May 2008

Alright. Well, now that I’ve gotten that little rant out of my system, lets get back to the good stuff. I’ve got one more post about homemade hooch before I dig into some more conventional stuff. I’m taking a week off from booze, to cleanse the palate so to speak. In the meantime though, I’ve got another infusion for you. The last one was very clean and fresh, and this one is a great deal more earthy. I don’t think I’m stepping out on much of a limb when I say that it’s a bit of an acquired taste.


I live in Minneapolis, that I will have to move away in a few short months makes me very sad. I love the city, I love the museums, I love the theaters, I even love the libraries when the damn municipality can get it together to pay people to staff them more than four days a week.

There is one thing I do not like. The drinks scene. Oh, it’s fair enough if you do your own mixing. There are good liquor stores with fine selections, but saving money is not the only reason I don’t go out to bars much. Probably the peak moment for me, the defining one that got me to stick to beer at Minneapolis bars, was when I ordered a gimlet and it came with two hazelnuts in it. They stared up at me from within their clear (and sadly watery) grave, little brown dots distorted by ice floating in my glass.

Mixology Monday

When I first laid hands on a bottle of St. Germain, causabon dropped by. We tried out a few of the cocktails that had popped up at the time, but the thing that seemed most interesting was when causabon noted that it reminded him of passion fruit syrup. That little fact fell by the wayside until today, when he and I were trying to decide what to do for Mixology Monday, hosted this week over at Trader Tiki, which may just have the coolest banner in all of cocktail blogging.

I recently got a new phone, after switching from Verizon to T-Mobile. (By “recently”, I mean, roughly three hours ago.) I’ve been fiddling with it off and on since then, though not seriously. Since I don’t use phones much, or at least no more than I’m forced to, I mostly just want to know how to transfer my old phone book over from the previous phone, check voicemail, and make calls. Ideally I’d also like to know how to do this “ringtone” thing since, I think, unlike my previous one this phone can actually do that. I think fifty crying babies would be pretty awesome as a ringtone. Everyone else would feel the way I do about incoming calls!

More to the point, though, the text message part of the phone has a series of “templates” built into it – which is actually quite clever. There’s a “I’ll meet you at ” template, a “I’m in a meeting right now, but I’ll be out at ” one, etc. If I used text messages this could be a really useful feature. What I’m ambivalent about, though, is that one of them is “I love you too”.

Seriously – “I love you too“. So not one that you’d automatically send to someone, but only in reply. And I’m not sure how to react to this. On the one hand it’s kind of hilarious. But at the same time I find it sort of sad as well, as if the phone is already designed for vaguely pathetic people. But not vaguely pathetic in the way that I’m vaguely pathetic (there is no “Leaving my apartment seems like a lot of work tonight” message, for example). So it’s not useful. Still, I suppose I could always add some new templates. But since that would involve committing to actually using text messaging I think it’s better not to.

Why does the Chronicle of Higher Education continually have people write articles making claims about Philosophy who do not know much about philosophy? (And for once I’m not being annoyed by Carlin Romano!)

For the record, if you find yourself tempted to write an article about John Stewart Mill, and you find that on reflection a good title for the article you have written is “The Forgotten Philosopher”, well…

It’s hard to explain how wrong this review is about so very much (though the book may well be interesting), but, for example:

Any book that inspires college sophomores is likely to be dismissed by professional philosophers as, well, sophomoric. But shouldn’t we judge a work of political philosophy by how long it continues to inspire debate? By that standard, On Liberty is a classic.

Not only this standard, in fact, but basically any other standard you’d care to think of! I mean, good grief people. Mill is probably the most famous Utilitarian ethicist. He is read in more or less any introductory ethics class you’d teach at a college level – either Utilitarianism, or On Liberty (if the class has a more political bent). This puts him at roughly the level of Aristotle or Kant. And I have yet to hear him despised, sneered at, or dismissed – or at least no more than any other philosopher is treated this way. He. Is. Not. Obscure. Or. Forgotten.

Also, as more of a side note, this particular understanding of the state of philosophy currently –

Contemporary academic philosophy is riven by a great divide: Either you adhere to a Continental perspective identified with Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger that addresses big speculative subjects like the Essence of Being, or you identify with the British and American analytic school that puts a priority on rigorous logic, language, and meaning.