Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Mitek monologue)

October 19, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the cruelest day of the week: Tuesday, October 19, 2021: National Seafood Bisque Day. It’s also International Gin and Tonic Day, Rainforest Day, Dress Like a Dork Day, Evaluate Your Life Day (I wouldn’t recommend it), World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day, and, in England, Oxfordshire Day.

Here’s a list of the 15 best places to visit in Oxfordshire, which includes Blenheim Palace (below), built between 1705 and 1722, ancestral home of the Churchills and the birthplace of Winston. It is a World Heritage Site:

News of the Day:

As death approached, Colin L. Powell was still in fighting form.

“I’ve got multiple myeloma cancer, and I’ve got Parkinson’s disease. But otherwise I’m fine,” he said in a July interview.

And he rejected expressions of sorrow at his condition.

“Don’t feel sorry for me, for God’s sakes! I’m [84] years old,” said Powell who died Monday. “I haven’t lost a day of life fighting these two diseases. I’m in good shape.”

From  Bob Woodward’s interview/article on Colin Powell in the WaPo. (The whole piece is fascinating)

Powell also apparently has prostate cancer, so he surely had conditions contributing to his death from Covid, despite being vaccinated.

*Just a reminder: it’s been 272 days since the Bidens moved into the White House, promising to get a First Cat. No First Cat has appeared.

*The big news in Chicago is the vaccine mandate for city employees, which includes the police department. Police had until midnight Friday to report their vaccine status, and as of Monday night only 64% had done so. This could mean that very shortly we’ll lose more than a third of our police, who will either be fired or put on unpaid leave. In other places, possible unemployment has proved a remarkable prod to rolling up your sleeve.  Let’s hope that’s true in Chicago, or we’ll have not a crime wave, but a crime tsunami.  The Mayor and the police unions have all filed lawsuits.

*The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to stay Texas’s enforced-again and draconian anti-abortion law until its constitutionality is resolved by the courts. The Supreme Court could put the case on its docket immediately, but is unlikely to do so until it’s wended its way through lower courts.  They’ve given Texas until Thursday to respond. I think the Dept. of Justice has a very good argument:

“The question now is whether Texas’ nullification of this Court’s precedents should be allowed to continue while the courts consider the United States’ suit. As the district court recognized, it should not,” the Justice Department wrote.

Hell, no!

*If you’re due for a Covid booster, be aware that the FDA may soon approve a “mix and match” approach for vaccines, i.e., you can get any of the Johnson & Johnson, Prizer, or Moderna vaccines as a booster, no matter what jab or jabs you had initially. Approval could come this week, but note that the data are scanty and incomplete, but still better than nothing:

Experts emphasized last week that the new data was based on small groups of volunteers and short-term findings. Only antibody levels — one measure of the immune response — were calculated as part of the preliminary data, not the levels of immune cells primed to attack the coronavirus, which scientists say are also an important measure of a vaccine’s success.

*The NYT reports that the 7-foot plaster statue of Thomas Jefferson that has stood in the Council Chamber inside New York’s City Hall for over 100 years (it’s a replica of a bronze statue standing in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C)., is likely to be removed this week. The reason is, of course, that Jefferson had slaves: reason enough, these days, to not honor him.

The Public Design Commission is expected on Monday to vote on and likely approve a long-term loan of the statue to the New-York Historical Society, after the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus requested that the statue be removed.

The vote is part of a broad, nationwide reckoning over racial inequality highlighted by the murder of George Floyd, the racial disparities further revealed by the coronavirus pandemic, and the sometimes violent debate over whether Confederate monuments should be toppled and discarded.

Though Jefferson, one of the nation’s founding fathers, wrote about equality in the Declaration of Independence, he enslaved more than 600 people and fathered six children with one of them, Sally Hemings.

“How the hell can people see as a hero someone who had hundreds of enslaved Africans, someone who was a racist and who said we were inferior and someone who was a slaveholding pedophile?” said Assemblyman Charles Barron, the former councilman who tried to get the statue removed in 2001. “For him to be canonized in a statue is incredible — incredibly racist.”

Here’s the statue. I’m wondering how long it will be until the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. is torn down.

