Sunday: Hili dialogue

January 23, 2022 • 7:30 am

Welcome to the the week’s end (or beginning, depending on how you view it; I always thought Sunday should be to the right of the calendar. Anyway, it’s Sunday, January 23, 2022: National Pie Day. Pie is the best thing to have for breakfast.  EXCEPT that it’s also National Rhubarb Pie Day, which is not only the worst of all possible pies, but a pie made with VEGETABLES! It is not fit for human consumption.  Would you make these gritty stalks into a pie? Yes, I know people do, and those with faux leather palates actually like said pie. Since this is a matter of taste, I can’t say they’re wrong; all I can say is that they have faux leather palates.

It’s also National Handwriting Day (mine gets worse as I never write by hand any more) as well as Measure Your Feet Day. (WHY?)

News of the Day:

*As Russia prepares to invade Ukraine (I predict by Feb 10), the U.S. has refused to promise that Ukraine won’t join NATO. The latest news is that 100,000 Russian troops are still massed on Ukraine’s border, and there seems to be a Russian plot to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a Russian stooge.

The U.S. and several of its allies have pledged to hammer Russia with economic and other sanctions if it expands an invasion of Ukraine that began in 2014. But the range of interventions available to Russia short of an outright invasion—from cyberattacks to disinformation to provocations—complicates the West’s response. Top Ukrainian officials say they believe that the Kremlin is more likely to seek to destabilize Ukraine and remove its leadership rather than launching a full-scale military invasion.

. . . The [British] Foreign Office’s statement named an ex-lawmaker as the Russian candidate for prime minister and cited Russian intelligence links with four former senior officials who fled to Russia in 2014 when their boss, then-President Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted during mass street protests.

Putin has ripped off his shirt, flexed, and is getting ready to mount his horse.

*As NBC News ends its daily newscast: “There’s good news tonight!”  Here’s mine. Axios reports that a federal judge in Florida has barred the University of Florida from preventing its professors from testifying against voting-restriction bills.  I’ve written about this before, but here’s the Axios quick summary (h/t Jean)

Catch up quick: The order comes after three professors brought a lawsuit against the University of Florida for being prohibited from serving as expert witnesses or filing amicus briefs in cases against the state.

  • The professors were told that their actions could be considered against the university’s best interest.
  • Three other professors — a pediatrics professor and two law professors — later joined the lawsuit.

What he’s saying:  “UF has bowed to perceived pressure from Florida’s political leaders and has sanctioned the unconstitutional suppression of ideas out of favor with Florida’s ruling party.”

*Holy bouncing boulders, Batman! The NYT reports pretty good evidence of boulder tracks, indicate bouncing rocks, on the surface of Mars. This indicates seismic activity that rattles the bounders in a way that leaves traces. To wit:

If a rock falls on Mars, and no one is there to see it, does it leave a trace? Yes, and it’s a beautiful herringbone-like pattern, new research reveals. Scientists have now spotted thousands of tracks on the red planet created by tumbling boulders. Delicate chevron-shaped piles of Martian dust and sand frame the tracks, the team showed, and most fade over the course of a few years.

A study of these ephemeral features on Mars, published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, says that such boulder tracks can be used to pinpoint recent seismic activity on the red planet. This new evidence that Mars is a dynamic world runs contrary to the notion that all of the planet’s exciting geology happened much earlier, said Ingrid Daubar, a planetary scientist at Brown University who was not involved in the study. “For a long time, we thought that Mars was this cold, dead planet.”

Here are two photos of the boulder tracks:

Why do they mostly go in a straight line? That’s easy: the boulders are being bounced downhill by Marsquakes. What I don’t know is where Marksquakes come from, though I could look it up. On Earth, many earthquakes come from the shifting of the crust along fault lines, but there are other causes as well. I suspect Mars, which has no continental plates, has no fault lines, either. But some knowledgable reader will fill us in, right?

*The Democratic Party of Arizona has voted to reprimand Senator Kyrsten Sinema, giving her a gentle potch in tuchas for her desire to keep the filibuster (which in turn stymies Democratic legislation. This vote has no practical consequences for her, but it may presage this being her last term as an Arizona Senator (she has four more years till she’s up for re-election:

Sinema had said on Wednesday that although she backed the Democrats’ voting rights bills, she feared that eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote requirement for major legislation would add to the country’s divisions. With Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) joining Republicans in opposition to filibuster changes, Democrats’ immediate hopes of passing voting rights legislation were dashed.

. . .Sinema, who does not face reelection until 2024, could face a primary challenge from Rep. Ruben Gallego, who told CNN this week that he had been encouraged to run by other Senate Democrats.

