of Chick Corea, who first performed this song on his classic "Light as a Feather" album (audio clip at that link). Flora Purim provides the vocals on the original recording. I also really love a recorded version by Catherine Dupuis, from her album, "The Rules of the Road" (audio clip at that link). The Russ Kassoff arrangement takes us on a tour (de force) across the musical map.

Posted by chris at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 12, 2005

Song of the Day #422

Song of the DayBill Bailey (Won't You Please Come Home?), words and music by Hughie Cannon, dates back to 1902. It has been played by country and jazz artists alike. Listen to audio clips of a plaintive version by Patsy Cline, a finger-poppin' version by Ella, a swingin' version by Bobby Darin, a Dixieland-Swing version by Pete Fountain, and a collaboration between Ann-Margaret and Al Hirt.

Posted by chris at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 11, 2005

Karl Rove and Me

Notablog readers may have noticed fewer posts from me over the past week or so. It can't all be blamed on my obsession with baseball.

In truth, I've been dealing with a medical issue that plagues many people, regardless of intellectual orientation or political affiliation. I know this is definition by nonessentials, but in truth, I have something in common with Karl Rove. Recently, NY Daily News columnist Lloyd Grove gave us the lowdown on Rove's trials and tribulations. He writes here:

Never mind those planned congressional hearings on the hows and whys of government incompetence in the attempt to cope with Hurricane Katrina. There were not only logistical and bureaucratic troubles but, astonishingly for the Bush White House, political snafus. Maybe there's a simple explanation: Karl Rove's kidney stones.

Washington insiders have been buzzing that President Bush's guru-in-chief---often called "Bush's Brain"---has been suffering from the painful urinary-tract malady for the past couple of weeks, causing him to miss some key Katrina strategy sessions. ...

My esteemed colleague and Daily News Washington Bureau chief, Tom DeFrank, who has also suffered from the condition, yesterday told me: "The pain, depending on the size of the stone, goes from horrible to excruciating." DeFrank added: "Karl may be a certified political genius, but there's no way he could be in a meeting dispensing advice to anybody. The only thing he could dispense would be low, pitiable moans."

I know this only too well, since this is now my third bout with kidney stones. I'll have some sonic blasting of these merciless objects next week, and may be out of commission for a bit. But if I avoid a hospital stay and further complications, you can rest assured that the music will go on.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 09:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | Posted to Blog / Personal Business Politics (Theory, History, Now)


Ouch. My husband had a stone a few years back. Oh, boy, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Hope you get well soon. And be careful of what you eat (and drink). :-)

Posted by: Hong | October 11, 2005 10:55 AM

Keep on truckin', Chris. Show them stones who does the throwing.


Posted by: John Dailey | October 11, 2005 11:12 AM

My condolences, my father had one a while back and it must have felt like hell. I didn't like it one bit. If you had this more than once, than you have been truly unlucky.

Posted by: Max | October 11, 2005 11:47 AM

Oi, Chris! Good luck with the surgery and recovery.

Posted by: Jason Dixon | October 11, 2005 03:41 PM

I suffered from a kidney infection many years ago and you have my total sympathy. Get well! Thanks for the Song of the Day

Posted by: Chris Grieb | October 11, 2005 06:20 PM

Let me join in the chorus of well-wishing voices.

May the time between now and the surgery be manageable; may the surgery succeed supremely; and may your recovery be smooth, rapid and gratifying.

Posted by: Vid Axel | October 11, 2005 06:42 PM

Best wishes Chris. You ~have~ to get well so you can do that Ellington tribute in December you've been promising. :-)

Dont let me down now.

Posted by: Peter Cresswell (Not PC) | October 11, 2005 09:24 PM

Chris, I am sorry to hear that you have developed a health problem.

Posted by: David M. Brown | October 11, 2005 09:25 PM

Chris: A speedy recovery, my friend! I've missed your regular presence on SOLO. You're a true gem, so send those wretched stones packing and rejoin us as soon as you can, OK?

Posted by: Derek McGovern | October 11, 2005 09:36 PM


I hope you get well, soon!

