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Monday, May 04, 2009

Preferences & Choices

Life is full of choices.  Many choices are less about right and wrong, and more about preferences.  We're invited to make choices dozens of times each day... and even when we aren't asked, we choose anyway.   In fact, it's pretty amazing when you stop to consider how many binary choices we 've already made... without ever having done a conscious and/or systematic analysis.  

In many cases we aren't even choosing among real options... yet we are deeply and personally invested in preferences that exists entirely in the realm of the theoretical. 

Here's a list of such real and theoretical choices... see how many we share (words in boldface indicate my preference):

~ Obviously, some of these are gender specific... to the opposite gender.  So where necessary, assume I'm projecting my preference, not gearing up for a parade down Commercial Street in P-Town (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you!) ~


  1. Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate
  2. Nestle's or Hershey's
  3. Scotch or Bourbon
  4. Road Bike or Mountain Bike
  5. American League or National League
  6. Hitting Pitchers or Designated Hitters
  7. Ketchup or Mustard
  8. Ice Cream or Sorbet
  9. Downhill or X-Country
  10. Mac or Windows
  11. Horns or Synthesizers
  12. White Wine or Red Wine
  13. Aisle or Window
  14. Non-Stop or Stopover
  15. Root Beer Float or Ice Cream Soda
  16. Creamy or Chunky
  17. Smoking or Non-Smoking
  18. Plane or Train
  19. Sailboat or Motorboat
  20. White Gold or Yellow Gold
  21. Rocks or Neat
  22. Dog or Cat
  23. Candybar-style or Flip-phone 
  24. Steam-room or Sauna
  25. Tea or Coffee
  26. Sugar or Splenda
  27. Fiction or Non-Fiction
  28. Burned to a Crisp or Bloody as Hell
  29. Martin & Lewis or Amos & Andy
  30. Flats or Heels
  31. Pants or Skirts
  32. Army or Navy
  33. Dark Meat or White Meat
  34. Sauce or Dry Rub
  35. Automatic or Stick Shift
  36. Bar Soap or Body Wash
  37. Set Menu or À La Carte
  38. Dressed Salad or Dressing On The Side
  39. Cut To The Chase or Shaggy Dog Story
  40. Long Hair or Short Hair
  41. Driver or Passenger
  42. Coder or WYSIWYG
  43. Crossword or Sudoku
  44. Chess or Go
  45. Boxers or Briefs
  46. Now or Later
  47. Indoors or Al Fresco
  48. Coke or Pepsi
  49. Betty or Wilma
  50. Ginger or Maryanne

What's funny is that as subjective as most of these preferences are, many people will try to convince others of the correctness of their choice... arguing only slightly less stridently than they might if theology or politics were involved.

So yes, I'd love to know how you feel about any and all of these choices... but please don't try to sway me.   I've made up my mind.  At least for the moment.   Even about those things the are in open contradiction with others on the list.

Share your thoughts in the comments here... or copy and paste the list to your own blog.  Feel free to add, delete or make substitutions.  As we say here in the Holy Land; 'About taste and smell you can't argue'.

Posted by David Bogner on May 4, 2009 | Permalink

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You hypocrite! And, yes, you know what I'm talking about. How can you favor the American League and yet "claim" that you favor hitting pitchers?

Posted by: Yehuda | May 4, 2009 1:22:28 PM

Yehuda... and I quote:

"I've made up my mind. At least for the moment. Even about those things the are in open contradiction with others on the list."

If you've ever loved a woman you will surely understand the that it is possible to love her unconditionally... yet still acknowledge that there are one or two things that drive you crazy about her. Nobody is perfect. In the case of baseball, I have a much closer bond with the teams of the American league than with the National league. But that doesn't stop me from feeling in my heart of hearts that the game would be better off without the designated hitter rule.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 4, 2009 1:50:25 PM

32 Agrees / 18 Disagrees. You'll never catch me having Splenda and I'll take a good single malt scotch over bourbon any day. We can still hang out though :)

Posted by: J K | May 4, 2009 2:13:27 PM

Give me a Pepsi anyday!

Was in Atlanta in Dec 08 for Neil Diamond concert and went to Coke Museum where you can taste all the different brands they sell around the world.

If you ever go, try this one, it is sold in Italy as a soft drink and is called 'Beverley'. Sounds very girly (sugar 'n spice and all that stuff), but it tastes absolutely horrendous, like drinking soda and bleach! Yechhhhh!:}

Posted by: Ken | May 4, 2009 4:15:08 PM

Cats and dogs!

Posted by: Rahel | May 4, 2009 4:52:12 PM

35 agrees. Forget Scotch v. Bourbon, you left out U-bet v. Bosco. U-Bet is superior in every way.

Posted by: lrg | May 4, 2009 4:57:18 PM

For some of us, a list like this results in an obssesive search for a common denominator. OK, so Flats and Maryanne makes sense: milk chocolate, bourbon, and red wine works; and skirts and Navy certainly works, too.

Posted by: Barzilai | May 4, 2009 4:59:48 PM

You prefer stopovers to non- stop? Curious.

