Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I'm a Student Again!

I just discovered that a) my financial aid is finally done and approved, and b) I have a grade for my Substantial. Which means: I can register next week! Huzzah!

Culinary Curiosity

Does anyone know why Chinese food never has cheese in it?

UPDATE: From the feedback I've gotten, the consensus seems to be that a) there's virtually no dairy in the East Asian diet in general, and b) this is because there are high rates of lactose intolerance among East Asians.

There's still an interesting chicken-and-egg question there: are East Asians generally lactose intolerant because, millennia ago, their ancestors didn't consume dairy products (thus giving lactose tolerance no natural-selection edge); or did the proto-East Asians decline to take up dairy consumption millennia ago because they were mostly lactose intolerant?

To put it differently, is it memetics (cow milk and its by-products are good to eat) driving genetics (the body can produce the enzymes to break down lactose), or the other way around?

I Love the 80s, Gloves Edition

Almoorica debates the relative merits of some great 80s technicolor marvels. It's Freaky Freezies vs. Hypercolor Tees.

Currently feeling a rush of nostalgia.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Borne Back Ceaselessly into the Past, Yo.

Small is Beautiful

Just saw a report on SportsCenter about weight issues in the NFL (prompted, obviously, by the death of 49ers rookie Thomas Herrion). A fascinating statistic: only two teams in the League field offensive lines that average less than 300 lbs. Those two teams? The Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos. That's significant, of course, because the Falcons lead the league in rushing last season, and the Broncos have been a long-time rushing powerhouse, renowned for its ability to sub in new running backs every year and have them rattle off 1000 yard seasons. You don't accumulate those kind of rushing statistics without a darn good offensive line, which means that the two lightest o-lines in the NFL are also two of the best. Perhaps, agility is superior to sheer bulk.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Photos from my Rhode Island Trips

I've spent the previous two weekends in Rhode Island attending to important business. (OK: lounging on the beach, playing mini-golf, and attending my grandmother's 75th birthday celebration.) I brought my camera along, and captured some nice images I thought I'd share with you.

One of the first things I noticed on arrival was the much greater presence of wild animals than before. I guess this is a nationwide phenomenon; deer, bears, even wolves are all making comebacks. But I hadn't realized that this phenomenon had spread to coastal Rhode Island. That is, until one night just before sunset I discovered a flock of a dozen wild turkeys gobbling away in my folks' backyard. Poor fool that I am, I didn't get any photos of them, though I did manage to later get a shot of some evidence of their presence (other than their omnipresent droppings):

They do exist!

Another example of local wildlife (also from my parents' backyard):

(Sorry for the low quality; I couldn't get that close.)

Across the street from my grandmother's house is a pond that's the northern home to a flock of between 150-200 egrets. I tried to capture them (not entirely successfully, due to the distance).

I also have photos of non-natural phenomena. There was, as I mentioned, my grandmother's birthday celebration, at which gathered her children and grandchildren, one of her nieces and her family, and some distant cousins who live nearby. The kids played until it got too buggy, and we cooked-out, and a grand time was had by all.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Because They Have To

I've often wondered why the ABC Family Channel (nee the Fox Family Channel) airs the "700 Club". The rest of the channel's programming is just standard teeny-bopper fair (see, e.g.). So why in the world do they dedicate hours of programming every day to right-wing Evangelical answer to the "Today" show? The answer: they're contractually obligated to.

Matt Lawton, Yankee

I'm a little confused by the logic of the Matt Lawton trade. The Yankees have two principal problems, now that their starters are pitching well: center field and middle relief. Lawton, though an outfielder, is no center fielder. He's projected to be our left fielder, with Hideki Matsui moving to center. Which moves Bernie Williams to DH. Which puts Jason Giambi, one of the worst fielders in the majors, to first (and puts Tino Martinez on the bench).

