Thursday: Hili dialogue

June 7, 2018 • 7:00 am

It’s Thursday, June 7, 2018, and the campus is getting ready for graduation (“convocation“) on Saturday. By Sunday the campus will be empty, and I’ll have more quality and uninterrupted Duck Time. It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, and the birthday of Prince Joachim of Denmark.

As for Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus), he’s still a bit under the weather with this cold/allergy or whatever it is. Posting may be lighter till I recover. But the ducks must be fed (there are still eight), even though I myself am fasting today.

Today’s Google Doodle honors Dr. Virginia Apgar, born on this day in 1909 (died 1974). If you go to the Google site (click on the screenshot), you get an animation showing the five criteria described by C|Net below—criteria that apparently saved the lives of millions of infants:

While the infant mortality rate in the US had declined, the rate of infant deaths within the first 24 hours after birth remained constant. As an obstetric anesthesiologist, Apgar was able to identify physical characteristics that could distinguish healthy newborns from those in trouble.

Apgar’s observations led to the development in 1952 of the Apgar score, a quick and convenient method for immediately evaluating how well the newborn weathered the birthing process, especially the effects of obstetric anesthesia.

To honor Apgar’s contribution to neonatology — the medical care of newborn infants — Google dedicated its Doodle Thursday to the doctor on her 109th birthday.

Generally conducted one and five minutes after birth, the test assigns a score of zero to two for each of five criteria: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration (APGAR). Scores of seven and higher are generally normal, four to six fairly low, and three and lower are generally regarded as critically low. The test helps medical personnel determine whether a newborn needs immediate medical care.

The test spread through US hospitals in the 1960s, proving a useful measurement for quickly assessing a newborn’s physical condition. The technique is still used in hospitals throughout the US.

On June 7, 1099 the First Crusade reached its goal, beginning the Siege of Jerusalem, which ended successfully on July 15, with the slaughter of thousands of Muslims and Jews (they were fighting side by side). On this day in 1654, Louis XIV was crowned the King of France. On June 7, 1892, a setback for integration in the U.S.: Homer Plessy was arrested for refusing to leave the “whites only” section of a train, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Plessy lost the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld segregated facilities under the mandate “separate but equal.” Of course, they were never equal. It took seventy years to make the right decision.  On this day in 1899, the Temperance fanatic Carrie Nation started her movement of wrecking establishments that served alcohol; in this case she ruined the inventory in a saloon in Kiowa, Kansas.  In France in 1944, the invasion of the Allies continued, and, at Ardenne Abbey, members of a Hitlerjugend SS division, crazed with hatred, shot 23 Canadian prisoners of war.  On June 7, 1946, BBC One returned to the air after a 7-year hiatus due to World War II. I was surprised to read this, for wouldn’t that station have been important in keeping up regular routines and morale during the war? On this day in 1965, in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme court forbade states from criminalizing the use of contraception by married couples. Finally, on June 7, 1982, Priscilla Presley opened Graceland to the public, excepting the bathroom where Elvis Presley died in 1977. I’ve never been; have any readers?

Notables born on June 7 include Beau Brummell (1778), Alois Hitler (1837, Adolf’s dad), Paul Gauguin (1848), Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868), Gwendolyn Brooks and Dean Martin (both 1917), Tom Jones (1940), Liam Neeson (1952), Prince (1958), Mike Pence (1959), and Iggy Azalea (1990). And another birthday from yesterday found by Grania:

Those who died on this day include Jean Harlow (1937; she was only 26), Judy Holliday (1965), Dorothy Parker (1967), E. M. Forster (1970), and Henry Miller (1980).

Meanwhille in Dobrzyn, Hili wants IN.  Note the beautiful roses around the staff’s house.

Hili: There is nobody in this room.
A: So why are you looking around so carefully?
Hili: Because I might be mistaken.
In Polish:
Hili: Nikogo nie ma w tym pokoju.
Ja: To czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Bo mogę być w błędzie.

Matthew’s cat Pepper is upset as he cannot have breakfast. He’s probably ok; he’s getting blood tests since he lost a slight amount of weight since last year.

From Grania, a surprise boat inspection. Don’t miss this video! (And can you identify the penguin?)

A Millennial starling makes cool noises:

No comment needed:

A tweet from Maajid Nawaz showing the dire actions of the British Labour Party, which is riven with anti-Semitism (click to enlarge the article):

No comment needed here, either:

A cat among ducklings; what a blessed moggie!