Arizona’s other Senate seat is held by Mark Kelly (D), who had wavered on the filibuster but ultimately backed scrapping it to pass the voting rights bills. He is up for reelection in November, and his seat is expected to be among the most competitive in the nation this year.

*Escaped simians on a Pennsylvania highway!  The New York Times reports this:

The Pennsylvania State Police said that a pickup truck with an enclosed trailer full of 100 monkeys had collided with a dump truck and that four of the monkeys had escaped.

The cynomolgus monkeys, which are often used in scientific research and can cost up to $10,000 each, had been on their way to a lab in Florida when the crash happened at about 3:20 p.m. on Route 54 near Interstate 80 in Montour County, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the State Police said.

No people were hurt, but troopers and state wildlife officials responded as the search for the monkeys intensified into the evening hours. A State Police helicopter was also put on standby but had not been deployed for aerial reconnaissance, Trooper Lauren Lesher, a State Police spokeswoman, said.

As of Saturday morning, only one monkey was unaccounted for, according to state troopers.

Well, they would have died from the cold, but they were bound for death anyway: they were being used for virus research. I wish they’d all gotten away in a warmer clime, where at least they’d have a chance.  Here’s a cynomolgus monkey, also known as the crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis):

*From Canada’s National Post, an article summarized by reader Chrstopher:

It seems like the Toronto District School Board isn’t the only one (remember they banned a book club from reading Marie Henein’s autobiography and Nadia Murad’s memoir of her time as an ISIS captive?) Now the Waterloo District School Board has banned a board member, a 20-year teacher, from school property, suspended her without pay and reported her to authorities for offending against the Ontario Human Rights Act. Why? She said she wasn’t sure it was appropriate to have books in elementary school libraries that encouraged gender transition, specifically one that dismissed the decision of whether to transition and lose the possibility of children in the future with the child’s reply “It’s cool.” And this was at a meeting intended to identify inappropriate books and cull them, but they were expecting to throw out racist and misogynistic authors like Enid Blyton, not to hear this kind of heresy.

Now I don’t think any teacher or library should ban these books, but neither should the school suspend a teacher who calls them into question. Canada needs to learn more about American-style freedom of speech!

*This looks like a great post-retirement job for me—but only if they’d let me serve Tatylor’s Landlord (click on the screenshot):

*Reader James gives us the news from the Religion Poisons Everything Department. He cited a piece in the Daily Fail, but this one in News WWC gives a bit more information.

A mother-of-two who jumped through an ice hole in a frozen river to mark Orthodox Epiphany was swept away, presumed dead, by strong currents in front of her screaming children.

A deeply distressing video shows the woman, 40, plunge into the Oredezh River near Vyra, a village south of St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.

There was immediate panic after the woman, a lawyer from St Petersburg was pulled beneath the ice by a powerful current of around 10ft a second.

Her distressed children scream and one is heard crying ‘Mama, Mama’, as a woman tries to comfort them.

A mother-of-two, 40, jumped into a frozen river to mark Christian Orthodox Epiphany on Wednesday

Here’s the plunge, and the video (on the fail: warning–distressing: children scream) shows her disappearing immediately. Her husband immediately jumped into the water, but the woman had already been swept away by the icy water:

The lawyer, from St Petersburg, intended to dip in the waters to mark Christian Orthodox Epiphany in a tradition followed annually by hundreds of thousands of Russian believers.

People believe that water blessed for the annual ceremony possesses special healing properties.

Some people go into the icy waters on their own, while others often take part in the celebration in groups as they remembered the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

A hole had been cut into the thick ice and the air temperature was around -5C when the woman jumped in.

On the video you can her hear two children scream as the woman disappears. Divers were brought in but couldn’t find her body, either. Now if there hadn’t been religion, this woman would have lived and her two children would have a mom. It’s just God’s plan, I suppose. . . .  he wants people to plunge into ice holes.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 865,116 an increase of 2,152 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,611,193, an increase of about 6,500 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on January 23 includes:

Here’s a Rajput painting of war elephants. Sometimes they had blades fitted to their tusks (second photo)!:

  • 1556 – The deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hits Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.
  • 1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States’ first female doctor.

Here she is; she later gave up private practice to engage in medical education:

All 16 defendants, of course, were convicted and sentenced to death: a bullet in the back of the head in the cellars of the Lubyanka.

Here’s a pro-neutrality speech by Lindy in 1941. He was a true Nazi sympathizer, an anti-Semite (note his mention of pro-war “Jews” below), and they should remove his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, from the Smithsonian.

