Thursday, August 20, 2009

Full Draft Order

Round One
1 Rob A Peterson
2 Andy M Turner
3 Karissa M Jones-Drew
4 Joe R Moss
5 Craig A Johnson
6 Tim M Forte
7 Sadie F Gore

Round Two

10 Sadie L Fitzgerald
11 Tim S Jackson
12 Craig W Welker
13 Joe P Manning
14 Karissa D Brees
15 Andy L Tomlinsom
16 Rob C Johnson

Round Three
17 Rob D Williams
18 Andy T Brady
19 Karissa S Smith
20 Joe C Johnson
21 Craig T Gonzalez
22 Tim G Jennings
23 Sadie B Westbrook

ROUND FOUR

26 Sadie R Wayne
27 Tim A Rodgers
28 Craig K Warner
29 Joe M Barber
30 Karissa B Jacobs
31 Andy M Colston
32 Rob R White

Round Five
33 Rob R Grant
34 Andy A Boldin
35 Karissa D Bowe
36 Joe T Owens
37 Craig Steeler Defense
38 Tim B Marshall
39 Sadie T Romo

Round Six
42 Sadie C Ochocinco
43 Tim T Houshmandzedah
44 Craig S Gostkowski
45 Joe A Gates
46 Karissa J Witten
47 Andy L Johnson
48 Rob G Olsen

Round Seven
49 Rob B Favre
50 Andy P Rivers
51 Karissa A Bryant
52 Joe B Berrian
53 Craig M Ryan
54 Tim D Clark
55 Sadie Minnesota D

Round Eight
58 Sadie C Portis
59 Tim L Evans
60 Craig C Cooley
61 Joe P Thomas
62 Karissa V Jackson
63 Andy T Holt
64 Rob R Bush

Round Nine
65 Rob V Shiancoe
66 Andy H Ward
67 Karissa S Slaton
68 Joe B Edwards
69 Craig W Parker
70 Tim Giants D
71 Sadie R Williams

Round Ten
74 Sadie R Brown
75 Tim K Smith
76 Craig F Jones
77 Joe J Addai
78 Karissa Ravens D
79 Andy L White
80 Rob D Driver

Round Eleven
81 Rob R Longwell
82 Andy Z Miller
83 Karissa J Stewart
84 Joe A Gonzalez
85 Craig M Lynch
86 Tim D Akers
87 Sadie O Daniels

Round Twelve
90 Sadie J Cutler
91 Tim D McNabb
92 Craig D Sproles
93 Joe D Jackson
94 Karissa R Bironas
95 Andy Charger D
96 Rob Packer D

Round Thirteen
97 Rob D McFadden
98 Andy A Vinatieri
99 Karissa K Winslow
100 Joe C Taylor
101 Craig Cowboy D
102 Tim S Holmes
103 Sadie P Harvin

Round Fourteen
106 Sadie E Royal
107 Tim K Boss
108 Craig B Roethlisberger
109 Joe M Schaub
110 Karissa J Delhomme
111 Andy H Nicks
112 Rob D Hester

Round Fifteen
113 Rob J Finley
114 Andy T Jones
115 Karissa K Walter
116 Joe M Crosby
117 Craig S Moss
118 Tim J Cotchery
119 Sadie D Ward

Round Sixteen
122 Sadie N Folk
123 Tim K Moreno
124 Craig T Ginn
125 Joe Titan D
126 Karissa Eagle D
127 Andy J Shockey
128 Rob C Benson

Total Roster Spots: 16
Starting Lineup Spots: QB, WR, WR, RB, TE, WR/TE, WR/RB, K, D/ST
Fractional Points: Yes
Negative Points: No

Passing Yards 50 yards per point
Passing Touchdowns 3
Rushing Yards 20 yards per point
Rushing Touchdowns 6
Reception Yards 20 yards per point
Reception Touchdowns 6
Return Touchdowns 6
2-Point Conversions 2
Offensive Fumble Return TD 6

Kickers
Field Goals 3
Point After Attempt Made 1

Defense/Special Teams
Sack 1
Interception 1
Fumble Recovery 1
Touchdown 6
Safety 4
Kickoff and Punt Return Touchdowns 6
Points Allowed 0 points 6
Points Allowed 1-6 points 4
Points Allowed 7-13 points 2

Summary of Cross Country Scoring

Each week, you are not competing in a head-t0-head matchup; you are competing against every team in the league.