Photo: Dave Sanders for the New York Times

I would like to hear readers’ opinions on this, so here’s a poll:

Should the statue of Thomas Jefferson in New York's City Hall be removed?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

*The Washington Post published some longevity tips in a new article called, “Want to add healthy years to your life? Here’s what new longevity research says.” I have to confess that I didn’t read the tips as I’d just get anxious because I’ll find that I’m doing everything wrong. But if you want to see what to eat, how to exercise, and other non-obvious tips for living longer, go have a look.

*Here’s a NYT story about the discovery of a stone sculpture by William Edmonson (1874-1951), largely ignored in his lifetime but now one of the most famous “outsider” artists of the century, and the first black person to get a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art.  Art enthusiast John Foster was driving through St. Louis and spotted a ten-inch sculpture sitting on someone’s front porch. He later returned and told the owners that they should get it investigated. Sure enough, it was an Edmonson that had gone missing for 80 years. It’s been acquired by the American Museum of Folk Art in New York, and is worth about a million dollars.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 726,389, an increase of 1,631 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,922,705, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 19 includes:

Here’s an adaptation of Charles Minard’s famous multi-information map of Napoleon’s retreat from Russa with dates, temperatures, and the size of the army as it went to Moscow (blue figure) and on the way back (brownish figure), along with the temperature.  Click to enlarge. And look at that attrition! It was a total disaster for the French.

(From Brittanica) Statistical map of Napoleon’s Russian campaign of 1812 The size of Napoleon’s army during the Russian campaign of 1812 is shown by the dwindling width of the lines of advance (green) and retreat (gold). The retreat information is correlated with a temperature scale shown along the lower portion of the statistical map. Published by Charles Minard in 1869. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

I believe this is the translation of Planck’s first paper on the subject, which of course led to quantum mechanics:

  • 1943 – Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, is isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.

Selman Waksman got a Nobel Prize for this discovery, which was actually made by a graduate student in his lab, Albert Schatz during his Ph.D work. Shatz got overlooked, sued Waksman, and there was a “settlement”. But of course  no settlement can substitute for a Nobel. Wikipedia notes this:

In his accounts on streptomycin discovery, Waksman never mentioned Schatz. When the first clinical trial was performed by Feldman, he did not know that the new drug was discovered by Schatz, and it was much later in Chile (the 1960’s) where he met Schatz that the story was brought up in their conversation. The Lancet commented: “The Nobel committee made a considerable mistake by failing to recognise Schatz’s contribution.”

This is an example of the Matthew Effect.

The invasion of Leyte in the Philippines in 1944 marks the fulfillment of a promise by General Douglas MacArthur, who, when he was driven out by the Japanese in 1942, made the famous vow, “I shall return.” And he did: here he is wading ashore during the first landings on Leyte (he’s the guy in front with the sunglasses):

  • 1950 – Korean War: The Battle of Pyongyang ends in a United Nations victory. Hours later, the Chinese Army begins crossing the border into Korea.
  • 1960 – The United States imposes a near-total trade embargo against Cuba.
  • 1973 – President Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.
  • 1987 – Black Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points.
  • 2003 – Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Oy! She’s now Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Here’s a short segment of a 60 Minutes video from the soldiers who found Hussein’s hidey-hole:

The capture:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1850 – Annie Smith Peck, American mountaineer and academic (d. 1935)
  • 1929 – Lewis Wolpert, South African-English biologist, author, and academic (d. 2021)

What a nice guy and what a good writer Wolpert was. He gets approbation from Richard Dawkins in Dawkins’s latest volume, Books Do Furnish a Life, which I’ll review within a day or so. (Short take: read it!) I set next to him at the 30th anniversary dinner celebrating The Selfish Gene, and he told me all about his severe depression, which he chronicled in the book Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression.

Hard to believe that little Amy is now 53. I could find only one thing she illustrated: her father’s book The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejerbased on a story he told Amy as a child:

At the 2009 meeting of Atheist Alliance International, where I was a speaker, I got to sit at the Big People’s Table with Dawkins, Bill Maher, and Santa Maria, who was dating Maher at the time. I of course noticed her famous Archaeopteryx tattoo:

Those who found eternal peace on October 19 include:

  • 1745 – Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist and essayist (b. 1667)
  • 1937 – Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand-English physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1871)

One of New Zealand’s overproduction of artists and intellects, Rutherford won the Prize for work on radioactive elements, including the discover of half-lives. That work was done at McGill University, where the picture below was taken in 1905. He died of a small hernia that became strangulated, which is one reason I decided to get mine operated on.

