Sunday: Hili dialogue

April 25, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s the Sabbath that was made for man (and woman): Sunday, April 25, 2021: National Zucchini Bread Day. I disdain any bread or pastry made with vegetables, with the exception of carrot cake, which I love—but only if it has cream cheese frosting. Why not TURNIP BREAD or BRUSSELS SPROUTS BREAD, for crying out loud? As you see, I’m peevish today.

It’s also a Two Bun Day—that is, I saw two Eastern Cottontails on my way to work this morning, which means it’s a propitious day, graced as it is with eight lucky rabbits’ feet, and still on the rabbits. There seems to be a bunny explosion in Hyde Park this year, perhaps because the pandemic kept people indoors.

It’s Anzac Day, celebrated mostly in Oz and New Zealand, but a tip of the hat to my friends there (see below); National Crayola Day (do they still have “burnt umber”); National Plumber’s Day; National Telephone Day; Parental Alienation Awareness Day; and Red Hat Society Day. Finally, it’s National DNA Day, celebrating the publication in Nature of the DNA-structure papers by Watson, Crick, Wilkins, and Franklin on this day in 1953.

Best of all, it’s World Penguin Day.

Here’s a photo of a chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) I took in Antarctica in November of 2019.  Will I get to return this winter? Fingers crossed for me!

From Matthew, also in honor of the day, we have Benedict Cumberbatch striving—and failing—to pronounce the word “penguin” (he says “pengwing” and “pengling”) on the Graham Norton Show.. And the tweet came from Matthew’s own University:

Wine of the Day:

I can’t remember when I bought this, but the advertisement for it from my customary wine store shows a price of $23.75, which is way on the low side for a Barolo. At that price, despite the hype in the ad, you can’t expect a top-notch specimen of Barolo.  And so what I got was a wine with a terrific nose, with the classic “road tar” scent of Barolo, but very little follow-through. It was quite thin and, while okay, it was just ok. The blurb says it will open up over several days, so I drank about a quarter of the bottle, vacuum-pumped it, and we’ll see if it improves this evening.

I had it with a baguette, fresh tomatoes drizzled in good Italian olive oil (which I mopped up with the bread), and my go-to favorite for good cheese, which you can buy at Costco for a great price. If you go to Costco, pick up a 2-pound brick of the two-year old Tillamook Sharp Cheddar.  You won’t be sorry! You can divide it into several hunks and freeze the ones you want later, as it freezes very well (in fact, freezing makes it more appealing, as it makes it slightly granular).

News of the Day:

A closely followed Congressional election in Louisiana, meant to fill the seat of Democrat Cedric Richmond, who left his seat to join the Biden administration as an advisor, has been filled—but not in a way Progressive Democrats wanted. “Establishment” Democrat Troy Carter won the Democratic runoff election over Karen Carter Peterson, a “progressive” Democrat (I dislike the use of “progressive” as a synonym for “far-ish left”). Both were state senators and both are African-Americans. Peterson outspent Carter, but still won 56% to 44%.  There were no Republican candidates. The district is solidly Democrat and majority black, and suggests that “progressives” can’t automatically count on the votes of African Americans as they try to “primary” other Democrats in the midterm elections.

Joe Biden has officially termed the mass killings and death marches of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, which occurred in 1915 and 1916, as a “genocide.” Historians estimate that a million or more Armenians died during this atrocity. There is simply no longer any doubt that this took place, though Turkey has denied it for a century and even at the time took steps to hide the murders. Biden’s gesture is an admirable stand for human rights, and of course endangers the U.S. relationship with our NATO ally Turkey. But Turkey’s odious President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is ruining his great country with his religiously-based autocracy, deserves no coddling. He’s declared that Biden has neither the historical nor moral authority Read the Wikipedia article to learn the sordid details. Here’s a photo labeled “The corpses of Armenians beside a road, a common sight along deportation route.”

The missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402  has been declared “sunk”, as investigators found an oil slick and debris at the site north of Bali where the ship disappeared. Fifty-three crew are likely dead, probably crushed when the sub broke up. I was heartened that the international community came together to try to save the sailors’ lives, but it appears that the rescue mission is now a recovery mission.

The New York Times has a story on the whiteness of fhe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, the organization that bestows the Oscars. Click below to read the story, which is chock-full of demographic analysis demonstrating inequity.

But how do you determine a member’s race? This footnote is at the bottom of the article:

Notes: In this story people of European, Middle Eastern and North African descent are identified as white. People of Far Eastern, Southeast Asian or Indian subcontinent origin are identified as Asian. Latino could be of any race and broadly refers to people from Latin America. People of mixed race were classified by the non-white part of their background.

This is what we’ve come to? I guess the criteria for race are malleable depending on the NYT’s ideological purpose. I thought Palestinians like Rashida Tlaib counted as a person of color, but the NYT seems to do that only when it’s ideologically convenient. And now we’re back to the “one drop” rule for nonwhites?

