Saturday: Hili dialogue

December 11, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Caturday: December 11, 2021. It’s National “Have a Bagel” Day, which is great, but why the scare quotes? Are you supposed to do something with the bagel rather than “have” it? Imagine if you wrote to a Christian that It’s “Christmas” Day. .

If you’re going to EAT a bagel, try to find a real one, though it’s impossible outside of New York City or Montreal. Here’s one I got from the famous Fairmount Bakery in Montreal, complete with schmear. It was great:


It’s also National Noodle Ring Day, Gingerbread Decorating Day, National App Day, Holiday Food Drive for Needy Animals DayIndiana Day, celebrating the state’s admission into the Union in 1816, International Mountain Day, and, in Argentina, National Tango Day.

Now you ask, “What exactly is a Noodle Ring”? It’s a noodle casserole in a torus shape; I’ve put a noxious version below and you can find a recipe for turkey noodle ring here.

This is a Kosher Pecan Noodle Ring. Yuk! The recipe above is for a better noodle ring (it can’t be kosher if there’s meat and dairy together).


News of the Day:

*The Supreme Court has given people challenging Texas’s new antiabortion law what the New York Times calls “both a minor victory for and a major disappointment to supporters of abortion rights.” The minor victory is that the Supremes have allowed opponents of the law to sue some state officials in federal court. (You may remember that the law was designed to prevent such lawsuits.) But the major disappointment is that the Court also allowed the Texas law to remain in effect, so there will be no abortions in Texas until the court rules on the Mississippi law next summer, and after that there still will be no abortions in Texas and many other states aftr the Court strikes down Roe v. Wade. It is now clear that this is what they are going to do, and why they’re preventing “fetal murder” until their ruling is issued.

*A big story at the Associated Press site is the continuing search for how the Covid virus got into humans. Understanding that transition may be critical in forestalling future pandemics. There are two competing theories: the “zoonotic” theory that the virus entered our species through direct contact between humans and animals (likely bats), or the “lab-leak” theory that the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan. The AP story says that most scientists now favor the zoonotic scenario, though some still favor the lab-leak idea. An excerpt:

Most scientists believe it emerged in the wild and jumped from bats to humans, either directly or through another animal. Others theorize it escaped from a Chinese lab.

Now, with the global COVID-19 death toll surpassing 5.2 million on the second anniversary of the earliest human cases, a growing chorus of scientists is trying to keep the focus on what they regard as the more plausible “zoonotic,” or animal-to-human, theory, in the hope that what’s learned will help humankind fend off new viruses and variants.

“The lab-leak scenario gets a lot of attention, you know, on places like Twitter,” but “there’s no evidence that this virus was in a lab,” said University of Utah scientist Stephen Goldstein, who with 20 others wrote an article in the journal Cell in August laying out evidence for animal origin.

Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona who contributed to the article, said he always thought zoonotic transmission was more likely than a lab leak but had signed a letter with other scientists last spring saying both theories were viable. Since then, he said, his own and others’ research has made him even more confident about the animal hypothesis, which is “just way more supported by the data.”

*The Washington Times reports that—and here I can give only a bit of a paywalled article—some Democrats are denying the existence of recent “flash mob” shopliftings, which are almost a daily occurrence in Chicago and are often in the evening news:

Democrats on Capitol Hill are flummoxed by the waves of smash-and-grab retail thefts in their states, with some denying it’s happening and others saying they are not ready to make major shoplifting a felony.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, said retailers could be fabricating the rash of smash-and-grab burglaries and “flash mob” shoplifting sprees.

“We have to talk about specifics because, for example, we’re actually seeing a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out,” she told The Washington Times. “I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up.”

WHAT???  The facts:

Organized crime theft slammed big-box retail stores including Apple, Nordstrom and Home Depot in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and other cities, according to police reports.

The numbers spiked with the onset of the holiday shopping season. Brazen organized burglaries were reported across the U.S. on Black Friday and again Saturday.

