Friday: Hili dialogue

July 9, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Friday, July 9, 2021: National Sugar Cookie Day. It’s also World Kebab Day, Fashion DayMartyrdom of the Báb (see below under 1850), National No Bra Day, and, in Australia, Constitution Day.

Wine of the Day: The Spanish red below is made from the Mencia grape, grown only on the Iberian peninsula. A bit of Googling showed that the wine was highly touted some years ago by Robert Parker, who gave it (then estimated at only ten bucks a bottle) a very favorable review and a 91 rating:

The 2008 Lagar de Robla Premium Mencia spent 18 months in American oak. It is the most complex of these Mencia offerings displaying density, opulence, and length. This pleasure-bent effort can be enjoyed now but will drink well for a decade.

I essayed it with a tomato omelet with Gouda cheese, but when I poured it out it was cloudy. That was pretty much the kiss of death, and was verified by one sip: it was very sour, largely vinegar. I dumped the bottle down the drain, mourning the fact that I’d kept the wine too long.(Since Parker probably wrote his review in 2010, it was only eleven years after that.) DO NOT BUY IT IF YOU HAPPEN TO SEE IT (unlikely).

And. . . it has not escaped my notice that if only ten more people subscribe to this website, we’ll get to 73,000 subscribers, a pleasing round number.

News of the Day:

It’s been 170 days since the Inauguration, and the Bidens still are sans chat. What gives, Joe?

Because of the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus in Japan, combined with the surprisingly slow rollout of vaccines in that country, the Olympics has banned all spectators from events in and around Tokyo. Nobody will even attend the opening and closing ceremonies save “VIP guests”. This comes after the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency. Spectators may still be allowed at some events outside Tokyo, but I don’t know which ones (I heard the marathon was exempt, but have learned that people have been asked not to watch the runners pass.)  Many doctors, in both the U.S. and Japan, warned against holding the Olympics at all, and in hindsight they were right.

If you got the Pfizer vaccine regimen like I did, be aware that the company has reported that immunity from the coronavirus appears to wane after the second injection. Pfizer is developing a booster. I always figured that, like flu vaccines, we’d need an annual booster for this one. CNN reports this:

[Pfizer] said it would seek emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for a booster dose in August after releasing more data about how well a third, booster dose of vaccine works.

“As seen in real world data released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high,” the company said in a statement emailed to CNN.


It looks as if the people involved in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse included international mercenaries. One American citizen, and perhaps two, are among the six suspects in custody, who falsely identified themselves as DEA agents during the assassination. Another group of suspects is holding out in two buildings in Port-au-Prince, where they are surrounded by police. Seven other mercenaries were killed, and the country is essentially under martial law.

Humor corner: Gun-totin’ Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, an opponent of coronavirus vaccination, has issued an enigmatic tweet, but you can be guaranteed that hidden in its cryptic words is something odious:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 605,792 an increase of 194 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,027,009, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on July 9 includes:

  • 1540 – King Henry VIII of England annuls his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.
  • 1762 – Catherine the Great becomes Empress of Russia following the coup against her husband, Peter III.

Here’s a “Portrait of Catherine II in her 50s, by Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder“. It may have been painted from life as von Lampi would have been in his twenties then:

  • 1776 – George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read out to members of the Continental Army in Manhattan, while thousands of British troops on Staten Island prepare for the Battle of Long Island.
  • 1816 – Argentina declares independence from Spain.
  • 1850 – U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies after eating raw fruit and iced milk; he is succeeded in office by Vice President Millard Fillmore.

The cause of death? Probably not the consumption of raw fruit and iced milk itself, as several cabinet members attending the July 4 festivities where the consumption occurred also became ill. Perhaps the milk was infected? Here’s Taylor as an Army officer (1843-1845) before he became President:

  • 1850 – Persian prophet Báb is executed in Tabriz, Persia.
  • 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.
  • 1877 – The inaugural Wimbledon Championships begins.

Here’s the kind of “lawn tennis racket” used in the first tournament (from Wikipedia); note that the head is tilted:


  • 1893 – Daniel Hale Williams, American heart surgeon, performs the first successful open-heart surgery in United States without anesthesia.