Your wisdom is needed, so leave no stone unturned to get better! (I hope you don't mind my kidneying around.)

(puns are the most painful kind of humor)

Posted by: Philip Coates | October 12, 2005 01:31 AM

Chris, wishing you a speedy recovery. I'm sure Blondie will nurse you back to health in no time. Sam and I are thinking of you.

Posted by: Glenn Lamont | October 12, 2005 01:39 AM


From the heart, I hope that you get through this thing quickly and do not suffer too much. We need you better. I need you better. You are very important to me. May your doctors be highly competent and attentive, and even chaos and chance contribute to your full recovery.

Kat fully echos these words to you.

Warm embrace,

Michael & Kat

Posted by: Michael | October 12, 2005 03:47 AM

All the best as always Chris, always love visiting your site to see what you're thinking about. I know you're strong and you'll pull through, and you'll have to so I can keep reading your stuff!


Posted by: Shane | October 12, 2005 03:49 AM


Sorry to hear you're unwell. I look forward to seeing your writings again and perhaps we will be able to meet up next time I am in NY.

Best wishes,


Posted by: Andrew Bates | October 12, 2005 05:49 AM

Really sorry you have to have such a painful illness. No fun, of course, but better the surgery takes place soon and you'll be on the road to recovery.

Posted by: Jane Yoder | October 12, 2005 06:53 AM

Hey Chris,

I hope all goes well with the surgery! Keep us up to date.

Get well soon buddy! :-)


Posted by: Matthew Humphreys | October 12, 2005 07:06 AM

best wishes to a speedy recovery - stones are always painful things to feel

Posted by: robert malcom | October 12, 2005 09:05 AM

Hang in there, Chris! We need to see more of your "Diabolical Dialectics" on SOLO!

Posted by: Luke Setzer | October 12, 2005 10:43 AM

Dr. Sciabarra, my father had kidney stones several years ago, and I still remember how they pained him. I hope the treatment goes well, and that you recover swiftly.

Posted by: Matthew Graybosch | October 12, 2005 10:44 AM

I see that my post here and a Linz announcement at SOLO here (with additional well-wishers posting here) has brought many supportive comments to Notablog.

(What would a Sciabarra reply be without links, links, links?)

I'd like to thank each of you personally for the kind words of support; they are deeply appreciated.

I'm an old pro at this sort of thing, and I rarely post about it; my health problems (which I discuss briefly here) are life-long, and the most recent bout of kidney stones is actually an outgrowth of a congenital and chronic intestinal condition.

But this too shall pass. I have too much work to do to be kept out of commission for too long.

I will be posting here as long as I'm not hospitalized for any length of time. And as I recover, I'll be returning to the major responsibilities I still hold as an editor and an author. So keep checking back here regularly. I'm not going anywhere!

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 12, 2005 02:06 PM

Ouch ouch ouch - I've known people who have those, & I've heard the condition described to be as painful as childbirth :-(

Hope you make a speedy & full recovery :-)

Posted by: Duncan Bayne | October 12, 2005 05:39 PM

Get well soon. I'd shoot those stones if I could!


Posted by: Brant Gaede | October 12, 2005 08:50 PM

Keep Aquaman close by, so you know I'm thinking of you.

Posted by: Joe Maurone | October 12, 2005 09:35 PM

Gosh he must be unwell!

The links in his reply were not contained in footnotes. ;-) ;-)

Posted by: Andrew Bates | October 12, 2005 10:32 PM

And once they're out, throw them the hell away. Geebus did I get tired of my father shaking this little glass vial (because that's what they had back then, little glass vials) of my grandfather's kidney stones. Those must have been "issued" in the mid-40's. And there were six or seven of the little rocky-asteriod-shaped things.

Either way, I could never focus on whatever point my father was making, I was hypmotized and mezmoized by those things.

