Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 25, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the Sabbath made for man (and woman) not the other way around; it’s September 25, 2022. It’s not a food day, but related to one: National Food Service Workers Day.

It’s also National Quesadilla Day, National Lobster Day, National Crab Meat Newburg Day, National Cooking Day, National Comic Book Day, Daughter’s Day (but which daughter is being honored?), World Pharmacist Day, World Rivers Day, and National Research Administrators Day.

Things that happened on September 25 include:

The Norwegian Viking army was also accompanied by  Tostig Godwinson, the brother of King Harold II. Both invaders were killed, and the Smithsonian video below suggests that Harold II might have personally killed his brother. It also shows Harald Hardrada getting an arrow through the neck.

Here’s a painting, Battle of Stamford Bridge, 1870, by Peter Nicolai Arbo, showing Hardrada mortally wounded with an arrow through his throat:

And here’s that only issue, published in Boston. There was only one issue because the British shut it down:

Before that there were a couple of translantic telegraph cables, but not telephone cables. This one (or rather, two—one in each direction—could carry 35 telephone calls at once). Here’s a cross-section:

(From Wikipedia) A section of TAT 1 cable with the layers successively stripped back

The “Little Rock Nine” were the nine black students who, facing an angry mob, were the first to enter the school. Here’s an iconic photo of one of them, Elizabeth Eckford, braving the jeers of the bigots around her:

It was also at Central High School that Susan Epperson, a tenth-grade biology teacher, brought suit against the state for its law banning the teaching of evolution. That case worked its way through the courts until the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Epperson v. Arkansas decision, said that the state law was a violation of the First Amendment, for banning evolution was done to promote religious views.  Those were the days! Would the Court vote this way again, much less unanimously?

Here’s an animation of how the surgery was done; it’s quite an impressive procedure!

He served three years and then was released on the grounds that his rights had been violated. There is still one active assault case against him.

Da Nooz:

*The Associated Press has an article about Iranian women (and men) protesting the government after the morality-police beating of a young woman who wasn’t wearing her hijab “properly”. Our friend Masih Alinejad, who’s been fighting Iranian misogyny for years, is the microphone through which Iranian women broadcast their rage.

According to a tally by The Associated Press, at least 11 people have been killed since protests began earlier this month after the funeral of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after being detained by Iran’s morality police. State media has said the toll could be as high as 35.

“I feel the anger of people right now through their text messages,” Alinejad told The Associated Press in New York City, where the 46-year-old opposition activist and writer in exile has lived since fleeing Iran following the 2009 election.

“They have been ignored for years and years,” she said. “That is why they are angry. Iranian women are furious now.”

. . .Alinejad shares the outrage of the protesters; for more than a decade she has been an outspoken critic of the theocracy that rules the country and its control over women through the required wearing of the hijab and other measures. In 2014, she started My Stealthy Freedom, an online effort encouraging Iranian women to show images of themselves without hijabs.

“Let me make it clear that Iranian women who are facing guns and bullets right now in the streets, they’re not protesting against compulsory hijab like just a small piece of cloth. Not at all,” she said.

“They are protesting against one of the most visible symbols of oppression. They are protesting against the whole regime.”

. . . Last year, an Iranian intelligence officer and three alleged members of an Iranian intelligence network were charged in federal court in Manhattan with a plot to kidnap her and take her back to Iran. Officials in Iran have denied it. In August, an armed man was arrested after being seen hanging around Alinejad’s Brooklyn home and trying to open the front door.

She’s the only person I read daily on Twitter, as she is the one to whom Iranian women send their videos and text messages. She is the voice of Iranian women, but can never go back to Iran. Here’s a short video of Masih talking about the protests:

*A NYT investigation turned up just one more way the greed of America’s medical-care establishment enriches it; but this story shows behavior even more unethical than usual. Three years ago, the large Providence hospital chain got peeved at spending a lot of money taking care of patients who couldn’t pay.  So they confected a way to squeeze money out of the impecunious patients:

The executives, led by Providence’s chief financial officer at the time, devised a solution: a program called Rev-Up.

