This will be the last full Hili dialogue for a while. Bear with me; I’ll do my best while in the far South. Bye all, and stay tuned for updates!
Good morning on Sunday, February 27, 2022: National Kahlua Day. It looks as if Big Liqueur is buying itself some publicity! As far as liqueurs go, it’s not a bad one, but my favorite is still the green version of Chartreuse, which is a bit bitter and very herbal and complex—and it’s still made by monks!. From Wikipedia:
The book The Practical Hotel Steward (1900) states that Green Chartreuse contains “cinnamon, mace, lemon balm, dried hyssop flower tops, peppermint, thyme, costmary, arnica flowers, genepi, and angelica roots”, and that yellow chartreuse is “similar to above, adding cardamom seeds and socctrine aloes.” The monks intended their liqueur to be used as medicine. The exact recipes for all forms of Chartreuse remain trade secrets and are known at any given time only to the three monks who prepare the herbal mixture. The only formally known element of the recipe is that it uses 130 different plants.
News of the Day:
*About time! The U.S., Canada, and some European allies have decided to hit Russia with a hard sanction, cutting it off from the SWIFT system that allows instant money transfer between 11,000 banks. According to the WaPo, though, this could have bad side effects:
There would be little precedent for such a move, particularly against a country that has nuclear weapons, and some experts say the step could carry risks if Moscow felt like its money was being held ransom.
The Wall Street Journal says that not all Russian banks will be penalized, and notes other undesirable fallout:
A decision could come as early as Monday and could involve the compromise of cutting some but not all Russian banks off the system, according to EU diplomats.
Several capitals, including Berlin and Rome, have resisted the option of disconnecting Russian banks from Swift, a global system that connects banks to facilitate cross-border payments. Critics have worried it could have unintended consequences, including complicating energy payments to Russia and leaving European banks exposed to money owed to them by Russian financial firms. There have also been concerns it could encourage closer financial ties between Russia and China.
Many European airlines have closed their airspace to Russian airlines. Here’s an announcement from Belgium’s prime minister.
Belgium has decided to close its airspace to all Russian airlines.
Our European skies are open skies. They're open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally aggress.
— Alexander De Croo 🇧🇪🇪🇺 (@alexanderdecroo) February 27, 2022
Even Iranians, citizens of a country that’s supposedly a Russian ally, have taken to the streets shouting “Death to Putin!”
And although Ukrainians are fleeing the country in droves, a whole batch of them, including the President, are staying and fighting. Like the Greeks at Thermopylae, they’re doomed but battling to the end. Indeed, men of fighting age, which means males between 18 and 60, aren’t even allowed to leave the country!
Ukraine’s health minister said 198 Ukrainians have been killed in the fighting, with more than 1,000 wounded. There were already signs of a mass exodus — the United Nations said Saturday that more than
150,000386,000 Ukrainians have fled the country; later it said there had been “at least 240 civilian casualties, including at least 64 dead.”
Even so, some Ukrainians interviewed on the NBC News last night were determined to drive the Russians out of their land. Given the military imbalance, I don’t know how anyone can believe that, even with tighter financial sanctions and new military aid from NATO countries. But nobody can doubt that Ukraine is a scrappy country. Civilians are pitching in: the news showed a grandmother patrolling the streets of Kyiv with an assault rifle.
Have a look at this picture from the NYT, and go here to see video of these women, who barely know how to use their guns.
And here, this morning, are civilians sorting out bottles to be used for Molotov cocktails in Dnipro, Ukraine:
*One of the few bright spots in this whole bloody mess is the surprisingly strong antiwar sentiments of the Russian people, many of whom have been arrested during demonstrations. The Associated Press reports pushback from ordinary Russians as well as numerous petitions signed with real names:
Open letters condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine kept pouring, too. More than 6,000 medical workers put their names under one on Saturday; over 3,400 architects and engineers endorsed another while 500 teachers signed a third one. Similar letters by journalists, municipal council members, cultural figures and other professional groups have been making the rounds since Thursday.
