Old Dogs and New Tricks

iPod Photo.jpg
iPod, therefore…

Well, I think I’m sold. I’ve been looking into new ways to communicate libertarianism and have noticed that probably half of the men at my gym work out with iPods and that it seems that most of the under thirty set at the Cato Institute where I work carry iPods or similar devices. I’m currently looking into creating a new format for the Cato University tapes that I produced some years ago, but which are only available on cassettes (and which the engineers assured me can’t be put on CDs, since the content is more than a CD will hold.) So, since I had tried to listen to audible books on the tiny and hard to handle “Otis” device some time ago and gave up, I figured I’d get an iPod and try that. Wow! I’ve downloaded (all legally, via Audible.com) works by Thucydides, Gibbon, Sallust, Tolstoy, and Virgil (and listened to a good bit of Sallust’s Jugurthine War). And then I discovered why most other people first got interested in iPods: music. I’ve transfered (also legally) a variety of music, from Falco to The Calling to The Comedian Harmonists to Gregorian Chants. I expect less time being bored in uncomfortable airline seats in future. (Just in time, as I’ll be flying to Bucharest next week to teach at two Institute of Economic Studies – Europe seminars, in Varna and in Belis, near Cluj-Napoca.)

(I’m listening at the moment to Falco’s “America,” but the printed lyrics don’t capture the Viennese dialect, which I very much miss.)

14 Responses to “Old Dogs and New Tricks”

  1. Ross Levatter

    You say you’ll be transferring Gregorian chants to listen to, and that you’ll be LESS bored on your next flight??

    Well, to each his own…


  2. Tom G. Palmer

    Evidently you can use the “Shuffle” feature to switch randomly between “The Clash” and Gregorian Chants. I imagine that that would at least keep me from falling asleep!

  3. alan gura

    thucydides is in the public domain. and if you download the version read by the author, you don’t have to worry about performance rights, either.

  4. Tom G. Palmer

    Well, I *am* trying to catch up.

    I was introduced to “The Clash” by my late dear friend Eric Shoemaker (http://www.tomgpalmer.com/images/eric_shoemaker_2.jpg ), a true libertarian and one of the finest and gentlest persons I’ve ever known. I also learned about “Ska” music from him. I wish that he were still with us to continue to educate me in both popular culture and in how to be a gentleman.

    As for Thucydides, well…the various English translations are generally not in the public domain (although the translation by Thomas Hobbes is) and even the classical editions in Greek are, I think, still under copyright (as I recall, the Oxford edition was edited by the late and odd Enoch Powell, ultra-right-wing Tory MP who wrote the Latin introduction). And, of course, the spoken versions, as new interpretive works, are also copyrighted. Alas, we have no access to the great historian himself. That will take some additional technological breakthroughs.

  5. Bill Goodwin

    As a Mac zealot to often desperate degrees, I commend your selection. Don’t fail to avail yourself of podcasting as a means of transmitting libertarianism or occupying yourself on trips across the pond. Delightfully easy and free to boot.

    I’d suggest Godspeed You Black Emperor as another antidote to traveling tedium, if only for the profound unwillingness of the group to shoehorn its music into four minute bites. They paid dearly for their idealism, recently disbanding “due to lack of commercial interest.” Highly recommended.

    Note: link takes you to an appropriately edgy, austere and confusing web page.

  6. Tom: I love the iPod as well. I just wish mine had greater storage capacity! I was an early adopter and am stuck with the 5 GB version, which, while I thought it would be sufficient, is not going to work in the long term. Especially if I follow your good example and load good literature onto it.

    Fantastic also to find a fellow fan of The Clash!

    Bill: I second “Godspeed.” Excellent recommendation! Only group I’ve found so far that has songs longer than Blind Guardian’s “And Then There Was Silence,” their song about the Trojan War.

  7. I have to pimp Radiohead, because they’re the greatest band on earth.

    Anyone who likes Falco and the Clash will definitely like Radiohead. Maybe.

    Plus their latest album is “about” Orwellian government (“2+2=5,” etc.)


  8. Tom G. Palmer

    Well, I’ve listened to snippets of Godspeed You Black Emperor on iTunes. It’s different….

    And Radiohead may be on my play list. After Sallust, of course.

  9. Aeon J. Skoble

    I’m no engineer, but “Won’t fit on a CD” strikes me as bogus. First of all, they could be put on multiple-CD sets. Second of all, they could be put on higher-capacity DVDs. But yes, certainly you ought to look into MP3 or whatever.