Welcome to Monday, October 30, 2023; in one week I’ll be in Paris! It happens to be the worst food day of the year, National Candy Corn Day, celebrating what happens to be the world’s worst confection: a triangular mixture of artificial flavoring, sugar, and paraffin (yes, they contain “edible wax”!). I can already hear some readers commenting, saying, “I like the stuff!”
And, as this video shows, the stuff is made in Chicago!
It’s also Buy A Doughnut Day, Pumpkin Bread Day, Sugar Addiction Awareness Day, Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions (former Soviet republics, except Ukraine), and Mischief Night in Ireland, Canada, United Kingdom, United States and other places.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 30 Wikipedia page.
Wine of the Day: This may be the first wine from Uruguay I’ve ever had, and it certainly left a good impression. Only recently I paid $14 for the bottle, even though it’s eight years old. It’s also made from a grape I haven’t had: tannat, grown in France but considered “the national wine of Uruguay.” (This makes me want to go there!)
This is the perfect food wine: not too complex or pricey for everyday drinking with food, but delicious: not too tannic, ripe, with strong berry flavors, and a complement with food—not an afterthought or a lubricant, but a true complement. Here’s a review from Jancis Robinson, who knows her onions:
Colour of elderberry juice. Dark and rocky and so mineral on the nose. Fresh and juicy but with such fine dry tannins. Tension from the finesse of the tannins. More intense than the 2014. Compact yet with real finesse. Dark chocolate and graphite on the finish. Dark and so savoury but then also juicily drinkable but needs more time and/or food. (JH) 17.5/20 points.
Well, as of now it doesn’t need more time: it’s good to go. If you can find this vintage at a good price, buy a case. For other vintages, look up what others have said or buy a bottle and try it out.
Matthew Perry, the Emmy-nominated “Friends” star, has died at 54 years old.
The actor rocketed to stardom on “Friends,” an NBC comedy about six friends living in New York, from 1994 until the series finale in 2004. The TV show became one of the most watched sitcoms of all time, turning Perry and his co-stars—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer—into household names.
The actor was found dead at his home, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner. The cause of death is still under investigation, the coroner’s record said.
Perry released a memoir last year, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.” Its revelations about Hollywood and its straightforward honesty about his substance abuse struggles made it an instant bestseller.
Perry was born in the U.S. but moved to Canada with his mother following his parents’ separation when he was a baby, according to IMDB. He lived in Canada until he was a teenager, when he went to live in the California home of his father, an actor and model.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who went to school with Perry, said he was shocked by the news of the actor’s death.
He was heavily addicted to opioids and alcohol, and nearly died from it several times. This may have been the last; other sources says that he drowned in a hot tub.
Here’s an interview he did with Diane Sawyer describing his battles with addiction and also showing some scenes from “Friends”; it’s worth watching.
*The war news changes rapidly; below is yesterday evening’s from the NYT, and you can see this morning’s here.
The Israeli military on Sunday signaled a heavier assault on Gaza, saying it had expanded its ground invasion while President Biden urged Israel’s leader to protect the lives of civilians.
The precise number of soldiers operating in the territory since Friday remained unclear, but the Israeli military’s chief spokesman said that it was “gradually expanding the ground activity and the scope of our forces,” and that they were “progressing through the stages of the war according to plan.”
Mr. Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Sunday and reiterated the right of Israel to protect itself, but also “underscored the need to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritizes the protection of civilians,” according to a summary of the call released by the White House. Mr. Biden asked Israel to “immediately and significantly” increase the amount of humanitarian aid flowing into Gaza, where a three-week siege and a bombardment of Israeli airstrikes have killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands more from their homes, according to officials in the Hamas-controlled enclave.
Mr. Biden also spoke with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, whose country has been the sole route into Gaza for relief trucks, including 33 that carried food, water and medical supplies into the enclave on Sunday — the most in a single day since trucks were first allowed in more than a week ago.
“The two leaders committed to the significant acceleration and increase of assistance flowing into Gaza beginning today and then continuously,” according to a White House summary. Both leaders affirmed a commitment to “work together to set the conditions for a durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East to include the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Here’s what else to know:
The death toll in Gaza since Oct. 7 surpassed 8,000 people, including 3,342 children, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry said on Sunday. Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that even though Hamas has placed its rocket infrastructure among civilians and used them as human shields, Israel remained responsible under international humanitarian law “to distinguish between terrorists and civilians and to protect the lives of innocent people.”
Videos released by the Israeli military and geolocated by The New York Times indicated at least three separate places where Israeli troops have crossed the border into Gaza over the past few days.
And some good news from the WSJ about humanitarian aid and actions:
Humanitarian aid: Palestinians broke into U.N. food warehouses in Gaza, and wheat flour and other basic items were taken. A U.S. official said the U.N. can handle as many as around 100 trucks of aid each day, and that Israel agreed to accelerate aid as such. The Israeli military said it was preparing a humanitarian zone in the Khan Younis area of Gaza for displaced Palestinians.
