Good morning on a TGIF Day: Friday, September 10, 2021. Autumn is icumin in; lhude sing cuccu! It’s National Hot Dog Day, and of course Chicago is the world’s epicenter for this toothsome comestible. You want your dog “dragged through the garden,” including these components:
Vienna Beer dog made with all beef cuts and a natural casing
A Rosen’s poppy-seed bun
Onions (I prefer grilled ones)
Mustard (NEVER ask for ketchup)
A video how it’s made (click on “Watch on YouTube”; note the quality of the meat. If a visitor wants a Chicago dog, I used take them straight to the Vienna Beef Factory shown in the video. The factory is still closed, but the store and dog-vending emporium is still there, and serves the best dog in town.
Wine of the Day: This was drunk with my abstemious, healthy, but tasty dinner of black beans and rice with sauteed onions and a bit of yogurt for creaminess. I was looking forward to it, as it’s one of the three great underrated Hispanic white wines: Torrontes (mostly from Argentina), Rueda, and Albariño. You should be looking for good specimens of these wines. They’re largely unknown in the U.S. or anywhere outside of Spain or Argentina, so they can be great values.
I paid $10 for this bottle, and bought it just ten days ago. It’s young (this wine doesn’t age that well) but absolutely delicious, redolent with aromas of tangerine and melon. It’s full-bodied, off dry but not at all sweet, and can stand up to spicy foods like Chinese or Indian (I still prefer beer with those). The next time you want a Pinot Grigio or even a Sauvignon Blanc, without the acidity, find a good one of the three wines listed above instead. And if you can find this one for around ten bucks, BUY IT. You won’t be sorry.
News of the Day:
It’s now 233 days and counting since the Bidens moved into the White House, and still there is no first cat, though one was promised us (and a female cat even chosen). This arrant lie on the part of our President has taken him down in my approval rating. It’s one thing to have a d*g in the Executive Mansion, but another thing entirely to promise the nation that you’ll get a cat as well, and then lie about it. Can someone please ask Jen Psaki about this?
A planeload scheduled to carry 30 Americans and 170 dual American/Afghan nationals out of Kabul has finally left the airport. Well, they were booked on the plane, but it’s not clear how many actually made it to the airport. Regardless, it’s a good sign. However, several planes full of “at risk Afghans” are still sitting on the tarmac at the airport in Mazar-e Sharif, and it’s unclear whether, not having U.S. citizenship (many must have been people who helped the U.S. military) they will be allowed to leave.
The U.S. Supreme Court has given a stay of execution to a condemned Texas inmate, convicted murderer John Henry Ramirez, who requested that a pastor be allowed to be in the execution chamber, lay hands on him, and pray for him as he got his lethal injection.. That, according to decisions by lower Texas courts, violates “security and decorum” during the execution. The Supremes gave no reason for its stay, but will take up the matter in full at the end of the year. Clearly, the Court delayed the execution because the inmate’s complaint was religious in nature. It’s not clear whether Ramirez could avoid execution indefinitely if Texas holds firm in its rule that no religious people can be in the execution chamber. But if Ramirez isn’t executed, you can imagine that all the other condemned prisoners will follow suit. (h/t Ken)
The Wall Street Journal, which first broke the story about the fraud of Elizabeth Holmes and her startup company Theranos, is carrying a live update page of the trial, which could last a few months. There was no update from yesterday, but the first witness for the prosecution was called on Wednesday.
In January I recounted (or rather referred you to a post by John McWhorter), about how a University of Illinois Law professor named Jason Kilborn was suspended for asking a hypothetical question about employment discrimination using the “n word” and “b word”: both redacted. Here’s part of the question:
It didn’t matter to UIC that the words were relevant to the question and had been redacted. Kilborn was suspended indefinitely (without a reason being given!) and an investigation started. Fortunately, the great organization FIRE (the Foundation for Equal Rights in Education) intervened with legal action. As FIRE reports, the situation was resolved with Kilborn being reinstated with the stipulation that he record all his classes (which he was going to do in the future to protect himself anyway, and he agreed to alert the dean before responding to student complaints (there were strong ones) about racial issues. His question, what with UIC being a public school, did not violate the First Amendment.
In the NYT op-ed section, Karen Swallow Prior (identified as “a research professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a columnist at the Religion News Service) mounts a defense of Texas’s new anti-abortion law. Her piece, “Texas’ abortion law should force America to change its ways,” contains this bit:
. . . . allows private citizens to sue providers and others through civil litigation. Successful suits may result in fines hefty enough to put many abortion practices out of business, an innovative workaround.
Yes, but work around what? Clearly Roe v. Wade! There can be no rapprochement between pro-choice people and those who equate a non-sentient fetus to a child. There can be a law, which there is, but now that is in serious danger.
Yesterday’s poll about how many readers belonged to each of the NYT’s fictitious political parties gave this result, with 86% of readers falling in the economically and socially liberal lower left-hand quadrat:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 656,447, an increase of 1579 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,622,503, an increase of about 11,200 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 10 includes:
- 1776 – American Revolutionary War: Nathan Hale volunteers to spy for the Continental Army.
- 1846 – Elias Howe is granted a patent for the sewing machine.
Here’s a photo of how from about 1850 and part of his 1846 patent:
- 1960 – At the Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila becomes the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet.
Here’s Bikila winning. He must have had tough feet! (Apparently the shoes he had hurt his feet.) He also won the marathon in 1964 but that time wore shoes.
- 1967 – The people of Gibraltar vote to remain a British dependency rather than becoming part of Spain.
- 1977 – Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of torture and murder, is the last person to be executed by guillotine in France.