Posted by: Ari | May 4, 2009 5:28:29 PM

hooray for stickshifts!! there is just nothing like a perfectly timed downshift into a tight curve on a winding mountain road.

Posted by: bratschegirl | May 4, 2009 5:37:27 PM

Oh no - Splenda? In our house artificial sweeteners are treated like poison. No diet soda, diet gum (which means that 99% of what you find in Israel is off limits) or supposedly sugarless candies. On the other hand, I was very glad to see someone else who prefers milk chocolate to dark. To me there is no comparison.

Posted by: westbankmama | May 4, 2009 6:22:51 PM

Sleep over work.
Health over sickness.
Wealth over poverty.
Faith over Cynicism.
Hummus over Peanut Butter.
Judaism over Islam.
Israel over Iran.
Peace over War.
Straight over Gay.
Life over Death.
Sex over Violence.
Life over Death.
Computers over Quill Pens.
Chocolate over Brussels Sprouts.

Posted by: Fred | May 4, 2009 7:19:46 PM

So what does it mean if I'm between or out of several of your options. For example, Army or Navy -> Air Force. (If I wasn't deaf, I would have gone through the AF ROTC)

Boxers or Briefs -> BoxerBriefs, the best combo style. Not too tight, not too loose.

Burned to a Crisp or Bloody as Hell -> Medium. But it's funny, my uncle likes bloody as hell, my brother-in-law likes burned to a crisp. It's a pain making BBQ when they are both here. Next time they both come, I think I'll just make spaghetti.

Oh, and of course: Road Bike or Mountain Bike -> MOTORBIKE!! ;-)

Posted by: JDMDad | May 4, 2009 8:34:30 PM

My preferences as regards many of these choices depend on specific circumstances. On a hot dog, it's gotta be mustard. Hamburger? Ketchup, mustard, or both. Rocks or neat? Depends on whether it's a single malt Scotch or a gin-and-tonic.

But here's what I want to know:

If you choose Bush over Gore, does that mean you prefer sex to violence?

Posted by: Elisson | May 4, 2009 9:16:11 PM

I would definitely do Betty, but I'd be thinking of Wilma.

Posted by: David Bailey | May 4, 2009 10:43:30 PM

This list...hmm...David, you are full of surprises. Very interesting.

Posted by: tnspr569 | May 4, 2009 11:04:41 PM

What about the age old contreversy - toiled paper feeds over the top or from the bottom?

Posted by: Aharon | May 4, 2009 11:46:41 PM

American League or National League
Hitting Pitchers or Designated Hitters

Lots of things are debatable, but these two choice - at least superficially - are not consistent!

:-)

Posted by: soccer dad | May 5, 2009 12:43:35 AM

Mountain bike! What has gotten into you?

Posted by: Alan T. | May 5, 2009 2:07:19 AM

Cool list. Like Ellison, though, some of my answers are not quite either/or. Examples: Ketchup or mustard - depends on what's being condimented, and mayo makes it a threesome. Fiction or non - could go either way - totally depends on my mood. Same with root beer float and ice cream soda. Sailboat or motorboat - sadly, does not apply. Steam room or sauna - no. Neither. Not ever.

And as for National League/American League - that question becomes far more specific when you've spent your formative years in a two-team region. As a N'yawkeh, it becomes Mets/Yankees. In my case, Mets, because I believe that suffering for your team builds character. (You're a Red Sox fan - you get it. I don't even try to explain myself to the Yankee fans out there.) :)

Oh, and while we're at it, what about Felix/Oscar? Bach/Beethoven? Beatles/Stones? Abbott/Costello? Mickey/Bugs? (Just kidding about that last one - as everyone knows, Bugs rules. No contest.)

Posted by: psachya | May 5, 2009 2:12:19 AM

i did it on my blog - lotsa fun. thanks
http://hadassahsabo.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/preferences/

Posted by: Hadassah | May 5, 2009 2:55:46 AM

1. Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Dark
2. Nestle's or Hershey's Either
3. Scotch or Bourbon Neither
4. Road Bike or Mountain Bike Ditto
5. American League or National League National
6. Hitting Pitchers or Designated Hitters Don't care
7. Ketchup or Mustard Ketchup
8. Ice Cream or Sorbet Ice Cream
9. Downhill or X-Country No snow
10. Mac or Windows Linux
11. Horns or Synthesizers Synthesizers
12. White Wine or Red Wine Either
13. Aisle or Window Window
14. Non-Stop or Stopover Stopover
15. Root Beer Float or Ice Cream Soda Root Beer
16. Creamy or Chunky Chunky
17. Smoking or Non-Smoking Non-smoking
18. Plane or Train Plane
19. Sailboat or Motorboat Motorboat
20. White Gold or Yellow Gold Don't care
21. Rocks or Neat See #3
22. Dog or Cat Large tomcat
23. Candybar-style or Flip-phone Either or
24. Steam-room or Sauna Neither
25. Tea or Coffee Tea, iced & sweet
26. Sugar or Splenda Sugar, for #25
27. Fiction or Non-Fiction Non-fiction
28. Burned to a Crisp or Bloody as Hell Medium well
29. Martin & Lewis or Amos & Andy Amos & Andy
30. Flats or Heels Don't wear them
31. Pants or Skirts I wear pants (you're beginning to worry me)
32. Army or Navy Canoe Club!
33. Dark Meat or White Meat White meat
34. Sauce or Dry Rub Yes
35. Automatic or Stick Shift Stick
36. Bar Soap or Body Wash Body wash
37. Set Menu or À La Carte Yes
38. Dressed Salad or Dressing On The Side Either
39. Cut To The Chase or Shaggy Dog Story What?
40. Long Hair or Short Hair Short
41. Driver or Passenger Driver
42. Coder or WYSIWYG WYSIWYG....I guess
43. Crossword or Sudoku Crossword
44. Chess or Go Chess
45. Boxers or Briefs Briefs
46. Now or Later Depends
47. Indoors or Al Fresco Doing what?
48. Coke or Pepsi I do the Dew
49. Betty or Wilma Betty
50. Ginger or Maryanne Mrs. Howe....Mary Ann