*Fun in Finland: The BBC reports that Sanna Marin, Finland’s Prime Minister, went clubbing in Helsinki last Saturday, but left her phone at home. She thus missed an urgent text telling her to go into isolation as one of her colleagues had tested positive for Covid. Fortunately, her own quickly conducted test showed she was virus free. Although this could have endangered those in the club, it’s pretty funny. A PM goes clubbing and forgets her phone! Here she is:

*Over at The Panda’s Thumb, Nick Matzke gives sad news: the Woke have won the battle to de-name the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. The victim was Thomas Henry Huxley demonized as a racist, and Matzke recounts his video testimony at the renaming hearing. Matzke also happens to know his onions about Huxley, and knows that Huxley was no racist. Further, he was for women’s rights and became anti-racist and pro-working-class later in his life. Four other people give their testimony against denaming, too. A bit of Nick’s commentary:

Huxley is an inspiration for me as the original public advocate for science, science education, and science-informed liberalism.

In my science-education work, I have seen first-hand the damage that can be done when ideology trumps careful scholarship. Misinformation spreads, trust in science declines, particularly in vulnerable communities – as we have seen with vaccine hesitancy, for instance.

In Western’s case, we have the bizarre situation where the discussion of Huxley was dominated for over a year by social justice activists relying on anti-Huxley propaganda found on right-wing creationist and conspiracist websites, including a Discovery Institute author. Thankfully, this has finally been tacitly admitted, with the last-minute “Ad Hoc” committee report excising nearly all of the claims now proven false about Huxley being a polygenist, scientific racist, social Darwinist, eugenicist, etc. Nevertheless, this new Report still recommends the de-naming of Huxley, based on nothing but the premise that student perceptions of Huxley trump the actual facts and context of Huxley’s record.

Alas, ’tis true, ’tis true: the Woke have triumphed again.

*According to a Rolling Stone announcement, Michael Nesmith of the Monkees has died at 78 from “natural causes”. (Wikipedia, though, reports that he had a quadruple bypass in 2018.) Nesmith is one of two Monkees who shares my birthday, December 30. Can you name the other? I didn’t think so.

I like only one Monkees song, “Sleepy Jean,” and only one solo Nesmith song, “Joanne“, but I really like Joanne, a hybrid country/pop ballad. Here he is singing it live in 1992, and you should compare it to the released version, which has more country, and is in fact better. (I like to show live performances.)

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 795,301, an increase of 1,310 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,314,743, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on December 11 includes:

That’s because it’s “Indiana Day”; on what other day could they become a state?

  • 1901 – Guglielmo Marconi transmits the first transatlantic radio signal from Poldhu, Cornwall, England to Saint John’s, Newfoundland.

Marconi used a kite to hoist the antenna of the receiver in Newfoundland. Here’s a photo (caption from Wikipedia):

Marconi watching associates raising the kite (a “Levitor” by B.F.S. Baden-Powell[47]) used to lift the antenna at St. John’s, Newfoundland, December 1901\

but his may be wrong! From Wikipedia:

. . . . there also was—and continues to be—considerable scepticism about this claim. The exact wavelength used is not known, but it is fairly reliably determined to have been in the neighbourhood of 350 meters (frequency ≈ 850 kHz). The tests took place at a time of day during which the entire transatlantic path was in daylight. It is now known (although Marconi did not know then) that this was the worst possible choice. At this medium wavelength, long-distance transmission in the daytime is not possible because of heavy absorption of the skywave in the ionosphere. It was not a blind test; Marconi knew in advance to listen for a repetitive signal of three clicks, signifying the Morse code letter S. The clicks were reported to have been heard faintly and sporadically. There was no independent confirmation of the reported reception, and the transmissions were difficult to distinguish from atmospheric noise. A detailed technical review of Marconi’s early transatlantic work appears in John S. Belrose’s work of 1995. The Poldhu transmitter was a two-stage circuit.

Here’s a contemporary video of Allenby entering on foot:

A newsreel about the abdication (including Edward’s own announcement), which greatly unsettled the Brits!

  • 1941 – World War II: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States, following the Americans’ declaration of war on the Empire of Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States, in turn, declares war on them.
  • 1941 – World War II: Poland declares war on the Empire of Japan.
  • 1962 – Arthur Lucas, convicted of murder, is the last person to be executed in Canada.

Lucas was actually a black man from Georgia, but the murders were committed in Canada. He was hanged. A photo:

Here’s Che’s short speech.

