Friday, October 20, 2006

Root for the home team!

I read an interesting piece which examines the idea of "the home team" - something that I've often wondered about. When watching professional sports, isn't it ridiculous to associate oneself with a team, just because the franchise is geographically close to your home? To take the analysis further, isn't the idea of a local team even more meaningless when you can be sure that virtually none of the players actually originated from the city that the team represents?

This may be especially true in baseball, where it seems as if the great American pastime has become dominated by expatriates from the Dominican Republic and Japan. But hey, I fully embrace and welcome this irony - it is the red-blooded American tradition to invent something, and then let others do much better at that thing.

Sports is funny - nothing about it makes sense when analyzed. Why should we cheer on the accomplishments of other people, especially when the "accomplishment" is throwing a ball through a net, or carrying a ball past an arbitrary line, and the people we cheer are often little more than steroid-riddled neanderthals? But we do, or at least I do; and sometimes the bad performance of your favorite team can ruin your day a little - another concept which is really ridiculous when you think about it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What I'm Reading

Philosophy for Beginners is a book I may have poo-pooed in the past, having little interest in either philosophy or "Dummies" type books. However I recently resolved to learn new things every once in a while (especially things in which I wouldn't normally have interest), and it would certainly be snobbish of me, as a webcomic guy, to look down on a beginner's book made from cartoons.

I find the book to be quite fascinating, and actually inspiring. I enjoy learning about people who broke the mold of conventional thought and defied oppressive authorities, even if their philosophy seems silly to me. Did you know that the term "dunce" came from the followers of Duns Scotus (1270-1308), who were called "dunses", because they opposed classical studies? Neither did I!

In the chapter I'm reading on medieval Scholasticism, I found particularly interesting all the information on great thinkers like Roger Bacon and William of Occam, who show up as constant references in one of my favorite novels, The Name of the Rose.

Other tantalizing subjects in the "Beginners Documentary Comic Book" series: UNICEF, babies, sex, the Black Panthers, and yes, the history of clowns (!).