Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

August 24, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Tuesday, August 24, 2021: National Peach Pie Day, and now’s the season to eat one. It’s also National Waffle Day, Shooting Star Day, Can Opener Day, National Knife Day, International Strange Music Day, and International Day Against Intolerance, Discrimination, and Violence Based on Musical Preferences, Lifestyle, and Dress Code. The latter deserves some explanation:

On August 24, 2007, Sophie Lancaster died after previously being beaten in Rossendale, Lancashire, in England. Along with her boyfriend Rob, she had been beaten simply because of the way she looked, having been part of the “goth” subculture. Her mother Sylvia did not want her death to be in vain, and wanted to help young people understand that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, no matter what they look like or what type of music they listen to. She created the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The foundation has worked with young people in schools, and has also enlightened adults with training about hate crime awareness, victim impact, equality, diversity, and inclusion.

See more about Sophie Lancaster here. A photo:

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot to play) is a repeaat of the animated interactive game series, “The Champion Island Games,” originally celebrating the Olympics but now the Paralympics, which begin today in Tokyo and extend through September 5:

Wine of the day: I don’t often drink Chianti, but when i do it’s a Chianti Classico (look for the black rooster on the label) from Monsanto. This one is oldish—12 years, to be precise, but a good Chianti can age well, and the experts say this one’s not over the hill. Let us see: we shall essay it with chicken breast, rice (with a bit of hoisin sauce for flavor) and green beans.

. . . the “opulent fruit” has faded a bit, but the richness and elegance, as well as a dark garnet color, remain in this wine It is nowhere near over the hill, and it on the gutsy rather than “delicate” side of Chianti Classico. I probably paid about $20 for it, and at that price it’s a bargain. I’d say that now is about the apogee for this wine, but I’d like to try it in three or four more years. (Sadly, this is my only bottle.)

Look for the black rooster to be sure it’s Chianti Classico:

News of the Day:

There’s more trouble in the offing in Afghanistan. Biden’s pull-out date of August 31, which looks increasingly untenable (Uncle Joe is waffling, too), is being taken by the Taliban as a hard date—a “red line”. A spokesthug for the Muslimofascists have said that attempts to take people out after that date will “provoke a reaction.” Well, we’ll see in seven days, because there’s no way we’re getting this thing done by the end of August. I read in the news this morning that Biden asked for an extended deadline, but the Taliban rejected it.

In the meantime, the U.S. is going to great lengths to retrieve its citizens. The AP reports that the U.S. military rounded up 16 Americans at a location two hours away from Kabul.

The officials, who commented only on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations, said the rescue missions that go beyond the walls of the Kabul airport require the approval of a four-star officer and are handled on a case-by-case basis.

The Taliban aren’t going to like this. I smell trouble.

And this NYT headline reports more dispiriting news (click on screenshot):

The Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 (technically, the “Pfizer-BioNTech” vaccine”) has finally been given full approval by the FDA. This means two things. First, it’s now legal to require people to get the vaccine, and they can’t beef about it. As the NYT reports:

The decision will set off a cascade of vaccine requirements by hospitals, colleges, corporations and other organizations. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III will be sending guidelines to the country’s 1.4 million active duty service members mandating that they be vaccinated, the Pentagon announced on Monday.

United Airlines recently announced that its employees will be required to show proof of vaccination within five weeks of regulatory approval.

Oregon has adopted a similar requirement for all state workers, as have a host of universities in states from Louisiana to Minnesota. In New York, the F.D.A.’s approval also brought into force a requirement announced in May that all students attending in-person classes at State University of New York and City University of New York schools be vaccinated.

House Democrats are tied up in knots about which of the two big spending bills to pass first: the $1 trillion infrastructure bill or Biden’s $3.5 trillion “budget blueprint” bill. Pelosi and the “progressives” want the budget bill to go first, while 9 centrist Democrats aren’t having it, and want infrastructure first. This could mean trouble. . .   Fortunately, I’m too dumb to understand this fracas, which means I don’t have to investigate it.

