Sunday: Hili dialogue

June 19, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the formal beginning of the week: Sunday, June 19, 2022, and Juneteenth, which occurred on June 19, 1865 (see below).  Lots of celebrations in Chicago today.  I was sporadically awakened last night by reports that were probably firecrackers.

It’s also National Martini Day. Make mine a Gibson, made with Bombay Sapphire and with two pearl onions.

You’ll remember that James Bond, in the movies (not in the novels) favored vodka martinis (“shaken, not stirred”), which always struck me as a lame drink, as vodka has no flavor. But in the books he favored a martini that Bond himself (or rather Fleming) invented: the “Vesper Martini”. It’s the first one mentioned in the series, in Chapter 7 of Casino Royale:

‘A dry Martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Oui, Monsieur.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’

At least it has gin!

Speaking of drinks, I opened my new industrial-sized box of Splenda packets today, which I order from Amazon every year and a half (I use two packets per day in my morning latte, and the box has 1,000). Now, however, I noticed that Splenda has decided to use the packets for self-affirmation:

The one in the lower right is particularly irritating. What do I got?

******

As I said, it’s a federal holiday today, Juneteenth (the official holiday is today, but everyone gets the day off tomorrow), as well as  World Sickle Cell Day.  Here’s brief summary from Wikipedia of the origins of Juneteenth:

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth marks the anniversary announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas [see below for the order].  Originating in Galveston, the holiday has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since the 1860s, often broadly celebrating African-American culture. The day was first recognized as a federal holiday in June 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

Early celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas.

And here’s a graphic display of the history of the abolition of slavery in America:

It’s also Father’s Day. The latter was celebrated in yesterday’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot):

Stuff that happened on June 19 include:

Here’s the second and now operative creed, adopted in the 381 Second Nicene Council. As Wikipedia says, “The Nicene Creed is the defining statement of belief of Nicene or mainstream Christianity and in those Christian denominations that adhere to it. The Nicene Creed is part of the profession of faith required of those undertaking important functions within the Catholic Church.”

Now you can say that those who recite it weekly don’t believe a word of it, but that’s bogus. What it shows is that a substantial number of believers accep—or profess to accept—factual assertions about the real world. You are hardly a Christian if you don’t buy most of this:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

They left with Sir Francis Drake. A second attempt to colonize the island in 1587 leaves us with a big mystery:  when the English returned in 1590, the colony and its settlers had disappeared. All they found was the word “Croatoan” (the name of a nearby island) carved on a tree:

(From Wikipedia): The discovery of Croatoan by Sir Walter Raleigh’s Expedition, as painted by John White. Croatan is a nearby island on the Outer Banks, but it could not be investigated due to an approaching hurricane.
  • 1846 – The first officially recorded, organized baseball game is played under Alexander Cartwright’s rules on Hoboken, New Jersey’s Elysian Fields with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23–1. Cartwright umpired.
  • 1862 – The U.S. Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying Dred Scott v. Sandford.

This decision established the principle that African-Americans, whether enslaved or free, were not citizens of the United States and thus not entitled to the privileges outlined in the Constitution. The decision was nullified by the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Scott was a slave who was brought to a free state and still treated as chattel. He sued for his freedom and lost.  He was finally freed by manumission in 1857, but died a year later of tuberculosis:

Here’s the general order informing the enslaved blacks of Galveston that they were free:

Julius was almost certainly guilty of espionage, while Ethel was probably not. Their sons have spent years trying to exonerate them, but they haven’t secured a postmortem pardon. Here are their mugshots:

And here’s Johnson signing it on July 2. Dr. King stands behind him.

Assange’s asylum in the Embassy lasted seven years; since then he’s spent much of his time in British custody. Just a few days ago, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved Assange’s extradition to the U.S., where he is accused of espionage for his role in Wikileaks. If he comes to the U.S. and is convicted, he faces life in prison, but the wrangling may go on for a long time and may make its way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

DA NOOZ:

*Two days ago I gave a link to Donald Trump’s rambling 12-page attack on the Congressional January 6 hearings (CNN highlights some of the howlers.) Besides the usual craziness, the NYT points out that the letter may have another purpose:

It contained his usual mix of outlandish claims, hyperbole and outright falsehoods, but also something that Trump allies and legal experts said was notable and different: the beginnings of a legal defense.