WITHOUT ANESTHESIA???? In fact, it’s true, though it was the first pericardial surgery performed by an African-American (another surgeon did it two years earlier). Williams was half black, and founded the first integrated hospital in America, Provident Hospital in Chicago. His heart patient survived another twenty years. Here’s Williams:

  • 1896 – William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of Gold speech advocating bimetallism at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
  • 1922 – Johnny Weissmuller swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds breaking the world swimming record and the ‘minute barrier’.

Here’s part of the race on video. Weissmuller, of course, later played Tarzan.

And here’s Weissmuller as Tarzan (with Maureen O’Hara as Jane) feeding Nazis to the piranhas in a 1943 film:

  • 1986 – The New Zealand Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act legalising homosexuality in New Zealand.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1819 – Elias Howe, American inventor, invented the sewing machine (d. 1867)
  • 1858 – Franz Boas, German-American anthropologist and linguist (d. 1942)
  • 1927 – Ed Ames, American singer and actor

Here’s Ames teaching Johnny Carson to throw a tomahawk. This is a very famous scene. Carson does a great long take, waiting for the laughter to subside, and then comes up with the hilarious comeback, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish.”

  • 1933 – Oliver Sacks, English-American neurologist, author, and academic (d. 2015)
  • 1937 – David Hockney, English painter and photographer

Here’s a nice Hockney at the Tate Gallery: “Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy” (1970). Percy is clearly the moggy:

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy 1970-1 David Hockney born 1937 Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1971
  • 1947 – O. J. Simpson, American football player and actor
  • 1956 – Tom Hanks, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1964 – Courtney Love, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress

Those who snuffed it on July 9 include:

Sadly, I couldn’t find a van Eyck with a cat in it, but here’s a very famous picture with a d*g: “The Arnolfini Portrait, oil on oak, 1434.”

  • 1797 – Edmund Burke, Irish-English philosopher, academic, and politician (b. 1729)
  • 1850 – Báb, Persian religious leader, founded Bábism (b. 1819)
  • 1856 – Amedeo Avogadro, Italian chemist and academic (b. 1776)
  • 1974 – Earl Warren, American jurist and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1891)
  • 2002 – Rod Steiger, American actor (b. 1925)

Steiger won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of a racist police chief in the movie “In the Heat of the Night” (1967). Here’s the trailer:

  • 2019 – Ross Perot, American businessman and politician (b. 1930)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is going out on the tiles:

Hili: It’s time for night hunting.
A: Good luck.
In Polish:
Hili: Pora na nocne łowy.
Ja: Powodzenia.

And a picture of a napping Szaron with the caption: “An addition from Paulina” (in Polish: “Dodatek od Pauliny”):


A good cartoon from Bruce:

A clever library sign from David:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Ken, who says, “Look who wants to put Big Brother in the classroom (the same folks who never want to pay public school teachers a living wage)”.

Tweets from Matthew, the first one of anglerfish filmed mating in the wild–a first. Males are tiny, parasitic and permanently fuse with the females. I’ve put the full video below the tweet in case you can’t see it on the Science page:

This is a lovely paper: the species has five different forms of male, each with a different reproductive strategy, and they differ only in their Y chromosomes.

This is equally amazing; be sure to see the thread:

I hope there’s a pond or stream near Leeds Castle!

What a little water drop can do. . .

Matthew says, “The cat is unhappy because it was poorly painted.”

32 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. The Weissmuller clip prompted me to look up the current world record for the 100 meter freestyle.

    men: 46.91 seconds

    women: 51.71 seconds

    If Weissmuller were alive today and identified as a woman, at 58.6 he wouldn’t even qualify.

  2. …spent 18 months in American oak
    What does he mean by American oak? English oak (one of many names for Quercus robur), I’d understand. For starts, is ‘American’ in the White or Red family?

    And annual flu shots should not be regarded as boosters, which would be another shot of the same thing. They’re re-formulated vs. the H and N components of Influenza A expected to prevail in the coming year. This was touched on in the latest TWiV that posted yesterday.

    However, based on this from the Institute Pasteur that also just posted in Nature yesterday, Pfizer may want to tweak the formulation of any third shot to include changes in the Delta variant, It occurred to me last night that this may have been anticipated since the vaccine cards we all got have two further lines on them, labelled “Other”.

