Friday: Hili dialogue

January 14, 2022 • 7:00 am

Welcome to the week’s terminus: Friday January 14, 2022. We missed a Friday the Thirteenth by one day. That was a squeaker! And it’s one of the best food days: Pastrami Sandwich Day! You can’t get ’em any bigger than at Harold’s New York Deli in Edison, New Jersey. (There’s even a bread bar to make extra sandwiches.) This restaurant is definitely on my bucket list. Their pastrami sandwich (God bless America!):

And remember, don’t go saying “that’s too big.” You can always get extra bread and schlep.

It’s also Take a Missionary to Lunch Day (“Have you heard the good news about tacos?”), Feast of the Ass (the donkey), National Pothole Day (in the UK, but we need it in the US), Caesarian Section Day (?), International Kite Day, National Dress Up Your Pet DayRatification Day (Treaty of Paris, 1784), and World Logic Day.

News of the Day:

*By a 6-3 vote on ideological lines, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Biden’s mandate of vaccination/testing for all workers in business with more than 100 employees. Their decision was based on the Justices’ argument that OHSHA had no authority to order such a mandate. However, by a 5-4 vote (with Robert and Kavanaugh joining liberals, the Court upheld the requirement of mandatory vaccination for workers in health care facilities receiving federal money (Medicare/Medicaid). Whether the first decision has strong legal grounding is a question about my pay grade.

*Democrats are going to be mad as hell now that both Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have come out against eliminating the Senate filibuster for the voting-rights bill passed by the House. Well, Sinema made a speech in the Senate against changing the rules, and Manchin supported her. That bill now appears to be DOA. Biden can’t catch a break these days, what with the BBB bill in limbo, the voting rights bill joining it, higher inflation, and now the Supremes rejecting his attempts to stem the pandemic. Here’s Synema on the Senate floor explaining her decision.

*As I predicted (WHO’S a good boy?), the Queen has come down hard on Prince Andrew, who’s fighting accusations that he had a liaison with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex slaves. The Firm stripped Andrew of all his military titles and charities, and can no longer be called “”His Royal Highness” in any official capacity, though he was born with that title. I guess he’ll have to change the pronouns on his Facebook page to “he/him”.

*The other day I wrote about the man who received the heart of  genetically modified pig. It was a tour de force, and I think the guy is still alive. However, as the Washington Post reports, the transplant recipient turns out to be a guy who committed a serious crime. To some, that gives them second thoughts.   (h/t Christopher):

Leslie Shumaker Downey was at home babysitting her two grandchildren Monday when a message pinged on her cellphone.

Her daughter had sent a link to a news article about a 57-year-old man with terminal heart disease. Three days earlier at the University of Maryland Medical Center, he had received a genetically modified pig heart. The first-of-its-kind transplant was historic, saving the man’s life and offering the possibility of saving others.

What a great breakthrough for science, Downey thought, reading the headline. Then her phone pinged again.

“Mommmmmmm,” Downey’s daughter wrote. She told her to look at the man’s name.

Downey froze. The man being heralded as a medical pioneer, David Bennett Sr., was the same man who had been convicted in 1988 of stabbing her younger brother seven times, leaving him paralyzed. Edward Shumaker had spent the next 19 years using a wheelchair, before he had a stroke in 2005 and died two years later — one week before his 41st birthday.

“Ed suffered,” said Downey, who lives in Frederick, Md. “The devastation and the trauma, for years and years, that my family had to deal with.” After Bennett got out of prison, she said, he “went on and lived a good life. Now he gets a second chance with a new heart — but I wish, in my opinion, it had gone to a deserving recipient.”

In my view, Bennett is just as deserving as anyone else. (Of course there are some exceptions, like a person with terminal cancer who has just weeks to live. Someone with better prospects would better deserve a transplant). Bennett paid his debt to society and now he’s ill and wants to live. If his slate has been wiped clear with respect to the law, why should he be passed over?

