Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Pellegrino Foods Heat and Eat Pepperoni Pizza Flavor Pepperoni Balls are made by Pellegrino Foods from Warren, PA. The only thing I can find out about this company is this antidefamation appeal [pdf]. In any case this item consists of two dinner rolls injected with something approximating pizza gunk. Ingredients include: Potassium Bromate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Mozzarella Cheese Substitute, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Cyanocobalamin, Ferric Orthophosphate, Pyridoxine HCO, Calcium Caseinate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Disodium Phosphate, Trisodium Phosphate, Calcium Panothenate, Sodium Erythorbate and paprika. All in just 6oz and for $1.30.

It was also inspected and passed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture EST 8575. Excuse me while I go die.

Beer

I went over to a neighbor’s house and carved a pumpkin last night, then ended up at Edison’s working on a webpage while I waited for the open mic to start. Edison’s has a rather impressive selection of random beers, and even if they have Guinness on tap, I’m slowly making my way through their random selection.

The first one I had was the Kalamazoo Brewing Company’s Two Hearted Ale. This beer was really hoppy, something I’m not too fond of. Strangely though, I absolutely loved it in this brew. I think it will become a warm-weather favorite for me. It must have been the fish on the label.

I also had a Holy Grail Ale made by the Black Sheep Brewing Company. This beer was quite expensive and not that good. I should have listened to the old man from scene 23.

I made Barb the bartender surprise me for my third beer and received their new item; a porter from the Southern Tier Brewing Company. This one didn’t have the punch of an Edmund Fitzgerald but it managed to do the normal porter number on me. It kinda just slid down my throat in an unassuming manner. I like porters.

And I obviously don’t know enough about beers to review them.

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Quantification and Qualification

Lately I’ve been running across various things dealing with quantification [via Jack/Zen]and qualification and value. I’m engaged with these thoughts and have been reshuffling and retelling them in order to get closer to… something. The heart of the matter? At least, something that feels right.

Questions I’ve been asking myself include:

• Does everything need to be quantifiable?
• Must everything fit qualifications?
• What things naturally resist quantification or qualification?

The quantification questions are easier to answer, easier to quantify, because they obey their own rules. Asking the question in terms of need is subjective, and therefore a bit disingenuous, but the answer to that question adds context to the question: Can everything be quantified? For me, the answer to both is no. I’m even of the opinion that things that can be quantified don’t necessarily need to be quantified exactly. We can’t avoid measuring and judging; distance, how much salt is in a pinch, whether we have time to eat breakfast in the morning, but when the measuring and judging takes precedence over the experience of tossing a football or baking brownies then quantification is getting out of hand.

Questions like: “How much do you love me?” are bad questions because I think this is the area where quantity and quality start to get mixed up. If the answer to “How much do you love me?” is “Bigger than the universe.” then the quantity question has been answered in terms of quantity. If the answer is “More than warm blankets and hot cocoa on a winter’s day.” then the question has been answered qualitatively. Quality arguments [like the main thread of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance] are subjective and therefore slightly different from each other quality argument. Even in groups that supposedly espouse the same set of qualifications there is a lot of elbow room.

Jeff Hess frames a quality argument:

Since the Englightenment the argument has run something like this: Yes, here are fanatics and fundamentalists who committ evil in the name of their god, but that reality should not be allowed to deny the solace of faith to those who do not seek to deny others their freedoms and faiths.

Do you think that argument still holds true, or, as Sam Harris argues in The End Of Faith, is it time to recognize that all faith systems are based on superstition and are inherently damaging to the future of humanity?

This sort of question is a tough nut to crack for several reasons, but the main one I can see is that it takes one set of qualitative criteria [the post-Enlightenment belief in Reason] and sets it against the qualitative criteria of other belief systems. For me at least, this is a question that can never be answered because to me it is apples and oranges. Probably the best explanation of this comes from a MetaFilter comment:

Pure scientific fact is just a meaningless pile of numbers. Scientific theory is just a falsifiable prediction. Humans can’t live on that alone. They can fit those predictions and data into a view of what the world is, who they are, and how those two relate, but that’s a story–that’s a mythology–no matter how you cut it. A prediction about human population dynamics over the next 100 years is a hypothesis; believing that humans are defined and ennobled by the very same faculty of reason that paves the eternal road of progress on which we march is mythology. Not in the sense that it isn’t true, but in the sense that it is unfalsifiable, unscientific, and philosophical. In short, in that it is human.

I’m not trying to create an argument about the veracity of one set of qualitative criteria against another, instead I’m of the opinion that any set of qualitative criteria must be tempered by doubt in the qualifications of the qualitative criteria. This also includes doubt in the qualifications of quantitative data. If you follow me.

Certainty is hubris.

Monday, 24 October 2005

Meat Weekend

I’m back from a long weekend at the old stomping grounds in South Bend. Friday night I missed Frank Jackson’s appearance at the Literary Café in order to plow through a Golden Domer at the new and improved CJ’s Pub. For those of you who don’t know what the Domer is let me enlighten you. The Golden Domer is a 20oz handmade burger, injected with CJ’s special sauce and spiced with a bit of Lawry’s. It is then smothered with white American cheese, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, onion and lettuce and served with a large pile of criss-cut fries. My buddy Jeremy took a few snaps with his camera phone, and as soon as he emails them to me, I’ll post ’em here.

Saturday dawned and Jeremy made some breakfast burritos with delicious sausage from Tipton, KS for me and his wife Christy and his baby girl Katie. We then walked to campus, which looks a lot different than it did even a year ago. They’ve been building buildings super fast. We grabbed the necessary steak sandwich from my old Knights of Columbus council’s steak sale and caught the end of Knute Rockne All American [starring Ronald Reagan as The Gipper]. We visited the Grotto, watched the team walk from the Basilica to the stadium, and then went to the JACC where I made a stop by my home away from home while I was in college, the fencing gym. Coach DeCicco was there, and he definitely didn’t know me from Adam, but that isn’t surprising, considering how long he’s been emeritus.

Once we got to the stadium, I grabbed a hot dog and coke as we watched the teams warm up. Then I watched us beat on BYU. After the game and the walk home we got a meat-lovers pizza from Pizza Hut and watched the blithely violent Boondock Saints. Sunday dawned and after Mass we went to Bibler’s and I had my sausage and eggs, hash browns, pancakes and oatmeal before hitting the road back to Cleveland. If I had only stayed a few more days I could have gone to Macri’s, Elia’s, the Mishawaka Brewing Company, and Bruno’s. Alas, I’m cubefarming it again.

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Cheese and Whine

Once a month I arrive at work and find the breezeway full of donuts. Seriously. Three large boxes [perhaps three feet by two feet] and two small dozen boxes sit there, taunting me. I can smell their fresh goodness before I even get to the door. Since the latest reorg we’re now also required to put in mandatory overtime through the end of the year. Merry Christmas. The icing on the cake of course, is the fact that I can no longer keep track of BFD while I’m at work, because it keeps getting zero sized replies coming through the firewall. Either that or George has blocked our IP. Granted, I probably shouldn’t surf the internet while at work, but since my coworkers can play solitaire, computer chess, do crossword puzzles or read the PD while at work, I don’t feel so bad. I am also sick of people who drive the speed limit or slower in the fast lane of the interstate. Passing on the inside is legal in Ohio, but often not possible, since slower drivers who actually know what they are doing drive the same speed in the other lanes. I think that covers it. I feel a bit better now.

I am going to a Notre Dame football game this weekend though, and I’ll have the chance to eat at CJ’s again and have the best burger in existence. I should probably try to take a picture of it for FoodGoat.

Monday, 17 October 2005

Nintendo Memories

Super_Mario_Bros._3_NES_ScreenShot3.jpg

I purchased Super Mario Bros. 3 [watch someone beat the game in 11 minutes], The Legend of Zelda and Ice Hockey yesterday for my 8 bit Nintendo Entertainment System. I first played a Nintendo soon after it hit the market, on our family trip to Orlando Florida for Disney World and Sea World. I was probably 5 or 6. I remember stopping at an uncle’s house, some sort of kin, maybe a great uncle, I’m not quite sure. Anyway he had a Nintendo. I’d never heard of the Nintendo, and I don’t think I even knew what a video game was. I remember playing Duck Hunt and maybe a little Excitebike and absolutely loving it.

I never had video games growing up, until I saved enough money to buy a Gameboy in Junior High. I did manage to mooch off of my cousins and my buddy Mario [no, really.] who had all kinds of games. The rule was, you got to play the game until you had a game over and then you had to pass it on. This was frustrating for me because the people who actually owned the games were much better and thus got to play much longer. I remember watching my cousin Chris play Super Mario Bros. 3 for 3 hours before he ran out of lives, and little old me would play Tetris for 20 minutes and have to pass the controller.

Eventually I moved into the realms of Playstation, again purchasing it myself, as I’ve done with all my computer games, but the love for Nintendo was still there. My junior year of college, I nabbed a Nintendo and a few games on Ebay and have been slowly building the cartridge collection since. One of my teammate’s houses off campus had an old school Nintendo and Super Mario 3 battles on a regular basis. I even managed to impress them with my amazing jumping abilities. I did manage to acquire a modicum of skill at 8 bit Nintendo over the years, even though I’m no Wizard. Now, I have a bunch of stupid sports games, but I do have Super Mario/Duck Hunt, Metroid [thanks Patrick!], Tetris, Section Z and the aforementioned games. I still need a few key ones though. Double Dragon, Excitebike, Contra, 10 Yard Fight, Final Fantasy and Bubble Bobble. They will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine.

What is your favorite line-up for Ice Hockey? I prefer one fat guy, one normal guy and two skinnies.