Saturday: Hili dialogue

January 16, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s Caturday, January 16, 2021: National Hot and Spicy Food Day. I’m had some of these last night as a preprandial snack with leftover bubbly, which was just just the right libation. I discovered Trader Joe’s Jerk Style Plantain Chips while investigating what else I should look for up when i went to TJ’s to get my coffee beans (the cheapest source for good espresso beans in bulk). This site rated the plantain chips highly, and they were right. They are quite spicy, not too unhealthy, and only about two bucks per bag. You don’t need to eat many to get satisfied.

It’s also National Fig Newton Day, Prohibition Remembrance Day, celebrating (?) the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919, Book Publishers Day, and National Religious Freedom Day. Remember that Fig Newtons were invented as a digestive aid and were named not after Isaac Newton, but after the town of Newton, Massachusetts, where they were once made. I love them (the UK equivalent is the “fig roll”). But I just learned that they are now called simply “Newtons”—not because they eliminate the fig paste, which remains in one version—but because there are other kinds of Newtons now, like strawberry. At least this isn’t duplicitious, like changing “Vanilla Wafers” to “Nilla Wafers” when they removed the vanilla:

Not duplicitous
Invidious name change due to decline in quality

News of the Day:

I think everyone’s heart skipped a beat when we hard that QShaman, aka Jacob Anthony Chansley, had provide the feds with information that led them to conclude that some of the Capitol rioters were bent on immobilizing and then assassinating people in Congress. But I wondered, given the clear insanity of QShaman, how anything he said, with his marination in conspiracy theories, could be credible. It turns out that it was not. According to CNN:

Justice Department prosecutors have formally walked back their assertion in a court filing that said Capitol rioters sought to “capture and assassinate elected officials.”

A federal prosecutor in Arizona asked a magistrate judge in a hearing on Friday to strike the line in a recent court filing about defendant Jacob Anthony Chansley, a man who is alleged to have led some in the crowd in the first wave into the Capitol with a bullhorn while carrying a spear and wearing a fur headdress.

The entire line the prosecutors want to omit from their court filing is: “Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government.”

The New York Times reported that some chucklehead had written “Trump” on a manatee (an endangered species); at first it looked as if the word had been carved into the skin, but now it seems “Trump” was written in algae (or rather, by scraping off algae). Still, it’s illegal to touch one of these wonderful creatures. Trumpies, keep your hands off the damn manatees!

Some relevant tweets (h/t Matthew):

I can’t help but think, cynical as I am, that if the word written was “Biden,” people wouldn’t be so incensed. Amirite?

At last India has started inoculating its population, which is a formidable task since that involves jabs for 1.3 billion people. The first people to get their shots, on Saturday, were healthcare workers. Unfortunately, they are using two Indian-manufactured vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, that lack any clinical evidence that they work. I hope they do!  (“Puja” below is a Hindu act of worship. The doctor has had henna designs put on her hands and arms.)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 392,529, a big increase of about 4,000 deaths from yesterday’s figure, or about 2.8 deaths per minute. In about two days we’ll pass 400,000 deaths: double what the most pessimistic pundits thought we’d have. The world death toll is 2,019,857, a big increase of about 15,400 deaths over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on January 16 includes:

Here’s the cover of the first edition:

  • 1707 – The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union, paving the way for the creation of Great Britain.
  • 1786 – Virginia enacts the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.
  • 1909 – Ernest Shackleton‘s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole.

Here are three members of the team, Douglas Mawson, Alistair MacKay and Edgeworth David, at what they thought was the South Magnetic Pole, but they didn’t really find the spot (read about it here). At any rate, the spot does change its position over time.

  • 1920 – The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris, France.
  • 1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.

Here’s the bunker (foreground) in 1947 before it was razed by the Soviets. I’ve visited the site, now a grassy plot:

  • 1979 – The last Iranian Shah flees Iran with his family for good and relocates to Egypt.
  • 2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.

And, one year ago today. Let’s hope the next impeachment results in a convication, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1900 – Edith Frank, German-Dutch mother of Anne Frank (d. 1945)
  • 1902 – Eric Liddell, Scottish runner, rugby player, and missionary (d. 1945)

You’ll remember Liddell as the “muscular Christian” depicted in the film Chariots of Fire. Here’s the real Liddell winning at the British Empire versus United States of America (Relays) meet held at Stamford Bridge, London on Sat 19 July 1924:

  • 1910 – Dizzy Dean, American baseball player and sportscaster (d. 1974)
  • 1933 – Susan Sontag, American novelist, essayist, and critic (d. 2004)
  • 1948 – Ruth Reichl, American journalist and critic
  • 1974 – Kate Moss, English model and fashion designer
  • 1980 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, American actor, playwright, and composer

Those who hopped the twig on January 16 include:

  • 1794 – Edward Gibbon, English historian and politician (b. 1737)
  • 1901 – Arnold Böcklin, Swiss painter and academic (b. 1827)

Here’s Böcklin’s “Isle of the Dead” (Die Toteninsel), one of many of his paintings drawn from mythology:

  • 1936 – Albert Fish, American serial killer, rapist and cannibal (b. 1870)
  • 1942 – Carole Lombard, American actress and comedian (b. 1908).

