Saturday: Hili dialogue

August 6, 2022 • 6:30 am

It’s the full day of Cat Sabbath, Saturday, August 6, 2022, and National Root Beer Float Day (root bear and vanilla ice cream and a bit of chocolate syrup, also called a “Black Cow”). To wit:

It’s also National Mustard Day (a big day in Chicago), National Jamaican Patty Day, Mead Day, International Blues Music Day, and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, marking the bombing of Hiroshima with an atomic bomb on August 6, 2022.

Wine of the Day: Here we have the little brother of a white burgundy, a Mâcon-Fuissé made with chardonnay grapes coming from a good region and a good producer. At only two years old, it may have been a bit young, but it was reasonably priced ($18) and, as they sang in “Oklahoma”, “it’s summer and we’re running out of whites.”

Although close to a white burgundy in location and grape, it doesn’t taste or smell like the classic burgundies, which have a slight barnyard aroma. This wine was hard to place, nosewise, but I would say it had notes of pear and orange blossom. Here’s the take of the Chapel Hill Wine Company:

Okay… so what have we got? True to form, owner Yannick Paquet delivers loads of bright fruit – a fresh nose of Red Delicious apples along with a hint of smoke and vanilla notes from the 10% barrel aging. Twenty percent of the wine is aged in large oak foudre – huge barrels the size of a car that allow for a gentle oxidation of the wine and subtle oak flavors, resulting in a rounder mouthfeel and complex flavors. Like its Macon sibling, the Fuisse is highly aromatic, offering notes of quince, peaches and apricots along with hints of almond and hazelnut. In many ways, I found this reminiscent of a Meursault. Of course, that will set you back at least double these days!

It was great, and I’d recommend this wine if you want a white but something different from the usual. It went perfectly with my abstemious but nutritious dinner, the Coyne Special (black beans and rice mixed with well-sauteed onions and creamy yogurt.

Stuff that happened on August 6 includes:

  • 1538 – Bogotá, Colombia, is founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.
  • 1787 – Sixty proof sheets of the Constitution of the United States are delivered to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1890 – At Auburn Prison in New York, murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person to be executed by electric chair.

The execution was a shambles and took eight minutes; here’s a Wikipedia report:

In the second attempt, Kemmler was shocked with 2,000 volts. Blood vessels under his skin ruptured and bled, and some witnesses claimed his body caught fire. The New York Times reported instead that “an awful odor began to permeate the death chamber, and then, as though to cap the climax of this fearful sight, it was seen that the hair under and around the electrode on the head and the flesh under and around the electrode at the base of the spine was singeing. The stench was unbearable.” Upon autopsy, doctors had found the blood vessels under the cap of his skull had carbonized and the top of the brain had hardened. Witnesses reported the smell of burning flesh and several nauseated spectators tried to leave the room.

Here’s the chair used to electrocute Kemmler:

A silent video of Ederle’s famous crossing. Note that she’s all greased up to keep the cold out, and a band was playing in a boat as she swam! It took her 14 hours and 34 minutes.

  • 1944 – The Warsaw Uprising occurs on August 1. It is brutally suppressed and all able-bodied men in Kraków are detained afterwards to prevent a similar uprising, the Kraków Uprising, that was planned but never carried out.
  • 1945 – World War II: Hiroshima, Japan is devastated when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” is dropped by the United States B-29 Enola Gay. Around 70,000 people are killed instantly, and some tens of thousands die in subsequent years from burns and radiation poisoning.

Here’s a BBC reenactment and documentary on the dropping of “Little Boy”:

This, along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was a huge step forward in desegregation. Here’s Johnson signing the bill, though there don’t seem to be many African-Americans watching. Dr. King, though, is right behind LBJ:

Designed to operate on Mars for only two years, Curiosity is still doing its job!  Here’s a montage of images of Mars taken by the rover over four days:

Da Nooz:

*Senator Kyrsten Sinema has finally joined Joe Manchin in supporting Biden’s new bill funding climate change and health care, assuring its passage through Congress. Of course she bargained to get something for her state, which is largely Republican and Sinema has to keep credibility to get reelected:

To win Ms. Sinema’s support, Democratic leaders agreed to drop a $14 billion tax increase on some wealthy hedge fund managers and private equity executives that she had opposed, change the structure of a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations, and include drought money to benefit Arizona.

. . .It brought Democrats one step closer to enacting the package and salvaging key pieces of their domestic agenda, beginning with a series of votes this weekend. It came just over a week after Mr. Manchin and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, stunned their colleagues with an agreement to include hundreds of billions of dollars for climate and energy programs and tax increases in the legislation, on top of a proposal to reduce the price of prescription drugs and extend expanded health insurance subsidies.