The authorities in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan moved to restore order early Monday morning after hundreds of young men tried to storm the local airport to protest the arrival of a commercial flight from Tel Aviv.
At least 20 people were injured in the riot on Sunday, and dozens of people were arrested. The government in the predominantly Muslim republic said that the outburst had been calmed and vowed to prevent further clashes. Russian aviation authorities said that the airport, in Makhachkala, the republic’s capital, would reopen on Tuesday.
But the riot shocked Jews in Russia and beyond and highlighted the challenges that the Kremlin faces in managing the various parts of its vast multiethnic and multireligious country.
It also underscored how the Kremlin’s decision to distance itself from Israel and from Israel’s mission to drive out Hamas terrorists can cause instability at home.
There was a riot as locals tried to apprehend Jews. They even looked for Jews in the plane’s engines! (Tweets from Matthew.)
The lynch mob which stormed the airport in Dagestan, Russia to search for Jews as a plane was landing from Tel Aviv has found its first “suspected Jew”
He tells them he is Uzbek, but they don’t believe him
“Take his passport, search his phone” pic.twitter.com/9gKteyKFz0
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 29, 2023
your periodic reminder that Borat was not a comedy https://t.co/jo1iDwDVNJ
— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) October 29, 2023
As the 3-week-old Israel-Hamas war enters what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says could be a “long and difficult” new stage, President Joe Biden is calling on Israeli and Arab leaders to think hard about their eventual postwar reality.
It’s one, he argues, where finally finding agreement on a long-sought two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict should be a priority.
“There’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on Oct. 6,” Biden told reporters, referring to the day before Hamas militants attacked Israel and set off the latest war. The White House says Biden conveyed the same message directly to Netanyahu during a telephone call this past week.
“It also means that when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next, and in our view it has to be a two-state solution,” Biden said.
. . .Now, at a moment of heightened concern that the Israel-Hamas war could spiral into a broader regional conflict, Biden has begun to emphasize that once the bombing and shooting stop, working toward a Palestinian state should no longer be ignored.
Until this year that was my dream as well, but then you have to realize that Palestine has rejected statehood (and some of the offers were good ones) at least five times, that any Palestinian state with terrorists or their enablers in charge (like Abbas) will be untenable because it will be contiguous with Israel and terrorists will still do their thing, and, finally, many Palestinians, if Hamas really is eliminated (along with a number of civilians used as human shields), they’ll be so angry at Israel that all they’ll want to do is attack Israel any way they could. I really don’t see the way clear to any kind of two-state solution unless Arab states get together, help settle the issue, and prevent terrorists from dominating the Palestinian state. Given what Iran wants, and their big-time funding of terrorists, I think that’s impossible.
*Hollywood is often said to “be run by Jews,” and, indeed, there’s a strong Jewish presence among artists, screenwriters, and managers. But Hollywood is also “progressive,” which has led to this NYT article, “Reaction to Hamas attack leaves some Jews in Hollywood feeling unmoored.” (The subtitle is “The response to the Oct. 7 assault, and to Israel’s retaliation, has revealed a schism in the entertainment world that many did not realize was there.”)
Many say they are disillusioned — and angered — by the trickle of public condemnation from Hollywood regarding the Oct. 7 attack. There was no flood of support on social media from celebrities. Most studios initially tried to duck, staying silent. One leading union, the Writers Guild of America, refused to put out a statement, and stuck with its decision in the face of enormous backlash from hundreds of its members.
“The silence has been deafening,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Wrap, an entertainment trade news site, on Oct. 12.
Now the Screen Writer’s Guild should have an ideologically neutral policy, so they don’t have to put out statements about any issues, but they haven’t had that, so they got into trouble, just like many colleges. Then they just made things worse by saying this stuff:
The situation with the writers’ guild intensified on Oct. 15 when a group of more than 300 writers, including Jerry Seinfeld, Eric Roth (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) sent an open letter to guild leaders asking why they had not publicly denounced the attack on Israel, as the other major Hollywood unions had. The initial response to the letter came in an email to members from Meredith Stiehm, president of the Writers Guild of America West. She wrote that the lack of a public response was because “the board’s viewpoints are varied, and we found consensus out of reach.”
That made the situation worse. Faced with a growing rebellion, the guild ultimately released a public statement in which it condemned the attack and tried to explain its initial silence. It said it was not “because we are paralyzed by factionalism or masking hateful views” but rather because “we are American labor leaders, aware of our limitations and humbled by the magnitude of this conflict.”
The letter isn’t public, as far as I know, but the explanation just made things worse. “Humbled by the magnitude of this conflict”? Like World War II? Give me a break? Anyway, there are lot of other ruptures detailed in the article, like this one:
Divisions were also on display when a prominent agent at the Creative Artists Agency posted messages on Instagram that used the word “genocide” in describing Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza. The agent, Maha Dakhil, represents stars like Natalie Portman and Reese Witherspoon. She quickly removed the post, issued an apology and resigned from an internal leadership position at the company.
