September 8th, 2008

krazy koati

And the piano, it sounds like a carnival

Describing everything that bunny_hugger and I did would involve a lot of writing about diners, because we did a lot of stopping at them. That's not that we were stuffing ourselves, just that we'd often be, say, driving back from an amusement pier after midnight and the options for eating would be White Castle or a 24-hour diner. White Castle might be fine for me (I don't think I've ever been to one after midnight), but she's vegetarian, so better to be somewhere that grilled-cheese sandwiches or French toast or cheese omelettes are convenient options.

And there'd be a lot of sitting and talking and wondering if this is a diner with free refills --- we were always a touch dehydrated --- or not, and sometimes noticing what was on the TV or what was drifting into the radio. At one point it was even Billy Joel's ``Piano Man'', a song I can't help noticing. But mostly we talked, and quite a bit of it turned to things like my stumbling ineptly over the basic ideas of philosophy.

See, while I did take philosophy courses to pass my non-science course requirements as an undergraduate, I did it the way Physics/Mathematics double majors traditionally do: take a Philosophy Of Science course in which we learn, about Thales and Descartes and end up with nearly mathematics-free reviews of the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, all of which we knew by about age nine at latest.

So I enjoyed modest introductions to more philosophy stuff I didn't actually know, and I think managed to approach but not actually hit one of the dumb things science majors stuck in required philosophy courses often hit on, the use of the word Quantum as a magic wand for avoiding every question about determinism and, for that matter, for evading every philosophical question that doesn't come about from deriving the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contractions. I do believe strongly in the underlying randomness of very many things, but I also know the Law of Large Numbers, that this randomness is itself highly predictable, you see. But I do feel like I should have taken philosophy courses as seriously as I took my history requirements.

Trivia: In his treatise on elixirs, Nostradamus recommended sugared almonds as delicious foods which should be enjoyed daily rather than used as medicines. Source: Sweets: A History of Temptation, Tim Richardson.

Currently Reading: Spectrum, Edited by Kingsley Amis, Robert Conquest. I picked this up mostly because it had ``The Midas Plague'' as the leadoff story, which I'd somehow never read. But I kept on reading since it went into Clifford Simak and Algis Budrys and Robert Sheckley and then William Tenn's ``Null-P''. It's tough having a modest taste for Tenn.