From Matthew, a beautiful blue bee collected by Henry Bates, who gave his name to the term “Batesian mimicry“:

Matthew and I both agree that cheese on apple pie is WRONG. Vanilla ice cream is far, far better.

The marvels of sexual selection. Look at those males fight to spread their genes!

99 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Not many people had television sets during WW II. BBC Television did indeed close its operations in 1939 and only came back on June 7, 1946, but this was simply because resources were concentrated to maintain the more important (at the time) radio broadcasts.

    1. Radio broadcasts were also used for coded messages. Usually through Radio LOndres – which also did news.

      Good story about the Verlaine poem on Radio Londres which told the French underground about D-Day.

      This line told the French to begin sabotage operations:
      Blessent mon coeur / D’une langueur / Monotone
      My heart is drowned / In the slow sound / Languorous and long.

      1. The messages were, I believe, pre-arranged signals and completely arbitrary, and hence not a code in the usual sense. However I have read the the Germans put considerable effort into trying to ‘decode’ them, which was of course predestined to fail.


      2. Great story!
        Les sanglots longs (longues?)
        Des violons d’automne…

        I’ve known the poem for eons, and even have a lovely linen tea towel inscribed with the poem, and some beautiful graphics. Somehow I didn’t know the D-day connection.

        And speaking of French poets, yesterday was either the birthday or death day of François Villon, he of “Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?”, and last night we went to the annual Griffin Poetry Prize readings in Toronto and the last poet, a guy named Damien Mancini (Canadian “First Nations”/Indian, despite the Italian name)did a riff on those very lines.

  2. “On June 7, 1946, BBC One returned to the air after a 7-year hiatus due to World War II. I was surprised to read this, for wouldn’t that station have been important in keeping up regular routines and morale during the war?”

    This was the BBC’s fledgling television service. Very few people had television receivers before the war. They were, after all, extremely expensive items of luxury electronics at that time, and most families could not afford such things.

    Most homes did have a radio set, however, and the BBC did indeed broadcast throughout the war, both to the home audience in Britain and to occupied Europe. When Charles de Gaulle spoke to the French people from his wartime HQ in London, for example, he did so on the BBC’s airwaves.

    1. I’ve read one opinion that the prewar TV service was little more than a cover for the sudden ramping up of cathode ray tube production, cathode ray tubes being an indispensable part of radar receivers.

      1. Sharp cheddar even “beddar” on apple pie😋
        I make an apple crumble with cheddar in the crumble. Divine!

  3. I thought cheese with apple pie was a New England thing. I know that adding salt (like a sharp cheddar) to sweet things enhances the flavor. And cheese is dairy just like ice cream. But no – ice cream on pie not cheese.

    My guess on the boat inspector is an adelie penguin. I think there are 15-20 varieties of penguins. I know three. It is not an emperor or rockhopper so I will go with the only other one I know.

    1. I grew up in CT eating cheddar with apple pie. Today, in Seattle, people think I’m nuts.

      You should try it if you haven’t. To me, the sharper the better.

      1. I should note though, I think in a former life I was a cat as I have almost no sweet tooth. I rarely eat sweets. The idea of putting ice cream on pie is just too much…makes my teeth ache just thinking about it.

      2. I’ve tried apple pie with cheddar cheese just to see what all the fuss was about. Just as I had imagined, it tasted like apple pie with cheddar cheese. No magic flavor melding where the sum is greater than the parts. It’s not a combination that makes any sense to me. Perhaps one has to have a certain gene to appreciate it. Some people put salt in beer but that doesn’t mean it’s good.

        1. Actually, I think the key to enjoying it is to grow up eating it. Like fish chowder, another New England dish, that makes everyone else vom but I still make it. For myself.

  4. Almost all mixing of sweet and savory is bad, in my opinion*.

    The current fad of putting salt into everything sweet (and not a little, huge hulking hunks of salt) and sugar into everything savory (Hoppin’ Hank, how does one avoid this? Gaaak!) is disgusting to me.

    No thanks, no fruit in my salad! No thanks, no hulking hunks of salt in my chocolate or ice cream.

    And no “cheddar” (block o’yellow cheese food product, most of the time in the middle US) on my apple pie.

    I also generally do not favor adding “sweet-tending” spices (e.g. nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and similar) to savory dishes, though some Asian cooking does this well (and I enjoy it).

