Random Ruminations on Blogging

I apologize for the lighter posting over here recently.  I’ve been sitting on some stuff, but have not been sure how to articulate it.  I’m still not sure I have a totally clear sense of what I’m getting at, so some of this will be pretty free form.  I’m still groping my way towards verbalizing some incohate (but strong) feelings.

The basic version is:  I just don’t feel like I have anything to say.  I feel drained of a motivation to blog or to take much interest in anything going on in the blogosphere.  I thought maybe at first this was just the inevitable post-election comedown but it goes much deeper than that alone.  Maybe there is just a natural cycle of push/pull, but somehow this one feels different to me.  It’s not a bad feeling.  I actually feel quite relieved in many ways.  Lighter, freer.  Unburdened of the need to say something, respond to events, give my opinion on X, Y, or Z.

The blogsophere is very good it seems to me at responding in quick fashion to unexpected events, particularly black swans.  The worst case of this is excessive political rumor mongering, fauxtrage (whether left or right, see Rick Warren selection), but at its best information streams much faster than the traditional media outlets.  Think Russia-Georgia war, Mumbai bombings, and so forth.  As a consequence right now, many of the best blogs to be reading are econ blogs, since that is where the action is at.  If some foreign policy, global event takes place, then those blogs shift back in.  Perhaps we will see some good blogging coming out the attempted coup in Guinea, breaking as I write.

Another kind of a blog that would work well is something along the lines of a time-specific event-centered blog that runs for a few weeks/months and then naturally dies its proper death.  Perhaps my favorite work of C.S. Lewis is A Grief Observed where he (in diary format) recalls his reflections on his grief process after the death of his beloved.  You can find similar type writings in blogs of folks who are recounting an experience of living abroad.  In my experience you (the reader) typically need to have lived or visited that country (or a nearby one in the region) to really get the gist of what is going on.

But in the interim periods of those events or domestic-based bloggers, what are blogs really about?  Back to first principles kinda stuff. I’m asking myself that question as well as when I read others.  Good blogs, bad blogs, whatever.  I feel like something is missing.  I’m not sure what but I can’t shake the feeling.  At the point of supposedly the most connection, biggest spread of blogs, I feel like the format is already in decline in some fashion.  Feels to me like it’s increasingly just running on steam and becoming corroded from within.

I don’t think (at least I hope I never did) have any grandiose dreams that blogs would bring universal enlightenment or whatever.  But I’m really wondering if the creative novel moment (in process terms) of all this is now passed and everything from here on is just various forms of quasi-reaction.  There are a slew of really sharp folks blogging (far sharper than me), but it still all comes across to me as fixed positions for everyone which they simply repeat over and over again in sundry ways.  Depending on the proclivities of said individuals, agglomerations or teams come into being, and then they tend to interact with the other teams.  Not always so fruitfully.  Some of this undoubtedly is bound to occur, but I wonder if I a different way could be found.

It’s been four years now (with about a year break at one point) since I started this blog.  When I first started I mostly wrote content-dump long-form meditations.  Mostly around integral philosophy.  That phase eventually ended, I took some time off to re-think, and then returned and tried to enter more into the format itself instead of just using the format/medium for thoughts I already had.  I also read more deeply in strategy to put some flessh on the bones/structure of the integral overlay.  That period had its pluses and minuses–I feel like I learned pretty well what I had set out to achieve.  I’m at least functional in both of those directions.  That phase it seems now I feel is coming to an end, is dying it’s natural death.  I mean it’s not like I won’t ever do posts in that vein anymore–I still occassionally do posts like I did in phase 1.   The subject of one stage becomes the object of the subject of the next.  What’s not clear yet is what is the next subject? What are his interests and goals, his commitments, his motivation?

I need to really think of what I have to offer given my limitations as a human being.  I’m not an artist so that is not a way forward.  While I flirt with political philosophy and read in it, it’s not really a prime target area for me.  A. There are already people out there doing that work who do it much better than I ever could.  Just read them.  B. I find those discussions, as illuminating as they can be (and are in many cases), too often abstracted from history and context, floating in or on a kind of ether.  Philosophy philosophy, the kind I read in my off-school time is not well suited to blogging.  Or at least I haven’t found the way to merge medium with such thinking to date. What then?

I don’t feel the need to take time off like I did last time this occurred. For the next while I’m guessing that I will be experimenting with attempts at different writing forms.  The failures hopefully will teach me as much (if not more) than the successes.  Failure and success being in some measure in the eye of the beholder in what I’m talking about here no doubt. I should say I suppose this will be the case–who knows with this stuff, it’s totally unpredictable what course it will take on and what time line.  I certainly don’t.