*Reader Ken provides us with another news item, with a link:

A Washington, DC, federal grand jury has indicted 11 people, including the founder of the Oath Keepers, on charges including conspiracy to commit sedition. Here’s the Justice Department’s News Release regarding today’s unsealing of the indictments.

The salient bits from the DOJ:

The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that, following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021. Beginning in late December 2020, via encrypted and private communications applications, Rhodes and various co-conspirators coordinated and planned to travel to Washington, D.C., on or around Jan. 6, 2021, the date of the certification of the electoral college vote, the indictment alleges. Rhodes and several co-conspirators made plans to bring weapons to the area to support the operation. The co-conspirators then traveled across the country to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in early January 2021.

. . . The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

*Now that I’m writing about the Antipodes, I’m getting a fair amount of email from New Zealanders, and so will report some “news” that one of them sent me. This article comes from the New Zealand Herald, reported to me as New Zealand’s equivalent of the NYT: its “senior newspaper”. Click on the screenshot:

A celebrity astrologer has claimed Prince Harry’s connection with Meghan Markle gave him the strength to step down from royal duties.

In People TV’s Celebrity Astrology Investigation, available to stream on Flash, host Aliza Kelly read the couple’s star charts and observed how the Suits actress gave the royal a different point of view.

“The introduction of Meghan into his life opened his eyes because Meghan comes from such a different background,” Kelly explained on the programme.

“He started to see the world from a different point of view; this exposed his chart to a different perspective.

“He didn’t have the scope to access his full potential without Meghan.”

DUHHH! You don’t have to consult star charts to see this. In fact, hasn’t Prince Harry said something like this himself? If not, it’s surely been bruited about in the news.

From Bruce via Lonely Planet: a restauranteur in Tokyo has founded an eatery called “The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders,” and its waitstaff are all people with dementia. That means that your order is likely to go wrong, or be delivered to someone else. But this isn’t a joke; the place is designed to help people understand those living with dementia:

The restaurant is a stylish and fashionable place where “everything on the menu tastes delicious,” so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll enjoy the mistaken order brought to you. Ever since the restaurant’s first event, staff calculated that 37% of orders are generally mistaken, but 99% of the customers “declared themselves happy,” as well as believing that this concept might really help in understanding dementia patients better.

*Bari Weiss, whose Substack I’ll soon be leaving, still has an occasional piece I’ll read, like this new one, which is not by Weiss but is a letter from a Canadian journalist, Tara Henley, who worked for the CBC. As she writes plaintively:

When I started at the national public broadcaster in 2013, the network produced some of the best journalism in the country. By the time I resigned last month, it embodied some of the worst trends in mainstream media. In a short period of time, the CBC went from being a trusted source of news to churning out clickbait that reads like a parody of the student press.

. . .  It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

. . .To work at the CBC now is to accept the idea that race is the most significant thing about a person, and that some races are more relevant to the public conversation than others. It is, in my newsroom, to fill out racial profile forms for every guest you book; to actively book more people of some races and less of others.

To work at the CBC is to submit to job interviews that are not about qualifications or experience — but instead demand the parroting of orthodoxies, the demonstration of fealty to dogma.

The upshot is that Henley quit the CBC and is now writing her own Substack column, “Lean Out,” which you can read and subscribe to here.

*Over at Tablet, Wilfred Reilly introduces the new LGBTQ+++++ flag, with lots of added groups, and makes a few pungent comments on the tenets of Kendi-an, “antiracism,” which you can read and judge for yourself. First, the flag:

I think there should be a Star of David in there, too, don’t you?

From Reilly:

I recently saw that something called the Intersex Inclusion Campaign introduced a new “intersex inclusive pride progress flag,” which is the old LGBT pride flag altered from six bars to 12, with the bonus introduction of triangles and a circle. I learned that these fresh shapes and colors symbolize not only the transgender community and the intersex people once crudely called hermaphrodites, but also Black people, Hispanics, and other “brown” folx. In an unforgettable piece of symbolism, the new identity markers now take up more than half the old pride flag, swooping into it (from the left, naturally) in a wedge shaped vaguely like a boar’s head. “A bit invasive,” I thought.

