Mansfield Fox

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

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Blogroll Additions

Very worthy reading: The Journal of a Prizefighter, the blog of a family friend who's undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's Disease. I meant to think to this months ago, and feel bad for only just getting to it. Please go check it out, maybe drop a message in his guestbook.

I've also added Accidental Verbosity, because Jay puts up darn cute pics of his daughter, and, well, we like that kind of stuff around here. Like, a whole lot.

Friday, December 30, 2005

City Cuts Cousins Out of Family

I'm enough of a civic republican that I think municipalities ought to be given a lot of latitude in governing local land use and living arrangements, but this is a scary reminder of the kind of mischief communities can create using that power. The city of Manassas, Virginia, has amended its housing code so as to define "family" (for purposes of determining who can live in a "single-family home") so as to exclude nephews and nieces living with aunts and uncles.

This story's about a lot of things: it's about the American valorization of the nuclear family; it's about the, ummm, complicated relationship places like Manassas have with the illegal immigrant community; it's about William Fischel's homevoter hypothesis; it's even, partially, about genuine concerns with overcrowding.

Anyway, an interesting read, especially for anyone into land use law and policy.

(original link via the Corner)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Much Love for the Heartland

Many thanks to Father Tharp for the shout-out. All you kind folks who've been directed here thereby, welcome! Feel free to look around, help yourself to anything in the fridge, etc. And feel free to sign my frapptastic, frappilicious Frappr map.

Our Noblest Bird

As I mentioned eons ago (OK, in August), there's a flock of about a dozen wild turkeys who live (year round, it now seems) in the woods of the coastal Rhode Island town in which my grandmother makes her domicile. My last time there I failed to record any photo evidence of their existence, a failure which - purely by accident - I was able to remedy just before Christmas.

I'd been wandering with my camera in the brambly, undeveloped parts of the subdivision, hoping to get photographs of the pond, the trees, the stone walls - the whole bucolic New England thing. Then suddenly I heard from across the road the noise of a dog barking, then the sound of commotion and the strangest cry. (Turkeys don't "gobble-gobble", except by convention. It sounded to me more like "hobba-hobba". But that's neither here nor there.)

I turned and saw a large family of turkeys darting across one of the empty lots in a mad dash for the brambles, and safety. Most had made it to the wood's edge by the time they caught my eye (fast little buggers), but I managed to observe a few stragglers. Some in flight (turkeys are far more graceful in the air than you'd imagine), some on foot (the same cannot be said for the ambulatory ones).

Snapping photos the whole time, I followed them into the woods. My progress was slowed by the thorns, and by the extraordinary dryness of the leaves, which announced my movements to the turkeys and enabled them to maintain a safe distance. I present to you now the best of turkey shots, which I must confess are not very good. 1,000 apologies; I shall attempt to get better shots the next time I'm in the area.

Audubon Society material, I ain't.

Brilliantly Mad! Madly Brilliant!

The Ultimate Showdown, which plays like the fever dream of a 13 year-old boy after a late-night sleepover bull session. (No, not that kind of fever dream!)

(via The Eye)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"I'm Not a Pickle; I'm a Cucumber."

Sarah isn't the only one who got a new friend for Christmas...

More Christmas-y stuff to be posted anon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas to All!

I shall shortly be departing for Rhode Island, there to celebrate Christmas with my extended family. I'll be out of blogging range while I'm there, so I thought I'd wish all my readers a most joyous Christmas now.

Have a holly, jolly (apostolly) Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Too Weird Not to Pass On

You've seen it elsewhere, but in case you haven't: Stalin's plan to create a race of half-man, half-ape super-soldiers.

Intellectual Property Smackdown!

This is going to make for a very amusing casebook entry someday: professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page is suing rapper Jay-Z over the use of a hand signal that Page has trademarked and copyrighted.

Whew! That's Good to Know.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Land Use / Zoning Quiz

Rowhouse 'Hood
You scored 19 out of 40 on urban-rural and 21 out of 40 land intensity.
People know you as: The Bohemian Gentrifier
Quote: "That crack house just needed a little paint."

Your score indicates that you are a city-dweller of the old-school. You like a dense, finely grained neighborhood with restaurants, churches and brothels all on the same block. Although you've never spoken to him personally, you know that guy Eddie down the street is a pimp and you're sure to tell your lame suburban friends about him at every opportunity, just to freak them out.

The bad news is that as more and more people like you move into your neighborhood it gradually becomes less cool and more expensive. Enjoy things while you can, because in 5 years you're going to have to move to the next 'hood uptown.

Examples of places you should live: Baltimore, Philadelphia

All Categories
Secluded Hideaway / Farm or Ranch / Small Town / Little City / Suburb / Streetcar Suburb / Rowhouse 'Hood / Downtown Loft

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 24% on urban-rural

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 29% on land intensity
Link: The Where Should You Live Test written by TwelveFloorsUp on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

(via the Lovely Sarah, who I suspect knows herself better than she thinks she does)

"It's All About the Hamiltons, Baby"

"Lazy Sunday", SNL's Narnia rap. Funnier than it sounds.

