Wednesday: Hili dialogue

February 9, 2022 • 7:30 am

Welcome to Hump Day, known to the Kurdish as rojek hûr:  February 9, 2022: National Bagel and Lox Day. Oy, what a great day, but why did they forget the schmear? Here, let me fix that:

It’s also Chocolate Day, Pizza Pie Day (does anybody still call a pizza a “pizza pie”?), National Toothache Day (?), and Read in the Bathtub Day.

Today’s Google Doodle is a gif celebrating the life of Toni Stone (1921-1996) who,

was the first of three women to play professional baseball full-time for the Indianapolis Clowns, in the previously all-male Negro leagues.This also made her the first woman to play as a regular on an American big-league professional baseball team. A baseball player from her early childhood, she went on to play for the San Francisco Sea Lions, The New Orleans Creoles, the Indianapolis Clowns, and the Kansas City Monarchs before retiring from baseball in 1954.

There was a women’s baseball league then, but they were unofficially segregated and Stone could not play. When you click on the screenshot, you’ll not only see information about her but some fancy animations on the page”

News of the Day:

*Well here’s a pleasant surprise. Senator Mitch “666” McConnell has done the right thing for once! You may recall that the Republican National Committee censured two Republican Congresspeople (Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) simply for staying on the “bipartisan” panel investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol. All the other Republicans refused to be on that committee, and act of pure petulance. At any rate, McConnell took the RNC to task for this censure!

Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, pushed back hard on Tuesday on the Republican Party’s censure of Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and its characterization of Jan. 6 as “legitimate political discourse,” saying the riot was a “violent insurrection.”

The remarks from Mr. McConnell, the normally taciturn Kentucky Republican, added to a small but forceful chorus of G.O.P. lawmakers who have decried the action that the Republican National Committee took on Friday, when it officially rebuked Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for participating in the House investigation of the Jan. 6 attack, accusing them of “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

Mr. McConnell repudiated that description, saying, “We saw it happen. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.”

In the days since the Republican National Committee passed the resolution at its winter meeting in Salt Lake City, a handful of Republicans have criticized the move as everything from a political distraction to a shame on the party. Mr. McConnell was among the most blunt.

McConnell is a nasty piece of work in general, so I can’t help but think he has secret motives. He’s too old to run for President in two years (he’s 80 now), so what’s in it for him? Is this an act of genuine principle?

*Sorry, but I cannot forgive Pope Benedict, who just asked “forgiveness” for not dealing directly with priests who were sex abusers. At the same time, he said he bore no responsibility for what happened, including his covering up the abuse. Benedict is 94 now, and preparing to meet his Maker, but doesn’t he think the Maker knew what was going on.

Most recently, Benedict has been under fire over his time as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, between 1977 and 1982, after a Church-commissioned report into abuse by Catholic clergy there was published last month.

The report found that he had been informed of four cases of sexual abuse involving minors — including two during his time in Munich — but failed to act. The report also revealed Benedict had attended a meeting about an abuser identified as Priest X, though the retired pontiff’s testimony to investigators denied he had been present.

Days after the report’s publication, the former pope admitted he had gone to the meeting, blaming his earlier denial to investigators on “an error in the editing of his statement.”

Pity there’s no Maker to mete out the punishment that is meet.

*Another surprise, this time reported by the Boston Globe. Eric Lander, a geneticist and big macher in the genomics world—he was one of the founders of the Broad Institute—has resigned as Biden’s hand-picked science advisor. Lander’s had a reputation for self aggrandizement, but so do many big-name scientists. What he apparently did as science advisor, however, appears to be worse:

President Joe Biden’s top science adviser Dr. Eric Lander resigned Monday, hours after the White House confirmed that an internal investigation found credible evidence that he mistreated his staff.

An internal review last year, prompted by a workplace complaint, found evidence that Lander, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and science adviser to Biden, bullied staffers and treated them disrespectfully. The White House rebuked Lander over his treatment of his staff, but initially signaled Monday that he would be allowed to remain on the job, despite Biden’s day-one assertion that he expected “honesty and decency” from all who worked for his administration and would fire anyone who shows disrespect to others “on the spot.”