Best of luck. 8^]

Posted by: Rush | October 13, 2005 11:41 AM

Hey, folks, thanks for the additional posts, and also for the very nice email greetings I've received. There's also a bit of discussion that has been posted at SOLO (which I've referenced above). I posted a reply here and here. Aside from a little good-natured horseplay with the participants there, I did say a bit more about my overall condition; I reproduce that here for those who have expressed to me genuine concern. Suffice it to say, I don't think this is the place for me to provide a full medical history, but the problems I am facing have been life-long. I just keep rollin' with the punches (as I suggest below). Here's what I said at SOLO:

Thanks, folks, for the additional thoughts, good wishes, and information!

I wrote to Ed offlist (sent to your email address, Ed); I won't bore people with the details... but the root cause of my own kidney stone problem (third bout over the past ten years) is a rather complex set of complications from a relentless, congenital intestinal condition, for which I required life-saving intestinal by-pass surgery back in my teens. (I talk a bit about that condition in this article.) My current post-operative condition has not been life-threatening, but there is no known cure for the condition or truly effective treatment or lifestyle-dietary alternatives that could make a difference. (And take it from me, I've tried everything available: Western, Eastern, you name it!)

As one might expect of Dr. Diabolical Dialectical, I should add: the human organism is an organic unity and if one is to be a genuine radical (not merely a Russian Radical), one must go to the root in order to create fundamental change. In this instance, the root is the intestinal condition; until or unless that disease is cured, I will continue to roll with the punches.

And don't worry: In the end, I will be left standing. :)

Thanks again... and keep the good wishes coming. I go in on this coming Tuesday for the procedure that will take care of the most immediate problem.

All my very best, always,

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 14, 2005 12:14 PM

Dear Chris,

I think it's high time you put your feet up and let Blondie nurse you for a while considering all you've done!

Seriously, take it easy and hang in there!

Posted by: Cameron | October 14, 2005 04:55 PM

Hey, take good care of you!! Many warm squeezesssssss!

Posted by: Sunni | October 15, 2005 09:11 AM

Hey, Cam, Sunni, thanks for your thoughts and support, as always.

I'm going to be taking it easy for sure---at least for two days; tomorrow is the procedure, after all! :)

I'll be putting up a couple of "Songs of the Day" tonight, ahead of schedule---to keep y'all humming along till I return.

Till then... take good care!


Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 17, 2005 01:30 PM

My Aquarian soul mate, take it'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Love always, Debbie

Posted by: Debbie Clark | October 17, 2005 07:58 PM

My brother's email directory is inaccessible to me at the current time, making it impossible for me to send out emails to those who have expressed their concern about his health.

In lieu of an email update, I'm hoping that his many concerned friends and colleagues will check his Notablog for this note.

His surgical procedure is now over; he will be recovering for a few days and hopes to post on his blog and to answer emails thereafter.

Thank you for all your expressed support.

Posted by: Liz Sciabarra | October 18, 2005 06:54 PM

Oh, Chris, please be well, I wish you so much wellness, and not knowing more about the situation, I send my devoted affection, because you are perhaps the loveliest person I've ever interacted with, as far as I know you. I hope that this is just something of a near miss if not much less, which will be put behind you, and that we have much more time to be sincere intellectuals together, and get to know each other, beyond the genuineness I already learned about you in our few correspondences.... You are so lovely, and I never thought I didn't have time to get to know you better. I hope it's just a wake-up call for me!

Heartfelt wishes for good health,

Kate Herrick

P.S. Forgive me if I'm overreacting. I guess that wouldn't hurt either of us. :/

Posted by: Kate Herrick | October 20, 2005 03:13 AM


Waitil Next Year!

Yeah, yeah, I'm disappointed in the Yankees' loss last night to the Angels. The "Waitil Next Year!" refrain is starting to make me sound like an old Brooklyn Dodgers' fan.

I could go on and on about why I think the Yankees are coming up short. It's just that I've said it all before, back in the 1980s. And it does feel like the 1980s all over again.