On nearly every page, Mr. Trump gave explanations for why he was convinced that the 2020 election had been stolen from him and why he was well within his rights to challenge the results by any means available.

What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump wrote, stemmed from an effort by Americans “to hold their elected officials accountable for the obvious signs of criminal activity throughout the election.”

His statement, while unfounded, carried a particular significance given the intensifying focus on whether he could face criminal charges. If the Justice Department were to bring a case against him, prosecutors would face the challenge of showing that he knew — or should have known — that his position was based on assertions about widespread election fraud that were false or that his attempt to block the congressional certification of the outcome was illegal.

He was, as we know, apprised of these things by his associates, and we have his election-time call to Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State to “find enough votes” to make him the state winner. Isn’t that enough evidence? Perhaps not, according to the paper:

In a civil case related to the committee’s work, a federal judge concluded in March that Mr. Trump and a lawyer who had advised him, John Eastman, had most likely committed felonies in their effort to overturn the election. “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Judge David O. Carter of Federal District Court for the Central District of California concluded in that case.

Judge Carter cited two crimes that he said the two men were likely guilty of committing: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing a congressional proceeding. Members of the House committee have made similar suggestions, and some lawyers have contended that Mr. Trump could also be vulnerable to a charge of seditious conspiracy.

But successfully prosecuting the potential charges suggested by Judge Carter and others could depend on establishing Mr. Trump’s intent — an issue that his statement this past week appeared to address with the argument that he believed his challenges to the outcome were grounded in legitimate questions about the conduct of the election.

If he believed that, despite everyone telling him he was wrong, then he should still be locked up, but in a mental hospital instead of a prison. But Trump is not crazy, and my feeling is that he should be prosecuted. Let the legal system determine whether he’s innocent.

*If you’re an American, you’ve surely herd that floods devastated Yellowstone National Park, washing out roads and bridges, flooding nearby areas, and effectively closing one of our finest National Parks during the peak tourist season. This was supposed to be a once-in-centuries event, and now officials are beginning to assess the damage and the cost of fixing it.

The scope of the damage is still being tallied by Yellowstone officials, but based on other national park disasters, it could take years and cost upwards of $1 billion to rebuild in an environmentally sensitive landscape where construction season only runs from the spring thaw until the first snowfall.

. . . “This is not going to be an easy rebuild,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said early in the week as he highlighted photos of massive gaps of roadway in the steep canyon. “I don’t think it’s going to be smart to invest potentially, you know, tens of millions of dollars, or however much it is, into repairing a road that may be subject to seeing a similar flooding event in the future.”

*Styrofoam is one of the most notorious landfill items, as nothing can digest it. Until now, that is. The Washington Post reports that a beetle larva can live solely on styrofoam. Now we’re not going to load landfills with beetles, but they offer a possible route to degrading and recycling this item:

A plump larva the length of a paper clip can survive on the material that makes Styrofoam. The organism, commonly called a “superworm,” could transform the way waste managers dispose of one of the most common components in landfills, researchers said, potentially slowing a mounting garbage crisis that is exacerbating climate change.

In a paper released last week in the journal of Microbial Genomics, scientists from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, showed that the larvae of a darkling beetle, called zophobas morio [sic; why don’t they ever capitalize the genus?], can survive solely on polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam.

The findings come amid a flurry of research on ways bacteria and other organisms can consume plastic materials, like Styrofoam and drinking bottles.

Now, the researchers will study the enzymes that allow the superworm to digest Styrofoam, as they look to find a way to transform the finding into a commercial product. Industrial adoption offers a tantalizing scenario for waste managers: A natural way to dispose and recycle the Styrofoam trash that accounts for as much as 30 percent of landfill space worldwide.

* I was delighted to learn from the NYT that a Chicago woman, Cara Condon, has been named “Cheesemonger of the Year” at the Cheesemonger Invitational in New York. Condon, a purveyor and expert on the subject of cheesy comestibles, has her own shop in Chicago, Beautiful Rind, on the near North Side. I can’t wait to visit it. Have a look at the menu and the cheeses on sale!