Critic Edmund Wilson proposed to her several times (Wikipedia says she took his virginity), but she turned him down

  • 1987 – Jacqueline du Pré, English cellist and educator (b. 1945)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sleeping in:

A: Are you getting up?
Hili: No, it’s still night time.
In Polish:
Ja: Wstajesz?
Hili: Nie, jeszcze jest noc.

And nearby in Wloclawek, Mietek says “hi” (I’m told that the “you” is the plural form in Polish):

Mietek: Well, and how are you?

In Polish: No i co tam u Was?

From Su:

From Stash Krod:

From Jesus of the Day:

Two tweets from Barry. First, Canadian road rage:

. . . and a beautiful butterfly:

From Simon: I know ducks have trouble distinguishing decoys from afar, but this hawk can’t even do it right next to the faux mallard.

A tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial. Many don’t realize that the Nazis engaged in mass murder of Soviet prisoners of war, often in concentration camps.

Tweets from Matthew. I just listened to Sophie Scott’s defense of the beleaguered professor Kathleen Stock, unfairly labeled a transphobe. Professor Scott is passionate, eloquent and, most important, correct.

Maxim also invented the first automatic machine gun, arguably NOT for the good of mankind, but I suppose the list below deliberately ignores that.

I joined this Facebook group, which has the admirable purpose of letting people (and restaurants) in the UK know that diners deserve a decent portion of chips (they are cheap to make). I’m not in the UK, but I like their ceaseless scrutiny of chip portions.

Granny Smiths are by far my favorite apple, as they’re crisp, tart, and actually have FLAVOR. They’re the only apples I buy unless they’re not around. But I never knew there was an actual Granny Smith!

65 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Mitek monologue)

  1. I voted “no” on tj statue removal, but would have like to have had a “hell no” option. It seems like if not for jefferson’s contributions to the framework for what would become a nation, the assemblyman would not be here today in a position to whine about these things. A “You kids get off my lawn!” Moment for me this morning.

  2. I voted no of course but also ask the stupid question, what does it matter. We will be plowing all of history under and then what – say we have no past?

    There are many things I do not like about Jefferson but really, does he care. His politics was all wrong, just ask Hamilton or for that matter, Washington. Some people today might think the same of Colin Powell. All day yesterday it was tributes to the man and rightly so. But he was also in the wrong party and maybe he started to realize this as he got old. I think the republicans used him and he certainly was sorry for that speech at the UN. But he never spoke out about the invasion of Iraq or said that was wrong — not that I recall.

    1. [ joining this specific topic ]

      ““How the hell can people see as a hero someone who had hundreds of enslaved Africans, someone who was a racist and who said we were inferior and someone who was a slaveholding pedophile?””

      Questions :

      1. What people are Mr. Barron referring to?

      2. What time frame is Mr. Barron referring to?

      3. Who has defined Jefferson as a “hero”? I do not recall thinking of him as a “hero”, let alone an idol, or harboring feelings of reverence for his personal life.

      4. What does any of that have to do with one person’s interpretation of a work of art?

      Shall we follow Mr. Barron around Washington D.C. to tell us what the true meaning of all observable art is, and will we need to read any written materials along the way?

      1. I wanted to ask where did that pedophile stuff come from. Far as I know Sally would not put him in that class. I would be much more concerned with the racism in the country today that what Jefferson was doing 250 years ago.

    2. “what does it matter.”

      Yes, which leads to another question :

      “cui bono” – to benefit whom, precisely?

      We are probably operating on the assumption that the statue is headed to retirement, perhaps in a museum, perhaps in a recycling facility. The empty space will be filled with — what, precisely? Should it? I would also assume that yes, the perceived importance of this change would demand SOME _thing_ – object, light, engraved plaque – anything – should be there to Say Something.

      If not – if nothing but empty space – is THAT really the cadence here? Is literally nothing but air really the poignant statement that will satisfy slaves from over a century ago and living descendants of those slaves and their future children? And what will it satisfy?

      1. After they take down the statue they can put a plague there that says, There use to be a statue of Jefferson here. And they can say, Jefferson who?