It's very simple. The top-scoring team of the week beats every other team, and thus goes 7-0. The second-highest scoring team beat every team but one, and goes 6-1. Yada yada yada, all the way down to the lowest scoring team of the week, which goes 0-7.

#1: 7-0
#2: 6-1
#3: 5-2
#4: 4-3
#5: 3-4
#6: 2-5
# 7: 1-6
#8: 0-7

For the overall standings, we add up the wins and losses from each week, and the team with the most wins is the league champion. In the case of a tie, total points will be the tie-breaker.

This is a fair and extremely fun way to do the standings: if you want to know more about why, I've explained here, here, and here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A note on the new blog

For any readers interested in the content of this blog who don't want to sift through the inane and silly posts at the new blog, you may be interested in strictly following the "culture" label at "That's how we do it in the T.C."  Here's the link.   Whenever I write the sort of post that would have shown up at this blog, I'll label it "Culture," and it will show up under that specific URL.  For example, a very brief post on how Falstaff reminds me of Jerry, Kramer, and George.

A new blogging adventure

Life changes and blogging changes.  I'm starting a new blog:


Here is the blog's introduction.

At the new blog, I'll still make my attempts to discuss literature and ideas.  But I don't want to compartmentalize my various interests into three different blogs anymore.  The posts on literature and ideas will be mixed in with sports posts (cross-posted at Pacifist Viking), comments on advertisements, bad television, consumerism, parenthood, Twin Cities life, and other various topics that amuse me (and I hope not me alone).  A lot of the posts will be short and inane (sort of like this one), and there may be a lot more brief links.

I'm still not quite sure what I'll be doing with this site; I've flirted with a few different ideas.  I'll keep it up on the possibility I return to it (and I'll still use it to check the links I've got on the side).  But I like fresh starts, and this new venture energizes me.

It's been fun, and it will stay fun at a new URL combined with a bunch of other funky stuff.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Underlying Axioms

a contrapuntal essay

Several times since the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal emerged, a public figure has compared dog fighting to deer hunting, suggesting the two activities aren't that different. This comparison usually elicits mainstream outrage, as hunters (and others) talk about how different the two activities are. At my sports blog, I've sometimes expressed the belief that the two activities are similar, which sometimes elicits reasoned objections (and sometimes angry objections).

The reason I find the activities similar is because the same axiom underlies both activities: humans may use and kill animals for our own pleasure. Deer hunters can point out the differences between the acts (often focusing on the differing levels of suffering, pain, cruelty, and motive), but I'm stuck on the axiom. Once you accept the axiom that humans may use and kill animals for our own pleasure, if you separate deer hunting from dog fighting, you are arguing about degrees. And once you start acting on that axiom, you are also going to have excesses of degree following the same axiom.

The same problem is true for many types of violence, I suppose. Once you accept the axiom that war is sometimes justified and necessary, all it takes to wage the war you want to wage is to convince people that the particular war is justified and necessary. John Howard Yoder has pointed out that when other theologians speak generally negatively about warfare, there is a palpable sense of relief from the audience when the theologian acknowledges that sometimes, in very rare circumstances, because of exceptional circumstances, war is sometimes justified and necessary. Once you accept that premise, even if you try limit that justification/necessity with extremely specific rules, with a very narrow, specific, and limited application of Just War Theory, you're going to have people justifying war, and feeling they can do so within your own standards.

Sometimes ideological opponents recognize in each other the acceptance of differing axioms, and thus argue with the knowledge of irreconcilable differences. Sometimes ideological opponents argue about the degrees, ignoring or failing to understand the axioms. Either way, opponents often fail to understand how the other side can possibly see things so differently.