A prominent contemporary art museum in Moscow called Garage announced Saturday it was halting its work on exhibitions and postponing them “until the human and political tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine has ceased.”
. . .An online petition to stop the attack on Ukraine, launched shortly after it started on Thursday morning, garnered over 780,000 signatures by Saturday evening, making it one of the most supported online petitions in Russia in recent years.
Statements decrying the invasion even came from some parliament members, who earlier this week voted to recognize the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, a move that preceded the Russian assault. Two lawmakers from the Communist Party, which usually toes the Kremlin’s line, spoke out against the hostilities on social media.
*A NYT story, citing two new scientific papers (neither of which has yet been peer-reviewed, but you can see them here and here), suggests that the coronavirus did indeed originate in a Wuhan wet market, with two separate infections, with all cases geographically centered around the now closed wet market. They also found similar viruses in the market, but since animals were removed (and presumably destroyed) immediately after closure, we can’t be sure if the virus came from live animals. There has been squabbling about whether the wet market or a local lab was the source of the pandemic, but things go back and forth and I’m learning to reserve judgment, as it seems to change with each batch of papers published.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 946,686, an increase of 1,872 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,964,938, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on February 27 include:
- 1801 – Pursuant to the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801, Washington, D.C. is placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress.
- 1812 – Poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.
Did you know that Ada Lovelace, an early worker on Charles Babbage’s computer, was Byron’s daughter. Here’s a portrait of Byron from 1813:
- 1860 – Abraham Lincoln makes a speech at Cooper Union in the city of New York that is largely responsible for his election to the Presidency.
I spoke on that same stage, and possibly at the same lectern. But here’s the venue:
There are even “hintomaru” bentō boxes that mimic the flag, containing rice and a dried plum:
- 1900 – The British Labour Party is founded.
- 1902 – Second Boer War: Australian soldiers Harry “Breaker” Morant and Peter Handcock are executed in Pretoria after being convicted of war crimes.
- 1933 – Reichstag fire: Germany‘s parliament building in Berlin, the Reichstag, is set on fire; Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutch Communist claims responsibility.
The fire gave Hitler an excuse to suspend Germany’s civil liberties, and that was the beginning of his takeover Here’s the fire; the building wasn’t restored until 1999:
However, it was Willard Libby who discovered the use of this isotope in dating, and for that he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960.
- 1943 – The Holocaust: In Berlin, the Gestapo arrest 1,800 Jewish men with German wives, leading to the Rosenstrasse protest.
In this incident, the only public protest against the deportation of the Jews under Hitler’s regimes, the non-Jewish wives and relatives of 1800 arrested Jewish men protested publicly. Surprisingly, all 1800 men were released. As men in mixed marriages, they had to wear this sign, which was eventually eliminated (translation: “Whoever wears this sign is an enemy of our people.” “Jude”, of course, means “Jew”).
- 1951 – The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.
- 1973 – The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee in protest of the federal government.
Here’s a video documentary of the 71-day occupation of the site by the Lakota.
- 1991 – Gulf War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush announces that “Kuwait is liberated”.
Notables born on this day include:
Terry was wildly popular; here she is at 16:
Here’s Smallhythe Place, the house in Kent. where Terry lived from 1900 until her death. It was built in the late 15th or early 16th century.
- 1859 – Bertha Pappenheim, Austrian-German activist and author (d. 1936)
Also known as “Anna O.” in Freud’s case reports. He did not help her.
- 1877 – Joseph Grinnell, American zoologist and biologist (d. 1939)
Grinnell, who popularized the concept of the “niche” in the field in 1914. Field biologists dressed very spiffy in those days!
