Steak and Geometry

Where real men eat steaks, none of this arugula stuff...

We came across this place on our last road trip, somewhere in Arizona, and it’s kind of awesome. I’m not sure what it’s like inside, but we both envision it’s like a certain type of restaurant we’ve seen that I like to call the “Old West Steakhouse”.

Basically the “Old West Steakhouse” is a specific kind of eatery that both Mary and I have experienced at different times, and in very different places. After comparing notes, we concluded that the places are so similar that there has to be some sort of common template. Both places had booths that were simulated Conestoga wagons, which means basically a table with a canvas top held up by steel hoops over the booth. Down the center of the main room was a life size diorama with, if memory serves, a prospector (or some sort of crazy old coot) tending a fire (simulated) and surrounding him is a pack of blood-thirsty wolves (also simulated). Or maybe just a single kind of mangy coyote, it has been a long time last I was there. Puts you right in the mood to messily devour a twenty-four ounce slab of cattle flesh. I’m not sure about the one Mary went to, but my version of the Old West Steakhouse, also had a menu where the steaks that were well up in the double digits in weight were given manly names like the Cowpoke, or the Gunslinger, while the smaller steaks were called sissy names like the Cowgirl, or the Limpid Violet.

Since the restaurant I went to was in Ogden Utah, and the one Mary went to was outside Phoenix, Arizona, we’ve since determined that if you draw a line between the two locations, then draw a circle who’s center is the midpoint of that line, you’ll have an area where all known samples of the Old West Steakhouse are located. Unless there’s another one outside the circle. Unfortunately, making sweeping generalizations is not an exact science, though geometry is, and since we used geometry to make the circle, we can say with absolutely no authority whatsoever that all versions of the Old West Steakhouse can be located in the continental United States. Unless they aren’t. So it’s quite possible that the Plainsmen is another Old West Steakhouse. We’ll never know since it was a Sunday, and they were closed for lunch.

Since we’re talking about geometry now, or at least I am, the subject now shifts smoothly to Criminal Minds. Wait, wait, I’ll tie this all together if you’ll just give me a few more minutes of your time. Unless, Game of Thrones is on, and then I’ll understand completely that you have something more important to do. By all means, go and watch it – it’s a great show.

A few years ago, you could reliably count on finding Law and Order pretty much whenever you turned on a TV in a new hotel room. Now, it seems that all we ever find is Criminal Minds when we’re travelling. There’s a recurring moment that seems to happen in a significant number of episodes (or at least the three or four we’ve seen over and over again), where the FBI agents will be standing in front of a city map on which all the murders are plotted. Someone will point out that if you draw a line between the first and second murder locations, and then another line between the second and third murders, and finally a line between first and last murders, it’ll describe a geometric shape that we engineers like to call a triangle. If you then bisect each leg of the triangle the resulting intersecting lines will show that the murderer lives at 2420 Dutch Elm Drive. Apartment 2D, in the back. And he drives a Ford Taurus. Who knew that serial murderers were so driven by the dark science of geometry? And kids, next time someone tells you that math, and by extension, geometry, is useless to your future career as a rock god, tell them they’re probably right. But geometry is apparently damn handy if you’re looking for serial killers. So if you want to play it safe, buckle down on the geometry just so you too can join the FBI and chase serial killers. If that rock god career thing doesn’t work out.



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