Monday, January 30, 2006

breakfast log #1

Bananas too green to consume today. Ran out of good jam, had to resort to backup: Smucker's Strawberry. It's better than I remember it.

New post below too!

philosopher's groupies?

Also, I saw "Grizzly Man" last night. Not so good really. Lots of awkward sounding crazy people, not least of which was the the director guy Werner Herzog. Tim Treadwell (the guy who lived with the bears and he ans his girlfriend were subsequently eaten by one) was completely whacko. No doubt about it. I also seriously disagree with his attitude toward wilderness and wilderness management. However, he was a pretty good filmaker if for no other reason than that he did live amongst lots of big brown bears for a long time. Some incredible footage of the landscape, the foxes, and definately the bears. The music was pretty good too. All composed just for the movie I guess.

So anyway, I was reading this article in the New York Times about Saul Kripke's 65th birthday celebration in NYC. First, I think it's great how a philosoper is getting serious press coverage in the NY Times. However, the reporter makes it seem like it was some sort of performance, that philosophy is somehow an art:

"The whole performance was a little like a Charlie Parker sax solo, one of the those extended improvs with the freewheeling, rolling rhythms, the repeated notes, the screeching, dissonant chords, and like Parker's more experimental music, much of it soared right over the head of anyone who had not heard this kind of stuff before."

I wish it was. But unfortunately, the reality of the situation is typically a little more drab...and rather technical...and can be really fucking boring if you're not interested in the material.

But it is promising to know that philosophers can have groupies, especially Rutger's groupies. I wonder if they're naturalists?

"Afterward, Mr. Kripke graciously endured a small onslaught of groupies...and two graduate students from Rutgers, Karen Lewis and Jessica Retz, who had taken the train in from New Brunswick so they could snap each other's picture with the great man. Ms. Lewis explained that it was her birthday too, and that the photo session was her present to herself. 'You're my favorite 20th-century philosopher," she said to Mr. Kripke. "I'm so excited!'"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NY Time's does Barley Wine

The New York Times "Wine's of the Times" series by Eric Asimov does Barley Wine style beers this week. I think they did pretty well, but I'm surprised by how well the Fly Dog Horn Dog did. I'm not a big fan of that beer. I love Hog Heaven though, so I'm glad to see that do well. And I love Victory's beers and I'm glad to see them get 2.5 stars, but the last Old Horizontal I had was noticeably oxidized. Maybe it was just a bad bottle.

Click here to go to the article and make sure to watch the multimedia feature too.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Arthur Russel Wallace

That's right...Arthur. Not Alfred, but Arthur. Alfred Russel Wallace was the 'co-discoverer' of natural selection, famous biogeographer, spiritualist and political and social activist of the later half of the 19th century and early 20th century while Arthur Wallace is the person who appears in the New Phytologist's Special Issue on Plant Speciation.

I'm currently taking a course on Speciation with Loren Rieseberg. This is great. Prof. Rieseberg is truly an expert in the field and I'm learning a lot. Last week we received a free copy of the New Phytologist's special issue on plant speciation from January 2004. That was cool. Lots of good stuff like R.G. Latta's "Gene flow, adaptive population divergence and comparative population structure across loci" and "Microsatellite marker reveal the below ground distribution of genets in two species of Rhizopogon forming tuberculate ectomycorrhizas on Douglas fir" by Kretzer et al. Not to mention a whole shit ton more cool articles.

But the whole issue is in honor of Verne Grant, apparently a biologist who really revolutionized our understanding of plant they had him write an essay. Now Verne Grant is 86 years old and his memory probably isn't as sharp as it used to be, so why didn't the editors pick up this slip:

"First I read The origin of species (1872); it was a joy...Then on to The voyage of the beagle...Then the books of Arthur Wallace (1889)".

There it is. Arthur. Ouch. Not to mention the fact that Darwin's most famous book title does not start with the word "the".

Unfortunately, Grant also spends a lot of time in the piece talking about evolutionary biology in terms of Kuhnian paradigms...probelmatic to be sure.