Second, those who continue to beef can’t say they are guinea pigs in an experimental drug trial. The experiment is over. Those who beefed were the controls, and the results were clear—as they are with the new data.

But there’s good news tonight! After brushfires devastated Kangaroo Island off Australia in 2019 and 2020, conservationists managed to locate a Tasmanian pygmy possum, a rare mammal in normal times and thought to have become extinct after the fires. But they’re still there! Look at these things!  (h/t Malcolm)

The Catholic News Agency reports a huge screw-up: At the funeral of the young Chicago police officer Ella French, killed during a traffic stop (she also had a young child), a police chaplain mistakenly gave communion to our mayor Lori Lightfoot. But Lightfoot isn’t a Catholic: she belongs to a Methodist church. No biggie, right? Well, apparently it is:

Fr. Brandt added that he is deeply apologetic toward those who were offended by the mayor receiving Communion.

“I apologize for any scandal that my absentmindedness may have caused. It was certainly not intentional and wish I had my wits about me. Or better yet I wish the Cardinal had just given out Communion because I was planning on going back and sitting for the next portion of the Mass and procession,” he said.

“I can’t apologize enough for anyone who’s upset by the fact that she received the Eucharist. That is totally on me and I own it,” he said. “And it was an honest mistake and I pray that your readers have the same mercy that I hope the Lord gives me.”

Catholic canon law permits non-Catholic Christians to receive Communion only in limited circumstances and in the case of a “grave necessity.” Neither the archdiocese nor the mayor’s office responded to multiple inquiries from CNA seeking comment Friday.

I suspect the Lord will not look kindly on this transgression. (h/t GInger K)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 629,644, an increase of 1,057 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,455,250, an increase of about 9,500 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on August 24 includes:

Remarkable body casts showing the positions in which people died (more here):

  • 1215 – Pope Innocent III issues a bull declaring Magna Carta invalid.
  • 1349 – Six thousand Jews are killed in Mainz after being blamed for the bubonic plague.

A drawing of some of the murders of Jews (caption from Wikipedia):

Representation of a massacre of the Jews in 1349 Antiquitates Flandriae (Royal Library of Belgium manuscript 1376/77)
  • 1690 – Job Charnock of the East India Company establishes a factory in Calcutta, an event formerly considered the founding of the city (in 2003 the Calcutta High Court ruled that the city’s foundation date is unknown).
  • 1814 – British troops invade Washington, D.C. and during the Burning of Washington the White House, the Capitol and many other buildings are set ablaze.
  • 1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey).

Here’s a very short video of Earhart’s accomplishments (I can’t find a video of her coast-to-coast flight):

Here’s Hitler’s letter that began the euthanasia program two years earlier. The English translation is from Wikipedia: “Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. Brandt are entrusted with the responsibility of extending the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, so that patients who, after a most critical diagnosis, on the basis of human judgment [menschlichem Ermessen], are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death [Gnadentod]. — A. Hitler”

The mentally ill were also considered “incurables.”

  • 1967 – Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupts trading at the New York Stock Exchange by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.

A video about Hoffman’s stunt, which I remember well.

  • 1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.
  • 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
  • 2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.

This decision is planetary ableism. Pluto is a planet, and if you must describe it you can call it a “differently abled planet” or a “size challenged planet.”

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1872 – Max Beerbohm, English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist (d. 1956)
  • 1947 – Anne Archer, American actress and producer
  • 1960 – Cal Ripken, Jr., American baseball player and coach

I had the honor of watching this great shortstop play (we lived in the D.C. area and my dad took me to Baltimore to see a game. His most famous feat: “Ripken holds the record for consecutive games played, 2,632, surpassing Lou Gehrig‘s streak of 2,130 that had stood for 56 years and that many deemed unbreakable.”

Here’s Ripken breaking the record. Remember, a baseball season was 154 games, so he played the equivalent of 17 full seasons without missing a game.

