Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Friday, October 31, 2003
You know, I don't ordinarily condone vigilantism, but in this case, good for them:

Girls pummel man who exposed himself
A man described by authorities as a known sexual predator was chased through the streets of South Philadelphia by an angry crowd of Catholic high school girls, who kicked and punched him after he was tackled by neighbors, police said Friday.

Rudy Susanto, 25, who had exposed himself to teen-age girls on as many as seven occasions outside St. Maria Goretti School, struck again on Thursday just as students were being dismissed, police said.

But this time, a group of girls in school uniforms angrily confronted Susanto with help from some neighbors, police said.

--Somehow I don't think this generation of Catholic schoolchildren will be as meek as their predecessors in many, many ways. Mark that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
The U of C's best-known student blogger, Will Baude of Crescat Sententia, has a new article in the Chicago Maroon. Okay, it's only sort of new, because it's this post from a couple of weeks ago with a few additions but without the fun hyperlinks. But two comments come to mind when reading the print version: Is "After the Teacups" going to be the general heading for all Baude columns in the Maroon? And what the hell does it mean? Oh yeah, and the print quality on the "author photo" sucks, especially when you contrast it to the subtle shading of Joshua Steinman's photo on the facing page.

Sunday, October 26, 2003
IT"S HERE:The ultimate headgear for the Republican hipster. Now if they only had a foam-cap version...

UPDATE: Turns out the link doesn't work. Okay then... click here, then go to the "Hats" section, and look for the mock John Deere cap

Friday, October 24, 2003
For class I had to read an essay on the Hippocratic Oath by George W. Bush's go-to guy on bioethics, the staunchly anti-stem-cell-research and (formerly?) anti-in-vitro-fertilization Leon M. Kass, M.D. There's a provision in the original Hippocratic Oath where doctors swear that they will never induce abortion, and Professor* Kass was discussing this portion, noting that abortion could be considered incompatable with the medical mission to preserve life. Then out of nowhere he delves into this bizarre little parenthetical that I'm going to recount in full:

"I shall refrain from considering whether proper medical ministering to female humanity is finally compatible with assisting women in abortion, for reasons having to do not with fetal life but with the meaning of womanhood. The question, admittedly complex, is whether in opting for abortion a woman is doing harm or injustice to herself as a woman [i.e., by contradicting her generative nature] however much it may serve her wishes as a [gender-free] human being."

Okay then. I don't think this was his intent, but upon reading this I felt reduced to my child-bearing parts. Somehow this seems to contradict his indignation at modern medicine's view of human beings as mere bodies. Just a thought.

*Yep, he's yet another UofC "public intellectual". I wonder if Amanda at CS can persuade her boss to license the term for a companion T-shirt to the now-needs-to-be-changed Nobel Laureates shirt. Just wondering.

An Act of God or Mere Coincidence? It appears that the actor playing Christ in Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ (formerly known as Passion) was struck by lightning today. But the weird part is that the assistant director's been struck twice--once today, once a few months ago.

So. Is this a sign that God doesn't approve of this movie, or does this kind of thing happen on a lot of movie sets and it's just getting press here because the movie's so controversial?

Thursday, October 23, 2003
Is it just me, or is Matt Yglesias becoming just a teeny bit obsessive in his anti-Vaticanism? I mean, that comment could not have been more provocative--my grandmother regards Mother Teresa as a saint. I think it's cool that he linked to the article and all that, but does he really have to become another Barbara Kingsolver?

Monday, October 20, 2003
My one note on the California recall-can't we have recalls of school boards that do demonstratively shitty jobs of providing for the education of their pupils? Just a thought.

Friday, October 10, 2003
Which is the bigger sin:
1. To let a person die when you could have prevented it
2. To use a condom when having sexual intercourse

Apparently the Vatican thinks it's number 2. Either that, or they hired some really bad scientists. I hope it's the latter--Church government hasn't had the best scientific record of the past 500 years.

Still waiting for Vatican III, but Reformation II isn't looking too bad either.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Walked by Gwyneth on my way to physics today, watched Gwyneth and Jake (Gyllenthal) shoot a scene at Rockefeller, and saw U of C President Don Michael Randel taking a tour of the Committee on Microbiology (I clerk there). And it's not even 5:00 pm. Unfortunately, I have not seen Sir Anthony Hopkins--or maybe I just didn't recognize him.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Proof Update: This is public knowledge at the U of C, but it may not have filtered down to the Internet yet: For a funeral scene (held at Rockefeller Memorial, natch) the producers want extras to wear "somber" clothing, but not black. My guess--they want Gwyneth to be the only one in black, as a symbol of her deep mourning. Also--among other mathematics professors and students, Mathematics Department Undergraduate head Paul Sally will make an appearance in the film. You'll be able to spot him right away--he has an eye patch and an artificial leg. Really.

More choreographed "random walking" shots today in front of Harper that onlookers were shooed away from. On an unrelated note, as they were filming, the 2003 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics (he's with Argonne National Laboratory, does that count as a U of C affiliation?) was holding his press conference in the Reynolds Club. Yes, even at Chicago, Gwyneth Paltrow outranks Nobel Laureates. At least to a certain extent among the undergrad population.

UPDATE: According to Will Baude of Crescat Sententia, Alexei Abrikosov did teach here in 1996--that's enough for bragging rights. 76 Nobel Prize Winners--eat it, Harvard.

Monday, October 06, 2003
Live from the set of Proof---okay, not really "live", and not exactly from the set either. Rather, I'm at the Harper Library, recalling what I saw around noon today: a rehearsal for the extras. The extras, students and professors playing students and professors, were all choreographed to follow these random-seeming-yet-precise patterns in the background of... Gwyneth Paltrow's body double.

So I watched them go through the scene twice when Gwyneth came in, passing right by the students watching the filming. She was wearing this massive black quilted coat, even though it was about 60 degrees. She sat down in her chair near the crew and chatted with her assistants... and yes, her hair is straight and blond in this movie. When actual filming was slated to begin, all of us onlookers were chased off the set. Anyways, there was still a lot to see--the row of trailers along University Avenue (none of them labeled), the craft services (hamburgers, probably for the crew), etc.

Sunday, October 05, 2003
Yeah, I haven't been blogging much lately... sorry about that; I've been kinda busy, y'know, with, like, real life and stuff--specifically, the start of the academic year. Congratulations to Crescat Sententia for their new site, Chicago's 75th Nobel Laureate, John M. Coetzee, and TAPped's decision to attributed posts. And I am pleased to note that the University of Chicago squirrels are in excellent health.