Friday, January 20, 2006

fallin' down the stairs, $250 of Guinness, eatin' huge pizza, shitty coffee in Harlem, Ian won MIP, Ian won MIP

My second trip to NYC over the break was to attend the Juniata Alumni Biannual Conference of Philosophy and Leisure. This was a very important meeting of the JABCPL because it was at this meeting that the Most Improved Person [Insert Year] (MIP) was decided. In the past the attending members have been keenly restricted to simply Chris L. Saunders, Ian Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mills-Knapp and myself, Matthew Dunn. Oh, the Fat Rocket participated once as did Ian's friend from Nashville, Isaac, but they don't really count because they aren't Juniata College Alumni. Anywho, this year many many others were included, only one of whom was a Juniata College Alum, namely, Adam Paugh. Unforunately, I did not take my camera out the night of MIP2K5 events because I knew better. So there is a bit of a blank spot in the picture chronology.

Here is what I have. Unforunately, I don't have any pictures of MAC.

Here is a picture of the Beast (midtown Mannahatta) as viewed from the Weehawken ferry during our crossing, me and Chris' crossing.

Chris in the Belly of the Beast, The Blind Tiger, West Village. One of my favorite bars of all time, now closed. But that's ok because this was its second to last night ever.

I'm praying that you straighten out your sideburns too Ryan.

The Blind Tiger was a great beer bar. You know you're in a great beer bar filled with rapid beer geeks when other beer bars are insulted in the bathroom graffiti. Anam Cara is a beer bar in Boston.

Gothic in Gotham. Somewhere in Greenwich Village.

Ryan made us walk a long way to get to this hot dog place...which was closing just as we arrived. I am the hot dog paparazzi.

One of my favorite pictures.


After many speechs and much deliberation, it was decided that this guy, THE Ian Fitzpatrick, was the Most Improved Person for the year 2005. After all the Guiness he vomited a lot on the street somewhere in the Upper West Side. That was seriously poor form.

Continuing the morning after theme, this is Ian, Ian's brother Dylan, and THE Adam Paugh, in all the way from North Western Montana, the land of horses, carpentry and Copenhagen.

We all thought it was fairly funny that Adam Paugh tucks his tie dye in.

We went to a pretty decent diner near Henri's house in East Harlem for breakfast where Dylan and Henri played a couple hands of blackjack.

On the ferry ride home. CLICK FOR BIGGER VRESION.

Looking south on the Hudson. CLICK FOR A BIGGER VERSION.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ride the pow...dude

Here is a brief and poorly shot video of my brother skiing in Utah over this past break. At least the music is good, Blackstar yo. Click the picture, it's about 10mb.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Courtney made her patented "In Through the Out Door" pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and gave me a whole plate full. She is pretty awesome. There were more, but I ate like four on the car ride from her house.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

part I of the winter break marathon

Well I'm back bitches, and I can upload pictures just fine from here in Bloomington, so here is that post from a while back. I will post many other posts here where I typically post my posts over the next couple hours/days. They will be awesome.

TV is good and TV is bad. When I'm away from Bloomington I literally inhale the television. Well, not literally, because the TV is far to big to physically take into my lungs, but I think you know what I mean: I watch a lot of it. I've watched Platoon, Goodfellas, Lost, Sopranos, lots of Six Feet Under, Flight of the Phoenix, some Warren Miller, Troy, In Good Company, The Day After Tomorrow (lots of Dennis Quaid I guess), currently some movie about a dude with cancer which is good but sad, and a cool show on model rocketry and shit loads of other crap I can't remember. Either way, it's more or less good to just turn off your brain and be amused. That Day After Tomorrow movie was absolute shit, but I'll be honest, I enjoyed watching it.

On the other hand, I find myself wanting to conform to what I see on TV. That's bad I think, because it's not clear that how people act on TV is the right way for me to act. So I guess it's good I don't watch it all the time and try to live a little bit from inside. But then again it's impossible to wall yourself off from outside and even if it was possible it would probably be impossible, what with everybody having to be raised and all. Anyway, I just think TV is not always the best kind of influence. It isn't real. At all.