Matlin is not only the sole deaf person to win a Best Actress Oscar, but also the youngest, being 21.5 years old. The movie? Children of a Lesser God. Here’s a scene from the movie, in which she pursues a difficult romance with William Hurt:

Those who became a fatality on August 24 include:

The King not only pardoned Col. Blood for his crime (he and his accomplices were caught in the act), but gave him a piece of land in Ireland.

  • 2014 – Richard Attenborough, English actor, director, producer, and politician (b. 1923)
  • 2020 – Gail Sheehy, American author, journalist, and lecturer (b.1936) 

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is getting increasingly peevish. And no wonder!

Hili: I see absurdity.
A: Where?
Hili: Everywhere I look.
In Polish:
Hili: Widzę absurdy.
Ja: Gdzie?
Hili: Gdzie nie spojrzę.

Mietek, on holiday in the mountains, has a soliloquy. (How he’s grown!)

Mietek: To run or to lie down; that is the question.

In Polish: iegać czy leżeć? Oto jest pytanie.

From Scott Metzger Cartoons:

From Facebook via Richard, who says “Best paper title ever.” Well, it’s a contender. . .

From Facebook, the consequences of an unclear antecedent:

Masih interviews another Afghan woman, who breaks down two minutes in and says she’s having suicidal ideation.

From Titania. The Brits are good at trying to end hate with cute but useless gestures like this:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. One thing I noted when I visited the camp was how short people stayed their after arrival before they died. It wasn’t on the day of arrival, but often a few weeks later:

This is an interesting (and disturbing!) citation pattern sent by Luana. Her theory, which is hers,

I suspect this is because the ones that do not replicate are far fetched and interesting.

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. This incredibly cute agouti is burying a banana and then covering the cached fruit with a leaf to hide it even better:

Awww. . . the poor babies don’t want to cross the water:

Silly pelican! This is the Tweet of the Week:

And speaking of capybaras (the world’s largest rodent), why is this invasion considered a bad thing??


32 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. I suspect even the congress cannot explain what they are doing most of the time. We just wait for the results and expect very little.

    In other news it is still hot. 101 F/38 C yesterday. Today 101 and tomorrow 102. And this is one of the cooler places in Kansas.

    1. Yes, I do not understand that, passing the one trillion ‘bipartisan’ infrastructure bill in the Senate with 69 votes is a great victory for the Democrats and Biden. Just cash in on that.
      Of course, Pelosi is a wily old fox, and I suppose she knows what she’s doing, but understanding it I do not..

    2. I live 50 miles from the Tropic of Capricorn, and temps will range from 35C – 38C in the region today. The unusual thing is that we still have another month of winter. Last year in early October, the beginning of spring, it got up to 38C-39C. High temps are usually in the low 20’s C this time of year.

      About the agouti, this rodent like squirrels, and different from the capybara, feeds largely on seeds and, when it is satiated, hides them away for later eating when satiated.

  2. Since Cal Jr and I are the same age (7 days difference) I thought your statement on the number of games per seeason is off, and I double checked. He played in 162 game seasons, and his streak was for 16 years and change ratherthan 17. He started his streak in May, 1982 and it went fro September 1998. The baseball season went to 162 games in 1961, and this is a reason that Roger Maris’ 61 home runs was controversia since he played a longer season than Babe Ruth.

    The Orioles could use Ripken these days, for sure.

  3. … a police chaplain mistakenly gave communion to our mayor Lori Lightfoot. But Lightfoot isn’t a Catholic: she belongs to a Methodist church.

    Lori Lightfoot converts to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, that First Confession of hers should be a doozy.

    She’ll be praying rosaries from now till the end of mayoralty as penance.

  4. Cal Ripken, Jr. played his entire career under the 162 game season, not 154.

    In 1953 the first franchise shift in 50 years took place when the Boston NL club moved to Milwaukee. Other shifts followed, calling for a major realignment of teams. Expansion brought about the 10-team, 162-game schedule (18 games between opponents) with the American League expanding in 1961 and the NL following suit in 1962. The year 1961 marked the only year when the two major loops played schedules of unequal length and also the only year they had a different number of teams.


