Sunday: Hili dialogue

January 30, 2022 • 7:00 am

Welcome to Sunday, January 30, 2022: National Croissant Day, a tasty form of cultural appropriation.  Here’s the best croissant I ever had in Paris (and it won a prize). It’s from the bakery Maison d’Isabelle in the Sixth, only a five-minute walk from my hotel. No butter or jam needed, and you get them hot from the oven!

It’s also World Leprosy Day, National Escape Day, and these holidays associated with the death of Gandhi:

Martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi, and its related observances:

News of the Day:

*Book-banning has been on this site fairly regularly, and I oppose all of it, though I do think that certain material should best be given to children when they are older. But under NO circumstances should books be removed from school libraries. In a stirring op-ed in the NYT, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author

. . . Those seeking to ban books argue that these stories and ideas can be dangerous to young minds — like mine, I suppose, when I picked up Mr. Heinemann’s novel.

But those who seek to ban books are wrong no matter how dangerous books can be. Books are inseparable from ideas, and this is really what is at stake: the struggle over what a child, a reader and a society are allowed to think, to know and to question. A book can open doors and show the possibility of new experiences, even new identities and futures.

Book banning doesn’t fit neatly into the rubrics of left and right politics. Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” has been banned at various points because of Twain’s prolific use of a racial slur, among other things. Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” has been banned before and is being threatened again — in one case after a mother complained that the book gave her son nightmares. To be sure, “Beloved” is an upsetting novel. It depicts infanticide, rape, bestiality, torture and lynching. But coming amid a movement to oppose critical race theory — or rather a caricature of critical race theory — it seems clear that the latest attempts to suppress this masterpiece of American literature are less about its graphic depictions of atrocity than about the book’s insistence that we confront the brutality of slavery.

Here’s the thing: If we oppose banning some books, we should oppose banning any book. If our society isn’t strong enough to withstand the weight of difficult or challenging — and even hateful or problematic — ideas, then something must be fixed in our society. Banning books is a shortcut that sends us to the wrong destination.

. . . Banning is an act of fear — the fear of dangerous and contagious ideas. The best, and perhaps most dangerous, books deliver these ideas in something just as troubling and infectious: a good story.

*Last week Neil Young, objecting to Joe Rogan’s anti-vax stand, said that the music platform Spotify had to choose between carrying Rogan’s podcast or Young’s songs. They chose Rogan. Now Joni Mitchell has announced the same thing. According to the BBC, (h/t Mal)

Singer Joni Mitchell has joined Neil Young in asking for her music to be removed from Spotify over Covid misinformation concerns.

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” the Canadian singer said in a post on her official website.

On Monday, Young said the streaming platform must choose either him, or the podcaster Joe Rogan.

Rogan has been accused of spreading false information about Covid.

In her message on Friday, Mitchell, whose hits include Big Yellow Taxi, said she stands in solidarity with the Canadian-American singer, Neil Young, and with the “global scientific and medical communities”.

Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have been friends for many years, and are both survivors of polio. They both contracted the disease in the early 1950s, not long before a vaccine became available.

Unlike Young, Mitchell did not specifically name Mr Rogan in her post.

Is this “censoring”? In some ways, yes, but in some ways no. One could see it as just refusal to participate on a platform that promotes medically dangerous advice, but then Young could have just quite like Joni did, and not give Spotify a choice.

*You can do this! A new report in the JAMA Internal Medicine, covered by the New York Times, shows that people in general can derive a substantial benefit from even ten minutes of extra activity a day, including brisk walking.

 Suppose, the researchers asked, everyone who was capable of exercising began exercising moderately, such as by walking briskly, for an extra 10 minutes per day, on top of how much or little they currently worked out? How many deaths might not happen?

The researchers made adjustments to account statistically for those people who were too frail or otherwise unable to walk or easily move around. They also considered age, education, smoking status, diet, body mass index and other health factors in their calculations.

Then, the researchers ran the same statistical scenario with everyone working out for an extra 20 minutes a day and, finally, for an extra 30 minutes a day and checked the mortality outcomes.

Quite a few people would live longer in any of those scenarios, they found. According to the modeling, if every capable adult walked briskly or otherwise exercised for an additional 10 minutes a day, 111,174 deaths annually across the country — or about 7 percent of all deaths in a typical year — might be avoided.

When they doubled the imagined exercise time to an extra 20 minutes a day, the number of potentially averted deaths rose to 209,459. Tripling the exercise to 30 extra minutes a day averted 272,297 deaths, or almost 17 percent of typical annual totals. (The data was gathered before the pandemic, which has skewed mortality numbers.)

My own regimen includes 30 minutes of brisk walking per day, though I sometimes miss a day or two a week. If you break exercise down into these smallish segments, it doesn’t seem as daunting. But I long for the days when I could do a complete circuit around Hyde Park on the run (6.5 miles).

*From his latest show, here’s Bill Maher on how the Democratic Party has shifted a lot farther Left:

And good news from Darwin’s birthplace, Shrewsbury. He’s not canceled everywhere (h/t Malcolm):

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 882,964, an increase of 2,572 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,677,260, an increase of about 7,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on January 30 include:

A rather gory drawing, a “contemporary German print of Charles I’s beheading outside the Banqueting House, Whitehall”

A rare postmortem execution!

