Sunday: Hili dialogue

January 1, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the New Year! It’s January 1, 2023 (remember, 2023), and we have a clean slate to besmirch. It’s National Bloody Mary Day (of course), as well as these food months: National Hot Tea Month,
National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, National Soup Month, National Baking Month and National Fat Free Living Month.

It’s also Fruitcake Toss Day, Apple Gifting Day (i.e., give someone an apple), Ellis Island Day, Euro Day (1€ equals $1.07 U.S.), National Hangover DayEmancipation DayGlobal Family DayJapanese New Year, and Polar Bear Swim Day in Canada and the United States.

And Google has a New Year page (click to see the festivities):

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 1 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day. Thank Ceiling Cat that my insomnia is abating, as I had given up wine for two months because my doctor said it would exacerbate the condition, perhaps making me fall asleep faster, but also awakening me too early. And believe me, that was one of the worst parts of the bout—having to have a nice dinner with WATER on the side.

But I have now started drinking again, cautiously, and began with this bottle given me by a very generous reader. It’s a 2014 Giuseppe Quintarelli Rosso Ca’ del Merlo, an Amarone-like Italian red wine. Wines from that vintage were made with the typical Corvina and Rondinella grapes as well as a few others. Note how long it was aged in oak before bottling:

[It’s] a blend of 55% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest made up of a field blend of Cabernet Franc, Nebbiolo, Croatina, Sangiovese all from a single vineyard. 50% of grapes are pressed immediately after harvest, 50% are dried for 2 months. After 3-4 days of maceration, primary fermentation starts with indigenous yeasts. Wine is racked and then sits until February and then the wine is racked onto the lees of the Amarone which starts a second alcoholic fermentation (this process is called ripasso). After this fermentation, the wine is racked into large Slavonian oak barrels for seven years

I had this with a T-bone steak that I cooked for myself on my birthday, along with rice and green beans. The wine was stupendous: rich and full-bodied, but immensely fruity. Although it had 15% alcohol, went down like velvet, with little trace of acid. It was a perfectly balanced wine, and light enough to be drunk with anything requiring a red. I couldn’t have identified the wine if drunk blindly, but I swear I could taste the touch of cab in it.  There was no sediment, so I didn’t have to decant it.

I didn’t know the price but found it when I looked up the wine, and this is one bottle that ain’t cheap. Many thanks to the generous donor!

Da Nooz:

*Russia intensified its attacks on Ukraine yesterday, bombarding the country with missiles and drone strikes, while Putin the Horror made a bellicose speech, lying extensively about Russia’s motives:

[Putin’s] New Year’s message was notably different from previous years, a reflection of the new path the country has taken since Russia invaded Ukraine this February.

In the address, which was broadcast at midnight on Russian state television in line with the country’s 11 different time zones, Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “motherland” and called 2022 “a year of hard, necessary decisions” and “fateful events” that had laid the foundation of Russia’s future and independence.

Set against a backdrop of Russian military service members, instead of the typical wintry vista of the Kremlin, Putin’s speech marked a significant shift in tone, more combative and nationalistic, instead of festive and celebratory.

In the nine-minute message — the longest New Year’s address in Putin’s two-decade rule — he thanked the Russian army for its “strength of spirit and courage,” before launching into a tirade against the West, which he has repeatedly blamed for provoking the offensive.

“The West lied about peace but was preparing for aggression” and is “cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and divide Russia,” Putin said. “We have never and will never allow anyone to do this to us.”

As the first footage of the speech was broadcast, dozens of missiles rained down on Kyiv and other regions in Ukraine. Several explosions were heard in Kyiv, and a Washington Post journalist saw from her apartment window what appeared to be a Ukrainian air defense rocket intercepting a Russian missile. It was unclear if the sound of the explosions were from the air defense systems or missiles hitting targets.