India set another world record for new Covid-19 infections yesterday, with more than 350,000 cases reported. This brings the three-day total to over a million people.  Yesterday, the NBC Evening News reported what we already knew: India has a dire shortage of oxygen, with special trains and flights trying to bring in a supply as people die in droves. This being India, there’s an active black market in Covid shots and the palliative Remdesivir, with prices for a single shot going for up to $1000 US—a huge amount in that country.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 571,471, an increase of 718 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now a 3,114,272, an increase of about 12,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on April 25 includes:

According to Wikipedia, the large crowd was disappointed:

The crowd, however, was dissatisfied with the guillotine. They felt it was too swift and “clinically effective” to provide proper entertainment, as compared to previous execution methods, such as hanging, death-by-sword, or breaking at the wheel. The public even called out “Bring back our wooden gallows!”

As Pinker has argued, we’ve come a long way since then.

  • 1792 – “La Marseillaise” (the French national anthem) is composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.
  • 1859 – British and French engineers break ground for the Suez Canal.

An engraving from the time:

  • 1898 – Spanish–American War: The United States declares war on Spain.
  • 1915 – World War I: The Battle of Gallipoli begins: The invasion of the Turkish Gallipoli Peninsula by British, French, Indian, Newfoundland, Australian and New Zealand troops, begins with landings at Anzac Cove and Cape Helles.

This was of course a slaughter of the Allied troops, and the entire Gallipoli campaign was a failure. Here’s the final scene from the movie “Gallipoli” (starring Mel Gibson), giving an idea what it must have been like. The soldiers going over the top knew they were doomed:

This is the entire paper:

  • 1954 – The first practical solar cell is publicly demonstrated by Bell Telephone Laboratories.
  • 1961 – Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit.
  • 2007 – Boris Yeltsin’s funeral: The first to be sanctioned by the Russian Orthodox Church for a head of state since the funeral of Emperor Alexander III in 1894.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1599 – Oliver Cromwell, English general and politician, Lord Protector of Great Britain (d. 1658)
  • 1900 – Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian-Swiss-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1958)

Here’s the colorful and irascible Pauli, supposedly the coiner of the phrase “Not even wrong“:

Wolfgang Pauli (Prof.ETH).Foto: Bettina, Zürich F.Portr.1042


  • 1908 – Edward R. Murrow, American journalist (d. 1965)
  • 1917 – Ella Fitzgerald, American singer (d. 1996)
  • 1924 – Paulo Vanzolini, Brazilian singer-songwriter and zoologist (d. 2013)

Now Vanzolini was an interesting character. He was a herpetologist but was more famous, at least in Brazil, for writing sambas, many of which became standards. I met him because he used to spend long stints at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology working with his friend (and one of my grad-school mentors) Ernest Williams, another herpetologist. Here’s Vanzolini in 2011:

  • 1932 – Meadowlark Lemon, African-American basketball player and minister (d. 2015)
  • 1940 – Al Pacino, American actor and director

Because of his signature mannerisms and unusual voice, Pacino is a common subject of celebrity impressionists. Here are ten people imitating him; I think Kevin Spacey does the best job.

Cruyff was one of the best, but was also a lifelong smoker and died at 68 of lung cancer. (I’m always amazed at how many great footballers, playing a game that requires stamina, were heavy smokers or drinkers. One of the tipplers was George Best.)

  • 1961 – Dinesh D’Souza, Indian-American journalist and author
  • 1969 – Renée Zellweger, American actress and producer

Those whose life petered out on April 25 include:

  • 1690 – David Teniers the Younger, Flemish painter and educator (b. 1610)

I couldn’t find cat paintings by David Teniers the Younger, but his brother Abraham is credit with many animal paintings featuring cats and monkeys. Here’s Abraham’s “Barbershop with monkeys and cats”:


Herriman is a cartoonist much beloved by Matthew and me, for he drew the fantastic strip Krazy Kat. Here’s a self-portrait of Herriman from 1922, showing the Kat and other characters like Offisa Pupp and Ignatz the mouse:

  • 2009 – Bea Arthur, American actress and singer (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a chat with Szaron

Do you see anything interesting out there?
Szaron: No.
Hili: Neither do I.
In Polish:
Hili: Widzisz tam coś ciekawego?
Szaron: Nie.
Hili: Ja też nie.
The mirabelle plum tree is in glorious bloom in Dobrzyn, and inspires little Kulka to go climbing:

A meme from Bruce:

From Jesus of the Day:

The cartoon below appeared on Facebook, and though I usually won’t post Far Side cartoons, as Larson has asked that people don’t do that, I couldn’t resist this one time:

Tweets from Matthew: This first one is part of a series of four, but after the first you can skip to the last one to see the link to the full story, which is here (in three parts). Do read it if you have time.

A tweet from Gethyn, also sent by Dom and several others. Not impossible, but what the hell is going on here?

A tweet from Barry, who hopes the television wasn’t damaged:

From Frank: a sheepdog herding ducklings from voice commands!