Posted by: Karl Newman | May 5, 2009 4:56:51 AM

Thirty-four of fifty are agreements. Guess that is the way with most friendships: enough agreement to keep from beating the hell out each other verbally; and enough difference to keep the discussions lively.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | May 5, 2009 7:26:39 AM

American League or National League
Hitting Pitchers or Designated Hitters

soccer dad, perhaps he meant pitching "purpose" pitches at pitchers? In interleague games only?

NL... 9 players on a side = actual baseball

(not trying to sway you, Trep; just speaking truth to power) ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | May 5, 2009 9:19:50 AM

Hmmmm....

2) Nestle's or Hershey's -- Vered HaGalil ורד הגליל

You already know where I stand on the rest. :-)

Posted by: zahava | May 5, 2009 10:34:24 AM

J K... Sure we can still hang out... do you need a paper umbrella for your scotch? :-)

Ken... Let me understand this... you tell me I need to try this stuff, and then you tell me tastes like crap. Am I missing something here?

Rahel ... I grew up with both. I like cats, but I can take them or leave them (which is pretty much how they view us humans).

lrg... No question that U-Bets makes a superior eggcream. But for straight up chocolate milk I still like Quick powder or Hershey's syrup.

Barzilai... Any latent tendencies detected? :-)

Ari... If you have the time, a free stopover in a foreign city on the way to or from your trip is a great way to see a city you might otherwise never get to visit. Most airports have 'held luggage' offices to check your carry on while you go out exploring... and most airlines will let you stop-over for as much as two days with no additional charge to your ticket. I've gotten to spend time in London, Madrid and Bangkok this way.

bratschegirl... When Zahava took her driver's test here, what should have been a ten or 15 minute test drive was over in about 30 seconds. Instead of braking on a downhill corner Zahava simply downshifted and accelerated smoothly through the turn like a pro. The examiner passed her on the spot.

westbankmama ... Oy, another grass-eating hippie. :-) Let's make a deal. When we get together we'll do it at our place. I can't face a plate of sprouts and rolled oats. ;-)

Fred... Life over death is listed twice. you obviously feel strongly about this. Oh, and don't you think 'Straight over Gay' kinda defeats the whole idea? :-)

JDMDad... Life is full of gray areas (or powder blue areas in the case of the Air Force). :-)

Elisson... Hey now, this is a family establishment! :-)

David Bailey ... Whoa cowboy, who said anything about doing anybody??? First Elisson and now you?! Sheesh!

tnspr569... Funny, my wife considers me the most predictable person on the planet.

Aharon ... What controversy? Over the top is the only reasonable answer. Anything else is anarchy.

soccer dad... See my earlier comment on inconsistencies.

Alan T.... Israeli drivers force you off the road on a regular basis. You may as well be on a bike designed for dirt. :-)

psachya... The list is endless. I just got the ball rolling. :-)

Hadassah ... Nicely done. I like what you did with the list.

Karl Newman... Mrs. Howell?! Now I'm the one who is worried.

rutimizrachi ... I knew we'd have lots of overlap. :-)

Wry Mouth... I agree with you 100%. One day maybe my beloved American league may go back to playing baseball by the rules.

zahava ... Yup, you're an open book to me sweetie. [ahem]

Posted by: David Bogner | May 5, 2009 4:21:41 PM

Pardon me while I have a geeky "olah chadashah" moment. I just learned the Israeli expression 'no arguing over taste and smell' in ulpan a couple of days ago. This is the first non-ulpan reference to this phrase that I've seen. Cool. :)

Posted by: Alissa | May 7, 2009 6:58:21 PM

I blogged on the query, "Where Did All the Bar Soap Go?" but deleted it when I redid my blog. In others' houses, you can't find a !#[email protected]! bar of soap anymore. What's up with this? And what's with "soapless" soap? Did someone decide when I wasn't looking that "soapful" soap is toxic? Please, somebody, enlighten me!

Posted by: Yam Erez | May 9, 2009 5:24:48 PM

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