Long-term Cat readers will recall that last year I went on the road to catch up with some of my agents of influence around the world in Tel Aviv, Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Trento (Italy), Boxford MA, Columbia MO, Washington DC and San Francisco. This year due to fiscal austerity the itinerary is truncated to Arlington (Texas), Boxford, Columbia and Washington.
There is snow on the ground and sleet falling on the roof at present so I am not looking forward to the climate when we set out to visit the picturesque historical village of Boston that is 20 or 30 miles down the road on the coast.
The attraction at Arlington (nothing to do with the cemetery in Washington) was a conference on Austrian thought at the turn of the 20th century. The conference was set up by the school of philosophy and humanities at the Uni of Texas (Arlington campus). Arlington sits between Dallas and Fort Worth in case you ever want to find it on a map. The leading speakers were all very impressive and some of the other presentations were very good although some of the topics were addressed in the kind of microscopic scholarly detail that drives your average Cat up the wall.
The worst was kept for the end when the speaker slowly read the full contents of a large number of Powerpoints, extending far beyond the 20 minutes allocated. He surprised the audience with an impassioned preface to the paper, along the lines that he had no political agenda, he was there as a private citizen and scholar etc etc. Later someonie explained that he is on staff in the unit that ran the conference and he really blew up when he found that Koch money was paying some expenses. No idea how much. The conference was run on a shoe string, a room in the Engineering building, volunteers shuttling us to the venue. There was one classy dinner in the upmarket place where the big hitters stayed, I suppose that was where the money went. Anyway it was well spent. For background, the Koch (pronounced coke) brothers are big industrialists who contribute generously to classical liberal things like Cato Institute and parts of the George Mason Uni where there are many fellow travellers with the Australian School of Economics.
Time to go out into the elements! I may be some time.