Monday: Hili dialogue

by Grania & Jerry

Good morning and welcome to a new week!

There’s a new Google Doodle today—with penguins! It marks the beginning of a series of holiday images. Click on the screenshot to see the three penguin panels:

According to The Sun, we have big penguin fun in store for the holidays;

Google are beginning the countdown to Christmas with a festive series of Doodles, beginning on Monday, December 18.

Interactive, animated images feature penguins and parrots arranging to spend the big day together.

In the first of the cartoonish designs, displayed on the search engine’s homepage across much of the world, we see the penguins packing their suitcases for a trip to see their parrot pals.

A series of boxes marked 25, 31 and 1 in another image hint that the follow-up Doodles will appear on some of the standout dates in the Christmas holiday period.

Teasing their festive concept, Google said: “The festive season is here and this pair of slippery-footed siblings are excited to spend time with their warm-weather relatives!

“Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks to see what kind of fun this feathery family has in store.”

And speaking of penguins:


It’s interesting where this Doodle will be shown: Russia, whose Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7, isn’t there, but some Muslim countries in sub-Saharan Africa are, as well as Muslim Indonesia. And it’s not shown in Germany, Poland, or Eastern Europe.


In Bizarro Land, there’s a new book that tries to wag a finger at men in a jokey kind of way. I’m curious as to who they think is going to buy this? Woke feminists can’t possibly be their target demographic; but I don’t imagine that the potential Harvey Weinsteins and Louis C.K.s of the world are going to be popping this in their Christmas stockings.




And finally, Hili gets the last word making a surprise appearance.

What are you doing there?
Hili: I’m thinking.
(Photo: Kasia)

In Polish:

Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Myślę.
(Zdjęcie: Kasia)

A holiday chocolate?

But which holiday? This photo came from reddit (I can’t vouch for its authenticity), and was sent by reader Woody, who said that it was “both funny and deeply disturbing”:

I’m guessing it is real, and that they simply wrapped chocolate rabbits (for which they already had a mold) in a deceptive wrap to celebrate a religious holiday.

Random photos in Delhi

Breakfast at the hotel in Delhi: a dosa (they had a dosa station where a guy would make them to order), fresh fruit, baked yogurt with raisins (a dish new to me) and a passionfruit smoothie. Afterwards I had fresh watermelon juice and a cappuccino.  I ate very lightly because we were going to Karim’s for lunch (more on that tomorrow).

A pi dog on the street. Most revert to this yellow color in villages, but in cities they get color genes from domestic dogs and so are more varied. Don’t worry—it’s not dead (I checked); it’s just napping in the sun.

A bicycle rickshaw driver: the world’s hardest job. I tried driving one once, and it was nearly impossible. These guys work until they’re old, and then they die. Life is tough for most people here.

The reflected face of our motor-rickshaw driver in a terrible Old Delhi traffic jam (it’s always terrible) on the way to Karim’s. Pictures of a meaty lunch at Karim’s tomorrow.


Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein tell their Evergreen State story

I’ve written a lot about the ideological shenanigans at The Evergreen State College (TESC) in Olympia, Washington, and about how Leftists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, both professor of biology, were first vilfied, then attacked, and then more or less asked to leave by the University—all because Bret wouldn’t leave campus on the “Day of Departure” to allow it to be occupied solely by people of color. Even the campus police couldn’t protect them against threats because the cops were told to “stand down” by University President George “Invertebrate” Bridges.

Now, in the Washington Examiner, Heying and Weinstein give their joint take on the events, which corresponds pretty much to what I know from other sources.  It’s at once a sad and disgusting tale, and one not much reported by the mainstream media. (Of course, if there were an eruption of white supremacy on a college campus, with black professors asked to leave campus, and then demonized and called “racists” if they wouldn’t, and then mercilessly hounded by the students it would be all over the news.)

At any rate, you can read the 4,500-word piece yourself. It’s fascinating, and I’ll append two excepts:

These protests at Evergreen were not like protests many readers will remember from their own college days. Nor were they like the ones we had participated in ourselves. Both of us protested as college students before the first Gulf War, and again after the bailouts that followed the 2008 financial collapse with the Occupy movement. It was heady stuff, but it never approached violence. And, agree with us or not, we were objecting to policy, not claims of bias that are immune to scrutiny. This was different.

