Sunday: Hili dialogue

January 2, 2022 • 7:00 am

Welcome to the second day of 2022: Sunday, January 2, 2022. It’s National Buffet Day, and I’m a big fan of good buffets. In Chicago we have several good Indian buffets with pretty authentic food.

Here’s a photo of one I like; the appetizer bit is around the far corner (salad, pakhora, samosa, etc.) and the dessert bit (closer to you) isn’t shown. It has mango kulfi,  kheer, and sometimes gulab jamun. Freshly cooked naan and tandoori chicken are included and served at the table.

My favorite food-review vlogger on YouTube is Mike Chen, who not only likes good food, but lots of it.  Here he reviews a restaurant I used to frequent until it closed. It’s apparently open again on weekends, and I must return. It’s an all-you-can-eat Polish buffet called the Red Apple, and the food is not only copious, but well prepared (and, of course) heavy. He also goes to Giordano’s for stuffed pizza, which is my favorite style of Chicago pizza and is, in fact, the best pizza I’ve ever had.

It’s also National Cream Puff Day, Swiss Cheese Day, National Science Fiction Day, World Introvert Day, 55 MPH Speed Limit Day (it was on January 2, 1974 that Tricky Dick lowered the speed limit throughout the U.S.), and, last but not least, Happy Mew Year for Cats Day.

If you’re in Scotland, it would normally be New Year Holiday (Scotland), but since it’s Sunday, the holiday moves to tomorrow, January 3.

News of the Day:

*There’s not much to tell: Covid-19 is still raging, but pundits are saying that the latest surge, which has a lower death rate than the previous ones, will be over by the end of January. Even so, 2,500 flights were cancelled in the U.S. yesterday, and people have been stuck for days waiting to get back home:

The industry canceled thousands of trips, about 5.7 percent of all scheduled flights, in the week ending on Friday, according to FlightAware, an aviation data provider. Every major U.S. carrier made deep cuts on Saturday, too. Nearly half the cancellations were concentrated at Chicago’s two airports, where heavy snow and strong winds were expected throughout the day into Sunday.

Yep, and it’s coming down hard as I write this on Saturday afternoon.  This morning, snow is everywhere and it hasn’t been plowed, but it’s stopped at what I’d say is three inches.

Botany Pond hasn’t yet frozen over, and yesterday we had our two tamest ducks—Cyndi and Charlie—still in residence. (Both of them now eat from our hands.) The other ducks have gradually left as we cut off the food, but I needed to feed up this pair today to withstand the snow. They may overwinter here, and it’s a good thing I ordered an extra fifty pounds of duck pellets.

*Oh, and covid has finally reached the last possible continent. Click on the link to read (h/t: Matthew). Everybody was offered evacuation, but all wanted to stay. The cases don’t appear to be serious. (Everyone, of course, was already vaccinated.)

*If you (or Joe Biden) thought the country would come together after the last election, you’re dead wrong–but you knew that already. A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll shows the divisions are as deep as ever. One statistic that shocked me was this: 34% of Americans—more than one in three—think that violence against the government is sometimes justified. (Most of these are of course Republicans.) There’s more:

One year after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided over what happened that day and the degree to which former president Donald Trump bears responsibility for the assault, amid more universal signs of flagging pride in the workings of democracy at home, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Partisan divisions related both to the Jan. 6 assault and the 2020 presidential election color nearly every issue raised in the survey, from how much violence occurred at the Capitol that day to the severity of the sentences handed down to convicted protesters to whether President Biden was legitimately elected. Only on a question about injured law enforcement officers is there broad bipartisan agreement.

The percentage of Americans who say violent action against the governmentis justified at times stands at 34 percent, which is considerably higher than in past polls by The Post or other major news organizations dating back more than two decades. Again, the view is partisan: The new survey finds 40 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats saying violence is sometimes justified.

Still, 23% of Democrats? What kind of violence are they thinking about?

Our one hope for reconciliation is to follow the model of Lovettesville, Virginia, a paradigm of civility.

