Last night I had exactly zero sleep: I got in bed, was awake, and arose eight hours later, so I had a night of horizontality but no slumber. Don’t expect much today. Thank Ceiling Cat I wrote most of this Hili dialogue last evening.
Welcome back to Work Week: Monday, September 12, 2022, and Chocolate Milkshake Day. Here’s a video from Portillo’s, a well known hot-dog joint reputed to have the best shakes in Chicago. I’ve eaten dogs there, but never a shake. They’re famous for their “cake shakes,” which has an entire big piece of chocolate cake whipped into the shake (see it made at 4:45). I must try one.
Wine of the Day: I’ve urged readers who are tired of chardonnay to expand to sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc, where you can get more value and flavor for your dollar. This Oregon sauvignon blanc, which I had last night with a chicken breast, rice, and green beans, happens to be the best bottle of that genre that I’ve ever had. Yes, it ain’t cheap, but I sure got more than $27 worth of pleasure from the bottle.
Less than 100 acres of this grape are planted in Oregon, and Patricia Green is more famous for her pinot noirs than for sauvignon blanc. In fact, I can find almost nothing about this wine online except for a few words of approbation, as here. But I recommend it without reservation if you have the dosh and some good food to go with it. (In fact, this wine is so good it begs to be drunk on its own.) It is heavy for a sauvignon blanc, with a delightful nose of peaches and nectarines (and a hint of lemon), and that’s in a wine that usually has a scent of grass and herbs. It’s now at its peak, complex and light gold in color. If you see it, snap it up as a special treat.
Stuff that happened on September 12 includes:
- 490 BC – Battle of Marathon: The conventionally accepted date for the Battle of Marathon. The Athenians and their Plataean allies defeat the first Persian invasion force of Greece.
This proved that the Athenians could win without the help of the Spartans. Here’s an interesting artifact, labeled by Wikipedia, “Greek Corinthian-style helmet and the skull reportedly found inside it from the Battle of Marathon, now residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.”
- 1609 – Henry Hudson begins his exploration of the Hudson River while aboard the Halve Maen.
- 1846 – Elizabeth Barrett elopes with Robert Browning.
Portraits of both of the poets:
And a love letter from their famous courtship by correspondence, but look how it’s signed! They married secretly because her father disapproved of the relationship, and the couple moved to Italy, where Elizabeth died at 55:
- 1885 – Arbroath 36–0 Bon Accord, a world record scoreline in professional Association football.
- 1910 – Premiere performance of Gustav Mahler‘s Symphony No. 8 in Munich (with a chorus of 852 singers and an orchestra of 171 players. Mahler’s rehearsal assistant conductor was Bruno Walter).
- 1923 – Southern Rhodesia, today called Zimbabwe, is annexed by the United Kingdom.
- 1933 – Leó Szilárd, waiting for a red light on Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, conceives the idea of the nuclear chain reaction.
Below is Szilard (right) “with Norman Hilberry at the site of CP-1, at the University of Chicago, some years after the war. It was demolished in 1957.” The first sustained chain reaction was under the stands at our former Stagg Field, the athletic facility:
The cave has been closed to visitors since 1963 because carbon dioxide, humidity, and temperature rises were damaging these amazing paintings. A “replica cave” has been constructed for tourists. Here’s a virtual tour of the cave, though I’m not sure whether this is the original cave (it’s open sporadically for official inspection), or the replica.
- 1953 – U.S. Senator and future President John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
What I remember most about this show is Hoss’s gluttony, shown in this scene:
- 1962 – President John F. Kennedy delivers his “We choose to go to the Moon” speech at Rice University.
- And the famous quote is below, though I don’t the “. . . and do the other things” belongs there. What things?
- 1974 – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, ‘Messiah‘ of the Rastafari movement, is deposed following a military coup by the Derg, ending a reign of 58 years.
- 1984 – Dwight Gooden sets the baseball record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie with 276, previously set by Herb Score with 246 in 1954. Gooden’s 276 strikeouts that season, pitched in 218 innings, set the current record.
This is the rookie record at the time, 246 strikeouts. Thirty more batters whiffed on Gooden’s pitches that season:
- 2013 – NASA confirms that its Voyager 1 probe has become the first manmade object to enter interstellar space.
*The Ukrainian offensive continues to gain ground, and the Russians are hightailing it out of Dodge:
A day after routing Russian forces in a lightning advance that seized hundreds of square miles and a strategic town in the northeast, Ukraine claimed additional territory on Sunday in an offensive that has swiftly reshaped the battlefield in the nearly 200-day-old war and left Moscow reeling.