Lombard was married to Clark Gable, and when she died in a plane crash in 1942 at only 33, Gable was inconsolable. He soon joined the Air Force, something that Lombard had repeatedly asked him to do. .

(From Wikipedia): Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and Mrs. Elizabeth Peters, mother of Carole Lombard (1939)

You remember Wyeth’s famous painting “Christina’s World,” right? Well, here’s “Christina’s Bedroom” (1947), painted a year earlier, and it has a cat in it:

  • 2017 – Eugene Cernan, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1934)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili still dislikes Szaron (the only animals she’s ever gotten along with are d*gs):

A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I’m waiting for Szaron so I can jump on him.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Czekam na Szarona, żeby na niego skoczyć.

And we have a picture of adorable Kulka in the snow:

Caption: “And a picture of Kulka (of course, taken by Paulina).”

In Polish: I jeszcze zdjęcie Kulki (oczywiście zrobione przez Paulinę)

From Facebook:

From Su:

From Jesus of the Day. How many of us get our dreams fulfilled so easily?

Titania’s busy erasing Trump:

From Barry: a puppy seeks a down comforter:

Tweets from Matthew. It’s a long video (6.5 minutes), and the cats are a handful, but they’ve given meaning to the staff’s life.

Loons are EVERYWHERE. Listen to this one!

Cat: “I approve of this post.”

I asked my friend Andrew, who spends a lot of time in Turkey, what this crazy housing development was about. Here’s his response:

I think it was an attempt by a Turkish developer to bring in Arab money.  Someone had presumably come to conclusion that the route to the Arab soul (well, wallet) is via fake mini Disney castles.  Seems a good idea to me.  But I seem to recall that the whole thing has been a bit of a disaster economically; either the market research on Arab preferences wasn’t entirely sound or other economic factors intervened.

A great correction!

Oy! The digger on the Mars rover is having trouble getting soil samples. They’ll miss all that life! (not)


43 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Re: the manatee. Perhaps whoever wrote “Trump” on it was making a comment about its physical resemblance to 45?

    1. On BBC Radio 4’s comedy programme The News Quiz they thought that finally someone had found a vote for Trump that hadn’t been counted…!

    1. In answer to the question, “if the word written was “Biden,” people wouldn’t be so incensed.” NO. They’d catch holy hell for it.

      1. Biden voters would also be less likely to do such a thing in the first place.

        Those on the left who like defacing and smashing up things usually despise Biden.

  2. Unfortunately, they are using two Indian-manufactured vaccines, Covashield and Covashield, that lack any clinical evidence that they work. I hope they do!

    I may be wrong, but I understood that “Covishield” is the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India by the Serum Institute, and given a local name.

  3. I can’t help but think, cynical as I am, that if the word written was “Biden,” people wouldn’t be so incensed. Amirite?

    I’d have exactly the same reaction if it was “Biden” but tinged with a soupçon of “aren’t Biden supporters better than that?”

    In reality, of course, we know that Biden supporters just wouldn’t do that. If the word “Biden” appeared on the back of a manatee, I’d be more inclined to believe it was a false flag operation by Trump supporters. Remember, only one president’s supporters have ever stormed the Capitol and tried to overthrow democracy.

    ETA: I’d be quite happy for Trump to be erased from Home Alone 2. A small cut of 120 minutes should be enough to right that particular wrong.

  4. >>The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union, paving the way for the creation of Great Britain.

    Er, no. The geographical entity called Great Britain has always been there – well, since the island separated from continental Europe. What happened in 1707 was the creation of the political entity called the United Kingdom – soon likely to be dis-united.

  5. Expect to see the walk-back of ” immobilizing and then assassinating people in Congress” itself walked back in the coming week (re-walked?). Apparently this “retraction” was not by the prosecutors involved but by a Washington DC tRumpian political appointment looking to soften the consequences of the insurgency.

    1. Yes. It remains to be seen how organized this was, but there is little doubt that some of the wannabe insurrectionists had capture and murder on their minds.

    2. I’m sure the investigation will find that there were lots of groups with specific plans and lots with very vague ideas of what they were doing there at the Capitol. We’re also waiting to hear if some of the GOP politicians took a more active role than just encouragement; tours of the building the day before, possibly. Finally, it cracks me up that at least two of those arrested have claimed that Trump told them to do it and have requested he pardon them.

