Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion

19 Tough; Questions for Libertarianism, Part 3

In this post we look at questions 4-9. For the first part see here. For the second see here. Do we live in a society or don’t we? Are we a collective? Everybody’s success is predicated on the hard work of all of us; nobody gets there on their own. Why should it be that …

Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 Tough Questions for Libertarianism, part 2

So, for part two, we deal with questions 2-3. You can see the previous post here. One of the things that enhances freedoms are roads. Infrastructure enhances freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom. So obviously this is not a question, but a statement. But it gets to an important point, depending of course on …

2012, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 "Tough" Questions for Libertarianism, Part 1

Around October 2011, Jon Stewart interviewed Andrew Napolitano, a prominent US “libertarian” on The Daily Show. At some point, some libertarians put Stewart’s interview questions into a meme sometimes called “Jon Stewart’s 19 tough questions for libertarians.” My understanding of this is that Napolitano did not acquit himself well enough in their eyes. This doesn’t …

1999, Music

Nights in the Gardens of Spain by Angela Cheng and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

This seems to be an attempt to collect Spanish piano concertos from the last 150 years into one spot. We have Isaac Albeniz’s “Spanish Rhapsody” from 1887, Joaquín Turina’s “Symphonic Rhapsody” from 1931, de Manuel Falla’s title track from 1915, and Xavier Montsalvatge’s “Brief Concerto” from 1953. The result of a survey of something like …

2012, Music

Jack White live at the Sony Centre, October 3, 2012

The opener was Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three. They play a mixture of pre-rock and roll styles of music including things like Western Swing and jazz and other styles from that era. The band is very solid – especially his guitarist – and as a singer he is definitely authentic, but this is …

2012, Music

Devin Townsend Project live at the Opera House, September 19, 2012

Though I enjoy metal – particularly some of the music that is labeled “alt metal” – I can’t say I eat up the relatively straightforward or traditional stuff, or the stuff that insists on playing only one micro-genre exclusively. It has been over 8 years since my last metal show, a show involving Helloween (and …

2012, Movies, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Society

You pissed me off, it’s your fault!

Human beings are sensitive creatures. It’s interesting that this is so because, as a species, we have survived for an unimaginable length of time and more threats to our existence than we could count (none worse than ourselves). So it is always somewhat entertaining – or sad, depending on your point of view – to …

2012, Movies

Toronto International Film Festival 2012 Wrap Up

Here is my roundup for TIFF 2012. I managed to see 13 films this year, which is better than last year. Many of them managed to be documentaries, which Monique attributes to our constant attendance at the Bloor over the summer. (I guess, subconsciously, we have become documentary people.) I didn’t see a film that …

2012, Basketball, Sports

Dwight Howard Trade August 2012

Putting Howard’s ridiculous, childish behaviour – which perhaps only seems so childish because it has been amplified by our new “social media” technology – which caused this trade, I want to try to think about it from a purely practical perspective. Denver gets: Andre Iguodala (from Philly) Iguodala: 28, SG/SF: 37.7 MPG; 14.6 PP36, 5.6 …

2012, Music

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2012

This is my second year attending the Wolfe Island Music Festival, the 14th edition. Just like last year, I attended even though it is not really full of bands I would normally seek out. I like the vibe – how it is completely different from seeing something in Toronto, for example – and I have …

2012, Music

Laborintus II (2012 Ipecac) by Luciano Berio, performed by Ictus Ensemble, Nederlands Kamerkoor, Mike Patton

I should eat this up. This is a work written by my favourite Italian composer of the second half of the 20th century – and with Busoni and Puccini, a contender for my favourite Italian composer of the 20th century – performed, in part, by my favourite male rock singer of all time – and …

Personal, Psychology

On the sanity of living with another human being

I have vivid dreams. I mean: really, really vivid. Sometimes they are so vivid I am convinced I am living them, until I wake up. Sometimes they are so vivid they take the place of my memories and I occasionally get confused about whether or not something realistic that happened in a dream actually happened …

2012, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Science

On the nature of the universe

In the CS Monitor‘s book of review of Jim Holt’s Does the Universe Exist?, Troy Jollimore discusses the nature of the universe and the bizarre fact that most scientists and philosophers seem to assume that we have to prove how the universe appeared, as if what existed before the universe – if ever we can say something existed before the …

2007, Music

Children’s Corner: Debussy Orchestrations (2007 Atma) by Claude Debussy, performed by Orchestre symphonique de Quebec conducted by Yoav Talmi

The more I listen to so-called “classical” / “high art” music the more of a snob I become about it. And I guess that’s not surprising, after all I am a gigantic music snob (though I would argue that I am much less of a music snob – having let hooks into my life at …

Books, RIP

Gore Vidal was crazy but sometimes he was also awesome

I guess what I mean to say is RIP Gore Vidal. But I have a problem saying that, and my problem is that Gore Vidal believed a lot of stuff (particularly about the United States government) that was not true. Worse, he made those beliefs public. Worse, because he was Gore Vidal, he made it …

1984, Movies

The Times of Harvey Milk (1984 Rob Epstein)

So unfortunately the filmmakers made a strange – but perhaps understandable – decision when telling Milk’s story: they assumed they were speaking to a very particular audience. This assumption led to another: that therefore everybody knows everything they need to know about the backstory already.

Psychology, Religion, Society

3* Reasonable Objections to All Conspiracy Theories

When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was a big believer in conspiracy, particularly the “plot to kill Kennedy.” I ridiculed those around me who doubted a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death and regularly told them that they just didn’t know all the facts. Anyone who knew all the facts would clearly …

Hall of Fame, Hockey, Sports

The Best Defense is a Good Offense: the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association and 57 Years of Screwing the Pooch on the Norris Trophy

The Best Defense is a Good Offense On Lidstrom’s retirement, I hypothesized that he might be one of the three best defencemen in NHL history. I did this based on one thing: Norris trophy wins. But the more I thought of it, the more I thought that was ridiculous. The PHWA had just awarded two …

Music, RIP

RIP: Jon Lord

Jon Lord was one of the earliest rock keyboardists – along with people like Keith Emerson – to attempt to fuse so-called “classical” music (actually it was usually Romantic music) with rock. He convinced his band, Deep Purple, to cover Richard Strauss, among others, to include his string and wind arrangements, and to eventually perform …

1807, 1824, 1842, 2002, Music

Grand Sonata for Piano and Violin; 20 Variations… (2002, CBC Records) by Carl Czerny, performed by Anton Kuerti and Erika Raum

I am certainly not at the point where I can truly judge a performance of a work by the standards of professional musicians like these, and it is especially hard when I am unfamiliar with the work. But I like this. I feel like this CD – and another by Kuerti of straight-up piano sonatas …

2012, Hockey, Sports

Summer 2012 NHL Trades: Some Thoughts

Ducks: 2nd round pick; Islanders: Visnovsky How the Islanders got Visnovsky for a 2nd pick is beyond me. I guess he had his worst offensive year in nearly a decade last year, so that’s why. But given that he automatically becomes their 2nd best defenceman (that’s a guess), and is an underpay, and lets them …

Music

My Favourite Music Scene

Throughout the years, New York has been a hot bed of the avant garde, the new, and the different. And London has also been a real centre of forward thinking music. (Though with London – even more so than NY – many of the bands that were doing the forward thinking originated in other communities …