*At the beginning of each year, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd lets her brother, a Republican, take over her column. As she says in the intro to “Trigger warning: It’s my brother’s turn again“:

I have gotten emails asking me not to run my brother Kevin’s annual column this past year. And I have gotten emails asking me to please run Kevin’s column. I prefer to let people know what Republicans like Kevin are thinking. So here he is:

I agree with her decision. Kevin isn’t a loon, but he’s typical of many Republicans, and you should know what he thinks. An excerpt:

I hope Trump does not run. He can do a lot more for the party as an advocate than a candidate. Like him or not, some of his policies were working: accords between Arab countries and Israel, Iran on its heels, China chastened, the border fence going up, low unemployment, a strong economy and best of all, low energy prices and higher wages.

Biden swept into the presidency on a wave of hope, a friendly press and a highly disliked opponent. He had run as a moderate, a creature of the Senate and a unifier, promising a return to normalcy.

Donald Trump’s bungled effort to overturn the election and the ill-advised rally that ended with an attack on the Capitol further raised Biden’s standing.

Once he became president, everything changed. Like one of the residents of Santa Mira, the fictional town in Don Siegel’s 1956 masterpiece, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Biden looked the same but his actions revealed a startling transformation.

The moderate Joe Biden was gone. The sweeping changes he proposed in the first few months sounded more like Bernie Sanders. Many of them backfired, severely damaging his early support.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 824,190 an increase of 1,240 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,458,448, an increase of about 3,500 over yesterday’s total. I’m betting that, in the end, we’ll have over a million deaths.

Stuff that happened on January 2 includes:

  • 366 – The Alemanni cross the frozen Rhine in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire
  • 1900 – American statesman and diplomat John Hay announces the Open Door Policy to promote trade with China.
  • 1920 – The second Palmer Raid, ordered by the US Department of Justice, results in 6,000 suspected communists and anarchists being arrested and held without trial.

Here are some of the suspected commies and anarchists awaiting deportation hearings on Ellis Island on January 13, 1920. They look pretty shady. . .

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

This was the first play to use the word “robot”, which the author invented. Here’s a scene from the play showing three robots:

  • 1967 – Ronald Reagan, past movie actor and future President of the United States, is sworn in as Governor of California.
  • 1974 – United States President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo. [See above]
  • 1991 – Sharon Pratt Kelly becomes the first African American woman mayor of a major city and first woman Mayor of the District of Columbia.

Kelly ran the city for four years, but was not re-elected because of a swelling deficit and reports that she was using a lot of taxpayer money for frivolous purposes, including $14,000 for her makeup artist):

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s his famous painting “The Death of Procris” (ca. 1495), showing a satyr mourning a nymph. Sadly, there are also FOUR d*gs in the painting:

Cherry-Garrard was one of the three men who undertook the trek described in the book The Worst Journey in the World. It recounts their attempt to get three Emperor penguin eggs to study development (they hoped to find embryos with reptilian features). It’s a great book, but what a horrifying trip in the dark Antarctic winter. It was so cold that their teeth shattered! It’s one of the great classics of travel literature. Here are the three ready to go: left to right Henry Bowers, Edward Wilson, and Cherry-Garrard.  I have a lecture that describes their journey in my Antarctica talks. (They got three penguin eggs, but nobody was arsed to examine them.)

Five weeks pass, and the men return. Their first meal after arriving back at Scott’s hut. They are clearly on their uppers:

  • 1909 – Barry Goldwater, American politician, businessman, and author (d. 1998)
  • 1920(probable) – Isaac Asimov, American writer and professor of biochemistry (d. 1992)

His birthdate is unknown because he was born in Russia.

  • 1936 – Roger Miller, American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor (d. 1992)
  • 1940 – Jim Bakker, American televangelist
  • 1969 – Christy Turlington, American model

The choice of “most beautiful supermodel” by other models:

The subject:

Those who presented their credentials at the Pearly Gates on January 2 include:

  • 1953 – Guccio Gucci, Italian businessman and fashion designer, founder of Gucci (b. 1881)
  • 1977 – Erroll Garner, American pianist and composer (b. 1921)
  • 2005 – Maclyn McCarty, American geneticist and physician (b. 1911)

McCarty was one of three authors who, in 1944, published the paper implicating that DNA was the heredity material (it could have been something else, like protein). I think the trio should have won the Nobel Prize, but alas, they didn’t. First the paper, then McCarty greeting Watson and Crick:

  • 2019 – Daryl Dragon, American musician (b. 1942)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is giving Szaron the stinkeye:

A: Why are you looking at him like that?
Hili: Because his bowl is empty and mine is full.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu tak na niego patrzysz?
Hili: Bo jego miseczka jest pusta, a moja pełna.