(via Da Corner)

One Order of Crow, Please

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Death to the NFL!!

OK, so today at 1:00pm a game featuring one of the season's best NFL matchups - pairing a very good Chargers team needing a win against an undefeated Colts team - will be played in Indianapolis.

Do I get to see it here in New Haven? No.

Do I get to see the week's second-best matchup, 8-5 Steelers at 8-5 Vikings, the loser of which will be eliminated from the playoffs? No.

Instead, because of the NFL's asinine scheduling rules, I get 3-10 Jets at 6-7 Miami on CBS and 9-4 Panthers at 3-10 Saints on FOX.


UPDATE: Well, that looks like it was a great game. I'm sure glad I didn't get to watch it.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I Think This Quiz Needs Some Tweaking....

Green - You believe that small economic units
should control the goods, and that the
government should be permissive of
"victimless crimes," respectful of
civil liberties and very strict towards big
business. You also believe in either a
socialist tax structure or more power to local
communities. You think that environmental
policies should be written into law. Your
historical role model is Ralph Nader.

Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

(via Discernment Dilemma)

Eternal Recurrence of the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman: an existential fairy tale ('So he said, "Let's run/and we'll have some fun/now before I melt away"') or a fable about property law (did Professor Hinkle really abandon his hat)?

I suspect it's the former: 'So he waved goodbye/saying "Don't you cry/I'll be back again one day.'

He's a frozen Nietzsche, he is.

or, A Modern Vitruvius

You know, there are times when I'm convinced that what I'm supposed to do is make a ton of money somehow (the lottery, maybe?) and pay Matt from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping to build a model community based on Catholic new urbanism.

Now is one of those times.

A Little Too Festive, If You Ask Me

Up the street from me:

Friday, December 16, 2005

The *Other* Red-Nosed Reindeer

You Are Blitzen

Always in good spirits, you're the reindeer who loves to party down with Santa.

Why You're Naughty: You're always blitzed on Christmas Eve, while flying!

Why You're Nice: You mix up a mean eggnog martini.

(via Eye of Polyphemus)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me

You are Kermit the Frog.
You are reliable, responsible and caring.
And you have a habit of waving your arms about maniacally.

"Hi ho!" "Yaaay!" and "Sheesh!"

"How Green Was My Mother"

"Surfin' the Webfoot: A Frog's Guide to the Internet"

Sitting in the swamp playing banjo.

"Hmm, my banjo is wet."

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

(via The Discernment Dilemma)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

'Twas Beauty Killed the Beast

Just saw King Kong. It was pretty astonishing.

The action sequences were phenomenal, of course. And surprisingly varied - the attack on Denham, Driscoll, et al., by a horde of giant insects was unlike any film sequence I've ever seen: slow, relentless, overwhelming. And yeah, creepy. Almost all action sequences have the same pacing: events may be punctuated by pauses for effect, but when danger comes it comes fast and hard like a punch. It was refreshing to see it done completely differently.

But, as you've doubtless read elsewhere, it's the relationship between Ann Darrow and Kong that makes the movie. It's completely believable, and more than that, it's beautiful. It's a real testament to Naomi Watts' and Andy Serkis' skills as actors, and Jackson's skill as a director, that Kong, a character who doesn't physically exist and has no lines, is one of the most complete and compelling characters in any movie this year. My favorite scene - and maybe my favorite scene from any movie this year - is the one of Ann and Kong in Central Park. It's completely unexpected, and terribly beautiful.

In box-office horse race news, my screening (8pm, in a theater showing Kong on three screens) was not only not full, it was almost empty. I'd guess maybe one-tenth of the seats were occupied (if that). I'm not sure this was a common experience (Sarah indicates that her screening was full) but if it is, it would be fascinating. I wonder if it's possible for a movie to be over-hyped, to the point where (as my companions and I almost did) people assume it's going to be a zoo and opt to stay home.

UPDATE: Perhaps my experience was not so unusual after all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


This looks like it might be fun: a British take on the Christopher Guest movie, this time about theme weddings. Smart idea, though I think it would be funnier if you had the actual Guest troop doing it. Ahh, well.

From Danang to Da Nave

(Apologies for the awful pun.)

Amy Welborn has an interesting piece up on the wildly disproportionate number of seminarians who are of Vietnamese extraction. I'd noticed something like this phenomenon, too, as I've been perusing the diocesan and parish websites on the net (what do you do to kill time?) - the number of Vietnamese names among the pastors struck me as very much out of sync with the general population.

This is, I think, an example of the way God can bring good out of any evil. None of these priests would be here to serve God and administer the sacraments to His people if the United States hadn't fought, and lost, the Vietnam War all those decades ago.

I wonder if in a few generations Vietnamese will replace Irish as the default ethnicity for priests when they're depicted in popular culture.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

From the "When It Rains, It Pours" File

Curtis Martin will have knee surgery. In one fell swoop, his consecutive starts and consecutive 1,000-yard seasons streaks come to an end. Lets just hope the Jets are getting all their bad luck out at once.