Is this discussion at all relevant in how we approach art and literature? Perhaps, though you may see this as a strain. When we come to respect, admire, even revere a particular artist, we may start to give him/her the benefit of the doubt. What if I watched Australia without the knowledge that Baz Luhrmann directed it? What if I watched Sour Grapes without the knowledge that Larry David made it? I doubt I would have patience with A Maggot if John Fowles weren't the author. But once I accept that an artist knows what he/she is up to, I'm willing to try and see what he/she is doing. It is a stretch, but once I've accepted the premise John Fowles is a great novelist, I'm willing to read any novel he writes as the work of a great novelist (I might ask my friend RK: could you ever dislike a Woody Allen movie even if you did?).

Perhaps less of a stretch is how readers might accept the axioms of a particular literary theory, then be able to always apply that theory to any work. It's a bit of a joke that if you read with Psychoanalytical Theory, everything becomes a phallic symbol. But if you accept any literary theory's axioms, you can start to see everything according to the axiom.

Just as significant to the discussion is the rejection of a particular literary theory. If you reject a particular theory (say, Queer Theory), convinced it has nothing relevant to offer you, you may never see anything that calls for it. If you refuse to see any homoeroticism between Ishmael and Queequeg, then of course you will not see it. If you reject an axiom, you may never see anything useful in it, and may never see a reason to apply it. I try to see something useful in almost any literary theory, while at the same time not adhering strictly to any one approach.

But that's for literature--as a vegetarian and pacifist, clearly I'm willing to embrace (or reject) an axiom that underlies and limits my behaviors and ethical decisions.

Well, contrapuntal, but shitty.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Australia"

Baz Luhrmann will never make an easy film. He's capable of incredible visual beauty on screen, and he won't hold back: he'll take courageous risks to show it. His films are all raging excess.

Australia has all the sincere sentimentality of the Red Curtain Trilogy, but little of the narrative playfulness and none of the humor. It has the musical power, but not the flair. I can't say I had ever wondered what would happen if the artist of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge ever decided to do a Western, or an historical epic, or an action movie, or a war movie, but Luhrmann went ahead and did all of that at once. But there it is, that excess, part of what makes Luhrmann my favorite director. I admire the way the films of the Red Curtain trilogy spill over, not able to be contained by what they are. Australia doesn't spill over; it fully takes on the essence of what it is (or better, all the things it is). It is not as good as Luhrmann's other films, but I still admire the art.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Twin Cities Art (summer family tours)

Spoonbridge and Cherry is always gorgeous in person, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a wonderful place to go for a walk with a family.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stephen King: Experimentalist?

I wonder if Stephen King will at some point get credit as an experimental novelist. In Desperation and The Regulators, King does something I've never seen before: he tells different but similar stories, in a different setting, but with the same characters (playing different roles with differing levels of significance) and a similar villain. Or perhaps he could be credited with bringing some literary innovations to popular fiction, as in the narrative form of From a Buick Eight, or the metafiction of the Dark Tower series.

King's prose has greatly improved throughout the course of his writing career, in my opinion, and more and more he's playing around with structure, narration, and style. King's writing may be more craft than art, but he is a master craftsman.

Twin Cities Museums (summer family tours)

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is obviously terrific, but I've really been digging the Target wing.

The Museum of Russian Art is small but terrific; I always recommend visiting.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

not a post about my syllabi

Creating a syllabus can be a lonely part of teaching. It requires intense engagement, requires focused creativity, and it often involves great excitement. Yet it's pretty much you and the syllabus here: if you try bothering to tell people about the little enthusiasms and frustrations, the progress and the choices, the difficult decisions and the joyful optimism, they'll be (rightfully) bored and uninterested.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dramatic Performance

Reading Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author

All drama is metafiction
, is the declarative statement I thought to make.  Not that all drama is about drama, but that all drama is intensely self-aware, overtly and constantly aware of itself as performance.  I've never read nor seen a play that wasn't knowingly performative, and am not sure I'd like to.  Perhaps it is inevitable that drama has a long tradition of knowing gestures toward the audience.

But I'm not sure that makes drama particularly special. All literature is knowingly performative, in the writer's creative work as a performance to be viewed and in the reader's awareness of being performed to.  