Reilly goes on to set out the three tenets of “shared oppression” that are symbolized by the flat, and then to criticize them. You can read that bit for yourself. I still want a Star of David inside the circle. Who over the past two millennia has been more oppressed than the Jews?

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 845,577, an increase of 1,873 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,540,911, an increase of about 8,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on January 14 includes:

  • 1639 – The “Fundamental Orders”, the first written constitution that created a government, is adopted in Connecticut.
  • 1784 – American Revolutionary War: Ratification Day, United States – Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain.
  • 1900 – Giacomo Puccini‘s Tosca opens in Rome.

A great aria from that opera: “Vissi d’Arte,” sung by my favorite soprano, Dame Kiri:

They made it—and a month ahead of Scott, whose team, distraught that the Norwegians had “pipped them to the post”, despondently raised the British flag.  All of Scott’s team of five died on the way back, but all five Norwegians (below, at the pole; one must be taking the photo) made it back safely:

In reality, nobody should be claiming Antarctica, and nobody takes those claims seriously. Here’s Queen Maud Land, a big slice of Antarctica for a small country:

 

Here are some signs of the Be-In. Who do you recognize?

Here’s Elvis singing “See See Rider” from that concert:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 83 BC – Mark Antony, Roman general and politician (d. 30 BCE)
  • 1741 – Benedict Arnold, American-British general (d. 1801)
  • 1836 – Henri Fantin-Latour, French painter and lithographer (d. 1904)

Here’s one of his paintings, “Portrait of Charlotte Dubourg” (1882):

Schweitzer was a cat-lover, as you can see from this picture; only a true ailurophile lets the kitty on the table:

  • 1896 – John Dos Passos, American novelist, poet, and playwright (d. 1970)
  • 1919 – Andy Rooney, American soldier, journalist, critic, and television personality (d. 2011)
  • 1925 – Yukio Mishima, Japanese author, poet, and playwright (d. 1970)
  • 1928 – Garry Winogrand, American photographer and author (d. 1984)

Winogrand was a great street photographer; here’s one of his shots:

  • 1940 – Julian Bond, American academic and politician (d. 2015)
  • 1941 – Faye Dunaway, American actress and producer

Dunaway in “Bonnie and Clyde”:

  • 1944 – Marjoe Gortner, American actor and evangelist
  • 1952 – Sydney Biddle Barrows, American businesswoman and author

Businesswoman, indeed, but don’t you remember her as “The Mayflower Madam”? Not that was the business for which she was famous.

Mo! Too snarky for my taste, but still worth reading on occasion:

Those who shot their bolt on January 14 include:

  • 1742 – Edmond Halley, English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist (b. 1656)
  • 1898 – Lewis Carroll, English novelist, poet, and mathematician (b. 1832)

Here’s Carroll in 1857, sporting a strange hairstyle:

Here’s Bogart and Lauren Bacall (who, by the way, was 100% Jewish and only 20 in this scene) in their famous “whistle” scene from “To Have and Have Not”:

  • 1977 – Anaïs Nin, French-American essayist and memoirist (b. 1903)

  • 1978 – Kurt Gödel, Austrian-American mathematician and philosopher (b. 1906)

Here’s a photo from the Financial Times captioned: “Kurt Gödel receives the first Albert Einstein Award with physicist Julian Schwinger as trustee Lewis Strauss looks on, 1951.”

  • 2006 – Shelley Winters, American actress (b. 1920)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is showing off again. I don’t know how her face got this messed up!

