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Roger Bissell, the Muse-Seeker
June 27, 2018

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(Just as a blog is a web-log, so this REBLOG is

the web-log of REB, Roger E. Bissell)

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Liberty, liberty, liberty...liberty!

Folks, I just finished directing and participating in a very successful and enjoyable conference on the Great American Songbook. It was held the past three days in Indianapolis for Liberty Fund, an organization that each year sponsors 150-200 conferences around the world. I've been to five of their conferences before, but always just as a participant, sitting with 15 others and a discussion leader around four squared tables.

This time, however, was different. I was asked by Liberty Fund's program director, Douglas Den Uyl, to create a proposal for this conference on American popular songs from 1915 to 1950. I had to select about 400 pages of readings which were sent to the people invited - and then to show up, to make sure our facilities and discussion and meal sites were in order, and of course to take part in the discussion. 

There were people from all walks of life, including college professors, a screen writer, an Indiana state legislator, a folk singer, and I, your humble trombone playing and singing blogger. 


I made some new friends, took part in fascinating discussions (both during and apart from the officially scheduled sessions), and ate some delicious food at several locations, including a nearby Ruth's Chris Steak House. We were given a tour of Liberty Fund headquarters as well as the Center for the Performing Arts and the Museum for the Great American Songbook, all located in nearby Carmel, Indiana.

Very simply, we had a blast!


All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the Ides of March (perhaps I should rename it the Ideas of March!) and to cap it off with a tip of the hat to St. Patrick. As well, of course, to Liberty Fund and to the people who made my job easier - Bradley Birzer the discussion leader, Sarah Skwires the Liberty Fund representative, Nila Spears the conference assistant, and the aforementioned Dr. Den Uyl who helped with the A/V !

All for now.


9:29 pm pdt 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hello, again!

Wow, time flies when you're having a good time! Honestly, other than the fact that I have been incredibly busy with my career, family, and hobbies, I have no good excuse for not having updated my blog sooner. Eleven years...really? I guess that one reason I've been hooky is getting involved in Facebook. I post a lot there. But putting that aside, it's time to rev things back up here on!

When last I posted here, I was still free-lancing and working at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and my wife Becky was teaching middle school in L.A. and Orange counties. But in the spring of 2010, I took retirement from Disneyland, and we moved with daughter Rachel to Antioch, Tennessee, where we still live. I was fortunate enough to connect fairly quickly with old friends and colleagues, and I am enjoying a nice variety of music work, including recording sessions, jazz gigs, and church performances. Also, I am back near my older children, Rebecca, Andrew, and Daniel (who are now all in their 30s) as well as six grandchildren! My oldest son, Charlie, lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and I get to see him occasionally, too. Becky and I will be celebrating our 29th anniversary this April (2019), and our children all ganged up on us four years ago to throw a special Silver Anniversary get-together for us. Becky's daughters, Desiree Head McDonald and Marissa Head, came all the way from California to help us celebrate!

I guess the biggest news, though, is that I have been doing a lot of work writing essays and editing and publishing books. My friends Douglas Rasmussen and Douglas Den Uyl have hired me to copy edit their two most recent books: The Perfectionist Turn: From Metanorms to Metaethics (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and The Realist Turn: An Alternative to Constructivism (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2020), the latter still being in the writing and editing process this year. I have done copy editing for other authors, including Kurt Keefner, Ari Armstrong, and Tibor Machan, on some of their writing/publishing projects, but the two books I confess to feeling the most personal gratification in helping bring to publication were The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism (Cobden Press, 2009) by Nathaniel Branden and Think as if Your Life Depends on It: Principles of Efficient Thinking & Other Lectures (Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace, 2017) by Barbara Branden. I transcribed the two sets of 20 and 10 lectures from the audio recordings about 10 years ago, and I worked with Nathaniel and Barbara personally to make sure that the text of the lectures was correctly carried into print!

As for my own writing and friend Chris Matthew Sciabarra is an author of several books as well as editor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, in which I have had a number of essays published since the journal began in 1999. Currently, Chris and I along with Ed Younkins, a professor of accounting at West Virginia University, are editing a book called The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, which will be published this June by Lexington Books. My name will appear on the cover as one of the editors, and an essay I wrote, "Up from Oppression: Triumph and Tragedy in the Great American Songbook," will appear in the volume as well. Here is a link to the web site we will be using to promote The Dialectics of Liberty and to organize discussion on its ideas. 

In addition, I published a book on philosophy of math in 2014 (How the Martians Discovered Algebra: Explorations in Induction and the Philosophy of Mathematics) and (co-written with my late father, Eldon Bissell, and my late sister, Julie Bissell Tupker) a family history book in 2018 (The Bissells of Barstow: The Genealogy of Pierce B. and Sarah Van Boskirk Bissell). Both these books are available in paperback and Kindle format from Also, in 2015 I published a book of poetry by my father and me called Next to My Heart: Poetry of Life, Love, and War. Later this year, I will be publishing another book with Amazon called What's in Your File Folder? The Nature and Logic of Propositions. I'm hoping to be able to put out a book every year or so as long as my fingers and eyes hold out!

The one other joy in my life is singing. My friend Glenn Martin of nearby Lebanon, Tennessee, who is a fine musician (composer, trombonist, pianist), and I have appeared in the area as a duo for the past 5 years or so, and I have freely mixed vocals and trombone playing. As a result, I've gotten other vocal work, including most recently a performance with the Nashville Pops Orchestra, in which I had the opportunity to re-create three duo recordings Tony Bennett did with Lady Gaga and Michael Buble. Tony Bennett's arranger and conductor, Jorge Calandrelli, lent his presence and talent (on piano), and the event was successful enough that we are now working on bookings with symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Canada. Stay tuned for further details!

I think that may be more than enough to digest for now. I promise not to wait another 11 years to update this blog!

Best to all,

Roger Bissell 

10:40 pm pdt 

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