Monday: Hili dialogue

September 6, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Monday, September 6, 2021—a day off in America (Labor Day), National Coffee Ice-Cream Day (since when is there a hyphen in “ice cream”?).  It is of course Labor Day, but also Read a Book Day, Barbie Doll Day (the grotesquely shaped doll first went on sale on this day in 1956)  and, in England “The earliest date on which the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is performed.” Since it’s Monday, it will be performed today.

As for the dance, Wikipedia says: “The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance dating back to the Middle Ages. The dance takes place each year in Abbots Bromley, a village in Staffordshire, England. The modern version of the dance involves reindeer antlers, a hobby horse, Maid Marian, and a Fool.

Here it is, first performed in 1226! If you’re in Abbots Bromley, go see it!

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Labor Day (click on screenshot). And yes, the letters “GOOGLE” are in there, too.

Wine of the Day: This 2018 cabernet sauvignon has 5% merlot and 5% petit syrah (“shiraz”). It was deeply discounted by my wine merchant Vin Chicago, and cost only $15. Can a California cabernet that inexpensive be really good? Well, I’m game, though the 90 rating from Wine Spectator doesn’t mean much, since that venue typically overrates wine (the CellarTracker reviews by individuals, though, were pretty good, though a few individuals didn’t like it at all).  Let’s try it with my weekly T-bone, served with a baguette and a huge heirloom tomato with a drizzle of olive oil . .

I don’t usually look at wine-review videos, but reviews were so scarce on this one I found one on YouTube, which was also positive.

This review is right on. The wine is moderately gutsy, with a characteristic Califormia-cab aroma of cherries and mint, and is delicious. It’s still early days with this one, and I’d try it again in a year or two, when it may have developed some complexity. But if you see this cab in the $15 range, BUY IT!

By the way, if you want some tips by a sommelier for good red wines for $15 or less, watch this video (the wines are in the notes so you can copy them).

News of the Day:

According to CNN and other sources, a peaceful but passionate protest of Afghan women against the Taliban’s oppression of their sex has turned violent.

Footage shared by Afghan news network TOLO news Saturday showed a confrontation between Taliban guards and some of the women. In the video, a man on a megaphone is heard telling the small crowd “we will pass your message to the elders.” His voice appears to be calm. But towards the end of the video, women can be heard screaming, with one activist saying “why are you hitting us?”

Violence reportedly broke out after Taliban forces prevented the women from marching on to the presidential palace, according to TOLO, which reported the use of tear gas on protesters.

. . .Taliban leaders on Twitter dismissed the videos being shared online of violence at the women-led protests. The head of the Cultural Commission, Muhammad Jalal, said that these demonstrations were “a deliberate attempt to cause problems,” adding that “these people don’t even represent 0.1% of Afghanistan.”

The militant group are still involved in talks over forming a government, but have signaled women should stay at home, and, in some instances, militants have ordered women to leave their workplaces.

So much for the “nice” Taliban 2.0!  Meanwhile, the cult seems to be refusing to let further refugees leave the country, even if they’re Americans, leading to the possibility that they’ll gain leverage by holding refugees hostage. As the AP reports:

At least four planes chartered to evacuate several hundred people seeking to escape the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan have been unable to leave the country for days, officials said Sunday, with conflicting accounts emerging about why the flights weren’t able to take off as pressure ramps up on the United States to help those left behind to flee.

An Afghan official at the airport in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif said that the would-be passengers were Afghans, many of whom did not have passports or visas, and thus were unable to leave the country. He said they had left the airport while the situation was sorted out.

The top Republican on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, however, said that the group included Americans and they were sitting on the planes, but the Taliban were not letting them take off, effectively “holding them hostage.” He did not say where that information came from. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the accounts.

Will the Taliban build a big Berlin wall around the country? Because if they don’t, the whole damn place will empty out. Given a taste of freedom, Afghans are in no mood to start living under sharia law again.

All the news is bad, especially, in America on the Covid front. Cases and hospitalizations are surging, and this can be laid at the door of the unvaccinated. One guy on television was asked why he was still unvaccinated when his immunized friends were shunning him, and he replied, “I’ll get it when I feel ready.” What a chowderhead! The NYT reports on this new wave:

Vaccination rates are ticking upward, and reports of new infections are starting to fall in some hard-hit Southern states. But Labor Day weekend bears little resemblance to Memorial Day, when the country was averaging fewer than 25,000 cases daily, or to the Fourth of July, when President Biden spoke about nearing independence from the virus.

