Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Curmudgeonly reminiscences open thread

by Migeru Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:38:07 AM EST

Jérôme received some bad news yesterday:

My father posted to your site under the moniker 'rdf' fairly frequently; he often pointed me at his postings there and the ensuing conversation with some pride.

He's just died, and I wanted to let your community know. Knowing him he wouldn't want a huge fuss, but perhaps people there will miss one extra curmudgeon.


Feel free to pay your respects to rdf in the comments, but let's not make a lot of fuss about it :-)

With his wry disposition, training in the sciences, aesthetic appreciation and interest in policy, Robert D. Feinman (? - 2009) fit right into ET. A retired physicist with an eye for landscape photography and a keen interest in economics, he lived in New York City. As a netizen, he kept a website serving as a repository for his photography and for his policy writings, which he recently gathered into a self-published book.

Apart from European Tribune he blogged on The Writing on the Wall, and he was a regular commenter on Mark Thoma's Economist's View where he took it upon himself to challenge conventional economic wisdom from an Ecological Economics perspective. He introduced ET to the writing of Herman Daly.

Update [2009-7-11 13:25:48 by Migeru]: Jérôme later heard from rdf's wife Valerie

... Robert suffered from MDS, and was quite frail for the last few months. Keeping at the blogging kept his mind happy while his body wasted away. ...

He gave ET no hint of his serious health problems, and he was active here right to the end, with a short diary and some comments in the last week.

He will be missed.

He will be much missed. god speed bhut.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:58:22 AM EST
RobertFeinman at Discussions of Economics and Public Policy, a thoughtful and fine human being if ever there was.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:59:14 AM EST
He will be greatly missed.  Condolences to his family.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 08:00:05 AM EST
This is most sad. I enjoyed and learnt from Robert's commentary on a wide range of issues - they were clearly based on the inquisitive wisdom of a lifetime in scientific study, and always gently but firmly stated.

This was clearly a life that was well lived, with a careful footprint. He will be missed indeed.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 08:02:09 AM EST
Oh no! That's incredibly sad and a loss to everyone.

I'm glad he felt some pride about his postings here - it was well deserved.

I also enjoyed seeing the photography on his site.

Fare well Robert, and sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 08:04:21 AM EST
It is a real loss, for ET and no doubt his family too.  I enjoyed rdf's contributions hugely, it is very sad to say goodbye to him.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 08:09:36 AM EST
I'm thinking sadly how used we were to Robert's sharing with us regularly his stimulating and knowledgeable point of view. He occupied a place here that won't be filled. Yes, he'll be missed.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 08:17:17 AM EST
That's a shock. R.I.P. rdf.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 08:37:14 AM EST
Im shocked. always enjoyed reading his writing, he had such a relaxed way with words I will miss his input into discussions.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 09:14:40 AM EST
Oh no. He'll be missed.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 09:30:35 AM EST
It's only when I read back through his list of diaries that I realise how much of RDF's blogging I have read and how influenced I have been by his writing.  I hope his family will take consolation from his great and very humane output.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 09:51:27 AM EST
Goodbye Robert, you will be missed.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 10:19:10 AM EST
Sending smoke skyward to assist you on the next phase of your journey.
Seconding all the fine wishes and remembrances here.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 10:33:24 AM EST
My condolences to the family. Robert will be missed. I enjoyed his contributions, which he so generously shared with us and going to his site to look at the photos from time to time.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 10:48:31 AM EST
what a wide, fine mind he had, and a most gentlemanly style of argument and opinion, a model polymath, and excellent blogger, and one senses, human being.

my condolences to his family, this is a sad shock, his input here was truly high standard, and when i found out he also made harpsichords as a hobby, i was amazed...

godspeed Robert, and many, many heartfelt thanks for sharing your gifts.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 11:28:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no - this comes out of the blue. Condolences to the family, "rdf" will be missed.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 11:32:01 AM EST
Very thoughtful of rdf's family to inform internet companions of robert's passing.

Condolences to the Feinmans' friends and family.

by Loefing on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 11:54:55 AM EST
My thoughts go out to all who knew him. Otherwise, there's not much I can say that hasn't been said better upthread.

My thanks to his family for telling us this. It is an gesture that is as deeply appreciated as it is unusual.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 01:52:43 PM EST
... slow work diary was too slow to benefit from his contributions. He shall be missed.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 02:04:53 PM EST
for your thoughts, ideas and passion.

So very sorry not to have you here anymore.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 02:51:20 PM EST
One less gentleman.  

The world will be a poorer place without him.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 03:48:42 PM EST
...the people you looked up to start shuffling off.

Strange to feel such grief for someone I never met. That's the internet for you.

rdf, rip.

No tips, please.

by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 05:05:02 PM EST
A short while ago i was notified that an old friend and fellow traveller from San Francisco just died.  suddenly.  apparently, or suspected, he ate some shellfish two weeks ago, and contracted meningitis.

I wish him a very enlightened journey to wherever one goes.  Jim was a great hippy, so we've lost another beacon.  Akwego Skennah, my friend.

There seems to be a bit of water in my eyes.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 05:19:05 PM EST
For JK...

If any of you wonder what beatles songs sound like when played by the grateful dead as electric bluegrass

please go here and scroll down the live set list list on the right

from yesterday

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 05:48:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The band name is great, Rubber Souldiers.  i'm somewhat amazed that i'm hearing yesterday's live concert in California at home in Germany.  JK would have loved this.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 05:59:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Last month live, the word is love.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:12:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rdf will be so missed.  While I usually shared his point of view, I disagreed with him strongly a couple of times in the past, and always enjoyed his thoughtfulness and courtesy, even when 'arguing.'  His writing and kind voice will certainly be a loss.  My condolences to his family.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 10:17:13 PM EST
Bon voyage RDF,
condolences to the Feinman family, and thank you for letting us know.
by Bernard on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 04:18:24 AM EST
rdf was a very sharp political thinker, hard to match in the breadth and consistency of his output. The interests and intentions behind his writings were and are the right ones.

My condolences to the family.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 07:09:39 AM EST
I do not know what to say... I never know what to say.

You know what rdf, I will write the first things that came to my mind just after reading the e-mail... in case you can read what I write

Joder, Mierda, me caguen la puta. rdf, mierda.

Joder rdf, joder...

And you know what really hurts... that I wanted to say goodbye so badly....


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 07:23:19 AM EST
After just reading through the new comments on the Dead Pool dairy and reading a great one by rdf about the nature of investment (timestamped thursday) it feels somewhat absurd to read here that he has passed on. Like something out of a monty python sketch:

  • This commenter has passed on!
  • Nonsense, he is still commenting!

Guess I pictured him as a younger curmudgeon. Condolences to the family, and thanks for letting us know. rdf's voice will be missed.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jul 13th, 2009 at 05:40:35 AM EST
What a shock.

My condolences to his family.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jul 13th, 2009 at 10:35:28 AM EST
I just found out you've passed away, rdf. I'm at a loss for words- I'll miss you- and thought of other moments when mortality came crashing through. When Matt in NYC suddenly passed away, then Elco B.

Horace's fond letter comes to mind as if there are always telling moments in our lives when we know it is too late.

Ask not--we cannot know--what end the gods have set for you, for me; nor attempt the Babylonian reckonings Leuconoë. How much better to endure whatever comes, whether Jupiter grants us additional winters or whether this is our last, which now wears out the Tuscan Sea upon the barrier of the cliffs! Be wise, strain the wine; and since life is brief, prune back far-reaching hopes! Even while we speak, envious time has passed: pluck the day, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 04:24:32 PM EST

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