Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
Brits Dubious About Evolution
Sunday, January 29, 2006
If the Pope Teaches Heresy
A similar exceptional situation might arise were a pope to become a public heretic, i.e., were he publicly and officially to teach some doctrine clearly opposed to what has been defined as de fide catholicâ. But in this case many theologians hoId that no formal sentence of deposition would be required, as, by becoming a public heretic, the pope would ipso facto cease to be pope. This, however, is a hypothetical case which has never actually occurred; even the case of Honorius, were it proved that he taught the Monothelite heresy, would not be a case in point.Does this strike anyone else as somewhat question-begging? If the pope attempts to infallibly teach something that seems like heresy to you, do you a) assume it's not heresy because the pope is protected by his charism of infallibility* or b) assume he's no longer the pope because he's taught heresy? Does Catholic teaching provide a rule of decision on this issue? Are we all just cafeteria Sedevacantists?
*Which - let's be honest - sounds like something you'd use to battle the Rust Monster in Dungeons & Dragons.
Google vs. Google
Save Us, Gamera!
Friday, January 27, 2006
Is That a Bird in Your Hand...
Virginia Postrel has a neat article on the relationship between numeracy and willingness to take risks. Particularly flabbergasting are the number of people who'd choose $500 over a 15% chance of $1,000,000. I mean, $5,000, maybe. It's still a terrible deal, but it's a more comprehensible one. Accepting the $500 isn't risk-averseness, it's lunacy!
Anyway, worth a read. And when you're done, ponder: a) how this relates to who plays the lottery, b) how this relates to what kinds of people play what kind of casino games (slot machines vs. craps vs. blackjack vs. poker).
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
With an Assist from the Rats of NIMH
Boy, I'm sure glad that post-Christian Scotland has emancipated itself from superstition and irrationality.
(link via the Corner)
Dwyers in the News
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Plainly the Case
You are the Plain Meaning Rule! You interpret statutes according to what an ordinary speaker of English would understand from the text. You're upfront and direct. You claim that you're just following the rules, but often find a clever technicality to interpret the rules however you want.Via Professor Bainbridge
Monday, January 23, 2006
Many Happy Returns!
"He's Back (in Pog Form)."
Thursday, January 19, 2006
First Album: Purgatory by the Dashboard Light
What is the Internet For?
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
What America Has Been Pining For
In the Vale of Tears
-- His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum
The funny thing about that sentence is that it's either ludicrous, and reason to reject Rerum Novarum as just more medieval obscurantism, or obvious, and evidence that the Church and her teachings are for all times, ever ancient and ever new.
The Revolution Will Be Blogged
As the term goes on, I plan to blog my observations about how it's going, as well as the similarities and differences I encounter between teaching the course at Fordham and at Yale.Fear! Terror!
Two can play that game, Eduardo....
UPDATE: I meant to mention this earlier - one of the texts for CST is Princeton Robert George's Making Men Moral, which retails for a mean $70. What's up with that? (The price, I mean.)
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Well, That Makes Sense, I Suppose...
"Keep your Deuteronomy off my physiognomy."
Famous Last Words
Weird Burial Customs, Tibetan
--Christopher Hale, Himmler's Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race.
AG Can't Punish "Death with Dignity" Docs
Relatedly, I find it amusing/appalling/not-at-all-surprising the extent to which this case is being misreported in the mainstream press. CNN's headline: "Oregon assisted suicide law upheld". Which is in some sense correct, but in a more complete sense, it's completely ass-backward. The constitutionality of Oregon's (Orwellian-sounding) "Death with Dignity Act" was not in question in this litigation. Rather, it was the constitutionality of efforts to frustrate the execution of the DWDA that were under review. The Supreme Court did not invalidate Oregon's assisted suicide law, for the trivially true reason that nobody was asking them too.
(cross-posted at Originalisms)
Saturday, January 14, 2006
The Trials of Cat People, Even Powerful Ones
But couldn't he just, y'know, change the rules, or grant himself an exemption? He's the Vicar of Christ, for goodness sake! The leader of the Church Militant! He's Pope! Who's going to stop him? Was the "no pets allowed" rule infallibly defined by one of his predecessors on the Throne of Peter?
Friday, January 13, 2006
Vaya con dios, the Brainerd.
Truly, This is Super NES.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
In the Realms of the Unreal
Darger's story is a fascinating one. He's clearly a profoundly damaged and troubled man. At a young age his mother died, and his sister was given away for adoption. He lived with his disabled tailor father for a few years, until his father could no longer work to support them and Henry was moved to an orphanage. Judged "feeble-minded" because of behavioral problems, he was sent to boy's home in Nebraska. At 17 he escaped the home, returned (halfway on foot!) to Chicago, and took work as a janitor, which - other than writing and illustrating his novel and an autobiography - was pretty much all he did until his death at 80.
The novel, in many ways an even stranger piece of work than Darger himself, reflects the obsessions of a man whose trials seem to have left him largely unable to cope in the adult world. It's heroes are seven pre-adolescent girls, the Vivian sisters, who lead a revolt of the child slaves against their masters the Glandelinians, and Darger himself, in the form of a dashing warrior and defender of children who helps lead the Christian armies of Abbiennia in their war of liberation against Glandelinia. Christianity plays a substantial role in the book, which seems to reflect the mind of Darger, a devout (three Masses a day, that's how devout) Catholic whose troubled life and unanswered prayers (to be able to adopt a child, to recover a lost photograph of a murdered girl over whom Darger became obsessed) left him periodically spiteful with his Maker. The Realms of the Unreal are a world of blood and danger, but also of beauty and heroism. And I haven't even mentioned the illustrations. They really have to be seen to be believed.
