micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Monday, December 29, 2003
...on the field

The Bowl Championship Series has caused some controversy this year because it isn’t perfect and didn’t work out this year as well as it has in some others.

What I find interesting is not any of the various proposed remedies but rather that the idea that things should be settled "on the field" is seen as ideal by just about everyone (although some correctly say such a solution may be impractical). What nobody acknowledges is that all "championships" are subjective in that the rules do not have to be that way. What's up with pass interference or facemasks? It is football. If they want to paralyze each other, that's there right. And why shouldn't every player be on the offensive side be an "eligible receiver"? That might make for a more exciting game.

In basketball, why should the college teams have a tournament to decide who the "national champion" is? Such tournaments are full of odd match-ups and flukes that could, and regularly do, throw the whole thing into flux. Why not make each series best two out of three? (But then, if you do that, why not best 3 out of 5? And so on.) Why should any team have the chance to win the "national championship" if they are not the "champion" of their own conference? Seems to me that it is impossible to be the best team amongst all teams in a grouping if you are not the best team in even one sub-grouping? And why the hell is there a shot clock? If a team wants to get a two-point lead and milk it for the rest of the game, why not? I highly doubt any of the world's religious documents forbid that.

The point is not that any of these changes should or shouldn't be made but rather that there is an arbitrary nature to the rules of these games. If these rules had been different in the past (and keep in mind the above examples were just a few that popped into my head while writing this, there are many many many more), large chunks of sports history would be different. But nobody says UCLA really didn't win eight straight championships in men's college basketball. Why? Because those championships happened on the field, which is generally seen followers of and participants in these sports as natural and not something to be questioned. The obvious exception being when a rule has been changed, but even then the change is viewed as having interrupted the "natural" order of things. But, as I've demonstrated here, there is nothing "natural" about that and the only way to believe any championship is "real" is to believe (determine) that the rules under which it happened were legitimate, at least for that time. Once an individual starts arguing for rule changes they are effectively critiquing the validity of the current system to determine “winners.”

While religion and sports appear to be at odds elsewhere, the controversy over the BCS process seems to be an example of an ostensibly secular activity that has a very religious foundation. Amongst other things, Slavoj Zizek argues in his appropriately titled 2001 text On Belief (Routledge) that this is a common phenomenon in the current period.


Henry McDonald makes a compelling argument for keeping church and state separate in a November 2 Observer piece entitled "Secular salvation." On practical grounds I agree with him but on theoretical grounds I have problems with statements such as this:

...nor does the defence of secularism diminish the private beliefs of worshippers today. In fact, by retreating from temporal power religion will no longer be soiled by the messy compromises and dirty dealing of politics.
It seems absurd to me to expect people who believe they practice the on true faith -as many, though certainly not all, religious people do- to not want to enter the world of politics because the system isn't perfect. Shouldn't they be trying to correct it? And how could an all-powerful God who wants to be worshipped by all humans (for reasons that relate to low self-esteem or something) accept that there is not something wrong with the primary governing institutions of humans being devoid of his influence?


I often wonder how people can just put up with the dishonesty of Team Bush. Perhaps the "Santa Claus" phenomenon is in effect. I believed in Santa for a number of my younger years and when it occurred to me that the whole story didn't make sense -why would a guy with so much ability limit himself to toys? why didn't he distribute food and medicine to those in need throughout the year?- I wasn't mad at my parents. Now I feel I like I should have been, but I wasn't then and I'm still not now.