But later Monday evening, press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden had accepted Lander’s resignation with “gratitude for his work at OTSP on the pandemic, the Cancer Moonshot, climate change, and other key priorities.”

Lander’s resignation is effective February 18, and Biden will have to choose a replacement. I hope it’s a good one; this is an important job.

*A new article in the Guardian, reporting on a new paper published in Current Biology, notes that, on several dozen occasions, a chimp with a flesh wound inflicted by an internecine fight was treated with “insect therapy” by another chimp. The “doctor” chimp would snatch an insect out of the air, and crush it in its mouth, applying the insect to the “patient’s wound. (Some injured chimps will even do this to themselves.)  Now it’s not clear what’s going on, but people speculate that the crushed insect is a palliative or type of antibiotic. (h/t Jez):

Researchers have not been able to identify what bug was used on the wounds, but they believe it to be a flying insect given the chimpanzees’ rapid movement to catch it.

[Biologist Simone] Pika says the insect could contain anti-inflammatory substances that have a soothing effect. Insects are known to have various medical properties and researches will need to conduct more work to detect and study the insect in question.

Birds, bears, elephants and other animals have already been observed self-medicating, for example by eating plants. But what is unique about chimpanzees is that they will treat not just themselves, but also help others.

Some scientists, however, still doubt the ability of animal species to exhibit prosocial behaviours, such as selflessly caring for others, Pika said.From Jez: “For humans, the first instinct would be to disinfect it and then cover it with a bandage. But chimpanzees have invented a more creative method: catching insects and applying them directly to the open wound.

*Where’s Elizabeth Holmes? Convicted on four of 11 charges in the Theranos wire-fraud case, she’s awaiting sentencing in the fall, and could receive 20 years in jail. (I’m curious as to why they’re waiting so long for the sentencing.) In the meantime, a movie about her, “The Dropout”, starring Amanda Seyfried as Holmes, will be released March 2 by Hulu. Here’s the trailer:

I don’t think Seyfried makes a fairly convincing homes, but I don’t think anybody could make a convincing Holmes after you’ve watched her for hours as I have in interviews and talks. She’s sui generis, and not in a good way. I predict the movie will be a stinkeroo.

*A WaPo article by Anne Hornaday, chief film critic for the paper, about this year’s Academy Awards, turns out to be a big pile of boring verbiage, but at least it alerted me to several new movies I want to watch. But after kvetching a lot and saying little, Hornaday ends like this:

When it comes to uniting movie lovers, the academy’s best move would be to heed the advice of millions of fans and enlist “Spider-Man” stars Tom Holland and Zendaya to host the March 27 telecast (a good idea in any year). That gesture would not only acknowledge the movie that arguably saved Hollywood during an otherwise ruinous period, but it would convey the hard truths of what united movie lovers in 2021. To attain its massive success, “Spider-Man” had to attract not just young spectators who were unafraid to return to multiplexes, but also their more hesitant parents and grandparents — people with more complex decision-making when it comes to gathering in indoor spaces — who decided it was worth the risk to take the family to a bona fide spectacle.

As pleasant as films like “Belfast,” “CODA,” “King Richard” and “West Side Story” are, none of them conveyed an urgent need to be seen on the big screen. Their core audiences coalesced around another principle: that, at least for now, they were more than happy to wait and watch them at home.

Call me a snob, but you will never get me to watch “Spider-Man”. Yes, I know it got good ratings, but I just can’t absorbed by action movies, which seem like a waste of an opportunity to see something better. As for the “urgent need to be seen on the big screen”, well, all movies should be seen on the big screen if you have a chance. Why does “Spider-Man” demand it? So the special effects are more thrilling? Yes, I’m a snob, at least about movies.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 904,144, an increase of 2,598 deaths over yesterday’s figure. These were the same figures reported yesterday, and so haven’t been updated. The reported world death toll is now 5,784,632, an increase of about 13,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on February 9 include:

This is the oldest racecourse still in operation. It’s about one mile (1.6 km) long:

  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: The British Parliament declares Massachusetts in rebellion.
  • 1825 – After no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes in the US presidential election of 1824, the United States House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams as 6th President of the United States in a contingent election.

A photo of JQA!