Ukraine’s rapid gains in the Kharkiv region have significantly weakened Russia’s hold on eastern Ukraine, which it has used as a stronghold to wage its war since February. Ukrainian officials said on Saturday that their troops had retaken the city of Izium, a strategically important railway hub southeast of Kharkiv that Russian forces seized in the spring after a bloody, weekslong battle.
On Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that Ukrainian forces had recaptured Chkalovske, a village in the Kharkiv region that lies roughly halfway between Izium and Kharkiv city. And the Ukrainian military command described continuing combat in cities in the Donetsk region, part of the stretch of mining towns and rolling fields known as Donbas, one of Russia’s main targets of the war.
The dizzying speed of Ukraine’s push in the past several days has smashed what had been a monthslong stalemate, buoyed a nation’s spirits and galvanized calls for even more Western military support. Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the top commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, said that Ukraine had reclaimed more than 1,150 square miles of terrain since the start of September. A map released on Sunday by Russia’s defense ministry appeared to show that Ukrainian forces have driven Moscow’s troops from almost all of Kharkiv Province.
Could it be that Russia will lose? I said “no” initially, but I’d be delighted to be wrong! I imagine Putin is having some sleepless nights, but I wouldn’t put it past him to pull off some horrible attack on civilian targets. We all know that the man cannot stand to lose. And to a small country like Ukraine?
*And give the U.S. a pat on the back for sending Ukraine some valuable weapons, especially the M142 HIMARS, which, says the NYT, “Ukrainian troops have used to devastating effect.”
HIMARS, short for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, is a five-ton truck that can fire long-range guided rockets. The Pentagon announced it was sending the first of four launchers to Kyiv, Ukraine, at the beginning of June, about six weeks after it started providing 155-millimeter howitzers and ammunition.
Since then, the United States has sent Kyiv a total of 126 such howitzers and authorized shipments of up to 807,000 rounds of ammunition for them to fire.
Ukraine now has 26 advanced mobile launchers that can fire rockets even farther than those howitzers can — 16 HIMARS vehicles from the United States and 10 older American-made M270 launchers that Britain and Germany provided.
On Thursday, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that HIMARS strikes had hit more than 400 Russian targets, including command posts and ammunition depots.
The HIMARS carries one pod with either six GMLRS rockets or one ATACMS missile on the United States Army’s new Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) five-ton truck, and can launch the entire Multiple Launch Rocket System Family of Munitions (MFOM).
Have a gander:
*By now FiveThirtyEight‘s prognostications should reflect the Democrats’ rise in popularity and dislike of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. They do a bit, but not markedly. Here are the results of the site’s models in the Senate election this fall:
The House still looks depressing; the percentage of outcomes favoring Democrats has also risen a tad, but not enough.
*Here’s a tweet from Matthew that called my attention to this story in the NYT.
NEW: An NYT investigation has found that scores of Hasidic Jewish schools in New York are purposely denying some 50,000 students a basic secular education – and have received $1 billion in taxpayer dollars over the last 4 years. w/ @brianmrosenthal https://t.co/mjODtkjiMr
— Eliza Shapiro (@elizashapiro) September 11, 2022
If you know about these Orthodox schools, you’ll know that they proffer almost no secular education. Not only are they segregated by sex, but the entire curriculum is structured around Jewishness—reading the Talmud, learning Hebrew, and so on. They’re far more religious in this way than, say, Catholic schools. What freaked me out is the discovery they’re also partly funded by taxpayers. And they are failing big time. The thing is, the Orthodox who run these schools don’t really care about preparing kids for a secular life, as they’re not destined to live one. See how they fail:
The Hasidic Jewish community has long operated one of New York’s largest private schools on its own terms, resisting any outside scrutiny of how its students are faring.
But in 2019, the school, the Central United Talmudical Academy, agreed to give state standardized tests in reading and math to more than 1,000 students.
Every one of them failed.
Students at nearly a dozen other schools run by the Hasidic community recorded similarly dismal outcomes that year, a pattern that under ordinary circumstances would signal an education system in crisis. But where other schools might be struggling because of underfunding or mismanagement, these schools are different. They are failing by design.
The leaders of New York’s Hasidic community have built scores of private schools to educate children in Jewish law, prayer and tradition — and to wall them off from the secular world. Offering little English and math, and virtually no science or history, they drill students relentlessly, sometimes brutally, during hours of religious lessons conducted in Yiddish.