Rev-Up provided Providence’s employees with a detailed playbook for wringing money out of patients — even those who were supposed to receive free care because of their low incomes, a New York Times investigation found.

In training materials obtained by The Times, members of the hospital staff were instructed how to approach patients and pressure them to pay.

“Ask every patient, every time,” the materials said. Instead of using “weak” phrases — like “Would you mind paying? — employees were told to ask how patients wanted to pay. Soliciting money “is part of your role. It’s not an option.”

If patients did not pay, Providence sent debt collectors to pursue them.

As a nonprofit hospital that enjoys large tax breaks, Providence is required by the IRS “to provide services, such as free care for the poor, that benefit the communities in which they operate.” But with the surge of Covid patients, hospitals like Providence turned evil. An investigation by the NYT uncovered tons of weaselly ways the hospital, like others, tried to charge patients who couldn’t afford care:

. . . as Providence illustrates, some hospital systems have not only reduced their emphasis on providing free care to the poor but also developed elaborate systems to convert needy patients into sources of revenue. The result, in the case of Providence, is that thousands of poor patients were saddled with debts that they never should have owed, The Times found.


Providence is sitting on $10 billion that it invests, Wall Street-style, alongside top private equity firms. It even runs its own venture capital fund.

The patients who couldn’t afford to pay, and, according to some states’ laws, weren’t required to, were hounded by debt collectors, impoverished, and had their credit scores ruined.

The article is full of horror stories that will anger you, but read it. It won’t bolster your faith in humanity, but it may keep you from using the Providence hospital system.

*Malgorzata sent me a link to a story in the Times of Israel which gave me a lot more respect for the late Queen Elizabeth. It’s the story about how she managed to get England to track down Nazi war criminals who had escaped Germany and fled to England. Efriam Zuroff, who wrote the story, was charged by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to get Commonwealth countries to take legal action against Holocaust perpetrators.

As far as the United Kingdom was concerned, our saga began on October 22, 1986, when Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper submitted a list I compiled of suspected Nazi criminals who were living in the UK to the British consul in Los Angeles, Donald Ballantine. The list – 11 Latvians and 6 Lithuanians – was accompanied by a request to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that the government investigate the allegations, and if necessary create a legal mechanism to deal with the problem.

From the start, the British government was very reluctant to do anything. Its initial response was that despite the Prime Minister’s “deep revulsion at the atrocities committed during the Nazi era,” it was most likely that “legal constraints would prevent the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in Great Britain.” The reason was that prosecution was limited to crimes committed in Great Britain, and extradition to the Soviet Union or Israel was impossible, because of the lack of an extradition treaty with the former, and the provisions of the existing extradition treaty with the latter. In addition, the conservative media was absolutely opposed to prosecution and made no secret of their staunch opposition. Thus, for example, the Times editorial on March 3,1987, reminded its readers that “Britain is a Christian country…[whose] laws enshrine principles of justice tempered with mercy not vengeance,” and concluded that “it is wise and humane to let matters rest.”

Finally, some members of Parliament drafted legislation that would permit criminal prosecution of Nazi war criminals hiding in England. But it ran into difficulty, and that difficulty was solved by the Queen:

The proposed bill passed in the House of Commons by a huge margin of 348 to 123, but was roundly defeated in the House of Lords. To the government’s credit, it was returned to the House of Commons, but again it was rejected by the House of Lords. The government refused to give up and submitted it once again to the House of Commons, where it was passed by a huge margin of 254 to 88, and at that point, Queen Elizabeth, for the first time in 70 years, used her power to sign a bill into law over the opposition of the House of Lords. That step created a legal framework to prosecute Nazi criminals who entered Great Britain illegally and sent a very important moral and judicial message that the United Kingdom, in principle, will not be a haven for those who committed the crimes of the Third Reich.

I don’t know the outcome of the Nazi Hunt in the UK, nor did I know that the Queen could actually overturn a bill over the opposition of a bunch of entitled legacy twits, but she did! I have to say that that was impressive.