The war, now ten months old, has been a terrible disaster for Russia, which envisioned a quick end: a couple of weeks, max.  Now they’ve lost a lot of people, lied about not using regular soldiers, and are scraping around for weapons, not to mention that the country has become an international pariah. Of course the Ukrainians, who have also undergone terrible losses, and destructio  that will take years to repair, are the victims.  I predicted, wrongly, that Russia would clean up, and it still might. But it looks increasingly like there will be a peace proces in which Russia will ask for more territory. I can’t  imagine Zelensky (y) giving it to them.

*As expected, Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned as Popester a decade ago, died yesterday at age 95.

Pope Benedict XVI, the eminent German theologian and conservative enforcer of Roman Catholic Church doctrine who broke with almost 600 years of tradition by resigning and then living for nearly a decade behind Vatican walls as a retired pope, died on Saturday at age 95, the Vatican said.

A pope’s death customarily sets in motion a conclave to choose a new leader of the church. But Benedict’s successor, Pope Francis, was named when Benedict stepped down in 2013.

On Saturday, in the traditional New Year’s Eve service held at the Vatican, Francis praised Benedict, saying, “With emotion, we remember his person, so noble, so kind. And we feel in our hearts so much gratitude.”

Now, a sitting pope is expected to preside over the funeral of his predecessor — an extraordinary spectacle in the history of the church. The Vatican said on Saturday that Benedict’s funeral would be held on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square, with Francis presiding.

As is traditional, Benedict’s body will be laid in St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday so that the faithful can file by to pay their respects.

And then he will, as he believed, meet his Maker. He will not find out, though, that all those beliefs were wrong.

*And I’ve just learned that Barbara Walters died two days ago at 93.

Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones. She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists but for all women,” Walters’ spokesperson Cindi Berger told CNN in a statement.

Walters began her national broadcast career in 1961 as a reporter, writer and panel member for NBC’s “Today” show before being promoted to co-host in 1974. In 1976, Walters joined ABC News as the first female anchor on an evening news program.

At that network, Walters launched “The Barbara Walters Specials” and “10 Most Fascinating People” before becoming a co-host and correspondent for ABC News’ “20/20” in 1984. Along the way, she interviewed every US president and first lady since Richard and Pat Nixon.

For more than five decades, Walters was a name to reckon with, whether speaking with world leaders on news programs, in celebrities’ homes for her regular “Barbara Walters Specials” or on “The View,” a daytime talk show in which a diverse panel of women discuss the latest headlines.

The NYT has a memoriam for Walters written by Katie Couric.

According to Wikipedia, Walters was Jewish, and was married four times to three different men (she also once dated Roy Cohn). It’s an honor to her that Gilda Radner did a good imitation on SNL:

*Reader Jez tells me, via the BBC, that Gary McKee, a British man, ran 365 consecutive marathons in 2022: one per day! And he did it for charity. Can you imagine the pain? And he’s no spring chicken: he’s 53 years old.

A man who vowed to complete a marathon on every day of 2022 has hit his £1m target after completing his final run.

Gary McKee, from Cleator Moor, in Cumbria, began his challenge on 1 January, with donations to be shared between Macmillan Cancer Support and West Cumbria Hospice at Home.

The father-of-three often ran his 26.2-mile (42km) route before starting work at the Sellafield nuclear site.

As he crossed the finish line, he thanked the “fantastic” reception.

And he later revealed in a tweet that he had reached his £1m goal in aid of charities.

Cheered on by crowds, he started his latest challenge at 08:30 GMT and finished at about 14:00 GMT in front of a fireworks display.

Mr McKee has gone through more than 20 pairs of trainers, run more than 9,500 miles (15,300km) and finished his final marathon at about 14:00.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “The streets were lined. It was raining, but everybody was out clapping and shouting.

“It was fantastic seeing everybody there. It’s something I’ll always remember.”

Here he is with a brewski at the end of his last marathon:

*The Wall Street Journal has Jon Haidt being interviewed by Tunku Varadarajan (in print) on the “National Crisis” of Generation Z.  A few Q&A.

