Sunday: Hili dialogue

February 14, 2021 • 6:30 am

The dire cold continues in Chicago: this morning (and on my walk to work) it is -2° F (-19° C). There are no ducks on Botany Pond, which is frozen over and covered with snow.

Today is the Sabbath for gentile cats: Sunday, February 14, 2021. And that means it’s VALENTINE’S DAY!! There’s a Google Doodle (click on screenshot):

A lovely kitty Tik Tok video Valentine from Amy Sedaris (h/t cesar)

And a Valentine’s Day mating ritual (h/t Matthew). The grebes are bonding!

This also means that it’s National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day (no hard centers for your sweetie!) It’s also Frederick Douglas Day (he was born on this day in 1818), National Ferris Wheel Day, National Organ Donor Day, and Race Relations Day. In India there’s a substitute for Valentine’s day today: Matru Pitru Poojan Diwas, or Parents’ Worship Day. You’re supposed to extol and worship your parents, giving them garlands.   Here’s a Parents’ Worship Day video featuring a Ganesha-go-round:

Wine of the Day: Is there any wine aroma more alluring than that of a Cabernet Sauvignon? Well, yes, I’d put a good Rhone, with its black-olive notes, above it, as well as the honeyed nose of a Sauternes. But this wine, which may well have been given me by a reader (forgive me if I forgot), is the Italian equivalent of a Bordeaux from Pomerol, with  62% merlot, 23% cabernet sauvignon, 8% cabernet franc, 6% sangiovese (to give it an Italian twist) and 1% petit verdot.

I’d put it midway between a California cabernet blend (with its considerable stuffing) and a Pomerol (lacking the eucalyptus/mint aroma of a Californa cab but with elegance). I had it with one of my favorite meals, which can be prepared in five minutes: a hunk of good cheese (my recent favorite: 3-year-aged Tillamook cheddar), a crusty baguette, and ripe sliced tomatoes drenched in good Italian olive oil (excellent for dipping the odd pieces of bread). An excellent wine, like this one, should go with simple food: bread and cheese or a lamb chop.   I’ll have the rest this evenng with my biweekly T-bone, and see if it’s improved after a day in the bottle.

News of the Day:

As predicted, Trump was acquitted in a very quick impeachment trial. Though a majority of Senators (57) voted for conviction, it wasn’t enough to get the 67 votes need to heave the bum out. The Republicans who voted for conviction included Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. They will face condemnation from other Republicans and perhaps rejection at election time. Indeed, Cassidy has already been condemned by the executive committee of Louisiana’s Republican Party. Trump called the whole affair a “witch hunt”, and, as the NYT reported:

He expressed no remorse for his actions, and strongly suggested that he planned to continue to be a force in politics for a long time to come.

“In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people,” Mr. Trump said.

God help us!

Want a cat filter in your Zoom talk? The Washington Post tell you how to turn it on.

Should you get a phone protection plan like AppleCare+? Nicole Nguyen at the Wall Street Journal says “definitely not”—unless you are  “big time klutz” and drop your phone repeatedly. There’s a reason why the companies offer such plans, for they make a ton of money on them, as “incidents” are relatively few.

The Washington Post continues to report on the dumpster fire that is the New York Times. I don’t have the heart to write any more about l’affaire McNeil, but my conclusion is this: executive editor Dean Baquet has lost control of the paper, and should step down. But, given the phalanx of woke reporters, it may be hopeless. Why do I still subscribe? Because there is still some good stuff in there. But I feel like a hypocrite.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 484,074, an increase of about 3,400 deaths over yesterday’s figure We will surely exceed half a million deaths within the month. The reported world death toll stands 2,406,561, a big increase of about 10,700 deaths over yesterday’s total, or about 7.4 deaths per minute.

Stuff that happened on February 14 includes:

  • 1349 – Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remaining Jews are forcibly removed from Strasbourg.
  • 1556 – Coronation of Akbar.
  • 1779 – James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
  • 1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.

