SEE BELOW FOR THE BEST INEXPENSIVE RED WINE IN THE WORLD.
Posting will be lighter today as I have my semiannual tooth cleaning appointment, and it’s downtown.
Greetings on the cruelest day: Tuesday, January 18, 2022: National Peking Duck Day. Not only is that cultural appropriation, but it’s DUCK! I do not eat my friends. It’s also Rid the World of Fad Diet and Gimmicks Day, Printing Ink Day, Thesaurus Day, and Winnie the Pooh Day (A. A. Milne was born on this day in 1882). The worst thing that ever happened to Milne’s stories is that they were bought by Disney, and the Disney cartoon didn’t even come close to the splendor of Milne’s original. Milne’s stories also included the best drawing of my spirit animal, Eeyore, who can now be portrayed since the Milne copyright just expired:
Here are the original stuffed animals on which Milne modeled his stories. They were the toys of his son, Christopher Robin Milne, and can be seen in the New York Public Library.
Caption from Wikipedia; arrows are mine to the original Pooh bear and, of course, Eeyore.
Wine of the Day: This garnacha from Spain (“garnacha” = “grenache”) is from 2019, and with good ratings and a paltry $8 price tag, I bought five bottles.
Here’s the review from Robert Parker’s site (he gives it a 90–an excellent score for such an inexpensive wine):
The 2019 Evodia is pure Garnacha from old head-pruned vines in the Sierra Santa Cruz in Calatayud. It fermented with around 20% full clusters in concrete and matured mostly in concrete with just 20% of the blend put in used oak barrels for three months. There is a component that matured in concrete egg that I was able to taste separately that seems to bring a touch of freshness to the final blend, something welcomed in a warm year like 2019, which seems like a fresher version of 2017, when the wines achieved quite good ripeness. The nose opens up nicely in the glass and is quite aromatic and floral, exuberant, with a heady touch of ripe fruit. It’s young and tasty, tender and pleasant to drink, with a forward personality. A real bargain. I hope there are more wines like this in Aragon, where the wealth of Garnacha vineyards would make it possible quite easily.
And if that doesn’t make you want to buy it, read Jeb Dunnuck’s review (he’s also a critical rater). Emphasis is mine:
Based on 100% Garnacha, the 2019 Evodia is a killer value that delivers incredible Garnacha flair at a crazy good price. Kirsch, blackberry, acacia flower, violet, and sandalwood notes give way to a medium to full-bodied, seamless, beautifully layered wine with fabulous tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. This is the finest wine at this price point in the world.
Coming from Dunnuck, that’s both high praise and likely to be accurate.
I have no idea how it will age; I may keep the last bottle around for a few years. It was indeed excellent (not great as in Petrus ’61 “great”, but you don’t get that kind of “great” for $8), with peppery and vegetal overtones along with the ripe fruit. It’s not overly tannic nor sweet.
I had it with chicken thighs, rice, and green beans, and it went very well. Indeed, it could be used as a general house red to go with almost everything that ain’t fish. I recommend this highly because of its high quality/price ratio. If you see it around $8, get some!
News of the Day:
Reader Avis in New Mexico found MY license plate (below)! Not only that, but she said that she risked her neck to take the picture—while she was driving. Now if someone can wring some significance out of “916” I’ll be delighted (it does read the same way upside down).
*Who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Germans? An article in the BBC did due diligence and came up with someone having high priors (h/t Divy):
A team including an ex-FBI agent said Arnold van den Bergh, a Jewish figure in Amsterdam, probably “gave up” the Franks to save his own family.
The team, made up of historians and other experts, spent six years using modern investigative techniques to crack the “cold case”. That included using computer algorithms to search for connections between many different people, something that would have taken humans thousands of hours.
Van den Bergh had been a member of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council, a body forced to implement Nazi policy in Jewish areas. It was disbanded in 1943, and its members were dispatched to concentration camps.
But the team found that van den Bergh was not sent to a camp, and was instead living in Amsterdam as normal at the time. There was also a suggestion that a member of the Jewish Council had been feeding the Nazis information.
“When van den Bergh lost all his series of protections exempting him from having to go to the camps, he had to provide something valuable to the Nazis that he’s had contact with to let him and his wife at that time stay safe,” former FBI agent Vince Pankoke told CBS 60 Minutes.
The team said it had struggled with the revelation that another Jewish person was probably the betrayer. But it also found evidence suggesting Otto Frank, Anne’s father, may himself have known that and kept it secret.
In the files of a previous investigator, they found a copy of an anonymous note sent to Otto Frank identifying Arnold van den Bergh as his betrayer.
*Curiously, as I was reading the NYT right after writing this, I see that there’s a new book about the Anne Frank betrayal issue, which the reviewer calls “important’ and “a strong new lead.”
*I was stunned to find on the Washington Post front page (e-page) two articles pretty critical of Biden and the Democrats. I won’t reprise them, but I will cite them for you:
a.) “Democrats are being dragged down by their discontent.” A disturbing piece by Paul Waldman.
b.) Headline article at top left: “The left dreamed of remaking America. Now it stares into the abyss as Biden’s plans wither.”
