Welcome to the beginning of the work week: Monday, February 21, 2022: National Sticky Buns Day, celebrating the day that you’re to sit on a piece of chewing gum. I’ll be here all week, folks, but then I’ll be gone. As for real sticky buns, the video below may be the world’s largest commercial sticky bun, but below that is the Guinness-Certified World’s largest cinnamon roll.
The Big One: 9 feet (2.7 m) on a side, weighing 1,149.7 lb (521.5 kg): over half a ton! It was baked in Germany.
Wine of the Day: Not much information is available about this Riseling “trocken” (meaning “dry”), but it’s rated well, and was the only white I had in the fridge to accompany some spicy Indian food. This 2020
“From younger vines in the Niederberg, Schönleber’s 2020 Riesling trocken Mineral is bright and pure yet also intense and mineral on the characterful and flinty/stony nose. Pure and enormously fresh, this is a lean but tensioned and quite racy dry Riesling with grip and tension on the finish. This is no Riesling for hedonists but for Riesling aficionados. The wine is precise like a razor and fresh like an oyster should be. Good finish with intense fruit aromas and lemon freshness.
I’m not sure what they mean by “No Riesling for hedonists” (it sounds like a Cormac McCarthy novel), but it is indeed rather austere, not as floral as most German Riselings and with a distinct steeliness. It went okay with the Indian food though a touch more sweetness would have helped. At $26, it was no bargain.
News of the Day:
BIG NEWS: The first picture of Paulina’s new kitten, which she rescued, sick, dirty, and with a truncated tail. It was thought to be gray but in fact, a bath showed it to be white with orang patches and a colored (and broken) tail. It doesn’t yet have a name, but Paulina is going to keep it, which guarantees it a nice life. It also can’t walk properly yet (there may be a leg or hip problem) but it runs all around and eats ravenously. Stay tuned for more details and a name—when it gets one. It’s going to the vet at 4 pm Polish time today for a complete examination..
* I am informed by 23andMe that they have indeed gotten DNA from my second samply (they couldn’t amplify the first one), are sequencing it, and I should have “results” by March 1. Will there be any Irish in there?
*CNN just reported (I’m writing this Sunday evening) that intelligence data in U.S. possession says that Russia has already prepared its attack on Ukraine:
The US has intelligence indicating orders have been sent to Russian commanders to proceed with an attack on Ukraine, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the US intelligence.
But the news of the intelligence comes after President Biden said on Friday that he believes Putin has “made the decision” to invade — a comment echoed by Vice President Kamala Harris and by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday. Blinken said the Russian playbook is “moving forward.”
“We believe President Putin has made the decision,” Blinken said Sunday in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The NYT reports that Putin has summoned his security council for a special, unscheduled meeting today—not a good sign. Also, he’ll give a speech there, but it’s not clear what the speech was about. The “meeting” was of course publicized when it could have been kept secret, another sign that Putin is deliberately raising tensions.
*YET, according to the Wall Street Journal, after French President Macron talked to Putin yesterday, the paper raises hopes for a diplomatic solution. (Note: the NYT link above says that Putin spoke again to Macron, but the issue of a summit was not broached.
Mr. Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron said after speaking Sunday that they agreed to continue seeking a diplomatic solution. Russia has amassed as many as 190,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders, including some 30,000 for exercises in its ally Belarus that were slated to end Sunday. Moscow demands that Kyiv abandon its aspirations to join NATO—the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—and give Russian proxies a major say in Ukraine’s future.
Sunday’s developments on the diplomatic front indicated that Mr. Putin could be willing to step back from the brink of war, at least in the immediate future, as he sought a face-saving end to the crisis. “Putin just started a new chapter,” said Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former Ukraine national-security adviser. “It’s a break that allows Putin to refocus, rethink and regroup before taking his next steps. The full war is unpredictable for him—you never know. It’s easy to start a war but you never know how it will end.”
It’s all very confusing, isn’t it. What is it like to be a Putin?
*This angers me: the Associated Press is taking $8 million dollars from climate-change activists to write about their issues. I first read this in the New York Post, and couldn’t believe it. But, sure enough, the AP admits it themselves, giving it the name “philanthropy-funded news,” a euphemism for “journalistic prostitution.” From the AP:
Five organizations are contributing to the effort: the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Quadrivium, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
It’s the most recent of a series of grants the AP has received since the mid-2010s to boost coverage in health and science, religion, water issues and philanthropy itself. Some 50 AP journalists have jobs funded through grants.
