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About Myrhaf

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  1. Anyone here going to see Monna Vanna?

    At last night's dress rehearsal I sat in the audience and watched everything but the scene I'm in. I was impressed by the consistently high level of acting. I hope you all can see Monna Vanna. I'll be in the Saturday matinees, December 1, 8 and 15. The play, like all classical drama, demands good listening and concentration skills from the audience. This can be rough on people who are used to movies, which are visual with brief dialogue. Unlike Shakespeare, however, there are no archaic words, so the play can be understood if the audience stays in focus. It shouldn't be a problem for anyone who can read and understand a serious novel of ideas such as Atlas Shrugged.
  2. THE FORUM and My New Life

    Betsy, your strength and your loyalty to values are inspiring.
  3. Stephen's Health

    The news of Stephen Speicher's death is shocking and heartbreaking. My condolences to Betsy and to all of Stephen's friends and family. I wrote a brief eulogy on my blog:
  4. Stephen's Health

    Stephen, Get better soon! Your thoughts are always interesting and provoking, and often brilliant.
  5. 2008 Election

    I heard Michael Medved praise Mitt Romney today on the radio. He described him as a social conservative who has self-deprecating humor like Reagan. Medved thinks this is important because people believe conservatives are evil. Medved thinks conservatives must show they are nice guys to succeed in politics. Some of the people at NRO are also very high on Romney. Medved was down on Giuliani because he went through a messy divorce and is pro-choice. The CW seems to be that no pro-choice Republican has a snowball's chance in hell of getting the presidential nomination. In my opinion, a Giuliani victory would be a good sign that the religious right does not have a stranglehold on the Republican Party.
  6. I see your point. I will do that.
  7. The thing I feared most in the debate among Objectivists leading up to the election was that the Peikovians did not understand how truly dangerous the Democrats are. I wrote several posts about this at my blog. If the Republicans are M2, then the Democrats are D2. The irrational, nihilist New Left now leads the party. The Democrats are radicalized. They have no understanding of reason, no confidence in reason, no use for reason. The Democrats are now a party of pure, naked force and force's handmaiden, lies. I suspect that with every godawful expansion of government the Democrats succeed in making law, the Peikovians will understand a little more that the Republicans, as bad as they are, are not quite that bad.
  8. Early Election Results

    Alcee Hastings will chair the Intelligence Committee and Henry Waxman will chair the Good Government Committee, I think it's called. The angry left will demand subpoenas of everyone from Bush on down. John McCain will love it because the more anti-American the Democrats look, the better he will look in '08. I think we're facing two years of a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. Sit back and enjoy the show. It could be worse: the government could actually do something.
  9. How would (will) you vote in the 2006 election?

    I am voting reluctantly Republican, although the arguments for voting Democrats make some excellent points. Dr. Hurd's piece is the best thing I've read for voting Dem. I have a post up on my sleepy blog about this:
  10. Theocrats for Democrats!

    What makes Iran the Nazi Germany of Islam is their ideological leadership. Some expert, I forget who, once said that if Iran had not become a religious state, women would have been given the right to drive in Saudi Arabia 15 years ago. Iran's radicalization forced the Saudis to stop reforming in order to keep their moral standing in the twisted world of Islam.
  11. Pre-Objectivist Political Leanings

