Monday: Hili dialogue

October 11, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Monday, October 11, 2021: National Sausage Pizza Day (much better than pepperoni!).


Wine of the Day: I have no information about when I bought this bottle of 2010 Calendal Cotes du Rhone “Plan de Dieu”, but I assumed it wasn’t expensive and was worried that, at 11 years old, it might be over the hill. Looking it up, however, I found it was given a terrific score (94 out of 100) by my wine guru Robert Parker, with another person at the same site saying the wine “can be can be enjoyed now or cellared for many years, drink now or store until 2020+” Parker heaps a lot of praise on it:

“The personal project of the visionary and genius oenologist Philippe Cambie and his partner Gilles Ferran, this equal part blend of Mourvedre and Grenache has produced an allocation of 400 cases for the United States market. Move fast! This is a great effort, and the best Calendal produced to date. Dense bluish purple in color, with notes of graphite, blueberry, black raspberry, roasted mushrooms and meats, the wine has great intensity, full-bodied opulence, beautiful purity, texture and a multi-dimensional mouthfeel. Again, this is a superb effort, with the Mourvedre providing structure, delineation and aging potential, and the Grenache providing generosity, opulence, and hedonism.

The prices now range between $24 and $34, but I’m sure I paid less than $20, as this bottle was way back in the older part of my wine “cellar” (a bunch of boxes). Well, I guess I should have tried it way back when, for when I cracked the bottle to accompany a modest meal of turkey chili over rice, I tasted an absolutely splendid wine: rich, full, and nowhere near its peak. I cant speak about “roasted mushrooms” and “notes of graphite” (graphite?), but it’s full of rich, berry flavors and gutsy enough to accompany the most robust of foods. I’d say “buy it” but it’s unavailable—also for me, as this was my only bottle. It clearly could age well for at least five more years.

Drink more Rhones!

News of the Day:

*It’s now been 264 days since Biden took office, and we still don’t have the promised  White House Cat.

*The war of words is heating up between China and Taiwan. Taiwanese President  President Tsai Ing-wen vowed that the country will keep its sovereignty and democracy. This was in response to China’s President Xi Jinping promising the other day that his country will “fulfil reunification”. In the meantime, the U.S. is selling military equipment to Taiwan and there are reports that a group of U.S. Marines is on the island training Taiwanese troops. Sound familiar? I have a bad feeling about this situation.

*I thought the widespread claim that Instagram was harming girls (giving them impossible role models, causing anorexia, etc.) had been substantiated, but an op-ed in the New York Times says that actually there is no convincing evidence for the claim this. Dr. Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University, and a specialist in childhood and adolescent psychiatry, says this:

Amid the pillorying of Facebook that has dominated the latest news cycle there is an inconvenient fact that critics have overlooked: No research — by Facebook or anyone else — has demonstrated that exposure to Instagram, a Facebook app, harms teenage girls’ psychological well-being.

Last month The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook’s “own in-depth research shows a significant teen mental-health issue that Facebook plays down in public.” That story turned into an even bigger one when Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee who had leaked internal company documents to The Wall Street Journal, revealed her identity on “60 Minutes” and then gave testimony before a Senate subcommittee.

One of Ms. Haugen’s most serious claims was that Facebook had purposely hid research showing that teenagers felt worse about themselves after using its products. It is easy to assume that this damning research was reliable. But that assumption is unwarranted. A review of the Facebook documents, now available online, reveals that the findings of that research are inconclusive.

The Facebook study has numerous problems that Steinberg discusses. Among them are the lack of a control group and the use of self-report.

*The Nobel Prize in Economics, which is really a faux Nobel, has been awarded to three economists in the U.S.: David Card, Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens.  The Prize is for dissecting causes by analyzing “unintended experiments.” The NYT reports:

All three winners are based in the United States. Mr. Card, who was born in Canada, works at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Angrist, born in the United States, is at M.I.T. and Mr. Imbens, born in the Netherlands, is at Stanford University.

“Uncovering causal relationships is a major challenge,” said Peter Fredriksson, chairman of the prize committee. “Sometimes, nature, or policy changes, provide situations that resemble randomized experiments. This year’s laureates have shown that such natural experiments help answer important questions for society.”

The odd thing is that nobody at my University got one, but I think every economics professor here already has a Nobel Prize.

*William Shatner, 90, is set to have one of those “tourist launches” into space aboard Jeff Bezos’s “Blue Horizon” rocket. If he goes, he’ll be the oldest person ever to cross the boundary of space (ca. 100 km). The launch, with four passengers, was set for Tuesday but has been postponed until 8:30 a.m. (eastern U.S. time) Wednesday because of wind.