Boss George Steinbrenner should start thinking about what it was that got the Yankees back to their winning ways in the late '90s. He spent a lot of time getting away from his "gotta-win-now" philosophy in the '80s when he turned toward his farm system and nourished the talents of a Derek Jeter, a Jorge Posada, an Andy Pettitte, a Bernie Williams, a Mo Rivera. That core team, peppered with fine acquisitions through trades and free agency, gave New York a great run after a long drought.

Since 2000, Steinbrenner has gone back to the '80s; he has spent too much time spending too much money on A-list All-Stars, some of whom have yet to prove that they can really make it in the postseason. I still get the feeling that it's not a team, not the kind of team that brought New York four World Series Championships in five years from 1996 to 2000.

In any event, baseball fan that I am, I will be watching the playoffs and the World Series. I'm hoping that the Rings go to yet another team named after an important piece of footwear. Like the 2004 World Series Champion Red Sox who hadn't won a title since 1918, the Chicago White Sox are long overdue for one (since they've not won a Championship since 1917).

If these Sox make it to the finish line, can the Chicago Cubs be far behind?

In any event, if the White Sox make it, at least I'll have a few former Yankee pitchers (Contreras and El Duque) to cheer in the Series. And if the Astros beat the Cardinals in the National League to face the White Sox in the Series, it'll be like a New York Yankees' pitchers' reunion, with Clemens and Pettitte on the mound for Houston.

The Yankees could have used some of those former pinstripers this year.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 09:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | Posted to Sports


Chris, you're exactly right: Stein had a major attitude adjustment in 95 or so, the result of which was 4 world series championships in 5 years. But starting around 00 or 01, he started going back to 80s-version Stein, with predictable results. BUT: that doesn't explain the Heimlich-worthy choking was saw last night. They could have won it or tied it in the 8th _and_ the 9th, but in neither case could they close the deal. The AL home run leader couldn't even get a base hit. Plus, Bubba as the new Buckner. Give me a [expletive deleted] break.

Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | October 11, 2005 11:18 AM

Aeon, you are so right.

Have you seen Mike Lupica's NY DAILY NEWS autopsy of the Yankee season? I don't agree with everything, but I do agree with quite a bit. Read it here.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 12, 2005 01:30 PM

Thanks for the Lupica link. He's dead right about everything in that article. Esp. the point about the decline of the Yankees' farm. They grew Jeter, Rivera, and IIRC Mattingly on the farm - what on earth could explain abandoning that concept?
BTW, hope the surgery goes well this week.

Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | October 13, 2005 07:38 AM

I think the only point I slightly diverge with Lupica (who has never been the most Yankee-friendly of columnists---not that there's anything wrong with that ... :) ) is on Matsui; I know he had a lousy series... but I think he has come through in most circumstances, and has proven to be a clutch hitter.

I think A-Rod has yet to prove to me that he's an October baseball player.

But you're right, Lupica is right, and none of it will matter. The Boss will start throwing his money around, and pick up some new great Messiahs to deliver the Yanks a new Championship, and nothing will change. Worse: With Mel Stottlemyre already gone, look for many more heads to roll.

It gets so tiring.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 13, 2005 10:46 AM


Song of the Day #421

Song of the DayPor Una Cabeza, written by composer, singer, and actor Carlos Gardel, has been a featured tango in many film scores, including "Scent of a Woman" (audio clip at that link). It was first heard in the 1935 film "Tango Bar" (original film vocal audio clip here) and has also been heard in "True Lies" and "Schindler's List."

Posted by chris at 08:47 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 10, 2005

Song of the Day #420

Song of the DayPiano Concerto in A Minor, composed by Edvard Grieg, is an exuberant piece. I especially love the first movement; listen to an audio clip here, featuring pianist Dinu Lipatti.

Posted by chris at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 09, 2005

Song of the Day #419

Song of the DayJumpin' at the Woodside (audio clip at that link) as composed and performed by Count Basie (and his Orchestra), is one of the most swingin' hits of the Swing Era. It features the sax sounds of Lester Young too; check out an additional audio clip here.

