Friday: Hili dialogue

November 3, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Friday, November 3, 2023, and it’s National Sandwich Day. Here’s the biggest sandwich I know of (and it’s good): a large pastrami from Harold’s NY Deli in Edison, NJ. Everything there is huge, but also very good, and it’s right off the N/S Interstate. Look at this puppy (there’s a bread and pickle bar to thin things out!) Remember, you can take the leftovers home to make several days’ worth of sammies.

It’s also American Painters Day, Four Chaplains Memorial Day, (read the story here), Bubble Gum Day, International Golden Retrievers Day, National Carrot Cake Day, National Wear Red Day, The Day the Music Died (story here, song here), and Culture Day in Japan.

If you missed the “Resolved: STEM is Systemically Racist” debate that took place at MIT last night (see my post), go here to hear the YouTube recording.

I will be going to Paris on Sunday for eight days, so posting will be light, though Matthew has promised to keep the Hili dialogues alive while I’m gone. Bear with me; we’ll resume on the 14th and I’ll do my best.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 3 Wikipedia page.

Today’s Google Doodle commemorates the life and work of Allan Houser (1914-1994), described by Wikipedia as “a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter and book illustrator born in Oklahoma. He was one of the most renowned Native American painters and Modernist sculptors of the 20th century. Click on the Doodle to see the links, and I’ve put one of his sculptures below:

A bronze by Houser, described as “”Legends Begin,” bronze, at Allard Hall Law School building in Vancouver”. For a Google image search that shows much of his work, click here.

Photo Credit Don Erhardt: The Statue “Legends Begin”

Wine of the Day: Readers know I’m a big fan of Spanish white wines, especially Albariño and Rueda. They can be terrific and tasty, and are often great values. This is a high-class Albariño from 2022, so the grapes were harvested about a year ago. It was only $17 for a wine of extraordinary freshness and complexity, straw-colored with a nose of lime, fruit, and flowers (these wines are known for their perfume). I drank it with fettuccine Alfredo with some green peas, and it was a great pairing. In fact, I had to stop myself from drinking more than half a bottle.

A 92-point review from James Suckling:

A vibrant albariño with aromas of waxed lemons, thyme, fresh peaches, white pepper and grapefruit. Crunchy and zesty, with a medium body and delicious mineral undertones. Drink now.

This is a serious, luscious white that you’ll be proud to serve to your guests. Or to acquaint yourself with this rarely-drunk wine.  If you can find it between $15 and $20, and want a white that will go well with food, this is your puppy:

Da Nooz:

*This morning’s war news from the NYT:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken arrived in the Middle East on Friday on a complex diplomatic mission in which he will reaffirm the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip while pressing its leaders to take concrete steps to reduce the number of civilian casualties.

The U.S. stance on the war has shifted over the past three weeks. While President Biden continues to declare unambiguous support for Israel, saying the country has a right to defend itself, concern has been growing within his administration about the mounting Palestinian death toll and worsening humanitarian conditions due to Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 that killed 1,400.

The Gazan health ministry, which is part of the Hamas-run government, says that more than 9,000 people have been killed in the territory, provoking outrage around the world. Gaza is also dangerously low on food, fuel and water after Israel cut off access to those necessities.

In meetings scheduled with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv on Friday, Mr. Blinken is expected to push what American officials call “humanitarian pauses” in military operations against Hamas in Gaza. Mr. Netanyahu paused the operations last month to enable the release of two American hostages held in the territory, Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter, Natalie Raanan, 17.

The death toll, of course, largely reflects the Palestinians using civilians as human shields, locating military forces, headquarters, and missile launches in heavily-populated areas, or under sensitive sites like hospitals. They’re also preventing Palestinians from moving south to zones that are supposed to be attack free, though I’m not sure if that’s true.   I’m also not sure how Israel can achieve its mission of erasing Hamas without a high death toll of civilians, which I abhor.  But what can be done.  The “humanitarian pauses” work only when a few hostages are released (four so far out of about 250), and, if they turn into cease-fires, which many Americans are calling for, will end with Hamas persisting.  The Biden administration has indeed changed its view, and it’s depressing to think about what is to come.