  5. Strange circumstances provided me with a pet Coati Mundi while living in NYC circa 1965. Walked it on the streets in the west 100 st. area daily. Unfortunately it got out of it’s night time cage early one morning to chase a cat and literally ran over the sleeping body of a buddy who, startled, sat up to get a chest full of claws. The required medical attention then insisted that the coati be put down. Sad day that.

  6. 1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey).

    The insomnia was on me the other night, and I wound up watching, in the early morning hours, a documentary about Gore Vidal. I was pretty well familiar with the general outlines of Vidal’s life and times and writing, including his mother’s remarriage into the Auchincloss family fortune (making Vidal kin by marriage to the Bouvier sisters, Jacqueline and Lee ). One thing I didn’t know is that his father, Eugene Vidal, was an aviation pioneer who designed and built a series of small airplanes meant to be as affordable as automobiles (one of which he taught Gore to fly at 10 years of age). As a result of this aviation connection the elder Vidal met and had a long-term affair with Amelia Earhart.

    Small world, I suppose, especially for society folk.

  7. This decision is planetary ableism. Pluto is a planet, and if you must describe it you can call it a “differently abled planet” or a “size challenged planet.”

    There you go privileging Pluto over all those other planetoids (I almost said “dwarf planets”) in the Kuiper belt.

  8. Self-replication in Nature papers is quite a discovery. Will put mine in a pile and see if more appear by tomorrow.

    1. I’m not sure if it is an important factor, but are citations of the papers that are often replicated not a bit ‘diluted’? I mean, are the citations not shared between the different replications? Unless one does a meta-study, you cannot cite all the papers involved in the subject. Moreover, many authors do not like to cite old papers. Papers that are not replicated, on the other hand, remain the only source and all citations must necessarily cite them.

  9. “Ripken holds the record for consecutive games played, 2,632, surpassing Lou Gehrig‘s streak of 2,130 that had stood for 56 years and that many deemed unbreakable.”

    During that streak, Ripken also set a major-league record for playing in 8,243 consecutive innings. Plus, shortstop is a much more demanding position to play than first base. You have to be able to throw, for one thing, and to cover a lot more ground in the field, and to take all those hard slides by baserunners trying to break up a double play. That’s why you’ll sometimes see an aging shortstop who’s lost a step moved to first base (as happened with the Cubs’ great hall-of-famer Ernie Banks), but you never see an aging first baseman moved to shortstop.

    1. Amarone, albeit generally outstanding wines are very much overpriced here. Easily the equivalent of 60 U$. For half that price I can buy some great wines.
      I note that there are not many wines -so common in my youth- that are positively undrinkable. One can, surprisingly, easily find very pleasant wines in the range of 3 to 5 U$ here.

  10. I guess the question on vaccine mandates is, Get the shot, or else what? Lose your job? Lose the ability to enter a grocery store? Lose the ability to go outside? As Mises observed, Behind all government action is the threat of violence. Australia is looking pretty bleak right now. Is the incidence of severe illness and death due to Covid worth the problems that mandates cause? Some people give the impression that having a mandate (regardless of what it is for) is the goal. (And, yes, I’ve gotten my shots.) Both the Right and the Left have their dreams of social control. I am sure that a lot of people will say that it’s not a big ask, or that it’s for the greater good. I don’t want to find myself saying that when they came for the unvaccinated, I didn’t saying anything because I’d gotten the vaccine. There are other things of importance, even during a pandemic, and at the end of the day, Covid isn’t going to away, so the trade-off is not health vs. freedom.

    1. I have an instinct toward libertarianism, but always implicit in freedom is responsibility for one’s actions, and no one in the human race lives a life of isolation, unless they are castaways on a desert island. In the case of a quite contagious, infectious disease that has a non-negligible fatality rate and an even less negligible incidence of morbidity, for an individual not to take readily available action to prevent catching and spreading it is irresponsible and falls within the domain of “your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins”.