Paulina: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m revealing my tigery nature.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Paulina: Co ty robisz?
Hili: Ujawniam moją tygrysią naturę.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)

From Laurie Ann on Facebook. I believe I posted the top version, but the wags of Facebook have added more. (And if you’re too young to know the song referred to, it’s here.)

From David

From Matthew, a demonstration of how sparsely population Australia is:

From Dom, who’s clearly spent some time in pubs:

From Simon, who opines, “This seems reasonable”:

From Ginger K. It’s clear from this video (and the courageous teacher) that “women’s education” under the Taliban in Afghanistan stops at the end of primary school. There is not yet (and likely will never be) formal secondary-school or university eduction in Afghanistan so long as these Islamist fanatics are in charge.

Tweets from Matthew. I like the look of this cat!

Physics!

I’m sure I retweeted this, but can’t remember whether I posted it here, and can’t be arsed to find out. Here it is (again):

Believe me, I’d do the same thing, too, though I’d squeeze more ducks!

Some bananas!

58 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

    1. I had the same thought about the office supplies. There was a great comment below the line of one of The Grauniad‘s pieces about Johnson’s excuse in parliament at PMQs: “To be fair, when a clown turns up at a party, he is at work”!

  1. 1784 – American Revolutionary War: Ratification Day, United States – Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain.

    This was, of course, the third Continental Congress (the nascent United States’ then only extant branch of government), formed under the Articles of Confederation, rather than the bicameral congress established by Article I of the US constitution, which didn’t come into existence until 1788.

  2. Regarding the person who received the pig’s heart, it may be worth remembering that this first time experiment may actually shorten his life. In the past experiments were run on criminals condemned to death…. This is in addition to the valid point that if he has purged his sentence AND transplants are possible on convicted felons, then he deserves it as much as the next person.

    1. The first chapter of Paul Offit’s latest book, “You Bet Your Life” is about the history of heart transplants with emphasis on risk and reward.

  3. Praise Ceiling Cat…. i can smell that warmed pastrami in my mind after all these months of isolation…even a side of creamy slaw…i may drive the 75 miles round trip to rt 58 deli in virginia beach and back to order a take out of their corned beef on rye for lunch today….was it in a woody allen movie that someone orders a corned beef on white bread with mayonaise?

  4. Here’s Elvis singing “See See Rider” from that concert …

    I first became aware of that tune under the title “C.C. Rider” when Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels included it in their 1965 “Jenny Take a Ride” medley. To my knowledge, that was the first rock’n’roll version of the old blues standard.

    In that Human Be-In video, most of the screen time goes to T. Leary and A. Ginsberg. There also appears to be present some of the Pranksters and the Hell’s Angels, during their brief liaison, which ended when the Angels began cracking heads at Vietnam War peace protests.

    1. The Grateful Dead used to cover C.C. Rider, and that’s how it was always spelled on their set lists / bootlegs, etc.

    2. There are several arguably rock and roll releases of See See Rider before the Detroit Wheels’ version, including Joey Dee & The Starliters (1962), Ian & Sylvia (1962), Bobby Rydell (1963), Dave Berry (1964), and The Everly Brothers (1965).

      1. I stand corrected. Thanks. I was 12 when Mitch & the Wheels 45 came out, so I guess it left the greatest impression — though Joey Dee & the Starliters I remember from even earlier with “The Peppermint Twist” (just after Chubby Checker topped the charts with “The Twist”).

    3. I was a huge Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels fan in my youth. So much so that, in high school, they were the first big name concert I ever attended, in 1965 I believe. Not that it was a huge arena, instead it was outdoors, in summer, at a football stadium in Portsmouth, OH. Doubt that Mitch and the band knew it, but it wasn’t just some high school facility. In fact, it had been built in 1930 as the home of the Portsmouth Spartans, one of the original members of the National Football League. That franchise moved to Detroit, and became the Lions, in 1934.