*Secretary of State Blinken is calling for “pauses” in the war, but these are apparently not “cease-fires”:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will urge the Israeli government to agree to a series of brief cessations of military operations in Gaza to allow for hostages to be released safely and for humanitarian aid to be distributed, White House officials said on Thursday.

The message comes as President Biden revealed on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had previously agreed to halt shelling briefly on Oct. 20 to allow for the release of two Americans, Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter, Natalie Raanan, 17.

The push for what American officials call “humanitarian pauses” is one of several subjects Mr. Blinken will raise with Mr. Netanyahu and other officials when he arrives in Israel on Friday for another round of diplomacy amid fierce fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas, the group that controls Gaza.

White House officials said the request for pauses was far different from an overall cease-fire, which the Biden administration believes would benefit Hamas by allowing it to recover from Israel’s intense bombardment.

Okay, so now we know: “pauses” are very short, and occur only during times when hostages are being released or humanitarian aid arrives. All parties remain in place, a hostage is released, and then hostilities resume. This apparently happened once before. But seriously, we have only four hostages released (and one rescued, with the IDF of course giving no details), and 220 more. Were I (Ceiling Cat forbid) a leader of Hamas, I’d draw out these pauses for negotiation so that my forces could regroup.  And, finally, we can have pauses ONLY WHEN HAMAS HAS AGREED TO RELEASE HOSTAGES. So we can’t just say, “Okay, we’ll pause next Tuesday at 2 pm, and you, Hamas, will release hostages.” The negotiations have to be concluded in advance.  As for humanitarian aid, it should really all be going to southern Gaza, as an inducement for civilians to get out of the way.

*Good Lord! The Wall Street Journal has shown a connection between Russia and Hezbollah: “Russia’s Wagner Group may provide air defense weapon to Hezbollah, U.S. intel says.”

Wagner Group, the Russian paramilitary organization, plans to provide an air-defense system to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia, U.S. officials say, citing intelligence.

The Russian SA-22 system they plan to send uses antiaircraft missiles and air-defense guns to intercept aircraft.

One U.S. official said that Washington hasn’t confirmed that the system has been sent. But officials are monitoring discussions involving Wagner and Hezbollah and the potential delivery is a major concern to them.

In Syria, Wagner troops played an important role in shoring up the country’s leader, President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The intelligence comes amid broader concerns about Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia, opening up a northern front against Israel.  The U.S. has positioned an aircraft carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean to try to deter Hezbollah and Iran.

Were I Hezbollah, what with two U.S. aircraft carriers (and their ancillary ships) sitting in the eastern Mediterranean, I wouldn’t try anything, I tell you what. I have little doubt that Biden meant what he said when he warned Lebanon to keep their missiles in their pants.

*In my life I’ve bought and sold two homes, and was always peeved at the 6% real estate commission you pay when you sell a house. Now, though, a federal jury has ruled this commission illegal because it involves illegal collusion. The realtor agency is going to have to dig deep to pay the fine:

The National Association of Realtors and several real estate companies were ordered to pay $1.8 billion in damages after a federal jury in Missouri on Tuesday ruled that they conspired to artificially inflate brokerage commissions.

Beyond the realtors’ association, defendants in the case include Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeService of America and two of its subsidiaries. The verdict, which came after a two-week trial in federal court in Kansas City, is a potential game changer for how Americans buy homes. It also comes at a time when the U.S. real estate market is stalled, with mortgage rates nearing 8% and existing home sales down double digits from a year ago.

The case centers on the commissions home sellers make to a buyer’s realtor. Those payments are partially governed by NAR rules, which mandate that sellers include a fee offer to the buyer’s agent in listing property. The offer is known by real estate agents representing prospective buyers, but the latter are usually in the dark on those amounts. That can lead agents to steer buyers into deals to maximize their own commissions.