Ms. Dakhil lost a prominent client: the screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin, who decamped for a rival agency and said in a statement, “Maha isn’t an antisemite, she’s just wrong.”
Dakhil was free to say what she wanted on social media, and her clients were free to leave. But taking down a post because you lose clients is a bit cowardly.
*And some good news about religious freedom. Students who were forcibly proselytized by Christians are about to get a unit on the First Amendment:
A West Virginia school district has passed a policy mandating annual religious freedom training as part of a lawsuit settlement after an evangelical preacher held a revival assembly during the school day in 2022 that some students were required to attend.
As part of a settlement finalized Thursday, Cabell County’s Board of Education’s policy makes clear that it is “not the province of a public school to either inhibit, or advance, religious beliefs or practices,” board lawyer Brian D. Morrison said in a statement to The Associated Press.
“Students must remain free to voluntarily express their individual religious beliefs, or lack thereof, as each student sees fit,” Morrison said.
Four families in West Virginia’s second-largest city of Huntington sued the district in February 2022, accusing the school system in the southwestern part of the state of having a systematic history of disregarding the religious freedom of its students and instituting Christian religious practices.
And get a load of this:
The lawsuit said two Huntington High School teachers escorted their entire homeroom classes to an assembly hosted by evangelical preacher Nik Walker, who had been leading revivals in the Huntington area in recent weeks.
Students, including a Jewish student who asked to leave but was not permitted to do so, were instructed to close their eyes and raise their arms in prayer, according to the lawsuit. The teens were asked to give their lives over to Jesus to find purpose and salvation. Students said they were told that those who did not follow the Bible would “face eternal torment.”
. . . The policy requires the district superintendent and principals “to attempt in good faith” to monitor school-sponsored activities to ensure policy compliance. Principals must report potential violations to the superintendent within seven days of discovering them. The superintendent is “authorized to investigate and take remedial action,” according to the policy.
It was the students who got this off the ground, and each student plaintiff will get a $2000 scholarship, presumably from the school. That’ll teach them to stop making students praise Jesus! If only we could get our first-year students at Chicago to take a unit on the First Amendment, too—concentrating not on freedom of religion, but on freedom of speech.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pondering her narcissism:
A: What are you thinking about?Hili: I wonder how others see me.
Ja: O czym myślisz?Hili: Zastanawiam się jak mnie widzą inni.
And a picture of Paulina cuddling her beloved Kulka (whom she found and saved):
From a FB site I forgot:
From Ant: a terrific Halloween costume:
And Anna Krylov’s and Jay Tanzman’s British shorthair cat, Mishka:
From Masih: A member of Iran’s “morality police” admits that her outfit killed Armita Geravand for not wearing her hijab (she died yesterday several weeks after she was assaulted in Tehran).
In this video, A morality, police officer, boasts that they killed Armita, a 16 year old schoolgirl, for the crime of not covering her hair.
The woman who took this video, told me she almost had a heart attack after being bullied by the police agents.
Such a bullying is what… pic.twitter.com/cv1mBLor7t
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 29, 2023
Rashida Tlaib still hasn’t corrected her claim that Israel bombed the hospital in Gaza. Readers have added “context.” A false claim left up after correction is a lie.
Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients) just like that. @POTUS this is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire & help de-escalate.
Your war and destruction only approach has opened my eyes and many… https://t.co/mZYoifT7bj
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) October 17, 2023
From Barry: Flaco, the Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) who escaped from the Central Park Zoo in February, is still making it in Central Park! I guess they haven’t been able to capture him, but winter is coming.
Flaco the Eurasian Eagle-Owl preening and stretching in his favorite oak tree in Central Park. 🦉 ♥️ pic.twitter.com/brk30Qu8uo
— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) October 28, 2023
From Jez: a “new generation traffic system”:
new generation traffic systems lol pic.twitter.com/HELU89gts5
— Enezator (@Enezator) October 19, 2023
From Simon, who says, “Jeez; this crap again!” You can see his quotes (from 2016) at this link.
According to new Speaker Mike Johnson, mass shootings are a result of the cultural revolution of the 1960s, complaining that “no fault” divorces became legal and schools embraced the teaching of evolution. Story and clip. https://t.co/8Hs1o6RKQ9
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) October 26, 2023
From Malcolm, a peacemaker cat!
Cat playing peacemaker between two cats that are about to fight pic.twitter.com/J0sUxa9Qda
— place where cat shouldn't be (@catshouldnt) October 26, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a man who survived less than a month. His expression is haunting:
30 October 1893 | A Polish Jew, Leiser Goldschmied, was born in Klasno. A worker.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 30, 2023
And another lonely and agéd tweet from Dr. Cobb, who has gone off Twitter. It’s a cactus that blooms only at night, so I’d probably miss it (second tweet):
A night blooming cactus is open for only one night… but what a spectacular night pic.twitter.com/2lAhLXlms3
— LivenTheDream67 (@liven_l) July 7, 2023