Instead, with more than 160,000 new cases a day and about 100,000 Covid patients hospitalized nationwide, this holiday feels more like a flashback to 2020. In Kansas, many state employees were sent home to work remotely again. In Arizona, where school mask mandates are banned, thousands of students and teachers have had to go into quarantine. In Hawaii, the governor has issued a plea to tourists: Don’t visit.

I hate to say this, but it seems likely that many schools and colleges will be closing soon after the school year starts, especially given the infectiousness of the Delta variant and its propensity to strike down the young as well as the old.

If you’re baffled by talk of cryptocurrency and its use in transactions, the NY Times has an informative article about the currency, banking, and how you can make a lot of money by banking it at high interest rates (or lose everything, since nobody guarantees your deposits). Another article discusses how cryptcurrency banking is disrupting traditional banking in a big way.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 648,264, an increase of 1,558 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,583,025, an increase of about 6,300 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 6 includes:

  • 1492 – Christopher Columbus sails from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, his final port of call before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
  • 1522 – The Victoria returns to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition and the first known ship to circumnavigate the world.
  • 1628 – Puritans settle Salem which became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

I took this picture of an original Salem House (now the “Witch Museum”) in May of 2019. The caption from another image says this:

The Witch House was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin (1640–1718) one of the judges involved in the Salem witch trials of 1692 and is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Salem witch trials. For the record, the house was moved about 35 feet (11 m) to its current location in the 1940s when the adjacent street was widened.

  • 1634 – Thirty Years’ War: In the Battle of Nördlingen, the Catholic Imperial army defeats Swedish and German Protestant forces.
  • 1642 – England’s Parliament bans public stage-plays.

This of course closed the Globe Theater and stopped the public performance of Shakespeare. The ban was lifted only in 1660.

  • 1803 – British scientist John Dalton begins using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements.

Curiously, Wired says Dalton used the symbols on September 3, not 6, and used them in a table of 21 elements. Here’s part of the Table (note that the symbols are not the same as today’s (“lead”, for example, is “Pb).

Czolgosz approached McKinley with a pistol concealed in a handkerchief, and shot the President in the stomach (below). The wound itself wasn’t fatal, but McKinley died of an infection. Czolgosz was electrocuted only 45 days after McKinley’s death.

A drawing of the assassination:

The handkerchief and pistol used by Czolgosz:

  • 1939 – World War II: Britain suffers its first fighter pilot casualty of the Second World War at the Battle of Barking Creek as a result of friendly fire.
  • 1955 – Istanbul‘s Greek, Jewish, and Armenian minorities are the target of a government-sponsored pogrom; dozens are killed in ensuing riots.

Here’s a video showing some of the violence, which was directly mainly at the Greeks:

Here are the 11 athletes and coaches, as well as a German policeman killed by Black September:

  • 1986 – In Istanbul, two terrorists from Abu Nidal’s organization kill 22 and wound six congregants inside the Neve Shalom Synagogue during Shabbat services.
  • 1991 – The Russian parliament approves the name change of Leningrad back to Saint Petersburg. The change is effective October 1, 1991.

I visited St. Petersburg in July, 2011 for a meeting, and stayed extra days to see the Hermitage, Dostoevsky’s House, and other things. Here’s my photo of Peterhof Palace, built by Peter the Great as a country home to rival the Palace of Versailles (the Russians were great admirers of French culture):

  • 1995 – Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles plays in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking a record that had stood for 56 years.
  • 1997 – The Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales takes place in London. Well over a million people lined the streets and 212 billion watched around the world on television.

