Wednesday, 12 September 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Mark Bauerlein.

Yankee Watch

Both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees won today, so Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to 12. Big Papi is showing A-Rod how to carry a team.


I’ve always been a headbanger. This doesn’t mean I dislike other types of music, such as jazz, classical, and new age. It means they play a secondary role in my life. In the morning, for example, I play classical music on my Bose Wave Music System as I read at my desk. I grew to love jazz while in law school in Detroit. I discovered new age music in Tucson. The only type of music I don’t like is country, perhaps because it’s what my mother and stepfather liked. (I don’t count rap as music; a fortiori, it’s not good music.)

I have a vast compact-disc collection. I have so many CDs that it would take two years to listen to them at the rate of one per day. I stopped listening to the radio about 15 years ago, when I stopped liking what I was hearing. It seemed stupid to listen to songs that did nothing for me, while I had plenty of songs I loved in my CD collection. Please don’t say that I would have come to love the new songs if I had given them a chance. I gave them a chance. They did nothing for me. MTV ruined popular music in the early 1980s by emphasizing style rather than substance. If you can’t play your instruments, I want nothing to do with you. I don’t care what you look like, how you move, or what you wear. If I cared about such things, would I like Ozzy Osbourne?

Fast forward to two years ago (maybe three). I had just finished the Greenville bike rally and was headed for the nearest Taco Bell for my post-ride repast of bean burritos. I turned the car radio on, since I didn’t want to get a CD started until I hit the freeway. As I pulled into the Taco Bell, I heard a fabulous song. I sat in the car, transfixed, until it finished, hoping to learn the artist. To my dismay, the disk jockey didn’t say. Damn!

A few months ago, a friend sent me a song by Metallica, a band I had never heard (although I had heard of it). It was “Enter Sandman.” You guessed it: It’s the song I heard in Greenville. I know it’s the same song because I memorized what I thought were the words “exit light.” What a fluke! I have the song blasting right now. It’s unbelievable. Thank you, Carlos!

Addendum: Here is the video. Turn it up.

Aleister Crowley

Here is the Wikipedia entry for “the wickedest man in the world.” (No, it’s not Brian Leiter. Leiter is just a two-bit thug.)

Science and Religion

This essay by Avery Cardinal Dulles is worth your time, at least if you’re curious about the relation between science and religion. (There may be some people who are not.)

Addendum: Dulles attended Harvard Law School for a year or two prior to serving in the Navy (where he was a lieutenant). He has taught philosophy at Fordham University. See here for details. I consider Dulles a great stylist.

“Assorted Cranks and Crazies”

Here is a column about libertarians, who think, absurdly, that individual liberty is the summum bonum.

Addendum: Here is the PDF version, from Commentary magazine. The penultimate paragraph explains why I classify libertarians as progressives. The great divide in normative political theory (or, if you will, political morality) is between progressivism and conservatism. Progressivism has two main branches: egalitarianism, which exalts equality, and libertarianism, which exalts liberty. Conservatives know that there are many valuable things, not just one.

Best of the Web Today



Newt Gingrich needs to get in the damn race. I’m tired of coy candidates. If we’re lucky, the nutty Ron Paul will drop out the day Newt enters.

Baseball Notes

1. I’ve been watching the American League Central Division race closely all year, since that’s the division in which my beloved Detroit Tigers play. The Cleveland Indians are for real. It’s almost sickening how tenacious they are. Day after day, throughout this long season, they have come from behind to win games (just as the Tigers did a year ago). The Los Angeles Angels are also tough, but I think Cleveland will make it to the World Series. The long-suffering fans in the city by Lake Erie deserve a World Series title, and this year they may get it. Look for Travis Hafner to have a monster postseason.

2. My Tigers are done. I admit it. I wish Yankee fans would similarly admit that they’ve lost the East Division. I’m sure Yankee fans consider it a virtue to refuse to admit defeat. I consider it a symptom of mental illness, specifically delusion.

3. If the Yankees overtake the Boston Red Sox to win the East Division title, it won’t bother me. You have to remember that I hate the Red Sox almost as much as I hate the Yankees. (If I hate the Yankees 10 units, I hate the Red Sox eight units.) No matter what happens, I’m going to be both happy (that one of the teams lost) and sad (that one of them won). Yankee fans are significantly more insufferable than Red Sox fans, which is why I devote so much time and energy to tormenting them. There’s also the salary factor. New York spends far more money on players than Boston does. I have no idea how anyone can feel good about a victory that’s purchased. That the Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2000, despite outspending every other team by a wide margin, just makes their ineptitude all the more enjoyable.

