Friday, February 09, 2007


My solitude is gladdened by this elegant hope.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


My feet hurt.

Yesterday in class, Barnett went off about how Justice Holmes is his least favorite justice. It's hard to quarrel with that ranking. Holmes could turn a wonderful phrase--sadly, just never at an appropriate time. For legal standards we get vague metaphors.

But that's secondary. He's a moral relativist, or nihilist or something, which I suspect is defensible, if wrong. But Holmes isn't even a very good moral relativist. And even if he tempers it by refusing to judge morality and simply letting the majority do whatever it wants, he can't even stick with that principle, the jerk.

Note the alarming cynicism in so many dissents, and then, all the sudden you'll get him defending the 1st Amendment, or the rights of man, or some such. It's one thing to admit it's hard to draw lines--it's another to deny that such lines exist and then act as it they do (without acknowledgment of the inconsistency). Compare his majority in Schenk to his Abrams dissent.

Mustachioed jackass.

Crosspost - Glen's Glorious Nuts

Recent Catallarchy post:

My esteemed, handsome coblogger Brandon and I were talking this evening, while I enjoyed some mixed nuts (heh). I haven't bought mixed nuts (heh) in a while, but for some reason I was compelled to make the purchase at the local CVS. Aw man, capitalism is awesome and supply and demand curves could perfectly and usefully model my purchase.

Anyway, I observed that:

Remy Boncouer: I wonder if Brazil nuts are appreciably more expensive than other nuts (editor's note: heh). Because I would totally buy cans consisting solely of them.

Little did I know, Glen Whitman has just posted on this very subject!

Quote the learned professor:

I love nuts, but I’m not a big fan of peanuts. So whenever I buy a can of mixed nuts, I eventually find myself with about half a can of peanuts left over. The obvious solution is to buy “deluxe” or “fancy” mixed nuts, which have no peanuts. Sadly, the producers don’t replace the peanuts with a proportional increase in all the other nuts, but instead fill the void with the most overrated nut ever, the cashew. (There seem to be lots of people out there who think cashews are great. These people are mistaken.)

Whitman is absolutely right, and while I do not wholly endorse his tepid attitude towards America's favorite legume, I do believe that peanuts have no business being in mixed nuts (heh) proper. But cashews, much like the suspiciously-colored and clammy pistachio, are ludicrously overrated. It's just a bent peanut for all I can tell, with a tad more body to the taste, a bit of girth but with no proclivity for salt-retention; moreover it lacks that redeeming glob of oil one can find in the middle of a whole peanut, a secret jewel that never fails to delight the careful tongue. But as Whitman and I both appreciate:

I would be much happier if they replaced the peanuts with any other nut in the mix – pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, or best of all, the most underrated of all nuts, the brazil nut.

My word, is he right. Ever since I spent six grueling weeks as a Vegan in college, I've been very familiar with nuts (heh), especially the glorious Brazilian giant (or "nigger-toe", as it used to be called---this is facts and facts cannot be offensive). The Brazil nut has a glorious texture, a purity to it, and yet a permeating subtlety. A mystery, I dare say. So unassuming, so big, yet so full of gustatory wonders. Which bring me, and Whitman, to our key observation---Brazil nuts are great, other nuts are not so great, ipso facto, all Brazil nuts would be Pareto opti-yummy.

Whitman deplores the lack of sole Brazil nut collections in our grocery stores (which is surprising until you realize that capitalism is essentially geared towards alienation of the laboring man, and nothing gets one closer to that point like the dietary removal of this protein-bearing giant), and so has taken to roasting his own nuts (heh). Attractive coblogger Brandon, who knows his nuts, comments on Whitman's post:

A Google search for "roasted brazil nuts" (no quotes) turns up at least two different retailers in the first half of the first page.

You can find your own Brazil nuts online at Nuts Online; nuts can also be found online in many other places.

Alas, constant ingestion of Brazil nuts may lead to selenium poisoning. But what a way to go, huh?

In closing, this is a ranking of nuts within the mixed nuts confection, from best to worst:

1. The Brazil Nut, goliath and stoic, confident in its superiority;
2. The Pecan, a tad pedestrian but intricately composed;
3. The Filbert, which makes up for its petiteness in spunk (heh);
4. The Almond, earthy and enduring, and;
5. The Cashew, nature's scrotum

No interpersonal utility comparisons were attempted in the creation of this post. A labor curve was bent backward, but it was totally into it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Et Cetera

SCOTT: We have a problem.


SCOTT: It's a Jack Bauer problem.


SCOTT: You see, next week, there're two hours of 24, and they're starting at 8.