So: you've got a slight defensive improvement in center field (Matsui over Williams), a slight defensive downgrade in left field (if Lawton were better than Matsui, he'd be in center), and a substantial defensive downgrade at first. Net, that's a downgrade.

So the upside must be offensive, right? Well, we're effectively replacing Martinez with Lawton. Lawton's stats this season: .268 batting average, 11 home runs, 49 RBI. Martinez's stats this season: .237 batting average, 17 home runs, 47 RBI. That's basically a wash. Both are lefties, on the wrong side of 30, with declining skills.

So, we've added $8 million in payroll to make the team worse defensively. Huh? Is there some kind of Guinness world record for "most bad contracts on one team" that Steinbrenner is gunning for?

New Digs

By the way, FYI: I'm now also blogging at the brand new, totally awesome, Yale Federalist Society blog. There are a lot of smart people involved, including Will Baude of Crescat Sententia, so it's bound to be great. Plus, I personally guarantee that at least one future Supreme Court candidacy will be deep-sixed every month, or your money back!

Just to set me pappy's mind at ease: this will result in the division, rather than the multiplication, of my blogging efforts. I'll probably divide things such that religion, personal and pop culture posts stay here, as does photo-blogging, and law and politics posts go up at the FedSoc blog. Stupidity and inanity will be evenly distributed throughout.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Behold, the Power of Digital Retouching

High-Tech Hermitage, Day 2


I'm now a practicing member of the Netflix cult. I received my first three DVDs last night - episodes one through eleven of "Firefly", just to see what all the fuss is about. I watched the first disc last night, and sent it off first thing in the morning (the better to get disc 4!) and spent the first part of today enjoying discs two and three. A good time was had by all.

Netflix, to put it succinctly, kicks ass. I'm not sure whether I prefer the broad selection (as opposed to the neighborhood Blockbuster, which has two dozen copies of "Guess Who?" but no "Kelly's Heroes") or the lack of marginal costs to renting more discs (versus dropping $30 on Blockbuster DVDs in one week). What I love most, though, is the fact that I don't have to leave the home to procure entertainment. Between my high-speed internet connection, my cable TV, Netflix, and the Elm City's many fine pizzerias and Chinese restaurants, I no longer have any need to actually leave my apartment. You know what? The life of a shut-in isn't so bad.

As for "Firefly", I'm enjoying it a good deal, but I think I can understand why it was a flop (beyond the "Fox screwed up" theory). The show is legitimately weird. The aesthetic is a bizarre combination of the Wild West and Imperial China, with heavy Arabic and Japanese influences. The characters swear in Mandarin. One of the main characters is a courtesan. The plots are all standard Western tropes (the train heist, grifting the grifters, settlers massacred by savages) but set... in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace.... The show (deliberately, I assume) doesn't include many standard sci-fi elements, like aliens, warp drives and epic space battles. There isn't even much in the way of laser guns; most people use standard firearms. Now, these are all things I find entertaining, and I suspect the same is true of the "Browncoats" (the show's die-hard fans). (That, and the bevy of hot space-babes.) But for your ordinary Joe Primetime, who likes his comedy situational, his drama police-procedural, and his reality televised, that kind of stuff is confusing and off-putting. There's a kind of elegant mathematical simplicity to it. Hip, genre-bending show + snappy, ironic dialog + cleavage a-go-go = cult hit. And no matter how well Fox had promoted it, it was very unlikely to be anything but. Still, I enjoy it. Bring on the movie!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm Not Dead (Honest!)

Please permit me to apologize for my unceremonious departure and long absence. My internet connection in my apartment in New York was cut the day before I departed, and I've been without an internet connection (the Law School's library and brief uses of my father's laptop notwithstanding) until today.