Here’s that first photo, taken by none other than Matthew Brady:

  • 1852 – Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, the first hospital in England to provide in-patient beds specifically for children, is founded in London.
  • 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.

Here’s the patent drawing, with the patent granted, as you see, on March 7:

  • 1899 – Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.
  • 1912 – Arizona is admitted as the 48th and the last contiguous U.S. state.
  • 1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago.

The murder involved gangsters, probably from Al Capone’s outfit, dressed as policemen, shooting members of the rival gang of Bugs Moran. Here’s a famous photo of the aftermath (nobody was ever convicted):

Here’s the aftermath of the bombing. Kurt Vonnegut was there (read Slaughterhouse Five):

  • 1966 – Australian currency is decimalized.
  • 1989 – Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
  • 1990 – The Voyager 1 spacecraft takes the photograph of planet Earth that later becomes famous as Pale Blue Dot.
  • 2005 – YouTube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.\

Here’s the first video ever put onto YouTube (on March 23):

Three years after the deadliest high-school shooting in America, accused shooter Nikolas Cruz still has not been tried, for the prosecution demands the death penalty though Cruz has agreed to plead guilty under the assurance that he won’t be executed. (No motive has yet been established.) Here he is in prison garb:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1483 – Babur, Moghul emperor (d. 1530)
  • 1855 – Frank Harris, Irish author and journalist (d. 1931)
  • 1882 – John Barrymore, American actor (d. 1942)
  • 1894 – Jack Benny, American actor and producer (d. 1974)

His real name was Benjamin Kubelsky, and he was, like nearly all comedians of that era, Jewish. Here’s Benny on the Ed Sullivan Show, poking fun at Ed:

  • 1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, American trade union leader (d. 1975)
  • 1934 – Florence Henderson, American actress and singer (d. 2016)
  • 1942 – Michael Bloomberg, American businessman and politician, 108th Mayor of New York City
  • 1944 – Carl Bernstein, American journalist and author
  • 1951 – Terry Gross, American radio host and producer

Those who laid down their lives on February 14 include:

  • 1779 – James Cook, English captain, cartographer, and explorer (b. 1728)
  • 1891 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820)
  • 1933 – Carl Correns, German botanist and geneticist (b. 1864)

Correns was one of the three people who, in 1900, independently discovered Mendel’s work (can you name the other two?):



  • 1943 – David Hilbert, Russian-German mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1862)
  • 1975 – P. G. Wodehouse, English novelist and playwright (b. 1881)
  • 1989 – James Bond, American ornithologist and zoologist (b. 1900)

Here’s the real James Bond, whose name Ian Fleming stole for his spy. Can you identify the birds?

  • 2011 – George Shearing, English-American pianist and composer (b. 1919)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being fat-shamed!

Andrzej: I have the impression that you exercise too little.
Hili: Speak for yourself.
In Polish:
Ja: Mam wrażenie, że się za mało ruszasz.
Hili: Mów za siebie.

And here’s Szaron looking out the window:

From Stash Krod. Oh, the temptation!

From Merilee:

From David:

From Titania; this was news to me about Rachel Dolezal’s difficulty getting employed. Since I defended her a while back, I’ve discovered she had a history of dubious activities before she resigned from the NAACP for pretending she was black.

From Barry, who notes, “This guy says he found the photo on Facebook. He doesn’t know who took it.”

Tweets from Matthew. The fish is a member of the family Uranoscopidae, or “stargazers” because their eyes are atop their heads.

Yes, Mitch “666” McConnell let people think he would vote to impeach Trump, but then didn’t. Instead, he gave a hypocritical post-vote speech decrying Trump.  Jeff Tiedrich has made fun of it.

More on the impeachment from Woody:

Yesterday’s earthquake in Japan (7.9 intensity) shows itself in the bath!:

This isn’t really a fart but a massive expelling of water. Still . . .

Eider ducks are awesome—and stalwart:

Finally, Adam Rutherford goes awry (second tweet), echoing Dan-el Padilla. I’m particularly surprised at Rutherford’s agreement, in the second tweet that scientific theory was “invented as a form of proof of white supremacy”. What the bloody hell does that mean?  “All correct”? I don’t think so.

