Saturday: Hili dialogue

March 27, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Cat Sabbath: Saturday March 27, 2021: International Whisk(e)y Day (make mine Springbank). It’s also National Spanish Paella Day (you can’t have any since it’s cultural appropriation), World Theater Day, and Brothers’ and Sisters’ Day (the apostrophes are superfluous).

Wine of the Day:

Here we have an inexpensive but terrific Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. As I keep telling people, deep-six the Pinot Grigio and expensive chardonnays for a while, and drink some Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc. This puppy cost me $17.45, which, though above my youthful psychological price barrier (it’s risen as I age), was well worth it. I drank it with fettuccine alfredo, of a sort, and lacked any wines like Riesling or Gewurztraminer to offset the cheese with some sweetness.

It was a full-bodied wine with flavors of minerals and the classic Sauvignon Blanc grassiness, but also some grapefruit. Highly recommended if you can get it for less than twenty bucks. And do look out for good bottles of this grape.

News of the Day:

Instigated by Republicans, and perhaps by Senatorial defeats last fall, the Georgia legislature passed a new law that makes voting difficult in several ways. Outside drop-off ballot boxes are out, and for mail-in ballots you have to provide your driver’s license number. Democrats object because they think these rules make it harder for black people to vote (for instance, a smaller proportion of blacks have a government ID). It’s hard to deny such motivation given who’s pushing the bill and the timing of its passage.

Across the U.S., but especially in Idaho, state legislatures are trying to pass bills restricting the teaching of critical theory, especially Critical Race Theory. While I don’t think kids should be taught it in its most divisive and authoritarian form, neither do I think that state legislatures should set curricula. (However, I think they should ban the teaching of creationism; is that hypocritical of me?) At any rate, if you want to see a defense of teaching CRT in schools, read this column in the NYT (of course) by Michelle Goldberg.

Checking the Washington Post, I can’t find a single editorial that isn’t on the Left side of the political spectrum, or in the center. This means that the paper has gone fully woke, purging all opinion it doesn’t like. And that means that I am likely to cancel my subscription. Even though I consider myself on the Left, a paper’s duty is to present a spectrum of editorial opinions, and I like to challenge myself by reading columnists on the other side of the aisle.

Larry McMurtry, who forged good novels and screenplays from his life in rural Texas, has died at 84. His novels include Lonesome Dove (a Pulitzer winner and a great t.v. miniseries), Terms of Endearment, and The Last Picture Show, which was made into my favorite American movie. McMurtry wrote the screenplay for that movie, too, as well as the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. McMurtry died at his home in Archer City, Texas, the godforsaken outback town where The Last Picture Show was filmed (it was called “Anarene” in the movie). I made a pilgrimage to that town in 1972 because I liked the movie so much. (The book is good, but not nearly as good as the movie.)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 547,600, an increase of 1,260 deaths over yesterday’s figure.  The reported world death toll stands a 2,781,011, an increase of about 12,500 deaths over yesterday’s total. 

Stuff that happened on March 27 includes:

  • 1625 – Charles I becomes King of England, Scotland and Ireland as well as claiming the title King of France.
  • 1794 – The United States Government establishes a permanent navy and authorizes the building of six frigates.
  • 1866 – President of the United States of America Andrew Johnson vetoes the Civil Rights Act of 1866. His veto is overridden by Congress and the bill passes into law on April 9.

That act made anyone born in the U.S. a citizen and gave those of all races equal rights, but only in certain areas.

  • 1871 – The first international rugby football match, when Scotland defeats England in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.
  • 1886 – GeronimoApache warrior, surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars.

Here’s Geronimo as a U.S. prisoner in 1905, when he was about 76. He was thrown from his horse in 1909 and subsequently died of pneumonia. His last words were reportedly imparted to his nephew:

 “I should have never surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”

Mary Mallon spent the last 23 years of her life in quarantine in a hospital on North Brother Island in New York’s East River. She had sickened 53 people, of whom 3 died. This was the first known U.S. quarantine of an asymptomatic carrier. Here’s Mallon (foreground) in a hospital bed:

  • 1964 – The Good Friday earthquake, the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history at a magnitude of 9.2 strikes Southcentral Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage.
  • 1977 – Tenerife airport disaster: Two Boeing 747 airliners collide on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). Sixty-one survived on the Pan Am flight. This is the deadliest aviation accident in history.

