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Comments by Scott Miller
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On “Open Thread

I guess that's true. After a rocky start, they looked really good there. But their stuff really isn't that good. I think Yankee stadium exposes weaknesses. You need Verlander type stuff to pitch well there consistently and only Waldon has that for the Angels and he couldn't be used because he walks too many people. Man, Granderson made some plays today. He's exactly right for the park too. You have to play in and then go get em. He's like Paul Blair was, only more athletic when it comes to the actual catch. The one he caught at the wall to rob Trout early on was incredible.

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That's how crazy that ballpark is. You end up feeling sorry for the players. Thanks for your sympathy. We needed all the help we could get. You must have shit in your pants when Weaver got a double play out of the oldest trick in the book, faking that throw to 3rd, getting Granderson (was it?) and then ARod too. Wow. I'm not sure I have ever seen that play work. Saved the game. Thank god that was the last game there. Heart-attack city. I was so made at the Angels pitches for those 9th inning walks, and they were given up by our best pitchers! They were in the game with a 5 run league, which in that ballpark was the right move, but I bet it only happened because Frieri hasn't pitched enough lately. Then he fucks the whole thing up. C razy.

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Frog: I agree about Angel's potential. For some reason, they are always a bit tight. Like they want it a bit too much or something. I just don't like the feel of what they're feeling. The opposite of what I felt during their championship season. But we'll see. They certainly have a lot of talent. Yankees will be hard to beat in Yankee stadium. They're built for the ballpark, especially when Tex is hitting. BTW, the Angel announcers thought Trout was safe on that play at third. I agree with you.

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Of course, that first game was painful for Angel fans. Given Downs' performance I was shocked that he let those first two batters get away like that. Anyone can give up a dinger in that park, but the walk was the real problem. Ouch. Now the pressure is on Weaver.

On “Comments On Ecology and War

Doctors say that news of the death sentence is ineffective. It may even encourage people to keep smoking. The positivity comes in replacement of the death sentence because the death sentence doesn't work. Yoga would be the positivity. The "you'll be here to play with your grandchildren." As my old in-laws would put it, "I don't know from Pearl Harbor." I guess I see the whole environmental crisis as the violence. It's a Pearl Harbor that leads to a death sentence. Yoga anyone?

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Interesting post. In a way, it's your answer to Curtis White's The Barbaric Heart. I'll state what I consider to be a simple fact. It's based on what I have read about doctors who have to tell people they must quit smoking or die within six months. What I've heard is that doctors using negative reinforcement rarely succeed in getting through to patients. What works better is positivity. So doctors who say things like, "You'll still be around to go to ball-games with your grandchildren if you quit now" have better luck with smokers. This would then refute the contention that people will listen when things get bad enough with the environment, and considering how many people continue committing a slow form of suicide through cigarette smoking, at this point, we just may be facing the result of our suicidal environmental behavior because I don't know how we go about telling everyone something collectively positive enough to motivate the kind of change that's necessary. Yoga anyone?

On “The perfect speech…

Oh, oh, and what you wrote there is a perfect way to explain my adherence to the Ashtanga system. It's not ancient, but if we admit to our yogic ignorance and do yoga in connection with a perfected system, we're better off.

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Oh, and that was a good one.

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You know "why." Because then I get to enjoy your rebuttals.

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I do understand the separations (between art and philosophy and philosophy and writing) that you see as relevant, and I do think the "mother-tongue" issue is relevant. But then there's people like Thomas Mann. It's not apples and oranges in my opinion to consider both the philosophical and artistic greatness of "Doctor Faustus," within which the things we're discussing here are addressed.

The proximity of aestheticism and barbarism, of beauty and crime, is a second central element in Mann’s description of German culture which touches the fundamental role of art in society. Walter Benjamin has spoken of the fascist aestheticization of politics. Zeitblom says about one of Leverkühns major works, the Apocalypsis con figuris, that it had “a peculiar kinship with, was in spirit a parallel to, the things I had heard at Kridwiss’s table-round”, an inter-war circle in Munich that Mann describes flatly as “arch-fascist”. A few pages later, Zeitblom worries about “an aestheticism which my friend’s saying: ‘the antithesis of bourgeois culture is not barbarism, but community[9],’ abandoned to the most tormenting doubts. … Aestheticism and barbarism are (near) to each other: aestheticism as the herald of barbarism.

To me, everything is art. That may make me a barbarian. But I trust artists. I don't trust philosophers trying to be pure philosophers. It's a false conservatism in itself and doesn't, in my opinion, excuse a lack of artistry. That's why I like your writing. There's poetry in it. It's playful. It's artistic. Mann was the king of all that in my opinion. He was anything but vulgar in the way he addressed aestheticism in extremely varied ways. Even the German in the book is varied, since some chapters were written in such old, gothic style German, even native German speakers have trouble deciphering it. I love that. The writing transcends the mind level concerns of what is slipshod, or adorned. It happens on a whole other level and because it happens on a whole other level it can contain philosophical truths that mind-level writing can never express not matter how supposedly perfect it may appear to the mind.