*The “progressive” Democrats in Congress appear to number over 100, according to a Washington Post report titled, “The liberal Democrats have become the mainstream of the party and less willing to compromise with dwindling moderates.” They’ve apparently learned the lesson not to break ranks, at leasts publicly, but I can see Trump waiting in the wings, rubbing his hands together and grinning maniacally.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 713,806, an increase of 2,000 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,868,657, an increase of about 4,500 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 11 includes:

Although historically the line is considered as separating the northern from the southern U.S., it didn’t originate as having anything to do with slavery: it settled a border dispute (Pennsylvania and New Jersey had slavery when the line was drawn). Here’s the original line:

  • 1852 – The University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest university, is inaugurated in Sydney.
  • 1865 – Hundreds of black men and women march in Jamaica, starting the Morant Bay rebellion.

Hundreds of blacks were hunted down, or tried and executed on the Governor’s orders, arousing a furor in the UK. The governor of Jamaica was indicted, but nothing happened to him, though he was replaced.

  • 1910 – Piloted by Arch Hoxsey, Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane.

Here, from the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, is a photo of that first flight, which looks a bit dangerous. I don’t see any seat belts, either.

And here’s a video. TR had some moxie with Hoxsey.  Look at the swoops and maneuvers:

The Duke, somewhat neuronally deprived, was said to be sympathetic to Germany.  From Wikipedia:

The Duke and Duchess, who were officially invited to the country by the German Labour Front, were chaperoned for much of their visit by its leader, Robert Ley. The couple visited factories, many of which were producing materiel for the rearmament effort; the Duke inspected German troops. The Windsors were greeted by the British national anthem and Nazi salutes. They dined with high-ranking Nazis such as Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Albert Speer, as well as having tea with Adolf Hitler in Berchtesgaden. The Duke had a long private conversation with Hitler, but it is uncertain what they discussed as the minutes of their meeting were lost in the war. The Duchess took afternoon tea with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Hitler was sympathetic to the Windsors and treated the Duchess like royalty.

(FILES) Picture dated 23 October 1937 of the Duke of Windsor (C) and his wife Wallis Simpson meeting the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
  • 1954 – In accord with the 1954 Geneva Conference, French troops complete their withdrawal from North Vietnam.
  • 1976 – George Washington is posthumously promoted to the grade of General of the Armies.
  • 1984 – Aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk.

Here’s a short interview with Sullivan with video of her spacewalk

  • 1987 – The AIDS Memorial Quilt is first displayed during the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Here’s the quilt, the subject of a moving piece by Andrew Sullivan in his latest book of collected writing. Each square memorializes someone killed by AIDS. Wikipedia notes, “Weighing an estimated 54 tons, it is the largest piece of community folk art in the world as of 2020.”

  • 1991 – Prof. Anita Hill delivers her televised testimony concerning sexual harassment during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination.

Here are some Senators asking Hill some outrageous and embarrassing questions (one of them appears to be Biden):

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1844 – Henry J. Heinz, American businessman, founded the H. J. Heinz Company (d. 1919)
  • 1884 – Eleanor Roosevelt, American humanitarian and politician, 39th First Lady of the United States (d. 1962)
  • 1918 – Jerome Robbins, American director, producer, and choreographer (d. 1998)
  • 1946 – Daryl Hall, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

Daryl Hall is an avid collector of cowboy boots. Here he is with part of his collection:

Wie, a golfing prodigy, seems to have retired from playing, or at least I haven’t heard anything about her lately:

Those who “fell asleep” on October 11 include:

  • 1779 – Casimir Pulaski, Polish-American general (b. 1745)
  • 1896 – Anton Bruckner, Austrian organist, composer, and educator (b. 1824)
  • 1961 – Chico Marx, American comedian (b. 1887)
  • 1963 – Jean Cocteau, French author, poet, and playwright (b. 1889)
  • 1965 – Dorothea Lange, American photographer and journalist (b. 1895)

Lange was most famous for her documenting Depression-era poverty for the Farm Security Administration. Here’s one photo: ““Broke, baby sick, and car trouble!” (1937)”, but also see her iconic photo of Florence Owens Thompson, “Migrant mother.”

Puller was the most decorated Marine in American history. His real name was Lewis Burwell Puller, but doesn’t he look like a “Chesty”?  Wikipedia explains the nickname:

His nickname was related to the way his barrel chest stood out due to his aggressive stance, with legends claiming that a steel plate had been inserted by surgeons to treat a battle wound.