As I recall, the fee paid by the seller is 6% of the offered price, which can be substantial.  There’s more:

Michael Ketchmark, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, told CBS MoneyWatch he expects the jury award to be tripled under U.S. antitrust law to more than $5 billion.

. . . It cost two to three times as much to sell a house in the United States as it does in other industrialized countries,” said the attorney, citing the practices outlined during the trial that compels the seller to pay brokerage commissions of up to 6%.

It was 6% both times I sold a house.

*The Washington Post passes judgement on the newly released (and partly computer-generated) Beatles song I mentioned the other day: “The ‘new’ Beatles song is perfectly fine. That’s not good enough.”

One day in the late 1970s, John Lennon hit the record button on a boombox at his Upper West Side co-op and sang a new song he had been working on, accompanying himself on piano.

For decades, his Beatles songwriting partner Paul McCartney yearned to transform this raw solo demo into a studio-polished collaboration that could properly serve as the Fab Four’s final song. Finally, some 45 years later, the technology arrived that would free Lennon’s voice from its sonic trap of atmospheric hum and tinny piano so they could blend it seamlessly with his surviving bandmates’ fresh vocals and instruments.

. . . The song comes to us courtesy of the same miracle software program that director Peter Jackson deployed to astonishing effect in 2021’s “The Beatles: Get Back.” For that approximately 470-minute docuseries, Jackson’s engineering team managed to isolate the whispered conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo from the din of their 1969 rehearsal sessions. But their software, known as MAL, can also create weird temptations.

. . . . And now I sit, a committed Beatles fan, listening to this “new” song for the 10th time on headphones in the dark at 4:13 a.m., willing myself to feel that special thing that would allow me to embrace it, to rave to you about its majestic beauty and poignant perfection.

But I can’t. “Now and Then” is just okay. And that’s not nearly good enough.

I agree with pop-culture editor Geoff Edgers when he says this:

“Now and Then” is not terrible. It starts slow and picks up a little as the rhythm section kicks in. There is a minor-key melancholy in Lennon’s composition. But ultimately, it’s kind of mundane.

No, it’s not terrible, but listen for yourself below. In my book it’s not even in the top 100 Beatles songs. It’s a tedious disappointment:

And from the Associated Press:

“Now and Then” comes from the same batch of unreleased demos written by Lennon in the 1970s, which were given to his former bandmates by Yoko Ono. They used the tape to construct the songs “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love,” released in the mid-1990s. But there were technical limitations to finishing “Now and Then.”

On Wednesday, a short film titled “The Beatles — Now And Then — The Last Beatles Song” was released, detailing the creation of the track. On the original tape, Lennon’s voice was hidden; the piano was “hard to hear,” as Paul McCartney describes it. “And in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology to do the separation.”

Here’s that a 12-minute video about how the song was made, including nice video of the Beatles when they were all alive. To be fair, Paul says below that he helped do this because he was sure that John would want the song released:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is wet, on the windowsill, and indecisive:

Hili: It’s raining.
A: Come inside then.
Hili: And what am I going to do there?
In Polish:
Hili: Pada deszcz.
Ja: To chodź do domu.
Hili: I co mam tam robić?

And Mishka!


This statement appears to be true, but it was in 2008, not now:

From Thomas, a Dave Blazek cartoon:

From Scott:

From Masih; the Google translation is this:

The person who sent this video wrote: “This woman who caused trouble due to wearing a veil on her head, and brave girls and women met her with unity and standing up. After the fight, the subway officers threw everyone out of the subway and delayed us for an hour until the next subway came. Please publish it so that everyone understands that the era of these ration-eating, sandwich-eating, ration-eating fossils is over, who sing in the subway and on the streets to disturb the girls and women of the Iranian nation because of hijab and any other issue.”

Apparently too many women were showing their hair.  But “sandwich eating”?  Sound up.

From Titania.   She’s doomed!

Simon also sent this, and added, “Given that they are beheading people for being gay in Palestine (I think it was the West Bank yesterday) I fail to see where the alphabet people think they have common cause with and fundamentalist group.”