    Get off my lawn! 🙂

    (* One of my very few exceptions is: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — but then almost all peanut butter is really quite sweet anyway.)

    1. Yes to all you said. And especially happy to see that someone else wants their damn raspberries to stay in the dessert course and out of their salad.

      1. And it’s a Yes from me too.

        I almost barf when I come on an unexpectedly sour ‘sweet’ or a sickly sweetness in a non-sweet course.


      2. The only acceptable accompaniment to fresh raspberries is (perhaps!) a little cream, whipped or plain, in my opinion.

        I like my raspberries naked! 🙂

        That said, they are great on ice cream! (Consistency and all that! …)

    2. Agree with almost everything you wrote – except about “cheddar”. It is pretty easy to get good cheese in the US – particularly cheddar. It is even easier to get bad cheese. I must note that you did qualify your comment with “most of the time.” I am more optimistic about the cheese situation. In Chicago, there is a small artisinal cheese chain –
      As well as other fine cheese retailers.

      One remarkable thing about the US is that for many products we have both the best and worst in the world. Beer is a good example. The US has the best beer in the world. Belgium is competitive with the US for great beers. Germany is hampered by its beer purity laws. But we also have the worst beer in the world – and 90% of the beer consumed falls into this category. But it is easy to get good beer – and cheese. Pastoral does mail order for those in deprived locales.

      1. Heck, these days in the US you can get very good cheeses at your typical local grocery store. Both imported and domestic.

        Of course the saddest cheese in the world is “American.” And let’s not even talk about “cheese food” things like “Kraft American Singles (Now Made With [some] Real Milk!!).

        It kills me when I see someone like Bobby Flay putting American cheese on a burger. WTF Bobby?

        1. But a processed product like American cheese melts so well. It is good for adding fat to a hot dish. One of my guilty pleasures is packaged ramen. You can do interesting things with it. Like tear up a piece of American cheese and put it in the bottom of the bowl. It melts completely and blends with the soup. I also will poach an egg in the ramen, add some scallions and it is pretty good. Until I go to Mitsuwa and get some real ramen. But sometimes you just need to slurp. Time for a trip to Mitsuwa which is having its gourmet fair starting tomorrow.

        2. While I love good cheeses, I must disagree about American cheese on a burger. American cheese (the good stuff is a bit sharp) gives a burger that unctuous, gooey flavor and texture that works best. Other cheeses can also be good on a burger, Bleu cheese for example, but not Swiss or Cheddar as these lose most of their flavor when melted. Of course, everyone’s taste differs.

      2. I am a total cheese hound.

        It is very easy to get lovely cheddar in the US. Even Culinary Circle makes a very fine sharp cheddar.

        I LOVE a good sharp, crumbly cheddar. Just not on my pie, thanks! 🙂

        On beer, I drink almost exclusively beer from: Belgium, UK, Bavaria, and Czech Republic.

        Would you name you favorite US beers?

        The only ones I really love are from Ommegang and from New Glarus (and only a couple of theirs). I find US beers either: Insipid (your basic twelve pack of whatever lagerish thing) or all EXACTLY the same over-hopped, uniform, uninteresting stuff. Same malt, same yeast, same hops, same, same, same, and dull, dull, dull. And did I mention over-hopped? Did I mention over-hopped? Balance is not a Core Value for the US Micro industry.

        My most recent beer love?: Old Speckled Hen (in nitro widget cans, the way I can find it here). Effing brilliant beer! Thanks UK! 🙂

        1. Good choices!

          But it isn’t hard to find good US beers. One of the best beers I’ve ever had was a special brew by Weyerbacher. Unfortunately it was a one time anniversary special. Pardon me while I cry.

          1. I have found it very hard. Very hard.

            I’ve followed many, many recommendations from people and I find, almost without exception: Over-hopped, boring flavor profile, same hop flavors (does anyone use anything other than Cascades hops? Or very similar ones?) And the same damned yeast flavors (generally none).

            My main gripe is: Lack of balance. Everything is waaaaaaay too hop-heavy. To me, this is analogous to coffee and wine in the USA as well.

            Coffee? Insipid “Lutheran Church Ladies fellowship hall swill? Make is darker and more bitter. That’s good. But if this is good then more, without limit MUST be even better. Gaaak!