There was no steel plate, but he was “chesty”:

2019 – Alexei Leonov, Soviet/Russian cosmonaut and first human to conduct a spacewalk (b. 1934).  Here’s his spacewalk, performed on March 18, 1965:


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili made a pun:

A: How are you?
Hili: I’m trying to be woke.
In Polish:
Ja: Co słychać?
Hili: Próbuję być przebudzona.

From Lorenzo the Cat:

From Facebook; I have no idea if this groaner is true:

From Jesus of the DayThis loon reminds me of the Dr. Bronner’s Soap label. And I guess I also have an implanted “nano chip”, but only for cat addiction.

From Barry. Okay, how come this isn’t a perpetual-motion machine?

An animated tweet from Simon, who says, “If only the vaccine uptake had been quicker, we could have avoided the Delta wave.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. It’s not much like a purr. . .

Matthew says, “Never mind the joke—these are some TOUGH CATS! Indeed they are, especially the one who goes after the gator! Jebus!

Check out the rodent teeth! Lovely beast, though.

From 1190!

Who remembers Charles Addams?

39 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. “The Duke, somewhat neuronally deprived… ” – as our most of the British royal family. If you were going to choose a family to represent the nation you might opt for the most intelligent, the most attractive, the most talented, the most inspiring, etc. – but we get stuck with this bunch!

    1. Since their role is ceremonial, brains are far less important to a constitutional head of state than the ability to make inane conversation with hundreds of people they have never met before every day.

      We reserve the intelligence for the people who actually run the country like our prime min- …. oh.

    2. Hitler, I think, both loved and feared royals, and the feeling was often mutual. After all, who if not the aristocracy, along with the far-right, would join his fight against the godless Bolsheviks? Karina Urbach’s book “Go-Betweens for Hitler” (2015, Oxford) explores the subject.

  2. Seatbelts? Who needs seatbelts? They have their freedom.

    And who are the enemy of the progressives anyway? Not the republicans but the other democrats that are good with extreme inequality, and the rich paying no taxes and $7.50 per hour for workers. A chicken in every pot? Maybe an egg.

  3. how come this isn’t a perpetual-motion machine?

    The second law of thermodynamics says no.

    I would think there is an electro magnet in the base and some sort of triggering circuit to switch it on for a bit when the ball drops through the hole.

      1. Definitely not the case. If it was all gravity, the highest the ball could rise to would be the level of platform with the hole in it and that’s if all of the potential energy was converted to kinetic energy and back again. It actually has more than enough energy to clear the lip by several centimetres, so there must be a hidden energy source.

    1. I think that little whitish plug under the end of the ramp is a magnet.
      So not perpetual motion; the force is likely balanced by the downward force the ball exerts on the magnet. Over lots and lots and lots of time, that end bit of the wood might show wear or friction or the glue holding the magnet might come loose.

      1. I think it’s more likely an optical sensor to turn an electro-magnet on (or off). If it were a permanent magnet, you’d have the same problem as with gravity in that we’d have potential energy being converted into kinetic energy and then back again. The second law of thermodynamics would guarantee the ball couldn’t get back to its original height, never mind a couple of centimetres higher.

        1. I guess one way of figuring it out is to use time lapse photography to determine whether it’s dropping too fast or rising too fast. If the former, the magnet is in the ‘cup’ and is pushing the ball away as it falls through the hole. If that’s the case, the white thing can’t be a sensor OR a magnet. But if the latter, then either the white thing could itself be a strong neodymium disk magnet (or similar), or it could be a sensor activating an electromagnet in the base. Or maybe they’re doing neither but rather something else weird, like using something to do with the rails.

          But I still favor the magnet approach, as that would be much easier to build, require no power or timed sensor detection, and there are some pretty darn powerful button magnets out there today.

    2. That ball goes way too fast for the only acceleration to be from gravity. I’m guessing that the parallel rails form a linear motor and the ball completes a circuit across them.

      1. It looks like the parallel rails are actually one rail (it just curves round at the end). Don’t know if that makes a difference and there might be a hidden insulator, of course.

        1. Thanks. I missed that. In retrospect, I was offering “linear motor” more as a starting point for discussion than a deep analysis. I should have said, “linear motor or some such thing”.

  4. My dad had a friend who was getting his MBA at Chicago in the late 70s, who would gripe that his tuition was going to up every time the Nobel Laureates for Economics were announced.