From Simon. Read the long note, too (click on “show more”):

From Barry, a long-term work of art. Be sure to see the artist (click on the photo):

From Malcolm. I don’t think the black cat likes this!

From the Auschwitz Memorial: an anniversary I reposted:

TWO weets from Dr. Cobb, who’s back in gear!  First, he loves Stegosaurus, but apparently people didn’t like it so much in the old days:

GREAT fly photos. Look at that head!

48 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Re: commissions paid when selling houses. I asked an estate agent (I’m in the UK) what extra they were doing when selling a house for £500K as opposed to what they were doing when selling a house for £100K. After all, they were getting a lot more money. If they weren’t doing anything extra, how could they justify demanding extra money? I never got a satisfactory answer.

    1. You beat me to it. I’m in Canada, and have a similar question. Why should a real estate agent get double the commission on a $1 000 000 house over a $500 000 house? It isn’t like they are doing double the work. It should be a flat rate, or if not, have some way of accounting for extra work (eg. one open house and two showings to sell vs. two open houses and twenty showings to sell). It is a bit of a racket that we all just accept.

      My limited experience with (divorce) lawyers was similar. I definitely didn’t feel that I got value for money, and felt I was just a cheque-writing machine for them. They just keep demanding more money, and I had to keep paying them, with a moving deadline until it ended.

    2. In the UK I moved house quite a few times, six times in twenty years or so, military service and work. I never ever paid more than one percent commission and achieving that was always negotiable with regard to the house valuation (independent) achieved sale price and determined by quality of presentation and speed of sale with fixed timescale. If you cannot find an agent who will work to earn a sensible commission do it yourself, it’s not difficult particularly now with the internet.
      The best person to sell a house is the owner, they know it better than any agent can ever know and presenting it for sale is easy. Time of course is a consideration but then time is money.

      1. These days most estate agents get the owner to show prospective buyers round anyway, which rather defeats the purpose of employing someone else anyway.

  2. The you tube video of the “Resolved: STEM is Racist” debate is two-hours in length, of which the first hour is the Oxford Union style debate itself and the second hour is q&a. I watched the whole event live last night, specifically because I did not know what was meant by “STEM is racist”… I have seen k12 curriculum content dubbed as anti-racist mathematics over the past few years and asked myself how can math itself be racist? Or is it the STEM enterprise, the pipeline and selection of STEM practitioners that is racist? If you are interested in this issue, please watch at least the first hour of last night’s debate video….oh and cheer on our good friend Luana!

    1. I watched the debate live. It was very civilized. The arguments on the affirmative side (those who think that STEM is racist) were not very good—mostly word salads about how STEM has multiple components that, taken together, sum to barriers of entry for Blacks. No real evidence provided. The arguments on the negative side (those who disagree with the thesis) were better, with Luana’s statements being—as always—forceful and clear.

      The best single point of the night was made by Luana’s partner, who (bravely) argued that the biggest impediment to Black representation in STEM is Black leaders themselves. His argument was that Black mentors, professors, and activists constantly tell Black students that STEM (and most everything else) is inherently White and racist, which leads Black students to think that STEM majors and STEM disciplines are not for them. That was the takeaway point of the night. Why would Black students enter STEM when all they hear from Black leaders is that STEM is rife with racism? Black leaders are only making things worse. That argument will stay with me.

      1. I need to look this up but John Henry Newman wrote that the role of religion in the original conception of a university was to bind and orient the university’s departments (in our modern parlance) towards “the good”.

        As religion fell away with secularization in the university, Newman also argued (I need to look it up) that SOMETHING will inevitably fill that role.

        Guess what appears to have emerged from its incubator (IMHO (and, if it isn’t evident, James “Conspiracy Theorist” Lindsay’s opinion)) to bind and orient higher education :

        The “Humanities” departments, including post-modernism, critical studies, gender studies, etc.

        (Maybe not English, or creative writing, etc.).