  • 1978 – The Lufthansa heist is committed by a group led by Lucchese family associate Jimmy Burke. It was the largest cash robbery ever committed on American soil, at that time.
  • 1994 – First Chechen War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin orders Russian troops into Chechnya.
  • 2006 – The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust is opened in Tehran, Iran, by then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; nations such as Israel and the United States express concern.
  • 2008 – Bernard Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Here’s Bernie Madoff’s “perp walk” as he enters court on March 12,  2009. He died in prison of kidney disease in April of this year

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1803 – Hector Berlioz, French composer, conductor, and critic (d. 1869)
  • 1843 – Robert Koch, German microbiologist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1910)

Koch, regarded as the father of modern bacteriology, discovered the bacterium that caused anthrax. Here he is:

  • 1882 – Max Born, German physicist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1970)

He got the Prize for his work on quantum mechanics. But look at this litany of his students and associates:

[Born’s] influence extended far beyond his own research. Max DelbrückSiegfried FlüggeFriedrich HundPascual JordanMaria Goeppert-MayerLothar Wolfgang NordheimRobert Oppenheimer, and Victor Weisskopf all received their Ph.D. degrees under Born at Göttingen, and his assistants included Enrico Fermi, Werner Heisenberg, Gerhard Herzberg, Friedrich Hund, Pascual Jordan, Wolfgang PauliLéon RosenfeldEdward Teller, and Eugene Wigner.


  • 1908 – Amon Göth, Austrian Nazi war criminal (d. 1946)

Here’s Göth, who ran a concentration camp in Poland. He was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in the movie “Schindler’s List”. His mugshot:

And a video about him that shows his hanging at the end. There were two failed attempts to hang him before they succeeded. If you don’t want to watch a man die at the gallows, don’t watch:


  • 1931 – Rita Moreno, Puerto Rican-American actress, singer, and dancer
  • 1938 – McCoy Tyner, American jazz musician (d. 2020)
  • 1939 – Tom Hayden, American activist and politician (d. 2016)
  • 1943 – John Kerry, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 68th United States Secretary of State
  • 1944 – Brenda Lee, American singer-songwriter
  • 1968 – Emmanuelle Charpentier, French researcher in microbiology, genetics and biochemistry, and Nobel laureate

She got it for her work on the CRISPR system of editing DNA, along with Jennifer Doudna. Here’s Charpentier:

Infection Medicine, CRISPR-Cas9, Regulation in Infection Biology
  • 1996 – Hailee Steinfeld, American actress, singer and songwriter

Notables who made their egress from existence on December 11 were few, and include:

  • 1938 – Christian Lous Lange, Norwegian historian and educator, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1869)
  • 1964 – Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter (b. 1931)

Cooke wrote and performed what I consider one of the best soul songs ever, and surely the best civil-rights song, “A Change is Gonna Come.” (1964)  Listen to it! (I can’t find any live performances.)

A verse from the song:

It’s been too hard living
But I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there
Beyond the sky

And a comparable verse from “Ol’ Man River” (Kern and Hammerstein, 1927):

I gets weary, and sick of trying
I’m tired of livin’, but I’m scared of dyin’
But ol’ man river, he just keeps rolin’ along

  • 2012 – Ravi Shankar, Indian-American sitar player and composer (b. 1920)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has been reading Sam Harris again:

A: Are you in the wardrobe again?
Hili: Yes, I’m meditating.
In Polish:
Ja: Znowu jesteś w szafie?
Hili: Tak, medytuję.
And a photo of Kulka from Paulina:

A Christmas meme from Bruce:

Check your cat against this handy weight gauge:

From the Not Another Science Cat page:

Reader Simon informed me thatTitania is back on Twitter! Her tweet about the French actor Juicy Smollyé:

A tweet from Luana: How quickly people jump to judgment in support of their ideology!

From Simon, who notes that heathen wildlife are part of the War on Christmas:

From Ginger K.. How screwed up it sounds when being told to a shrink!

Tweets from Matthew. He found a whole thread on DUCKS! The first one below is a black Indian Runner Duck, the second a Call Duck. There are more if you to to the thread.

Look at the biceps on this beetle!

A political tweet from Ziya Tong, who goes by “Earthling”:

50 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, said retailers could be fabricating the rash of smash-and-grab burglaries and “flash mob” shoplifting sprees.

    Let me guess, she totally believes Jussie Smollett.

  2. As I look out my window and at my neighbors’ yards down the street, the question arises: did the bear declare war on Xmas, or is it war on poor taste?