      Mitch and the Wheels were great, of course. Remember that he bashed a maraca on a tambourine so hard that it broke, and the head flew into the crowd. The ensuing tussle wasn’t quite as epic as the guitar neck scene in Blow Up. Also on the bill was Lou (Two Faces Have I) Christie. And Spartan Stadium still stands. Sweet days of youth.

  5. [Maureen Dowd] Too snarky for my taste, but still worth reading on occasion …

    MoDo hit her peak, I think, during the Bush-Clinton-Bush years, when her style was suited to the intrafamilial tensions of those two political clans. She still sometimes drops a line that makes me laugh out loud, but too often her work is profoundly unserious — when humor writing is serious business, indeed.

  6. 1000-hand Quanyin: Shades of Busby Berkeley!

    Lewis Strauss (in the pic with Einstein): He started off as an aide to Herbert Hoover during the WWI food relief efforts, and became essentially his personal secretary. I read somewhere, but can’t find ref to it now, that when he went for another job later HH wrote him what may be the greatest recommendation written, essentially “If you are not satisfied, I will personally pay you three years of his salary.”

    1. That’s a great recommendation! Of course, Strauss was wrong when he claimed that nuclear electricity would be “too cheap to meter”.

      1. You can’t expect everything.

        But a further thing of interest (via his Wikipedia page)is that he was apparently the catalyst behind Wilson’s acceptance of Finland’s independence. This particularly resonates with me now that I’ve learned in the last few months via my DNA (free, via the AllOfUs longitudinal study) that I’m ~1/8 Finnish.

  7. With the first charges of sedition filed, the Right’s talking point that Jan. 6th wasn’t an insurrection but “only” a riot has taken a severe blow. Although the media suggests it’s dead, I don’t think it is until convictions are obtained.

    1. Actually, the charges aren’t for sedition proper but “seditious conspiracy”. The Right might argue that that’s not real sedition and, therefore, Jan. 6th was just a walk in the park with a stop at the Capitol.

      1. Trouble is, the 1/6 committee have much more evidence to include in the conspiracy now. One item is that 5 of the states, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin and so on filed fraudulent electors declaring Trump the president. They have these documents from all 5 states and they are almost exactly the same. This matter leads back to the conspirators in Washington who controlled this. The not only have all the fraudulent documents and everyone who signed them, in some cases they have film or video the day they did it.

      2. … the charges aren’t for sedition proper but “seditious conspiracy”. The Right might argue that that’s not real sedition …

        Let ’em try telling the wiseguys who’re doing long bids for racketeering (RICO) conspiracy that they haven’t been convicted of real racketeering. (Both offenses carry the same 20-year max, as do insurrection and insurrection conspiracy.) I’m sure that will come as a great comfort to them.

        Given that seditious conspiracy constitutes “terrorism” under the Patriot Act, the new charges also shoot to hell the Right’s talking point that Jan. 6th wasn’t a “terrorist” attack. (I’m lookin’ at you, Tucker Carlson, who just called out Ted Cruz for referring to it as such. Carlson grabbed Cruz by the pussy, and Cruz just let him. Unlike Trump, Carlson didn’t even have to call Cruz’s wife ugly or threaten to “spill the beans” on her or to claim Cruz’s father assassinated JFK.)

  8. I was a very faithful and appreciative listener to CBC radio until it took the hard turn into wokeness described by the ex-employee. I’ve stopped listening and it bothers me that my tax dollars are funding the drivel they broadcast now. I wonder just how much freedom the CBC has to put out whatever content they want. If the Conservatives are elected (Ceiling Cat forbid), will the CBC be forced to tone down the wokeness?

    Fortunately, the French-language version of the CBC (Radio Canada) has been far less infected and now that’s what I listen to.

  9. Biden can’t catch a break these days

    It’s not gonna happen, but I’d love for the theme of the next 9 months to be “small wins.” Figure out what stripped-down versions of democratic priorities Manchin and Sinema will pass, and pass them. No more of this “must have” or “non-negotiable priority” baloney, and no more far left demands that the Dems pass progressive initiatives. Yes I like the proposed child tax credit too, but if you can’t get 50 to agree to it, then pick “pass a bill without it” over “insist on it and pass nothing.” And if you can’t get them to agree on anything, then spend the next 9 months appointing moderate judges.