        Apparently this is it:
        The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated
        In Nine Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin

        J. H. Newman
        1852 (maybe)

      2. Thanks Norman. I agree totally. Erec, Luana’s colleague in the negative was a real hero…very McWhorterish. I also used the expression “word salad” of jargon in an earlier email to Jerry last night. We really need to get to the start of the pipeline…pre-k to 2 with reading skills and get k-12 teachers properly trained/educated in 21st century STEM curriculum needs such as computer programming in useful languages, Bayesian probability instead the the traditional frequentist theory, modeling and simulation of physical systems (starting in k-5), algebra that prepares the student for chemistry before biology, and so forth. Also need to integrate engineering design into science courses as is done in the Next Generation Science Standards. Because we have to remember that too few poor, minority students have a STEM graduate as a role model and guide at home. K-12 curriculum and teachers are their only introduction to what the STEM world is. It can be done, but requires tremendous political willpower.

        1. Agreed. And most important is that the process start early as you say—in the womb if possible. By the time a student gets into high school or college, it’s almost too late. Early childhood brain development has already reduced the pipeline of potential BIPOC scientists and engineers to a trickle.

          1. My wife, an RN, started her career on the labor and delivery floor of our local regional hospital. After a few years she moved on to a family practice (now called family medicine, a pcp) residency program of the hospital. She would remark, in her first years there, that she watched these children be born healthy, bright, energetic, when she was on the hospital floor, but then two, three or four years later they would come into the family practice office, hollow, dull, and barely responsive. It was not a great number but enough to be noticed. Not every child has the advantage of the hours my daughter spent with her children teaching them skills their first four years and this deficit must be made up as children pass through their first schoolhouse door…upon first entrance. And it is not just STEM, they must know how to read first!

        2. I have great respect for you Jim. I do not personally point the following at you – but I have to note:

          What remains after the STEM-specific pedagogy would be the synthetic New Age Religion of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Comprehensive Sexuality Education (UNESCO), and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed – ratcheted in by design from UNESCO, Linda Darling-Hammond, and other Marxist education proponents in teaching colleges in the United States, like Henry Giroux.

          The same results in literacy (reading or mathematics) can be expected, as long as those pedagogies are broadcasting, as every subject merely serves as a shell in which political literacy objectives can be met – genuine literacy is, by design, of lesser importance. The only thing keeping genuine literacy going is good, competent teachers who are empowered to train independent thought like it matters.

          I have references but searches of the terms above could suffice, and I’ll step off the soapbox now.


          1. Thank you ThyroidPlanet. I need to study and think about your middle paragraphs a bit to understand. I engage with STEM because that is/was my area of legitimate expertise via formal education and career. Moreover I had experience in K12 policy making serving eight years on a local school board (which is roughly equivalent, according to a gent I experienced too many single malts with iin a Blackpool pub one night, a UK board of governors) and as senior advisor to our state governor for STEM initiatives for several years in my retirement. My time on the local board responsible for a majority minority 30,000 student system with more than half these students on free lunch (below poverty level family income), made me sensitive to the reading issue. Unfortunately I am basically illiterate in too many areas of the humanities, pretty much because though I attended the same undergrad liberal arts college as our host, and I grudgingly took but, unlike Jerry, did not embrace our required non-STEM coursework…thus I have a lot of catching up to do!

          2. Appreciate that – especially using my bizarre pseudonym (one day I hope to change it).

            Some brief references I’d point out :

            Paulo Freire
            Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970)
            The Politics of Education (1985)

            My claim about SEL arises from reading lots of readily available material from the “spirituality”-preoccupied Fetzer Institute (SEL was produced from FI in 1994), and doing a side-by-side comparison with :

            Alice A. Bailey
            Education in the New Age
            Lucifer Publishing (now Lucis Trust)
            1954 (original)

            … at the very least, if you ever wondered where “New Age” came from, that’s it! Bailey and Helena Blavatsky were contemporaries. One might look for details of the relationship between John Fetzer and them, but seems obscure to me.