      2. [ Cannot edit if browser closes ]

        Meant to add “… and their future children *in the United States*”. So not all slaves from all time everywhere – only as slavery pertains to the United States, from the earliest beginnings to today.

      3. The only statues they have somewhat enthusiastic about installing have been of George Floyd. He died under very unfortunate circumstances, but other than that, I cannot imagine what about him they want to honor.
        Perhaps we could agree that the statue of Floyd is not about his personal failings, but what he symbolizes to people. If that is so, then we can say a great deal more about what Jefferson’s statue represents.
        But that would be having a rational dialog, and reasoning things out. Sadly, we are dealing with a group that just want to find excuses to smash stuff.
        As to what they choose to have instead of such things, the last time we drove through New Orleans, the Lee monument, which used to be a pretty bit of architecture and a nice spot for picnics, had turned to a trash-strewn pedestal with the words “Die Whites Die!” spray painted prominently across it.
        I know that many here hate Lee as much as the city government of NY hates Jefferson. I can answer that with the words of Dwight Eisenhower-
        “From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s calibre would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.
        Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.”

        The world is full of places where you can walk what were once the broad avenues of great cities, and try to imagine what they might have looked like before being looted and smashed. There is a persistent human element that always wants to create such places, and a baser element that just wants to destroy them, often out of rage and envy of those who inspire, commission, and create those monuments.

  3. Sir Hiram Maxim’s tombstone has deteriorated a lot since I last visited West Norwood Cemetery, though it’s been quite a while since I lived just around the corner from it. A fascinating place and well worth a visit.

    1. Curious that the list of inventions doesn’t include his most famous one! As Belloc memorialised the first proper machine gun:
      ‘Whatever happens, we have got,
      the Maxim, and they have not’

        1. Yes that was the end of the cavalry as a serious fighting force.
          Their use as ‘finishers’ of wounded enemy soldiers after the battle continued for a while, but that was not really a sustainable sole task, and one with very little panache (I mean, spearing a wounded man lying on the ground? Or skewering a limping, fleeing enemy through the back? Not really honorable).
          It is also the reason the scene of the conquest of Aqaba in the film Laurence of Arabia cannot possibly have been the way depicted.

  4. I like Granny Smith apples best of the varieties that appear in stores these days. My late father lamented that there were many varieties of apple that no longer appear in stores. Certainly, we seem to have only a half dozen in our local supermarket, assuming you count red and green delicious as two different varieties. He particularly like Jonathans. I don’t even seen Macintoshes any more.

    1. I guess I just never could like that green color, in apples or beer. At any rate, my favorite, as a loyal New Yorker, is the Empire (because Dr. Brydon is right: nobody sells the Northern Spy anymore).

  5. The removal of the Jefferson statute from the New York City council chamber is justified totally. While one can at least make an argument that the statue of a slaveholder need not be removed from some areas because of the “good’ things he did and looking at the statue is optional. In this case the chamber is the workplace of the council members, who have no choice but to look at it. Minority members of the council are forced to look at a statue of a person that may have very well enslaved, whipped, sold, and raped their ancestors. To them, they don’t care that he hypocritically wrote words about freedom, liberty, and equality. They are revulsed by the statue; they should not be subjected to looking at it. It’s as if Jews were compelled to look at a statue of Dr. Mengele because his medical experiments on their ancestors may have resulted in advances in medicine.

    1. Somehow, I missed this point entirely (that it was in the council chambers). stupid, stupid stupid. I don’t know how I managed it because now that I re-read the piece, it’s right there. Thanks, Historian, for pulling me up like that. The statue should go. It can be installed somewhere else but it must go. I’d like to take my vote back.


    2. ‘”…are forced to look at a statue of a person that may have very well enslaved, whipped, sold and raped their ancestors.”
      And a person that may very well be their ancestor, even if they are not direct descendants of Sally
      Either Thomas was faithful to his slave girl Sally, and he should then be commended for that, or, more in line with history, sired a lot of children with other slave girls ( Check Laura Betzig)..

    3. Odd. I made a comment here to Historian thanking him for making this point but it appears to have been taken down. I do not believe it violated da roolz in any way, even in spirit, as I was thanking Historian for helping me see a crucial point that I had missed and which changed my mind on this issue. I simply do not understand what I did wrong. This is not the first time. I guess I just rub you the wrong way. Your sandbox, your roolz. I won’t bother you again.