    The only hope the Dems have now to mitigate losses in the midterms – and it’s a grim hope – is that SCOTUS overturning Roe will get Sinema and Manchin to finally get rid of the filibuster (so they can pass a federal pro-choice law), and at the same time energize a lot more independents to go to the polls and vote democrat in the midterms. I really hate to wish for such a bad ruling, but reading the tea leaves, that’s pretty much the only way this administration gets any substantive legislation passed in their 50+1 Senate between now and November, and the only event that might possibly stop the GOP from gaining a majority in both House and Senate in November.

  10. The coiled wire and candle trick is cool, but is not what it first appears to be. The coiled wires aren’t springs (they don’t retract after being stretched), but are some kind of shape-memory metal (nitinol?) that wants to go back to its former state when heated.

  11. 1.

    It seems to me Prince Andrew is likely guilty. But I admit I’m surprised by the Royal Palace moves, re Prince Andrew. I would have thought they would take an “innocent until proven guilty” stance and supported one of their own, like most “families.” But with these public moves it seems, even before a trial happens, “We figure he’s guilty too.”

    2.

    Elvis Presley is an idiom unto himself that I simply will never figure out. I do get his very early stuff, it seemed to be a sort of rhythm and blues/dance rock. But especially when he hits his later period, like the video in this post, the Vegas stuff etc, it just seems like some weird banal unmemorable pastiche that doesn’t add up to anything discernible to me. Like a bunch of stuff that *could* have been rock or exciting, but churned in to dinner theater fair. It barely registers as music at all. I’ll just never get it. (Then again, I can’t listen to Dylan either, so I probably won’t be invited to any dinner parties around here…)

      1. Thanks. I checked out the ’68 Comeback Special. I can appreciate some of the musicianship and Elvis’ charisma (though it doesn’t do anything for me), but I still found the music mind numbingly boring. It’s a particular idiom I can’t seem to access. I feel like my father-in-law who only listens to classical music and his utter befuddlement with my son’s interest in hip hop/rap music.

    1. It’s a civil suit, so there is no guilt or innocence, only balance of probabilities. Which makes it a much easier bar for her to clear….and it gives her a big financial payoff if she can convince a judge that whatever it is that was supposed to have happened did happen. Of course if she can’t induce him to settle and she loses, she’s left with squat, plus her (and maybe his) legal costs.

      His mother (or more likely, the British government) can do whatever it wants to someone who brings unwelcome attention to The Firm. What they believe about him is irrelevant to that calculation. It’s like being cancelled.

  12. Just a quick shout-out and thank you for doing the Hili Dialogue every day. Always good stuff in here, and I enjoy the perky jokes and asides!

  13. If the Afghanistan teachers are working sub Rosa what makes the www coverage anything but advertising the teaching. Surely not all Taliban are illiterate and ignorant of the www.

    Hili almost appears to have her face against a window. Its interesting as how her head is tilted and ears almost invisible. Tiger eyes indeed.

  14. My wife and I go to Harold’s NY Deli as a treat. Lately, we order and pick up rather than eat in. The food is superb and the pastrami is to die for. The additional bread is actually found on a marvelous pickle bar, with all kinds of pickles, health salads etc. Every sandwich or meal is super sized. You usually have at least two days worth of food when you take the uneaten bits home. When eating in, it is always a treat to watch a newbie order what he/she thinks is a normal meal. The surprise reaction upon serving is generally hilarious. Yes, there is no sandwich that is “too big”….

  15. Hmm . . . “Bennett paid his debt to society and now he’s ill and wants to live.”

    I would posit that “Society” is not who the debt is owed to.

