Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, September 11, 2020

Four Things

1. Smoked mackerel ice cream may sound gross to you, but I'd definitely try it. That fishy/savory take on ice cream is just one I learned about when I stopped by Strange Maps and saw a tourist map of Lithuania showing where to get any of "the country's 47 weirdest ice cream flavors." Others included bacon, beer, and rhubarb.

I'm not a dessert -- or even a sweets -- person, so I'd probably find many of these less weird than most people.

2. Yeah. I'm not going to Europe any time soon, either.

But I did recently get a peek at what a German city looked like a century ago from the air. Embedded below is some remarkably good footage taken from Wuppertal's suspended railway in 1902.

3. And, while we're looking back in time, here's a story from a few years ago by FiveThirtyEight on why the tenures of the world's oldest living persons have been growing shorter over time:
Weaver's five-day run as the oldest person in the world was short, but it turns out that the oldest person in the world never holds that title for very long. Since records started being kept in the 1950s, the average tenure has been just around a year, according to the Gerontology Research Group; it has dipped to just seven months since the year 2000. Weaver's incumbency isn't the shortest in recent years; North Carolina's Emma Tillman died four days after becoming the world's oldest person in 2007.
No spoilers here. You'll have to go over there to learn what's going on.

4. With recent news of fishiness in the data on Russia's "approved" coronavirus vaccine, one might wonder which circle of scientific hell the folks involved deserve. Wonder no more. (PDF).

The fourth level, for example, is for p-value fishing. Considering how popular that is with nutritionists, the punishment is fitting enough. (Update: To be clear, the problem with the Russian data does not involve p-fishing, to the best of my knowledge.)

-- CAV


: Added a sentence to last item.


Anonymous said...

Yo, Gus, a wryly entertaining bit of prose for you by Margery Allingham. She was one of the four Crime Queens of British mysteries (the others being Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Ngaio Marsh) and perhaps my favorite.

There are, fortunately, very few people who can say that they have actually attended a murder.

The assassination of another by any person of reasonable caution must, in a civilized world, tend to be a private affair.

Perhaps it is this particular which accounts for the remarkable public interest in the details of even the most sordid and unintellectual examples of this crime, suggesting that it is the secret rather than the deed which constitutes the appeal.

If only in view of the extreme rarity of the experience, therefore, it seems a pity that Brigadier-General Sir Walter Fyvie, a brilliant raconteur and a man who would have genuinely appreciated so odd a distinction, should have left the reception at Little Venice at twenty minutes past six, passing his old acquaintance Bernard, Bishop of Mold, in the doorway, and thus missing the extraordinary murder which took place there by a little under seven minutes.

As the General afterwards pointed out, it was all the more irritating since the Bishop, a specialist upon the more subtle varieties of sin, did not appreciate his fortune in the least.
(Beginning, Death of a Ghost, 1934)

Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, I also just learned that Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals passed away yesterday at age 77 of complications of COVID-19. So many good songs...If memory serves, this is your favorite of his, whereas mine is this (a bit abbreviated, but an superb performance in a classic movie).

Gus Van Horn said...


Hah! I love the turn of phrase that passage starts with: "attended a murder."


What a shame!

Thanks for posting those links so passers-by can hear what they probably are missing.


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you write, "I love the turn of phrase that passage starts with: 'attended a murder.'" I read her mysteries in publication order, and that beginning symbolizes to me how that novel, the 6th with that detective, took a real step up. (Her earlier novels were more adventure/suspense than mystery, and while good, were like second-rate copies of The Saint to my tastes; she struck a better balance from that novel on.) I go to Christie for clever plots and clever asides, and above all for the clever ways in her best novels that she thoroughly upset expectations or played hob with an old mystery standby; the other three have better detectives as characters, and Allingham's Albert Campion I think just barely edges out Marsh's Roderick Alleyn for me, though it's a close call. (I prefer both to Lord Peter Wimsey, who is too darn whimsical. Clearly he's playing a fool to lull everyone into underestimating him, but I agree with Harriet Vane herself, his eventual wife, who told him he was a "Lord of Piffle" in I think the second novel with her in it. He's just too blasted irritating for me, even though most of the novels are excellent. Campion in fact might have started as a parody of Wimsey, which I find hard to see because Wimsey himself is a parody that any other parody would fall short of, you might say.)

I should add that there was a BBC/Mystery! series of some of Allingham's Campion stories called, natch, Campion. I haven't seen it yet--I plan to watch it with my wife fairly soon--but this picture with Peter Davison as Campion on the left does capture the feel of the books for me. (And the particular novel that that is a scene from, The Case of the Late Pig, is quite good.)

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for expanding on that, and in particular for mentioning that series.

My wife and I are finishing up what has been made of The Expanse so far and will soon be casting about for new telly-time material. Perhaps a detective series would work. We used to watch Monk, pre-kids, so there is a precedent.