Davis was imprisoned for two years after the war, and then was pardoned:

  • 1893 – Verdi’s last opera, Falstaff premieres at La Scala, Milan.
  • 1895 – William G. Morgan creates a game called Mintonette, which soon comes to be referred to as volleyball.

Here’s the gym in Holyoke, MA where Morgan developed volleyball. I had no idea the game was invented in America:

McCarthy was finally brought down, and one of the men who helped, lawyer Joseph Welch, is shown here with McCarthy in 1954. Welch has an “I can’t believe this” look:

  • 1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a record-setting audience of 73 million viewers across the United States.

Here’s part of their performance:

Paige was a great pitcher, who finally played in the major leagues when his best days were long gone (he was 42). Here he is in 1932 with the Pittsburgh Crawfords of the Negro League (I put an arrow pointing to Satchel):

His performance two years later:

The 1934 season was perhaps the best of Paige’s career, as he went 14–2 in league games while allowing 2.16 runs per game, recording 144 strikeouts, and giving up only 26 walks. On July 4, Paige threw his second no-hitter, this time against the Homestead Grays. He struck out 17, and only a first-inning walk to future Hall of Famer Buck Leonard and an error in the fourth inning prevented it from being a perfect game. Leonard, unnerved by the rising swoop of the ball, repeatedly asked the umpire to check the ball for scuffing. When the umpire removed one ball from play, Paige hollered, “You may as well thrown ’em all out ’cause they’re all gonna jump like that.”

  • 1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 14 returns to Earth after the third manned Moon landing.
  • 1991 – Dissolution of the Soviet Union: Voters in Lithuania vote for independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 2021 – Second impeachment trial of Donald Trump began.

Notables born on this day include:

The discoverer of the bacterium Rickettsia

  • 1874 – Amy Lowell, American poet, critic, and educator (d. 1925)
  • 1910 – Jacques Monod, French biochemist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1976)

Monod, who won the prize in 1965 with Lwoff and Jacob for their studies in gene regulation:

  • 1930 – Garner Ted Armstrong, American evangelist and author (d. 2003)
  • 1940 – J. M. Coetzee, South African-Australian novelist, essayist, and linguist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1942 – Carole King, American singer-songwriter and pianist

Here’s King in 1971 at the BBC concert, playing “You’ve got a friend” with her friend James Taylor. The BBC live concerts are some of the very best. What a trip back in time: this is half a century old, and a fantastic performance. JT has lost a bit of pelage since then.

  • 1944 – Alice Walker, American novelist, short story writer, and poet
  • 1945 – Mia Farrow, American actress, activist, and former fashion model

Those who encountered  their demise on February 9 include:

  • 1881 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and philosopher (b. 1821)

I visited Dostoyevsky’s flat in 2011 (if you go to St. Petersburg, you must), and there you can see the cigarette case that his daughter inscribed on the day he died

Here’s a scandalous picture of Margaret in the tub with a tiara on her 29th birthday, photographed by her husband Anthony Armstrong-Jones:

  • 2021 – Chick Corea, American jazz composer (b. 1941)
  • 1966 – Sophie Tucker, Russian-born American singer (b. 1884)
  • 1981 – Bill Haley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1925)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on patrol in the orchard:

Hili: Strange things are happening under the stairs.
A: What things?
Hili: I’m just in the process of checking the facts.
In Polish:
Hili: Dziwne rzeczy dzieją się pod schodami.
Ja: Jakie?
Hili: Właśnie jestem w trakcie sprawdzania faktów.
And little Kulka drinking from the tap:

From Not Another Science Cat Page: This is TRUE science!

From a friend who’s into weather but doesn’t understand this:

From both Barry and Leo

Titania’s back tweeting again. Here she touts an article on She Who Will Not Be Mentioned. It’s a pretty good piece on SWWNBM, too!

From Simon:

A heartbreaking story related to Masih by an Iranian woman, a tale involving an “honor stabbing.” All because this woman wanted to stay home and study for an exam, which would leave her alone in the house with her mother’s cousin (clearly a male).

From GInger K. I may have posted this before but so what? I LOVE the Northern Lights, though I’ve never seen them in person.

Tweets from Matthew. Here we have crested ducks, which are simply a mutation in the white form of the mallard (the “Pekin duck”).