Posted by chris at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 08, 2005

Song of the Day #418

Song of the DayThat Girl, music, lyrics, and performance by Stevie Wonder, was first featured as a new track on one of his greatest hits collection: "The Original Musiquarium I" (audio clip at that link). From its soulful groove to its soaring harmonica solo, it's one of my favorite Wonder songs.

Posted by chris at 08:12 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 07, 2005

Song of the Day #417

Song of the DayPeel Me a Grape (full Diana Krall audio clip at that link) features the music and lyrics of Dave Frishberg. This sexy, jazzy song is performed by singer-pianist Krall on her album "Love Scenes," which features guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Christian McBride.

Posted by chris at 07:58 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 06, 2005

Song of the Day #416

Song of the DayIf He Walked Into My Life, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, was featured in the 1966 Broadway musical, "Mame," starring Angela Lansbury. The most memorable recording of it was sung by Eydie Gorme, who received a 1967 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Female. I could find no audio clip, unfortunately, but it's offered as part of a double album of classics: "Don't Go To Strangers"/"Softly As I Leave You."

Posted by chris at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 05, 2005

Song of the Day #415

Song of the DayJersey Bounce, lyrics by Robert Wright (aka Buddy Feyne), music by Bobby PlatterTiny Bradshaw, and Ed Johnson, is a Big Band Staple. Listen to audio clips of this swinging song by Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald.

Posted by chris at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 04, 2005

Song of the Day #414

Song of the DayPiano Sonata No. 11 in A Major (also known as Rondo Alla Turca or the Turkish Rondo, listen to midi link), composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is one of those classical piano staples that I've long adored. Listen here to an audio clip of a version recorded by the great Vladimir Horowitz.

Posted by chris at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 03, 2005

Touring a Baseball Cathedral

The 2005 baseball postseason is set: Of most interest to this New York fan, the Yankees are headed out West to play the Angels. (If the rumors are true, some NY baseball greats might be joining the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim next season; if true, I tip my baseball cap to the Mets' Mike PiazzaAll-Star catcher.)

In the meanwhile, it is very difficult to predict what will happen in a short series. With Derek Jeter bruising his knee yesterday, and some of the other regulars not in the best of shape, the Yanks still move forward in their quest for an unprecedented 27th World Series Championship.

As a diehard Yankee fan, I genuinely celebrate all the great victories that the Yankees have had. Younger fans have been somewhat spoiled in the Joe Torre era, in terms of postseason play. Ironically, I have seen more "downs" than "ups" for my team---that's what happens when you're born in 1960, instead of, say, 1940. I remember the long drought between 1965 and 1976 ('76 is the year the Yanks were swept four straight by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series). I didn't experience the true euphoria of a World Series victory until 1977-78, and then had to deal with the even longer drought of the 1980s and early 90s. (The Yanks lost the Series in 1981, and couldn't get near another World Series competition for another 15 years.)

Today, as Yankee fans look forward to another trophy, I want to take time out to look backward---to the Summer of '05. I could have easily titled this essay, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" but it centers instead on my love of the New York Yankees and a memorable summer tour of Yankee Stadium, an iconic baseball cathedral. You can read the full photo essay here:

Touring a Baseball Cathedral

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 08:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | Posted to Sports


Chris, did you happen to catch that low-life move by the Texas Rangers, where they pulled their starters against the Angels during the last game of the season? This may have caused the Yanks home field against the Angels.



Posted by: George Cordero | October 4, 2005 10:09 AM

Hey, George... I heard about this! There was a lot of chatter about whether Buck Showalter, the Ranger manager, and former Yankees' manager (who bears the Boss and Torre no great love) did it deliberately or not.

It's too hard to say, though I can't for the life of me understand why he pulled great starting players like Michael Young---unless he was concerned about saving them for a postseason game (Texas wasn't in contention), or winning Young a batting title (which Young won, and not by mere percentage points).

But as radio/TV sports guy Michael Kay said: The Yankees could have gotten home-field advantage all on their own: By winning!

And they can surely take the ALDS... by doing the same. :)

Go Yanks!

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 6, 2005 10:39 AM

"Ironically, I have seen more "downs" than "ups" for my team..."