            A short disclaimer: I respect everyone’s right to reach different conclusions on these issues.

    1. I bought two copies of that book some years ago, one for my son and one to lend out to struggling patients who were first year college students. Everyone passed!

    2. Two things about that book. Firstly, the reason the ∫ symbol is terrifying, or at least provokes a sinking of the heart in students like me who only rose to the level of a first degree in maths, is not the meaning but the warning that what is to follow is going to be messy and complicated. Differentiation, by contrast is elegant and simple, once you get the hang of it.

      The other thing which I just read from your link is

      Obviously 1 minute is a very small quantity of time compared with a whole week. Indeed, our forefathers considered it small as compared with an hour, and called it “one minùte,” meaning a minute fraction–namely one sixtieth–of an hour. When they came to require still smaller subdivisions of time, they divided each minute into 60 still smaller parts, which, in Queen Elizabeth’s days, they called “second minùtes” (i.e.: small quantities of the second order of minuteness). Nowadays we call these small quantities of the second order of smallness “seconds.” But few people know why they are so called.

      I had no idea – in fact never really gave it a (ahem) second thought before – as to where the terms “minute” and “second” came from.

      1. Yup, the phrase “integration by parts” can still induce that sinking feeling some 50 years after I was first introduced to it.

        On a similar vein I also remember being told that that something being left as “an easy exercise for the reader was often code for its going to be messy and complicated.

  3. I agree about Now and Then. It is … pleasant. Mainly a Lennon-esque wailing song with I think back-up vocals of Paul and George, although those can barely be heard. I do appreciate that there is a definite Beatles sound in there. A most definite flash from the past that I found myself clinging to for a bit.
    It would have been a more special song if it could be rearranged so that Paul and George had a movement where their singing could be brought forward, right up front, with a distinct drum bit from Ringo coming in over a break. This would be so that, just for a moment, the 4 could be clearly together again.

    1. Yeah, I basically feel the same way. It’s nice to hear, and it’s poignant, especially since the “B Side” is a remix of Love Me Do, making it a bookend of Beatles singles, but I don’t think it would have been released as a single by the Beatles back in the day. I try to remind myself that these (the Lennon demo tape-based songs) were songs of which John did personal recordings on cassette, but never recorded further, so they probably weren’t what he would have considered ready for making into released songs…they certainly weren’t on Double Fantasy. So while it’s very cool that they were able to release this, it’s bittersweet at best.

      I would quibble (slightly) with PCC(E) calling it “partly computer-generated”. The vocals were cleaned up and separated from the piano and the electric noise in the background of the original using trained AI-based audio software, but the voice(s) and instruments are really all from the people involved.

      1. Jumping in here –

        I just now watched the video – IMHO this is essential – it is homage to George and John. It is IMHO bittersweet. Fans miss them.

        Analysis of the music alone – or the tech – misses the thrust of this project – Jackson (if I understand) using cutting-edge tech in the honest spirit of honoring George and John. The music does its job here.

        Agree with any ideas that the AI (if that’s what it was) gives it an off flavor.

        Overall, this fan is moved.


      2. IOW

        I am not – and should not – be looking for the nextA Day In The Life. That will never happen, and it is sad, and moving.

        This is what I mean by the sad music and video doing its job.

        1. I think the remaining members of the ‘big three’ 1960s bands are thinking about their legacy, and see the end of their lives in the near future. Paul and Ringo, of course. You can’t tell me the Stones aren’t thinking that with their latest, and even The Who’s eponymously titled album, the original version containing bonus original demo tracks and an enhanced demo reaching back to the early days.

          They see both their immortality and mortality.

          My only beef is that ‘Now and Then’ definitely shouldn’t be added to 1966-1970. In my now-digital collection, it will be an EP with ‘Free As A Bird,’ ‘Real Love,’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (LOVE version, which I consider a new-at-the-time Beatles song as The Powers That Be allowed George Martin to add a new score to the demo), and ‘Now and Then.’