    1. My favourite Monkees song is “Sleepy Jean”, too, because our own sweetheart Anne Murray covered it, although at the time she appealed more to a somewhat older crowd. Long retired from her Las Vegas show, she still gets recognized now and then in the grocery store in Markham. Ah, fame.

      I think the scare quotes around “Have a Bagel” are just to make it clear that the whole imperative clause applies to the Day as a separate syntactic unit, otherwise people would be wondering where they could go to find a bagel-day. “Have a Bagel” is after all presumably a direct quotation, like “Kiss me, I’m Irish.”

      Edit: This was meant to be a free-standing comment, not a response to enl at #2.

  3. I am not on tw@tter or prik tok, arsebook, or any other antisocial media so I don’t know exactly how to tell, but when we’re those heinous comments made about Juicy Smollye? We’re they definitely following the recent verdict or when the fake attack happened? Harris and Biden are just listed as “United States government officials” rather the VP and President, which I would have expected. Not to defend their pathetic woke pandering that has really put me off (if they care so much about gay or women’s rights, abandoning the lgbt and women of Afghanistan is a funny way to show it) but I can forgive someone for standing up for Juicy when we didn’t know the whole bullshit story.

      1. Cropping the dates off all but two of the tweets seems dishonest to me since the timing of the messages matters a lot to their interpretation.

      2. Thank you for clarification. Dare I ask what, if anything, Biden has said since the verdict? I expect nothing but nonsense from AOC and fellow ideologues but I still have a sliver of hope that Joe’s cheese hasn’t completely slid of his old and moldy cracker.

    1. The fact that these were “at the time” Tweets doesn’t fully excuse them. Of the thousands of crimes committed every day, such notables very much pick and choose which ones to Tweet about, and they pick in order to further their agenda (that the US is plagued with rampant racism).

      The fact that they do this credulously is notable (and yes, given how often such incidents turn out to be hoaxes, they should factor that possibility in before choosing to comment).

  4. The Washington Times article on the smash-and-grab phenomenon mentions four Democratic politicians: AOC, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. Only AOC is cited as doubting its existence. Durbin says that to prevent such crimes, the goal should be to crack down on the resellers of the stolen merchandise. He has sponsored a bill with Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to aid in this effort. Cardin and Feinstein have called for tougher measures against the criminals.

    So, if the article is to be believed, it is AOC once again out of step with mainstream Democrats. Of course, Republicans always find it useful to attempt to make AOC the “face” of the Democratic Party. The substance of the Washington Times article is really quite moderate.

  5. Regarding origin story for sars cov2 in humans, I have found it annoying that the media refers both to lab origin and zoonotic spillover origin as theories, a word which might confer equal legitimacy in the mind of the lay watcher, listener or reader. Based on past emerging diseases events, I have suggested using theory with zoonotic spillover and a weaker “hypothesis” to refer to lab leak. Sorry if my confirmation bias is showing. However, I like Goldstein’s use of the word “scenario” for both at this stage. And speaking of confirmation bias, it appears that the lab origin scenario is a product of the scientists and others in the Intelligence community while the zoonotic spillover comes from the science research community. I liked the Cell journal article from back in August.

  6. Random thoughts:
    1. Never heard ‘chonk’ used that way. To me, it is ghee tempered with spices and drizzled over curry
    2. Fresh bagels are the best. A lot of work, but to make them at home (just like croissants) is to experience heaven on earth.
    3. If they ever bring back hanging, let’s hope they use the ‘long drop’ method
    4. For the sake of both sides of the question, I recommend Ridley & Chan’s book “Viral”. It makes one think twice before dismissing the lab leak hypothesis.

  7. Amon Goth, that poor human justice to war criminals, criminals against humanity.
    But what else can you do?
    Become like criminals and torture them for years?
    I do not think so.
    So maybe it’s the fault of someone who could end this hell effortlessly but didn’t?

  8. It seems some people here are more interested in what AOC is doing and saying that just about anyone else. So much power she seems to have on some.

    Meanwhile the robed catholics have just about made themselves irrelevant for any future attempts to judge anything. Now they have brought back John C Calhoon and overturned Constitutional law. Even Roberts realizes what a joke they have become. Maybe next we will. have slavery again.

    1. In other news more than 32 tornadoes last night through many states. Probably more than 50 dead. Kentucky appears to be the worst.