(From the NYT): Cara Condon, winner of the 2022 championship, aced the trivia segment of the final round.Credit…Jonah Rosenberg for The New York Times

*The results of our poll from yesterday showed that most readers don’t think Trump will even be indicted, much less be locked up:

For fun: Thirty turtles sunning on a hippo’s back in Kruger National Park

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Kulka spies Andrzej’s novel and asks its meaning:

Kulka: What kind of book is it?
Hili: A detective novel.
Kulka: What does it mean?
Hili: It’s a book which keeps humans on the sofa longer than other books.
In Polish:
In Polish: Kulka: Co to za książka?
Hili: Kryminał?
Kulka: To znaczy?
Hili: Taka książka, która trzyma ludzi na sofie dłużej niż inne.

******************

From Merilee:

From Tom, who says “This should be a Gary Larson cartoon.” Well, it could be, but it’s really from Dave Blazek:

From Stephen. I show an untouched Canadian fiver below:

God isn’t tweeting today, so we’ll take one version of him: the Dalai Lama, who has a Twitter account. His recent tweet:

I feel much more compassionate towards Putin and Trump now. . . .

From Simon, some summer fun:

From Luana: Steamer ducks save a beleaguered penguin:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Professor Cobb, who’s deep in book writing. OUCH! for the first one:

Big news below! The agreement was reached on June 11.  You can read more about Hans Island here.

Here’s where the island lies. It’s 1.3 km² and is uninhabited:

A lovely Batesian mimic. It’s a MOTH!

And this last one will warm your heart (sound up).

73 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. It has frequently been commented on, including IIRC by former heads of SIS [MI6], that there is absolutely no way that James Bond would pass a modern day vetting to be an agent ! Excessive drinking for a starter!

  2. Re the beetle that eats Styrofoam:

    How does discarded Styrofoam (or any plastic) contribute to climate change? Net of the CO2 emitted while making it, all plastic is still fossil carbon that would remain forever fixed in landfill or the oceans, assuming it was not burned. And now that beetle larva comes along that eats it, and turns it into CO2 which escapes to the atmosphere!

    1. A fantasy occurs to me :

      Products that work like styrofoam that also act like plant food.

      CO2->plants->O2

      Please send a billion dollars and I’ll get to work on it.

    2. Oh – a tangent – I just learned this :

      The threaded top and the sorta weird shaped bottom of plastic bottles are amorphous plastic. The body is crystalline plastic. Heat transforms crystalline to amorphous. Bacteria can eat amorphous plastic.

      I’m just saying the chemistry, is all. Still an energy/resource problem.

    3. I think Leslie’s point is excellent – can anyone here directly address the question as to how plastics contribute to climate change, and how it is this beetle does not make things worse?

      1. The issue here is that styrofoam takes up a lot of space in landfills. I get it that breaking it down releases CO2, so that is a thing to think about. But maybe that would be insignificant in amount?

        1. By way of comparison: We are producing over 380 million tons of plastic every year (all kinds).
          In 2021, about 546 million tons of coal were consumed in the United States.

          1. [ just entering this here ]

            It is remarkable, the change in volume, placing a huge styro block in some acetone.

            Haven’t tried it yet. One day…

      2. The linked scientific article, which was free to read, says nothing about climate change. It does mention that extruded Styrofoam takes up a lot of space in landfills because it is so bulky. The authors investigated the ability of beetle larvae to, you might say, compost the plastic into more efficiently handled goop that might even allow recycling, which Styrofoam cannot be, currently.

        The larva don’t thrive on Styrofoam, though: they don’t gain weight or pupate. The best that can be said is their gut bacterial community changes to favour species that produce enzymes that can attack some of the functional groups in the polystyrene polymer. Most of the worm poop is unmodified Styrofoam pellets.

        The Post article is paywalled but the few visible sentences indicate that the newspaper thinks that plastic in landfill is important for climate change and these larvae are going to fix it.

        There is a lot of nonsense about plastic in the popular press these days. I think it’s because getting hysterical about plastic trash allows you to think you are actually doing something to alleviate climate change, because if you are like almost everyone, that is all you are doing and all you ever will do.

        1. The problem with plastics is humans and where they deem it fit to dispose of it. It seems an unacceptable amount ends up in waterways and coast/ocean environments.
          The Nth Pacific Ocean garbage patch? one claim… “project claimed that the patch covers 1.6 million square kilometres (620 thousand square miles)”

          How much plastic is in the ocean 2021?