Here’s a photo after the collision:

  • 1981 – The Solidarity movement in Poland stages a warning strike, in which at least 12 million Poles walk off their jobs for four hours.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1845 – Wilhelm Röntgen, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1923)

Here’s what’s shown by Wikipedia as “First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig’s hand”:

  • 1863 – Henry Royce, English engineer and businessman, founded Rolls-Royce Limited (d. 1933)
  • 1879 – Edward Steichen, Luxembourger-American painter and photographer (d. 1973)

Here’s a Steichen photo of Loretta Young sitting on a staircase:

  • 1886 – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, German-American architect, designed IBM Plaza and Seagram Building (d. 1969)
  • 1899 – Gloria Swanson, American actress and producer (d. 1983)
  • 1909 – Ben Webster, American saxophonist (d. 1973)

Webster is among the top five jazz saxophonists in my pantheon. Here he is in a rare live film, playing “Over the Rainbow”:

And here’s Sassy singing the same song you just heard Webster play. She died of lung cancer: too many cigarettes. I don’t understand why many great singers smoked (and died from it); another example is Nat King Cole:

  • 1942 – John Sulston, English biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2018)
  • 1963 – Quentin Tarantino, American director, producer, screenwriter and actor
  • 1969 – Mariah Carey, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Those who began singing in the Choir Invisible on March 27 include:

Gagarin was the first human sent into space, orbiting for 106 minutes, and then exiting his capsule as it plummeted to Earth, landing by parachute. (He died at 34 in a training-jet crash.) Here’s his Vostok capsule:

  • 2002 – Milton Berle, American comedian and actor (b. 1908)

Berle’s real name was Mendel Berlinger, but, being a Jew, he had to change it. I still have no theory about why Jews dominated comedy so heavily.

  • 2002 – Dudley Moore, English actor (b. 1935)
  • 2012 – Adrienne Rich, American poet, essayist and feminist (b. 1929)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili went upstairs to hunt (photo by Paulina):

Paulina: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m hunting an ostrich.
Paulina: Ostriches are huge.
Hili: I’m hunting a tiny ostrich.
In Polish:
Paulina: Co robisz?
Hili: Poluję na strusia.
Paulina: Strusie są ogromne.
Hili: Poluję na bardzo małego strusia.

Szaron gazing outside:

From Nicole:

From Bruce.

From Facebook:

More “Titania educates” (it should be called “Titania trolling”):

A tweet from Dom. With a dozen of these d*gs they could free the container ship Ever Given within a few hours. (It’s rudder has been freed and they’ve dredged around it, so the ship may be on its way this weekend.) But they don’t need the cat to dredge:

From Luana: a survey on racism:

Tweets from Matthew. The “Gessner” in the photo below is the book Historia animalium by the Swiss physician and polymath Conrad Gessner. The book was published in 1551-1558 and again in 1587. But they still couldn’t draw cats in the mid-sixteenth century. Look at that travesty of a cat portrait!

Matthew’s daughter Lauren turned 25 two days ago. Here’s part of the celebration with Ollie, whose deft claws laid my nose open a few years ago:

Darwin having a rough day:

Dispersal time for the puggles!

43 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. “When you realize how long it has been since you have gone anywhere”: very interesting! For many months since last March, my wife and I strictly quarantined at home with the exception of my trips to the food market in my car every ten or so days. Otherwise both cars were parked in the driveway. By summer, we noticed moss growing on the north side of my wife’s suv in some organic debris along the bottom of a window.

      1. Yep. Thanks. You are so right. But I think that car exercise never made it to the top of my wife’s Maslow hierarchy with isolation occupying virtually every level until she recently received her jabs. I guess i agree with her prioritizing her life over the cost, even possibly significant cost, of car repair in this unusual situation.

        1. I understand, but if you are inside a car driving around, you are fairly isolated from all the people with COVID19. The only difficulty might be when refuelling. Even then, you could use a “pay at the pump” service station to avoid human contact.

        2. Just turn the engine over then?

          My brother had the handbrake stick after being wet then not used for weeks…

          Will it be the same with electric cars? I mean engines?

      2. Indeed, the battery on my car slowly lost charge because we were not doing anything other than short trips for food, but the car alarm and other electronic parts continued to draw a small current when parked. A 20 – 30 minute run was enough to keep the battery going for a week or so, but your mileage may vary 🙂

  2. So white people think everybody’s an arsehole, including other whites. Whereas the people of other races have inflated opinions of their own race and think all whites are bastards.