Here’s a short National Geographic video of Queen Elizabeth’s behavior before and during the funeral:

  • 2018 – Supreme Court of India decriminalised all consensual sex among adults in private, making homosexuality legal on the Indian lands.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1860 – Jane Addams, American sociologist and author, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1935)

Addams was important not just for her prominent social work, but for promoting women’s suffrage. Her Hull House in Chicago was a center for helping the poor and recent immigrants; it had medical facilities, a bathhouse, a playground, and so on. It became a complex of 13 buildings, most of which were torn down to make way for the University of Illinois at Chicago. But the original building still stands, and you can visit it (below, with a picture of Addams):

Roberts won the Prize for the discovery of introns (spacer segments within genes) in the DNA of eukaryotes, and the mechanism of splicing, which is how the divided-up genes get assembled when the introns are removed.

  • 1947 – Jane Curtin, American actress and comedian
  • 1962 – Chris Christie, American lawyer and politician, 55th Governor of New Jersey

Those who found quietus on September 6 include:

  • 1907 – Sully Prudhomme, French poet and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1839)
  • 1939 – Arthur Rackham, English illustrator (b. 1867)

Here’s Rackham’s depiction of the Cheshire Cat:

Sanger was of course the pioneer of birth control in America (one of her magazines is below), but she supported eugenics (though in the sense of restricting births by people who couldn’t afford more children), sterilization of the “profoundly retarded”, and restriction of immigration. She has thus been canceled.

  • 1972 – Perpetrator and victims of the Munich massacre
    • Luttif Afif, Palestinian terrorist (b. 1945)
    • David Mark Berger, American-Israeli weightlifter (b. 1944)
    • Ze’ev Friedman, Polish-Israeli weightlifter (b. 1944)
    • Yossef Gutfreund, Israeli wrestling judge (b. 1931)
    • Eliezer Halfin, Russian-Israeli wrestler (b. 1948)
    • Amitzur Shapira, Russian-Israeli runner and coach (b. 1932)
    • Kehat Shorr, Romanian shooting coach (b. 1919)
    • Mark Slavin, Israeli wrestler (b. 1954)
  • 1984 – Ernest Tubb, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1914)

Here’s Tubb with one of his most famous songs, “Waltz Across Texas”:

  • 2017 – Kate Millett, American feminist author and activist (b. 1934)
  • 2018 – Burt Reynolds, American actor, director and producer (b. 1936)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is again depressed at the state of the world:

Hili: Black clouds are coming from the West.
A: Those from the East are no better.
In Polish:
Hili: Czarne chmury nadciągają z zachodu.
Ja: Te ze wschodu też nie są lepsze.

And here’s a lovely picture from Paulina of Szaron in his bed

A meme from Nicole:

Our two-party system from Pearls Before Swine (h/t Linda):

From Not Another Science Cat Page:

Titania is tweeting a bit again. Her latest is pretty unbelievable, as it’s an NHS statement (click on it to read the whole thing). You can read “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” at this link. But what does it to do with health?

Masih went to  the Islamic Republic’s “Interest Section” in Washington which, though acting as a de facto Iranian embassy, is actually part of the Pakistani embassy, which mean that it’s Pakistani territory. As far as I know, hijabs aren’t mandatory in Pakistan, so why does the Interest Section squeal when Masih shows up unveiled?

From Barry: a cockatoo eating a croissant:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. This woman lived just two months after arriving at the camp:

From Divy: The world’s oldest known tortoise. Its age is an estimate but a pretty good one (see the Wikipedia article on this animal). It’s on the Seychelles, not the Galápagos.  Wikipedia note:

The all-time verified record holder for the world’s oldest tortoise, according to Guinness World Records, is Tu’i Malila, which died in Tonga in 1966 at the age of 189. Adwaita, an Aldabra giant tortoise that died in 2006 in the Alipore Zoological Gardens of Kolkata, India, is believed to have lived to the age of 255 years, but this has not been confirmed.

A tweet from Ginger K.:

Tweets from Matthew.  This firm needs a professional ad writer!

This is surely one of the earliest selfies:

14 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. On the covid front..”What a chowderhead”: it seems as if the entire U.S. university population have taken leave of their senses regarding sensible public health measures (mask and distance even if vaccinated). I watched a few minutes of the William and Mary vs University of Virginia (WM lost 44 – 0) and Virginia Tech vs University of North Carolina American football this weekend and saw stadiums full of up to 70,000 unmasked people packed together and screaming. All of these schools have insisted on vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff, have vaccination rates above 90%, and have disenrolled at least some students who refused to comply. So why is it that a few more months of delayed sports gratification to allow for the academic program to proceed is so difficult?