You likely don’t know what the “Baldwin effect” is, but you can read about it here. It used to be touted as a refutation of neo-Darwinian evolution because some people thought it showed that environmentally acquired behavioral traits could be inherited through the DNA (i.e., “Lamarckian inheritance”). But it doesn’t show that. Richard explains below. Yay for ex-Muslims posting about evolution!

Matthew loves capybaras and I love ducks, so this is the perfect tweet for both of us—if you ignore the rodent’s farting, which appears to frighten one duckling! (Sound up.)

And to end, the last words of James Joyce. Was he referring to Finnegans Wake?

57 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Why was Moscow Mitch doing the minimum, who knows? Maybe he can’t face climbing into the back end of Trump or likely thinks this gets him off the hook way down the road somehow. He is the same spineless creep he has always been, trying to play both sides of what is left of his party. He remains a boot licking Trumper and always will.

      1. She’s actually Mitt Romney’s niece. (Her full name is “Ronna Romney McDaniel,” and rumor has it, Trump insisted she drop the “Romney” from her name if she wanted to be the RNC chair.)

        Ol’ Uncle Mitt has been pretty good on this stuff, voting against Trump at his second impeachment trial and going on record against the RNC’s censure of Cheney and Kinzinger and its characterization of the Jan. 6th insurrection as “legitimate political discourse.”

    1. Mitch is not up for reelection until 2026. In 2020 he pivoted quite successfully to Trump. So he probably figures he can say whatever he wants right now. Even IF Trump gets reelected AND remembers he said this, that still gives him 2 years to pivot back.

  2. Well here’s a pleasant surprise. Senator Mitch “666” McConnell has done the right thing for once! You may recall that the Republican National Committee censured two Republican Congresspeople (Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) simply for staying on the “bipartisan” panel investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol.

    Okay, yeah, let’s give McConnell credit for that much. But it’s not like Moscow Mitch did this out of principle (for he hasn’t any). The onliest thing that matters right now to McConnell is regaining the senate majority leadership. Full stop.

    That’s the prize Mitch has his eye on, and he knows two big things — 1) that which political party gains control of the US senate next January will be determined by a handful of elections this Fall in purple states (such as Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin); and 2) that the arrant whack-job nonsense being being pushed by the RNC on Donald Trump’s behalf won’t play well with moderate and swing voters whose ballots will decide those elections.

    Mitch’s statements yesterday were purely a matter of political calculation, nada mas.

      1. It feels like less of a win if you consider that his political calculus is intended to ensure increased Republican power so they can dismantle our democracy. “There will be peace for our time!”

        1. I agree that it is a complicated thing. I was just thinking that if it goes against Trump and his followers, then it must be a good thing. Unlike Trump, McConnell has no real interest in dismantling democracy. Plus, I like it when different factions in the GOP fight each other. That has to be good for Dems.

          1. McConnell has no real interest in dismantling democracy.

            True, his interest is simply in skewing US representative democracy so that Republicans can get their claws around the maximum amount of political power possible while being an unpopular, numerically minority party.

          2. For not having an interest in dismantling democracy he has done a fine job of doing so. Dismantling democracy may merely be a result of the tactics he uses to achieve what his goal is, maintaining and increasing his personal access to wealth and power, but this distinction does not earn him any credit in my book. He’s been a key figure in the RP’s decades long effort to dismantle the US government since long before Trump became president. Which, in turn, lead to the roused rabble phenomenon that enabled Trump to come along and steal the RP voting base (the roused rabble) from the RP leaders that worked so hard to create it.

            I do think it’s great that Mitch F#$%ing McConnell made these statements, and of course I agree with what he said, but it sure doesn’t make me think any better of him.

            1. If I gave the impression that I thought highly of Mitch, I apologize. I was only suggesting that he is motivated by staying in power within the party structure. Unlike Trump, who relies on populism and treats the law and Constitution as obstacles to circumvent, Mitch does his thing by carefully pulling the levers of power. He doesn’t want those levers to be dismantled.

              1. Not at all Paul, I was just expressing my eternal disrespect for Mitch. Any negativity in my comment was intended only for Mitch. Well, Trump too. Apologies if it seemed I was being a dick towards you.