. . .AP often needs to educate funders upon first approach, explaining the company’s worldwide reach and mission to report independently. AP accepts money to cover certain areas but without strings attached; the funders have no influence on the stories that are done, Carovillano [the AP Vice President] said.
Both sides had things to learn.
For Carovillano, it was getting used to the idea that funders weren’t just being generous; they had their own goals to achieve. “This is a mutually beneficial arrangement,” he said.
Umm. . . if there are no strings attached, and no “understanding”, and journalists keep their freedom, how do the philanthropists achieve “benefit”? Cui bono? It stinks, and if this practice spread it’s the death of journalism.
Indeed, the NY Post says this practice is increasing as newspapers get more strapped for cash:
The venerable New York Times has tapped nonprofits to fund special reporting projects, including a story about the city after Superstorm Sandy. A Ford Foundation grant enabled the Old Gray Lady to hire a disability fellow to produce stories about disabilities. In both cases, the funders wanted government action — and knew Times stories would help them get it.
Those causes may seem benign, but the principle remains the same: Renting out your institutional judgment on what news to cover (and, inevitably, how to cover it) betrays your promises to your readers.
Let the “donors” buy ads if they want to push their cause.
*From Ken, who notes, “In a debate Friday night, all three Republican men running for the office of attorney general of Michigan said they opposed the 1965 SCOTUS opinion Griswold v. Connecticut guaranteeing married couples access to birth control.”
The tweeter here happens to be the Democratic Attorney General of Michigan:
All 3 Republicans running for Michigan Attorney General just stated that they oppose the ruling in Griswold v Connecticut which outlawed prosecuting married couples for using contraception.
You read that right.
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) February 19, 2022
No access to birth control for married people?
The black and white image, taken in 1924 by the American surrealist artist, transforms a woman’s naked body into a violin by overlaying the picture of her back with f-holes.
The original print of the masterpiece, widely considered to be Man Ray’s most famous work, is expected to fetch between $5-7 million when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s in May — the highest estimate for a single photograph in auction history, according to the auction house.
The subject, Alice Prin, also known as “Kiki de Montparnasse” was a celebrated model, singer, actress, and happened to be May Ray’s lover at the time. He photographed her nude torso, had someone paint violin holes over it, and then rephotographed the whole thing. That’s what you see below, and while it’s clever, it’s not a photograph I would want to have forever if I had to spend $5 million. My choice might be either #5 or #6 in this set, which were on sale in NYT for $1200 each (signed by Cartier-Bresson) when I was a penurious graduate student Cartier-Bresson is, in my view, the greatest street photographer of all. Man Ray, meh
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 933,8195, an increase of 2,124 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,908,163, an increase of about 5,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on February 21 include:
- 1613 – Mikhail I is unanimously elected Tsar by a national assembly, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia.
- 1804 – The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.
Here’s what it looked like:
- 1808 – Without a previous declaration of war, Russian troops cross the border to Sweden at Abborfors in eastern Finland, thus beginning the Finnish War, in which Sweden will lose the eastern half of the country (e.g. Finland) to Russia.
- 1848 – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.
I presume you can’t buy the first edition, except in Esperanto (below); the 1908 edition costs over $29,000:
Here she is; she later encouraged her husband to become a dentist and they opened a thriving joint practice in Lawrence, Kansas:
Here it is: a single piece of paper with 50 names. Do directories even exist any more?
- 1885 – The newly completed Washington Monument is dedicated
Almost done in 1884. The cap is aluminum:
- 1916 – World War I: In France, the Battle of Verdun begins.
- 1918 – The last Carolina parakeet dies in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Here’s a mounted specimen. There once were hundreds of thousands of them, and then two in the Zoo, and then one, “Incas”, and that was it:
- 1925 – The New Yorker publishes its first issue.
You can buy that issue on eBay for about $4500:
- 1947 – In New York City, Edwin Land demonstrates the first “instant camera”, the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.
- 1958 – The CND symbol, aka peace symbol, commissioned by the Direct Action Committee in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom.
- 1965 – Malcolm X is assassinated while giving a talk at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem.
Here’s the assassination scene from Spike Lee’s eponymous movie, with Denzel Washington as Malcolm:
- 1975 – Watergate scandal: Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison.
Their mug shots!