UPDATE: It gets worse: they won! Thus, they are effectively eliminated from not just the Reggie Bush sweepstakes, but the Matt Leinart sweepstakes as well.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The ReMix

From the folks what brung you The Shining re-imagined as a delightful family comedy comes Titanic and West Side Story. Oy.

I'm Not the Only One With a Beard

Professor Althouse notices something odd about the Brokeback Mountain Oscar campaign.

Honestly, How Many Could There Be?

With the arrival of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to theaters this weekend, one's thoughts naturally turn to the state of Christians in Hollywood. (On this subject, see generally Barbara Nicolosi.) And when one thinks of Christians in Hollywood, one's thoughts naturally turn to Ralph Winter, action-adventure producer extraordinaire.

I wonder, now: is that Ralph Winter related to Yale Law's own Professor Judge Ralph Winter, Jr.? They do bear a certain resemblance.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Passion of the Candidate

More Golden State madness. Anyone else up for dissolving the state and allowing Arizona, Nevada and Oregon to carve up the territory? Sure, it's not constitutional, but we can't get stuck on legal niceties. (via Professor Bainbridge)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Isn't this the ultimate Christmas gift for the brutal dictator in your life? They could wear gaudy Super Bowl ring-style jewelry embellished with gems made from the corpses of their massacred enemies. (via Open Book)

Monday, December 05, 2005

So Much Fake Money

Depictions of Journalism in Film

Terry Teachout has up a nice piece on Capote and Good Night, and Good Luck. His point is somewhat similar to the one I made here, though of course he makes his point much more eloquently. (Link via the Corner)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's My Birthday

As a present, God gave me the world, just like I like it: covered in snow.

What a Zombie Is

Watch this one all the way through until the end.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Capote: The Anti-Ray

I managed to catch Capote yesterday afternoon. (I also saw a midnight screening of Taxi Driver on which I'll hopefully post later.)

Capote is really great, and it really reveals the artistic bankruptcy of enjoyable but ultimately empty biopics like Ray and Walk the Line. Those movies make a big point of being "warts-and-all" portraits, willing and eager to show their subjects' failings. To a certain extent, this is true; no one would leave Ray or Walk the Line thinking Ray Charles or Johnny Cash were men without flaws.

But the movies are nevertheless hagiographies, because they are, at heart, crude and uncomplicated redemption narratives. Any facts that would complicate the sin-and-redemption arc are underplayed or omitted. The characters aren't permitted any flaws that won't ultimately be overcome. Thus, Ray focuses heavily on Charles' heroin addiction, which he overcame, but largely downplays his alcoholism, heavy marijuana use and serial womanizing (according to Wikipedia, he fathered 8 children out of wedlock, with 5 different women), which followed him all the way to the grave (and which, indeed, he never apparently saw as problems needing to be overcome).

Capote in contrast offers a much more complicated depiction of its main character. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Capote is in many ways sympathetic, but in other respects is a deeply loathsome figure - duplicitous, callous, remarkably self-centered. He spends much of the third act hoping that the killers, whom he's befriended, will lose their appeals and be executed so he can finish his book. These conflicts aren't overcome. There's no resolution. The movie suggests the guilt follows Capote to the grave. This is real, honest biography, in which the subject's flaws serve as more than just uncomplicated fodder for an uplifting tale of redemption.


If you're not reading Almoorica... well, you should be. Moore is one of my favorite writers, and has been since high school; his intramural sports columns were basically the only readable thing in the student newspaper we both worked on. His work reminds me of Brendon Donnelly (variously of the Superficial, I Don't Like You That Way, and What Would Tyler Durden Do?) in that he's capable of taking almost any seemingly random topic - from the comic genius of Fred Armisen to the relative merits of Freaky Freezies and Hypercolor Tees - and mining it for real but novel insights.

Anyway, I highly recommend his recent series of posts on the demerits of Kanye West's "Golddigger".

Stick a Pin in Me

I'm not sure I have any new readers as a result of my op-ed piece yesterday, but in case I do, or in case there are any old readers who haven't yet done it, I thought I'd point out that you can still sign my Frappr map.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Opinions Are Like...Well, You Know...

I promised I wouldn't advertise this to Yale Law people for another few days, so if you're a YLSer, please skip past this post.

I am now a published opinion journalist. My friend Becky Bolin and I have a piece, "What Yale's Silence Says", in today's Hartford Courant. It's about the way YLS's reaction to the Alito nomination reveals the total lack of ideological diversity at the law school. I think it makes a pretty good companion piece to Professor Schuck's recent article, which tackles the issue more generally, and this New York Observer piece, about the Other Law School's hiring of conservative law profs.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

No to Torture. Yes to the McCain Amendment?

Cacciaguida posts two questions about the McCain Amendment (which, by the way, he suspects won't pass). Read also the comments, in which his first question is partially answered.

I'm Not Taking This Sitting Down.

Am I the only one who finds it at all ironic that the statue of Rosa Parks that Congress approved today will depict her standing?