Sunday, September 18, 2005

How's that for a triple play!

That was Yitzhak Perlman's best line when hosting the second "Three Tenors" concert (at Dodger Stadium), after José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti performed an especially great trio of songs (or was that a trio of especially great songs?).

Tonight's Evening at FEE was Dr. Vernon Smith, George Mason University professor and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, speaking on "Human Betterment Through Globalization." It was a pleasure and an honor to hear such an amazing man give such an amazing lecture on one of my favorite topics, and to exchange a few words afterward with him and his wife. It's grown so late, though, that I'll have to write another time about what Dr. Smith said. It was a long and brilliant talk, probably more detailed than most FEE attendees are accustomed to. In truth, I didn't notice the time at all, which is surprising because I'm known as a fidgeter. (I don't do well in movie theatres unless it's a very good flick.)

The treat didn't stop there. When Dr. Richard Ebeling, president of FEE, acknowledged another extraordinary visitor, my heart nearly stopped. Call it hero worship, but Don Boudreaux -- yes, of Cafe Hayek! -- also came up from Virginia. Dr. Boudreaux is no stranger to FEE, having served as its president a few years ago. It was so heartwarming that he remembered me right away from a few e-mails I've sent him. He also said, "I didn't realize you were one of Sandy's students!" when learning I had studied under Dr. Ikeda (my undergrad professor who saved me from Keynesianism). They were classmates at NYU when pursuing their doctorates and have been friends ever since.

And for a few minutes I chatted with Dr. Smith's lovely and charming wife, Candace, who really does go everywhere with him. We chatted about that that fear which so many Americans still have, which they're almost taught, in a sense. I myself was very anti-trade until just a couple of years ago. Update: I remember now, Mrs. Smith referred to Americans being afraid of people who look different. Then I found myself singing for her (not too loudly) part of "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught" -- and it turned out she loves "South Pacific" as much as I do! That particular song refers to fear "Of people whose eyes are oddly made, And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade." I'm regarded as having a good voice, and she liked my rendition.

My best friend will no doubt be dismayed to hear about that in the morning. She knows I can find any excuse to sing, even at the workplace. I remember my first-grade teacher writing in a formal evaluation that "Rene" (I preferred my middle name when little) tended to spontaneously start singing to himself, regardless of when and where. When I worked in operations at Morgan Stanley, if it was quiet and no clients were visiting, I'd sometimes entertain Jean, who did our mail. Being an older woman, she's very familiar with the musicals and crooners that my dad raised me on. When working in music royalties, my officemates and I shared a large room where we could play music. Sometimes I'd do out into a musical number or Sinatra.

Music is what I miss about my new job. It's very formal at the global headquarters, and with very open spaces (our cubicles usually have low walls), even light instrumental jazz is a no-no.


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