    2. It is like a great mystery of faith, why you cannot enslave people, no people, especially those who built the mined bridge and without whom the bridge explodes by itself?

  9. 1. Well covered by commenters above, but my reaction to the “Libs of Tik Tok” thing retweeted by Bari Weiss was that most or all of the items were “day of” comments– Joe Biden’s actually says “happened today”– which makes them largely unremarkable. I don’t tweet, but if you do, expressing sympathy for the victim of a widely reported crime is not outré or indicative of gullibility. A week or two later, as Smollett’s account unraveled, or now, after his conviction, is another story.

    2. There seems to be some confusion in the reporting of the origin of SARS-CoV-2. There are two theories as to how it originated: it was created in the lab; or it arose in animals and jumped to humans. If the latter is true, there are two theories as to where it made the jump to humans: accidentally in the lab; or in “nature”, with the Wuhan market a prominent suspect. Both of the latter theories are zoonotic, and thus “zoonotic” does not distinguish “lab leak” from “in nature”. The scientists quoted in the AP piece almost certainly know the distinction, but it is not made clear in the reporting.

    The “created in the lab” theory was seriously entertained early on (by, for example, David Baltimore), but is now largely discredited. Contrasting a “lab theory” to an “animal theory” is too easily seen as alluding to this earlier debate, and not to the current debate over the site of transmission from animals to humans.

    3. We all owe thanks to Nick Matzke for his determined, if ultimately unsuccessful, battle for the reputation of T.H. Huxley, one of the most progressive intellectuals of the 19th century, and for intellectual honesty in the 21st century. Thanks, Nick– the right side always loses some battles, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth fighting, or that the larger struggle will not end in triumph.


    1. Well said about Nick Matzke, Greg. That his thoughtful and powerful defence of Huxley was ignored speaks volumes about the administration at Western Washington University.

  10. Can’t say I liked much of the Monkee’s business, but we almost wore out the VHS tape of Nesmith’s music/comedy film “Elephant Parts,” (1981!), seemingly previewing the whole MTV/music video era. There were a couple of really good ones, including a young Hulk Hogan in “Cruisin”. I especially liked “Rio.” Easily found on youtube.

      1. This kind of “invention” always mystifies me. The only real ingenuity is taking the risk that creating a cable channel devoted to them will be profitable. Or is it the idea of using scantily clad dancing women to enhance the performance that’s the true breakthrough?

  11. Is there a separate song called “Sleepy Jean” by the Monkees? I thought the song with the line “cheer up, sleepy Jean” was called “Daydream Believer”. Maybe there’s some group-related reference, so it’s used in more than one song, and I am unaware of it? I’m being serious. I wouldn’t say I know all the Monkees’ songs, but my brother and sister and I did watch the show quite regularly when I was little, and I feel like I’m losing my memory or something.

    1. You are correct. Anne Murray’s cover was “Daydream Believer” and I did not know at the time that it was even a Monkees song.

  12. 1978 – The Lufthansa heist is committed by a group led by Lucchese family associate Jimmy Burke. It was the largest cash robbery ever committed on American soil, at that time.

    Somebody was happy to hear the news:

  13. The “Oh Lawd He Comin” phrase is ubiquitous now on the internet, labeling all kinds of fat things that really aren’t scary. Seeing it here made me wonder about its origin. Turns out that the cat chonk chart IS its origin! Learn something new every day.

  14. ” You can’t get a bad meal at an Italian restaurant” has been dispelled

    The article refers to the Chef’s response (in this article the three page response is near the end) the response has three drawings — a sketch, a classical tempera, on the last page a type of impressionism inspired of a man and a horse.

    In my mind he created macabre dishes. Eg. eating custer out of a plaster cast of the Chef’s mouth, eating a drop of concentrated protein on a sauce, eating an air treat, drinking shots of vinegar, and clearing the pallet with olive oil ice cream.

    While I would have thought he would have talked about flavors or textures, he sits his food under the umbrella of Avanti-Guard cuisine.

  15. BAGELS

    I don’t know how the myth about superior bagels in NY was perpetuated, but as a many decades bagel- eater, I would defy anyone to state that those around Greater Boston, etc., cannot compete favorably.
    Certainly much of this depends on individual taste, but I know of a few great bakers around Mass.

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