Pharyngula

Well, almost. My flight is delayed a bit, so I’m stuck in the San Francisco airport for a few hours. I will get there, though, and I will nap the whole way. It’s been a long couple of days.

So, yesterday for lunch I was able to visit the giant gleaming temple to rampant Darwinism, the NCSE. I got to tour the crystal dome containing the Laser of Retribution, the underground bunker, the massive computer complex…oh, wait. They didn’t have any of those things. They did have stacks of paper and an overworked staff, and Kent Hovind’s Ph.D. thesis, and the worlds most interesting bathroom, but otherwise, well, send them money. They need it.

I gave a talk. I went on too long. I chastised Berkeley briefly for giving Jonathan Wells a Ph.D., but I think they forgave me for that (but maybe not for talking too much).

We did have a Pharyngulista meetup at the local pub. I had two beers, twice my usual allotment (I was thirsty! I talked too long), so let’s see if I can remember who all made the event: Ken Cope, robbrown, Ron Sullivan and spouse, Scott Hatfield, Greta Christina, Josh Rosenau, dsmccoy, BobGo, Nurse Ingrid, a young lady on crutches (leave a comment! Tell the world your name!), Richard (leave me a link to your skeptics’ organization!). Anyone else? It was good. I also had my second California pizza of the day: the first was an arugula, walnut, and balsamic vinegar pizza at my lunch with NCSE, and the second that evening was covered with shrimp. They were very good, but purists will be horrified.

We’ll have to do something in Seattle, too!

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    May 31, 2008

    Sorry I missed it! So close and yet so far.

    Maybe next time.

  2. #2 JeffreyD
    May 31, 2008

    PZ, come to South Carolina, we need you. Also, here in Charleston we have beaches, you get to actually see sea creatures, not to mention the best shrimp in the world.

    Really, do you plan to drop below the Mason-Dixon line at all in the near future? Any place within a four hour drive would be fine and you would be most welcome. Let me know, and I will work on a visa for you…what name do you want to use?

    Ciao

  3. #3 Lightnin
    May 31, 2008

    Is their office as cluttered as it looked in their videos? I don’t spose you bumped into Eugenie Scott while you were there?

    I’m currently watching an old video of an ID debate, and she seems as wonderful then as she seems now. (Miller is still Catholic but in his own way cuddely, and I want to rip David Berlinksi trachea out. Really, he is a piece of shit.)

  4. #4 Rebecca
    May 31, 2008

    Curse my shyness! I live a short bike ride from Berkeley, but my timidity overcame me. Next time you’re in the Bay Area I shan’t miss out!

  5. #5 Hez
    May 31, 2008

    Walnut on pizza?
    What an age we live in…

  6. #6 PZ Myers
    May 31, 2008

    My next foray into the South is Atlanta, 12-16 July.

    I will be back in San Francisco for a day on 8 June — I have a loooong layover that day.

  7. #7 El_Prune
    May 31, 2008

    Hang on, I want to hear more about this “worlds most interesting bathroom”. Was the plumbing particularly elegant, or perhaps the mold growth included some fractal patterns or unusual species?

  8. #8 ihateaphids
    May 31, 2008

    Was the first pizza at a place on Center St called Sky Pizza? I used to eat there like once every 2 days. You either had the sky or son of sky pizza I believe. Man, I miss Berkeley. :)

  9. #9 Ron Sullivan
    May 31, 2008

    Good to meet you, PZ. The place was too damned noisy, but that seems to be the price of good microbrew these days. (I think it might be different in Seattle; I remember a few pubs with decent sound levels.)

    Yeah, good bunch. Nurse Ingrid and I seem to have a friend in common; imagine that. I think that was Sara, or maybe Sarah, with the crutch and the magnificent tattoo. I do want to see the jellyfish when you get it done, Sara(h)!

    Spouse is Joe Eaton. He and I share a byline on a weekly SF Chronicle garden column, and we haven’t murdered each other yet over it. This is a testament to his patience and fortitude. He writes for the Berkeley Daily Planet, too, and the Estuary newsletter. Estuary’s audience is local policy wonks and field scientists; he gets to have fun explaining invertebrate biology to hydrologists and vice versa, e.g., and all of it to legislators.

    Say Hi to Archie McPhee for us, and good travels!