  3. Chester racecourse certainly has some strange historical claims:

    According to legend the cross marks the burial site of a statue of the Virgin Mary sentenced to hang after causing the death of Lady Trawst, the wife of the Governor of Hawarden. The legend states that she had gone to church to pray for rain but when her prayers were answered by a tremendous thunderstorm the statue was loosened and fell, killing her. As a holy object, hanging or burning the statue would be sacrilege so the statue was left by the banks of the river and the tide carried it down to Chester. The statue was found guilty by a jury of 12 men. If the legend is true, then this is the first recorded case of a jury being used in a court.

    I’ve never been to the racecourse, but the city of Chester itself is well worth a visit.

    1. There was a large outbreak of a nasty diarrhoea disease due to Campylobacter traced to milk contaminated by this behaviour. The disease is usually spread by undercooked chicken — the bacteria live happily and benignly in birds’ GI tracts. This outbreak defied explanation until the observation of the birds tearing the closures off the milk bottles caused the penny to drop. The article in Lancet contained a photo of two birds breaching the top of a milk bottle as if to satisfy the skeptics.

      I was not aware till now how rapidly this learned behaviour could become heritable.

      Edit: This was meant to be a response to RPG 1 at #14.

    2. When I worked in Liverpool back in the 1980s, I used to visit Chester Racecourse regularly with work colleagues. It is a quite a small course, with very tight turns, and a short straight. This often favoured smaller horses which could go around the turn faster. Sometimes the handicapper missed this effect, so I usually managed to return a small profit from a day at Chester Races!

  4. “The Dropout” on Hulu is actually a series, not a movie! I can’t imagine following the antics of Holmes on a weekly basis. I suspect that means they are going to have to make up most of the backstory, making it more fiction than documentary. I’ll watch the first episode but, if I had to guess, I doubt I will make it through the whole thing.

    1. Make it through the whole thing? Jebus paul. I couldn’t even make it through more than a minute of the trailer!

        1. Sorry paul…punctuation error…should have been read as an exclamation sepated from your name viz: Jebus! Paul…..

          1. Surely? Shirley? I always get those mixed up.

            Reminds me of a long prank I pulled on our kids when they were very young. We had family and friends in Miami so it came up in conversation with some regularity. When one of the kids would say something about Miami I’d ask, “Wait. I’m confused. Your “ami” or My “ami?” At first they’d look at me to try and figure out if I was being serious or not, because I did mess with them quite a bit. But weeks of staying in character eventually paid off. It was fun watching them trying to fit this nonsense into their language skills in a systematic way.

  5. Some scientists, however, still doubt the ability of animal species to exhibit prosocial behaviours, such as selflessly caring for others, Pika said.From Jez: “For humans, the first instinct would be to disinfect it and then cover it with a bandage.”

    I am endlessly amazed at people’s need for humans to be special and separate from the rest of the animals of the world. And no, disinfectant and bandages are not instinctual responses, they are learned behaviors just like the chimp’s.

    1. Right you are. The first instinct in humans would be to lick it, or stick the wounded part in one’s mouth. Kissing it better rapidly relieves pain. 🙂

      Applying disinfectant to a wound is hardly ever useful, not even to kill the bacteria introduced into it by the mouth. The organic milieu of an open wound neutralizes the effect of most disinfectants, and chemicals like Chlorox — yes, diluted it has been used in wound care — and iodine can worsen tissue damage. Routine application at home of various goopy things should be an unlearned behaviour. Traditional-knowledge poultices should have to face the same experimental testing as Polysporin. The most important thing is to remove even the tiniest foreign bodies and crumbs of dead tissue, and allow drainage. Human bite wounds and infections related to i.v. drug abuse are nasty because often deep, heavily contaminated, and neglected. Antibiotics and emergency surgery can of course can be life- or limb- saving. Tetanus toxoid needs to be up to date, especially if it’s been many decades since you had your last one. None of these behaviours are instinctual, and some may be proved wrong.

      (Doctors often put topical antibiotics on minor lacerations they suture because patients expect it and it is probably harmless, although some people do become sensitized.)

    2. Chimps can learn video games faster and better than me, and even goldfish—given a the right set-up, can “drive” motorized aquariums, though I’m still a little better than they are.