Published in: on December 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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Congrats to Team USA on Ryder Cup Win

Story from NBCSports:

Strong as a team, strong as individuals, the Americans rode the emotion of a flag-waving crowd and its two Kentucky players on Sunday to win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1999.

Tiger watched from home (sitting out because of his knee problems).

The real praise goes to Captain Paul Azinger who revamped the team. I like this line:

“If we win, I’ll go down as having the lowest IQ of any genius who ever lived,” Azinger said this summer.

Published in: on September 21, 2008 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Congrats to the Redeem Team

From USAToday:

Even the joyous scene which followed the U.S. men’s basketball team’s thrilling 118-107 gold-medal victory against Spain was as selfless as the play which had defined their Olympic performance.

They gathered in a circle, arms draped around each other’s shoulders. On the podium, they stood arm in arm. Posing for pictures, they put all their medals around coach Mike Krzyzewski’s neck and then mussed his mostly unmovable hair. They did the same to the assistant coaches, even ruffling Jim Boeheim’s mostly non-existent hair. Though Team USA had dominated these Games, winning by an average of 28 points, though they had beaten Spain by 37 points in pool play, Spain, even without injured point guard Jose Calderon challenged the U.S. until the final moments. Krzyzewski called it “one of the great games in international basketball history,” at least in recent U.S. history.

Bonus nice analysis from Chris Sheridan, ESPN. Key: Team Ball.

Shout outs also in order to the women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and men’s volleyball teams on their Gold medal performances.  All of them (minus women’s BBall) won in dramatic fashion.  Put them together and they equal exactly half of Michael Phelps’ golds.


Published in: on August 24, 2008 at 8:27 am  Comments (2)  
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Junior Traded

Big news out of Cincy is that Ken Griffey Jr. has been traded to the Chi Sox. Guy has never won a title so maybe he gets a shot at the World Series this year (The White Sox are as of this writing up a game and a half in the AL Central).

This marks the end to a long period of unfulfilled hopes both for the Reds and Griffey. He spent many of his years in Cincy on and off the DL, never really getting it together. The Reds mortgaged their team for a decade to Griffey (and his bum legs, knees, etc.). I remember when he was initially traded (I was in my last year of college), living in a house of almost all Cincinnatians and the excitement was unbelievable. But it just panned out. Reds never made the playoffs during the Griffey years.

Some of it was just simple bad luck, some of it Griffey’s notoriously bad (to non-existent) off-season training regime. At the time while I was happy I never understood why when he was heading into this 30s he would go from the AL (with DHs) to the NL where he would have to play in the field. Smart money tends to be on the reverse. Maybe it’ll work out for him in Chicago. The Reds get 2 players a reliever and a prospect. But mostly a chance to dump Griffey’s huge salary.

Published in: on August 1, 2008 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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China’s Inferiority Complex

Excellent short article in Newsweek by Orville Schell.  Key quote:

This proud prickliness has deep historical roots that involve China, the West and even Japan. As I argue in the current New York Review of Books, the most critical element in the formation of China’s modern identity has been the legacy of the country’s “humiliation” at the hands of foreigners, beginning with its defeat in the Opium Wars in the mid-19th century and the shameful treatment of Chinese immigrants in America. The process was exacerbated by Japan’s successful industrialization. Tokyo’s invasion and occupation of the mainland during World War II was in many ways psychologically more devastating than Western interventions because Japan was an Asian power that had succeeded in modernizing, where China had failed.

This inferiority complex has been institutionalized in the Chinese mind. In the early 20th century China took up its victimization as a theme and made it a fundamental element in its evolving collective identity. A new literature arose around the idea of bainian guochi—”100 years of national humiliation.” After the 1919 Treaty of Versailles cravenly gave Germany’s concessions in China to Japan, the expression wuwang guochi—”Never forget our national humiliation”—became a common slogan. To ignore China’s national failure came to be seen as unpatriotic. Since then, China’s historians and ideological overseers have never hesitated to mine the country’s past sufferings “to serve the political, ideological, rhetorical, and/or emotional needs of the present,” as the historian Paul Cohen has written.

Read the whole thing.  Due to this historically aggrieved sense and the Olympics as THE moment in the Chinese minds of restoring national greatness/showcase to the world, he thinks this is not the time for a protest which would only confirm their (quasi-paranoid?) suspicions and lead to a massive retrenchment of autocratic power.  I tend to think he is right.