    The equivocating on the thread is quite interesting. A lot of people make the point that the white statistic is fairly polarised when you split it by political affiliation: Republicans follow the pattern of the other races but they are offset by Democrats who are full of self loathing. Nobodyseems to want to drill down into the stats of the other race which is ironic because I think the assumption that all black people or Asians or Hispanics think alike and can’t be split in this way is racist.

    1. I am very proud, revengeful,
      ambitious, with more offences at my beck than I have
      thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape,
      or time to act them in.
      We are arrant knaves all – believe none of us.

  3. The crash in the Canary Islands was investigated as all airline incidents are with the pilot of the KLM plane held most responsible for the crash on the runway. Crew procedures were also at fault. Other crew member were in fear of this pilot and would not speak up in the cockpit. It was kind of like working for Trump.

    1. Actually both the fight engineer and the first officer did speak up but the captain dismissed their concerns in both instances and neither tried to follow up further.

      There were also concerns about the communications of ATC such that, after the crash, the protocols were tightened up.

      There were a lot of other contributory factors, but ultimately van Zanten tried to take off in fog on a runway that he did not know to be clear.

      Also I don’t know if it is true, but on Air Crash Investigation they claimed that KLM wanted their chief pilot to get involved in the investigation, but they couldn’t contact him. This was, of course, because he was the one who caused the collision.

  4. Has the recorder of that survey ever been white? I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize that as good data.

  5. Another meme I’ve seen going around lately: Everyone wants without argument that vaccinated people carry an ID, but it’s an outrage to suggest people do the same to vote. I have thought for some time that if the cost of getting an ID is prohibitive, then the state governments should pay for voting IDs for people on public aid who do not otherwise have a government ID. Somehow the opposite of the idea of “voter suppression” is to have no limits at all.

    1. I do think that if the government wants all voters to have ids, then they should make sure everyone has one proactively and without cost or extra hoops to jump through. Government’s responsibility to its citizens includes making it easy for them to vote. Otherwise it is not democracy. What we see in these red states is voter suppression pure and simple. It’s completely dishonest.

      We see in laws like the one just passed in GA signals to their Republican voters that it is all about voter suppression. What other purpose can be attributed to making it a crime to give food or water to someone waiting in line to vote? Not only are they doing voter suppression, they are making sure that everyone knows that’s what they’re doing. Quite a few of these politicians have been recorded telling their pals that. They’re making statements about the quality of votes, for example.

      1. Government is an emanation of the voters, not the other way around. If a voter doesn’t care enough to get an free ID, then how likely are they to actually vote?. As for the water thing, the text of the bill makes clear that the prohibition on giving food and water to people in line is against doing anything to buy votes (“money or gifts”). It specifically says that (starting on line 1824):

        This Code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer from distributing materials, as required by law, which are necessary for the purpose of instructing electors or from distributing materials prepared by the Secretary of State which are designed solely for the purpose of encouraging voter participation in the election being conducted or from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.

        You might have heard that the MSM is pretty much in the Dems’ pocket; they are still spinning these things as negatively as possible. It’s interesting that none of the stories I’ve read actually give a link to the text of the bill.

    2. In 2013, North Carolina’s Republican state legislature passed a voter ID law that tracked with surgical precision a study that disclosed precisely what kind of government identification black NC citizens were least likely to have.

      That’s the same Republican state legislature that held a special session three days before the new Democratic NC governor was sworn in, stripping the new governor of most of his powers.

      This typifies the Republican strategy across the nation for clinging to political power at all costs, despite being the numerically minority party, and despite having widely unpopular policies and candidates.

        1. If by “anyone” you mean “anyone qualified to vote,” then, yes, that is the Democratic strategy.

          If by “anyone” you mean people who are not qualified to vote, then I challenge you to provide some authority demonstrating that to be Democratic policy.

          Republicans — who’ve lost the popular vote in eight of the last nine presidential elections and who routinely receive millions fewer total votes in Senate and House elections — know that their only path for clinging to power despite their unpopularity is to keep people who are qualified to vote, but opposed to their candidates, from reaching the ballot box (which is why Republicans in 33 states have pending 165 bills seeking to restrict voter access).

