Sunday: Hili dialogue

February 7, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Sunday, February 7, 2021, National Fettucini Alfredo Day. (I had it last nigh! See below.) It is of course Super Bowl Sunday, which I’ll ignore, but that also means that it’s Super Chicken Wing Day. It’s also Ballet Day, National Periodic Table Day, Man Day (celebrating “all men” a week before Valentine’s Day), Rose Day, celebrating the start of “Valentine’s Week,” and “e day“, celebrating the second most famous irrational number. Since e is a constant roughly equal to 2.71828, today’s date in American writing, 2/7, is considered close enough.

First, though, here’s my sole tribute to the Super Bowl; a cake that somebody misspelled. (h/t: Stash Krod):

Wine of the Day: For an Italian dinner! A nice Prosecco to go with fettucini alfredo, which I made last night to coincide with today’s food holiday. This is considered a nonvintage bubbly, but was clearly from the 2018 vintage, the year stamped on the cork.

I have to praise myself for pairing this with cheese-laden pasta, as the wine was a wonderful complement. The bubbly, very slightly off-dry, cut the saltiness of the cheese with its distinctly fruity aroma and taste, redolent of apples and pears. In fact, the flavor was almost like champagne laced with apple cider. I like bubbly, which goes with food better than most people think, but it’s often overpriced. This beauty was about $15, and if you can find it for around that figure, snap it up. If you look it up online, you’ll find that it’s highly rated by Those Who Know.

The other bubbly I’ve recommended before is from California: Roederer Estate Brut, which you might be able to get for around $20 if you search.

News of the Day:

According to yahoo! News, Trump, banned from Twitter, has started posting on the Christian-owned, right-wing website Gab. (h/t: Divy):

In his first post to the site since January 8, Trump put up a letter addressed to Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, who recently called on the former president to testify at his second impeachment hearing next week.

The letter, which Trump’s attorneys David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr signed, read: “We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen.”

Trump’s post:

Speaking of Tr-mp, and I hope I’ll stop soon, Biden has intimated that Trump will not receive the usual intelligence briefings that ex-Presidents get.  However, Joe backed off a bit and said he’d let intelligence experts decide the issue. Seriously, though, is there any rationale for letting this unhinged man, who has dealings overseas, have access to classified information? Biden should assure that Trump is out of the loop—forever.

Why is the Washington Post, to which I subscribe, having a “date lab,” in which two people describe their take on a date arranged on social media. The author of the latest one (no sparks between the pair) is Rich Juzwiak, described as “a senior writer at Jezebel and [who] writes Slate’s advice column ‘How to Do It’.” Why are they publishing this stuff? 

The Supreme Court, divided three ways, overturned  a California law that banned churches from holding indoor gatherings, but kept the ban on singing and chanting. That ban was a temporary one in response to the pandemic.  It’s a divided court with the usual liberal wing, a right wing, and a centrist-right wing now:

The court’s order, based on challenges by two churches, exposed stark divisions among the justices over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Three liberal justices, as they have throughout the emergency, would have approved the most aggressive interventions to stem the spread of infections. [JAC: That would be Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor]/

Three of the most conservative justices [JAC: that would be Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch] viewed the state’s regulations as infringing on religious rights and would have granted the churches all they wished, or nearly so.

Chief Justice John Roberts sought to walk a middle path, and, along with Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, voted to set aside the ban on indoor worship while leaving intact the singing restriction.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 462,037, an increase of about 2,700 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The number of new cases is now falling, but we’re still likely to exceed half a million deaths within the month. The reported world death toll stands 2,321,726 , an increase of about 11,000 deaths over yesterday’s total—about 7.6 deaths per minute.

Stuff that happened on February 7 includes:

Savonarola was hanged and burned himself in 1498, the year this painting was made by Fra. Bartolomeo:

  • 1819 – Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles leaves Singapore after just taking it over, leaving it in the hands of William Farquhar.
  • 1898 – Dreyfus affairÉmile Zola is brought to trial for libel for publishing J’Accuse…!.

Here’s the front page that brought Zola to grief. Convicted, Zola fled to England but then returned and was exonerated after Dreyfus was.

