Arguing Syntax

Love me some takoyaki!

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I hear you. I remember when Texas was the state of Ann Richards and Molly Ivins, but today…


I quit eating octopus because I instituted a morals-based food rule: I won’t eat you if you can make and use tools. I love Tako and calamari, so this rule did hurt me. I was never at risk of eating any primate, though, so at least there’s that.


Guess I’ll have to stop eating raccoon.


I try to be a fairly low-key vegetarian, but yeah, octopi are on my list of animals that I feel like it’s especially not great that we eat. They are simultaneously very alien and very relatable creatures to me.

(Obligatory plug for Other Minds:


Why not combine three things into one?

Designed by renowned Dr. Oetker to stimulate not only palates, but also ontological and gastro-taxonomical reflections.

If I understand the sandwich debate correctly, this product, with its two halves enclosing something else, could also be considered a sandwich in some unorthodox circles; thus making it a quadruple whammy.


I roll to disbelieve.


Must be eaten with:


A sensible move (and my first reaction, too), but amazingly, it was a real thing. :smiley:

It was introduced around 2015 or so, and I’ve actually eaten one out of curiosity. Wasn’t even terrible (for a frozen-pizza-style product), although not super exciting either.

They (un?)fortunately stopped the production in 2020, as I just learned when I searched for the picture.

Here’s a video of someone testing it:

The company commemorated it in a Twitter obituary:

"Wo Licht ist, ist auch Schatten. Heute wollen wir Abschied nehmen von unserem langjährigen, tapferen Freund, dem Pizzaburger. Du hattest eine Ober- und eine Unterseite. Dazwischen befand sich pures Glück.

Grüß die Schokopizza von uns. Ihr fehlt."


"Where there’s light, there’s shadow. Today we want to bid farewell to our longtime brave friend, the Pizzaburger. You had a top side and a bottom side. In between, there was pure bliss.

Give our regards to the chocolate pizza. We miss you both."

The chocolate pizza refers to this, which was a real product, too:

I’ve never tried one, but I think it was more like a chocolate cookie/cake/biscuit, rather than a mix of sweet and savoury/umami.

Dr. Oetker also once did an April Fools’ joke and announced the “Fischstäbchenpizza” (fish finger pizza), but apparently the response was so enthusiastic that they actually created a limited run:


jumping in to say this comment is top-tier literature:


I’m blowing you a little kissaroo from me to you too, as well as for the parasitoid wasps and their babies- they’re one of my favourite topics to wax poetic on.


[Hanon’s potentially-contrarian rants ahead, but this is what this thread is apparently for!]

I understand what you’re saying; but for me the defect is the attraction: If you’re talking in the Taco Bell oeuvre, when I was eating there frequently I could get down with Nachos BellGrande (no tomatoes please). I wasn’t getting it to experience classic crunchy nachos and cheese; it included refried beans and meat and sour cream with the cheese sauce which is why the dish was soggy. I always chose it because it was a neater, non-hand-held Taco Bell option. I enjoyed how I could pick through it as 50% finger food, 50% use the spork. It’s kind of the ideal of what @Sophia was suggesting: taco ingredients smashed in a bowl that you eat with a utensil. And because it’s soggy, it fits in with @AmandaB requirement that tacos should be soft corn tortillas and not the Americanized hard shell. Like an Enchirito is a wet burrito in a bowl, Nachos BellGrande is a wet taco in a bowl I could consume in more gentlemanly fashion.

I reject that personally A: because pickles don’t go on pizza, even the “cheeseburger” variety, ew; B: Toasting a bun with cheese and cut up hot dogs is improvised scrounge food and needn’t be sold to me ready-prepared and price-inflated from a factory with more time and resources; and C: pickles, ew.
I understand this product is likely marketed for children who are picky eaters and would more likely prefer hot dog over pepperoni. We had “pizza burgers” in grade school which were perfectly fine, did not contain pickles, and were likely the natural thrifty evolution to use up leftover chili-meat and bread/buns that would otherwise go stale.

TL;DR: I think I’ve found the kink in the reasoning: “Written word” is the transport for speech, not “Literature”. While it’s arguably true (in the library classification sense) that all Literature consists of written word, the converse “all written word is Literature” is not true. A library is full of literature. The sign in the bathroom of the library encouraging you to wash your hands is not literature, though it is most definitely written word, and communication at a distance (which can be considered action at a distance.)