At 59, Mr. Haidt is a young boomer, and he isn’t talking about millennials, some of whom are in their 40s by now. Rather, he has in mind the younger cohort, Generation Z, usually defined as those born between 1997 and 2012. “When you look at Americans born after 1995,” Mr. Haidt says, “what you find is that they have extraordinarily high rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide and fragility.” There has “never been a generation this depressed, anxious and fragile.”

He attributes this to the combination of social media and a culture that emphasizes victimhood. The latter was the subject of his most recent book, “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure” (2018), with co-author Greg Lukianoff. Social media is Mr. Haidt’s present obsession. He’s working on two books that address its harmful impact on American society: “Kids in Space: Why Teen Mental Health Is Collapsing” and “Life After Babel: Adapting to a World We Can No Longer Share.”

What happened? Here’s Haidt’s theory, which is his:

. . . Mr. Haidt’s research, confirmed by that of others, shows that depression rates started to rise “all of a sudden” around 2013, “especially for teen girls,” but “it’s only Gen Z, not the older generations.” If you’d stopped collecting data in 2011, he says, you’d see little change from previous years. “By 2015 it’s an epidemic.” (His data are available in an open-source document.)

What happened in 2012, when the oldest Gen-Z babies were in their middle teens? That was the year Facebook acquired Instagram and young people flocked to the latter site. It was also “the beginning of the selfie era.” Apple’s iPhone 4, released in 2010, had the first front-facing camera, which was much improved in the iPhone 5, introduced two years later. Social media and selfies hit a generation that had led an overprotected childhood, in which the age at which children were allowed outside on their own by parents had risen from the norm of previous generations, 7 or 8, to between 10 and 12.

Haidt is seen as a right-winger, but he’s not: he’s a Democrat who is center left and critical of progressives. He’s put on the Right because he criticizes the extremism (and emotional fragility) of generation Z, whom you can’t criticize without pushback.

*The results of our survey two days ago about whether readers have any love for Twitter. Yes, it’s unscientific and N is small, but the overwhelming majority of those who answered said they wouldn’t be bothered if Twitter vanished:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it’s a treat for Hili, but she’s still kvetching:

Hili: This is the first cream in the new year.
A: But is it tasty?
Hili: It tastes exactly the same as last year.
In Polish:
Hili: To jest pierwsza śmietanka w nowym roku.
Ja: Ale czy jest smaczna?
Hili: Smakuje tak, jak ta w zeszłym roku.
And Paulina took a photo of baby Kulka with the caption:  “We will see what this year will bring.”
In Polish: Zobaczmy co ten rok przyniesie (Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)


From David, and I don’t know who created this cartoon:

A Far Side cartoon from Stash Krod:

This is, of course, my favorite B. Kliban cartoon, but you wouldn’t drink a red Rhone with shrimp. . . .  On the other hand, it goes well with shit.

A toot from God on Mastodon. He is filled with righteous fury:

From Masih; more perfidy from Iran’s theocracy:


From Malcolm; a very well behaved d*g:

What I wouldn’t give to see this spectacle:

I’m posting this because it is the LAMEST proof of God’s existence I’ve ever seen. It depends, of course, on logic rather than observation. It’s by Michael Egnor at a site run by the equally lame Discovery Institute:

The Auschwitz Memorial issued  statement (the King’s Honours list also gave kudos to those who survived the Holocaust and those who publicized it):

Tweets from Professor Cobb. First, another walrus, this one named Thor, has shown up in the UK. He’d better get his butt out of there before he’s harassed to death. The crowds are already starting to show up. . .

Dunbar is in Scotland, “DGS” is “Dunbar Grammar School,” and a ceilidh (pronounced “kay-lee”) is a Scottish social gathering, usually involving lively dancing—as below:

A beautiful and rare Amur tiger (Siberian tiger); not its own species but a population of a subspecies of the single species of tiger (Panthera tigris):

40 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

    1. 2027, 2029, 2039, 2053, 2063, 2069, 2081, 2083, 2087, 2089, 2099, 2111, 2113 will be good years for you 🙂

      The summer of 2029 will be an especially good time to invest, or buy a new car or house. Be very careful in 2028 — avoid stepping on slippery surfaces and spicy food. It is perfectly okay to eat spicy food, of course.