            Wine? A little new oak makes it interesting. Heck, look at Burgundy (red and white). Look at Bordeaux! If a little is good, tons MUST be even better! 200% new oak! Whoo-hoo! Gaaak! Ripe is good. We like that! Look at good vintages in France! Ripe is good? Then 26 brix, 28 brix, 30 brix at harvest must be EVEN BETTER! Out of balance, estery, flat, low acid glop that is doctored with lots of new oak to cover the faults (and they sell it for a LOT of money! Barnum would be proud!) Gaaak!

            I would LOVE to find an American beer I can fall in love with!

            I was in at the start with this whole micro/home-brew thing. My Dad started as soon as it was legal in 1976. I did as soon as I was out of University. I’ve made a LOT of wine and beer (1000s of gallons) and I have many good friends who are professionals in both industries.

            But then I traveled extensively. Years. A lot of time in Europe drinking local wines and beers. I discovered diversity in flavor and: Balance. Came back to the USA and tasted the micros against that experience. Bummer!

    3. If you want Cheddar (not mock cheddar or pseudo cheddar or faux cheddar . . .) you will have to import it: Cheddar comes from Somerset

      1. This is Murica. If we want to call a cheese from Wisconsin cheddar – we will call it cheddar. If we want to call a sparkling wine Champagne – then it’s Champagne. If we want to call our president an orange short fingered vulgarian – well that is just accurate.

        1. I know there are people who call Budweiser or Miller Lite beer and people who call bourbon whiskey.

          I can live with that. Where would the world be, if comedians didn’t have freedom of speech.

          Just don’t complain when you come to Europe and order Champagne or Cognac or the local cheese, and get the real thing with the real price 🙂

          1. Of course! (Just like Champagne, Vouvray, Chablis, Roquefort, etc., etc.)

            The battle is lost for Cheddar in the USA: It’s the common word for any cheese that looks yellow, that isn’t “American” cheese.

            Of course I’ve had real Cheddar.

            I think the well-made USA examples of “Cheddar” stand up quite nicely.

            1. I’m sure there are some pretty good cheeses made in the USA,, but the stereotypical view from ythe UK is that Americans don’t really know what cheese is.

              It’s much the same with American beer. We all think you have no idea what real beer is. Can you imagine the shock I had when I first went to San Francisco and sampled a few of the local brews.

  5. I’ve always liked a slice of apple pie with cheese. I occasionally order it in restaurants and sometime get an odd look. I do also dislike the trend of putting sea salt in everything (brownies, ice cream, etc…).

      1. I’m sure the salt in sweets gets overdone, but I think it truly is very good when done right. The right amount of large crystal salt in a nice dark chocolate (70% range) is wunderbahr.

          1. I can sometimes enjoy chili in my chocolate. Sometimes. They are friendly flavors, I think.

            But, again, it gets over-done. And faddish. And leads to more mixing of sweet and savory.

            Tart and sweet have always been happy companions. (E.g. rhubarb on ice cream.)

            Sweet needs to balanced with either sour or bitter. All sweet, all sour, or all bitter are not nice.

            I was once buying capers. A LOT of capers (quarts). At a specialty grocer. The young woman cashier asked me: “Capers. What are capers?” “Well, they are pickled flower buds; and they taste sour, salty, and bitter. And yummy!” “Ooh, that sounds yummy!” Indeed.

            I generally strongly prefer savory to sweet. Tart to sweet. Always balance between sweet and bitter.

        1. Yes, same with chocolate.

          Milk chocolate simpering and boring? Go dark! Love it. As you note 70% is just about a bullseye! More cacao good? Then even more MUST be even better! Heck, go as high as you can and still have it form bars! 95+%! Gaaak! Heck, eat powdered cacao if that flips your switch! (I’m using “you” here as the impersonal 2nd person, not you personally.)

          Again, totally out of balance. Heck, if out of balance flips your switch, great. But don’t expect anyone else to like it.

          I can enjoy a very small amount of extra salt in my chocolate, even small chunks.

          But, like everything else, it gets pushed to stupid extremes and faddists think this is an improvement.

          For me, salt bits bigger than approx. 1mm is too much. I don’t want a big gulp of brine in my chocolate. It would also be better if they embedded it rather sticking on the outside.

          Ghiardelli makes a raspberry chocolate bar that is based on 70% dark and has embedded crushed, intensely raspberry candy shards in it. THAT is heavenly.

    1. I think my apple crumble with cheddar recipe is actually Aussie, from Gourmet magazine maybe 40 years ago. As for the bacon bits in the linked recipe, no thanks, though I do love bacon.