Mug shots of Nixon’s men John Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Charles Colson, all of whom went to prison for Watergate offenses under Nixon pic.twitter.com/INwDpWes53
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 3, 2021
Notables born on this day include:
- 1621 – Rebecca Nurse, Massachusetts colonist, executed as a witch (d. 1692)
- 1892 – Harry Stack Sullivan, American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst (d. 1949)
- 1903 – Anaïs Nin, French-American essayist and memoirist (d. 1977)
Here’s Nin giving an address at Hampshire College in 1972. Her real name (she was French/Cuban/American was Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell :
- 1907 – W. H. Auden, English-American poet, playwright, and composer (d. 1973)
Auden reading selections from his poetry the year he died:
- 1921 – John Rawls, American philosopher and academic (d. 2002)
- 1925 – Sam Peckinpah, American director and screenwriter (d. 1984)
- 1962 – David Foster Wallace, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (d. 2008)
Wallace in 2006. A depressive, he hanged himself two years later. A great pity
- 1986 – Charlotte Church, Welsh singer-songwriter and actress
Those who had their ricket punched on February 21 include:
- 1677 – Baruch Spinoza, Dutch philosopher and scholar (b. 1632)
Here’s the record of Spinoza being banned from his synagogue in 1656:
- 1941 – Frederick Banting, Canadian physician and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1891)
He shared the Nobel Prize with Charles Best in 1923 for the development of insulin as a therapeutic drug:
- 1945 – Eric Liddell, Scottish rugby player and runner (b. 1902)
- 1965 – Malcolm X, American minister and activist (b. 1925; assassinated)
- 1968 – Howard Florey, Australian pathologist and pharmacologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1898)
Florey shared the 1945 Nobel Prize with Chain and Fleming for the development of penicillin. He became a Baron and was addressed as “The Lord Florey”.
Here’s a statue of Horton outside his first donut shop in Hamilton:
- 1984 – Mikhail Sholokhov, Russian novelist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1905)
- 2018 – Billy Graham, American evangelist (b. 1918)
- 2019 – Peter Tork, American musician and actor (b. 1942)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, all the cats are togethere, nomming on the kitchen windowsill:
Kulka: I will be running along now.Hili: You always have to complain.
Kulka: Nic tu po mnie.Hili: Zawsze musisz narzekać.
And here is Szaron yawning:
From Merilee. I didn’t catch it for a moment:
From Bruce. This is true, for one just forgets about veggies in the “crisper”:
More snow creations from Peter:
Lagniappe: Yesterday’s Trudeau strip (h/t Bruce: click to enlarge):
The Tweet of God:
I mean humanity in general but also you personally.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) February 20, 2022
From Barry. I’ve never heard a cat sing the blues better (sound up)
The black cat blues.. 🎶 pic.twitter.com/eLeXcJxfSb
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) February 20, 2022
Dumbest tweet of the month (the second one). You may remember that AOC originally wanted to vote “no” on US funding of Israel’s (purely defensive) Iron Dome, and then changed her vote to “present” after she was criticized from both Left and Right. After the vote passed the House overwhelmingly (420-9), AOC was observed weeping. She later apologized for changing her vote:
“Yes, I wept,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez told her constituents on Friday. “I wept at the complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted by these decisions, I wept at an institution choosing a path of maximum volatility and minimum consideration for its own political convenience.”
But the point is the second tweet and the idiocy of “MARISON”, who apparently doesn’t understand that a defensive system is not an attack system. Or maybe she’s just angry that Israel gets to defend itself against Palestinian missiles.
The iron dome is also an escalation of warfare. Israel has been bombing and terrorizing Palestine and Palestine has no way to fight back or defend itself against such a defense system.
— ᴍᴀʀɪsᴏʟ 🌻✨ (@redmage_mari) February 14, 2022
From Simon. I’d totally buy this! Stakes and a hammer for driving through the vampire’s heart.
That moment at the flea market, when you realize you're looking at a vampire killing kit. pic.twitter.com/ktwuDGFX6q
— John Moffitt 🌊🌊🧢🧢 (@JohnRMoffitt) February 18, 2022
From Ginger K. I almost never eat donuts, but if you put a dozen assorted ones in front of me, and leave me alone, they will be gone by the end of the day:
The 5 Stages of Eating Doughnuts:
I shouldn't do this
Why am I doing this?
Why can't I stop doing this?
Who put these doughnuts here, anyways?!?!
I didn't do that.
— James Harris (@jimeharrisjr) February 16, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Look at this genealogy and listen to the song below:
After 15 years I have found a reason to post this video online. pic.twitter.com/5wSdCq3IoG
— Xerxes (@XerxesEmperor) February 18, 2022
Spot the caterpillar! (First try, then see the answer here.)
— 尾園 暁 (@PhotomboOzono) February 20, 2022