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A Sporting Sunday Surprise

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — Triptych, DoubleQuote and Single in sports, with a sermon you should really click through and hear, delivered by the inimitable Alan Bannett of Beyond the fringe ]
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The London Review of Books sends me a weekly email, and this week it offered sporting articles that might be of interest. I can’t access all the articles in question, not being a subscriber, but the sort versions offered in the email provide me with this triptych of sporting paragraphs.. on the theme of suffering..

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A Broad Grin and a Handstand
by E.S. Turner, 2004

The Paris-Madrid road race of 1903 was a wonderfully disgraceful affair. Three hundred cars set out, conferring death and dismemberment along the dust-choked roads south. Six of the drivers were killed outright and nearly twice as many gravely injured. The hospitals were stuffed with mangled sightseers. By the time the surviving drivers reached Bordeaux the race was called off, and in Madrid the garlanded welcome arches were quietly dismantled. City-to-city road racing was now over. However, the dawn of motoring was still one of those dawns in which it was bliss to be alive.

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Everybody gets popped
by David Runciman, 2012

For Tyler Hamilton, as for many of the other leading cyclists, doping did not constitute an unfair advantage. Instead, it was a way of sorting out who was really the toughest. In an extraordinary passage, Hamilton writes that EPO made the sport fairer, because it ‘granted the ability to suffer more; to push yourself farther and harder than you’d ever imagined, in both racing and training’.

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Bantu in the Bathroom
by Jacqueline Rose, 2015

The full citation from Corinthians tattooed on Oscar Pistorius’s upper back reads:

I do not run like a man running aimlessly;
I do not fight like a man beating the air;
I execute each stride with intent;
I beat my body and make it my slave
I bring it under my complete subjection
To keep myself from being disqualified
After having called others to the contest.

The line about making my body my slave is not in most translations from Corinthians, nor is subjection described as ‘complete’. Pistorius was raising the stakes. He was also punishing, or even indicting, himself.

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So much for the Triptych: now, still with sports in mind, for a Twitter DoubleQuote:

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And finally, for a Single, this delightful sports metaphor in religion quote, also from the LRB offering this morning, and worthy of the Alan Bennett sermon (to die for):

6/4 he won’t score 20
by John Sturrock, 2000

In prelapsarian times, it was only ever a short step from the batting crease to the pulpit, as generations of cricketing vicars used the game that they played heartily, if not usually very well, on Saturday afternoon for a neighbourly source of Sunday metaphors with which to earth a sermon and reassure the congregation that the rules by which a good Anglican was urged to live were really no more arduous than those framed by the MCC.

Howzzat?

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So the Bible said, and it still is news

Friday, July 5th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — Universities hither and yon, illustrating Matthew 25:29 and it clearly still is news ]
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Celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and acclaimed astronomer Professor Andrea Ghez were among the recipients of honorary degrees at Encaenia..

News below from my alma mater, the University of Oxford

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It’s worth noting that the gift to the humanities (top panel, above), though smaller than that to the sciences (lower panel), is to the University of Oxford itself, whereas the gift to the sciences, though larger, is to the city of Oxford.

But Oxford — city with university, town and gown — benefits in both cases.

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Contrast that with the University of Alaska:

My hope here would be for the university to prioritize the full continuation of its unique services – the indigenous language and arctic climate change programs — all else is covered elsewhere..

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A Biblical explanation:

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

Or, musically stated:

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Further readings:

  • Oxford University, Honorary degrees awarded at Encaenia 2019,

  • Oxford University, University announces unprecedented investment in the Humanities
  • Oxford University, Legal & General commits £4 billion to Oxford partnership

  • Bryan Alexander, Alaska gears up to clobber its universities
  • University of Alaska, Main page, University of Alaska
  • **

    Achtung!

    Two unexpected signs of the same intelligence at work

    Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — two instances in which land is returned to tribal peoples who previously tended it ]
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    Sources:

  • Bold Nebraska, In Historic First, Nebraska Farmer Returns Land to Ponca Tribe
  • Forest News, Indonesian president hands over management of forests to indigenous people
  • **

    Wallace Black Elk told me the Americas were his altar, and that on this altar guns are not permitted. He also offered to get me a Lakota passport, which would allow me to fly into US airports without having to pass through customs.

    but these ideas are a bit farther along the timeline, I think, from the two land exchanges detailed above.

    Sun, moon and silhouettes

    Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — beautiful photography, alchemical significance ]
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    Twin images from The Atlantic’s selection of photos for this week:

    TOPSHOT – The Cristo Rey monument is silhouetted against the full moon in Cali, Colombia, early on June 17, 2019. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

    The sun sets behind a tattered windmill, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, near Tappen, N.D. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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    Why bother?

    Why bother to show you these two images out of a waterfall of fine images?

    Because somewhere within us, deep, psychologically speaking, there’s a desire for the consummation of a marriage between what the Chinese term the creative and receptive principles, here represented in an alchemical image by king and queen, silver and gold, sun and moon:

    — don’t think — just enjoy!

    The Ideal and the Practical — the Practice

    Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — cross-posted from BrownPundits in response to a friend’s comment there ]
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    I’d written a response to @AnAn and included a quote from the Chuang Tzu’s chapter on Lord Wen-hui and what he learned from his Cook Ting, and wanted to throw in the following DoubleQuote — but graphics seem to be discouraged in the Comment sections here, so I’ve opened this post for the purpose:

    The thing is, Lao Tzu offers us the ideal statement, formulated in terms of an impenetrable absence of space, and an absence of substance to the point of non-existence — while Chuang Tzu, peering over Lord Wen-hui’s shoulder right there in Cook Ting’s kitchen, offers us the same insight, couched in terms of there being “spaces between the joints” and his knife having “really no thickness” — Chuang Tzu’s measureless insight penetrates Lao Tzu’s impenetrable absolutes to show us there’s room for play there — “room — more than enough for the blade to play about in”.

    If we bear these two versions of the same idea — formulated ideally and in practical terms by the two principle philosopher-poets of the Taoist school — in mind when our thoughts run up against the impracticality of an ideal, we may find, like Cook Ting, that we too have room enough room to play in.


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