He was also the last person to be executed in Europe, and the last person to be executed by beheading anywhere in the West. Here’s a photo of the last moment before his death:
- 2001 – During his appearance on the British TV game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, contestant Charles Ingram reaches the £1 million top prize, but it was later revealed that he had cheated to the top prize by listening to coughs from his wife and another contestant
Here’s an annotated 46-minute video of his winning episode, with the coughs audible. He and the other two cheaters were convicted of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception, given suspended sentences, and ordered to pay £25,000 pounds each. Whitlock, of course, was denied his million pounds as well.
- 2008 – The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.
Remember when people thought the LHC might create a black hole that would swallow Earth and its surroundings?
Notables born on this day include:
- 1659 – Henry Purcell, English organist and composer (d. 1695)
- 1864 – Carl Correns, German botanist and geneticist (d. 1933)
- 1892 – Arthur Compton, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962)
- 1929 – Arnold Palmer, American golfer and businessman (d. 2016)
- 1934 – Roger Maris, American baseball player and coach (d. 1985)
Maris is most famous for breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record for a single season by hitting 61 home runs in 1961 (Maris and Mickey Mantle were in a home run derby that year, and Mantle stopped at 54, as he had hip issues.) Some people question Maris’s record as his season was 162 games long as opposed to Ruth’s 154, and Maris hit his homer in the season’s last game. The new record, which is even more dubious, is the 73 homers hit by Barry Bonds in 2001, but it’s likely that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs and he’s not been elected to the Hall of Fame.
Here’s Maris’s record homer:
- 1937 – Jared Diamond, American biologist, geographer, and author
- 1941 – Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist, biologist, and author (d. 2002)
Here’s a 16-minute interview of Gould by Charlie Rose in 1996, discussing statistics, baseball, evolution, and the cancer (mesothelioma) that he’d survived. You can see he’s quite eloquent in interviews, but I never really liked the guy. Had he lived, he’d have turned eighty today.
If Gould were alive, it would be his eightieth birthday.
- 1982 – Misty Copeland, American ballerina and author
Here’s a segment (starting at 2:41) in which Copeland dances “Swan Lake.” We had a duck with a long graceful neck that we named “Misty” after the dancer.
Those who drew their last breath on September 10 include:
- 1797 – Mary Wollstonecraft, English philosopher, historian, and novelist (b. 1759)
Wollstonecraft died 11 days after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein). Wollstonecraft is perhaps best known for her 1792 feminist tract A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (below):
- 1935 – Huey Long, American lawyer and politician, 40th Governor of Louisiana (b. 1893)
- 2007 – Jane Wyman, American actress (b. 1917)
- 2020 – Diana Rigg, British actress (b. 1938)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is trying to choose between two things, but we have no idea what they are.
Hili: A or B? Or maybe both?A: Why not?
Hili: A czy B? A może jedno i drugie?Ja: Czemu nie?
And little Kulka:
A lovely photo from The Emporium of Unique and Wondrous Things (a FB page); unfortunately, the photographer isn’t named:
From Linkiest,, a twist on a familiar meme:
A meme from Nicole:
From Titania, who is right as usual:
Say what you will about the Taliban, but at least they’re not Islamophobic.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 9, 2021
Talk about courage: these Afghan women are fighting for their freedom right in front of the raised muzzles of Taliban guns!
This is the textbook definition of courage. Afghan women still bravely protest for their rights in front of Taliban literally at gunpoint. Afghan women are taking enormous risks to tell Taliban they won't give up. How about the international community? Will they hear these women? pic.twitter.com/bwWHBhdO8N
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 9, 2021
From Luana, an exchange:
I feel so safe!
Who needs police officers when we can be reminded endlessly that everyone knows our land is stolen (but don't plan to give it back!)
— Naninizhoni (@naninizhoni) September 9, 2021
From Barry: creationists are never satisfied:
“Bring to me your finest evidence for evolution so that I may look upon it and judge it.”
“Here it is.”
“I don’t like that one. Now begone. All this disproving science has made me nappish.” pic.twitter.com/fcy6j82n02
— Take That Darwin (@TakeThatDarwin) September 9, 2021
A tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial; this man lived about a month after arrival:
10 September 1900 | A Pole, Marian Łomnicki, was born in Baligród. A mailman.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 10, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First, how to pick a STEM field (enlarge it; it’s good advice):
well, this explains things pic.twitter.com/RqiMweeQGF
— 👩💻 Paige Bailey #BlackLivesMatter (@DynamicWebPaige) September 8, 2021
Here’s a case of extreme sexual dimorphism. Spot the male. The location is Queensland.
— Christina N. Zdenek, PhD (@CNZdenek) September 9, 2021
Did you get the right answer to the question below? I did! I don’t know how this is done, but the BBC says that the same answer will be chosen most of the time (I’ve redacted the name):
“What’s five plus two?!”
“What’s seven take away three?!”
“Name a vegetable?!”
Nine times out of 10 people answer the last question with “name redacted”.
Now I don’t think the magic is in the maths questions. Probably they just warm your respondent up to answering questions rapidly. What is happening is that, for most people, most of the time, in all sorts of circumstances, name redacted is simply the first vegetable that comes to mind.
This seemingly banal fact reveals something about how our minds organise information. There are dozens of vegetables, and depending on your love of fresh food you might recognise a good proportion. If you had to list them you’d probably forget a few you know, easily reaching a dozen and then slowing down. And when you’re pressured to name just one as quickly as possible, you forget even more and just reach for the most obvious vegetable you can think of – and often that’s name redacted.
Y’all. My mind just exploded. pic.twitter.com/P6QgVHSvfW
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) September 8, 2021