I suppose the Supreme Court would okay this gross misuse of funds, which is truly a violation of the First Amendment (the kids get no semblance of an “education”. But of course the Court is Christian, so who knows. But the public funding must stop.
*Take the New York Times‘s news quiz about the week’s events. I did pretty well, but so did other Times readers (I think there’s a lot of cheating!) I missed one of the states in the question where you have to choose multiple states, but I’ll say no more.
*And a final sign that it’s the End of the World As We Know It: “Pumpkin spice” is one of the new entries in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It’s not even a word–it’s TWO WORDS. The AP reports:
Finding out that shrinkflation, adorkable, subvariant and even pumpkin spice are now officially in the dictionary might make you exclaim “Yeet!”
ICYMI, those are five of the 370 words and phrases that Merriam-Webster added to its dictionary this month, the publisher announced Wednesday. Oh yeah, ICYMI, short for “in case you missed it,” was also added.
“Some of these words will amuse or inspire, others may provoke debate. Our job is to capture the language as it is used,” Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, said in a statement. “Words offer a window into our ever-changing language and culture, and are only added to the dictionary when there is clear and sustained evidence of use.”
Yeah, yeah, that’s what they always say as they pollute the language with ICYMI (which I’ve never seen in emails or social media). I don’t mind “shrinkflation,” though, as I’ve written about it before:
Worldwide inflation has made shrinkflation a household word. It is defined by the Springfield, Massachusetts publisher as “the practice of reducing a product’s amount or volume per unit while continuing to offer it at the same price.” Think, going to the grocery store and finding that orange juice is no longer available in 64 fluid ounce (1.9 liter) cartons, just 59 ounce.
Pumpkin spice — that polarizing blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice that’s used to flavor, well, just about everything every fall these days — has been around for years but is finally in the dictionary.
But have a look at the list and cringe at words like “sponcon,” “janky,” and “Galentine Day.”
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, today’s dialogue between Hili and Andrzej defies comprehension:
Hili: Why donkeys have such a bad reputation?A: Because of a surplus of free will, or you can call it determination.
Hili: Dlaczego osły mają złą reputację?Ja: Z powodu nadmiaru wolnej woli, lub możesz to nazwać determinacją.
. . . and a photo of Baby Kulka:
And another one from Seth:
There's nothing I can do to stop people from retweeting this to let @jaketapper know he's a useless piece of shit.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) September 10, 2022
From Luana: Apparently one of the Oberlin student shoplifters who started the fight between Oberlin and Gibson’s bakery has gotten a job at Oberlin:
For those who don’t remember, an underage student at Oberlin tried to buy alcohol with a fake ID, was denied, then tried to steal alcohol and was stopped. He and two other black Oberlin students beat the shop owner until police arrived.
After all that, Oberlin have him a job. https://t.co/Czccz9EhGU pic.twitter.com/8NrYPKhAPY
— Western Dress Code (2nd Edition) (@Pro_Forma_) September 9, 2022
From Barry, who says this is the “craziest sounding cat talk in the history of cats”. Sound up! I’m referring to the second tweet. I believe I’ve already posted the first, but it’s also well worth watching. Klezmer cat!
Please your support for this one 😆😂 pic.twitter.com/w4ZwF1MYRt
— Eng. Mostafa (@engcooky1986) November 16, 2021
From Barry as well. The cat just above made into a song (actually, two songs):
Did you ever hear the remix The Kiffness did of this one?https://t.co/G5NGMMwUFy
— J, Guardian of Thraben (@IhlianMTG) December 10, 2021
From Simon: a cuteness fail:
trying to look cute pic.twitter.com/MNZoRm0HGW
— Dont Show Your Cat (@DontShowYourCat) September 9, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
12 September 1914 | A German Jewish woman, Regina Berelowski, was born in Berlin.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 12, 2022
No freedom of speech in Scotland! The woman held up a sign that said, “f*** imperialism, abolish monarchy”
🚨 A woman has been arrested after a protest over the proclamation of the King in Edinburgh https://t.co/oD81aj6Ki2
— Edinburgh Evening News (@edinburghpaper) September 11, 2022
I’m not sure if I posted this before:
Again this! 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/UoraH9V74c
— Figen (@_TheFigen) September 9, 2022
And let’s finish with a very happy ending. In DodoLand, all ends well!
This elephant is stuck in a canal for 7 hours — watch the amazing way he finally gets out 💙 pic.twitter.com/4uyDRbqQWT
— The Dodo (@dodo) September 11, 2022