With Republicans united in opposition, the measure needs the unanimous support of Democrats to move forward in the 50-50 Senate, so the party cannot afford even one defection.

Mr. Schumer confirmed in a statement that he had reached an agreement “that I believe will receive the support of the entire Senate Democratic conference.” He said the revised legislation would be released on Saturday.

This is okay: Biden didn’t give up that much to get this bill passed, and he needs some accomplishments to bolster his sagging approval ratings. I’m especially happy about the plan to reduce the price of prescription drugs, which is a major contributor to inflated healthcare costs in the U.S. (another is the blatant violation of the law by hospitals who refuse to disclose their prices).

*The punitive damages are in for Alex Jones for hurting a family by alleging that the Sandy Hook massacre in which their son died was really a hoax. These were nearly ten times the compensatory damages, which were $4.1 million. Now Jones has to ante up more than ten times that figure: a cool $45.1 million. And this is for only one family: there are two more trials waiting in the wings.

Jones’ attorney, Federico Andino Reynal, argued for a far lower sum, suggesting that the jurors should multiply Jones’ purported earnings per hour of $14,000 and the 18 hours that he said Jones talked about Sandy Hook on Infowars, for a sum of around a quarter million dollars.

. . .Punitive damages are a form of punishment for a defendant’s behavior. Jones, the head of the conspiratorial media outlet Infowars, repeatedly lied about the Sandy Hook massacre. He stoked conspiracy theories about the victims and their families, prompting multiple defamation lawsuits. He has since acknowledged that the mass shooting occurred.

Jones claimed in his testimony that a jury award of just $2 million would destroy him financially. But on Friday morning the jurors heard testimony about Jones’ wealth from an economist, Bernard Pettingill, Jr., who estimated Jones has a net worth of between $135 million and $270 million.

Pettingill, Jr., who examined several years of records for Jones and Infowars’ parent Free Speech Systems, said Jones used a series of shell companies to hide his money.

Bankrupt the lying moron!

*Now that Brittney Griner has been convicted of smuggling drugs and handed a long sentence, there are signs that “prisoner exchange” talks may begin between the U.S. and Russia. I mean, really, over nine years in a labor camp for bringing about a gram of hash-oil infused vaping oil into Russia?

Speaking at separate news conferences, the American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, and the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said the negotiations would be conducted through a special channel. That appeared to be a reference to an agreement between President Biden and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, reached at a summit in Geneva last year, to negotiate prisoner and hostage exchanges.

But in a possible measure of how fraught the countries’ relations are Mr. Blinken and Mr. Lavrov made their comments after sitting close to each other — but not talking — during a meeting in Cambodia of foreign ministers from East Asia and partner countries.

. . . The Biden administration has offered to free Viktor Bout, an Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the United States, in exchange for Ms. Griner and Mr. Whelan, people familiar with the proposal have said. Mr. Blinken and the State Department have not publicly divulged details of the proposal.

Russian officials have insisted that the legal proceedings in Ms. Griner’s case be completed before negotiations on an exchange. On Thursday, Ms. Griner’s lawyers said they would appeal the sentence, which might delay talks.

. . . Mr. Whelan is a former U.S. Marine who was convicted by a court in Moscow of espionage charges in 2020 after first being detained in 2018.

But why on earth would Griner’s lawyers appeal the case if it might delay the prisoner-swap talks? They’re not going to win an appeal, and I’m sure Griner wants to go home.

*The Guardian reports new rules that allow transgender women to compete against biological women in triathalons (h/t WIlliams):

World Triathlon has voted to allow transgender women to keep competing in the female category, in a ruling which goes notably against recent decisions from the governing bodies of swimming and rugby league.

However, under World Triathlon’s new rules, trans women will face greater restrictions before gaining approval to compete internationally – including having to lower their testosterone levels for two years rather than one, as is the case now. They must also now wait for at least four years after transitioning if they have previously competed as a male in any sporting competition rather than one.

World Triathlon, which is closely linked with the International Olympic Committee, said in a statement that its new policy aimed to balance inclusion with fairness.

If you know the literature, however, this is hardly “fairness”, because even two years of hormone reduction won’t compensate for the higher muscle mass, strength, and bone density acquired at male puberty—conferring athletic advantages that may last for life. Indeed, the Guardian admits this:

However, it is likely to face strong opposition from campaign groups for women’s sport, who have pointed to the science that overwhelming shows that transgender women retain significant advantages in speed, strength, lung capacity and endurance even after testosterone is reduced.