  6. I don’t think the NASA Tweet shows the Insight Lander (it doesn’t move) trying to collect soil samples. It’s trying to help a temperature sensor called the “Mole,” bury itself sixteen feet deep into the planet. After a year of trying NASA has given up. The heat probe wasn’t able to gain the friction it needs to dig because of the soil characteristics at the Insight Lander’s location.

    The Mole is basically a tube about 16 inches long and an inch in diameter. It has a pointy tip and an internal hammer that works like a kind of pile driver to pound the instrument into the ground.”

    1. Indeed (it’s a lander not a rover and it’s not collecting soil samples). It’s a real pity they couldn’t measure Mars’ heat flow – that would have been a very valuable data set for determining what Mars is like inside. It’s not like they didn’t try. And, I am glad (if one can call it that) it’s not the instrument that didn’t work, it’s that Mars didn’t cooperate. It reminds one that space exploration can look easy but it isn’t.

      Perseverance, the next Mars rover, will arrive in February and will do sampling.

  7. Fig Newtons were never made in Newton. They were originally made in Boston, by the Kennedy Biscuit Co., which often named its products after local places. Among its other biscuit brands were Harvard and Beacon Hill.

    1. They were certainly in evidence on that infamous day of the sacking of the Capitol – “Jerk-style Plantation Chips Off the Old Blockhead”!

      (I could eat some of those plantain chips meself! A couple months ago I ordered a variety case of banana chips which I had to return. I couldn’t get past the powdery, sweetish, fruity coating on each chip. Inedible IMO, though they were touted as healthy; brand name was Oh! Naturals Banana Chips.)

  8. “I can’t help but think, cynical as I am, that if the word written was “Biden,” people wouldn’t be so incensed. Amirite?”

    I suspect you’re right, Jerry, but only in the same way that people might be less incensed if someone wrote “George Washington” than if someone wrote “Benedict Arnold.”

    1. In the highly unlikely event of BIDEN on a manatee, it wouldn’t have been in 64pt font.

      Surprised that TR*MP didn’t appear on both sides, tho, given how his faithful festoon their yards with his signage.

  9. “1909 – Ernest Shackleton‘s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole.
    Here are three members of the team, Douglas Mawson, Alistair MacKay and Edgeworth David,…”

    Along with Amundsen and Shackleton, the Aussie Mawson is to me one of the big heroes of Antarctic exploration from the classic period of 150 to 100 years ago. Along with Shackleton, also Mawson’s biggest feat was later, simply surviving and making his way back, both companions having died, on the smaller sub-expedition of the much larger Australian expedition he led there a few years later. It was to the area ‘just to the right’ of the usual picture of the Ross Ice Shelf, where Scott (twice), Shackleton as leader, and Amundsen had all gone for the Pole, so just west I guess. Mawson ended up having a long illustrious career as a geologist/geophysicist, in Adelaide I think, till sometime around 1960.

    He had fallen maybe 20 feet a few times into crevasses, saved by a rope to the sled, and dragged himself out, all alone over many days, while starving, in 60 degrees of freezing and 150 k.p.h. winds, no real tent. That area just gradually slopes upwards all the ~1,000 km. to the Pole at about 10,000 foot altitude, and seems to be reputed to have the worst conditions in all of the world for winter, except for maybe a few 25,000 foot peaks with very low oxygen in the Himalayas.

  10. The video of the game score ‘prophecy’…smh. The higher score doesn’t ‘usually come first’; the home team always comes last. The was played in FL, so AL was considered the home team. This guy is either a bigger idiot than he appears to be, or is being intentionally disingenuous to get a little bandwidth.

  11. My favorite correction of all time was in the University of Wisconsin, Madison, student newspaper, and it concerned Wesley Clark, the retired U.S. Army general and onetime Democratic presidential hopeful. (This is from memory).

    An article reported incorrectly that Gen. Wesley Clark is a “rogue scholar.” He is, in fact, a Rhodes scholar.


    1. I see a lot of mistakes like this in podcast transcripts that are made cheaply using software voice recognition. Unlike with typos, the substitution is always a real word, making for some funny sentences. It’s interesting that one can almost always figure out what they really said, as with the Wesley Clark one. What’s a “rogue scholar” anyway?

    1. He seems a very unusual, very creative ‘jack-of-all-science-trades’, with a deep early career in pure (a 4-letter word!) mathematics, then many later discoveries, mostly related to genomics I think, a professor of biology. Sounds like you couldn’t do better.

  12. The identical “French” chateaux are a few miles north of Ankara and were indeed built in the hope of Gulf money being invested. The whole project was a financial disaster and caused a hilarious hubub in the architecture world. There is some drone footage of them on youtube – amazing.

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