Monthly Archives: June 2010

Why Talking About Healthcare is Futile

Tweet To have a meaningful debate on anything there has to be at least a rudimentary agreement about the nature of the problem. When it comes to healthcare most commentators seem to be based in an alternative universe. This is usually true of those on the left, but it also is spreading to the right….


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Gibbon and the Law

Tweet Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794) is the greatest historian to write in English, and so far as I can tell in any language. His greatness rests on four pillars. His knowledge of his subject (the Roman world from antiquity to the fall of Constantinople in 1453) is more than encyclopedic; it’s beyond understanding. His…


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Why Life Expectancy is Falling to Zero (or Less)

Tweet Originally published: Kurtzman NA:  Lubbock Magazine (July):6-7, 1999. It is axiomatic that the Western World has been in inexorable decline since the circumcision of Pericles. But this decline had not included a diminution in life span, until this cen­tury. I know people are more often reaching a grand old age, but are they really…


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Hayek in Brief

Tweet Frederich Hayek (1899-1992) was one of the most profound and influential thinkers of the 20th century. His most famous book is The Road to Serfdom, which though first published in 1944, is currently the #1 bestseller at Amazon.com. That this book is so widely read and so widely ignored by the leaders of the…


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Recording of the Week: Four Last Songs

Tweet Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs are not only a personal valedictory, but they are the end of more than a century of glorious German art songs; they are the farewell to the lieder of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, Mahler, and finally Strauss himself. These hibernal songs written shortly before the composer’s death, and not…


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Dancing Mania

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k&feature=related]

Tweet First we had La Traviata in public places, now we have The Sound of Music (Christopher Plummer called it The Sound of Mucus and he was there) popping up in train stations in Belgium and New Zealand. A lot of people seem taken by these public displays by the descendants of the dancing maniacs…


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The History of the Tenor

Tweet The above is the title of a web site devoted to tenors and their recorded legacy. It contains material compiled by the late operaphile Sydney Rhys Barker (1928 – 2005). The site, still under construction, was assembled by Mr Barker’s son Sidney. The material on the site spans most of the 20th century –…


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The First Artificial Cell?

Tweet Last month the news media heralded the creation in the lab of the first artificial cell. This work was a great achievement, but it wasn’t the creation of an artificial cell. What was done at the J Craig Venter Institute was creation of an artificial bacterial  chromosome that was successfully transferred into a bacterium…


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Di Stefano Sings Schubert's Ständchen

Tweet Schubert and Giuseppe Di Stefano is not a common association. But here he is singing Schubert’s Ständchen (Serenade Di Stefano) in Spanish. It’s from the soundtrack of a Mexican movie made in 1953. Below are the Spanish lyrics he sings followed by the original German. After these is an English rendition. So what we…


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Giuseppe Taddei

Tweet The renowned Italian baritone Giuseppe Taddei died June 2 just short of his 94th birthday. Taddei made most of his career in Italy and Vienna. He didn’t sing at the Met until 1985 when at age 69 he debuted at the New York house in the title role of Verdi’s Falstaff. There are a…


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