      1. No, it wasn’t taken down, it was in moderation and I didn’t see it until I just got this reminder. It’s now up. I don’t moderate comments 24 hours a day, and sometimes I forget to look.

    4. “Minority members of the council are forced to look at a statue of a person that may have very well enslaved, whipped, sold, and raped their ancestors.”

      How precisely are the ancestors from Jefferson known? How precisely are anyone’s ancestors known? Perhaps anyone might be related to a rapist, or a slave trader, and the records were never kept. How would anyone know at this point – exhumation?

      How many ancestors stem from any other individual memorialized as a piece of art on public property, and is that sufficient to pull down any piece of art on public property? Do federal cemeteries count in that case?

  6. “[Granny] Smith died only a couple of years after her discovery (in 1870), but her work had been noticed by other local planters” – I was reminded of Mary Ann Brailsford, who in 1809 planted the apple pip which grew into the tree from which all Bramley apples are directly descended.

    Mary left the house when she married and possibly never saw the apples that were produced. She died in 1852 never knowing that “her” seedling was to become famous.

    Her tree was still alive and producing fruit more than two centuries after being planted, although according to Wikipedia “[I]t was reported in 2016 that the tree was suffering from a fungal infection and may be dying”.

    1. I remember a very rough skinned, golden brown, flattish apple from a tree in a neighbouring ‘feral’ plot . They were slightly sour and wry, but made the most marvelous apple pies and compôte. Not sure about their name.
      I Thailand i once had a red apple, they called it ‘Chinese apple, with the most delicious fragrance. This was not an apple, but an entirely new fruit!

      Those apples are not easily found (although as a child I found those rough golden ones ordinary, the erroneous judgements in youth). Commercially avaiable here: Golden D, Granny Smith, Fuji,, Top Red, Braeburn and Starking, andcthat’s about it.

        1. Yeah – and whatever happened to cooking apples? (I mean the noun, not the verb.) Used to be you could get these big, tart apples which went all fluffy when cooked. I havent seen them commercially for years.

  7. Re: Longevity. Of course, one of the best things men can do to prolong their life and improve their health is to get castrated. Testosterone is a killer, both in the body and in society. Of course, it’s a tough sell…despite the fact that we do it to our pets regularly and it’s known to make them healthier and happier. I know I haven’t had it done, but I don’t have any very good excuses.


    1. Could a man get castrated for the reason: “I want to prolong my life”? Would that be legal? And if so, would there be surgeons out there willing to do it?

      1. It’s an interesting question. I would think it would be legal as long as the man was not mentally ill. As for the surgeons/urologists to do it…I guess you might have to hunt around, given the prevalence of malpractice suits and so on, but with a good enough contract, I would think it could be possible. It’s not very difficult surgery, when you think about it…nothing like as complicated as a hysterectomy/oophorectomy for women.

        1. I got interested enough to do a quick google. It seems if you don’t have a medical reason, or a wish to change gender, it is impossible to get castrated through normal medical means. Apparently, (and not really surprising) there is a black market for this kind of thing, and it’s considered illegal.

          1. As I understand it, Alabama requires all sex-offenders to do so at their own cost. So, there is one avenue.

          2. That is a hot button.
            We know that castration leads to less aggressive behaviour, and is a treatment for serial rape and child molesting, but advocating that runs against the erroneous narratives:
            – The narrative that rape is not about sex, but about power.
            – And more recently the narrative that the difference in behaviour between the sexes is a social construct..
            Good luck with that.

          3. Indeed, and I should caveat that I heard about it on a podcast and have not independently looked into the issue. I really should have put this in my first comment, poor form of me not to do so.

          4. Wow, I didn’t know about that. I wonder what they do if it’s a minor or a woman? It doesn’t seem Constitutional to me, but it seems the South has all sorts of laws you’d think would be illegal. Maybe no one has tried to sue.