:mops brow:

I might humbly suggest the taxonomy tree here is skipping a few branches.

Speech->Communication : Written Word->Preserved Communication (all of this falls under “action at a distance”

The steps I’m missing that make me frustrated is it seems you’re defining “written words” as “Literature” and they needn’t be.

Speech is ephemeral, like theater. A voice-mail is communication at a distance; so is cinema but I wouldn’t jump to “voice-mail = cinema”

A stop sign was fashioned so someone doesn’t have to stand on every corner and yell STOP at approaching motorists. I agree a stop sign is “communication at a distance” - the ostensible “author” of that sign is communicating “hey don’t drive blindly into this intersection here, thank you.”

I think there’s several more levels though - while you have ephemeral speech as in-the-moment communication, you have written-word which is communication at a distance (distance here can be temporal: you leave a voice mail for your cousin so you don’t have to wait for the phone to ring a billion times until they pick up to tell them how much they owe you for Girl Scout cookies)

I submit that literature is written communication that A: is authored by a specific person, usually credited; B: is not utilitarian - people can have an opinion on literature’s worth as opposed to the stop-sign whose communication is imperative and can be enforced legally, no opinion necessary; and C: is generally agreed over time to have worth that motivates people to keep it around, as opposed to a stop sign, which is utilitarian and necessary regardless of your opinion of the communication.

I just disagree with labeling any gosh darn word or sequence of words written on a surface as “literature” - the telephone book is written words and can be considered action at a distance, but would you write a critical essay on the artistry and reading experience provided by whomever compiled the phone book?

YesI’m sure someone has but that doesn’t make it literature. If all written word is “literature” then the classification has no meaning.


In my philosophy 101 course we spent several weeks attempting to define “art” in such a way as to exclude everything that wasn’t art (the lesson there, as you can probably tell, was that there is no universally accepted answer). “Literature” is kind of a funny term because most people do understand how it’s commonly used: creative writing, if not excluding genre fiction then at least meeting some standard of artfulness (not met by most genre fiction, apparently). In book stores where I live in the northeast USA, “literature” sections are full of “culturally significant” stories, while novels that haven’t had as long to sink into the cultural consciousness or left little impact are simply “fiction.” These standards are delineated and enforced by the bookstore workers, not by any philosophical body, which is probably as it should be, since for the vast majority of people (not building syntactical digital systems) understanding the vibe of the word is enough.

In our discussions about art, folks brought up intention: a geologist might not consider their surveying photographs or LIDAR scans art since their purpose is purely utilitarian, but someone else finding them at a garage sale could consider them beautiful and hang them up. It might be the case that an author seeking to write a pulp novel or diary finds themselves lumped into the category of literature without trying.

But regarding Hanon’s point, definitions work insofar as they are useful. Everyone knows what a chair is, but defining the word in such a way as to exclude everything that is not a chair is surprisingly difficult. If you asked 100 people on the street if the text on a stop sign constituted literature, your answer would be clear: not in any meaningful way.

And re: Mathbrush’s comment earlier, an artist could come along with the goal of changing peoples’ minds by imbuing the humble stop sign with meaning. It wouldn’t change the inherent meaning of a stop sign, but it would perhaps alter how we think about them, which is what a definition is supposed to tell us, right?


Oh, oh, I know this one! That’s when you use almost no pressure on the bow so it bounces off the string with each note.


You’re thinking of “staccato.” Spataco was a Thracean gladiator about whom Stanley Kubrick made a film in 1960.


No, that’s Spartacus. Spataco is that thing people do in comedy shows where someone says something unexpected, which causes the listener to violently vacate their mouth of whatever drink they were sipping.


Actually all three of these things are Spartacus.


I’m afraid you may be thinking of “spit take.”

When you’re totally grooving on the same wavelength with someone, you’re spataco.


I think you mean “simpatico”.

Spataco is that plaster like coating on some buildings.


I’m sorry, you’re thinking of stucco.

“Simpataco” is that Italian taqueria chain which uses al-dente conchiglie as the taco shells.