And then I'm not sure that makes literature particularly special.  Everyday life is filled with performative acts (is telling a story a performance?  When something interesting happens, do you think ahead to how you'll tell others about it?).  Many careers are performative (teaching, as an obvious and personal example), as are many of the roles we take on in our lives.  A religious service is usually a scripted performance (is it terribly surprising that drama was reborn in Europe through church plays?), as are the various rituals we use to mark moments of transitions (graduations, weddings).

Perhaps this leaves drama is the most artificial of life's performances, the most inauthentic.  Or perhaps this makes drama, with its deep focus on performance itself, the premiere literary genre.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Everything is permitted."

a contrapuntal essay of speculations on a morality of "human dignity" based on conversations with my brother.

I mostly believe in this premise: If there is no God, then everything is permitted. It is not because without God there is no ultimate punishment/reward for our behavior (in which case morality would essentially be based on self-preservation); it is that if the universe and human existence exist strictly as a matter of hazard, then there is no inherent meaning in anything, and no inherent value in anything. We can assign meaning and value, of course (and do), but it would not exist inherently.

As a Christian, I believe each and every individual has inherent dignity, and must be treated as such. But why is it, then, that those with a primarily secular worldview (including atheists and agnostics) are more likely to share my beliefs on inherent human dignity than most Christian believers? On almost any social issue, I'm more likely to agree with a secular humanist than a Christian (such as, say, gay marriage). Particularly, on issues of violence (such as opposition to warfare, torture, capital punishment), my views are strongly connected to this belief in inherent human dignity. On these issues, secular humanists are more likely to share my views than Christians are.

What is going on? Am I actually a secular humanist who just also believes in God? It's possible, but I would like to propose another theory, not based on evidence but speculative possibility.

The beliefs that many have about human dignity (or, if you prefer, human rights) developed out of a Western cultural tradition that does include religious values. Of course this cultural tradition has not always given a fig about human dignity (slavery, oppression of women, etc.), but something in this tradition includes progress toward equal rights and human rights. Some of these values emerge from religious traditions. However, for many religious-minded people, these values come with the religion, but are not primary to the religion. For example, Christianity may come with values of nonviolence and compassion for the poor, but the primary concern of Christianity is personal salvation for the believer and God's ultimate plan of salvation for the world. Thus what matters to many Christians is the "ends," which may encourage a way of thinking that allows one to believe "The ends justify the means." It is partly that concern with the particular Christian ends allows one not to focus on the values/morals, because those are not the ends. But it is also a mental structure: thinking of the ends as a primary concern on a religious issue can make one think of the ends on other problems as the primary concern, and thus abhorrent means can be justified to achieve those ends.

So what happens if you are influenced from your environment--if you emerge from this cultural tradition--but leave behind the teleological framework? If a Christian worldview focuses on and endgame but has values that come with it, and you remove the belief in the endgame, you are left with the values.

This is my speculation: I share values with secular humanists because like them, I'm focused on the values, not the endgame.

But why, when it comes to values of "life," do many Christians (notably Catholics) make abortion the "trump" issue? Many will only vote for political candidates opposed to abortion, which does make them vote for candidates who may support the death penalty, support massive military spending, and oppose policies that might be justified from a Christian perspective (such as action on climate change, a demand of stewardship, or on economic justice, a major subject of Jesus' words). I do have a theory. I think that some forms of Christianity generally support the existing social order, the existing power structure. It is in the instincts of many of these voters to preserve the status quo, to resist change. They are lower c conservatives, and are inclined to support conservative candidates. Focusing on abortion as a life issue, and ignoring or diminishing other just as pressing life issues, allows them to justify voting for the candidates they want to vote for anyway--even candidates whose policies might be opposed to other Christian values.

Anyway, I think this is why I must call myself a Christian humanist. I am a Christian that primarily shares values with secular humanists.

(most of my contrapuntal essays don't start off intending to be that, but become something like that when I get writing and see tangents.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

In case you didn't know

Glenn Greenwald is terrific.