Judge: Fetuses Not People for Carpool Purposes
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Glimpse Rome's Secret Archives
"True Confessions of a Young Catholic"
Anyway, more thoughts anon, once I've adequately digested the book.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
For the Record
| You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.|
Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com
(via the Shrine)
Monday, January 09, 2006
Worst. Exam Schedule. Ever.
And yes, I am making a desperate claim on your pity.
And yes, I'm in no real danger, as it's basically impossible to fail an exam at YLS.
And yes, I really should be studying rather than blogging.
Friday, January 06, 2006
What's the Feminine of "Philanthropist"?
The Metropolitan Opera has received the largest individual gift in its history, a $25 million donation from the socialite Mercedes Bass and her husband, Sid R. Bass, that comes at a time of increasing financial troubles for the house.Compare this to how a male donor (who, by the way, reneged on his gift) is treated later in the article:
In effect, the gift to the Met replaces the unfulfilled pledges of Alberto W. Vilar, an investor and arts philanthropist. The Met added Mr. Vilar's name to its Grand Tier in recognition of a $20 million pledge several years ago, then removed it when he failed to meet the pledge. Mr. Vilar has since fallen from grace with his indictment on fraud charges in June.Seriously, though, what is it? Philanthropix? Ahh, well.
UPDATE: Okay, I'll fess up. I lifted this from Sarah.
Among the potential candidates to replace Edwards, if he does depart, is former New Orleans coach Jim Haslett, dismissed earlier this week. But a Jets official told ESPN.com that, while there is some interest in Haslett, most of the dialogue has been initiated by his agent. And the official conceded that hiring a coach who had an even worse record in 2005 than Edwards did would be a difficult sell to Jets fans.A "difficult sell". Yeah, no sh*t.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
To the Death!
Monday, January 02, 2006
It's a Helluva Town!
If I may play the Irishman for a moment (that is, tell a largely apocryphal story completely unbidden): Greg's story of the rude man in the synagogue reminds me of a story told of my Quaker maternal great-grandmother.
She was in a conversation with a high-society gent, a mainline Protestant of some kind, when the subject of her membership in the Society of Friends came up. "A Quaker?" he said. "Why, that's almost Christian."
"Oh yes," she replied, "It's all most Christian."
Mansfield Fox at the Movies
Speaking of movies, here is a list of the films I saw over my Christmas break, in order of my enjoying them.
1. Munich: Spielberg's latest is well-directed and well-acted, and resists the temptation to late-reel mawkishness that has ruined his most recent work (I'm looking at you, War of the Worlds and A.I.). The plot is obviously of contemporary importance, but the September 11th/War on Terror parallels aren't crudely hammered home (again, you, War of the Worlds); the film pulls of the delicate trick of being neither didactic nor relativist about its subject matter.
2. Brokeback Mountain: The movie looks fantastic (I was going to say "fabulous", but, y'know...); the first act, which actually takes place on Brokeback Mountain, features some of the most beautiful vistas (and sheep! - who knew sheep could pack such an aesthetic wallop?) that I've ever seen. The biggest problem was the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist. Gyllenhaal cuts a more-than-faintly ridiculous figure as a cowboy (which, I suspect, is the point, but still). From his first appearance about a minute into the movie, he kept shattering my suspension of disbelief. As for the, y'know, plot: too many thoughts for a short blurb; perhaps a full post later.
3. The Ringer: It a small movie, it starts off a bit slow, and Johnny Knoxville isn't exactly the next Olivier. But the movie is sweet, and the supporting cast (a mix of character actors and real Special Olympians) are a hoot (particularly Bill Chott). I especially like that Special Olympics great Leonard Flowers (more-or-less) plays himself as a villain: try to imagine Michael Jordan doing that. Everybody's game, and seems to be having a good time. I did to. (Plus, the movie has Brian Cox, one of those actors who - like Donald Sutherland, Bob Ballaban and Abe Vigoda - makes things better just by showing up.)
4. Mother Night: I watched this on DVD this afternoon. I don't remember the Vonnegut novella on which this is based that well, but this seemed a fairly faithful rendition. Which is good and bad, since it means the movie reproduces everything that's beautiful, and maddening, about Vonnegut as a writer. Still, worth a view if you were ever a lonely, brainy teenager.
5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Having seen this movie, I am now more convinced than ever that the Narnia books are essentially unfilmable. With the Lord of the Rings movies, Peter Jackson could adopt a pose of faux-realism: play everything straight and hope that some combination of the coherence of Tolkien's world, sophisticated CGI effects and the audience's suspension of disbelief will prevent the movie from collapsing on itself. But how do you play the White Witch straight? Or the talking animals? Or Father Christmas? Plus, when all your leads are children, you're walking a dramaturgical tightrope. That said, it's not a bad movie. Mr. Tumnus and the Beavers work quite well (though as the Mansfield Fox I was offended that Mr. Fox looked very un-vulpine - for shame!).
6. Fun with Dick and Jane: I would rather this movie had been an ambitious failure, like The Cable Guy or And God Spoke...; instead it's just a competently made, mealy-mouthed mediocrity, not funny, not daring, neither realistic nor fanciful, neither topical nor archetypical. (The film, you can see, has brought out my inner Revelations 3:16.) Also: Fun... reportedly cost $100 million to make. Where in the world did the money go? This isn't exactly a movie laden with CGI, or elaborate action sequences, or casts of thousands. Even if you told me they paid Jim Carrey $50 million for his starring turn, I'd still be at a loss to explain how they dropped $100 million on this mess. Ahh, well... such is life.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that the above is an amazing exercise in navel-gazing, even for a blog. 1,000 apologies to everyone who slogged through it despite not really caring what movies I've been watching, or what I think of them. I'll try to keep subsequent posts on subjects of more general interest.