Here’s the beloved Jiminy Cricket giving Pinocchio some moral advice:

  • 1962 – The United States bans all Cuban imports and exports.
  • 1974 – Grenada gains independence from the United Kingdom.
  • 1986 – Twenty-eight years of one-family rule end in Haiti, when President Jean-Claude Duvalier flees the Caribbean nation.
  • 1992 – The Maastricht Treaty is signed, leading to the creation of the European Union.
  • 1995 – Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Yousef was sent to the U.S., tried, convicted, and sentenced to life plus 240 years.  He now resides in the ADX Florence “Supermax” prison in Colorado. Wikipedia notes, “He shares a cell block that is commonly referred to as ‘Bombers Row’ with Terry NicholsEric Rudolph, and Ted Kaczynski.”  Here’s Yousef in his prison garb:

  • 2013 – The U.S. state of Mississippi officially certifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was formally ratified by Mississippi in 1995.
  • 2014 – Scientists announce that the Happisburgh footprints in Norfolk, England, date back to more than 800,000 years ago, making them the oldest known hominid footprints outside Africa.

Here’s a short video about the footprints. They’re gone now: they were described when a new sediment layer was uncovered in May, 2013, and shortly thereafter were effaced and destroyed by the tides.

Notables born on this day include:

Fuseli was a strange man, at least judging by his paintings. He favored supernatural subjects and disliked women. A quote from Wikipedia:

The early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, whose portrait he had painted, planned a trip with him to Paris, and pursued him determinedly, but after Sophia’s intervention the Fuselis’ door was closed to her forever. Fuseli later said “I hate clever women. They are only troublesome”.

Have a look at what’s perhaps his most famous work, “The Nightmare” (1781):

Here’s Dickens with his two daughters:

National Portrait Gallery
  • 1867 – Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (d. 1957)
  • 1877 – G. H. Hardy, English mathematician and geneticist (d. 1947)
  • 1885 – Sinclair Lewis, American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1951)
  • 1904 – Ernest E. Debs, American politician (d. 2002)
  • 1958 – Matt Ridley, English journalist, author, and politician

Those who shot their wad on February 7 were few, and include these two:

  • 1999 – King Hussein of Jordan (b. 1935)
  • 2001 – Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American author and pilot (b. 1906)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is conflating philosophy with food: “I eat, therefore I am.” Due to her corpulence, she no longer gets scraps of tenderloin.

Hili: I have consciousness.
A: Consciousness of what?
Hili: Consciousness of tenderloin in the fridge.
In Polish:
Hili: Mam świadomość.
Ja: Świadomość czego?
Hili: Świadomość polędwicy w lodówce.

From Irena:

From Stash Krod:

And from Facebook, a serious fashion dilemma:

Talk about pressure! Titania posts this video of a very young girl being told she’s actually a transgender boy. Sound up. (I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the video.)

I may have put this tweet up before (h/t Woody), but if so, it is worth seeing again:

From Matthew: Planthopper pretending to be a weevil facing the other way.  Again, I may have highlighted it before, but it’s an excellent example of mimicry. In the second series of photos, the planthopper’s real head is at the inconspicuous end, while the “fake head,” complete with faux eyespots, proboscis, and antennae, evolved to attract predators to go for the wrong end.


Sand from the Sahara desert blows onto the Pyrenees snowpack:

A great photo of male and female liverworts. (Sex is binary in this species!)

I hope this little fellow will be okay. He’ll probably be bitten by more flies than will his friends:

Sound up to hear the Martian wind!

This is an amazingly screwed-up meeting; not what I would have expected from the sensible and amiable Brits. As Matthew notes, “The U.K. is obsessed with this zoom meeting of a Parish council in a suburb of Manchester. Millions of views, loads of Twitter comments.”  Matthew didn’t think I’d think it funny, but I did. Also sad.

33 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. … Biden has intimated that Trump will not receive the usual intelligence briefings that ex-Presidents get. However, Joe backed off a bit and said he’d let intelligence experts decide the issue. Seriously, though, is there any rationale for letting this unhinged man, who has dealings overseas, have access to classified information? Biden should assure that Trump is out of the loop—forever.