      I think most of the vaccine mandates are of the nature “lose your job” or “you can’t come to school”. As for implicit threat of violence by government: those who don’t get vaccinated and yet continue to interact with their fellow humans, some of whom cannot be vaccinated and some of whom could catch Covid even if vaccinated, since no vaccine is 100% effective, could be considered to be engaging in an act of violence themselves, since their actions subject those around them to unnecessary increased risk of real harm and potential fatality that could easily be mitigated, with minimal risk to the person in question–indeed getting vaccinated entails less risk than not getting vaccinated based on all the data we have.

      In the absence of a government, it could conceivably be argued that people would have the moral right to defend themselves and their loved ones (with force if necessary) against someone who refused to be vaccinated. To avoid vigilantism and feuds and the like, we institute governments and grant them a (provisional) monopoly on such force, and institute laws and courts so that individuals don’t get stuck making judgments on their own in individual cases in which individuals can easily get things wrong, even if well-intentioned. Thus we have all sorts of mandates, from banning murder to banning drunk driving, to requiring basic vaccinations for attending public schools, and so on. It’s nothing new or unusual or particularly threatening to overall freedom.

      1. Huzzah! Well-stated.

        Even in the most libertarian or anarchistic societies there is a need for a social contract of some sort. If one is not defined by law, it will be implicit in the pronouncements of those who have the power to do so.

        For those who don’t like the entire U.S. Constitution, just the 2nd Amendment and the Free Speech clauses, there is guidance in the Preamble to “Promote the General Welfare.” I would argue that a vaccine mandate falls within that phrase.

        The slippery slope argument against a vaccine mandate for a virus that is highly contagious, has killed 650k Americans and more than 4 million worldwide, and has a long incubation period with no symptoms, is a bit extremist in the “defense of liberty” if you ask me. If that’s the case, then I think it ranks up with the “i have the right to drive on whichever side of the road I choose,” argument.

        I can think of no philosophical reason not to take the vaccine once it has been approved by the FDA, unless one actually is in a medical group contrainicated for the vaccine. I also think that religious exemptions violate the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

      2. Yes, I think the comparison to DUI is apt. Although with those self driving cars by Tesla or Google’s Waymo and the like, we will soon indeed be able to drive under influence, methinks.
        Just don’t put Amarone in the tank. Oops, hat corny joke falls flat: they don’t have tanks, just batteries.
        Reminds us of the Teslas showing their exhaust pipes to other cars in drag-like races, if only they had them.

      3. When I hear libertarians talk I try to remind them of the best example of their state: Somalia.
        No nanny state, mandates or gun restrictions there – in fact you need to bring your own machine gun on leaving the house.
        Passports? Buy them blank at the market (not good for travel tho), Insurance? Education? Sorry. There ARE some charity madrassas though. No government health care, sewers, drug regulation (no FDA but also no DEA so its not all bad…)
        Ahhh Somalia… a libertarian’s paradise.

  11. Baseball seasons were 154 games when Gehrig played. But since 1961, seasons have 162 games. So for Ripken’s entire career he played 162 game seasons.

  12. If Afghanistan convinces several European countries to spend more on their security, instead of relying on the US, that is not necessarily a bad outcome.

    1. Indeed. As a retired British military commander said the other day, “If the British armed forces can’t secure a single airfield, what’s the point in having them?”

    2. Not if the reason for that is distrust of the US. NATO, a major pillar of US power for decades, is built on trust.

      1. Yup, Trump undermined trust in the US’ commitment to NATO. Biden’s precipitous overnight withdrawal from Afghanistan without consulting allies with troops there didn’t help, though.

  13. Monsanto! I actually visited Castello di Monsanto around 2005. It was a lovely winery, though it was early in the morning, so the wine tasting was a bit strange. I miss beautiful Tuscany and must go back some day.

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