Below: “A memorial disc containing some of the ashes of Ed Headrick [Wham-O’s general manager], on display at Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, London”

Here’s the photo of the captured Pueblo sailors flipping the bird to the photographer. Note the photo caption: “North Korean Propaganda Photograph of prisoners of USS Pueblo. Photo and explanation from the Time article that blew the Hawaiian Good Luck Sign secret. The sailors were flipping the middle finger, as a way to covertly protest their captivity in North Korea, and the propaganda on their treatment and guilt. The North Koreans for months photographed them without knowing the real meaning of flipping the middle finger, while the sailors explained that the sign meant good luck in Hawaii.”

  • 1986 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.
  • 1997 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.
  • 2002 – U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan and subsequently murdered.

Pearl was beheaded, and the Pakistani courts acquitted the main suspect. Pearl in captivity:

DCA98 – 20020203 – –, PAKISTAN : This undated photo received 30 January, 2002, shows Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at an undisclosed location with a gun pointed to his head. US media reported that Pakistan police confirmed 03 February, 2002, that Pearl had been killed and his body recovered. A body identified as Pearl by police was found in Karachi on a roadside and then taken to a civilian hospital. The US State Department is not confirming the report. EPA PHOTO HO/-/jpr/rix


  • 2020 – The World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 pandemic to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1783 – Stendhal, French novelist (d. 1842)
  • 1832 – Édouard Manet, French painter (d. 1883)

Here’s Manet’s “Woman with a Cat” (1875):

  • 1862 – David Hilbert, German mathematician and academic (d. 1943)

Hilbert looking cool:

Perhaps the greatest jazz guitarist ever Reinhardt was even greater since he used only two fingers on the fretboard, the others having been injured in a fire accident. Here he is swinging with his longtime music pal, Stéphane Grappelli:

Here’s Giant Baba in 1964. He had gigantism, and was 6′ 10″:

Another giant baba:

Those who exited stage down on January 23 include:

  • 1516 – Ferdinand II of Aragon (b. 1452)
  • 1803 – Arthur Guinness, Irish brewer, founded Guinness (b. 1725)
  • 1806 – William Pitt the Younger, English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1759)
  • 1883 – Gustave Doré, French engraver and illustrator (b. 1832)

I love Doré. Here’s his engraving of Puss in Boots:

Here’s Pavlova, who had abnormally arched feet and thus also invented the modern pointe shoe:

  • 1944 – Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter and illustrator (b. 1863)
  • 1947 – Pierre Bonnard, French painter (b. 1867)

“The White Cat’ by Pierre Bonnard:

  • 1973 – Kid Ory, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (b. 1886)
  • 1985 – James Beard, American chef and cookbook author for whom the James Beard Foundation Awards are named (b.1905)
  • 1989 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1904)

Dali had a pet ocelot named Babou. Can you name another famous person who had a pet ocelot?

  • 2004 – Helmut Newton, German-Australian photographer (b. 1920)

Here’s Newton’s well known photo “Woman Examining Man“:

  • 2005 – Johnny Carson, American talk show host, television personality, and producer (b. 1925)
  • 2015 – Ernie Banks, American baseball player and coach (b. 1931)
  • 2021 – Larry King, American journalist and talk show host (b. 1933)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s still a bit wary of Szaron:

Hili: Take him away from there.
A: Why?
Hili: I don’t like it when somebody looks at me from above.
Hili: Zabierz go stamtąd.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Nie lubię jak ktoś patrzy na mnie z góry.

From Stephen:

From Stash Krod: An R. Crumb cartoon showing how prescient the artist was:

From Malcolm. All the claims here are “verified” on Wikipedia. Curiously, Triboulet suffered from microcephaly.


From Titania. I visited one university where professor had to undergo “furry training” to deal with students who identify as animals (they sometimes wore horns or tails), but I had no idea that catering to the needs of furries could go this far!

Two from Simon. First, Boris Time!

Isn’t it pretty to think so?

From Reader Sue. I posted this recently, but I love the new interpretation (the goat reminds me of a Twitter muttonhead).

From God. Who would put out a Christmas card like this. What are they trying to say?

Tweets from Matthew.  Pity that the water’s gone from here:

Every cat needs one of these!

How fantastic: the joy of jumping around!

Be sure to enlarge and read this concise but important piece of science:


43 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Being part of the epithelium of a mammal, I’ll have you know my palate is not faux leather, but the real thing! I’ll think of you the next time I relish some rhubarb pie and custard…

      1. Add in some strawberries or raspberries and you can just throw the rhubarb on the compost pile where it belongs.

        1. Indeed, rhubarb is best prepared by lovingly arranging the stalks on a compost pile! It’s full of oxalic acid for a reason – to protect itself from critters and creatures eating it. I think even groundhogs have enough sense to avoid it.