          363,762,732,605 pounds
          That’s bigger than the combined area of the United States’ five largest states! By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight). As of 2021, there are at least 363,762,732,605 pounds of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.5/03/2022

          The above is an example from a google search.
          It is our behaviour that has to change and it is but in the meantime… we get hysterical.

          1. Isn’t it anti-democratic to demand, hysterically, that everyone comply with some behavioural diktat that only a tiny minority of people have shown they are willing to do? You might like a world without single-use plastic but most people won’t. That’s why we keep using it.

            Do you really believe that anyone has measured the weight of plastic in all the oceans to 12 significant digits?

            None of this has anything to do with climate change and there is no evidence that this plastic “pollution” poses any hazard to human health except that it is made of “chemicals”, hence my dismissal of the anxiety as hysteria or as virtue signaling.

            Plastic trash in the oceans is a serious threat to marine life and the best way to keep it out of the oceans is to bury it in landfill here at home rather than sending giant shiploads of the stuff to China under the fiction that they are going to recycle it instead of dumping it (or letting it fall off the dockside mountains) into their large ocean-bound rivers. Where do you think the North Pacific garbage patch came from?

            1. I don’t think it’s hysterical to want to keep control of a waste product just like any other waste. The Nth Pacific patch is just another slow creep where if we don’t change the behaviour garbage it will be, albeit chemicals all the way.
              As for the Google search numbers of ocean plastic trash? those figures means some one is interested and are actually taking notes, this below is probably more to the point.
              https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1260352
              I did not comment about climate change.
              I don’t care where it is or who is disposing it into our oceans, we all use the stuff, what I would say, it’s there piling up and that has been building for 50 years. I think constant criticism of a common problem is warranted. It won’t go away.
              There has always been problems with shipping waste to other countries and in some cases it seemed like abuse.
              But never mind, who knows it could become a ‘new’ natural environment. Like this guy,
              https://www.treehugger.com/island-plastic-bottles-joysxee-island-4863897
              well at the very least he has a plentiful supply of raw material.
              They could station a recycling ship out in the Nth Pacific and deal with it as it comes in, robots?

      1. Read this post from the beginning again, and you will know how that suggestion materialized.

  3. I love how predictably grumpy you are over the Splenda! 🤪

    Properly the horse is feral not wild.

    PS cannot see why the ridiculous dispute over that island could not end with shared sovereignty.

      1. According to the trend analysts, this year it’s Feral Girl Summer. (It seems to be a rebranding of the “Ladette” from the ’90s as far as I can tell…)

      2. “Wouldn’t’ve.”

        I like that. A “double” contraction? Would take a bit of analysis to create it.

  4. “It’s also National Martini Day.”

    Ugh. More reminders I can’t drink.

    Since having a mild case of COVID in December, among other lingering issues, I developed a new intolerance to alcohol. I single sip or two will cause crushing headaches and make me woozy like someone just poured 1/2 bottle of vodka down my throat, all accompanied by racing heartbeat and insomnia. It’s insane.

    Out of curiosity, has anyone else here had issues drinking since having covid?

    1. I’ve never heard of that side-effect. Man, that would suck! Sorry about your predicament. And how do you know if you ever get “over” it. I guess you’d have to try a drink and see if it makes you sick- not cool!

      1. Apparently a number of doctors are reporting that many patients who had COVID, especially those with other long covid symptoms, are having this same problem with alcohol. Even to the point that some doctors feel that, post covid infection, a newly acquired intolerance to alcohol should be seen as one of the diagnostic symptoms for long covid.

        And yes, it sucks mightily! 1/2 glass of wine made me dizzy for a week! In fact, I even had a couple bites of someone’s home-made tiramisu and was hit with a massive headache and dizziness that lasted a couple days. It turned out they’d put a teeny bit of rum in the recipe and even that was enough to set off a reaction!

        And now it’s summer, everyone out is on the downtown patios enjoying a drink, and it’s killin’ me.

        But that’s just one of the ongoing LC symptoms. And now that we are told that we should expect to be infected with COVID possibly several times a year, that’s an anxiety-inducing prospect to say the least when you are living every day with the symptoms of a previous infection. That creates a totally different psychology than having had a mild case of covid and concluding “well, that wasn’t bad. On with normal life!..”.