The protesters did let Bret leave[they confronted and surrounded him], but they assigned “handlers” to him and his students. And although Bret was able to have a productive, if tense, dialogue with protesters in small groups, the leaders inevitably intervened to stop such off-script activity.

By the next day, any gains were lost. Protesters stormed the last faculty meeting of the year, where newly emeritus faculty members were being lauded. They took over the meeting, stole a celebratory retirement cake, and said things like “Didn’t you educate us on how to do shit like this?”

The radicals blockaded the library, trapping employees and students inside, frightening several. One faculty member who had participated with the students in shutting down the faculty meeting held court outside the library, telling two faculty colleagues that “you are now those motherfuckers that we’re pushing against.” She told them to “go inside and listen to the students … or take your ass home … Two options: Go inside, go home.”

The protesters subjugated and humiliated everyone who did not fall into line. When they ordered the college president to stop gesticulating with his hands, on account of the presumably aggressive nature of his hand gestures, he promptly did so. When they insisted that he have an escort to use the bathroom, he acquiesced. They hurled obscenities and insults at him and others.

That evening, the same faculty member who had been issuing peremptory commands outside the library wrote to the campus community to say how proud she was of the protesters, and to reinforce an earlier thought from one of the radicals. “They are doing exactly what we’ve taught them today,” she wrote. What do you suppose the response to this email was? Horror, shock, quiet distaste? In some circles, yes, but the only people who responded publicly wrote to thank her.

I believe that faculty member was Naima Lowe, a toxic Regressive Leftist who harassed and vilified her colleagues for not taking the part of the students. According to the local paper The Olympian and other sources, however, Lowe is leaving Evergreen:

Naima Lowe, a media arts professor, resigned Dec. 6, according to Evergreen spokesman Zach Powers. Lowe had been on personal leave since the beginning of the school yearbecause of “online attacks on her (that) have multiplied through the summer,” according to a letter to faculty in September.

Powers said the resignation was a condition of a settlement Lowe reached with the college. She will receive $240,000, which includes final wages and attorney fees, to settle a tort claim she filed claiming discrimination and a hostile work environment, according to Powers.

Here’s an infamous video of Naima Lowe haranguing her colleagues. She seems deeply unhinged, and note that she’s holding a small d*g:

There’s were two other resignations as well:

Last month, the college announced Rashida Love, director of the First Peoples Advising Services, had resigned. Emails between Love and professor Bret Weinstein about the college’s annual Day of Absence/Day of Presence fueled tensions last spring and pulled Evergreen into a national debate over free speech and institutional racism on college campuses.

Stacy Brown, Evergreen’s police services chief who also was a target of protesters, left in August to become a Tumwater police officer.

The Heying/Weinstein article continues with an explanation for the police chief’s resignation:

Protesters showed up at the swearing-in ceremony of the new campus police chief, Stacy Brown, and shut it down. Brown, an officer with impeccable credentials and a good heart, who is herself also an Evergreen graduate, was thus denied the honor she deserved. One faculty member added insult to injury by writing to her to say that police are not wanted on campus. . .

Brown, the police chief, resigned in August, telling us that she had been given all of the responsibility, but none of the authority, to keep people safe on campus. Zimmerman, the ousted provost, testified in a congressional hearing to both the value of a liberal arts education, and to the madness occurring on campuses. We were told, during mediation with the college at the very end of summer, that the college was quite pleased with the direction it was going, and that there would be no veering from the course that we continue to regard as disastrous. We suggested that we could help change Evergreen’s reputation as a laughingstock to that of a beacon of hope, of viewpoint diversity and actual civil rights, in an ever bleaker higher education landscape. The college wanted no part of it.

We asked for leave, and were denied it. The college made it clear that they wanted us gone permanently. And so, in shock, feeling betrayed, heartbroken and livid, we left. We settled with the college for half a million dollars — about two years’ joint salary after our legal fees — a small price for two tenured professorships. Grief takes many forms, and we feel it, but we also feel that we were paid to leave a burning building. Unfortunately, we can do nothing for our many friends — students, staff, and faculty — still stuck on the inside.

The story goes on and on and on. There are so many threads and subplots that it feels dishonest to tell any version without all of them, but we must.

Heying and Weinstein settled with TESC and will not return, but they got only about two years’ salary for both of them. They still haven’t settled on what they’ll do, but I’m hoping that some truly enlightened college hires the pair. Their teaching evalutations (go to Rate my Professors here and here) were both outstanding, and it’s a damn shame that science education has been eroded by Authoritarian Leftist ideology purity. So much the worse for biology students at TESC.