      Every time I read another story of animal intelligence, or compassion, or any other “human” traits, I’m introduced to 12 examples of humans being profoundly stupid (threatening to bring loaded guns to a school board meeting). And endless stories on The Kardashians, who I actively try to avoid.

      I feel that we are starting to lose the human race.

  6. I’m curious as to why they’re waiting so long for [Elizabeth Holmes’s] sentencing.

    Standard practice in federal criminal cases. When a defendant is convicted (whether at trial or by guilty plea), the district court judge orders the preparation of a pre-sentencing investigation report (known variously around the country’s federal courts as a PSI or PSR) from the US Probation Department. Such reports compile a broad array of information regarding the defendant’s background and the offense of conviction. They also perform the preliminary calculation of the defendant’s score under the US sentencing guidelines. The parties are then afforded an opportunity to file written objections to the PSI and the preliminary sentencing guidelines’ calculation and to make their own written submissions in mitigation or aggravation of sentence.

    This process generally takes about 90 days, and, in a complex case such as Holmes’s, likely longer.

    1. And they may be waiting on the Sunny Balwani trial, which I think is due to start soon.
      Holmes blamed Balwani for a lot of what she did – I don’t think the jury believed her; but perhaps the issue of responsibility will come up again in Balwani’s trial. After all, Balwani can reasonably claim that Holmes had control of the Board of Directors (through controlling stockholding, and personality to some extent) and was the CEO – he may have been her boyfriend, but she made the decisions. We’ll see.

  7. 1. Beatles puzzler :

    Obviously from the screen shot, McCartney is left-handed. The other three (Ringo is out of the shot) are clearly using right-handed instruments (including the drum set).

    The question is :

    which Beatle besides McCartney is left handed?

    If you know the answer, write it on the back of a 50 dollar bill and send it to (… little Car Talk joke there).

    2. Weather :

    What? No astrology? At least it isn’t supernatural!…( I think astrology is not supernatural. But it uses faith. So I’m not settled on this yet).

    1. Ringo.

      Which top guitarist is left-handed but plays right-handed?

      Which well known guitarist is left-handed but plays right-handed?

      I’ve actually seen someone playing a left-handed flute.

      1. Bingo!

        I mean


        But it is very interesting!

        Here’s a bit :

        Starr said of his drumming: “I’m no good on the technical things … I’m your basic offbeat drummer with funny fills … because I’m really left-handed playing a right-handed kit. I can’t roll around the drums because of that.”[243]

        Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0843-5.


        See also :

        Left and right combined :

      2. “Which top guitarist is left-handed but plays right-handed?

        Which well known guitarist is left-handed but plays right-handed?”

        Good questions – don’t know!

        Am I yelling too much!

      3. I’ve always thought (as a leftie playing right-hand guitar) that it made sense that the dominant hand be the fret-board hand. That’s the hand that does most of the work. A funny aside, I play air-guitar left handed because it “feels right”.

  8. [Elizabeth Holmes]’s sui generis, and not in a good way.

    No doubt about it. But so are a lot of other noteworthies who’ve been the subject of inspired-by-true-events movies. Filmmakers can’t let that stop them. Amanda Seyfried is a talented actor. With some help from hair, make-up, and wardrobe, she just might pull it off.

      1. Nothing wrong with looking like Amanda Seyfried in my book. Plus, I don’t think it’s necessary for her to be an exact physical double of Holmes for the film to work, only that she be similar enough to evoke the character.

        And Seyfried is a damn good actress. She was great in Lovelace, and she doesn’t look anything like Linda Lovelace (I mean, from what I’ve heard; it’s not like I ever saw Ms. Lovelace on the screen. 🙂 )

        Is there someone you have in mind that you think would’ve been a better casting choice, Dean?

    1. OT and @Ken.
      Finally rewatched The Big Lebowski the other night after about 20 years. Holds up pretty well. Can’t believe how young Buscemi was. Turturro as bowler Jesus is my fave.

      1. Bridges and Goodman are great in that movie, giving two of the finest naturalistic performances in cinema history. Both deserved Oscars, but they were overlooked, largely because they made it seem so easy, even though it’s not. (Think of the exquisite timing between Bridges, Goodman, and Buscemi in those bowling alley scenes.)