- 1886 – Hugo Black, American captain, jurist, and politician (d. 1971)
- 1899 – Charles Herbert Best, American-Canadian physiologist and biochemist, co-discovered Insulin (d. 1978)
- 1902 – John Steinbeck, American journalist and author, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
A first edition of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which has sold over 14 million copies, will run you around $5,500; it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Award, and figured largely in Steinbeck’s 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature.
- 1930 – Joanne Woodward, American actress
Now 92, Woodward is the oldest living recipient of a major Oscar; she received the Best Actress Award for her performance in “The Three Faces of Eve” (1957) as a woman with multiple personality disorder. You can watch the entire movie on YouTube:
- 1934 – Ralph Nader, American lawyer, politician, and activist
- 1944 – Sir Roger Scruton, English philosopher and writer (d. 2020)
- 1947 – Alan Guth, American physicist and cosmologist
- 1980 – Chelsea Clinton, American journalist and academic
It’s hard to believe that little Chelsea is 42 today. She’s no longer a journalist, but works on the board of the Clinton Foundation and has written five children’s books:
Those who died on February 27 include:
- 1902 – Harry “Breaker” Morant, English-Australian lieutenant (b. 1864)
- 1936 – Ivan Pavlov, Russian physiologist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1849)
Pavlov and his dog in the lab, with a cannula measuring salivation. He won the Nobel Prize in 1904 for his work on conditioning:
- 1968 – Frankie Lymon, American singer-songwriter (b. 1942)
- 1989 – Konrad Lorenz, Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist, Nobel laureate (b. 1903)
Here’s Lorenz with the geese who had imprinted on him (he studied the phenomenon):
Lillian Gish (right, I believe) and her sister Dorothy in 1921:
- 2002 – Spike Milligan, Irish soldier, actor, comedian, and author (b. 1918)
Here’s a brief documentary of Spike Milligan, creator of the The Goon Show:
- 2013 – Van Cliburn, American pianist (b. 1934)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili sees that Andrzej has been watching the news. When I asked how she could know, Malrgorzata replied, “By looking at his face – despair, outrage, powerlessness.”
Hili: You were watching the news again.A: How do you know?Hili: I can tell.
Hili: Znowu oglądałeś wiadomości.Ja: Skąd wiesz?Hili: Przecież widzę.
More snow fun from Peter:
From Nancie. What would Gagarin think now?
“Looking at Earth from afar you realize it is too small for conflict and just big enough for cooperation.”
Yuri Gagarin pic.twitter.com/zvqfvw6U2v
— Ricky Arnold (@astro_ricky) February 25, 2022
From Ginger K., with a good cartoon reply:
Is this behavior seen in the wild? Or are there other reasons why wild cheetahs are getting rare in their natural habitat? pic.twitter.com/l8lkzjGsWB
— alanpater (@alanpater) February 10, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Get aboard the cat train! If one of those cats chewed your shoe, you could ask, “Pardon me boy, is that the cat who chewed your new shoe?”
Pardon me boy, is this the cat-in-a-jar choo-choo? https://t.co/bnfkJHrDjm
— Adam Roberts (@arrroberts) February 26, 2022
Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy is of course President of Ukraine, but I didn’t know that he used to be a comedian.
as usual, Jon Stewart nails it. https://t.co/6Il9ta9t1t
— Steve 🇺🇦 (@SteTy102) February 26, 2022
Oy! Two tweets with the story of a daredevil:
— Steve Bowbrick (@bowbrick) February 26, 2022
Finally, guess what this edible beetle is mimicking. The answer is in the thread:
Very pretty longhorn beetle from Thailand. The color scheme look familiar… What do you think it is trying to mimic? 🤔 https://t.co/3FDalv4Hpj
— Gil Wizen (@wizentrop) February 17, 2022
And a tweet from Matthew to leave you with:
today's winner for #Caturday
a Ukrainian soldier and her guardian angel pic.twitter.com/8yahsZbao9
— notGJRboston (@RbostonGj) February 26, 2022