A meme from Bruce:

One from Moochie:

From Diana:

God’s New Year’s resolutions:

From Barry, who says, “Since when does a cat, any cat, like fruit?” But I seem to remember that some readers have melon-loving cats. Sound up to hear the purring:

From Ginger K.:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a fun alternative to domino-toppling:

The scutellum of a beetle, greatly magnified. I’ve added a picture of a generalized beetle below it showing the scutellum, which in beetles and true bugs (Hemiptera) is a triangular portion of the thorax.

The scutellum is #9;

Orangs are just like us when they have a cuppa:

Matthew said he got this from a tweet by The Dodo:

This is fantastic. Cat builds nest for pregnant staff to her baby! Sound up!

The video from the tweet above.


Watch till the end to see her finish result 😍 #cats #catsoftiktok #cat #baby #fyp #love #nesting #catlover #incredible

♬ original sound – Samantha M Smith

52 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Some potentially good news about Omicron, although the studies have yet to be peer-reviewed:

    A growing body of evidence indicates that the Omicron Covid variant is more likely to infect the throat than the lungs, which scientists believe may explain why it appears to be more infectious but less deadly than other versions of the virus. Six studies – four published since Christmas Eve – have found that Omicron does not damage people’s lungs as much as the Delta and other previous variants of Covid.

  2. For anyone who might be interested in knowing/learning more of what the cult is doing I would recommend Barton Gellmon, who writes for the Atlantic. He previously predicted what happened after the last election and more currently – Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun.

      1. Attempted coup. That’s going to be the GOP’s last-ditch defense. It didn’t work so it’s so unfair to call it a coup. It was just some people having a little fun.

  3. World Introvert Day: From my former NASA engineer boss years ago:
    Q: What is the difference between an introvert engineer and an extrovert engineer?
    A: An introvert engineer stares at his feet when he talks to you; an extrovert engineer stares at YOUR feet when he talks to you.
    I’ll be here all week folks!

    A good five minute discussion of the new CDC guidelines (relaxed) on isolation after Covid exposure or positive test that came out last week starts at about 3:00 minutes into Dr Dan Griffin’s Update #95 (TWiV 848). He and Vince discuss this sea change in strategic thinking by FDA that is evidenced by the new guidance. Update #95 can be found at.

  4. Still, 23% of Democrats? What kind of violence are they thinking about?

    If I was an American and I was asked that question, I’d probably say yes, because I would be a citizen of a nation that was born through an act of violence against the government.

    1. If one knows the history of the thing we might say who started the violence in the first place. You might want to reconsider. If that does not get it for you – there is a difference between war with another country and war with yourself.

      1. Before the American Revolution, the colonies were governed by the British government. The Revolution was a war by some subjects of the British crown against the British crown. There’s no question but that it was an act of violence against the government.

        You imply that it was justified. OK fine, but that is what the question was about. If you think the Revolutionary War was justified, you must answer yes to the survey question.

        1. The war for independence was necessary but as to who started it, who caused it – the British. I have never seen it anywhere listed as a civil war. To call us subjects is to call us unequal. We were never considered citizens. The British government refused equality while demanding money. The King had long since written us off before the declaration of Independence was written. Good lord man, the British had already attacked us in Mass. and taken over Boston. They then when crawling back to England and send an Armada to New York. You can read about it if you care.

          1. It doesn’t matter who started it and whether it was necessary. It doesn’t matter whether you call it a civil war or not (although the word “revolution” is a bit of a giveaway).

            I’m not disputing your assertion that it was justified. I’m not even disputing your assertion that the British government started it. All I am saying is that, if you say the revolution was justified, you must answer yes to the survey question.

            I can give other examples as to why you should answer yes, if you like.

            Would you say that a violent uprising against the government of North Korea is justified? What about the attempts to assassinate Hitler during the Second World War? What about a hypothetical future US government that dismantles the democratic machinery and institutes a dictatorship?

            1. All of your it doesn’t matter and what-a-bouts just means you lost this one. You have no idea what you are talking about. Violent uprising against North Korea and Hitler, please give us a break. Stop being foolish, we will be thrown off the site.

