Thursday, June 29, 2017
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Watched two episodes of the BBC's diverting if fluffy "The Story of China," on the Song and Ming dynasties, but when I tried their online"Which Emperor Are You?" game I found I'm a Tang guy. Given the loaded questions I suspect most people who play will end up similarly.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Perhaps I can illustrate with some of my findings today. Reading a recent article by a young comparative philosopher who's part of a special discussion critiquing the Eurocentrism of the discipline of academic philosophy (so much for the republic of letters!) I've been asked to write a short comment on, I learned all sorts of fun things, including that the late 18th century Chinese novel 野叟曝言 narrated a Confucian hero's takeover of the world; it ends in the establishment of the most purely Confucian society of them all - in Europe!
I was also introduced to exciting ideas of one of this comparative philosopher's graduate school classmates, who's used Chinese traditions to suggest that philosophy might flourish if it moved from metaphors of conflict to those of play and the communities of aesthetic creativity and enjoyment. Following up one of her recent works (I'll have to wait until I'm back in NYC next week to actually read it, since UCSD doesn't have a copy of the book) I found it was in a book edited by one of my college classmates from undergraduate days, with whom I've long lost touch. Inhabiting these shelves, journals and databases are my people, known and unknown, forgotten and remembered.
Monday, June 26, 2017
I managed to get lost in my own backyard today. I was trying to rediscover places I played as child in Crest Canyon, giddily following anything that looked like a trail. I found hidden canyons, dark forests, grassy valleys, bare mountaintops... and then the trails disappeared.
Eventually I was able to find the trail I'd come on and retrace my steps to the familiar north-south trail. I remain amazed that this rich uncharted world is tucked away so close by.
Friday, June 23, 2017
So I'm not wrong, every time I come to Southern California, to feel like this is the future. Not that I live in the past. Apparently Brooklyn's among the few places in the north and east with a race/ethnicity/ gender/age breakdown like that predicted for the whole land post-2050.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Monday, June 12, 2017
It's been a long time coming, but I've finally been to see the "footie" at the "G" - an Australian Rules Football match at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds! I'd been told from first arriving in Oz that sport was the national religion, and, in Victoria, footie in particular. I've seen bits on television and made a half-hearted effort at understanding what was going on - there seem to be few rules, as there are few lines on the pitch. I've met people who've played (including my nephews as tykes doing Auskick), and a woman whose father was a famous footballer, who, she proudly told me, broke every bone in his body (the players have none of the armor of American football players), even his fingers!
But it really is different seeing it live, the vast oval below you, seventy thousand fans around you, and unbelievably energetic long-legged players racing one way and another far below, the ball changing sides constantly, the scale of things alternating between graceful long kicks, elegant passing and tangled scrimages. The word "balletic" recurs in people's praise of the game (at least among the people I know), and beyond the moments when a bunch of men rise, Kierkegaard-style, into the air to catch a kicked ball, there is a grace and a fluid joy to the whole thing - quite the antithesis of the US' static pointillistic national sports (except basketball and hockey, I suppose). The teams playing were Collingwood vs. Melbourne, and underdog Melbourne squeaked out a victory against the fearsome Collingwood, so that was nice, too.