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the perfect writer rejects with disdain and with some impatience the demand of vulgar rhetoric that expressions must be varied since change is pleasant

That sounds like he's saying something about imperfect speech to me. And if you look at it the way we would look at music or painting, in my opinion, he's wrong on an aesthetic level as well. The variances in a particular great musical or painterly piece my be slight and reductive compared to other pieces, but without variance there is no relational beauty. A tightness wafts off of his writing as well. The tightness is vulgarly conservative to me.

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I disagree with Strauss. "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly."

On “Open Thread

Miami's shooting was once in a life-time individually and collectively. No way those two guys (and Chalmers, Cole) could all shoot like that, take turns shooting like that, and hit 'em at the right times in the game like that ever again in a million years. It's like baseball teams. Sometimes it all comes together. The Giants were like that win they won the series. It all came together for a bunch of guys at the same time. Sometimes it happens but it will never happen for those Miami guys together again. Battier didn't shoot well all year, Miller is on the tail end of his ability, Cole is too young to know better, Chalmers is just Chalmers, but for one series they were Steve Kerr, John Paxson, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry and Billups all in one.

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Pretty bad. Perkins could be upgraded, or downgraded. You know what I mean.

On “Unger’s meaningless betrayal

One more thing:
No surprise, I actually sympathize with the professors dissatisfaction with Obama. I just don't see how he can justify pushing the worse-the better revolution overtly the way he does. He's not ready for that. As you always remind me, I'm not ready for that and I'm a whole lot more ready than him. But what other way to view it is there but to understand his intent as a provocation to make things worse so they can get better? Do you think that's how he sees it?

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Thanks. Also, your last too typically great posts deserve better than they get from us in respect to commenting. They are really masterfully scribed.

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"worse-the better" revolutionism. There will be lots of casualties. And no NBA. There's already no House. What kind of healthcare do you think there will be during the revolution? My brother and his wife pay $800 each a month with a $5000 deductible. Right there, the revolution saves them $1600 but like me, he needs to have several basil cell skin cancer thingies removed each year. Not sure a revolutionary medic can handle that.

On “Open Thread

And Battier. Who the hell could have ever guessed he'd turn into Bird? No shame, Frog.

On “More on Breaking Bad: Setting up S5 and vs. House

He has parents, of course. He has no wife or children, which is the opposite of Walter. That was the point.

On “Open Thread

There was also that Celtic series. As the Frog pointed out very clearly, both Eastern teams were terrible. Bosh has made a difference but I think OKC is a much better team that turned out not to be able to handle the pressure of an NBA finals. And I agree that Harden isn't as crazy as LO. Just more nervous.

On “More on Breaking Bad: Setting up S5 and vs. House

Well, his drug addiction puts him in his own league as far as television super doctors go. Interesting that Walter makes drugs and House takes them. I wonder what that says about our respective identifications with the characters? Walter has cancer. House is a cripple. Walter has a family and is trying to do for them. House has no family and never lets his best and only friend know that he's doing anything for him by way of selflessness--deceiving him right to the end when he lets Watson, I mean Wilson think he's dead until it can be revealed that House's manipulations have fooled the authorities and enabled them to ride happily into the sunset for the six months that Wilson still has left to live. Not sure if any of those differences are meaningful in the context of your critique but there you are.

On “Open Thread

I do agree. Not much traveling and Miami played right. Harden was scared. He reminds me a lot of Lamar Odom. Lefty. Constantly lipping out layouts. Will get into wonderful zones sometimes and then loose it again. Too uptight. Maybe Harden eats too much candy like Odom. Also might have something to do with marijuana.

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If I could be any player it would be Westbrook. How fun would it be to be that freakishly talented and crazy. It would be like a Beckettian fantasy come true within regular hoop dreams.

On “More on Breaking Bad: Setting up S5 and vs. House

Sorry to quote so much of what you wrote, but this is the crux of the issue:
BB‘s anti-hero Walter White’s world feels more like my world. Walt appeals to those who know they’re wrong for the world, or right for the wrong world because wrong, and who therefore move from crisis to crisis, with all their greatest victories hidden to all, especially the people closest to them – because the wrong world that requires those victories also rejects or pretends to reject them, or simply does not see them or seem to see them or admit seeing them at all. Walter White is the exact opposite of House in that respect. When Walter solves an impossible problem through some combination of courage, knowledge, stubbornness, and creativity, the truth of it, its depth and excellence, is and usually must remain a secret. It’s between him and God/the universe – and us. If anyone else knew – his wife, his partner, his closest friends, his doctors – it would destroy him as well as the work itself. Not that his work is perfect or anywhere close. If Walt were perfect, he wouldn’t exist for us as an object of identification: His stratagems often fail, and his self-control slips. His normal human desire for recognition leads him to take unnecessary risks or to act out emotionally, generally the same thing.
Strangely, you've helped me understand my identification with House. You're right about what House represents from a normal world perspective. He's not a loser. But from a yoga world perspective, he is breaking bad. If I acted like House in the yoga world I would have to do it within the context of what you explain here. And actually I do. What I do is between me and God/the universe because if it wasn't it would destroy me as well as the work itself. Not that my work is perfect or anywhere else. If I were perfect, I wouldn't exist for students as an object of identification.
The only thing you don't address (maybe you get there, I don't know because I stopped at the above paragraph to write this) is that House is "always right." I could explain that point of my identification but you would hate me for it, and while I'm okay with people hating me, I think I'll just not go there any more than I already have by bringing it up like this at all.

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