  3. 1986 – The New Zealand Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act legalising homosexuality in New Zealand.

    Same year the five most conservative justices on SCOTUS upheld Georgia’s criminal statute proscribing homosexual sodomy in Bowers v. Hardwick — a decision overruled (by a 6-3 vote, with the four liberals on the Court joined by justices Kennedy and O’Connor) 17 years later in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

    Props to the Kiwis for being ahead of our curve on this one.

  4. I’m enjoying your wine reviews. The next time you’re visiting Connecticut, I have a recommendation for a fantastic French bistro with an excellent cellar for you.

  5. [Rod] Steiger won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of a racist police chief in the movie “In the Heat of the Night” (1967).

    Steiger’s most iconic film moment came in his pas de deux in the backseat of a cab with Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront:

      1. Kazan’s allegory endeavoring to justify his decision to name names as a witness before HUAC (a decision that created a lifelong rift in his collaboration and friendship with playwright Arthur Miller).

        Goes to show, great art can draw inspiration from dubious circumstances.

  6. The CDC is emphatically rejecting Pfizer’s claims, issuing a pointed statement that at this point there’s no robust evidence that boosters are needed, and noting in a barbed jab (as it were) that while they take into account information from pharmaceutical companies, their judgment is based on a much wider range of data. Pfizer stands to make way more from the boosters than it did on the original vaccine, I gather, due to the contractual price limits they agreed to during Warp Speed; that’s all past now, and the sky’s the limit on charges for any booster up the line. So as far as the urgency of a third shot in the near future is concerned, well, in Mandy Rice-Davies’ great phrasing, they would say that, eh?

  7. The price for a Lagar de Robla Mencia Premium 2018 is 6 euros in Spain. It is a cheap wine. In Spanish web sites it has positive reviews: it is considered a wine for daily consumption with a good quality/price ratio. I think you can buy it but drink it within 3-4 years.
    A Spanish region that is not very well known abroad but produces some fine wines is Murcia. They have three nice “denominaciones de origen”: Jumilla, Bullas and Yecla. If you find some the USA it is worth trying.

    1. It is true that the Jumillas can be found more easily. I suppose it has a larger production than the other two. I have drunk rarely wines from Bullas or Yecla and always in Spain; I liked them. I spent the past week in the region Murcia but since we went by plane there was no room for wine in the luggage.

  8. I believe the actress who played Jane to Weissmuller’s Tarzan was Maureen O’Sullivan, not Maureen O’Hara. Both Irish beauties, easy to confuse. 🙂

      1. Ah, you’re right. I see that now in the description of the clip on YouTube. The description, though, doesn’t identify the actress. Do you know who she is?

        1. Frances Gifford as Zandra. There was no Jane in the film due to a change in studios from MGM to RKO, and Maureen O’Sullivan was on contract to MGM..

  9. …spent 18 months in American oak
    What does he mean by American oak? English oak (one of many names for Quercus robur), I’d understand. For starts, is ‘American’ in the White or Red family?

  10. Due to the GOP and Fox News (aren’t they really the same thing?) getting into it, CRT has gone mainstream. Republicans are deadly afraid of having their kids indoctrinated and Dems are lining up to insist it isn’t happening. I get the feeling many on both sides of this debate don’t really know what they’re talking about and are just supporting their party’s line. The MSM isn’t much help as, so far, they are only reporting the controversy.

    Clearly true CRT, with its “whiteness”, bullying, and refusal to be challenged in debate, has flooded the college scene. But has it penetrated grade school teaching? Parents are worried and GOP/Fox are scaring them, but is it really happening? The MSM have reported that the parents’ claims are often filled with hearsay and overheated rhetoric but that doesn’t make them wrong. Teachers and their unions are claiming it isn’t happening, that they’re only teaching US history the way it should have been all along, but they could be hiding the truth. What’s really happening?

  11. Based on this from the Institute Pasteur that just posted in Nature yesterday, Pfizer may want to tweak the formulation of any third shot to include changes in the Delta variant, It occurred to me last night that this may have been anticipated since the vaccine cards we all got have two further lines on them, labelled “Other”.

  12. But these two weren’t dead—they were mating.

    I’ll have to remember that line for the next time a politician is caught in flagrente delicti.

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