Oh, and be sure to read Heying and Weinstein’s tale of the “canoe meeting” of the Evergreen State faculty. It completely epitomizes the infantilization and intimidation of the professors by Authoritarian Leftist students and administration.

Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying

The CDC bans 7 words and phrases from work conducted by their scientists

Several readers sent me links to an odious new policy implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. This link to the Chicago Tribune‘s article, source of the quotes below, comes from reader Ron.

This new policy was of course forced on the CDC by the Trump administration.  My emphasis below:

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases – including “fetus” and “transgender” – in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.

“Fetus”? “Evidence-based”? “Transgender”? These of course are an attempt of the administration to foster Orwellian Newspeak. Why on earth, for instance, is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes” better than “evidence based”? Because of the weaselly words “in consideration with community standards and wishes”? Because the latter means “what some people (i.e., Republicans) consider to be “evidence”.  And that may exclude evidence for global warming or even evolution.

And even if the Trump administration doesn’t like the word “fetus,” well, fetuses exist. What are they going to use: “embryonic full human being”? Jebus.  “Transgender”? That will probably be effaced, or perhaps replaced with “those mentally ill individuals who think they’re members of another gender.” (NOTE: I am just spouting Republican doctrine here.)

But of course this is all to foster the appearance that the CDC is down with Republican jargon, and they’d better be if they want money from the budget:

The ban is related to the budget and supporting materials that are to be given to CDC’s partners and to Congress, the analyst said. The president’s budget for 2019 is expected to be released in early February. The budget blueprint is generally shaped to reflect an administration’s priorities.

Federal agencies are sending in their budget proposals to the Office of Management and Budget, which has authority about what is included.

The longtime CDC analyst, whose job includes writing descriptions of the CDC’s work for the administration’s annual spending blueprint, could not recall a previous time when words were banned from budget documents because they were considered controversial.

The CDC scientists, of course, don’t like it:

At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a senior leader in CDC’s Office of Financial Services, according to the CDC analyst who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. Kelly did not say why the words are being banned, according to the analyst, and told the group that she was merely relaying the information.

Caturday felids trifecta: More on Max, the banned library cat, why cats show you their butts, and Boomer leaps dogs

Yes, I know it’s Sunday, but I’m writing this while it’s still 10:30 pm on Saturday in the U.S.; and I don’t think we’ve missed a Caturday felid in years. So here’s a quick one.

First, remember the library that banned Max the Cat, but did so in a way that resembled a children’s book?

Well, has an article on Max that actually shows the trespassing moggie:

Max, who lives with his family just by the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, likes to wander. The animal rescue group he was adopted from a little over a year ago even issued a write-up about the gallivanting feline, saying he’d been picked up after being “out without any apparent purpose or chaperone,” Lipton said.

Here he is, and he’s sweet (he’s wearing an ‘adventure vest’, as he’s being trained to go outside on a leash):

Max roams when he has the opportunity. Lipton says he just likes to be where there are a lot of people who might pay attention to him.

He would pay visits to student foreign language houses, the science building, the athletic center. He’d hobnob at social gatherings — Lipton, a nurse, recalls getting a phone call from a party attendee once, informing her that Max was there — and liked to relax at a local cafe.

And, of course, Max was a regular at the the DeWitt Wallace Library on Macalester’s campus, where his dad is a professor — until recently, that is, when Max was famously banned with a most delightful sign:

“Please do not let in the cat,” it reads. “His name is Max. Max is nice. His owner does not want Max in the Library. We do not want Max in the Library. Max wants to be in the Library. Please do not let Max into the Library.”

Now Max is an internet darling. A local bookstore has put out the welcome mat for him, but he’s now under house arrest and can’t go outside alone:

One of Max’s fans even made him a library card!


From BGR we have the intriguing article, “Here’s what a cat is telling you when it shows you its butt“. Well, what is it saying?

Longtime cat owners are plenty used to this by now, but cats really, really love their own butts, and they’re not shy about showing them off. Petting any average house cat has about a 50% chance to result in the cat raising its tail high and showing off its dirtiest of orifices. As cat researcher Mikel Delgado explained to Inverse, that’s really just the way cats are programmed.

“For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity,” Delgado told the site. “It’s hard for us to relate to, but for them, smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.”

