11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica

My father is giving away one of his prize possessions: the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1911.

According to my father, this was known as the “scholars edition” because it was the last edition that could be used as a primary resource. For example, the article on penicillin was written by Alexander Fleming; the article on Communism was written by Leon Trotsky.

The taker would have to pay the postage if they wanted it shipped to them. That would be substantial since technically the 11th edition had 33 volumes, though I don’t know if my father has all the supplements. If a library wanted it, my father would consider paying for the shipping.

The volumes are not bound uniformly. My father assembled the collection over the course of years, and the books come from at least two different printings.

Any takers?

Economix: Why people vote against their interests

About a year ago, I posted my review of Economix, a graphic book that provides an overview of economic theory and practice through to about 2011. The author, Michael Goodwin, working with the artist Dan E. Burr, has occasionally posted additional comics on his website on topics like Obamacare and Net Neutrality.

Recently, Goodwin and Burr have created a 2018-era epilogue for Economix on why people vote for Trump and Brexit; that is, why they vote against their own interests. I think it’s well worth a look.

Aside: To my intense surprise, I see that there’s a short quote from my review on the Economix blurb page. I feel both honored and unqualified.

Economix

When I discuss the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with folks, I usually point them to the following three on-line comics:

These three comics go over the details of health insurance in the US, the problems that Obamacare was supposed to solve, how well it solved them, where there was room for improvement, and the Republican response.

Of the three, the last is the most outdated even though it’s the most recent, since it doesn’t include the multiple proposals that were voted down after the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) failed to pass.

You don’t have to agree with the author of those comics, Michael Goodwin; no one is obligated to agree with anyone’s perspectives, much less those expressed using illustrations (by Dan E. Burr). I refer to them because they’re easy to understand and offer some common ground on which to come up with new ideas.

Michael Goodwin is the author of the graphic “novel” Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work), in Words and Pictures. (I put “novel” in quotes because it’s not intended as a work of fiction. Perhaps “graphic book” would be better.) It goes over the history of economics, from the theories to practice, defining terms along the ways.

I learned quite a bit from Economix. Here are three highlights:

  • the difference between socialism and communism
  • the economic justification for fascism (basically it puts a country on a permanent war economy)
  • that many current economic ideas used to shape current policy are based on models that even their creators insisted were crude approximations

The book was published in 2012 and its description of the national and global economy stops in 2011. It’s still an invaluable perspective on “how the heck did we get here?”

Again, I don’t expect everyone to agree with what Michael Goodwin says. In particular, he does not spare criticism of Ronald Reagan (though he’s no big fan of the economic policies of every president since Nixon). I suggest the book because it breaks down complex topics into easy-to-understand pictures, and offers a common reference for discussion.

In short, if you don’t know economics, I strongly recommend you read this book. I certainly wish I had it by my side as I struggled with (and failed) my Economics 101 course back in 1976.

The Wizard and the Witch – a review

Once upon a time, a beautiful witch met a handsome wizard and they fell in love. Together they made great works of magic. They created unicorns and searched for mermaids. Many listened to their words: the seekers, the young, the wise, and the learned. And they lived…

…perhaps not “happily ever after.” But they lived indeed!

Once upon a time was 1973. The wizard was Tim Zell, now Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. The witch was Morning Glory, now also bearing the last name Zell-Ravenheart. They are two of the most influential figures in the Neopagan movement. The Wizard and the Witch is an oral history of their lives, from the beginning until about 2009. Their story is told in their own words, and the words of others close to them, as organized by John C. Sulak.

Among the highlights:

– the founding of the Church of All Worlds, from a concept in a science fiction novel to a full-fledged legally-recognized religion;

– the first use of the word “pagan” to describe what we do (if Tim Zell had not used that word, I would not be able to call myself part of the Neopagan movement);

– the Witchmeet in 1973 (where the Wizard and the Witch met) and the Gnosticon in 1974 (where the Wizard and the Witch married), two of the most influential gatherings at the start of the Neopagan movement;

– how they made unicorns (for real!), and how that led to their quest for mermaids;

– how they both defined and lived the concept of a polyamorous relationship;

– the turbulent publication history of the Green Egg, arguably the most influential pagan periodical in Neopaganism;

– and for the people who want everything, more orgies than you’re likely to find outside the pages of a soft-core porn novel. (Disclaimer: I have not read enough soft-core porn novels to substantiate this statement.)

Don’t let me mislead you (especially with that last highlight): This is not a book that simply lists the Zell-Ravenheart’s achievements. There are no detailed descriptions of rituals or magic spells (they’ve already published those elsewhere). This is a tale of their lives, trials, tribulations, successes, disappointments, and loves.

I found The Wizard and the Witch a fascinating read. It’s one thing to learn magic and perform rituals; it’s another to live a magical life. This they most surely have done.

This book forms a beautiful pair with Michael Lloyd’s Bull of Heaven. BoH shows us one life lived in East Coast Paganism; WatW shows us two lives lived in mid-West and West Coast Paganism. Together they are must reading for anyone interested in Neopagan history.

I have to mention that story of the Witch looks like it’s drawing to a close. I urge you to join me in supporting Morning Glory to help pay for her medical expenses.

Bull of Heaven – a review

In the past few years, modern pagans have started to reclaim their history. As Ronald Hutton points out, pagans have always had a strong sense of “history” (an interest in past events), but not always in “historicity” (understanding what actually happened, as opposed to what you wish had happened).

Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon traces the factors that led to the founding of the modern Neopagan Witchcraft movement. Philip Heselton’s Witchfather focused on the life of one important individual: Gerald Gardner. In other words, Hutton told us about the times, Heselton told us about a life.

Michael Lloyd’s Bull of Heaven: The Mythic Life of Eddie Buczynski and the Rise of the New York Pagan does both. It does it a way that’s engaging to read. I’d never heard of Buczynski before Margot Adler recommended this book to me; now I understand his impact on the Craft.

Continue reading “Bull of Heaven – a review”