- I took my wife and daughter to Chinatown (Austin) last weekend. I had kind of forgotten--despite being surrounded by Chinese folks in my lab--about Chinatown. It would more accurately be called SE Asia-Town, but that doesn't role off the tongue quite as well: most of the stores in that little area (really, an extended strip-mall) are actually Vietnamese. In any case, we visited one such place, "Short and Sweet," to buy some smoothies. The whole store, it turns out, exists to raise profits for a charity called "Peter's Clinic," which looks like an excellent little charity. They are apparently trying to build clinics (pro-family, for children, with doctors and pharmacists) in Vietnam to help the poor there. Better still, they have an affiliation with the Dominican sisters in the area. Consider donating to this, if you're looking for a charity.
- Professor J Budziszewski has a website and a blog. He sent me an email with links and then said "feel free to share," so here you all go. Professor Budziszewski is a convert from atheism and nihilism to Catholicism and Natural Law. A lot of his writings have to do with conscience (and its inescapability), and he is one of the kindest people and best professors I've ever met. He's also a pretty good speaker, and many of his books are published by ISI (one of my favorite organizations).
- Sports musing: now that Texas has been blown out at home in conference, their chances of winning the Big12 are all but shot. Nevertheless, it would be an interesting scenario for them to beat Baylor (a longshot, but interesting), assuming that Oklahoma State also picks up another loss, such that UT wins the conference and goes to the Fiesta Bowl. They would presumably be favored over whoever they face there (likely UCF), but I wonder--if they then get upset in that game, they will have the same 9-4 record as last year. Do they then fire Mack Brown for the record, or keep him on for winning the conference? The fans are mostly back to clamoring to see him fired (even if the Longhorns actually do win the next two), and they'll only get louder when he loses to Baylor.
- Second sports musing: it seems to me that USC's big win ends up hurting at least one of two conferences in the bowl games. The first is the Pac12, which will almost certainly not get a second BCS bowl game despite being arguably the deepest conference in the country. The second is probably the B1G, which is all but guaranteed one BCS bowl now, unless Michigan State springs a massive upset in their conference championship game (a suddenly 1-loss OSU team becomes a big possibility for an at-large birth). Stanford fans now need to root for Oregon State and/or Arizona to beat the Ducks--or for Fresno State and probably NIU to pick up a loss apiece before the season's end. Or, they can put conference strength aside and root for South Carolina to beat Clemson--and hope that Ohio State and Baylor win out.
- A nice relaxing weekend taketh away the stress and frustration of a miserable week at work. Sadly, my graduate student career of late has had few nice relaxing weekends and many long and frustrating weeks. I can't finish my project/dissertation/defense soon enough.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Weekend Finds and Musings
Some happenings, findings, and musings from the last week: