Monday: Hili dialogue

September 12, 2022 • 6:30 am

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.

It’s also Video Games Day, National Police Woman Day (shouldn’t that be “Policewomen”, with one word?), and, National Day of Encouragement.

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:

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.”

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:

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.

  • 1959 – Bonanza premieres, the first regularly scheduled TV program presented in color.

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?

This is the rookie record at the time, 246 strikeouts. Thirty more batters whiffed on Gooden’s pitches that season:

Da Nooz:

*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.

From Wikipedia:

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.

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.
In Polish:
Hili: Dlaczego osły mają złą reputację?
Ja: Z powodu nadmiaru wolnej woli, lub możesz to nazwać determinacją.

. . . and a photo of Baby Kulka:


From Seth:

A meme:

And another one from Seth:

The tweet of God. I wasn’t sure what God had against Jake Tapper, whom I like, until I read reports like this and this. Still, the anti-Tapper deluge is an overreaction.

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:

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!

From Barry as well. The cat just above made into a song (actually, two songs):

From Simon: a cuteness fail:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

No freedom of speech in Scotland! The woman held up a sign that said,  “f*** imperialism, abolish monarchy”

I’m not sure if I posted this before:

And let’s finish with a very happy ending. In DodoLand, all ends well!


21 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. “…..And do those other things…”. Kennedy was getting significant pushback from scientists (and even his own NASA administrator Jim Webb) regarding a moon engineering project as the priority. The science advisors wanted to make sure that all of the good new science was supported (in my cynical old age, I translate that to mean “funded efforts”). Kennedy wanted the manned moon landing and safe return to Earth accomplished and was willing to get the funding for that. In a Cabinet room meeting to discuss a $400M NASA budget plus-up request later in 1962, the President reiterated that it was “an international political goal” to accomplish the moon mission first, not second….that the science could come later but we had to prevail in winning the race itself. So maybe the new science were those other things.

    1. Oh I thought “other things” referred to climbing the highest mountain, playing texas at football — the other challenges he mentioned just before.

      1. Certainly may be and probably was, but just wanted to let folks know that there was a subtext at the time against what some saw as sacrificing science to engineering achievement.

  2. I’m convince Ukraine will not only win the war but will regain previously lost territories, including Crimea. Unless the NATO countries pull back on supplies of weaponry, I don’t think Russia can keep it up. Their army is exhausted and their logistics suck. Winter will be harder on their army than on Ukraine’s. I think Russia will be gone within six months.

  3. I was sorry to read of your sleepless night, Jerry…and a continuing insomnia. Not that it helps, but as other commenters have pointed out: you are not alone. I have enjoyed maybe one full night’s sleep of 6-8 hours in the past several months or maybe a year. I normally get 4-5 hours of intermittent, not very deep, sleep and sometime 1-3 hours with zero once. I cannot correlate the occurrences with daily routine such as trail walking, reading, meeting friends for lunch, drinking scotch or wine…it just really seems random. Though i do suspect that deep, deep, in my subconscious, is a continuing worry and inability to impact the tRUMPian menace and that posed here in Virginia by Governor Youngkin, and his mendacious lt governor and attorney general. Just an ongoing, constant background worry about the world that my grandchildren are growing up into….but I we grew into adulthood in the midst of civil rights and school integration violence so perhaps today’s divisions are not unique in U.S. history. I just wish that I could get my sub conscious to accept that!

  4. Who is the ‘Make Orwell Fiction Again’ hat aimed at? It could be aimed at Republicans/Reactionaries because ‘everybody’ knows they are fascists. Or it could be aimed at Democrats/Progressives because ‘everybody’ knows they are Elite control freaks.

    Perhaps it is just political movements in general? Still, MOFA makes a good slogan.

  5. Re Lascaux…I think that might be the original cave in the video. It takes you through regions of the cave which were not reproduced in Lascaux II. The newest replica cave, Lascaux IV has everything, but that is very recent and the video has been around before IV opened.
    My only hesitation is the floor. I had been in the original cave in the very early 1960s, but don’t recall if the floor had been resurfaced (no jokes about remembering the 60s!)

    1. Agree it’s based on the original cave. The replicas were made by charting the original with a radar imaging technique and photographing all the surfaces. The result must be a vast digital file holding an image of every point on the surface. This file, then, would be the source of the virtual tour.

  6. > National Police Woman Day (shouldn’t that be “Policewomen”, with one word?)

    Not if it’s the national day to police women – which is precisely what the current assault on body sovereignty (abortion, suicide, etc.) is doing.

  7. I’m primarily a red wine drinker, the major exception being Riesling, and in particular German Riesling. Riesling can be made dry to very sweet, and anything in between. There is a Riesling that can be paired well with almost any food. I’ve found nothing better for many Asian cuisines, pizza, even beef chili.

    By the way Prof. Coyne, have you noticed a correlation between good wine and later insomnia? When I’m having a nice bottle of wine for dinner, good enough to drink half or more of myself, I try to eat no later than eight hours before bed.

  8. If the Supreme Court does not object, the federal government should fund the Hasidic schools as research organizations. If a prophet pops out of that lot, we wouldn’t need the JWST. It would also prove that being able to read English in NYC is useless if you really want to find out what’s what. After all, finding out what’s what is what it’s all about.

  9. Sauvignon blanc has been our house wine for many years. NZ produces quite a nice range for around $12 – $20 and beyond if you wish, aromatic, citrus, white peach and passionfruit is the current bottle’s description.

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