I still don’t understand why cats do this?

53 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On the Adam Rutherford Tweets, the next two in the thread are:

    “Just to be clear, the racist and pseudoscientific foundations of anthropology, taxonomy, and biological classification were not built in parallel with European expansion and colonialism, but to serve them. Every classification of humans from Linnaeus was hierarchical.”


    “These ideas, that the foundations of science have European superiority built into them are inarguable. To oppose these arguments is to ignore facts.”

    I think he’s totally wrong (and that he has been infected by Woke ideology).

    1. Infected with woke ideology? Hell, he’s a superspreader. I used to enjoy his podcasts but now he turns my stomach.

    2. I read on FB yesterday that those saying we need to control population are promoting white supremacy and colonialism. Um ok.

    1. William Bateson was not among the three. He was the guy who popularized Mendelism in the English-speaking world after the rediscovery. Bateson was strange. Later on, around 1915, he tried to popularize the idea that evolution was predetermined, preprogrammed if you will, and that evolutionary progress unfolded when mutations removed blocks from inactive ancestral genes present in primitive forms. It was a very embarrassing proposal, and no one talks about it much.

  2. “Should you get a phone protection plan like AppleCare+? Nicole Nguyen at the Wall Street Journal says “definitely not”—unless you are “big time klutz” and drop your phone repeatedly.” – The final video in today’s post suggests that cat staff form another exception to Nguyen’s rule.

  3. The value of “protection plans” (PP) depends on much more than personal factors.

    The settings in which the product is used could change.

    The user could adopt new habits, or otherwise exhibit different behaviors.

    The PP itself or the company could change.

    And it really depends most on what the company does, and that win’t be clear until the user sees how the commitment is honored. Apple Care might be iffy, as the cost could simply be put towards a new phone.

    But if a large big ticket basic appliance that takes a pounding like a washing machine has a plan offered for five years at <10% the purchase price, and the company really pulls through, that is worthwhile, in my view. In fact, one might be able to do a soft upgrade in certain scenarios.

    1. Any insurance plan that covers an incident that wouldn’t break your bank account is not a deal worth taking, IMHO. No one offers insurance without making a profit on it and they presumably have the data on which to base that calculation.

      As to breaking your phone, I get a good hard shell for each phone I have ever owned (not Apple products) and have found they do a wonderful job of protecting the phone against drops. Obviously, it would not protect against dropping in water but there’s a good chance a wet phone can be saved.

      1. I thought I’d mention, there’s a tool store called Harbor Freight Tools whose schtick is low ticket for sort of lower quality control compared to big names. Good if you’ll beat the hell out of a tool once and move on. One thing that happens is you get in the checkout lane and they pitch a coverage plan. It is one way they are carving out dollars from quality.

        1. Yes, I believe they’re a chain though I haven’t been in one. I would still not get the insurance. It is pretty hard to tell ahead of time how much I will use a particular tool or whether it is at risk of breaking. Many tools last a lifetime. If I bet wrong and it breaks, I can probably afford another. I would probably go with a better brand that lasts longer or the heavy duty model.

        1. My Google Pixel 3A is encased in a Incipio DualPro based on a recommendation from a tech website and purchased on Amazon. It looks pretty much like the Otterbox. There are many vendors with similar products.

          1. I can report:

            Two 3GSs : Incipio silicone case wobbled after maybe 3 years. still have the case. one died a couple years ago because I literally ripped it open. one still working after replacing battery twice. Glass smashed – still works. Otherwise, completely naked.

            Two iPhone 6 : my own never used a case on purpose. Replaced batteries and screen (caused a Touch ID problem – feel free to ask about that). Most active phone (this one) taking a periodic beating – putting on table or dropping on concrete, sliding in the card, jammed in among other stuff. Screen glass held with tape for over a year now. New screen and battery are ready for install when I get the gits to do it.