          That’s no way to run the world’s self-proclaimed greatest democracy.

  6. Checking the Washington Post, I can’t find a single editorial that isn’t on the Left side of the political spectrum, or in the center.

    I dunno if you mean just today’s editorial page, but among the pundits who appear in WaPo regularly, I count at least four on the right side of the political spectrum: George Will, probably the dean of conservative columnists; Michael Gerson and Marc Thiessen, who both made their bones as speechwriters for George W. Bush; and Kathleen Parker, who fills the same sort of center-right niche as the WSJ’s Peggy Noonan.

  7. The most important detail in the Jim Crow election law passed in Georgia is
    that it allows state lawmakers to initiate takeovers of the local election boards while stripping power from the secretary of state. Gee, isn’t that exactly what Trump tried to do with the results of the Georgia election? Also what the current prosecutor in George is likely to get Trump on. Since most of the case comes directly from Trump’s mouth is should not be that hard. Either these white guys in Georgia are just really stupid or they love Trump so much they just don’t care. The ignorance it takes to vote for people like this are beyond understanding.

  8. Larry McMurtry, who forged good novels and screenplays from his life in rural Texas, has died at 84.

    McMurtry was a fellow at the Stegner writing program at Stanford in the early Sixties, at the same time as Ken Kesey (and as Kesey’s main running buddy, Ken Babbs). McMurtry and Kesey were polar opposites in many ways, but they formed a friendship, and the Pranksters made a stop at McMurtry’s home in Texas, in their psychedelic school bus, Furthur (with Neal Cassady at the helm), on their famous cross-country trip to the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

    McMurtry and Kesey remained friends until Kesey’s 2001 death.

    1. His son James is still alive, and creates devastatingly accurate narrative songs. For some snapshots of the America that evolved into Trump’s base, I’d start with:

      Choctaw Bingo,
      We Can’t Make it Here,
      Memorial Day,
      Cheney’s Toy,
      & Fireline Road.

  9. I use this type of post to identify locations (“Archer City, Texas, the godforsaken outback town”) which I can look at with Google Earth and (usually) Streetview.

    You could say that I’m just nosey, but I think it is useful to see that other parts of the world are different and wonder what it would be like to live there.

    1. Nice idea however, I’m not sure about what could be learned about living there. I have lived in several places including Texas and have found that is the best way to know — live there. Looking at photos just does not get it.

  10. Webster is among the top five jazz saxophonists in my pantheon.

    I’m a huge fan of Ben Webster’s, but you got Bird, ‘Trane, Getz, Prez, and Hawk — I don’t see how you can move one of them outta the top five to make room for Mr. Webster, great as he is.

      1. Webster, Rollins, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Desmond, and Wayne Shorter would fill out the second five in my top ten — but at that level, there are dozens of ways one could go.

  11. I still have no theory about why Jews dominated comedy so heavily.

    My theory, which is mine, is that it’s an outgrowth of the tradition of verbal dexterity and sardonic outlook developed in the shtetls and ghettos of Central and Eastern Europe. It’s the same reason there’ve been so many great Jewish comic novelists, like Bellow and Heller and Roth and I.B. Singer.

    1. This is total speculation on my part, but might it not also have something to do with the tradition of summer camps in places like the Catskills, and the entertainment there providing a training ground for Jewish comedians

      1. Certainly many of the most famous Jewish comedians of the mid-20th century got their start as tummlers at Catskill summer resorts.

  12. CRT is almost as about as pseudoscientific and scornful of evidence-based reasoning as creationism so I see no hypocrisy there

  13. Greetings Jerry,
    Have you news source that is not slanted one direction or the other? Something with a wider perspective.

  14. PCC(E), thanks for that Sarah Vaughan video. She just knocked me out at :24 on the lyrics “There’s a land” when she travels the vocal equivalent of 1000 miles in the blink of an eye, going from a fairly high note, pretty thin and bright to that deep, low note with a completely different sound. Wow, that gave me a smile and stopped me in my tracks.

    Why does she do things like that? Because she can.

  15. Wilhelm Röntgen had a brother, Edward, the black sheep of the family, who used Wilhelm’s discovery for titillation by displaying people’s undergarments for money. He became known as X-Ray Eddy, or X-Ray Ted, and hence, in later times, pornographic publications were labelled X-Rated in his honour.

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