    2. Dr: I have bad news, only 4 to 6 months to live left.
      Patient : Dr, is there nothing I can do to prolong that?
      Dr (hesitation) : well, you should stop smoking those cigars, no smoking. As I’ve been telling you for years…. And stop drinking wine, no alcohol, at all,….,And forget about the ladies, no sex no masturbation even, I recommend castration….. And no more red meat, in fact, no meat at all….and no sweets or sugar….and no strain on the eyes, no Internet, TV or even books….and no hikes or swimming.
      Patient: And if i do all that I’ll live longer?
      Dr : no, but it will appear longer.

  8. Re the Bidens’ not having a First Cat: since they discovered that the dog they adopted was not really that good with humans–with the biting episodes–they may have rethought their decision. A dog who bites humans is likely to inflict much more damage on a cat. So while I was really hoping for a First Cat, I’m willing to give them some slack based on the behavior of the dog. Rather no cat than a dead or mauled one….

    1. Why not call Mr Milan Caesar? He will quickly sort out that pesky doggy
      Would make a great video op. Win- win for all parties involved.

      1. Come to think of it, some of Milan Caesar would undoubtedly help Biden to better handle the rabid dogs on extreme left and right, from Tlaib to McConnell, from Vox to Fox.

  9. Apropos the “paltry chip count” FB group, it’s specific to Wetherspoons, which is a chain of pubs owned by one of the leading advocates of Brexit. In one of life’s more satisfying little ironies, it has been reported recently that the Wetherspoons chain has had major problems getting supplies of beer, due to supply-chain problems after thousands of European truck drivers left Britain in the aftermath of Brexit.

    1. Yes, and were apparently struggling to recruit staff, too. Spoons have their faults, but there are some good aspects too – such as rescuing and renovating dilapidated buildings and using unique (and partially handmade) carpet designs in every pub. They adopted non-smoking areas before legislation was introduced, as well.

    2. What about that count? What use is the count if the quality is not assessed? Better 10 great chips than 30 disgusting ones.
      Toodles! I’m off to Belgium., the birthplace of the ‘ French’ fries. (and they generally serve serious portions too).

  10. I used to like the Granny Smith as a kid, but as I got older the tanginess put me off. Thus I haven’t touched them in decades. Golden Delicious is no.1 for me.

    1. Not criticizing you at all, but to demonstrate subjectivity of taste, Golden Delicious are tied for worst ever for me. Not sure if I dislike Red Delicious or Golden Delicious more, but to me both are lacking in flavor and, worse, are soft and mealy too.

      Really funny thing though, and this took me decades to finally break down and test it, but Golden Delicious are, I must painfully admit, one of the best apples for any kind of baking. I don’t know how that happens, but there it is. Worst for eating raw, best for baking.

    2. I’m lucky to live in Washington which is the apple capital of America, growing 60% of the US supply- apples here are also very diverse. My favorites (which IMO are much better than the tired Granny Smith, Golden/Red Delicious) are Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Pink Lady, gala and fuji (in that order). Honeycrisps also make the best apple juice I’ve ever had.

      1. Our new Cosmic Crisp isn’t half bad either! We really are lucky. I spent a thanksgiving down in Naches a few years ago at a VRBO with a number of apple trees within grabbing distance of the porch. Nothing better than heading out for a crisp morning walk and plucking off a crisp, perfect apple to munch on on the way.

        1. I’ve seen the Cosmic Crisp, but haven’t tried it. I’ll try one next time I need apples from the grocer. Our next door neighbor has an apple tree (don’t know the species) but they are smallish, pink/green and taste like a Braeburn -yum. So as long as I’m getting free apples…

          I’m with you about taking a walk with a fresh tree-picked apple in hand. Though a morning walk might give me sour stomach as apple pectin likes to hurt my empty stomach. Breakfast first! 🙂

          1. I agree, Honeycrisp and Cosmic Crisp are my favorite that can be found at your local grocery store. But the best I’ve ever had was an Arkansas Black I once got from a roadside stand in NC on a trip. Unfortunately I’ve never seen them in a store.

    3. Years ago my aunt told me her favorite apple was Granny Smith. When she also told me that her favorite sandwich was a mustard and onion, I was not particularly surprised. I intend to soon try it in memory of her.

  11. The 1944 landing in Leyte is said to have inspired the apocryphal headline:

    “MacArthur Flies Back To Front”

      1. IIRC (from William Manchester’s “American Caesar”), when MacArthur received a directive from his superiors to take a certain course of action, he’d tell a subordinate, “Take care of it.” If his staff recommended a certain course of action, he’d reply, “Do it!” I.e., thoughtful and deliberate consideration of and decision-making about possible courses of action was apparently generally for others, not him.