    I'm over 40 and I fit Betsy's model. I was raised by educated liberals who rebelled against their uneducated conservative parents. My father kept a picture of his idol, Martin Luther King, Jr., in his underwear drawer, where the valuable stuff is hidden. My parents never once dragged their children into a church, and for that I will always be grateful. To the small extent that I had any ideas as a teenager, I was a liberal, but was mostly interested in sex, drugs and Rock'n'Roll. I got a lot of drugs and Rock'n'Roll. At the age of 8 I declared that God did not exist. My agnostic parents were unhappy to hear their child take a bold stand on an issue that wise people were unsure about. I awaited further evidence, but it never came. To this day I have never seen any reason to revise my opinion. My Old Leftist mother was appalled by the Hippies. My father, though he had been in the Marines in the Korean War, was something of a beatnik and a dreamer -- among his favorite books was Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" -- and was more accepting the Hippies and the New Left. Neither was overtly anti-American; I think this influenced my decision to join the Air Force at 19. Atlas Shrugged rocked me when I read it at the age of 20. Thus began my self-education, a love of ideas that has continued to this day. I was stunned to learn that my family and friends were vehemently against Ayn Rand, even though many had never read her. My mother dismissed my enthusiasm for Objectivism as something bright young people go through until they outgrow it. 29 years later, I am no longer a bright young person, but I am still an Objectivist. As my learning grew and my mind became more active, I watched my parents' minds deteriorate. My father became New Age mystical and was fascinated by the "paranormal" and all that alien abduction nonsense; had he lived, he would have loved the Art Bell Show. My mother followed the path of the Democrat Party and became more and more New Leftist. Today she is your average Dem: mostly she expresses fear and loathing of the Republicans, but has no positive agenda that excites her. As a pragmatist, she is incapable of understanding philosophic, political or economic principles. The welfare state is something like the law of gravity to her -- a fact of reality not to be questioned.
  12. The Brothers Karamazov

    I agree with the others that The Brothers Karamazov is a great novel. A few odd observations: The three brothers remind me of the Three Musketeers. Ivan is Athos (melancholy intellectual); Dmitri is Porthos (loud, brash, sensualist); Alyosha is Aramis (religious). I'm sure Dostoyevski was familiar with the Dumas novel, but I don't know if he consciously made a connection between his brothers and Dumas's musketeers. Dostoyevsky's major novels strike me as longs plays written in prose. I have never read another great novelist who writes so much dialogue and so little description. Sometimes the descriptive passages are little more than the scene setting you would read in a play.
  13. Great poems by the masters

    I find Aristophanes unbearably tedious. He makes references to politicians, events and jokes of the day that are meaningless now. Imagine someone trying to make sense of a Jay Leno monologue 2,500 years from now. He makes puns in greek that don't translate to english. You have to look up the footnotes constantly. Worst of all, with the exception of Lysistrata, his plots are not interesting. (I haven't read many his plays, so maybe some I'm not familiar with have good plots -- but I doubt it.) As bad as Aristophanes is in the study, he's worse in the theatre, where there are no footnotes. Satire, George S. Kaufmann said, is what closes on Saturday night. 2,500-year old satire doesn't make it out of Boston. As an actor, he's probably the last of the great playwrights that I would want to act before an audience. I'd rather do Seneca's bombastic closet dramas than Aristophanes. The New Comedy of Menander is better theatre. Scholars who read ancient greek can find a lot to value in Aristophanes. But to someone like me, who reads plays primarily to be entertained by a good story, he is hard to enjoy.
  14. My band's CD is now available

    I work in radio and listen to the new stuff in all formats, alternative, urban, adult contemporary, etc. These songs sound professional to me. They're better than a lot of heavy metal stuff, like Pantera or Slipknot, in which the singer usually barks without coming near anything that could be called a melody. These songs have almost a Classic Rock feel, like Pat Benatar with more crunch in the guitars. The lyrics are "goth," which is common in the alternative format. I think this band could make it if they persist and get a break.
  15. Mastering a classical language

    I was a chinese linguist in the USAF. Learning chinese at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, we spent six hours a day immersed in the language. Total immersion, such as living in a foreign country, is the best way to learn a language. There are no countries that speak ancient greek or latin, but one could work out a partial immersion with study groups or classes. Good luck finding other people committed to speaking ancient greek for an hour or two a week. One thing I learned at Monterey was the importance of the ear in learing language. Listening is how children learn. If you're studying an ancient language at home, I would advise you above all to spend whatever money is necessary to get audio courses on tape or CD. I believe that would be much more effective than sitting at home with just a book and flashcards.