We have to come up with some good Democratic candidates for 2024. Biden will be too old and Harris hasn’t done much, but who has? I am very worried that Trump will take the reins again. As for the Congress this fall, I’m already assuming that the Democrats will lose both houses. (A pessimist is never disappointed.)
Up north at the Toronto Star, Bernie Farber, described as “former CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress and chair of the Canadian AntiHate Network”, talks some sense to the American libereal media, just now coming around to accepting the facts about the hostage situation in Texas (h/t Claudia):
Why is antisemitism so hard to believe, even when it stares us straight in the face? Nowhere is this more obvious than in this past weekend’s events in Colleyville, Tex. It was in this tiny Dallas suburb where an international terrorist chose to invade the town’s tiny synagogue demanding the release of a fellow terrorist, a woman associated with al Qaeda being held in a nearby federal prison.
Surely there were more significant targets. Large department stores, government and municipal buildings, but this extremist honed in on a small Jewish house of worship, where only a sprinkling of congregants were in attendance due to COVID restrictions. Indeed, as he burst into the small sanctuary the service itself was being live streamed. Many congregants following the services at home were horrified with what played out on their screens.
The banal explanation by the FBI following the safe release of all the hostages that in fact the storming of the Beth Israel House of Worship “ … was not related to the Jewish community …” is frankly mind-boggling. The terrorist was trying to free a fellow extremist whose views on Israel and the Jewish people leaped over the line of anti-Israelism to Jew hatred.
The imprisoned fellow terrorist, Aafia Siddiqui, charged with attacking American servicemen as an al Qaeda operative in Afghanistan, was a bitter antisemite. When she was captured her first words were that the case against her was a “Jewish conspiracy.”
. . . Are we to believe that a fellow al Qaeda terrorist determined to free Siddiqui would be unaware of her virulent Jew hatred? Are we to accept the word of the FBI that the extremist who stormed the synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath had no idea who was in the building and in fact that it was a Jewish house of worship?
. . . This time the small group of Jews in that Texas synagogue were lucky. Next time — and there will be a next time — perhaps not. Antisemitism is a clear and present danger that can no longer be simply explained away.
Yes, we were asked to accept that, and the fact that we were expected to swallow that hokum shows how deep the rot of anti-Semitism has infected America. I’m not sure how vigorously Biden has decried anti-Semitism in the past two days, but there’s virtually nothing coming from the so-called “progressive” Democrats. But what do you expect when “anti-Zionism” is a plank of that group?
*The Wall Street Journal has a good article about how to use a password manager to stop using the same password over and over again (yes, we all do that), which exposes us to data breaches. To find out if you’ve been subject to a breach, read below, and then do what author Nicole Nguyen recommends in her article:
To find out if your credentials are exposed, plug your email address into Haveibeenpwned.com, a website by security expert Troy Hunt, to reveal which breaches contained your data. It doesn’t ask for your passwords (and you shouldn’t give them out to random sites anyway!).
You’re not gonna like the results (well, at least I didn’t). There’s more:
Hackers commonly employ an attack called “credential stuffing”: They take usernames and passwords leaked from one breach and enter them at other sites in the hope that people reused them.
This is why security experts always say don’t reuse passwords, especially those for important logins like your bank, your email and your work accounts. But it also means you’ll quickly end up with more passwords than you can remember.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 850,750 an increase of 1,961 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,565,445, an increase of about 6,500 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 18 includes:
- 1701 – Frederick I crowns himself King of Prussia in Königsberg.
- 1778 – James Cook is the first known European to discover the Hawaiian Islands, which he names the “Sandwich Islands”.
- 1788 – The first elements of the First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from Great Britain to Australia arrive at Botany Bay.
A lithograph from Wikipedia, labeled “the First Fleet entering Port Jackson, 26 January 1788, by Edmund Le Bihan”:
- 1871 – Wilhelm I of Germany is proclaimed Kaiser Wilhelm in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles (France) towards the end of the Franco-Prussian War. Wilhelm already had the title of German Emperor since the constitution of 1 January 1871, but he had hesitated to accept the title.
- 1911 – Eugene B. Ely lands on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania anchored in San Francisco Bay, the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.
Here are genuine photos of the takeoff and landing:
- 1943 – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: The first uprising of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
- 1967 – Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler”, is convicted of numerous crimes and is sentenced to life imprisonment.
- 1977 – Scientists identify a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of the mysterious Legionnaires’ disease.
- 1981 – Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield parachute off a Houston skyscraper, becoming the first two people to BASE jump from objects in all four categories: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).
Sadly, I can’t find a video of any of these jumps, but here’s a photo of a participant:
James Francis Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as “Bright Path”; May 22 or 28, 1887 – March 28, 1953) was an American athlete and Olympic gold medalist. A member of the Sac and Fox Nation, Thorpe was the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States in the Olympics. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won two Olympic gold medals in the 1912 Summer Olympics (one in classic pentathlon and the other in decathlon). He also played American football (collegiate and professional), professional baseball, and basketball.