  10. #10 Steven Dunlap
    May 31, 2008

    Sorry I missed you yesterday. Just a small request: your blog only time stamps your posts and I am not always able to keep up with it daily. I was not sure what day you were in Berkeley. It would have been great to attend your talk or at least make it to the pub afterwards (I read the post at 6:30 last night and could have made it if I ran from my apartment straight away). If it’s not too much trouble could you include dates in your itinerary the next time you are traveling to the Bay Area? I would like to meet fellow members of my tribe. ;-)

    Best regards.

  11. #11 Orson Zedd
    May 31, 2008

    Yeah, come on. Stop in at Ole Miss or Memphis State!

  12. #12 mezzobuff
    May 31, 2008

    An all day layover on June 8th in SF? We can certainly do better than the airport! I might be able to get you a tour of the opera house (although they ask that you refrain from humming the Fledermaus overture and pray for pandas… the bears are hard to control in the hall…).

  13. #13 LightningRose
    May 31, 2008

    For interesting public restrooms, I recommend the Ladies room at the historic, art deco style, Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA.

    It’s included in the bimonthly tours, so people of all genders can see it.

    http://www.paramounttheatre.com/

  14. #14 Mary Kay
    May 31, 2008

    The pub at Ravenna 3rd Place Books is where the science fiction fans meet on 2nd Sundays. The beer drinkers seem to think the beer’s good and the noise level isn’t bad. Plus, books just upstairs! Here’s their web page
    http://www.ravennathirdplace.com/

    MKK

  15. #15 Steven Dunlap
    May 31, 2008

    I volunteer for tour-guide on June 8th. I’m good for restaurant recommendations. Also, the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park is newly restored (languished after the earthquake for years).

    Regards.

  16. #16 dsmccoy
    May 31, 2008

    That “young lady on crutches” certainly deserves some extra credit, since we sat upstairs.

    I agree about the “too damned noisy”, Jupiter is a hopping place on a Friday night.

    The beer should be good up in Seattle, but I don’t think you can get a decent walnut-arugala pizza up there.

  17. #17 Jeff Arnold
    May 31, 2008

    It just so happens I’m in Seattle on vacation.. I’m looking forward to seeingg you speak on Monday!

  18. #18 Mac
    May 31, 2008

    Was the “world’s most interesting bathroom” their archives, because of all the bull, uh, stuff?

  19. #19 thomas
    May 31, 2008

    And in case any of you Seattlites don’t know the details about PZ’s talk in Seattle, here is one webpage with the specs. Simply, it’s Monday 7:00 PM at the Pacific Science Center.

    (Sadly, I’ll be in Fairbanks, Alaska that day.)

  20. #20 wazza
    May 31, 2008

    Hey, man, you don’t mess with Berkeley. They’ve got their own radioactive element and everything.

  21. #21 Ken Cope
    May 31, 2008

    If only they served good micro-brews and pizza at Cody’s Bookstore a couple of doors down–but then it would probably be too noisy, with books.

    Great company and conversation, and fun to put faces on fellow pharynguloids-lites-lans.

    And Scott Hatfield and I finally had a beer together!

  22. #22 Genie
    May 31, 2008

    It was red onions, arugula, walnuts, GORGONZOLA, and balsamic vinegar pizza. On organic sourdough crust. From Arizmendi, a proper worker-owned cooperative business.

    Now, was that a proper East-bay culinary experience for our guest, or what?

    PZ complained that it didn’t have enough barbecue sauce. Barbarian.

    Genie
    ps: we had a good time, though!

  23. #23 Scott Hatfield,OM
    May 31, 2008

    GENIE:

    Thanks so much for your hospitality. I was thrilled to be shown around, and inspired to keep up the good fight in the classroom. And we did have a good time! Thanks so much!

    KEN:

    I regret having to leave you and the rest of PZ’s happy throng when I did. But I had a long drive home. It was delightful to finally meet you, as well, and I hope to do it again some time.

    PZ: I have video of part of your address. I’m currently doctoring it with sound effects from Bill Dembksi and probing commentary from Tom Servo. I also plan on using, but not paying for the rights for a pop song with no real relevance to the subject of your talk. Any suggestions?

  24. #24 Brad D.
    May 31, 2008

    Damn. I’ll be at White River Amphitheater watching Iron Maiden Monday evening. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch you next time your here.