  1. On this day:
    45 BC – The Julian calendar takes effect as the civil calendar of the Roman Empire, establishing January 1 as the new date of the new year.

    1788 – The first edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, is published.

    1801 – Ceres, the largest and first known object in the Asteroid belt, is discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi.

    1808 – The United States bans the importation of slaves.

    1863 – American Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect in Confederate territory.

    1934 – A “Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring” comes into effect in Nazi Germany.

    1959 – Cuban Revolution: Fulgencio Batista, dictator of Cuba, is overthrown by Fidel Castro’s forces.

    1983 – The ARPANET officially changes to using TCP/IP, the Internet Protocol, effectively creating the Internet.

    1863 – Pierre de Coubertin, French historian and educator, founded the International Olympic Committee (d. 1937). [His heart is encased in a stone urn in Olympia in Greece.]

    1895 – J. Edgar Hoover, American law enforcement official; 1st Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (d. 1972).

    1919 – J. D. Salinger, American soldier and author (d. 2010).

    1955 – Mary Beard, English classicist, academic and presenter.

    Popped their clogs:
    1748 – Johann Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician and academic (b. 1667).

    1894 – Heinrich Hertz, German physicist and academic (b. 1857).

    1953 – Hank Williams, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1923).

    1984 – Alexis Korner, French-English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1928).

    1992 – Grace Hopper, American computer scientist and admiral, co-developed COBOL (b. 1906). [Does anyone still program in COBOL?]

    1. Additions to the list of those born: Satyendra Nath Bose, Paul Revere, and the great Gary Johnson who got into trouble for not having a good plan for dealing with a leppo. Probably because the poor chap had no clue what a leppo was. Anyway, he got a lot of bad covfefe over it. Unfair. Very unfair. We should not hold our politicians to unreasonably high standards just because we feel like it, or just because they are on the other side.

    2. Grace Hopper was a very entertaining and illuminating public speaker. When I saw her in Chicago, the audience filled Mandel Hall (our big concert auditorium). One of the props she used was a stick measuring one light-nanosecond.

      Around 2017 Yale named one of their Colleges after her. (I don’t recall if it was one of the two new ones that had been built or renaming of one whose historical namesake was being “cancelled”.)

  2. Something I saw several years ago: if Anne Frank and Martin Luther King were alive, they would be the same age as Barbara Walters. We think of them as belonging to different eras, but they were all born in 1929.

  3. Pope Benedict XVI, the eminent German theologian and conservative enforcer of Roman Catholic Church doctrine who broke with almost 600 years of tradition by resigning and then living for nearly a decade behind Vatican walls as a retired pope, died on Saturday …

    Were there any justice in the world, instead of being laid out in St. Peter’s Basilica, Eggs Benedict’s corpse would get the full Sam Kinison treatment.

    Nuthin’ like starting out the new year with some highbrow humor, huh?

  4. Apparently Scarborough Council cancelled their New Year fireworks display in order to ensure that Thor the walrus did not become distressed.

    1. Well, adherents of the Augustinian proof could logically conclude that mathematics is God. But then, Holy Mother Church would have to excommunicate itself over
      its peculiar insistence that 3 = 1.

  5. Happy New Year, Everyone! Last night was the first time in my entire life that I’ve rung in the New Year with me, myself and I. It was a strange feeling. Thank goodness for the televised celebrations in Times Square, etc and now the New Year’s Parade from Westminster city.

  6. “Barbara Walters . . . lived her life with no regrets.”

    I have little doubt that Walters (like many obstreperous media types) regretted not getting to impose herself on Jacqueline Kennedy, just as I have little doubt that Kennedy did not regret refusing to be interviewed by her.