He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he had been paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the contemporary amateurism rules. In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals with replicas, after ruling that the decision to strip him of his medals fell outside of the required 30 days. Thorpe is to date listed as co-champion in both the decathlon and pentathlon events according to official IOC records.
Here he is, a great athlete at the 1912 Olympics. After sports, his life was rough, and even when he was playing his contests were often billed as “Indians against whites”. He died in poverty.
- 1990 – Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.
- 1993 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is officially observed for the first time in all 50 US states.
- 2008 – The Euphronios Krater is unveiled in Rome after being returned to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A Krater is a vessel used for mixing wine and water. This one was looted from an Etruscan tomb and sold to the Met in 1972. It’s back where it belongs now, and here are a few words about it:
The Euphronios Krater (or Sarpedon Krater) is an ancient Greek terra cotta calyx-krater, a bowl used for mixing wine with water. Created around the year 515 BC, it is the only complete example of the surviving 27 vases painted by the renowned Euphronios and is considered one of the finest Greek vase artifacts in existence. Part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1972 to 2008, the vase was repatriated to Italy under an agreement negotiated in February 2006, and it is now in the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Cerveteri as part of a strategy of returning stolen works of art to their place of origin
Here are both “sides”:
How do we know the artist? He was one of the very first artists in history to sign his work, and he also had a distinctive style. Here’s a piece with his signature:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1779 – Peter Mark Roget, English physician, lexicographer, and theologian (d. 1869)
- 1782 – Daniel Webster, American lawyer and politician, 14th United States Secretary of State (d. 1852)
Webster (he looks mean):
Ehrenfest was a great friend of Einstein and mentor of many famous physicists, including Heisenberg, Fermi, and Dirac. A depressive, he was only 53 when he shot his son (who had Down Syndrome) to death and then killed himself. Here he is in 1910.
Here are Milne, Christopher Robin, and Pooh Bear, 1926!
- 1904 – Cary Grant, English-American actor (d. 1986)
Real name: Archibald Alec Leach. “Archie Leach” wasn’t a good name for an actor back then. . . .
- 1911 – Danny Kaye, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1987)
- 1955 – Kevin Costner, American actor, director, and producer
Those who went West on January 18 include:
- 1862 – John Tyler, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 10th President of the United States (b. 1790)
- 1878 – Antoine César Becquerel, French physicist and academic (b. 1788)
- 1936 – Rudyard Kipling, English author and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1865)
An old chestnut. At a dinner party:
Guest 1: “Do you like Kipling?”
Gust 2: “I don’t know; I’ve never kippled.
- 1952 – Curly Howard, American actor (b. 1903)
Real name: Jerome Lester Horwitz. Here’s his tombstone:
- 1989 – Bruce Chatwin, English-French author (b. 1940)
Read his travel book In Patagonia.
- 2016 – Glenn Frey, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (b. 1948)
Here’s a compendium of clips of Frey’s songs. He and Don Henley wrote most of the Eagles’ hits.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is upset. Malgorzata explains: “Hili likes to hide on the windowsill behind the curtain when it’s closed. She is always hissing or meowing when we open the curtain to see whether she is there.”
Hili: I have to tell you something.A: What?Hili: You are not to peek behind the curtain.
Hili: Muszę ci coś powiedzieć.Ja: Co takiego?Hili: Że nie masz tu zaglądać za firankę.
Paulina photographed little Kulka in the snow:
From Jesus of the Day:
This is a BRILLIANT article!! 👏👏👊
As a person with a vulva, I am so sick of being reduced to my reproductive system. https://t.co/90STPxZMuz
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 17, 2022
From Barry, who comments, “Oh, you want a little taste? Here you go.” Is this unusual behavior from a cat? It sure looks like it to me. (Though I don’t understand what the Bill Murray comment is all about.)
Neither do I!
Bill Murray warned us about this. Mass hysteria sure to follow: pic.twitter.com/ui0n6D40R0
— JustynTyme (@JustynTyme_) January 12, 2022
From cesar, who notes, “This is what I think the Art Institute will bring about after the re-hiring and training of new docents……”
Whatever it is, it’s lunacy. Second tweet: Hogarth Wokeified!
— Ed West (@edwest) January 16, 2022
From Simon. Make sure the sound is up to hear Elvis go Bollywood:
This is the most brilliant thing on the internets right now pic.twitter.com/3nf0ttAg0r
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) January 17, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. If you read this site, you should get the humor in this one:
Must be a big wombat 😳😲😂 pic.twitter.com/v2WouRV6Mt
— Anna Berserk 🆎️ (@BerserkAnna) January 17, 2022
Tweet of the month! Try this with your cat!
When dreams come true..
Sound on pic.twitter.com/j9acg0guWE
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) January 16, 2022
From Matthew and Barry. Yes, it presumes an afterlife but it’s still ineffably sweet.
Australian farmer Ben Jackson couldn’t attend his Aunt’s funeral due to Covid restrictions.
So instead he laid out grain for his Sheep in the shape of a heart in order “that she could see it through the clouds”.
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) January 16, 2022
Someone should inform Ziya Tong that I’m an Earthling too:
— Earthling (@ziyatong) January 17, 2022