  5. In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt was a former president. William Howard Taft was president. So, if Teddy’s flight had met with disaster, the country’s business would have continued uninterrupted. According to, FDR was the first sitting president to fly on official business on January 14, 1943. I’m not sure if a sitting president flew on unofficial business prior to that.

    1. Meh the author is being too pedantic. It is simple enough to rework the joke to make it accurate but still be about crows vs. Ravens. For instance:
      “Did you know that while ravens and crows have the same number of primary flight feathers (also called pinions), on a crow five of them stick out like fingers while on a raven, only four do? Thus, the difference between a crow or raven is really just a matter of a pinion.”

  6. “Okay, how come this isn’t a perpetual-motion machine?”

    I’m guessing that the battery in the base that’s powering the electromagnet may have something to do with it. If it uses a battery, it ain’t a perpetual motion machine.

  7. A few comments regarding the wine of the day:
    1) Why does the bottle have a picture of what seems to be a Giardia lamblia on it?
    2) You do have SOME information about when you bought it…it was during or after 2010 (unless it’s possible that the label date is false) and before 2022, unless you (or someone with whom you’ve interacted directly or indirectly) can travel through time in other than the usual direction.
    3) I would be interested to read your review of a wine that you drank that you wrote BEFORE reading anything from your “guru” or from anyone else. Your evaluations tend to make much more sense to me…I find all the mentions by professional reviewers of things like “graphite” and “roasted mushrooms” to be distinctly redolent of cattle feces, with just the faintest accent of horsesh*t. I’m pretty sure they’ve been shown to be non-reproducible and inconsistent. Your evaluations are much more sensible, as I said, but I’d imagine they couldn’t help but be at least mildly influenced by review you’ve read before drinking.

  8. Charles Addams was the first cartoonist to really grab my attention. Around third grade or so I brought a paperback copy of his book “Addams and Evil” to class for show-and-tell. The teacher deemed it inappropriate and confiscated my copy. She told me I could have it back at the end of the school year, and on the last day of class I reminded her of her promise, but she denied ever taking the book in the first place. I never did find another copy, though there are several other Addams collections on my shelf now.

  9. The daily Auschwitz memorials are devastatingly painful. How could anyone murder that sweet child? May we never forget this dark and monstrous event, not yet eighty years ago.

  10. Here’s a bird that really does purr like a cat, IMO: the sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis). My property in Round Lake, Illinois, abuts a wetlands that by ordinance is off limits to humans and their pets, thank goodness! (Cf. Thoreau: “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”) Cranes normally abound here, along with the other usual waterfowl (yes, ducks too!), though this year, with the unusual drought we’ve had in northeastern Illinois, the wetlands have completely dried up, and consequently few cranes have visited us, and no pair nested and reproduced, as they have in the past. 😢 Anyway, in one of the past, wet years, a pair that usually nested not far from my backyard hatched one colt, and they were leading their little darling on a feeding expedition, raiding the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) nests for eggs. There is a row of river birches (Betula nigra) on my property line bordering the marshes, and one of them I use as a natural blind to observe the wildlife in the wetlands. Anyway, this day I crouched down behind this birch and observed the crane couple, who I named Kishore and Kishori and who were about 20 feet away, slowly leading their hatchling through the reeds (Phragmites), where the blackbird nests were. As they were pacing through the reeds, the adults emitted an audible low humming sound that was practically indistinguishable from a cat’s purr. I presumed that this purr was to keep their colt in tow. It was kind of cute to watch the parents teach their offspring how to forage, except that when they did find a feast of eggs in a blackbird’s nest, the blackbirds vainly tried to chase the cranes away, but the bigger birds just flapped their huge wings, batted the smaller birds away like so many flies, and proceeded to break open and enjoy the fresh eggs. So goes the circle of life!

  11. I just bought a 6 bottle case of plan de dieu at the local Intermarche here in Vaison la Romaine for 26 euros. I hope it is as good as yours. I guess I’ll find out in 5 or 10 years.

  12. Robert Ley was one of the Nurmemberg defendants. He hanged himself before the trials started. An old friend/colleague has a guest book to some Nazi place – exactly what I’ve forgotten – that his father acquired as a US Army officer taking the surrender of Nazi arms and such at the end of the war. Ley’s is one of the signatures. What I recall is that it is about three times larger than anyone else’s, and looks like it was signed by someone either with mental deficiencies or a damaged hand.

    My old pal is interested in seeing the book go to a place where it would not become a relic for NeoNazis, if any such place exists. .

  13. After Edward John Eyre’s savage suppression of the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica, a committee was formed in England to seek his indictment for murder. Among the committee’s members were Charles Darwin and T H Huxley.

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