        I love that movie, though it takes a few viewings to appreciate it fully.

        1. Thanks for reminding me of it. The only weak parts I thought were the sort of “tripping” scenes. Can never forget the rug which pulled the room together😂😂

  9. About the AMS Webinar – Dare I say Troll? Upon close scrutiny, I couldn’t find the webinar on their website; only the link provided. On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me. As we know … Spirituality and Science make strange bedfellows.


      The description makes the intent clearer:

      Presented by the AMS Interfaith Committee, hear stories, work, ideas from panelists across various spiritual/faith-based backgrounds on environmentalism, and how the AMS and spiritual/faith communities can work together in this important space. This is one of a series of topics related to conversations, work, and ideas on collaboration and relational building between the AMS and faith/spiritual communities.

      1. Thanks for clarifying that. I probably don’t need to say it, but it does seem odd that a science based institution has an interfaith committee. However, that’s par for the course these days as we’ve seen over and over again as covered on WEIT.

  10. Why does “Spider-Man” demand it?

    Because Spider Man (I assume you are talking about the most recent one – or maybe the next one) is a film with lots of spectacle and visual impact*. It’s designed as an audio visual experience. On the small screen, it looks, well, small.

    *probably: I haven’t seen any Spider Man movies since the Toby McGuire ones

    1. I suspect that’s it. The Marvel movies in general are big, visually stunning, and generally well-made, with lots of action. Like Star Wars, they’re just more fun (at least the first time) in a movie theater.

      Whereas I’ve loved Casablanca every time I’ve seen it, and that’s only been on the small screen, and of course, it’s black and white. I WOULD have liked to have seen Gone With the Wind on a big screen, though…those ballroom scenes would’ve been something to see. Vertigo would also probably be fun on a big screen, and Rear Window, for different reasons.

    2. My problem with modern action films is that lots of the spectacle is CGI—computer animation pretending to be live action. I’d rather see older action/adventure films that relied on stunts, spectacle actually staged for the camera, and the filmmakers’ ingenuity.

  11. I never heard of the Baldwin effect. A fascinating story. On superficial inspection, one could indeed assume that it is Lamarckism.

    1. Here is a link to a nice little article by the great George Gaylord Simpson, from 1953, treating the Baldwin Effect that briefly describes how the concept arose and interacted with Darwinian evolution and Mendelian genetics in the early years of the 20th century. Unfortunately the piece is behind some kind of paywall, although the introductory page is posted. The title of the article, published in the journal Evolution, is, appropriately, “The Baldwin Effect.”

  12. “McConnell is a nasty piece of work in general, so I can’t help but think he has secret motives. He’s too old to run for President in two years (he’s 80 now), so what’s in it for him? Is this an act of genuine principle?”
    I don’t believe that this relates to principles. It may actually be a very positive sign that some Republicans see GOP craziness as becoming a threat to their reelections. A large split in the GOP is probably the best chance Democrats have in the coming House and Senate elections. It could be great, with Trumpers turning against anyone that calls out Trump, and moderates unwilling to support the crazy Trump believers likely to win nominations.

  13. Great movies have had their day, decades ago. Now we just have beautiful scenery and photography, scripts that say nothing and mean nothing, or psychodramas that tell us what happens in therapists’ offices, and nothing of any lasting importance. This is what The Power of the Dog is, no more. People aren’t that interesting; it is what HAPPENS to them or what they DO WRONG that is interesting. But POTD may win Best Picture, maybe because it avoids dealing with universal
    themes that just might have some relevance to real lives and places. Today it is either Escapism or
    Slobbering Sentimentality. Those films dealing with reality and its deniers, like Don’t’ Look Up, will
    be trashed as hyperbole, alarmism or conspiracy theory. As for Amanda Seyfried, recall that she was featured in that truly great but ignored film First Reformed, arguably the best film to come out of
    Hollywood in decades (if you missed it, get the video somewhere…run, don’t walk).

  14. Happy Birthday J.M. Coetzee! I’m currently reading (and enjoying) The Master of Petersburg. Coetzee is one of my favorite authors.

Leave a Reply