*If you like good bourbon, and I admit I have a tipple now and then, you’ll want to read the Washington Post article about the skyrocketing popularity of this spirit and the enormous amounts of money and effort that bourbon aficionados spend trying to track down rare bottles: “Prosecutors allege an inside job. The target? Rare bourbon.” That refers to a story of a couple of guys who knew which Virginia state liquor stores were going to get bottles of Weller Antique 107, and were selling that information to other bourbon lovers.

[Rob] Adams, 45, has been charged with embezzlement and other felonies. His attorney said his client did nothing illegal. The ABC [Virginia state liquor store] employee, Edgar Garcia, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to illegally copying government data, telling a judge he was “deeply sorry.” Garcia received a suspended sentence.

The alleged scheme has exposed just how frenzied the hunt has become for the rarest bourbon. Collectors say big money can be made by reselling bottles on a booming — sometimes wild — black market, where prices can reach three, five or 10 times the shelf price.

. . . Greed, scams and occasionally crime have become part of that world. Distillery employees filched more than $100,000 of the most famous name in rare bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle, to resell, a 2013 caper that has been dubbed “Pappygate.” Other scofflaws are refilling empty premium bottles with cheap hooch and passing them off as the real thing.

A class of profiteers, known as flippers, are buying out stocks of elusive names with no intention of consuming them. They’re looking to make a quick buck — or a thousand — by illegally hawking them on private social media pages, the back alleys of the bourbon scene. Fans are hoarding, worried about when their next score might come.

“There’s a joke that no one actually drinks the bourbon anymore. That’s not quite true,” said Aaron Goldfarb,an author who haschronicled bourbon’s rise. But then he paused. “I did write a story this year about a guy who spent $400,000 on bourbon and he’s sober.”

This is nuts! It’s like the tulip mania in Holland during the 17th century, when rare bulbs went for a lot of dosh. I’ve had some fancy bourbons, and they’re good, but this level of insanity is not justified.  One more thing:

One fan described camping out for nearly 24 hours outside a liquor store for a shot at a bottle of George T. Stagg bourbon last November. The man and his friends set up tents and chairs and wrapped the entire camp with plastic to ward off a 15-degree chill.

Others said they hired bourbon “mules” to stand in line before stores opened, or followed delivery trucks from store to store to get the first shot at whatever was inside.

. . .One described the dash to stores when bottles drop as “Cannonball Run,” referring to the ’80s movie about a madcap car race. Another said a fistfight erupted outside a store and a third described how a car hit a concrete barrier as the driver rushed to make a buy.

“I’ve seen people squealing tires into the parking lot and running into the stores,” said Clint Spivey, a bourbon fan from Virginia Beach. “It’s like a swarm.”

I have a nearly untouched bottle of Stagg that is so high in alcohol that it’s classified as a hazardous substance: 71.35% alcohol. It’s from 2003, and cost me $75. It’s now worth over $1300. I better drink it up before the angels take their share!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili finds the yard rather messy:

Hili: What are these wilted leaves doing here?
A: They are lying around.
Hili: They must be tidied up.
In Polish:
Hili: Co tu robią te zwiędłe liście?
Ja: Leżą.
Hili: Trzeba z tym zrobić porządek.
And a photo of Szaron:

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From Don:

From Anna:

From Beth:

Tweets from God. He’s been paying attention to what’s happening in Iran, and people are beginning to cotton on to the fact that it’s not much less authoritarian than North Korea. Here’s a tweet that God retweeted. Please enlarge the video, watch it, and read the translation.

God’s tearing the mullahs new ones:

And a tweet from Masih; Iranian cops are shooting and beating protestors:

From Barry, a dealer counting his take:

From Simon, who says it’s a “bit of a weak joke, but sort of worth a smile”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: A man who lasted a week. Look at that expression:

Tweets from Matthew. What a great stamp! I’ll have a lot more on an upcoming Caturday.

I probably put this one up before, but it shows that gibbon > tiger:

A most excellent costume:

22 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. The depiction of Harald killed by an arrow is from Heimskringla which was nigh on two centuries later, & probably owes a lot to the idea of Harold II being killed by an arrow. Such a late source should be regarded with scepticism. Tostig was a disaster for his country. We still suffer the unequal society that the Normans gave us -land stolen in 1066 still in some families 900 years on…

    1. I appreciate that in that short film extract they show the vikings with conical helmets, no horns or so. At least that part is historically correct.
      And if I’m not mistaken they were vikings (Normans) fighting against other invading vikings.

