I’m off to Alabama

September 2, 2009 • 2:42 pm

. . .with my laptop on my knee.  The good folks at UA Tuscaloosa* invited me down to give two talks: one a lecture to the general public on the evidence for evolution, the other a departmental seminar on speciation in flies (my day job).  I’m donning Kevlar for the former: an announcement of my talk in the Tuscaloosa News has already spawned six pages of heated comments, much of it worried about whether I’ll spread atheism along with biology.

As is my habit (“will lecture for food”), I’ve asked to sample the indigenous culinary delights, said to include ribs at Dreamland (and I’m quite partial to banana pudding).  Now if they can just dig up a decent meat-and-three place. . .

In the meantime, until Saturday pm, Greg Mayer and/or Matthew Cobb will be filling in for me.

1204837655_6745Fig. 1.  Ribs at Dreamland.  Do they match Chicago’s best?


*From the Tuscaloosa Convention and Visitor’s Bureau web page: Tuscaloosa was the source of a joke in the 1931 Marx brothers film “Animal Crackers.” Groucho Marx discusses shooting an elephant and attempting to remove the tusks. “Of course in Alabama the Tusc-a-loosa, but that is totally irrelephant to what I was saying,” he quipped.

25 thoughts on “I’m off to Alabama

  1. “worried about whether I’ll spread atheism along with biology”

    You mean they’re worried that you’ll talk about evolution in your invited public lecture about evolution? I guess that’s as opposed to someone like Dumbski pretending to talk about evolution in which he stands up on stage and goes “Awrk! Evolution bad! Creationism good!”

    [OT] Is that Ophelia starring in the latest Jesus and Mo?

    1. Ribs ‘n Bibs is far inferior to the best of Chicago’s rib shacks. It has the advantage of being close, but only a short drive away are two far better joints: Barbara Ann’s and Uncle John’s (John’s gets the nod for best ribs in Chicago). I do love Harold’s, and, when I feel a treat coming on, go there for a half regular with hot sauce.

      1. I don’t think I have ever been to Ribs ‘n Bibs without a few beers in me – and I was eating simply to fill my belly. I have not been to either of my favorite places in a few years – I hope they are still in business. The Rib Joint is on 87th Street right off the Dan Ryan. I have popped in there and picked up an order – no dining in. Honey One is on the West Side, on Division just east of Laramie (51xx W Division).

        In college, I would go to the Harold’s at 63rd and University – long since closed. The El used to go there – all the way to Stony Island at one time. Get off the El (no colors back then – it was the Howard/Jackson Park line), get an order at Harold’s and hightail it back to campus.

  2. Haven’t yet made it to Smoque, but it’s on the schedule. Almost went there a few weeks ago on the way back from O’Hare. I’m worried that it’s a bit spiffy for a rib joint!

  3. I remember some pretty good food in Tuscaloosa, too. There was one steak place where everyone threw peanut shells on the floor.

    I think freethinkers/atheists will be in the minority around there, even though it’s a university town.

    1. Logan’s Steakhouse. Yummy! And you’re right about being in the minority. And as “non-faitheists” (is there a word for that?), we are the almost nonexistent minority of the minority.

      1. Newman,

        great job slugging it out. Keep up the good work.

        My foodie review is of Wild Wing Cafe in Okemos (by Michigan State University). The wings were good. The ribs…pathetic. Offensively pathetic. Silly me. I believe I will be headed to Chicago in a few weeks with some grad student friends from MSU. I will definately be hitting a rib shack. and a pizza joint. and a tapas restaurant. and. and. and.

  4. Some visiting mycologists from Mass. just got to try their first southern barbecue and they told me that it was their favorite meal of the whole trip.

  5. City Cafe – which is just across the river from Tuscaloosa – is THE “meat & three” place for discerning Tuscaloosans. It’s open for the dawn-breakfast to lunchtime crowd but is not open for dinner. I highly recommend a 4:30AM arrival.

  6. I like it how “The Squirrel Inspector” converted your statement that “Statistics show that there is a negative correlation between science and belief” into “Jerry Coyne says you can’t be a scientist if you’re Christian!!!!11”

    Why is it so hard for people to distinguish between descriptive statements of how things happen to be and prescriptive statements of how things “ought” to be?

  7. Welcome to Alabamy! It’s a shame you’re going to be so far away. I’d love to hear you speak, but Tuscaloosa is a bit far for me to drive on a school night.

    Good luck, though! We’re not all hostile down here in Dixie. When Dawkins braved Birmingham, his greeting line was nearly embarassingly longer than whoever it was he “debated.” (Honestly can’t remember the guy’s name.)

    1. Poor Dawkins barely got a chance to get a word in during that “debate”! Christopher Hitchens received much better treatment when he braved Bham last spring. The highlight of Dawkins’ visit, I must say, was his appearance on the local Rick & Bubba radio show. Hilarious, and disturbing…

  8. I’ll be there tonight, and if you want a good meat and three you absolutely have to get someone to take you to City Cafe. It’s ten minutes from campus and delicious. =)

  9. They’ve turned the corner on 7pgs now, but if you subtract the volume of quoting one another back & forth, it probably reduces to 3pgs max. Pity the Squirrel wizard so adamantly refuses to go learn something.

    Meanwhile, since the talk has turned to things of yet greater importance, are any of you familiar with BBQ places in KY? Here’s a list I found online:
    but what I’m really interested in is any BBQ place, preferably in Lexington or points E of there, that makes killer BBQ goat (a meeting there next year).

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