            Each phone bought new in release years. No service except DIY.

            Personally, I like a phone in it’s birthday suit!

  4. Fun fact about the stargazer fish: In 1754, an eccentric English apothecary named John Hill published a dictionary of astronomy (“Urania, or a Compleat View of the Heavens”) in which he proposed several new constellations made up from hitherto “unclaimed” groups of faint stars. Among them was Uranoscopus, the stargazer fish. He also suggested Bufo the toad, Lumbricus the earthworm, and Limax the slug. Sadly, astronomers failed to adopt Hill’s new constellations.

    1. From now on I’m going to “identify” as “Limax the slug” when people who believe in astrology ask me my star sign: “Oh yes, it’s the sign that thinks astrology is stupid.”
      D.A., NYC

  5. I really enjoyed the Ed Sullivan/Jack Benny clip.
    Another great Jewish comedian of the era was Shelley Berman (1925-2017).
    I remember watching them as a kid with my parents, and enjoying how they made my mother and father laugh.
    My Dad had a Berman LP with his comedic routines, which I played for my friends sometimes when I was a teenager. We all thought he was hilarious.
    Also, notice, no smut or swearing. Just very funny and hugely entertaining.

    1. To the list of the Righteous, I must hasten to add the other 3 Republicans who also voted to impeach at the start. It’s sad to see so many of the others acting like hostages and worse.

      There are rumblings about a criminal investigation and that this is not over.

    1. Have had Apple computers, and now an iPhone and whatever protection I could get with at the time. Apple reps have always been available, always able to solve the problem, and even compassionate, as I used to get errors that were really hard to explain.

      That, and cats have an amazing ability to walk the keyboard and set off mysterious hidden keyboard shortcuts with bizarre consequences. Ones that can only be invoked by holding down four keys at once, in sequence.

    1. Me too. I spilled water on my laptop and had to have the whole screen replaced. Would have been around $800+tax without it. Also I’ve had batteries in iPhones twice replaced under Apple Care.

      1. Companies like Apple count on people only comparing the money saved when an incident occurs but you really need to add up the cost of all the insurance plans to which you didn’t make claims to see if they were worthwhile. Of course, your calculation must also reflect knowledge of klutzy individuals having access to your devices.

        1. Mine with Apple have been. I’ve more than claimed what I’ve paid. The biggest mistake I made with insurance is not buying the sudden illness (or whatever it’s called) because I would have gotten 50k just for getting cancer. The premium seemed to high for me given the low probability of me getting a serious illness at the time. Of course that was a one time offer. The premiums are much higher now that I’ve had an illness and a recurrence won’t count for the payout.

          1. “The biggest mistake I made with insurance is not buying the sudden illness (or whatever it’s called) because I would have gotten 50k just for getting cancer.”

            Sigh. If hindsight were 20/20, insurance would not exist. I hate the insurance concept of making money off something which should really be a non-profit function of society. I am a capitalist but not with respect to certain industries, insurance being one of them. Capitalism provides incentives for people to pursue their own creative ideas to the benefit of all. Where does this help with insurance?

            1. Haha. That would be weird. I already think Apple has branched out too far with some of its services so that would be the ultimate!

      2. “Also I’ve had batteries in iPhones twice replaced under Apple Care”

        Batteries are available with kits to replace them DIY style – good entry level repair.

        1. Yeah but you can’t just buy any battery. Apple had 3rd party bite them in the ass years ago so now only Apple batteries work. Sure I could find an Apple certified battery somewhere but why would I bother when Apple can replace the whole thing in a couple hours and guarentee it instead of my spending hours picking a part my phone? Also I had a case where a battery swelled up. They just replaced the whole phone. And I don’t really want to by prying a phone a part with a swollen battery.

          1. Interesting

            I only speak from 3GS (a number of replacements by now) and a couple 6. If one likes to know whats in these things I highly recommend this as an opportunity to do so and get useful results – again, 3GS or 6.

            I’d want to see if aftermarket batteries appear.

