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A mere five years after holding my newborn fraternal twin girls in my arms, I’ve just watched them graduate pre-school. When I was young, we marked the transition out of high school, college, and that was it. Has our culture—and I—gone too far with celebrations?   Motivations for celebrations When I was a kid, celebrations of birthdays and other personal milestones were modest. Family, a few friends, a few gifts, fun. But now I see parents of kids who haven’t reached kindergarten renting out kiddie-playland gyms and inviting dozens of children and families for big parties. I see elaborate Bar Mitzvah bashes and sweet-sixteen shindigs. Celebrations for graduations at almost every academic level are added to the calendar. I hear complaints that parents are going overboard, being too commercial or materialistic. Are such celebrations good or bad?...
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1) Tell us who you are? What’s the couple of sentence summary of what you do and what you’ve done? I am a classical-liberal intellectual, or at least a student of classical liberalism. I specialize in energy history and public policy. That has led me to business/government cronyism. And that had led to trying to understand contra-capitalism as it applies to organizational failure. 2) When did you first become familiar with Ayn Rand and her works? Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead was on my summer reading list in high school. I was not into reading at the time and picked up this fat book one June evening. I got hooked on page 1, practically from “Howard Roark laughed.” I remember exactly where I was at the time! 3) What most interested you or hit you with an “Ah hah!” about her thinking?
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1) Tell us who you are and what you do. I'm an IT consultant, playwright, and poet. In 2015, my comedy, "O'Brien & O'Brian", was part of the New York International Fringe Festival. I also keep up my "Rhyme of the Day" blog, which usually consists of a humorous couplet inspired by some news item. 2) When did you first become familiar with Ayn Rand and her works? In high school I was a voracious reader of science fiction, so I picked up Anthem, which I liked a lot. I was curious about Rand’s other novels and I picked The Fountainhead to read for an English class assignment. I found it moving, and admired the sense of inevitable logic that followed the twists and turns of the story line. I by no means agreed with her philosophy at this point, since mine leaned toward existentialism. But over the summer I read Atlas Shrugged. It hooked me completely. The story was...
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1) Tell us who you are and what you do. I grew up on the beach and have been an artist ever since. I’m a figurative artist and my work explores light, love, and appreciation. 2) When did you first become familiar with Ayn Rand and her works? When I was 19, my sister Janet—a world top-20 tennis player—told me she had a book I needed to read. That book was Atlas Shrugged. 3) What most interested you or hit you with an “Ah hah!” about Rand’s thinking? I felt like Rand was giving me a pat on the back for being an artist. She has a very high regard for artists. It was like she was saying to me: “You’re doing a great job; keep going.” 4) How does her work inspire you today? She’s a great champion of creators. Rand’s work is a reminder that it’s the creation that matters the most, not superficial things. That is inspiring. 5) Rand wanted us to aspire to a world...
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Science fiction reflects our hopes and fears for the future and, at its best, it offers an elixir of inspiration. On viewing the 1956 film Forbidden Planet on its 60th anniversary, you can see in its intelligent story, special effects, design, sounds, and message why this classic that has stood the test of time.   Monsters and dystopias of ‘50s science fiction Science fiction films in the 1950s often offered giant bugs, mutant monsters, and cheesy effects. Some featured visits to Earth by space aliens that were malicious (War of the Worlds), indifferent (It Came from Outer Space), or serious in their warnings that the Earth must abandon its warlike ways or be destroyed (The Day the Earth Stood Still). Unlike those films or the many dystopian sagas that followed,...

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