4. Why do I think the Chicago Cubs will blow it again? Only one team from the National League Central Division is going to make the playoffs. The St Louis Cardinals are struggling, and the Milwaukee Brewers appear to be rejuvenated. It’ll be interesting to see how (not whether) the Cubs blow it. I predict that a game-winning home run ball by Alfonso Soriano will strike a bird on its way into the bleachers and fall into the glove of a waiting fielder to end the final game and give Milwaukee the title. Cub fans will retaliate by poisoning all birds (regardless of species or culpability) within the city limits. This will give rise to a new sporting term: “scapebirding.”

5. Ozzie Guillen has been signed (by the Chicago White Sox) to a contract extension through 2012. I guess the team likes finishing fifth in a five-team division. That’s fine with me, because my Tigers are in that division.

6. The Tigers have both the Cy Young Award winner (Justin Verlander) and the Most Valuable Player (Magglio Ordonez). See here for their numbers.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

I am neither conservative nor liberal and in fact wince at the terms Americans so casually throw about these days. I am, however, a mother and former naval aviator who is unable to sit idly by while the Petraeus-bashing commences.

The funny thing about Americans and those who hide behind vehement assertions of love for this country is that they have no understanding of those who choose to defend it. Military service members are neither brain-dead followers nor war-mongering hawks. They are the same as the average American, yet they choose to put their lives on the line and choose to put their faith in the American people.

Military members have a job to do and have surrendered their fate to the belief that America will not put them in places they don’t belong. They do not have time to consider political backbiting and innuendo.

They follow their leaders and obey orders, not without personal retrospection or question, but with a focus on duty to country.

I have no doubt that Gen. David H. Petraeus called the situation as he saw it with pure intentions and a mind to safeguard his biggest assets, his men on the ground. If the American people want to question the handling of the war, that is their right and privilege. If the American people want to question General Petraeus’s allegiance and honesty, they have nowhere to look but in the mirror.

Beth Thurman
Fort Worth, Sept. 11, 2007

Note from KBJ: Amen. This is as fine a rebuke to the New York Times as I have seen.

Hall of Fame?

Johnny Damon. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)

John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 1

Chapter 1, Childhood and Early Education

It seems proper that I should prefix to the following biographical sketch, some mention of the reasons which have made me think it desirable that I should leave behind me such a memorial of so uneventful a life as mine. I do not for a moment imagine that any part of what I have to relate can be interesting to the public as a narrative, or as being connected with myself. But I have thought that in an age in which education, and its improvement, are the subject of more, if not of profounder study than at any former period of English history, it may be useful that there should be some record of an education which was unusual and remarkable, and which, whatever else it may have done, has proved how much more than is commonly supposed may be taught, and well taught, in those early years which, in the common modes of what is called instruction, are little better than wasted. It has also seemed to me that in an age of transition in opinions, there may be somewhat both of interest and of benefit in noting the successive phases of any mind which was always pressing forward, equally ready to learn and to unlearn either from its own thoughts or from those of others. But a motive which weighs more with me than either of these, is a desire to make acknowledgment of the debts which my intellectual and moral development owes to other persons; some of them of recognized eminence, others less known than they deserve to be, and the one to whom most of all is due, one whom the world had no opportunity of knowing. The reader whom these things do not interest, has only himself to blame if he reads farther, and I do not desire any other indulgence from him than that of bearing in mind, that for him these pages were not written.

Note from KBJ: As if I need another regular task, I’m going to post a paragraph of John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography (1873) each day (or every two or three days) until the entire work appears on this blog. I hope you read along with me; I think you’ll find it fascinating. I will post comments like this after each paragraph. Feel free to ask questions about things that are unclear or puzzling.

Note 2 from KBJ: Don’t believe Mill when he says he had an “uneventful” life. He’s being modest to the point of deception. I consider his life to be one of the most eventful any human being has had. If you’ve never read Mill’s Autobiography and know nothing of his education, your jaw will drop repeatedly. Mark my words.

A Year Ago