              1. I’m making a serious point about why 23% of Democrats might have answered yes to a particular survey question and why it is not really anything to be concerned about.. That’s all I’m doing.

                I’m not disagreeing with anything you have said, except for the personal insults.

              2. 1) If you were asked

                Is violent action against the government, at times, justified?

                how would you respond? ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘No opinion’? Note that I am not claiming that the question is sufficiently well defined. That is why there is a third response.

                2) Do you think the French Revolution was a violent act against the government? Once again, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘No opinion’.

                3) Do you think your comment of

                You have no idea what you are talking about.

                was a violation of the roolz? Once again, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘No opinion’ 🙂

        2. Exactly. I wondered if someone was going to make that point.

          “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
          Why, if it doth prosper, none dare call it treason.”

          1. Right-wing cold warrior John A. Stormer took the last clause of Harrington’s quote — “None Dare Call It Treason” — as the title of the anti-communist tract he wrote during the 1964 presidential campaign of today’s birthday boy Barry Goldwater — a prototypical example of the paranoid style in American politics.

            Goldwater (who had many friends in the John Birch Society and had advocated the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Vietnam) was himself considered far right in 1964, though by the standards of today’s GOP, he’d be called a RINO.

        3. It is beyond dispute that the American colonies were part of the British Empire, thereby by law and tradition giving the Crown the right to impose laws on them. After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, the Crown decided that the colonies should pay more for their common defense as well as be subject to laws that restricted western expansion to prevent the colonists from coming into conflict with the Native Americans. Prior to this time, the Crown chose largely not to impose its will on the colonies, leaving them to more or less run their own affairs. Indeed, most colonists were ardent British patriots until after the war. For example, George Washington hoped to get a commission in the British army, something that never happened. Resenting the Crown’s somewhat clumsy attempt to take a more direct control of colonial affairs, the colonial elite decided to revolt.

          So, whether or not the colonists were justified in revolting is as much a philosophical question as an historical one because what constitutes “justification” is a matter than can be debated endlessly without a necessary consensus. In other words, when is it justified for one group in a common society to move from non-violence to violence to achieve what it considers its rightful place in it, perhaps even going so far as political separation?

          1. Let us end by reflecting on a much more current event. What happened in the Soviet Union after the Communist government failed in 89. One after another of eastern countries declared their independence from Russia and created their own free government. Some even joined back with previous countries they were part of. Look at Poland or the Ukraine today. Did they do a bad thing. No. The U.S. in many ways did the same with Britain as did many other areas of the world. And that has nothing to do with the violence today in this country.

          2. … when is it justified for one group in a common society to move from non-violence to violence to achieve what it considers its rightful place in it, perhaps even going so far as political separation?

            Wasn’t there a letter of some sort the colonial elite wrote to George III addressing that topic? 🙂

          3. I think most people today would applaud the idea of under-represented subjects of an empire revolting against it.

            By contrast, the idiots who staged the events of Jan. 6 had none of the grievances that motivated the American revolutionaries. They just didn’t like the results of a democratic election, so decided to overturn it in their moronic fashion, aftrer convincing themselves it had to be stolen.

    2. My thought exactly. I don’t find most of these polling number very worrying. Americans become indoctrinated from grade school in the Revolutionary War against the nasty Brits. Violence was necessary then and it is not hard to see why that comes to mind when ‘violence against government’ is mentioned.

      1. Apparently you have seen few surveys on what the people know. Most people today are not even aware of who we fought in the so-called revolutionary war. By the way, they did not call it a revolutionary war. It was referred to as the cause. War of independence maybe. If you somehow think there is heredity involved – think of the Civil War, not the war of independence.

    3. “Still, 23% of Democrats? What kind of violence are they thinking about?”

      Perhaps they are imagining what they’ll need to do after Republicans end democracy in America.

      1. Yes, it would be hypocritical for Americans to say that violence against an existing government is never justified since the country was founded by violent acts. Of course, the point at which violence is justified is subject to debate, which is why Republicans and Democrats almost certainly dramatically differ as to when conditions in this country will develop to the point that violence is the only answer to perceived tyranny.

        1. Imagining doing violence is very different from actually committing violent acts. After the kind of end-to-democracy the GOP have in mind, life will go on normally for most people. As in Russia, most people will grow used to voting in elections that don’t change anything. Some would say we have that now. It will harm the US irreparably but it will be of the boiling-frog variety.