  25. #25 sarah
    May 31, 2008

    Hi PZ. I’m the girl on the crutch, my name is sarah. I don’t think I deserve as much credit for climbing the stairs as I do for sitting at the bar indulging a real estate agent before PZ showed up. He wanted to have a conversation about how according to his chiropracter tmj is caused by an injured foot earlier in life. Anyway, it was great meeting everybody. I’m sorry I couldn’t have stayed longer.

  26. #26 Edward Gibbs
    May 31, 2008

    In case you’re not about the pub scene, PacNW cuisine at is best and most regionally authentic can be voracioulsy appreciated at The Stumbling Goat (stumblinggoatbistro.com).

  27. #27 robbrown
    May 31, 2008

    Was good meeting all of you, especially enjoyed talking with Ken, Scott, Josh and Sarah. And of course PZ.

    Count me in for June 8th, Conservatory of Flowers is actually a really good idea, there is some intensely cool stuff there to look at. (good conversation starter: why exactly is it that bees appear to have such a similar sense of aesthetics as humans do?)

  28. #28 rpenner
    May 31, 2008

    I would have shown up, but I already had plans with friends of friends and had no convinient way to back out.

    I don’t know who in Morris has been preaching “Pizza Fundamentalism” to PZ, but the American public recognizes three main centers of pizza innovation: New York, Chicago, and California — specifically San Francisco-Berkeley. As with all religions, Californian Pizzas came last and are pooh-poohed by the New York and Chicago devotees. I’m more of a Pizza Ecumenicalist — which means I come into occasional conflict with displaced Chicagoans or New Yorkers. But if we set aside our differences, there’s a whole world of pizza thought and practice and we should embrace them all as welcome at the table. ( Pharyngulan special topping, squid:
    http://www.chachich.com/mdchachi/jpizza.html )

    Wikipedia’s article matches most of the histories I have read on the subject.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California-style_pizza
    (Based on my own experiences, smoked salmon does not go into the oven – always add it afterwards.)

    Berkeley’s Alice Waters has been recently been bringing innovation to school lunches.

  29. #29 dsmccoy
    May 31, 2008

    June 8, that’s a Sunday, right.

    I guess I’d be free after church … oh wait! I don’t go to church!
    So I’m free all day.

    How far afield you want to go kind of depends on how long the “long layover” is.

  30. #30 Berkeley Radical
    May 31, 2008

    Unfortunately, it is well known that the world’s most interesting bathroom is the Gent’s at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. (This is not just a personal opinion.)

  31. #31 Dana Hunter
    May 31, 2008

    All us Seattle folk so need to meet up and feed PZ beer! I can’t wait!

  32. #32 shadowfax
    May 31, 2008

    Seattle meet up! I’ll be there! Where and when?

  33. #33 Jim Flannery
    June 1, 2008

    Nah, if you really wanna nettle the traditionalists, when you’re back in SF you’ll stop by Bluefin Sushi and try the kimchee & roast pork pizza. Or maybe the wasabi-seafood pizza which has a good dose of squid to it …

  34. #34 marc buhler
    June 1, 2008

    Hey PZ – Visit The Elysian Brewery!!

    I have *never* been there….

    It is however an award winning brewpub whose beers I get to drink when I visit my parents in the Princeton area, since the younger of my two brothers (David Buhler) is one of the three who established The Elysian and somehow he manages to use a couple sides of smoked salmon to pack any keg sent to the East Coast for our family gatherings.

    I would appreciate your appraisal.

  35. #35 ishmael9913
    June 1, 2008

    Yeah! Seattle here we go! A few of us from the University of Puget Sound are coming up to hear the talk, and we are excited!

    The Elysian is delightful… it’s true.

  36. #36 Scott Hanley
    June 1, 2008

    The defining characteristic of our age: any concept whatsoever can be expressed as digital information or as pizza.

  37. #37 Richard Moore
    June 2, 2008

    Per PZ’s request, the Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics can be found at CVAAS. I had a wonderful time in Berkeley, and a thank you to the local Pharyngula fans for such a warm welcome.

    For some reason, all the symposium information was flushed from my brain by learning that Rocky and Bullwinkle were outsourced to Mexico. Thank you Ken, I think.

  38. #38 greg
    June 2, 2008

    in whose lab did Jonathan Wells get his Ph.D.?

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