        Sorry to kvetch. Just kinda feelin’ it today. But as my friend likes to say when putting bad luck in to perspective “At least you don’t live in a country where they are chasing you with machetes…”

        1. You don’t need to apologize for kvetching, I would be too if I were in your position. If you ever kick this strange allergic reaction, let us know. I know of one person who, having had Covid over a year ago, still can’t taste or smell. He said that it has triggered depression, no surprise. I also have a friend who got tinnitus after contracting Covid and it lasted for about 6 months. This Covid thing is so damn strange.

    2. I imagine Bond dealing with Covid.

      Years ago in a comedy skit on “Prairie Home Companion,” a church committee was interviewing pianists/organists to replace their long-faithful and -suffering Ms. Evelyn. There were several applicants including, IIRC, Mozart, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff. When they got to Gershwin, the chairman of the committee blurted out, “I’ll take a Manhattan; my wife will have a Gibson.”

  5. > history of the abolition of slavery in America:

    Unfortunately, slavery has not been truly abolished yet, only criminalized. Every few years, we hear about Middle Eastern princesses who visit the United States with their entourage of servants and we-don’t-call-them-slaves-but-we-confiscate-their-passports. The last case I heard of, she was charged with human trafficking and claimed diplomatic immunity – in 2013!

  6. I took a look at the Beautiful Rind menu and while they have some nice stuff on offer they don’t seem to have very many different cheeses. I guess the business is less of a cheese shop than a place for classes/experiences?

    I’d point cheese-buff to Madison’s Fromagination or one of countless other cheese shops in My Home State. Heck… go to a factory and get some at the source. One of my favorites… Roelli Cheese Haus near Shullsburg. Chris Roelli makes some amazing cheese. Try his Red Rock sometime!

    Don’t get me going on cheese! 😉

          1. Indeed. Almost all of it is made in a slick touristy site in Hawes (which in other respects is a lovely village).

            By some counts (most of them British) there are more cheese varieties in the UK than in France. I don’t actually believe this, but there are certainly many more than even a few years ago. My local ones include Winterdale Shaw (a hard cheddar), Mayfield (a bit like Emmental) and Burwash Rose (a washed-rind soft cheese). Let a thousand cheeses bloom!

            1. By some counts (most of them British) there are more cheese varieties in the UK than in France.

              Didn’t de Gaulle complain that it was impossible to govern a nation with 246 varieties of fromage? 🙂

  7. I don’t really understand why June 19 has been selected as THE day we celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. It’s not the last day of slavery, because that didn’t happen until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was proclaimed to be in force. Until then there were still places like Delaware and Kentucky where the Emancipation Proclamation hadn’t come into effect (not being Rebel territory). I would think either January 1, 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, or December 18 would make more sense.

      1. People prefer summer parties to winter parties. Mexican-Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo, while people in Mexico tend to celebrate Mexican Independence Day (16SEP). There are quite a few holidays that have been time-shifted to the summer months.

    1. Yes, elevating a local holiday to a national one, despite its lack of national awareness/significance, doesn’t make sense. The days you mention, or arguably the existing Lincoln’s birthday, seem more apropos.

      GCM

      1. It acquires broader significance when it is elevated. And awareness isn’t distributed evenly in the population. It had significance in Black communities across the country before being adopted as a national holiday. I can’t think of many holidays that had “national” significance before being important to some subset of the population other than New Year’s Day, the 4th and, perhaps, a couple of presidential birthdays.

  8. Walter Raleigh was executed for his service to the Crown, admittedly by James, not Lizzy. It is said it was to please the Spanish Crown: he had attacked a Spanish settlement, while he was not supposed to. Those were rough days.

    The best price/quality gin is Cruxland gin, infused with Kalahari truffles. On the very rare occasion I partake of a Martini, I’ll use Cruxland. ‘Only’ about the equivalent of 17 to 22 U$D a bottle.
    The sour little onion might indeed be a nice different idea from the ubiquitous green olive, I’d say.
    Vodka is only good -but pretty good- for Bloody Mary’s, IMMO.

    I beg to differ with ‘jamie’, I think it is an excellent place for a wasp’s nest, pretty sheltered, out of rough weather by 3 of 4 sides, and probably high enough not to be bothered by humans.

    I’m really surprised these caracaras let themselves be chased away by those steamer ducks. I suspect those caracaras predate on duck chicks, that would explain their fierce behaviour.

    I’d love to have a Cara Condon shop. In my area, Gorgonzola, Roquefort , Chablis little goat cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano, Breughelkaas, Boerekaas, Reblochon, etc. etc She is the kinda girl I can ‘dig’, I love cheese and in South Africa these cheeses are not always readily available.

  9. You are hardly a Christian if you don’t buy most of this…

    I heard a Christian on radio say that we shouldn’t look for scientific evidence in support of God. ‘Science is the study of what is in front of us’, she said; but she prays and believes God intervenes. They try to insulate their beliefs from scientific inquiry while making statements about the physical world. I am not convinced that such people are intellectually honest.

    I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins…

    While on the subject of baptism, I didn’t know that Sofia Coppola played Connie’s baby boy in The Godfather baptism scene. I found out yesterday. This means she acted in all three, but may not have been paid for them all. Her portrayal of the baby boy at his baptism was by far the best.

    I miss God.

    1. You seen “The Offer”, yet? It’s a 10 part series on the making of the Godfather, from the POV of the producer, Albert Ruddy. I thoroughly enjoyed it (it helps to be a huge Godfather fan). 🙂

    2. BTW, ever since you began posting here, I’ve wondered about the pronunciation of your name. I pronounce it “Checheeah”, (two syllables spoken quickly) but that’s probably not correct. Either way, you have a cool name.

      1. Thanks 🙂

        I have not seen The Offer. I shall look it up. I was watching The Godfather recently when I recognized Vito Scotti in the role of Nazorine, the baker. I remembered Scotti from Columbo. It seems that my Columbo viewings (at least the ones with Scotti) were sandwiched between my last two viewings of The Godfather.

        Regarding the pronunciation of ‘che-ti-ya’:

        ‘che’ is pronounced like Che in Che Guevara;

        ‘ti’ is pronounced like thy in Timothy; and

        ‘ya’ is pronounced like yer in lawyer.

        My favourite (mis)pronunciation of my name is Chechnya, as called out in a coffee shop 🙂 They all turned to look at me as I walked up to get my coffee.

        1. OK, I was way off, I can see why people mispronounce your name! Thanks for enlightening me. Chechnya…at least I wasn’t that far off. 🤣

          I had no idea Scotti was in Columbo…thanks for the trivia.

  10. A cheesemonger “mongs” cheese and an ironmonger “mongs” iron – these seem somewhat disparate trades to use the same latin-derived word for “seller”. Were there any others in use historically? Those are the only two that I recall seeing or using in my lifetime.

    1. I can think of ‘fishmonger’ and particularly of ‘warmonger’ [and ‘fear-mongering’, but I’m not sure there actually is a ‘fear-monger’].

      1. “I’m not sure there actually is a ‘fear-monger’”

        I can think of several, both individuals and corporate.

        1. I formulated it poorly, the fear-mongers obviously do exist (and I’m not sure if I’m not one of them on occasion). I meant: is ‘fear-monger’ an actual recognised existing word?

            1. I mentioned ‘fear-mongering’ as an existing term, my question was about a ‘fear-mongerer’. Your Wikipedia reference mentions ‘fearmongering’ , but fearmongerer’, only as the title of a film.
              I also note that autocorrect accepts ‘fear-mongering’, but objects to ‘fear-mongerer’, which was what my question was about.
              Well, I guess that ‘The Fearmonger’ as a film title might be sufficient to accept it as an accepted term.
              Let ‘s monger some fear, about heavy artillery arriving too late for Ukraine, for example.

              1. I missed that detail of your comment but I think the rules of English allow an “…er” version of any sort of mongering you can find. After all, someone’s got to do it!

    2. Google to the rescue…

      monger
      mŭng′gər, mŏng′-
      noun

      1) A dealer in a specific commodity. Often used in combination.

      2) A person promoting something undesirable or discreditable. Often used in combination.

      3) A trader; a dealer: now used only or chiefly in composition: as, fishmonger, ironmonger. It is often used allusively, implying a petty or discreditable traffic or activity, as in scandal-monger, mutton-monger, whoremonger.

      It seems you can “mong” just about anything.

      1. Eish, I forgot the whoremonger, but I never heard about a mutton-monger. But indeed, if you can monger war, fish or scandal, why couldn’t one mong mutton too?
        What do the woke monger?