Anyway, what, you inquire, have I been up to? (Or, you don't, but I'll tell you anyway.) I've been (mostly) in New Haven setting up my new apartment for next year (or, at least, trying to). The new pad is still on Mansfield Street - indeed, it's literally next door to my old apartment - so the blog will get to keep its name for another year. I've spent the last two weekends in Rhode Island, enjoying the beach weather and showing off my mini-golf chops (I'm now a below-par golfer at the course in Misquamicut). Last weekend was my grandmother's 75th birthday celebration, which was the occasion of a nice little family reunion. Her kids and grandkids, one of her nieces and her family, some semi-distant cousins who live in the area - a grand old time. I have some nice photos, which will hopefully get posted soonish.

What else? Lacking cable until Tuesday, and internet until today, I've done a fair amount of reading and DVD watching. Yeah, it's been that exciting.

Anyway, I'm back, and hope to post more regularly going forward. Honest.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hiding the Ball

Literally. I love this stuff. (via Baseball Musings)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Birds

A most peculiar dream, too queer not to be blogged:

I'm in a row-boat with Will Baude, Will Baude, and some unidentified third (fourth?) party (perhaps my roommate? memory hazy). We're debating property rights in land and zoning laws as we pull into Watch Hill harbor. The two Wills are taking the most liberal and conservative positions, respectively, with myself trying to mediate between the two.

As we pull closer to the pier, I notice that the sea wall and the small beach just inside it is a remarkable diversity of birds, far beyond the usual run of seagulls and piping plovers that resides there. As we move further in, the menagerie gets weirder and weirder. One of the Wills spots a pair of emperor penguins, which turn out on closer inspection to be enormous, at least 8 feet tall and possibly the size of kodiak bears (the dream was somewhat unclear on this point).

After we dock, the rest of the crew wants to take off (things to do!) but I insist on doubling back on foot to get a better view of the birds. On approaching, I discover that one of the penguins was not a penguin after all, but rather an anthropomorphic creature with a body covered in fine gray down, a flamingo-like head at the end of a long neck, and a pair of cut-off jeans shorts. Hoping to get its attention, I shout "Hey!" at it.

I succeed. It traipses over, uncurls its long gray neck, and stares at me with its small black eyes.

"Yes?" it says.

Here endeth the dream.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Reagan, Churchill & Penis Jokes

Written in the Book of Life

Well said:
Susan serves not only as an image of self-sacrifice and motherhood, but also as a stark reminder of the unsung holiness all throughout the communion of saints, a holiness which perhaps exceeds in some the more conspicuous yet more rarified merits of the canonized saints. May she rest in peace, and shower blessings upon her children.
Ora pro nobis.


Query: is primogeniture constitutional? If a state were to require that all property passed on at death go to the eldest child (with no requirement of maleness or legitimacy) would such a rule pass constitutional scrutiny?

Somewhat weirdly, I think the answer is yes. Birth order isn't a suspect or quasi-suspect category, and as such the measure would only have to satisfy the rational basis test. And surely one can devise some rational basis for such a rule. (Say: it prevents the fracturing of estates that might produce anti-commons problems.)

And yet: that can't be right. Surely I've missed something. Thoughts?

Counterfactual History Goes Mainstream

"C.S.A.: The Movie"

Yeah, you'd better believe I'll be there.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Finally, Some Recognition!

Thanks to the Ratzinger Fan Club, I see that I've finally been recognized for what I really am: a "young fogey" "neo-Cath" whose "papolatry commonly goes hand in hand with [his] Busholatry".

Indeed, I'm one of the "more flamboyant voices" of this notorious group.

I'm just glad the flamboyance of my voice is finally being acknowledged!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Major League Episcopacy

The Acton Institute's blog reports that the Antiochian Orthodox are leaving the National Council of Churches. Meanwhile, Christopher Hitchens says that the Scientologists have joined the American Council of Churches.

What I want to know is: what's the difference between the NCC and the ACC? Does the latter have the designated hitter rule?

(Also, the Scientologists? What, were the Raelians busy?)

Substantial = Finished

Through brute strength (though not, you'll note, intellect of agility) and no small amount of prayer, it's over. Deo gratias.