They then all committed seppuku. Here’s a print on their journey home after the attack, with the caption: “The rōnin, on their way back to Sengaku-ji, are halted in the street, and invited in for rest and refreshment.” That invitations doesn’t look friendly!

  • 1835 – In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempts to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but fails and is subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen as well as Jackson himself.
  • 1847 – Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco, California.
  • 1908 – Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is released from prison by Jan C. Smuts after being tried and sentenced to two months in jail earlier in the month.
  • 1933 – Adolf Hitler’s rise to power: Hitler takes office as the Chancellor of Germany.
  • 1948 – Following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in his home compound, India‘s prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, broadcasts to the nation, saying “The light has gone out of our lives“.[10][11] The date of the assassination becomes observed as “Martyrs’ Day” in India.

Here’s a newsreel reporting Gandhi’s assassination and a photo of his followers around his body:

Here’s one minute of video from that performance from Peter Jackson’s new documentary, “Get Back”, which I haven’t yet seen.

  • 1982 – Richard Skrenta writes the first PC virus code, which is 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot program called “Elk Cloner”.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1882 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, American lawyer and statesman, 32nd President of the United States (d. 1945)

Here are the braces Roosevelt had to wear in public to hide the fact that his legs were largely paralyzed from polio. Photographed in Warm Springs, Georgia, January, 2013:

  • 1911 – Roy Eldridge, American jazz trumpet player (d. 1989)

One of my favorite jazz solos of all time. Eldridge’s nickname was “Little Jazz” (he was altitudinally challenged), and as you’ll hear he was a fantastic trumpeter. The song is “Rockin’ Chair” by Hoagy Carmichael, played by Eldridge with Gene Krupa’s band.  Don’t pass this song over if you like jazz.

  • 1912 – Barbara W. Tuchman, American historian and author (d. 1989)
  • 1930 – Gene Hackman, American actor and author
  • 1937 – Vanessa Redgrave, English actress

Redgrave won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Can you name the film?

  • 1937 – Boris Spassky, Russian chess player and theoretician
  • 1941 – Dick Cheney, American businessman and politician, 46th Vice President of the United States, 17th US Secretary of Defense
  • 1951 – Phil Collins, English drummer, singer-songwriter, producer, and actor

My favorite Phil Collins song. He was a drummer, and I always wondered how hard it would be to drum and sing at the same time. Well, he apparently didn’t drum on this single. But Levon Helm did it all the time for The Band!

Those who took their leave of Earth January 30 include:

Orville Wright died on the same day as Gandhi.

Lightnin’ plays “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (you can hear a 1964 version by Van Morrison here).

  • 1991 – John Bardeen, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1908)
  • 2006 – Coretta Scott King, American author and activist (b. 1927)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the cats are in precarious positions as Andrzej sleeps:

Hili: Do not purr so loudly or he’ll roll over on this side.
Szaron: I will try.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie mrucz tak głośno, bo przewróci się na drugi bok.
Szaron: Spróbuję.

From Jesus of the Day:

From Ginger K, sent last Thanksgiving:

From Only Duck Memes:

A tweet from Dom:. Is anybody on the other end of that “conversation”?

From Barry: a Dalmatian deer. I’m not sure what the mutation/condition responsible for this coloration is, but it’s not normal leucism:

And. . . curling for ducks. This drake wins!

From Elizabeth. Can you spot the cat?

From Ginger K., a guy who’s having a horrible day:

Tweets from Matthew. I wonder how the guy finds these people. See more of his photos here.

Here’s a cartoon that makes you think:

Weird sexual dimorphisms. But the weirdest one is the second photo, featuring scale insects (“true bugs” in the order Hemiptera), which have males that are completely different from females. You may have females on your house plants. Males have wings and often can fly, while females remain larval-like:

From Wikipedia:

Adult females typically have soft bodies and no limbs, and are concealed underneath domed scales, extruding quantities of wax for protection. Some species are hermaphroditic, with a combined ovotestis instead of separate ovaries and testes. Males, in the species where they occur, have legs and sometimes wings, and resemble small flies.

28 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have been joined by Dolly Parton, Nils Lofgren, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, and Peter Frampton so far.

    1. Joe Rogan is a knucklehead, but he seems to know this. His show is successful because he brings on guests with a huge diversity of interests, expertise, and experiences. They say what is on their mind, and he says “cool, tell me more about it”.
      About a third of his guests are MMA people, and he helpfully labels those podcasts for those of us not interested. A tiny portion of the remaining guests are people who are fringe types. I usually avoid those because they irritate instead of entertain or inform me.
      I looked, and he has recorded nearly 2000 shows. On his site, they are categorized so that if you only want to listen to episodes with authors, professional mentalists, physicists, or whatever, you can focus on those.
      I have listened to only a tiny percentage of his shows, but have thoroughly enjoyed them. Highlights for me were Sebastian Junger, Dan Carlin, Penn Jillette, Douglas Murray, and Chuck Palahnuik. The shows run up to three hours, and tend to cover very wide ranging topics. When Rogan’s subject is someone you are interested in, you are probably going to learn more about them, their experiences, creative process, and ideas than you will find on any other platform.
      I have to drive between ranches a lot. I hate sitting in a car for hours, but it is bearable when I have lots of audio books and interesting podcasts to listen to. The longer the better.
      The people going after Rogan were after him before the pandemic, because he dared to have right wing guests. He also has plenty of left-wingers, and people who speak on topics where their political views are not apparent or relevant.