        MacArthur about Eisenhower: “Best clerk I ever had.”

        Eisenhower about MacArthur: “I studied dramatics under MacArthur.”

        A WW II Marine vet, not an admirer of MacArthur, told me that at least one of the PT boats evacuating MacArthur from the Philippines carried the MacArthurs’ heavy wooden furniture. So much for his hurried evacuation out of the Philippines. Perhaps a few noncoms could have otherwise also escaped to safety.

  12. Re the Jefferson statue:

    To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

    But also:

    I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one. ― Attributed to Cato in Plutarch, Parallel Lives 19:4.

  13. “The Washington Post published some longevity tips in a new article. . .”

    At 83 I figure I’m allowed to come up with some longevity tips of my own. Here they are:


    “I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.” –Henry David Thoreau

    1. Read the comics strips daily. Skip the ones with too much talking.

    2. Avoid watching the news. If something important happens, you’ll hear about it.

    3. DO what you are doing. Everything else can wait.

    4. Never take offense, even when it’s offered. If a criticism is valid, do something about it; if not, let it go.

    5. Don’t rehearse for bad news. Deal with it when it comes.

    6. Never be afraid to ask for help. Give people a chance to be generous.

    7. Don’t fret about your health. It’s bad for your health.

    8. Ignore name-calling. Better to be a “bigot” than to abandon all semblance of intellectual honesty for fear of being called one.

    9. Don’t track prices. Your attention is worth more than your money.

    10. Trust the universe to give you what you need. Keep in mind that it might not be what you want.

  14. Don’t you just love the way they wrote scientific papers in 1900?! I remember reading one once which began something like this: “On a Sunday evening last October, I made my way across London to my laboratory to undertake some experiments of interest on the frog sciatic nerve.” It read like the opening of a Sherlock Holmes story.

  15. “Don’t you just love the way they wrote scientific papers in 1900?!”

    Indeed! Here is a passage from an article by a Dr. Chenery on the dangers of alcohol as it was used for medicinal purposes in 1891:

    “The effects of alcohol on structure, and so, on functions, marks [sic] it as the most remarkable disturber of the animal body with which we are acquainted. . . . Its ethereal influence, to be sure, are [sic] the lulling wings of the vampire; in this is its mouth applied to the vital fluids. Its anaesthesia is the dummy hand of the thief; here are the concealed fingers which filch the purse. The mental exhilaration it produces is the smiling face of Brutus; this, his bloody hand which plunges the poniard.” (JAMA, 1891;17:833-836. Cited in JAMA, 1991;266:20:2914.)

    In this short passage, Dr. Chenery manages to reveal that he believes in vampires, at least as rhetorical devices, and that he has read Julius Caesar—perhaps a French edition, judging from the “poniard.” Wonderful!

    1. Davisson and Germer kicked off their 1927 paper on electron diffraction with

      The investigation reported in the this paper was begun as the result of an accident that occurred in this laboratory in April 1925.

      Very modest 🙂 They went on to explain that a bottle exploded at high temperature and ruined their nickle sample.

  16. That remarkable Charles Minard graph of Napoleon’s invasion and retreat graphs across the bottom the temperatures for the retreat in degrees Réaumur. The 0,-10,-20,-30 shown convert to 0,-14,-25,-37 in Celsius, and, for my fellow Americans, to 32,9.5,-13,-35 in Fahrenheit. The lowest temperatures reached are REALLY cold, colder than it might appear at first glance.

  17. This statement is false: “Though Jefferson, one of the nation’s founding fathers, wrote about equality in the Declaration of Independence, … and fathered six children with one of them, Sally Hemings.” There is genetic evidence that ONE of Sally Hemming’s children was probably a Jefferson, but there is no evidence that Thomas Jefferson was the father or that any of her other children are related to the Jefferson family.

  18. ”Granny Smiths are by far my favorite apple, as they’re crisp, tart, and actually have FLAVOR”

    I actually had both a Granny Smith (after my grandmother remarried, to Mr. Smith (he was always called that; I don’t even know his first name) and an Uncle Sam.

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