  2. It’s also […] National Lobster Day, National Crab Meat Newburg Day, National Cooking Day […]. A bad day to be a crustacean!

    1. But a good day for those that like to eat them. It is years ago I last ate lobster, but they are delicious. The cuttlefish will probably agree.

      1. Pigged out on deeLISHous lobster in Nova Scotia last month. Don’t understand lobster rolls; the bread is a waste. Give it to me straight with butter. I swear my hands felt arthritic after all the lobster and crab cracking😋😋

  3. I’m partway through Dawkins’ “Brief Candle in the Dark” and noted his reference to Keats’ poem while he was visiting Panama. He says (p 43) “We climbed a peak in Darien – alas not the very one where stout Cortez with his eagle eyes silently star’d at the Pacific”. No mention of Balboa.

  4. While Queen Elizabeth may have signed the law she would have done so because the House of Lords has limited veto powers – essentially they can only reject a government bill twice after which it becomes law regardless. The Queen would have signed the bill into law on the advice of her Prime Minister.

    1. Indeed. The Parliament Act 1949, which restricted the power of the House of Lords to reject or delay legislation passed in the House of Commons, was itself signed into law by the monarch without receiving the consent of the upper house. (The previous Parliament Act 1911 already went some way in this direction).

      The War Crimes Act 1991 referred to by our host was the first to become law under these new powers.

  5. Apparently there was only one conviction from the law, and not of a German, Wikipedia:
    “Anthony Sawoniuk, born Andrei Sawoniuk (Belarusian: Андрэй Саванюк, Andrej Savaniuk; 7 March 1921 – 6 November 2005) was a Belarusian Nazi collaborator from the town of Damačava in Brest Region.

    After taking part in the murder of the Jewish community in his home town, Sawoniuk served in the SS until November 1944 when he defected to the Polish II Corps in the British Eighth Army. After the war, he settled in Britain, became a British citizen, and became the first and only person to be convicted under the UK’s War Crimes Act 1991, when he was found guilty of war crimes in 1999. “

  6. These prices for Bourbon (‘crude’ and rude whiskey) are ridiculous. I’d stick to Burgundy, which’s prices can be ridiculous too, albeit to a lesser degree than the Bourbon samples shown.

  7. I love Don’s ‘push the button for a short Trump speech’. Brilliant.

    I can’t really determine what’s happening in those Iranian videos, but it does not look good. I fear those protests will be harshly suppressed and that nothing will change.

    1. Those gibbons are priceless, not just pulling the tiger’s tail, but even their ears! Gibbons (I think they are white handed gibbons AKA Lars) reign supreme! They are awesome.
      And I’m sure they are well aware how dangerous Tigers can be. It appears they can’t resist though. I can completely empathise.

  8. > I have a nearly untouched bottle of Stagg that is so high in alcohol that it’s classified as a hazardous substance: 71.35% alcohol

    Yep. In my understanding, airlines won’t even let you check in a drink that is over 70% ABV. I’m not sure whether that is a law, IATA policy, airline policy, or what.

  9. In the Matters of Critical International Importance Department, the Cat-in-a-Bee-Suit tweet appears to have putzed out.

  10. So often these days when I read too much of the news, I feel the sickening creep of misanthropy seeping brain. But then I am reminded that people like Masih Alinejad exist. She should be on everyone’s heroes list.

    It may be that the battle over the hijab (which, as Alinejad rightly points out, is just a symbol for what they are really fighting about) achieves what almost everyone in the world has wanted for decades; the collapse of the Islamic regime enslaving them. But a lot of people are going have to die first.

    1. Yes, these videos are heartbreaking. Women all over the world should be proud of the courageous women who refuse to submit to control. I wish them every success.

  11. Hmmm… ancient and modern day battle scenes. Arrows and peices of cloth can kill or get you killed… bourbon madness is a sideshow like the mullahs 100% theocracy.

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