Sunday: Hili dialogue

June 9, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Sunday, June 9, 2019, and National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. Yech! Let me emphasize this here: rhubarb should never—NEVER—be made into pies, much less used to debase a good strawberry pie. This is objectively true.  It’s also Coral Triangle Day, highlighting this area (from Wikipedia):

Coral Triangle is a geographical term that refers to a vast ocean expense located along the equator and the confluence of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. The region covers the exclusive economic zones of six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and East Timor (the “CT6” countries). It is considered as one of the 3 mega ecological complexes on Earth, together with Congo Basin and the Amazon Rainforest.

There is a broad scientific consensus that the region represents the global the global epicenter of marine life abundance and diversity—with 76% of all known coral species, 37% of all known coral reef fish species, 53% of the world’s coral reefs, the greatest extent of mangrove forests in the world, and spawning and juvenile growth areas for the world’s largest tuna fishery.

On this day in 68 AD, Emperor Nero facing punishment by the Roman Senate, killed himself (or rather, had an aide kill him).

Many years later, on July 9, 1934, Donald Duck made his first appearance in the Disney cartoon The Wise Little Hen  (below). Donald appears at 2:04, looking distinctly less neotenous than the modern Donald.  The lesson: “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.” Donald and Peter Pig lose out! No corn for the pig or the duck!

On June 9, 1954, Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army, defended one of his lawyers against the accusations by Senator Joseph McCarthy that the lawyer was a communist. The famous rebuke by Welch, which marked the start of McCarthy’s downfall, included the words, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Here’s a video summary of that famous exchange:

Here’s that famous exchange about the lawyer Fred Fisher:

On this day in 1968, Lyndon Johnson declared a national day of mourning after the assassination of senator Robert F. Kennedy, who died after an assassination on June 6. On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won the U.S. Triple Crown, taking the Belmont Stakes by a record 31 lengths. His time, 2:24 on a 1.5 mile dirt track, is still a record. Have a look at this horse run!

Secretariat was three when he won this, and lived 16 more years.

Finally, it was on June 9, 1978, that, after a “revelation”, the Mormon Church opened its priesthood to “all worthy men,” bringing to an end its 148-year policy of excluding blacks from the lay priesthood. what a convenient revelation from God, who must have changed his mind!

Notables born on this day include Cole Porter (1891), Les Paul (1915), Jackie Mason (1931), Steve Paikin (1960), Johnny Depp (1963), and Natalie Portman (1981). I was on Paikin’s show twice, and found him a great guy and an informed interviewer (I also suspect he’s an atheist). To be self-aggrandizing, I’ll link to my second appearance.

Those who joined the Choir Invisible on June 9 include Charles Dickens (1870), Jan Tinbergen (1994, Nobel Laureate), and Adam West (2017).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili uses a big word. When I asked Malgorzata how she learned to use “heuristic”, I got this response:

She read Wikipedia’s definition of heuristic and thought it perfect for the purpose of catching mice:
heuristic, is any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method, not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect, logical, or rational, but instead sufficient for reaching an immediate goal.
A: What knowledge is necessary while catching mice?
Hili: Heuristic.
In Polish:
Ja: Jaka wiedza jest konieczna przy łapaniu myszy?
Hili: Heurystyka.

From Facebook, a lovely picture:

And Feline Rhapsody:

Look at the eyes on this fish:

A tweet from Orli. No cage can hold this determined moggie!

Tweets from Heather Hastie. One of Mr. Lumpy’s friends is a lovely fox:

A lovely ceremony for those who died on D-Day:

This is the way I feel about my ducks. Be sure to turn the sound up.

Tweets from Grania. I have to get one of these plants, but I see they’re rare and pricey, and usually must be grown from seed or from a bulb. But they’re awesome!

That face!