On a related note, the PM of Canada Stephen Harper has been the only Western leader (I”m aware of) to stay home.  Maybe the Chinese President and/or Premier won’t come when we host the next ones (Vancouver, Winter Olympics 2010).

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 8:29 am  Comments (1)  
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Quote for the Day

From new NyTimes Olympics Blogger Carmelo “Melo” Anthony, starting forward on the US Men’s BBall Team:

I have a very bitter taste in my mouth from the 2004 Olympics, like I just ate a sour grapefruit or something. This summer in Beijing, we’re going to drink a lot of Kool-Aid, because revenge is going to be sweet.

It’s a nice line, but someone might want to tell Mr. Melo that “drinking the kool aid” generally means something quite bad in discourse now, courtesy Jim Jones.

Though speaking of Kool Aid can lead to nothing other than posting this vid:

Congrats Spain

Congratulaciones a Espana por su victoria en la Copa.

They beat Germany 1-0.  While it wasn’t the most captivating game to watch, it was near total dominance by the Spaniards (over my Germans).  They were amazingly fast and pin point precision passing.  Total team brilliance.

Hats off and congrats on your first win in 44 years in the European Cup.  Goat no mas.

Published in: on June 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cinderella Euro Cup

If you haven’t been watching the Euro Cup (you should be). I was this morning from the Vancouver Police Department while having my fingerprints taken. Uh, I wasn’t being arrested, I have to have it done to apply for my permanent residency (the Canadian equivalent of a green card). The Police station helpfully had the game on on nice sized TV screens in the lobby.

Well, anyway, the Turks are becoming the miracle comeback team. In the previous match against the favored Czechs they were down 2-0 while 15 minutes to go and amazingly scored three goals to win it. There was a really hot Czech woman in front of me in line (at the station also getting fingerprints for her residency application) who was lamenting that loss and cursing the Turks.

Today against the Croatians, (the quarterfinals) both teams end regulation scoreless. Croatians score within the first minute of overtime, Turkey looks dead (again) then comes back from the abyss, ties it up and wins in the shootout. Wow. Recap here. The Croatians missed 3/4 in the shootout. Yikes.

This video captures it well.

Next up though in the semis they’ve got my Germans.  Auf Wiedersehen Turkey.

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Football News

Congrats to my (HS) alma mater:  St. Xavier which won its 2nd State Football Title in 3 years.  Going 15-0, rated as high as #1 in the USA Today mythical National Championship.

Some really low-budget video here.

And my Buckeyes, weirdly in the craziest year in College Football ever, are back in the National Title Game it would appear (#1 in both USA Today and Writers Poll).  Looks like my Bucks might end up playing LSU in New Orleans.  Chance for redemption from last year’s loss to the SEC.

In other words it took BC, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Kansas, Missouri, West Virginia, and Arizona State for OSU to get back in this thing.  A playoff system must be enacted.  Period.  The football gods are smiling….why I have no clue.

OSU had a very weak schedule this year.  LSU’s was stronger no doubt.

OSU lost to Florida last year and Illinois this year–Illinois coached by former Florida coach Ron Zook.  Both Florida and Illinois’ offensive systems are built around a dual-threat run/pass quarterback.  Which OSU’s defense has not seem to be able to handle.  LSU runs a spread but is more fun and gun than dual threat QB.

OSU will have the same problem with the 50+ day delay between games and nothing may be able to make up for that.  The Big Ten has to add a championship game for the Conference.  But the LSU defense is very porous against the run.  OSU’s chance is to slow the game down and run Chris “Beanie” Wells down their throats.  And LSU has at times been very careless with the ball and OSU is perennially known as  Special Teams Master.  If OSU wins a turnover game, runs the ball, and Special Teams, then LSU is very beatable.  Though if the game is gets into high gear in the dome, it could be a repeat of last year.

Published in: on December 2, 2007 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pat Forde

Sports writing, almost poetic (sorta).

clipped from sports.espn.go.com

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Mountaineer walked slowly down a ramp under the end zone stands, back to the site of the calamity.

Rifle in one hand and Gatorade squirt bottle in the other, the West Virginia mascot stopped and stared vacantly at the field. The Pittsburgh band played giddily not far away. Behind him, the scoreboard registered the incredible truth: Pitt 13, West Virginia 9.

A television reporter begged him to come on the air. He shook his bearded head.

A moment later, he dropped to one knee and sobbed.

  blog it
Published in: on December 2, 2007 at 12:55 am  Leave a Comment