      Yes, there is a pandemic. Yes, you should get vaccinated. No, you should not use the pandemic as an excuse to purge people you perceive to be your political opponents.

      1. Thanks for that. I had no idea who he was. Podcasts are too long for my ADHD, I guess, but for riding the range they’d be perfect.

  2. On the doppelgängers, when I was young, I was picked up by police at a train station. They showed me a photograph of the guy they were looking for, and he looked exactly like me.

    1. I once got asked to take part in a police identity parade. The cops that stopped me in the street explained that they were desperate because the suspect was over six feet tall and they were struggling to find anyone tall enough. When I arrived at the police station the only thing I and the other attendees had in common was our height – some had beards, others were clean shaven, and our body shapes varied enormously. When the suspect joined the line-up he was virtually a skinhead whilst I had hair halfway down to my waist. He waived his right to object to anyone in the line-up who he considered too different in appearance from himself (and got picked out instantly by the witnesses). The amusing thing was that the second suspect was of average height and build, but objected to virtually everyone in his line-up and the cops spent the entire afternoon driving around looking for an endless stream of replacements.

  3. Good news about the protests against Spotify.
    Thanks for posting the videos of Roy Eldridge and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Also, it is Richard Brautigan’s birthday today.

  4. The audio portion of The Fabs’ rooftop performance is available to stream (go to for links)–several takes of some songs for the cameras, including John flubbing the lyrics to “Don’t Let Me Down,” and Paul ad libbing the ending of “Get Back” as the police attempt to halt the performance (they were finished anyway).

    George didn’t perform any of his songs as he wasn’t too happy about the idea of the rooftop performance.

  5. To Bill Maher – If you spend your adult life whining about the democrats, what does that make you? A republican or a nothing. Also a good living on HBO.

    1. Honest? Seriously, though, no where do the failures of one’s ideological peers show up more strongly than when they are in power, so, of course, there are things to complain about.

      1. And no where but the republican cult party does complaining get you anything but kicked out. Or had you not noticed this trait? Failure also includes getting your ass beat and admitting it.

    2. It’s attitudes like this which enable the woke, and will probably be a major factor in Trump’s re-election.

      So the Democrats can do anything, no matter how absurd, and the real progressive liberals are not allowed to call them out?

  6. I bet the Indian politician’s family got together an decided that at least one of them had to vote for him, that way they could each claim to have voted for him, and he’d never be sure.

  7. That is a remarkable deer. The ‘look’ of the spotting pattern, with irregular spacing and some differences in color tone, resembles the black spotting pattern seen in domestic pigs. There, the lack of pigment is associated with a small DNA insertion causing a frame shift mutation in the Mc1R gene, and the dark spots are descendants of cells where the inserted DNA has been removed. But then one has to also explain why the pigment is black in the deer.

  8. Banning books from the library made more sense before we got the world wide web. Kids (boys really) would go a long way to see naked breasts etc, even browsing library books. Now it makes no sense at all.

    1. The nice woman who checks me in at the gym (when it’s open) is named Gloria and I cannot “hep” myself in greeting her with G-L-O-R-I-A.

  9. You really must watch “Get Back.” And is there anything more annoying than hearing someone tell you that you must watch this, listen to that, go here/there, dine there (especially during a meal someplace else)?
    The top right pair of Brunell’s photos are just plain freakish, even the same Elvis-like sneer. The rightmost woman on the bottom right looks so sad that there’s someone in the world who looks like her. I would be.

    1. Which shows that the actions of Young and Mitchell had some effect.

      I hesitate to call it censoring, which should be reserved for government or government-like organizations.

  10. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have been friends for many years, and are both survivors of polio. They both contracted the disease in the early 1950s, not long before a vaccine became available.“

    They are also both Canadian (though Neal got U.S. citizenship a few years ago so that he could vote against Trump) and were both part of the Laurel Canyon scene, which involved various relationships (musical, sexual and otherwise) between the likes of Crosby, Still, Nash, Young, the Byrds, the Monkees, the Mamas and the Papas, John Mayall, the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, Frank Zappa, Linda Ronstadt, etc.

  11. ”My favorite Phil Collins song”

    Maybe just a bit of a stretch to call it a Phil Collins song. It was a duet with Philip Bailey (from Earth, Wind, and Fire)—he’s also in the video—and was written by both of them together with Nathan East (a bassist (and singer) who is one of the most prolific session bass players ever) and first appeared on a solo album by Bailey.

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