Monday, August 22, 2016

Endful summer

Yesterday while working out on the elliptical machine at the health club, I played the Beach Boys 60s hit collection, Endless Summer, in tribute to my increasingly painful awareness of how endful (so to speak) rather than endless this summer actually feels at this point.  I will be teaching my first class in 10 days, and just have SO much to do both before and after that date.  I also played Endless Summer because it's mostly such a great collection.

It has a few relatively obscure, yet great, classics (e.g., "Let Him Run Wild"). Among the more numerous extremely well-known tracks, I've always been struck by the gap between the gorgeous beauty of the production of "California Girls," and the aggressive triteness of the lyrics - somehow this heightens the song's power.  There's something moving about the sheer waste of it.

Also, "Fun, Fun, Fun" is feminist without meaning to be - it shows how the young woman gets exploited (one presumes, sexually) once her father is stupid enough to disempower her, whereas, until then, she can run circles around all the young men who are pursuing her for their own purposes.

Tomorrow, I anticipate playing Ultimate Painting's Green Lanes, a charming recent alt-rock acoustic album (maybe slightly echoing the Velvet Underground's eponymous third album, along with just a touch of the Grateful Dead) by a London duo. I like this album, but inadvertently dropped it a few months ago from my active playlist, before having played it enough to retire it deliberately.  (Not literally dropped from my Spotify roster - but I have so many things there that I forget what all of them are.)

So, about my all-too-endful summer - in addition to teaching International Tax starting on September 1, I will be co-teaching the high-end inequality seminar (with Bob Frank) that I have blogged about, during the second half of the semester (October 24 - December 5).  So during that period I will be teaching for 7 hours a week, which is a lot what with prep and everything else.

Plus, I have committed to writing too many tenure, etc. reviews, basically because, while I don't like doing them, I aim to be a good sport.

And I'm in the middle or I hope late stages, with three good friends (Joe Bankman, Kirk Stark, and our new co-author, Ed Kleinbard) of writing a really substantial revision - and I think improvement - to our "Federal Income Taxation" casebook.  Having 3 colleagues on the project saves lots of time on balance, since one only has to do 25% of the primary work.  But it also leads to spending a lot of time on coordinating efforts, commenting on each other's chapters, etc.  We anticipate that it will be available for the spring semester.

I also have a bunch of talks scheduled for the fall semester.  On September 9, at St. Francis College in Pennsylvania, I'll be giving 2 talks, one on deficits and fiscal gaps, and the other on corporate inversions.  It will be fun to talk to undergraduates and non-law university academics.

On September 19, at the Ohio State University Law School, I'll be presenting a version of my forthcoming U of Miami Law Review article (adapted from chapter two of my book in progress on literature and high-end inequality), entitled "The Mapmaker's Dilemma in Evaluating High-End Inequality."  I've presented this piece before, but not often or recently.

On September 23 at NYU, I'll be giving a talk (based on the dialogue-style paper that I've blogged about previously) at the Human Rights and Tax conference that the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice has organized here.

On October 7, I'll be a commentator at the 6th annual NYU-UCLA conference on tax policy, to be held at UCLA and concerning tax policy and upward mobility.

On November 10, I'll be giving my somewhat long-in-the-tooth (by now) paper on citizenship and taxation, at the NTA Annual Meeting, plus probably commenting or moderating on some other panel or panels.

Also at least three other panels, talks, etc., in the NYC area.

I'm also trying to push forward my book on literature and high-end inequality.  The books on which I have written chapters so far are Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir, Balzac's Pere Goriot, Dickens's Christmas Carol, and Trollope's The Way We Live Now.  Currently I'm in the middle of writing about Forster's Howards End, which was going well but I unfortunately will have to shelve it for a while, and return to it when I can.  After that, a trio or quartet of post-Civil War U.S. novels, two of which will be Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick and Dreiser's The Financier and/or The Titan.  A third will probably be Wharton's House of Mirth.  But I might conceivably also add (or sub in), say, Howells's Rise of Silas Lapham or Twain's Gilded Age - although I am finding that three novels in a given time period / geographical slice seems to work well.

So yes, my endful summer is ending all too soon, with all due respect to the returning (and new) students who can energize me, and who make professors' professional lives less solitary than they would otherwise be (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that).

Plus, I love summer and hate winter from a climate standpoint.  Lovely though the fall often is in New York, it's often ruined for me to a degree by the fact that I know what's coming next.

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