  6. I’ve learned through repeated experience not to scoff at any combination of salty and sweet without at least giving it a try, no matter how off-putting it sounds.

    1. Oh yes, I’ll try most anything – ONCE.

      Almost all sweet-savor mixes taste disgusting to me.

      (And I’ll put an asterisk to that statement: Most dishes have some blend of sweet and savory. For instance, the best coleslaw recipe I have has a tiny amount of sugar in it — just enough to balance the vinegar. And more or less all desserts have some small amount of salt in them. But the emphasis is on SMALL amount. The current fad to mash up any strongly contrasting flavors that pop into one’s head it just silly.)

  7. The penguin inspector is an Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae). All penguins are cute but the Adelie may be at the top of that list.

  8. I once found a very old recipe for a pear & blue cheese pie. So of course I tried making it. I think it came out well. Some people loved it, some hated it. I found it very interesting, good, but if I were hankering for a piece of pie it wouldn’t be my first choice.

      1. Pear pie with black pepper could certainly work!

        Pepper is not salty. It can bend either to sweet or to savory (we’re more used to it in savory dishes in the US).

        Black pepper isn’t all that different from other spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, etc. which are standards in sweet things.

        1. I’ll need to try that black pepper trick. An Indian friend introduced me to black pepper on fresh grapefruit. Yummy.

          1. One thing about black pepper is to not use very much at all in cooking. When you shake it on food at the table, very little of the pepper flavor meets your taste buds. On the other hand, heat during cooking extracts a lot more flavor from the same amount of pepper. A little too much and the food will be really, really spicy.

  9. [ Regressive Left model function : on ]

    The Apgar criteria promotes how we look as a basis of individual, personal judgement instead of what we think, and is responsible for discrimination and oppression. We could expect no less from the white privilege that invented it in the first place. Ask your doctor to cancel the Apgar test, and stand up for identity based on what we think, not how we look.

    [ Regressive Left model function : off ]

    Couldn’t help it.

  10. As a boy, I remember a favorite saying of my Grandmother “Apple pie without cheese, is like a kiss without a squeeze.”
    But I do prefer ice cream.

  11. I was in Memphis at new year and visited Graceland. It was okay but tbh, unless you’re a huge Elvis fan, it’s not worth going out of your way for.

    As for identifying the penguin, that was Fred.

  12. I visited Graceland in the late 1980s and found it interesting but stories the tour guide told about Elvis’ life did not always put him in the best possible light. He was clearly a deeply troubled person.

    I enjoy Elvis’ music, but am a bit more partial to Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry among the greats of that era.

    1. I visited Graceland several years ago. Best way to do it is to get the ticket that gives you access to everything–the house, cars, planes, all displays. Before going it is worth reading Peter Guralnick’s two volume biography of Elvis. It is amazing how so many people who were born after Elvis died make a pilgrimage to Graceland to idolize him.

  13. Since the subject of cheese on things came up – latest from that compendium of daffy lawsuits Lowering the Bar: Macdonalds is being sued by the usual frivolous how-much-will-they-pay-us-to-drop-the-case litigants for putting cheese on the Quarter-pounder, which purchasers can ask to be omitted, but then *not giving the purchasers a price reduction for the cost saving on the cheese.* Yes, really.

    (Myself, I’d be happy if McD’s would just omit the sauce on request. I always ask, it never works).


    1. When I was 17 I had a job at McDonalds. As I remember it back then a Quarter Pounder and a Quarter Pounder with Cheese were separate menu items and the latter cost a little more.

      As far as I’m concerned, when they stopped actually grilling their burgers they ruined their business. If you get a Big Mac these days, the cheese isn’t even melted! That is burger sacrilege as far as I’m concerned.

  14. Cheese on something is very American. And nothing is American like apple pie, right? 😉

    That said, my mother (and her father before her) used to say “An apple pie without a cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze.”

  15. I love the beatboxing starlings! I’ve longed to get a recording of their whizz, squeaks, bangs and whirrrs, but they never stick around while I run to get my camera.

    They’ve nested for years in my neighbours’ vent outside their bathroom, but now they’re very vocal and indignant that someone has installed a metal grid to keep them out! It’s crazy to hear them go sheesh!, pop, dripdrip (like a faucet)!

      1. Love fresh pineapple. Hate it on pizza.

        A good sweet/savory combo is Indonesian peanut sauce for saté.

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