          So far only listened to it once. Waiting for the video, which, like ‘Free As A Bird,’ I think will be more moving than the song itself.

          can’t promise I won’t comment during the days ahead.

    2. My taste is definitely not that of the Washington Post writer. I preferred “Real Love” over “Free as a Bird,” and I prefer “Now and Then” over the former as well. The new song is low-key and melancholy and feels like a bittersweet coda to the Beatles. I was already familiar with the Lennon demo and had feared the Beatles version would be overblown. I’m glad it isn’t. I think the song will grow on those who were initially disappointed.

  4. I’m confused as to how today can be ‘The Day The Music Died,’ when it was February 3rd, not November 3rd.

    1. No, I don’t get it either. It doesn’t even coincide with the release of Don McLean’s song – the album was released in October, and the single in December, of ’71.

  5. On this day:
    1333 – The River Arno floods causing massive damage in Florence as recorded by the Florentine chronicler Giovanni Villani.

    1493 – Christopher Columbus first sights the island of Dominica in the Caribbean Sea.

    1534 – English Parliament passes the first Act of Supremacy, making King Henry VIII head of the Anglican Church, supplanting the pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

    1793 – French playwright, journalist and feminist Olympe de Gouges is guillotined.

    1838 – The Times of India, the world’s largest circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper is founded as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce.

    1868 – John Willis Menard (R-LA) was the first African American elected to the United States Congress. Because of an electoral challenge, he was never seated.

    1911 – Chevrolet officially enters the automobile market in competition with the Ford Model T.

    1920 – Russian Civil War: The Russian Army retreats to Crimea, after a successful offensive by the Red Army and Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine.

    1936 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected the 32nd President of the United States. [It is also the anniversary of Clinton defeating Bush and Ross Perot, and of Biden beating Trump.]

    1957 – Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. On board is the first animal to enter orbit, a dog named Laika.

    1964 – Lyndon B. Johnson is elected to a full term as U.S. president, winning 61% of the vote and 44 states, while Washington D.C. residents are able to vote in a presidential election for the first time, casting the majority of their votes for Lyndon Johnson. [Voters in D.C. still can’t elect a senator, IIRC. So much for “no taxation without representation”.]

    1969 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon addresses the nation on television and radio, asking the “silent majority” to join him in solidarity on the Vietnam War effort and to support his policies.

    1973 – Mariner program: NASA launches the Mariner 10 toward Mercury. On March 29, 1974, it becomes the first space probe to reach that planet.

    1979 – Greensboro massacre: Five members of the Communist Workers Party are shot dead and seven are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis during a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States.

    1986 – Iran–Contra affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reports that the United States has been secretly selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.

    2014 – One World Trade Center officially opens in New York City, replacing the Twin Towers after they were destroyed during the September 11 attacks.

    1801 – Karl Baedeker, German author and publisher, founded the Baedeker Publishing Company (d. 1859).

    1854 – Carlo Fornasini, Italian micropalaeontologist (d. 1931).

    1887 – Eileen Hendriks, British geologist (d. 1978).

    1900 – Adolf Dassler, German businessman, founded Adidas (d. 1978). [His older brother Rudolf founded Puma, leading to rivalry between the citizens of their hometown of Herzogenaurach, where both firms had their headquarters.]

    1917 – Annapurna Maharana, Indian activist (d. 2012).

    1918 – Elizabeth P. Hoisington, American general (d. 2007).

    1919 – Ludovic Kennedy, Scottish journalist and author (d. 2009).

    1921 – Charles Bronson, American soldier and actor (d. 2003).

    1927 – Harrison McCain, Canadian businessman, co-founded McCain Foods (d. 2004).

    1930 – Mable John, American blues singer (d. 2022).

    1933 – John Barry, English-American composer and conductor (d. 2011).

    1933 – Jeremy Brett, English actor (d. 1995).

    1933 – Amartya Sen, Indian economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate.

    1943 – Bert Jansch, Scottish-English singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2011).

    1945 – Nick Simper, English bass guitarist.