    I think Biden’s response should be that, sure, Trump can have the intelligence briefings — just as soon as he obtains the appropriate top-secret security clearances from the intelligence community. Let the Donald open his kimono to the requisite full-field FBI background investigation into his foreign business ties and connections. That’ll be the day.

    As for Trump appearing at his senate impeachment trial, now that would be some kind of show. You just know that at some point Trump would go full Col. Jessup and scream, “YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I ORDERED THE CODE RED!”

      1. No worries. If Trump had to apply for a security clearance, the same way any other American seeking access to classified materials must, there’s NO WAY IN THE WORLD he’d qualify — AND he’d be exposed as the extreme national security risk he’s always been.

        I got a top-secret clearance years ago when I represented a defendant in an international arms-dealing case. You have to fill out miles of paperwork, starting with every address you’ve lived at since birth, every time you’ve ever travelled overseas, and undergo a full-field background investigation. Two FBI agents get assigned to do it. As Junior Soprano said in a different context, they get so far up your ass you can taste Brylcreem. 🙂

    1. It sounded like the Biden administration’s stance on this was to require Trump to request intelligence if and when it was needed, rather than simply forwarding on intelligence briefings by default. If so, this sounds like a good play. It seems unlikely a situation will arise where Trump could justify getting intelligence on anything without drawing attention to some undoubtedly nefarious intention of his.

      I also haven’t heard anything from Trump or his supporters on this. I might have missed it but perhaps even his supporters fear the trouble he might get into if he had access to such intelligence.

    2. I think Biden’s response should be that, sure, Trump can have the intelligence briefings — just as soon as he obtains the appropriate top-secret security clearances from the intelligence community. Let the Donald open his kimono to the requisite full-field FBI background investigation into his foreign business ties and connections.


        1. To my knowledge, a sitting US president need not hold an official security clearance, but receives the nation’s most highly classified materials — so-called “code-word classified” — solely by virtue of the office he occupies.

          Trump did, however, exercise his authority to issue dozens of top-secret and code-word classified security clearances to people the intelligence community had recommended be denied them — including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has numerous shady international business ties and a sketchy relationship with Saudi Arabia’s thuggish crown prince, the infamous Mohammed bin Salman.

          1. An alternate scheme might be to provide him with tweaked security briefs that could trigger actions that would reveal that only he could have provided that information.

  2. Watched the vid about the 800k-year-old Happisburgh footprints from Norfolk, England,

    Could swear one of them left an imprint that said “Bruno Magli.”

    1. Extra points if you can pronounce Happisburgh correctly!

      Pleased Norfolk gets two mentions today 😎

      The meeting shows a British tradition for forming a committee & then arguing over procedure…

      1. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Happisburgh. The locals were amused at our pronunciation. We were informed it should be ‘Haysbreh.’

  3. I won’t say anything about the football either, except to say it will be the second in a row for Kansas City.

  4. The footprints were an exceptionally interesting find. The naming of the species is a bit of a muddle. The footprints were suggested to be from Homo antecessor, but others will think that species is really Homo heidelbergiensis.

  5. Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer of any kind (as will become obvious shortly), just a Joe six pack weighing in here … With regard to Trump’s impeachment trial and the argument being put forth that it is not constitutional to conduct it because he’s no longer in office, I would counter it by arguing that – he was clearly the sitting president when the House drafted the impeachment articles and delivered them to the Senate, and – what does the constitution say about the process of impeachment? It says that once the House delivers the articles of impeachment, the Senate shall then conduct an impeachment trial. So it is more clearly and obviously unconstitutional for the Senate not to conduct the trial than it is for them to do so.

  6. I always find your oenophile reviews amusing Prof CC(E). I wouldn’t know a cabernet from a rose if you hit me over the head with one but I still like your reviews.

    Biden’s cutting T***p out of the PDB/intel loop made my day. Not because he’ll miss it – by various accounts he didn’t read or listen to them when he was president, but it is a fitting humiliation. Thaaat’s Schadenfreude: “These big boy intel reports are only for the grown-ups, Donnie.”
    Hehehe I can sense him steaming from here.


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