And TV takes away from blogging. It's funny how blogging is just something to do, like TV.

SO...break started when I met up with my friend from college, Tracy, at her really nice apartment in Pittsburgh. We went to the Sharp Edge, a great beer bar. Look at this picture. Tracy, draft Rodenbach and Grottenbier? It doesn't get much better than that. She's cute.

Then I went down to the Plucky One's house at 3 in the am. He was supposed to get off work at 3 but didn't get off until 8:30am, but then we started drinking. We were hammered by 10:30 and made a big steak and eggs breakfast. R has a big TV. And oh yeah, I watched Coming to American too.

Then R went to work at 3am and the next morning I hit the very snowy roads. It was very snowy and a really shady drive. One of the worst I've ever had. Probably second to a drive back around 1999 up in Elk county in my rear wheel drive Dodge pickup. That was actually really scary, but only like an hour of bad driving. Last week it was like 3 hours of bad driving.

Then I went to north Jersey to my Dad's place with my Mom. We went to the City the next day and saw Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Broadway. We had really great seats. Like 5 rows back right in the center. We also went to the New York Historical Society for the slavery in New York exhibit. It was interesting. They tried to really play up the role of slavery in building up New York and the impression I got was that they were trying to say that "Yankee land" wasn't much better than dixie land, so to speak. While the north wasn't exactly innocent, I think it's important to realize the vast difference in scope between the north and the south. Slavery was never conducted on the same scope in the north as it was in the south. I just wish there was more comparison between slavery in New York and, say, Virginia, Louisiana, or South Carolina. CLICK FOR BIGGER.

We also went to Lincoln Center so my folks could pick up tickets to some other show. CLICK FOR BIGGER.

Then we went to Henri Mills-Knapp's place of employment, Beacon restaurant in midtown. It was fucking good. Henri is the sommelier there. Pretty sweet job. Then Mills-Knapp and I went out and got absolutely fucking hammered. And I fell down the stairs at the Blind Tiger and knocked the wind out of myself and really fucked my back up. It was awesome.

We also went to this really cool bar right down the street from the Blind Tiger called Employees Only. It's apparently a really exclusive place, top 10 bars in the city or something. It's made to look like a Psychic's place. There's this woman reading tarot cards in the window, but inside it's a really swanky speakeasy type old-timey bar where all the bartenders have moustaches and wear all white apron get ups. Apparently the Bush twins hang out there. Anyway, we got to hang out with Ryan's Columbia Physicist friend, his hot French friend and her hot friend and one of their Canadian friends who really liked me because I knew where Saskatoon was. Although he was chewing apple Skoal and spitting into a martini glass. It was classy. Here's Ryan with the French girl, through drunken, blurry glasses, who liked my French swearing...ah POITON! CLICK FOR BIGGER.

Ryan's physicist friend Alex.

This girl was really cooperative with the posing. I have a bunch of good shots of her but this is the best one. That's my double Jack Daniels in her hand. She needed something to pose with. CLICK FOR BIGGER.

Ryan and that girl.

Here's Ryan's St. Thomas born, Sri Lankan by descent, Australian raised roomate in East Harlem. He's cool to me, but a real dick to other people. He was passed the fuck out.

My last day there I went to the Natural History Museum for the Darwin exhibit. It was cool, but crowded and I wanted to touch everything and they kept yelling at me for taking pictures. "You know you're not allowed to take pictures right?" "If I knew, would I be taking them douchebag?" Haha...then I would go take more pictures.

Before those pictures, I got a cool picture of GG Simpson from a video about paleontology where he tries to define what life is, oddly enough. It was cool. He was a pretty funny guy.

OK...a pretty famous sketch by Darwin's friend Fox about beatling.

Darwin's rock hammer from pre-Beagle and maybe during Beagle too.

Some of the Beagle notebooks.

I think this is notebook B where the first "tree of life" diagram we know of was drawn.

Makin' pancakes in Harlem, fallin' down the stairs, fallin' down the stairs, fallin' down the stairs. AWESOME.