            But I’d like to ask you, in your evaluation, is Apple Care better than the upgrade program – or, how’s that factor? I think the upgrade program is more expensive.

            1. It sure what the upgrade program is but I have personally found Apple Care has paid off for me many times. Most likely this is because I get it on things I’m dragging around with me and are highly integrated. I find their service easy to access and quick. I want to be able to just go somewhere and get things fixed and that works for me. I’m technical enough to know what needs to be fixed and I just want it fixed. I don’t buy any other extended warranties with other companies.

              1. Ditto. And they are always unfailingly pleasant to everyone. Not a requirement, but being treated nicely without having to plead your case or explain why you want something to work a certain way is certainly worth the price.

              2. Yes and I’ve heard a lot of clueless people getting help there. They are always patient and not at all condescending.

          2. “I find their service easy to access and quick”


            I also like to think they have an extra sense to know when to just be cool to customers in a way that “customer service” is in general very much not.

            Example : I really wanted to keep using an old laptop, with the end-of-life OS for that machine, and they just gave me a home-made upgrade CD, with black sharpie label.

            Steve Jobs is said to have made a point of knowing which experiences – like these – would make the long-term difference in which customers stay or leave.

            1. Yeah I do like their customer service. They talk to me like I’m human too. I will tell them all the troubleshooting I’ve done and they don’t treat me like I shouldn’t be able to figure that out with my little brain (my experience with some car repair shops). I keep my computers for a long time too. I only replaced my Mac Mini (making it my file server/ entertainment server) this year because the latest OS wouldn’t run on it. It was a 2012 model. I found there was no issues with it and it kept up just as well as newer machines for what I use it for.

  6. Should you get a phone protection plan like AppleCare+? Nicole Nguyen at the Wall Street Journal says “definitely not”—unless you are “big time klutz” and drop your phone repeatedly. There’s a reason why the companies offer such plans, for they make a ton of money on them, as “incidents” are relatively few.

    That basically applies to all types of insurance, since the insurer can’t even cover costs, much less make a profit, unless, on average, people pay in more than they take out. So why have insurance at all? There are only two situations. One is where you know that the probability that you will collect is higher than what the insurer calculates, but if you already know that, then it is at least very close to fraud. The other is that if the insured case comes to pass, then it could ruin you financially. So, one does need things like health insurance, liability insurance, and so on. However, insurance against things like getting your luggage stolen, having to cancel a trip, and so on will probably cost you more than you will ever collect, so you come out better by not being insured. Booking that trip for 10,000 and think that 300 for insurance is worth it if you have to cancel? That’s not the way to look at it, but rather look at all your trips and all other things you could insure and how often you will probably collect.

  7. Ummm – in some countries they have a thing called “secret ballot”. I don’t think Americans have ever heard of it. It’s intended to ensure that members of the legislature vote according to their consciences, rather than according to their fears or personal gain.

    1. Yup, they do have secret ballots in the US too, which is how Liz Cheney kept her position in the Republican House leadership after speaking out against Trump. A secret ballot wasn’t possible in impeachment procedures, but I can’t remember the details of why not – I’m sure that a USian here can explain them, though.

      1. There’s a downside to secret ballots of course. It makes it hard to know where your politicians stand. If the impeachment vote had been secret, how would we know which politicians to campaign against next time they’re up for re-election?

  8. “Jack Benny…His real name was Benjamin Kubelsky, and he was, like nearly all comedians of that era, Jewish.”

    Radio and talking cinema seem to have played a big part in giving Jewish comedians a leg up. In the silent era the major comedians—Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Raymond Griffith, Luarel & Hardy (who of course crossed into the sound era)—were gentiles.

    But when talkies come in, so do the Marx Brothers, Eddie Cantor, George Burns, and Jack Benny. However, there were still major comedy stars who were goyim: W.C. Fields (an outright atheist), Bob Hope, Wheeler & Woolsey, and Abbott & Costello. Later on there was another wave of prominent Jewish comedians: Danny Kaye, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, and Woody Allen.

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