PROFESSOR BARNETT: What's the problem?

SCOTT: Well class gets out at quarter of. That's not enough time to get home.

PROFESSOR BARNETT: So just TiVo it, like I'm doing.

SCOTT: Look, I don't have a TiVo. We don't all get professors' salaries. I guess I can't appeal to your self-interest here. We could watch it in here. Get the AV guys to turn it on.


SCOTT: I mean, it's got all this crap about the Constitution, so it's relevant. How do you feel, as a Constitution guy, about the 24 discussions about the Constitution? Trite as hell, right?


SCOTT: Well screw it, I'll just download it off the Web.


SCOTT: Snickers is henceforth a gay candy bar. Now Mounds, that's a nice hetero bar.

SASHA: It's for those who don't feel like a nut.


BRYAN CAPLAN: Libertarians, being more principled people, can produce more reasoned arguments for their beliefs.

DOSS: Depends how you define libertarian.

ROBIN HANSON: That's right. Libertarians may include all those selfish people who have no rationale for their beliefs at all--they're just greedy and selfish.

SCOTT: And our job, I believe, as libertarians, is to provide them with that rationale.


Reading: Price Theory, Milton Friedman. Completely over my head, requires frequent trips to Sasha's office to even come close to comprehension.

Listening: Some avant-garde , pointillistic, gestural nonsense. Though the Boulez is interesting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Kiwi Reactions

I'm very sad about the kiwi.




Don't be sad! He flew!!
It's beautiful!


he died
and he was never comfortable with himself qua kiwi.


It's like dying a hero's death--better than ten long happy lives.


I'm all into long happy lives


SOUND, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.


now I'm going to have nightmares
sad ones
it's all your fault


I'm all about meteoritic blazes of glory.

[10:11:38 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says:
He chose to live his dream. He chose to die that way.

[10:11:54 PM] Scott D. Scheule says: We should envy the kiwi.

[10:12:13 PM] Jay Goodman Tamboli says:
He reshaped his world to suit his wishes.

[10:12:30 PM] Scott D. Scheule says: Yeah. If only I could stop crying.

Tax Policy

Today, Professor Yale called on me and made me explain my response paper. Response papers are supposed to be 3-4 pages: I wrote ten on the topic "Create a just tax." I demurred but the professor prodded me, so I gave a fifteen minute speech on why Rawlsian social contract theory and utilitarianism were unacceptable, why Locke was right, what the proper role of the state was, what that implied about taxation.

ME: Look. Rawlsian social contractualism and utilitarianism are both unacceptable moral theories, so you can't base a just tax on them...

ME: For one thing, utilitarianism is wrong because happiness isn't all that great.

YALE: He said grumpily.

ME: What? Oh yeah. Yeah, I tried for years to be happy, but it never really worked. So nowadays I just try to be dry and cynical and I find life much more enjoyable...

ME: Utilitarianism is crap...

ME: I allow that some social services may be necessary to bribe the proletariat of course, though it doesn't come anywhere close to justifying current government expenditures....

ME: One, the argument that educating others makes me better off is false. They may provide better services, but that only means I have to pay more for it--it's a wash...

ME: Your argument is that the entire US government is engineered to serve the wealthy? Yes? Well, in that case, I have no problem with it...

YALE: A response to that is that in the state of nature, there would be no cities, no buildings, no society. The war of all against all.

ME: That wasn't, incidentally, what Locke believed.

YALE: I haven't read Locke, maybe you could help me out.

ME: I haven't read him either. I have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm just waiting for somebody to call me on it--I'm surprised it hasn't occurred already.

Luckily the rest of the class thought I was too far out there to even merit rebuttal. Which I count as a technical victory.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm Different

Dad: So you watching the game?

Me: What game?

I usually do battle with my alarm clock in the morning over a period of 1-3 hours. It buzzes, I jump out of bed, slam Snooze, and dive back under the covers--ten minutes later, we repeat this match.

One effect of this, I think, is that I have a vast quantity of short-lived five minute dreams or so, which is usually enough to cover a wide range of fantasies, nightmares, and general experiences. I wake up deluged by weird thoughts and memories that I have to sort out in the shower: "All right, let's think. Ordering two chocolate milkshakes at Wendy's? That probably really happened. Tea with President McKinley? Probably not." Today I spent the entire day thinking about somebody because they'd popped up in a dream, having to constantly stop and reassess whether or not I'd actually seen them recently. I hadn't.


Tragedy or triumph?

I vote triumph. Every kiwi dies--not every kiwi truly lives.