More tweets from Matthew.  This first one assumes a new meaning when you realize that the woman was wearing it, as Matthew said, “at an anti lockdown anti vaxx demo in London today” [yesterday when you read this]. She was trying to make the point that her “oppression” due to her antiscience views was equivalent to the oppression of the Jews during the war. Bad move!

Nikolai Vavilov is a sort of hero to many geneticists because he died for defying the charlatan Lysenko and standing up for how genetics really works.

I would be delighted to have a bear visit my yard!

14 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. I don’t think we ever left the “one drop” rule. It is rather ironic that those so obsessed with racial classification seem to not care or are ignorant that what they advocate differs not at all with the laws and beliefs of the southern slaveholders. Moreover, there no longer seems to be a pretense that such measures as affirmative action should be temporary until a color blind society emerges. Rather, they seem to believe that racial segregation is a good thing with “separate but equal” to be the prevailing norm. No society can live in harmony with such attitudes.

    1. One can live in harmony as long as harmony is a lie. Today people love lies and disregard the truth. Separate but equal has always been a lie.

    2. The CRT leftists are like a child who has shit their pants but won’t admit it and thinks we can’t smell it. Unfortunately, far too many are willing to hold their noses and go along with the charade, lest they be accused of having their own shit stains.

    3. From what I’ve seen the CRT has fully embraced all kinds of 19th C ideas about inherent racial characteristics that should never have been revived.

      This quote from a post-WWII book on orchestral music, sums up the basic ‘idea’ and why it’s a problem.

      “In those days a good deal was light-heartedly talked about races and racial characteristics, for it was before the time when racial myths had shown all the ugly consequences of wide-spread adoption; and it was believed that England was inhabited by ‘Saxons’ and Ireland by ‘Celts’ and that those labels designated differences as remarkable as those between dissimilar breeds of dogs. Celts, living in the smaller and less populous island, were supposed to be wistfully imaginative men; Saxons to be pedestrian, gross, materialistic.”

      Bernard Shore, Sixteen Symphonies, 1949, pg. 341

      Note the description of ‘Saxon’ characteristics, and compare that to the ideas contained in the National Museum of African American History and Culture posters discussed on the 23rd of April, where the authors inadvertantly stated an ugly racist stereotype of African Americans in their depiction of ‘Whites’ inherent cultural characteristics. And for those who need things spelled out, the consequences the author hints at is the Holocaust.

  2. That Bendywick Cumbersnatch clip is hilarious. I will never look at the word ‘penguin’ that same again.

  3. Lisette’s story is heart wrenching, but also uplifting. A brave young girl indeed. Amazing how the researcher went about finding out her story. It must have been thrilling to see the original legal documents and letters. It’s remarkable that people in the town are still careful what they say because relatives of those who betrayed Lisette and Louis still live there.

  4. If you go to Costco, pick up a 2-pound brick of the two-year old Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. You won’t be sorry!

    PCC(E) – bursting with a bit of regional pride here! I love Tillamook. I would highly recommend visiting the cheese factory on the Oregon coast in the beautiful city of, wait for it, Tillamook. While there, one can venture slightly inland to visit the amazing Tillamook Forest, which has an amazing forestry center that chronicles the history of the Tillamook Burns. This is a forest that gets 88 inches of rain a year. And even so, it’s burned down (almost entirely) five times. There is a theatre in the center that has surround sound and smell. It was replanted by citizens and what was left of the burned timber was harvested by men who became known as the Tillamook Coal Miners (due to the fact they’d come home covered in black soot). Anywho, I’m available all day to answer any PNW questions anyone has.

  5. “I would be delighted to have a bear visit my yard!”

    We get them in our yard [NW CT, about a 1/2 drive from Avon, the source of the video.] The first time you see a bear, it’s awe-inspiring: “Oh my God! a real bear!” After that, they’re just annoying: “Oh, hell. Those damn bears are back.” They love to knock over trash cans and spread your garbage all over. They’re basically larger, more destructive raccoons.

  6. Joe Biden has officially termed the mass killings and death marches of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, which occurred in 1915 and 1916, as a “genocide.”

    Good for you! Local papers argue it is an opportune moment with Turkey so problematic for so many and itself having economical problems.

    But they also go on to note that our national assembly voted to term it thusly 2010, but the government has opted not to make it official yet.

    The missing Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402 has been declared “sunk”, as investigators found an oil slick and debris at the site north of Bali where the ship disappeared.

    Have now been found in three pieces at 800 m depth by a Singaporean vessel I believe.

  7. I’m surprised Professor Ceiling Cat didn’t point out that “National Plumber’s Day” implies there’s only one of them.

    I suppose that explains why it’s so hard to pin down when the guy will show up.

  8. Thanks for the note on ANZAC Day – it is huge in Australia and NZ – we all learn a lot about it in school. The movie Gallipoli is a good one and from the days when Mel Gibson was somebody Australians could be proud of rather than barking mad. Times change. (sigh)

    I always go to Larson’s after reading WEIT. It changes every day.

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