    1948 – Lulu, Scottish singer-songwriter and actress.

    1950 – Joe Queenan, American author and critic.

    1952 – Roseanne Barr, American comedian, actress, and producer.

    1954 – Adam Ant, English singer-songwriter and actor.

    1957 – Dolph Lundgren, Swedish actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and martial artist.

    1957 – Gary Olsen, English actor (d. 2000).

    1987 – Colin Kaepernick, American football player.

    1987 – Elizabeth Smart, American kidnapping victim, activist, and journalist.

    Even at our birth, death does but stand aside a little. And every day he looks towards us and muses somewhat to himself whether that day or the next he will draw nigh.
    1858 – Harriet Taylor Mill, English philosopher and author (b. 1807).

    1900 – Carrie Steele Logan, American philanthropist, founder of the oldest black orphanage in the United States (b. ~1829).

    1926 – Annie Oakley, American entertainer and target shooter (b. 1860).

    1949 – Solomon R. Guggenheim, American art collector and philanthropist, founded the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (b. 1861).

    1954 – Henri Matisse, French painter and sculptor (b. 1869).

    1980 – Caroline Mytinger, American painter and author (b. 1897).

    1983 – Alfredo Antonini, Italian-American conductor and composer (b. 1901).

    1987 – Mary Shane, American sportscaster and educator (b. 1945).

    1993 – Léon Theremin, Russian physicist and engineer, invented the Theremin (b. 1895).

    1998 – Bob Kane, American author and illustrator, co-created Batman (b. 1915).

    2002 – Lonnie Donegan, Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1931).

    2013 – William J. Coyne, American lawyer and politician (b. 1936). [Namesake of our host.]

    2015 – Ahmed Chalabi, Iraqi businessman and politician (b. 1944). [A dodgy character, as I noted on Monday when he was on the births list.]

    2018 – Sondra Locke, American actress and director (b. 1944).

    1. Some more information about feminist Olympe de Gouges, who was executed by guillotine on this day:

  6. What is PCC(E) going to feed a bear in Paris – the worlds largest pot of cassoulet?!?

    (… I try… but can’t help myself…).

  7. No need for pauses to let in humanitarian aid from foreigners. Hamas has lots of food and fuel for itself. If it disarms and then distributes the stuff to the civilians it is supposed to be responsible for as the elected government of Gaza, Gazans will be fine.

    Some people seem to be doing just fine in Gaza before Hamas brought down the wrath of Allah on the place.
    (This from Nellie Bowles on her TGIF today.)

  8. The National Association of Realtors case is interesting. I was always surprise at the agents fee too. 6% of $1,000,000 is $60,000. I suppose the effort could be as little as a few days of showing and a few days of paperwork. Not bad.

  9. I am frustrated by the credulity of most media who accept Hamas’ report of causalities. Please correct me if any of these statements are false:
    1) The Hamas provided counts are unconfirmed and Hamas has provided incorrect counts in the past.
    2) The reported count includes both civilians and combatants (terrorists). If true, a large casualty number might be excellent news.
    3) Hamas has not defined “child.” If it means those under 18, that could include teenage combatants.

    1. 4) Hamas uses ambulances to transport fighting men and weapons. So convoys of ambulances tearing through Gaza do not necessarily indicate a high casualty toll. Yet.

    1. Titania’s creator, Andrew Doyle, recently wrote The New Puritans – a good read, although not so many laughs…

  10. My initial thoughts of the Beatles “Now and Then” the mix seems to blended no peaks perhaps to smooth might better way of putting it. Nevermind… listened again but this time to the official vid and louder now I know (i think) why they did this and why I am a Beatles fan.

  11. Thanks as always for the wine review. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen La Cana (with a tilde) at my local Total Wine, so I’ll be sure to pick up a bottle next time I’m there.

  12. The point of the new Beatles song is in the title. The song is incidental. The video is a beautiful final grateful and moving farewell by Paul and Ringo ‘now’ to the John, Paul, George and Ringo as they were ‘then’.

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