Month: August 2008

My favorite things Ohio

I’m hardly here for long, so here goes:

1. Author: There’s Sherwood Anderson and William Dean Howells and Toni Morrison; I’ll pick the latter though none are true favorites of mine.   

2. Director: Wes Craven remains underrated; I still like his The Serpent and the Rainbow, among others.  I can’t think of a notable movie set in Ohio, can you?

3. Painter: George Bellows’s reputation has shot up in the last twenty years; here’s an unusual Bellows print.  I very much like the botanical paintings and prints of Jim Dine, although I can’t find a good one on-line.

4. Popular music: I can’t think of much…Boz Scaggs doesn’t count nor does Peter Frampton.  Lonnie Mack’s The Wham of That Memphis Man! is one of the least known great albums.  Doris Day is a very good singer and do see Pillow Talk if you don’t already know it.

5. Jazz: There is Art Tatum, especially the early Capitol work, not so much the later Pablo recordings.  Billy Strayhorn was often behind the best Duke Ellington arrangements.

6. Classical music recording: George Szell’s Beethoven’s 3rd remains a landmark recording, or try his Piano Concerti set with Leon Fleisher.

7. Philosopher: Willard van Orman Quine. most of all Word and Object.  Now that’s a favorite.

8. Sculptor: Maya Lin did the Vietnam Memorial though she hasn’t had much of a second act.

The bottom line: The achievement from this state is remarkably well-distributed across different artistic fields and genres.  Why?  Is it because the state has so many different cities of at least middling size?  Or is it because the state straddles the East and the Midwest?  Sadly there is no Cincinnati chili for me this time.

Addendum: Angus of Ohio comments.

What I Haven’t Been Reading

1. Red State Blue State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do, by the consistently impressive Andrew Gelman.

2. Global Catastrophic Risks, edited by Nick Bostrom and Milan M. Cirkovic; so many smart, virile young men, all writing about destruction.

3. Prosperity Unbound: Building Property Markets with Trust, by Elena Panaritis.  An update on the debates on Hernando de Soto and the associated land and property issues.

4. The Mirrored Heavens, by David J. Williams.  A science fiction story for people who take the idea of space elevators for granted.

5. The Household: Informal Order Around the Hearth, by the noted law and economics scholar Robert C. Ellickson.

If I’m not reading them, it’s because I’ve been spending my time with Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and Norris’s McTeague, both for my Liberty Fund conference in Cleveland.