          1. The leaves are extremely poisonous to humans (yes, oxalic acid), but the stalks can be eaten raw (not recommended). Though some mammals, like deer and sheep can eat the leaves without a problem. I don’t know about groundhogs, but dogs, cats and rabbits get sick from it. Some farmers use it to deter rabbits from their crops. Oh, the many fun facts of rhubarb.

            1. Peel a raw stalk, dip the end in sugar, bite, chew, enjoy! These kids and their boughten candies…mutter…..mutter

    1. Didn’t we recently have this rhubarb argument on WEIT? I believe we did, and the rhubarb aficionados won. That’s how I remember it anyway. 😉

  2. The Christmas fire squad picture got me thinking. It probably seems sinister to a lot of folks here, it just looks sort of immature to me. My father and grandfather collected guns, so do I, although they tend to be antique. My son has started a collection as well. However, a person meeting us casually would never know this.
    For us, doing a Christmas picture like that would just never happen. It reminds me of a family where one of the teenagers is really into Star Trek, and insists on posing in the picture dressed as Spock. Except here, the whole family does it.
    Anyone they send the card to already knows about their views on guns, and their collection of (recently purchased) firearms.

    1. It’s the genre of “trigger-the-libs” (pun unintended). One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s certain part of gun-culture which seems to find it very amusing to pose with as many guns as possible in order to annoy anti-gun liberals. Sometimes the guns aren’t even real, they’re just props. In your example, it’s more like if half the country thought Star Trek was a dangerous obsession which poisoned minds with belief in harmful technology and turned them away from the sensible Bible and prayer faith that they thought all proper people should have. To be clear, I’m not saying these are compatible in effect, it’s an analogy for the depth of the culture war feelings.

  3. Markus Reinhardt Ensemble: The group has its musical roots on the one hand in the music of the French jazz and gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt – a great uncle of Markus – , on the other hand in the traditional Eastern European gypsy music.

    1. I remember that show. Ocelots became a fad pet shortly after Honey West made its debut. I lived in a small town, population 7,000, and even our local department store had an ocelot for sale – cashing in on the fad. Turned out they did not make good pets and the sale of ocelots quickly ended.

    2. The entire Honey West TV series from the mid-1960s may be watched on YouTube. We’re working our way through it and it’s really quite good. Honey is a strong, independent woman. In addition to her pet ocelot she owns a very nice car, one of which WEIT commenter Stephen Barnard would approve.

  4. Regardless of what you may think about her dust up on Bill Maher the other night, in her short 2019 book, “how to Fight Anti-semitism”, Bari Weiss explains a view of why anti-semitism is different in the eyes of the woke from the discriminations so loudly decried by them (the woke). She gives a chapter on a history of anti-semitism, followed by a chapter devoted the anti-semitism from the right and then one on the left. She discusses both Lindberg and Daniel Pearl among many others. I think that she was motivated to sit down and write this book by a precipitating event of the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh where she had been a Bat mitzvah some years ago.

  5. I have been to Piel Island as I was born and raised nearby, but I would not want to live there! It is a very isolated part of the country.

  6. According to Wikipedia:

    Painter Salvador Dalí kept a pet ocelot named Babou that was seen with him at many places he visited, including a voyage aboard SS France. When one of the diners at a New York restaurant was alarmed by his ocelot, Dali told her that it was a common domestic cat that he had “painted over in an op art design”.

  7. The woman who jumped into the ice hole… Lately I’ve been appreciating the joke about the man on the roof in a flood who turns away three rescue boats because he has “faith in God” (who will rescue him). But he drowns and when he asks God why he wasn’t saved is told, “I sent three boats!”

    Aren’t vaccines and knowledge of river currents etc. “boats”?

    1. Thanks, I did wonder if that was the case. At least one tabloid here in the UK fell for it (or at least sought to benefit from the clicks).