  2. Will the Taliban build a big Berlin wall around the country?

    I don’t think they need to. It’s bordered by Iran, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. I don’t know much about Tajikistan, but the other nations are likely to care very little about women’s rights and are very likely to turn back refugees in order to cooperate with the Taliban.

    1947 – Jane Curtin, American actress and comedian

    In hindsight, SNL’s 1970’s Weekly Update moment, where she’s the first woman anchor, makes a solid argument, and Aykroyd responds to it with “Jane, you ignorant slut” pretty much presages the development of right wing media, doesn’t it?

    Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.

    It’s funny. It’s true. But it’s also a pretty interesting sign of domestication: they are so good at reading human body language that they know where we have focused our attention.

  3. The Auschwitz Memorial series with its simple date information and black and white photos has provided me with a stark, sobering, and quiet moment each morning. Thank you.

  4. I bought Hook or Crook Cellars Cabernet at Costco some months ago. I have not opened it yet, but now I am looking forward to it after your review.

  5. On Afghanistan: Uzbekistan, that shares language and ethnicity with a segment of the Afghan population (as do Iran and Tajikistan) has already said they are not willing to take Afghan refugees, not even if the UN pays them, for fear of importing unruly militia/Islamist elements. Enemies of the Taliban are not necessarily liberals.

    Apart from the ethnic/religious minority of the Hazara who have good reasons to fear the Taliban, people fleeing Afghanistan now are often and understandably so economically motivated, as the influx of foreign money has supported many jobs and elite positions that are now gone, and sanctions/boycotts loom that will make life impossible for poorer people.

    The ones fleeing for mainly political reasons/fear of being killed are probably a mixed lot: Liberals, but also ISIS supporters, militia members and people who reported their neighbors to the Americans for gain and now fear revenge. In Iraq as well as Afghanistan, the Americans gave financial rewards to informers. Both the Americans and the American-supported Afghan government forces used torture against prisoners. The US-supported Afghan forces practiced arrests and torture for extortion of ransom money (I learned that from Anand Gopal’s book No good men among the living).
    People who were part of these extortion rackets are in acute danger now.

  6. Possibly the least known National Park site in the country is the David Berger National Memorial in Beachwood, Ohio. David was a weightlifter on the 1972 Israeli olympic team at Munich. He grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

  7. Sanger was of course the pioneer of birth control in America (one of her magazines is below), but she supported eugenics (though in the sense of restricting births by people who couldn’t afford more children), sterilization of the “profoundly retarded”, and restriction of immigration. She has thus been canceled.

    I wholeheartedly believe that people should not be judged by the moral standards of a different age, and I apply this to eugenic beliefs, which were deemed respectable in the early 20th century. But on the other hand let’s not try to whitewash the beliefs of people like Sanger and pretend that her target was simply “people who couldn’t afford more children” or the “profoundly retarded.” Here are some Sanger quotes (from which show that her focus was not limited to the profoundly retarded:

    “Negroes and Southern Europeans are mentally inferior to native born Americans.”

    “The masses of Negroes…particularly in the South, still breed carelessly and disasterously, with the result that the increase among Negroes, even more than among whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.”

    “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”

    “Birth Control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”

    “Covertly invest into non-White areas, invest in ghetto abortion clinics. Help to raise money for free abortions, in primarily non-White areas. Perhaps abortion clinic syndicates throughout North America, that primarily operate in non-White areas and receive tax support, should be promoted.”

    “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.”

    One must be judicious in evaluating people who operated under the morality of a different era, but to imply that there are no grounds for finding fault with Sanger, and to include her among those who have been unjustly “cancelled” by a woke mob, does not thread that needle appropriately.

  8. Boy, today reminded me of just how ignorant I am (I’m Canadian) about American history and politics.

    I had no idea there was more than one USA President assassinated! I only knew of Abe L.
    But now I see there’s a whole list of assassination attempts, with 4 presidents actually killed.

    Feels a bit Twilight-Zoney finding that out now.

    1. My nit-picking comment of the day: the McKinley handgun shown is a revolver, not a pistol, at least under current usage. A pistol is any handgun that is not a revolver.

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