Monthly Archives: April 2009

We Lose Money on Every Car We Sell But Make It Up In Volume or The Accountant Ascendant

I was flabbergasted when I reread the following piece originally published in 1997. It outlines our current economic plan. I had no idea that our future president read Lubbock Magazine 12 years ago. But don’t impute any bitterness to my remarks. I’m perfectly willing to let him take all the credit for the plan I…


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A Tax on Reason

The New England Journal of Medicine continues its move towards less personal liberty and more paternalism. Ounces of Prevention — The Public Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared Beverages serves as a text on how academia and government government are certain that they know how the rest of mankind should behave. It’s up to the…


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The New Flu

Medicine and microbes are engaged in a constant arms race. We develop a new treatment they counter with a mutation that defeats the treatment. The war never seems to end. Whether at some distant date human ingenuity will triumph over blind dumb natural selection is problematic. Of course we may lose. The latest outbreak is…


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Statins and Venous Thromboembolic Disease

The New England Journal of Medicine just published a paper examining whether the cholesterol lowering drug rosuvastatin (brand name Crestor) prevented venous thromboembolic disease. The study concludes that statin therapy does reduce the likelihood of this disorder. But like so much in medicine there’s less here than meets first glance. To begin with all the…


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Musings on the Extraordinary

I’ve been reading a biography of the transcendental Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) and thinking about the current economic crisis. What does the one have to do with the other? They are both extraordinary and we are helpless when confronted by the unique. Many commentators in the wake of our immediate economic duress fault…


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The Recordings of Enrico Caruso 1916 – 1918

In 1916 Caruso again recorded Je crois entendre encore from the first act of The Pearl Fishers – this time in French. This version compared to that of 1904 is a great improvement though still not up to Gigli’s standard. It’s transposed down a half tone. The final high note is full voiced rather than…


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Why the Newspaper Business is Dying

In a world beset with event both catastrophic and tumultuous, momentous and turbulent the less than mundane should be far in the background. So what’s the main story in our local newspaper? This is: Does Obama’s puppy qualify as a rescued dog? Okay human interest and all the rest. But a thousand words on this…


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Parmi veder le lagrime

Joseph Calleja has generated a lot of favorable comments about his performances at the Met as well as at other houses. The unfortunate vocal collapse of Rolando Villazon has left many proposing Calleja for some of the roles that have been assigned to Villazon at the Met, but which the Mexican tenor is almost certainly…


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Mahler's Markings

Rehearsal memo to the musicians of the New Philharmonia Orchestra of Newton, MA, on 4/1/09. [The orchestra performed Mahler’s Symphony #1 on April 4th and 5th of this year. The author of the April Fool’s joke is David Pesetsky, principal second violinist in the orchestra. NK.] Several weeks ago, we sent you a list of…


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Why Politicians Lie

Human nature being what it is, all men prefer a false promise to a flat refusal. At the worst the man to whom you have lied may be angry. That risk, if you make a promise, is uncertain and delayed, and it affects only a few. But if you refuse [to promise aid or a…


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