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The Snob Horizon

I collect snobberies.

I like knowing what makes some things high-quality and other things crappy (it's different for every kind of thing), and being able to distinguish the subtle differences between the two.

However, the traits that distinguish good from bad are arbitrary and, like fashion, are often cyclic and based on class/expense rather than any intrinsic measure of quality in the snobbed object.

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Certified Spiciness

A lot of restaurants representing cultures with spicy cuisines offer dishes with a choice of heat level.

However, there is a LOT of variance in the actual spiciness of dishes at a given heat level, both from restaurant to restaurant, and even from chef to chef.

Originally I was going to propose a device that would measure the scoville units of a dish, along with a training and certification system so that multiple restaurants could offer a guaranteed comparable scale of heat.

But on reflection, the real problem is just that "hot" is ambigous.

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A: Woof
B: What?
A (emphatically): WOOF!
B (get's it now): Woof!
A: What?

Minutes of fun whenever you need it.

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The Motivational Power of Big Pants

I've been watching The Biggest Loser, and enjoying its strange combination of inspiration, disgust (stop crying already), exploitation, abuse, and crass commercialism.

I really love how whenever we see a retrospective of a contestant (every time someone is kicked off boot camp island, and once for each contestant on the finale) they have a big pants moment, where they stand behind their giant old pants and then drop them to the floor to show how awesome they are now.

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Axes of Salad Complexity

After a furious session of blackboarding, we are pleased to present an incomplete* collection of the axes of salad complexity:

Complexity of construction
To what extent is this salad a metaphor?
Number of cuisines included and effort made to fuse them
Expense of ingredients
Number of flavors sensed, and effort made to meld them

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The Liquid Seder

Our second triennial, not-very-kosher observance of the Liquid Seder happened on April 11.

In this seder, each traditional food item is replaced by a cocktail involving the same ingredients. The resulting drunkenness (5 cocktails + 4 glasses of wine with only matzo to buffer the alcohol) results in a spectacular drunkeness that can only be appreciated by a people that were once held in bondage by a capricious Egyptian monarch.

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Otello, Act I

On March 20, the Oakland Symphony Chorus joined the Oakland East Bay Symphony's concert performance of Act I of Verdi's Otello.

The concert was reviewed by the Contra Costa Times

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OSC 50th Anniversary Concert

On January 31, the Oakland Symphony Chorus held a 50th anniversary gala.

We performed Haydn's Mass in Time of War and Sanford Dole's The Fabric of Peace, which was commissioned for the occasion.

The concert was reviewed by the SF Classical Voice

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Subtle Nuance

It is reasonable for someone to claim that two different items are identical.

It is crazy for someone to claim that two identical items are different.

(from the big mouth of J)

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