Thursday, November 19, 2015


Happy 60th!

Sixty years ago today, William F. Buckley, Jr. and a small group of co-conspirators launched National Review, a journal designed to give voice to distinctly conservative political and social points of view.

At its founding, there really was nothing quite like it. Sixty years later,
it remains sui generis. Its influence on American politics and culture cannot be overestimated.

I have read and enjoyed NR for nearly 50 of its 60 years, and look forward to many, many more.

It would be an egregious understatement to say that Bill and his magazine had an enormous influence on my life.

Bill was a my role model as a writer and lover of the English language, as a debater, as a political conservative, and as a Catholic. Since those things are the real essence of me, it shouldn't be surprising that I hold him in such esteem. No one has had a more singular or lasting influence on my life than WFB.

Of course, National Review has always been much more than just Bill. It was in those pages that I first encountered John Dos Passos and Clare Boothe Luce, Richard Brookhiser and George Will, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Thomas Sowell, Mortimer J. Adler and Roger Scruton, John Simon and Terry Teachout, Florence King and P.J. O'Rourke, Jonah Goldberg and Andrew C. McCarthy.

And that's just for openers. The list of great thinkers and writers I have been introduced to through NR is, almost literally, endless.

Thank you.


One of life's more amusing annoyances is the cravings we get for certain foods and beverages from time to time. Of course, there's nothing to do once you're in the grip of such a craving but give in to it...

Patty melt and onion rings from Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

"Say, isn't that their 'Massive Coronary Basket'?"

I don't need food advice from someone who eats ants and termites, thanks...

Simmer Down, Science Fans

From the indispensable webcomic xkcd, by Randall Munroe, which you should read every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

Among other things, Bill Buckley led me to an appreciation of Johann Sebastian Bach. While Bach has never managed to supplant Beethoven at the top of my pantheon of classical music heroes, he's a most respectable second place. His works generously repay repeated listens, and I can't recall listening to a Bach piece without noticing something
I had previously missed. Sheer genius. And I might never have taken the time to explore Bach's music had it not been for Bill's constant championing of it in National Review.

In particular, I am quite fond of The Brandenburg Concertos, and own several recordings of them, with both modern and period instruments and arrangements. Bill used the 3rd Movement of Concerto No. 2 for the theme music on his Emmy-winning PBS discussion/debate series Firing Line, and whenever I hear it I am reminded of the many Sunday hours I spent watching Bill and his guests engage in truly intellectual conversation.

Today's send-off is a splendid performance of the 3rd Movement by trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis, from his marvelous 1998 album Classic Wynton. Enjoy...

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