    The NY Times obituary said that the two socialized. (It must be true if the Times says so.) I’d think that one would have to be constantly on guard around her in any set of circumstances. Inauguration Day 2001, George and Laura Bush allowed a video camera inside their Crawford, TX home, the major networks, et al broadcasting nationwide. Walters “blessed” viewers with her aesthetic pearls of wisdom. From her harpy’s perch this acid-tongued apotheosis of Good Will was dismissive of the design and decor of the kitchen. She bloviated to the effect that their dog’s name was unimaginative. Did her media masters not grit their teeth at that breath-taking sense of entitlement?

    From a strong field of vulgar and impertinent questions posed to interviewees one particularly stands out: asking Christopher Reeve and his wife about their sex life after his paralyzing accident. It somehow did not occur to Katie Couric to mention such laudable and ennobling behavior in her NY Times op-ed panygeric. Whoever posed such questions to Walters about her own private life?

    1. The idea that women aren’t funny is a cliche about as fresh and insightful as “Women can’t drive” or “Women are always buying new hats.” Jerry Lewis used to say the same thing.

      I know people who think that English comedians just aren’t funny. Also untrue.

  7. Russia bombing Ukrainian civilian infrastructure is a sure sign of defeat. Squandering precious missiles on civilian targets will achieve nothing (well, maybe retreating air defence a bit more back) militarily. It will only strengthen the resolve of the Ukrainians.
    I think Russia has already lost this war, it just has not yet sunk in at the higher command level.

    1. Ah, but neutrinos do interact with “regular” matter, albeit very very weakly, otherwise how would we have detected them?

  8. De mortuis nil nisi bonum and all that, but Ratzinger was a nasty piece of work. Apart from his many failures to tackle priestly sexual abuse, and his misogyny and homophobia, he abused his academic position to deny Thomas L Thompson his PhD for showing that the Biblical yarns about the Israelites (Abraham etc) never happened (referred to in Thompson’s Wikipedia page: He then did his best to ensure that Thompson couldn’t get an academic position anywhere else. The truth will out, in Biblical studies and Papal biographies, as elsewhere.

  9. Even if you accepted that lame “proof” as a proof of God’s existence, it would be, at best, a proof of a god’s existence. It would not prove the God of the bible, or Allah, or any other particular god that people worship. So it. doesn’t. fricking. matter. These religious bozos just don’t get it.

  10. Jesus!

    I understand it all now. The ‘reality of universals’ clears the way for God’s attributes.

    First we sneak the Mind into the discussion. Then we consider the set of natural numbers. There are infinitely many of them. Therefore, the Mind that contains them must itself be infinite; because the mind is infinite, it must also be omnipotent; because the numbers are eternal, so is the Mind.


    And also dumb.

    Why bring the Mind into the matter?

    The question of universals has got nothing to do with it. Even if mathematics has an independent existence, it does not mean that God (whatever the hell that means) exists in a similar way. If God is a synonym for mathematics, one can prove the existence of practically any kind of woo this way: The spirit of the Universal Gamutugna also exists because He is nature, and He says there is no creator God.

    Also, why should the numbers have existed before people? The numbers could be conceptual constructs. It could be the case that things existed before us and we developed concepts to describe and understand them.

    This is grammatically correct nonsense:

    The Mind that contains them [the natural numbers] must itself be infinite.

    The proof of God’s attributes is similar to the proof that a cheese sandwich is better than complete happiness. A cheese sandwich is better than nothing; nothing is better than complete happiness; therefore, a cheese sandwich is better than complete happiness.

    You can prove anything if you know how to put words together.

    What the hell?

  11. Even though most of your readers could do without Twitter, for those to whom it is important, it is important. Different strokes, etc.

  12. re: DI. If the universe follows rules it is rational and predictive, therefore God. If the universe is not rational and predictive at times (a miracle), why, therefore God also.
    A = A and A != A are both proofs of God. Therefore, God is an irrational belief, but only for rational people.

  13. Anyone know of a way to read the Jonathan Haidt interview? I signed up for a free account on WSJ, but still I wasn’t allowed access to the article. Thanks.

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