    3. There is a Marvel villain called the Hate-Monger. I think another good villain name would be Neuro-Monger.

  11. IRT the Dalai Lama’s tweet, if we are to love our enemies, we are to love them AS enemies and not try to turn them into friends.

    1. I’ve always found this kind of use of the word “love” to be rather amorphous. It is never quite clear what it means to love one’s enemy. You should smile as you shoot him in battle? It seems a rather unhelpful concept.

        1. Leaving eros aside, I still don’t get it. Practically speaking, what does it mean to love your enemy? What are the behavioral manifestations of such “love”?

        2. Could wartime rape -a common phenomenon (not to say crime)- be considered eros? Certainly not agape. Or what are you trying to convey? I’m clearly not following with my early dementia.

      1. Given that the admonition to love your enemies comes from someone who probably didn’t exist and didn’t say most of what people thought he said—“Blessed are the cheesemakers”??—, and said what he did say in the name of a deity that doesn’t exist, I think we can just chuck it.
        But you could argue it these ways:

        1) When we are waging war you must not hesitate to kill our enemy wherever you can find him, and go ahead and rape his women, too—we’ll look the other way or even encourage your efforts to dilute his genes with ours. But it’s business: when we tell you to stop fighting, you must love him enough that you will obey and not go on killing him in an orgy of hateful rage that makes the peace talks awkward.

        2) “Enemies” may be a mistranslation. “Rivals” or “competitors” might be more correct, or more useful even if incorrect—what do I know?. For these people you ought to be able to muster enough agapic love to resist murdering them. This recalls the conflict over the word “respect” in the Cambridge speech code. “Respect for persons” (Kant) doesn’t mean you can’t seek to crush your opponents socially, politically, and economically because of their egregious views and conduct—and often you should do exactly that. It just means you can’t gratuitously murder them or surgically operate on them without consent or use them as means to an end. If you saw Adolf Hitler walking down the street, respect for him as a person would prevent you from just drawing a gun and shooting him. This is socially codified as the certainty that you would go to jail if you did.

    2. George Orwell wrote in his diary in 1941, following a jingoistic Home Guard church service:

      “If you accept Government you accept war, and if you accept war you must in most cases desire one side or the other to win. I can never work up any disgust over bishops blessing the colours of regiments, etc. That kind of thing is founded on a sentimental idea that fighting is incompatible with loving your enemies. Actually you can only love your enemies if you are willing to kill them in certain circumstances”.

      Clear-eyed, honest, and uncomfortable to read as ever!

      1. I’m still not, however, any closer to understanding what loving your enemies actually means in the real world. Nor do I understand how it is something one might chose to do. Either you love something or you don’t.

  12. “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”

    As the redundancy of the above wording reflects, the purpose of the Nicene Creed was to assert the divinity of Jesus, which was denied by Arius, a priest from Alexandria—hence the “Arian Heresy.” The much older and shorter “Apostles’ Creed” dates back to the 2nd century and is the wording used at baptism—hence, can more accurately be described as a statement of what Christians profess. But yes, both make factual assertions about the real world.

    1. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried …”

      Not bad for a debauched altar boy, huh, Gary? (Debauched all on my own; no assistance from clergy required.) 🙂

  13. “The one in the lower right is particularly irritating. What do I got?”

    You got irritated!

  14. Splenda (had to Google it): I haven’t put sweeteners in tea or coffee for over 50 years. I’ve now got so used to both of them being bitter drinks that the idea of making them sweet seems perverse, just like adding sugar to draught beer would be. Still, each to their own!

    The Nicene Creed appears to be an early example of a mission statement designed by a committee, with all the compromises and inconsistencies that entails. It is a challenge to read the whole thing through without laughing.

  15. “If the Justice Department were to bring a case against [Trump], prosecutors would face the challenge of showing that he knew — or should have known — that his position was based on assertions about widespread election fraud that were false”

    Perhaps the Justice Department will also bring cases against the roughly 30% of the electorate which still believes Trump would have won but for fraud – https://news.yahoo.com/poll-two-thirds-of-republicans-still-think-the-2020-election-was-rigged-165934695.html

    1. Happily for that 30%, there are no criminal statutes proscribing gullibility to an arrant, dissimulating, conscienceless conman.

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