We can't imagine how hard this must have been for you.

Posted by: Chicagoans | October 9, 2005 09:52 PM

Hey, Chicagoans! You did make me chuckle.

Now, I don't want you to choke, but let me state this before postseason baseball progresses much further:

I predicted in the early part of the season that the Chicago White Sox were the team to beat. As I said on one other occasion, I was especially struck by the honesty of the manager, who, when asked if there was any "curse" that kept the Sox from a World Series triumph since 1917, akin to the Cubs' Billy Goat and the Bosox Curse of the Bambino, he answered simply: "Nah, we just sucked."

I'm rooting for the Yanks to go all the way this year, as I do every year. And a fifth-game victory tonight over the Angels will bring them into direct confrontation with the White Sox. IF the Yanks lose tonight, or even against the White Sox in the ALCS, I'm actually going to root for the White Sox to go all the way. With guys like Jose Contreras and El Duque, I feel like I'm rooting for the Yankees anyway.


Good luck, Chicagoan!

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 10, 2005 01:39 PM


Song of the Day #413

Song of the DaySwan Lake ("Acts I & II Introductions" / "Waltz No. 13") are selections from the great Piotr Tchaikovsky ballet. While this is one stupendous organic whole, I particularly love the Act I and Act II introductions (I first heard the latter as a child in the opening credits of the 1931 Bela Lugosi film version of "Dracula") and the classic "Waltz No. 13." Listen to snippets from the entire ballet starting here.

Posted by chris at 08:02 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 02, 2005

Song of the Day #412

Song of the DayCan You Handle It? features the words and music of Willie Lester and Rodney Brown. This classic "Prelude label" dance track was performed by the late Sharon Redd. It was one of those dance classics that has been remixed several times, but never at the expense of its wonderful feel. Listen to an audio clip here.

Posted by chris at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

OCTOBER 01, 2005

Yankees Win the AL East!!!

The New York Yankees win the Eastern Division of the American League, beating Boston today, and heading to the postseason for the 11th straight year.

Lots more to follow. It's just great to achieve this AL title (and Boston is not out of the postseason yet... that won't be determined for another day, or possibly two).

For now... CONGRATULATIONS to the Yankees... and GRIND IT!!!


Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 04:51 PM | Permalink | Posted to Sports

The Great Ones

David Bianculli of the NY Daily News has a wonderful column today on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of two shows: "The Honeymooners" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." It was 50 years ago today that Jackie Gleason's TV sitcom, "The Honeymooners," made its debut for its only season of stand-alone shows, the so-called "classic 39" episodes, now out on DVD. (Imagine that! A TV season that went 39 weeks!!!) Yes, Ralph Kramden's adventures began years before in the "Cavalcade of Stars," and continued thereafter on Gleason's own variety show. But the "classic 39" are, in my view, still the very best.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," which premiered 50 years ago on the same TV network as Gleason's wonderful series: CBS. It too was a classic in its own right, and included many episodes directed by the Master himself.

Bianculli's retrospective is worth a good read: "Golden Oldies Hit 50th: Let's Salute Gleason & Hitchcock."

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | Posted to Film / TV / Theater Review Remembrance


Just out of courisity what is the status of DuMont Honeymooners. Where any of them saved? Alfred Hitchock was a really great series.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | October 1, 2005 04:10 PM

Chris, I honestly don't know when the DuMont episodes will see the light of day (I'd seen some tiny excerpts of early kinescopes), but I do remember this story about the Peabody Awards archive uncovering a very early lost CBS episode from 1954 (some years after the series' 1951 debut on DuMont).

Perhaps someday...

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | October 1, 2005 07:23 PM


Song of the Day #411

Song of the DaySeven Come Eleven (audio clip at that link and here too) is a classic swing tune performed by the guys who composed it: clarinetist Benny Goodman and guitarist Charlie Christian. I saw Goodman perform this with George Benson too in a great TV jazz concert.  Check out another audio clip of fine jazz guitar masters at work: Herb Ellis & Joe Pass.

Posted by chris at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music