April 7th, 2006

krazy koati

A cozy corner, a table for two

I went to a cafe over at the medical school. ``I'd like the chicken wrap, please, with a salad on the side.'' ``Would you like that with a salad?'' ``Well, yes, if I could have that on the side.'' Nice of him to ask. The person putting the salad together asked if I wanted any dressing on it, and I asked if they had Thousand Island. She nodded, and pointed behind me, to a tray that had a couple of empty wine bottles and one plastic bottle with an orange-colored viscous goop inside. ``Ah, thank you,'' I said, and she nodded, took my salad plate around to a part of the kitchen I couldn't see, and returned with it reasonably well soaked in Thousand Island. I have the nagging feeling that, somehow, I was giving inappropriate responses to simple questions.

One other baffling point was I noticed an old order slip on which was written, rather cleanly, ``Hot Latex''. Granting that it can't be that -- it can't, can it? -- then what could it be? Most of the drinks they serve are more like sodas, teas, and the occasional very frothy coffee. Unfortunately the slip got cleaned up before I could swipe it for more study, so perhaps it wasn't that, but it was rather neat writing and I don't think I read it wrong.

Trivia: The astronomer Johann Hewelcke (Hevelius), 1611-1687, had a refracting telescope with a 150-foot focal length. It had no tube; the lens was mounted on top of a ship's mast. Source: Planets and Perception, William Sheehan.

Currently Reading: Broca's Brain, Carl Sagan. It is a collection of 1970s essays on all sorts of topics, and it mentions the early days of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Now it's got me wondering what if anything they're up to. I stopped following the group in the mid-90s when the Skeptical Inquirer ran about 18 cover stories in a row about how the popularity of the X-Files was a threat to civilization. While I imagine that was technically a possibility the argument never seemed to get past making the assertion at length. Maybe things have picked up since then.