    In fact, I would say the debt is unpayable.

  16. That flag…

    If the rainbow is there to represent gender an orientation inclusivity, and the left side is supposed to represent racial and other inclusivity…then I really want to meet these light blue people.

  17. Though “Aloha from Hawaii” got the most viewers, it’s not Elvis’s best show. It’s more sedate than his earlier concerts and Elvis shows signs of the prescription drug abuse that destroyed him four years later. Viewers who want to see what the fuss was all about should instead watch “That’s the Way It Is,” a concert film from 1970, or The ’68 Comeback Special, which resurrected Elvis’s career after years of bad movies; with his career on the line he gave his greatest performance.

    1. But perhaps it’s better than Tosca, just above?? I think it was some kind of rockn’roll museum had a list of “the world’s greatest singers ever”, and put Elvis as #4. My god! I was a fan at the age of 12 or so. Re composers, Puccini, despite his excellence, wouldn’t be anywhere near there, even just opera composers, IMHO. Anyway, such lists have value as entertainment, but have little validity.

  18. Sinema is such a freakin’ poser. Did anyone notice the gold cross that she was wearing? Was that to show solidarity with Republicans? She actually made history as being the first person ever sworn into office without a ‘holy book’. She said she wasn’t religious (I don’t think she self-described as an atheist) and I thought that was cool. Now she’s a Xian? She also came out as bisexual while a Green Party member in Arizona. Last year she was asked about it, and she said “I don’t remember?” WTF? So she’s just following the money, blowing up everything in her wake and changing who she is to gain monetary support. Manchin is a greedy ass, but at least he’s not a shape shifter. But I also blame the media for their horrible reporting. They never counter Sinema with facts when she makes shit up regarding the filibuster. (Manchin does the same thing.) They both act like it’s in the Constitution, and they seem not to understand that it has been historically abused to block civil rights. And how Republicans have been using it since Obama to simply block EVERYTHING dems put on the table, no matter how popular with the American people. It’s stupid all the way down.

    1. Yes, I agree. Sinema strikes me as just an attention-seeker. Being contrary gets her more press coverage, meetings with important Dems, etc. Manchin, on the other hand, seems to be driven mostly by his business connections and the need to be re-elected in a mostly red state.

  19. I hope you include pictures taken by the Shirase Expedition to Antarctica, the Japanese component to the 1912 exploration season in a future post. The story of which is a classic case of one man overcoming obstacles at home and abroad, they didn’t reach the pole, but simply getting to Antarctica was a triumph in itself.

    1. Yes—and maybe a touch amusing:

      “1911 – Roald Amundsen‘s South Pole expedition makes landfall on the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.”

      Maybe ‘solid-fall’— in the direction of the pole, it needed several weeks travel to get onto any land, or at least on snow or ice covering land! I think the Ross Ice Shelf, floating on the sea, is roughly the size of France.

  20. “In reality, nobody should be claiming Antarctica,”—for sure—” and nobody takes those claims seriously. Here’s Queen Maud Land, a big slice of Antarctica for a small country”

    New Zealand is very close to the population of Norway, and not that much smaller in area. So those who take seriously the Maori expedition claims recently discussed should be campaigning for New Zealand to be the boss of all Antarctica, eh? Or at least one set of aboriginals taking over an empty set of aboriginals’ land.

    Maybe not–Cannot remember, but it was possibly a Belgian heading an earlier botched expedition (which Amundsen had joined) who was first to actually step on the solid non-ground. But no babies have ever been born there, so maybe that ‘native’ requirement implies it really is the empty set.

    1. To correct myself:
      The Belgica expedition, led except when scurvy struck by Gerlach, was first to overwinter (not intentionally and on the ship), was rather disastrous in many ways, rescued mainly by the young and later famous Cook and Amundsen. First to step onto Antarctica is controversial, was anywhere from 1821 to 1895. Above expedition was later, in the very last few 1800s.

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