  8. Not to hog the comments, but I have to disagree strongly about the Spirit of St. Louis. “They should remove his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, from the Smithsonian.”
    I really disagree with that sentiment on so many levels. Firstly, aircraft are inanimate objects. They have no political views. The A&S museum houses a Ford Trimotor, made by an unambiguous antisemite. They have examples of both the V-1 and V-2 flying bombs. They have a comprehensive collection of Nazi aircraft, some with big swastikas on them.
    The Spirit of St Louis is in the milestones of flight area of the museum, because it represents such a milestone.
    As for the man himself, he was one of many celebrities before WW2 who were taken in by the flattery and promises of the Nazi or Soviet regimes, although his remarks in 1941 were focused on keeping the US out of war. In that speech he did include the remarks “It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race…No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany.” It seems like although he had an infatuation with the Nazi aviation community in particular, he did not share the blood libel sort of antisemitism promoted by men like Henry Ford. Certainly he shared views that expressed now would be seen as hateful, but reflected common views of the time. Most importantly, his views did change with the times.
    His stance on US neutrality seems a convenient stance in Hitler’s favor, but he was just as strident against US participation in WW1, when he was a congressman.
    Lindbergh did fly combat missions for the US in the latter part of the Pacific campaign. He was part of the US effort to examine and confiscate Nazi aviation technology immediately after the fall of Germany. After touring KL Dora, as subcamp of Buchenwald, he wrote ”Here was a place where men and life and death had reached the lowest form of degradation. How could any reward in national progress even faintly justify the establishment and operation of such a place?It seemed impossible that men – civilized men – could degenerate to such a level.”

    So a man who led a complicated and adventurous life. The latter stages were filled with promoting progress in aviation, establishing protections for isolated tribes of people against encroaching civilization, and working towards the protection of threatened animals, including the establishment of parks and preserves.

    But I remain firmly of the opinion that once we have started discussing which monuments we should tear down, which artifacts should be purged from our museums, and which books should be pulled from library shelves, then we have already lost. We add knowledge. If you wanted to add a little plaque under the aircraft detailing Lindbergh’s later flirtation with the Nazis and final redemption, or just his personal flaws, it would seem out of place, as that portion of the Air and Space museum is about aviation milestones and aircraft. The Spirit is a snapshot of a major milestone of aviation in 1927.

    1. “They should remove his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, from the Smithsonian.”

      I took that statement by our host as sarcasm aimed at the woke, Max.

  9. Giant Baba was very popular in his culture. More popular than any US Pro Wrestler in our culture, except for Dwayne Johnson. 40,000 people attended Bab’s funeral in 1999

    1. I remember watching Giant Baba, and his usual partner in tag team wresting, Antonio Inoki (now Muhammad Hussein Inoki,, in the early 1970s when I was a student in Japan. Pro wrestling and song shows were about all that were understandable, so the TV in the foreign student dorm was usually tuned to one or the other. Baba and Inoki were matched against foreign wrestlers, who usually cheated but were always defeated in the end.

  10. It’s just God’s plan, I suppose…

    It’s got to be. No one else could be that stupid.

    People believe that water blessed for the annual ceremony possesses special healing properties.


    I once listened to a priest, on Christian radio, explaining why God might have taken away a man’s sight. The blind man had called in to the program to ask exactly that question and was given an excellent explanation which appealed to the ‘glory of God’ and a few other things equally profound.

    On another occassion, the priest (probably a different one) got stuck when a kid asked him why God exists.

    Among those who entered, Hideki Yukawa (1907); and among those who exited, Paul Robeson (1976).

  11. I love rhubarb pie. If you think it’s stringy, then you’ve never had a properly prepared one. It takes over twenty-four hours to prep the rhubarb to get the stringiness to go away. It’s a long process but it’s worth it.

    I come from a long line of rhubarb pie-makers. Also rhubarb-strawberry pie.

    My family is also known for making rhubarb sauce, which we often pour over vanilla ice cream. Again, it’s a long, slow process to cook the rhubarb into a smooth string-free sauce but it is SO worth it.

    My dad used to say, “You can’t hurry perfection” … he may or may not have been taking about rhubarb pie (which he loved) … but it’s true anyway. Most worthwhile things take time to do well & hurrying only screws up the process.

  12. 1941 – Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.

    Sure was a scary time for Jewish-Americans in the Weequahic section of Newark, like the Roths, when Lindbergh beat Roosevelt in the 1940 US presidential election.

  13. That cannabinoids vs. spike protein seems to be a preprint, and I suspect that micromolar affinity doesn’t afford sufficiently tight binding to make any difference in vivo (as with IIRC hydroxychloroquine), but it’ll be interesting to follow discussions once the full paper comes out. Authors all from Oregon – imagine that!

  14. Russia v Ukraine: FWIW, one suggestion in the UK media is that Putin won’t authorise the invasion before Feb 20, the last day of the Winter Olympics, because he doesn’t want to embarrass his fellow despot Xi.

    Not that that’s much consolation.

  15. I don’t know who made your rhubarb pie, but fire whoever it was,. Given the way you described the pie, it was likely made with rhubarb that was way too mature. Overly mature rhubarb can be stringy and tough. A pie made with rhubarb picked at the right time and cooked properly will have a consistency similar to that of most fruit pies – and be so good!

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