Tweets from Matthew.  These colonial nests are massive (read about the bird here):

Matthew says, “We’ve all been here”, and that’s true for drosophilists. My prize was the smallest fly I’ve ever seen, whom I named “Tiny”. I coddled him in a vial for his entire life.

Genuine fake news:



43 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. I actually own one of Les Paul’s favorite models called a “Recording™”. It always ends up being awkward because I say I have a Les Paul Recording, and then they say oh which one of his records do you have, and I say no a Les Paul Recording guitar, and they say oh which recording did he do with it, and I end up with a huge headache wondering if it was even worth it.

  2. I’m partial to “tart” desserts; so I quite like a low-sugar rhubarb pie. Indeed, adding strawberries to the mix would dilute the effect.

    I’ve always wanted to try a cranberry pie. (Is there such a thing?) That seems like it would be similarly tart.

    1. I agree with you. If you make a rhubarb pie at home, you can control the amount of sugar and get a nice tart effect. I think strawberry pie doesn’t work because it’s to soft a fruit to sustain any structure or firmness.

    2. Look up cranberry walnut. I have been a pie freak all my life… as a kid, NEVER had birthday cake… birthday pie. Cranberry walnut is in the top five, with apple cherry, rhubarb, and, yes mincemeat (not trade, just the apples, raisins, tomatoes).

    3. My maternal grandmother was famous for her rhubarb pie, made from the fresh rhubarb grown in her garden. I always preferred her cherry and apple, made from the fruit of the trees in her backyard, but my dad swore by the rhubarb (though I half suspected that was my old man’s way of staying in the good graces of his mother-in-law).

    4. My late, lamented, dear old mum used to make a mean rhubarb crumble. Accompanied by (Bird’s) custard, of course!

      1. Ditto with the Bird’s though my mum poured it over home made apple pie or shop bought Swiss Roll or even Arctic Roll! [gobble it down before the ice cream melts & risk the splitting headache].

        Bird’s factory, around 4 miles away, is now artsy fartsy studios for ‘creatives’ & small shops selling the up-market end of desirable stuffz such as hi-fi at small car prices: CUSTARD FACTORY

    5. A couple bags of fresh cranberries once landed in my lap, and a friend and I wondered about using them in a pie. So we made up a recipe that worked so well that we made several more.

      Use about 4:1 apples:cranberries, and add lesser amounts of figs and white raisins. I think we used cinnamon and cardamom for spice.

    6. My daughter-in-law recently made a rhubarb + green asparagus pie. It was surprizing at first, but definitively excellent.

      1. My daughter-in-law recently made a rhubarb + green asparagus pie. It was surprizing at first, but definitively excellent.

  3. There’s no finer food in the world then a well-made rhubarb pie. Of course, as with pies in general, you have to make it yourself. I have never yet tasted a decent pie in a restaurant, although I’m aware that it’s theoretically possible they exist. It’s true strawberries should never be mixed with rhubarb in pies. It destroys the flavor of the rhubarb. That’s especially true of the strawberries available in stores today, which are big, beautiful, and taste like cardboard.

    1. My mother once had a gig making pies at a small restaurant in our small town. It was a place called The Dinner Bell and it had, I think, 5 or 6 tables. She said she made the pies from scratch, exactly like she did at home. I’ve always thought the customers were pretty dammed lucky.

      1. My Mom used her fingers and maybe a couple of butter knives to mix the dough. Her crust was still amazingly light, crispy and flaky every time. If there’s anything that could make me believe in magic, that was it. I could use a fancy pastry blender, marble rolling board, all ingredients carefully cooled, and never produce a crust above the level of mediocrity. It’s funny how human taste varies. Rhubarb pie actually is my favorite dessert.

  4. Speaking of the McCarthy era, I saw a great documentary this week, The Lavender Scare, about the thousands of homosexuals purged from their government jobs by Joe McCarthy and his ilk. It’s heartbreaking and inspiring and, on occasion, riotously funny.