          1. One of the problems with all of this discussion is the violence part. If all goes according to plan for the cult, this next election will be very peaceful. Nobody gets shot or anything. It is a simple cheating scam.

          2. “After the kind of end-to-democracy the GOP have in mind, life will go on normally for most people.”

            Perhaps for cis white males…for minorities and women, I imagine, not so much.

  5. When I was a kid, we had a cat who loved cantaloup. Mom couldn’t cut into one without him being right there rubbing her legs, purring, begging until he got some. Apparently, cucumbers also smelled like cantaloup, at least to that cat. Every time mom would cut one for a salad the cat was right there, begging. Mom would tell him he didn’t like it, but he’d beg and beg and beg, until he got a piece. He’d take a bite, spit it out, glare at her and stomp off. Don’t know if he liked honeydew as we didn’t so never had it around.

    1. My current boy is the opposite: he loves cucumber, but doesn’t much care for other melon types at this point. He in particular likes to lick the meat from the inside of a stub end, like licking the inside of a kill.

  6. IIRC Čapek said his brother came up with the word ‘robot’ – derived from a Slavic root meaning ‘work’ (which I realized when I learned Russian many years ago).

    Speaking of cats with strange taste, my late cat (1993-2011) developed a taste for tofu and would go crazy whenever I opened a package.

  7. “Daryl Dragon”—Geesh, now I have “Muskrat Love” as my earworm. Thanks, PCC(E)! 😒😉
    (There are big muskrats near my home, but I’ve never seen them doing the dirty deed.)

  8. One of the things I miss most about Chicago is the India Buffet. That was a Saturday ritual for me, either on Belmont or Devon Avenues. I got laughed at, though, when I went to the UK on business, and a colleague took me out for an India, because I didn’t know what most of the dishes were called (save for things like Dal and Naan). Ordering individual dishes seemed so restrictive.

    1. I, too, miss the Indian buffets of Chicago. My favorite was Gaylord’s. The best kheer I ever had was at a Pakistani restaurant on Rockwell just north of Devon in Little India.

  9. The video of The Red Apple is a stroll down memory lane for me as well. When my late mother lived in Niles, I used to take her to the restaurant on Milwaukee Avenue regularly. We had her 85th birthday party there. She loved the Polish sausage. I rejoice in the restaurant being open and recommend it without reservation (pun intended). 😋

  10. By measuring Covid death toll using “excess” deaths, we are far over one million Covid deaths right now. “Excess” deaths are a better measure of Covid deaths than reported deaths. Excess deaths are deaths from all causes for a given week compared to average deaths from all causes in the corresponding week over five years preceding 2020. A discussion of this can be found at my post on,

    As of December 25th, the total reported Covid deaths are 814,819, while excess deaths are 1,324,477.

  11. Of course there are d*gs in the painting. Who do you think killed Procris? [But only ~41% of the dogs participated.]

    1. Of course I had to find out who really killed Procris – it was a hunting accident. The archer failed to identify his target correctly. Still happens even today.

      But the d*g. The d*g is Laelaps – the magical hound that never failed to bring down its quarry. (The ones in the background are just bit players.) And which coincidentally was also the name of another scientific web site that readers may be familiar with. And a genus of parasitic mites as well, which also may unerringly find their targets.

      1. Thanks for pulling that up. the first few Google hits i found had no details. And all Laelapses are new to me.

  12. “Still, 23% of Democrats? What kind of violence are they thinking about?”
    As a Democrat myself, I can’t help but think about the fiery whoopie in cities like Portland since the Floyd killing.
    Of course, said fiery whoopie is described by the media as “mostly peaceful,” but I understand that many small-business owners and others in the affected cities regarded it as “violence” nonetheless. And it was regarded as blessed despite its flouting of the lockdowns in effect at the time.

  13. Regarded as blessed by many of my fellow Democrats, I should have said, despite its flouting of the lockdowns in effect at the time.

  14. I’d hazard the “political violence is ok” crowd within the Democratic party are predominantly melanin deficient, overburdened with wealth and security, and above all devoid of sense.

  15. Apple is very good. Warsaw Inn, in Lynwood, Illinois, also has a terrific buffet. Giordano’s pizza is pretty good, but have you tried Malnati’s? Also. what are the 2 good Indian buffets?

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