Cats, not unlike dogs, communicate a lot through scent. When you pet your cat, you’re sharing your scent with them and allowing them to place their own scent on you. Because cats are territorial by nature, the “butt scent” is one way they communicate who they are and allow other animals to know what they’ve laid claim to. When your cat raises its tail it’s a sign that they’re greeting you in the most intimate way they can, and it’s a sign that your cat sees you as someone to be trusted.

And cat butt magnets! I have a set on my fridge!


Finally, Boomer the Aussie cat, who is a Bengal, has been trained to leap dogs. What a cat!

h/t: Grania, Charleen

Sunday: Hili dialogue

by Grania & Jerry

Good morning everyone, Sunday is upon us. Commiserations if this means back to the office tomorrow.

Out in Winnipeg, Gus is flummoxed by the new Christmas tree, but, being an olfactory cat, he likes its smell:

From reader Charleen, a walrus doing situps with a human:

Capybaras, the world’s largest rodent, in parade:

And finally on to Hili who appears to be nonplussed by the juvenile of the species.

Hili: What is this?
A: Jola’s baby.
Hili: You mean, a human?
A: But of course.
Hili: Kind of tiny.


In Polish:

Hili: Co to jest?
Ja: Joli niemowlę.
Hili: Czyli człowiek?
Ja: Jak najbardziej.
Hili: Jakiś malutki.

I have landed!

It was a long 14½-hour flight to India. The plane food was decent Indian grub, but the movie selection was dire (I had to watch Out of Africa for the gazillionth time). Further, three guys got drunk and rowdy at the back of the plane, and apparently couldn’t be calmed down. I didn’t see the kerfuffle, but the captain came on the intercom and announced that if the three guys didn’t calm down, he’d divert the plane to a place where they’d be taken off and “not treated very nice”, like Kabul.  Fortunately, we didn’t divert, but before we disembarked in Delhi the cops came aboard and took the guys away.

I’m settled in a lovely hotel near Connaught Circus (the epicenter of New Delhi), and two young Drosophila researchers took me out for dinner. Since neither was a “Delhi boy” (both came from other places, and one lives in Chandigarh), I led them to my own favorite South Indian restaurant nearby.  We had a splendid dinner. I had an onion and tomato uttapam, and my two friends had ghee masala dosas, cooked in clarified butter and filled with spiced potatoes, served (as was my uttapam) with three chutneys and sambar, a spicy vegetable soup. I also had a fresh lime soda: fresh lime juice served with an unopened bottle of cold soda water (safe to drink) and a small shot glass of sugar syrup to sweeten the drink to taste. My companions had small metal glasses of strong South Indian coffee, made with milk and chicory.

Uttapam with sambar and three chutneys (the white coconut one is best):

Dr. Rhitoban Raychoudhury and his giant crispy dosa:

A dish new to me, a south Indian breadlike substance called an appam, made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. It can be dunked in both savory or sweet dishes; in this case we had it as a dessert dunked in cardamom-flavored coconut milk. Yum! Note that all the dishes are served on fresh banana leaves—a South Indian custom.

Tomorrow we’re lunching at the old and famous Karim’s Restaurant in Old Delhi, famous for mutton dishes, various kebabs, and their naans (oven-baked bread). Here’s where we’ll be, as depicted by the “Food Ranger,” Trevor James. The bit on Karim’s starts at 10:20, but we’ll also wander these small and fascinating streets.

Then, at 5 pm, Rhitoban is accompanying me on the three-hour train journey to Chandigarh, where I’ll admire the architecture and give two talks.


Saturday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning and welcome to Saturday. Jerry has arrived safely in India after an epic flight.

I’m off to see the new Star Wars movie. It had better be good, but I’m hopeful.

In the mean time, here’s an amazing photograph of a frog swallowing a snake, and the full story of the photo in NatGeo.

Over in Poland, Hili is reflecting on the long, dark teatime of the soul.

Hili: The darkness of the Middle Ages.
A: Where?
Hili: Outside the window.


In Polish:

Hili: Mroki średniowiecza.
Ja: Gdzie?
Hili: Za oknem.


Goodbye for the nonce, but not for good. I am cooling my tuchas at O’Hare, and we board in half an hour. When this post goes up, my plane will be on the runway. Next stop: Delhi (after 19 hours—oy!) The good news is that although TSA ran their hands up my legs, they didn’t venture into the groinal or gluteal regions.

Here’s a farewell song: