Semi- Sweekend Morsels

Monday, 31 October 2005

• I dressed as Teen Wolf, but no­body got it.
Down By Law wasn’t shot in Tremont, Mr. Hess, but in Louisiana. I’m pretty sure you meant Stranger Than Paradise, which I’ve now or­dered from the CPL. The Criterion Collection DVD of Down By Law is, as al­ways, awe­some, by the way.
• The UK ver­sion of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in­cludes a cut scene at the very end and a re­mas­ter­ing of the sound which makes the songs much more crisp and un­der­stand­able.
• The drive to Akron on 77 is treer­if­fic in the fall.

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.


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.

Quantification and Qualification

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

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.

Meat Weekend

Monday, 24 October 2005

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.

Cheese and Whine

Thursday, 20 October 2005

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.

Nintendo Memories

Monday, 17 October 2005


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.