. . . The new rules only apply to international competition, with British Triathlon taking a very different stance in its policy for domestic racing. Under its new rules, transgender athletes over the age of 12 will have to compete in an open category from January next year, which is for “all individuals including male, transgender and those non-binary who were male sex at birth”.

To me, the “open” category is fairer overall, though of course transgender athletes will beef because they want to be seen as identical in every respect to biological individuals of the sex they’ve chosen as their gender.

*From a WaPo op-ed: “What if Trump doesn’t run? Who gets the GOP nomination?” Drew Goins gives his list, with most likely at the top:

  1. Ron DeSantis
  2. Mike Pence
  3. Senator Tim Scott (SC)
  4. Nikki Haley
  5. Ted Cruz
  6. Governor Glenn Youngkin (VA)
  7. Sen. Tom Cotton (AR)
  8. Governor Kristi Noem (SD)
  9. Tucker Carlson
  10. “The others”.

Well, let’s see if Trump runs. Even if he does, he may not win the primary, but I find his not running at all nearly unthinkable.

*Also from the Guardian: an inevitable result of designating fetuses as “persons.” A Texas woman pulled over by the cops for driving alone in a “high occupancy vehicle” lane (you need two or more passengers to use such a lane) says that she actually had another passenger: the fetus she was carrying.

Brandy Bottone of Plano, Texas, tried to fight a ticket for driving with only one passenger in an HOV lane – which requires at least two people in the car – by arguing that her unborn baby should count as her second passenger.

“[The officer] starts peeking around. He’s like, ‘Is it just you?’ And I said, ‘No there’s two of us?’” Bottone recounted to NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. “And he said, ‘Well where’s the other person?’ And I went, ‘Right here,’” pointing to her stomach.

She’s fighting the $275 ticket, and the officer said that if she did the judge would probably drop the charges. After all, if you’re a person in the womb, then it doesn’t matter whether you’ve made your exit. In my view, if the law says you’re a person for abortion statues, then you can’t not be a person for other laws.

. . .While the Texas penal code recognizes an unborn baby as a person, current transportation law in the state does not.

Legal experts have argued that Bottone’s argument brings up a unique, legal gray area that the courts are getting acquainted with following the rollback of Roe v Wade.

“Different judges might treat this differently,” Dallas appellate lawyer Chad Ruback told the local NBC affiliate. “This is uncharted territory we’re in now.

“There is no Texas statute that says what to do in this situation. The Texas transportation code has not been amended recently to address this particular situation. Who knows? Maybe the legislature will in the next session.”

*It’s August, the month when every Parisian heads out of town for their vacation, and woe be to the tourist who wants to see anything of the capital this month. But even Parisians are facing hard times, for, due to bakers taking vacations as well, there’s a dire shortage of nearby baguettes.

In normal times, more than 9 out of 10 Parisians live within a five-minute walk of a bakery. Some people have a choice between two or three on their street. Don’t want to cross the road? Not to worry. In many spots, there’s a boulangerie on either side.

But these aren’t normal times. It’s August in Paris.

This is the period when most Parisians escape the city for their month-long annual holidays. And the capital of the baguette — home to more than 1,000 bakeries and patisseries — can feel like a boulangerie desert.

In the city’s 15th arrondissement, what’s usually a five-minute mission required a 15- or, mon Dieu, 20-minute trek in the summer heat this past week — at least for this correspondent, an untrained baguette hunter. Three out of 7 neighborhood bakeries were already shuttered, with more planning to close in the coming days.

The government long sought to avoid such a predicament. With bread considered critical to the capital, bakers have faced restrictions dating back as far as the 1790s on when they could close their shops. Only since 2015, when the rules finally relaxed, have all Parisian bakers been free to join the August exodus.

But why would any baker stay in Paris during August if they don’t have to? The place is a ghost town! Well, here’s one reason:

There are still those who stay behind. Being able to produce bread during the hottest time of the year is a source of pride, said baker Adriano Farano. But he acknowledged that this summer feels tougher than previous ones.

It’s harder to bake in the summer, not only because the bakery is hot and there’s never any air conditioning, but also because the loaves rise faster and the butter doesn’t behave.  I love my baguettes when I’m in Paris, and you’ll never find me there in August.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is —surprise!—napping

A: What are you doing there?
Hili: I’m resting after all my travails.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Wypoczywam po wszystkich trudach.


From Facebook:

From Pyers, a Scott Hilburn cartoon:

From Divy:  Jango seeing hmself on the Big Screen, and a Facebook movie:


The Tweet of God. He’s very grumpy; isn’t he supposed to be kind and loving?

Open the doors, and here are the ducklings!