    1. There is a story on CBS this morning as we speak, about that very thing.

      Odd question – What would that ass McCarthy think of the bigger ass Trump?

      1. Birds of a feather, I imagine — Tail Gunner Joe and Bone Spurs Donald, picking on the weak and vulnerable. Though once McCarthy took a turn for the worse and was censured by the senate, Trump would’ve acted as though he never even heard of him.

        Hell, they had Roy Cohn in common.

        1. I just thought, McCarty was so great at finding communist and here we have Putin’s puppy.

          The piece on CBS was mostly about Frank Kameny.

          1. Putin came up in the KGB, but Russia under Putin is a far right-wing kleptocracy.

            Trump has already started in with his own brand of red-baiting, smearing as “socialist” anything proposed by any of the candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

            1. We can relabel the Russian dictator from the old KGB and give it any name we want but I do not see much difference between today and 40 years ago. Then the communist dictator simply took everything. Today he does the same only calling in a few new names like bribery and kickbacks but it is the same corruption. It is the same enemy or at least it is for some of us.

              1. Yeah, meet the new boss, same as the old boss, as Pete Townshend says. Or, as Orwell says, you can’t tell the humans from the pigs, or the pigs from the humans.

  5. I share your opinion of rhubarb, a plant best left outside. While the Belmont Stakes showed Secretariat’s greatness, the earlier two shorter races, the Kentucky and Preakness set this one up.

    1. I was wondering where this creature would fit into the finding that the size of donations to animal charities correlates with the relative eye-size of the animal in question.

      Quite a distant outlier probably.

      1. Saucer eyes can sometimes be creepy as in those Zeta Reticulans – geckos kind of pull off the saucer look, but they have a smiley mouth to go with it which helps.

        Once your tribe is labelled as “denizens of the deep” you’re pretty much snookered from a funding perspective. It doesn’t help if you ‘lurk’ or have a transparent head or have a bone sticking out of your forehead with a light on it. Such fish need a good agent & a rebranding PR machine – clownfish managed it & they even conquered Hollywood!

        I’m off to the battered fish shelter later – put a haddock out of its misery.

        1. Large eyes can do a lot of work making something cute, but they can’t compensate for huge teeth, scaley, slimey body and hideous, inky black pupils that take up the whole eyeball. A lot of the recent Xenomorph offshoots in recent Alien films have had eye sockets and eyes, but they’ve still been terrifying. It’s not like giving them big eyes turns them into Tweety Pie.

          But there really was a study that correlated donations to wildlife charities with relative eye size of the animal in question. So as a general rule it works.

          I’m also off to the battered fish shelter, in a couple of minutes as a matter of fact. I’m going for cod though, the required donations are slightly cheaper and I prefer the texture of the meat.

          I will also adopt a large chips and some coleslaw on the side.

          1. It’s halibut season here in the Western U.S. I can’t think of a better battered fish, though at $20+/lb. it’s not something I eat often. Never tried haddock though. And a pilsner to wash it all down.

    2. Micheal: Thanks for posting the MBARI video – note that the eyes pivot inside an airplane-like canopy!

      [And anyone bored with terrestrial life should bookmark MBARI]

  6. Joseph Welch was also in the movie “Anatomy of a Murder,” where he plays the judge.

    1. Great lawyer movie by Mr. Preminger — oh, hell, great movie overall. And a great score by Duke Ellington.

  7. I do lots of things that aren’t objective…I love strawberry-rhubarb pie. Can I still post here😀

  8. Thanks for posting your interview with Paiken. I’ve seen it before, but it’s always nice to get PCC(e) refresher interviews.

  9. Just so you know, Jerry. Rhubarb crumble (New Zealanders only put meat in pies.), while not being as well thought of as pavlova, is a highly regarded desert here in the shakey isles. Just smile appreciatively and accept that others will eat things that you won’t.

  10. Maybe a few stalks of rhubarb would provide that missing zest to my turnip and mangelwurzel pie.

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