30 Mar 04
29 Mar 04

Back from spring break

I apologize for the dearth of posts here the past week, I just got back from spring break, which was for the most part pretty uneventful, with the exception of a fun weekend spent in DC with Ashley. Anyway, expect more posts here as I get back into the swing of things.

24 Mar 04
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14 Mar 04
10 Mar 04

Willy Loman - Will he low man?

The way that we're expected to read literature in my English class reminds me of a state of paranoia, though maybe not quite as insightful. For instance, my teacher asks us to find the significance in the names of the characters in every story/poem/play we read. We were informed that the protagonist of Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, has double significance: Willy as in "will he" (will he kill himself?) and Loman as in "low man," quite literally, a man at the end of his rope. Now, while Arthur Miller is insipid enough to put hidden meanings in the characters names, we were asked to make a similar reading of "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Not that Hawthorne is above using characters names in this way (Dimsdale, etc), "goodman" and "goody" (short for goodwife) were typical forms of address in the early Salem, Massachusetts community, synonymous with today's "Mr." and "Mrs." It does not mean that all of the characters in the story (other than priests or decons) are "good men" and "good wives." Since Hawthorne normally set his stories in Salem, Massachusetts at about this time period, I think it's also safe to say that he didn't chose this time period just so that he could ironically call all of his characters "good men" and "goodies."

I swear you dogmatic English teachers will be the death of me!

09 Mar 04
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01 Mar 04

Various Findings (c/o Harper's Magazine, Jan 2004)

Physicists in Romania recently created gaseous plasma blobs that grow, replicate themselves, and communicate, suggesting that life might emerge in unexpected circumstances. Scientists have discovered a one-celled creature, which they call Strain 121, that can survive in temperatures up to 121 degrees centigrade, the temperature used by medical sterilization equipment. Australian and American researchers were working with a robot, located in Perth, Australia, that is controlled by rat brain tissue in a petri dish in Atlanta. Arcaelogists found evidence that Roman Britons wore socks with their sandals, and a leading zoologist declared not long ago that "homosexuals are at the pinnacle of human evolution." Scientists unveiled a rough draft of the poodle genome. The National Academy of Sciences, after studying thousands of papers on the subject, concluded that too many pets are overweight. A related study found that lesbians are more likely to get heart disease because they are generally heavier than other women.