From Nancie, some nice primate enrichment:

The epaulette shark (see the link for a video) has the ability to walk over rocks in shallow water. Because they live in shallow waters of tide pools and coral reefs, this is clearly an adaptive habit:

Reader Simon says that this is “anthropomorphizing an insect–but it manages to appear happy!” (The content is NOT “sensitive”!)

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a boy killed as soon as he arrived.

Tweets from Matthew.  These raptors are good. I lost a Cornish pasty in St. Ives this way, as well as a bun in some godforsaken small town in India:

This isn’t bullshit; it’s the way cats are.

And this is hilarious, as every cat owner is familiar with the scam. It’s as if cats were Nigerian bankers:

29 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. “It’s harder to bake in the summer, not only because the bakery is hot and there’s never any air conditioning, but also because the loaves rise faster and the butter doesn’t behave.”

    This time of year, I have to stick unbaked cookies in the freezer for 20 minutes before I put them into the oven, otherwise they spread out flat and run into each other on the cookie sheet.

    1. I find baguettes and the need to use a couche a pain at any time of year. And don’t get me started on croissants! They take an afternoon, and then you have to get up at 4am to finish them in time for breakfast!

  2. Speaking of your abstemious dinner, note that
    abstemious is a word containing all vowels once
    and in order.

    1. “Abstemiously” includes the “and sometimes y” being used as a vowel in the proper order, too.

  3. I am inclined to say that Trump will run again. I think his loss in 2020 doesn’t sit well with his “I’m a winner” personality. On the other hand I don’t think he liked being President, and I am certain Melania hated it. Then there’s the age factor; he might just say “I’m too old for this sh*t.” Unless he dies, though, he’s bound to play a big role in any campaign, even if he’s not running. I don’t think Pence is a likely nominee. His record as Vice President is a blank sheet of paper, and he has no personality. Add to that that Trump would go after him with both barrels. I think DeSantis is mostly likely to be the nominee. I’d prefer a Governor over a Senator, for the executive experience, and someone (although not anyone) with actual government experience over Carlson.

    1. Don Jr and Ivanka probably not in favor of him running either— how can you miss him if he won’t ever leave? And can voters re-elect someone who won’t admit he lost? (Although hearing him explaining his next VP choice, after he’s actively encouraged a willing crowd to hang the last one would be worth the price of admission.)

    2. I think Trump will run because he sees it as his best chance (especially since he’s been banned from Twitter) of staving off an indictment (or, if indicted, fighting the charges in the court of public opinion).

      If Trump faces a contested primary season, it will turn into a bloodbath, fast. I can’t imagine that, if Trump loses the nomination, he will magnanimously endorse the GOP candidate and urge his deadenders to vote for the Party nominee — can you? (I think that Trump will eventually bear out his current golfing buddy Lindsey Graham’s 2016 prediction that Trump will tear apart the GOP).

      I expect Trump that will announce his 2024 candidacy early, probably before this fall’s midterms, to try to scare off DeSantis and other potential challengers. The only thing that’s holding him off so far is that the Republican National Committee will stop picking up the tab for his legal bills once he’s announced (and we all know how Trump relishes parting with a buck from his own pocket to pay for his own legal fees).

  4. 1890 – At Auburn Prison in New York, murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person to be executed by electric chair.

    New York later moved its death row to Sing Sing. The Empire State hasn’t executed anyone since 1963, and officially abolished the death penalty in 1984.

  5. $45.1 million is a good start to bankrupting the lying… calculating, fraudulent, corrupt scum Alex Jones.

  6. In my view, if the law says you’re a person for abortion statues, then you can’t not be a person for other laws.

    That would seem to follow from the “Equality Under Law” provision in section 3(a) of the Bill of Rights in the Texas constitution. It also follows that an aborted unborn person is a murder victim under the same Texas constitutional provision.

    I’m pretty sure Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is so pro-life that he’d have no problem signing a death warrant for a mother convicted of murdering her unborn child, once the Texas Lege gets around to passing the appropriate statute.

  7. if the law says you’re a person for abortion statues, then you can’t not be a person for other laws.

    So, America will start issuing pre-natal draft cards?
    Seems an obvious thing to do.

    1. And will pregnant movie goers have to pay for an extra ticket? Seems reasonable based on the inanity of the law.

      1. But then all women seeking to buy a single ticket will have to prove they aren’t trying to sneak in a fetus.

          1. I wasn’t being entirely facetious. It could become more important to prove you’re not pregnant than to prove you are. A free HOV pass and a tax deduction are small potatoes. I’d be worried more about having to prove to the authorities that you were not pregnant when you left Texas to attend your grandmother’s funeral in Colorado.

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