Road trip and wedding, 1972

It turns out that my old college friends, whom I’m visiting in Cambridge, have a lot of snapshots taken around 1971 and 1972, right after we finished college. I’ll put up a few of them just for grins.

Four of us—Tim and Betsy (the people I’m visiting), Kenny King (my best friend, now deceased) and I—went to the wedding of two other college friends in Fort Worth, Texas. That was a high society affair, as the bride’s family were big oil people in Texas, and loaded. It was August in 1972. We drove from Williamsburg, Virginia to Fries, Virginia (to attend the annual Fiddler’s Convention), and then all the way to Forth Worth in a 1971 Dodge Colt, spending the night in the Highland House, a drug halfway house and the only place where we could score a “free sleep”.  (The rules they told us: “Stash your dope off the lot, and dudes and chicks gotta split up.”) It was filthy but the price ($0) was right.

Remember, these are hand-held photos of old snapshots in an album:

Here tiz! Joker Joe’s, a truckstop and firework emporium in Tennessee. Left to right: me, Betsy, and Kenny.

Our arrival in Texas! Left to right: Tim, Kenny, and I:

This was taken after going to downtown Fort Worth to rent our tuxes (several of us were in the wedding party). Left to right, Bob Hancock, Kenny, Will Hausman (the groom), me (flashing), and Richard Mohs, from Webster, South Dakota. We all lived in the same dorm during freshman year (1967-1968) at William and Mary.

The wedding party, as dapper as a group of dressed-up hippies can be. Left to right: Tim, Richard, me, Phil (Will’s brother) and Kenny.

I have others, but they’re too salacious to post here.

After the wedding Richard drove us to his home in Webster, South Dakota (a tiny town in the middle of grainfields) and then, after a short stay lubricated with America’s worst beer (Grain Belt), Kenny and I took off hitchhiking towards Boston. That segment was an epic trip, too long to recount here.

The University of Chicago and its free-speech policy praised in the NYT

Greg Mayer called my attention to an opinion piece in today’s New York Times lauding the University of Chicago and our principled and outspoken president, Robert Zimmer. Click on the screenshot to see the article:

It’s largely about the University’s enlightened free-speech policy, something I’ve written about before (e.g., here and here). Remember, too, that the University of Chicago is a private university, and therefore not forced to abide by the First Amendment. But it does—and more.  Here’s a bit of the article:

The University of Chicago has always been usefully out of step with its peers in higher education — it dropped out the Big Ten Conference and takes perverse pride in its reputation as the place where fun goes to die. It was out of step again last year when Jay Ellison, the dean of students, sent a letter to incoming freshmen to let them know where the college stood in respect to the campus culture wars.

“Our commitment to academic freedom,” he wrote, “means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

The letter attracted national attention, with cheering from the right and caviling on the left. But its intellectual foundation had been laid earlier, with a 2015 report [JAC: read it!] from a faculty committee, convened by Zimmer, on free expression. Central to the committee’s findings: the aim of education is to make people think, not spare them from discomfort.

“Concerns about civility and mutual respect,” the committee wrote, “can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.”

Those are fighting words at a time when professors live in fear of accidentally offending their own students and a governor needs to declare a countywide state of emergency so that white supremacist Richard Spencer can speak at the University of Florida. They are also necessary words. That isn’t because universities need to be the First Amendment’s most loyal guardians — in the case of private universities, the First Amendment generally doesn’t apply. They set their own rules.

Instead, it’s because free speech is what makes educational excellence possible. “It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears,” Louis Brandeis wrote 90 years ago in his famous concurrence in Whitney v. California.

. . . That is the real crux of Zimmer’s case for free speech: Not that it’s necessary for democracy (strictly speaking, it isn’t), but because it’s our salvation from intellectual mediocrity and social ossification. In a speech in July, he addressed the notion that unfettered free speech could set back the cause of “inclusion” because it risked upsetting members of a community.

“Inclusion into what?” Zimmer wondered. “An inferior and less challenging education? One that fails to prepare students for the challenge of different ideas and the evaluation of their own assumptions? A world in which their feelings take precedence over other matters that need to be confronted?”

You don’t hear college presidents talk like that these days—certainly not at Yale or Harvard. Greg adds that “the author of the opinion piece is a Wall Street Republican that the Times recently hired.” It’s a sad day when the prime defenders of free speech are Wall Street Republicans rather than progressive Leftists.

I can’t help but feel a swell of pride at these plaudits, even if they do come from a Republican. For I’m glad to be associated with a school that hasn’t caved in to the censors and Pecksniffs increasingly policing higher education in America and Britain.

In the article, Stephens gives one of the classic reasons to defend free speech (as interpreted by our courts), however offensive. These are of course the arguments made by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty:
If you can’t speak freely, you’ll quickly lose the ability to think clearly. Your ideas will be built on a pile of assumptions you’ve never examined for yourself and may thus be unable to defend from radical challenges. You will be unable to test an original thought for fear that it might be labeled an offensive one. You will succumb to a form of Orwellian double-think without even having the excuse of living in physical terror* of doing otherwise.
*JAC: Well, with the increasing popularity of “Punch A Nazi” views—with “Nazis” interpreted as “anyone whose political views I don’t like”—that physical terror is increasing.

The latest skinny on Kirkus’s penchant for censorship

I’ve written twice (here and here) about American Heart, an upcoming young adult (YA) novel by Laura Moriarty (out January 2018), and how Kirkus Reviews dealt with it unfairly. The book is about a hypothetical America in which Muslims are put into detention camps, like some Japanese-Americans (citizens!) were during World War II, and in which a white girl, initially in favor of such camps, changes her mind when she helps a young Muslim boy escape to Canada.

The book was initially given a favorable review by Kirkus, one of the three big pre-publication review sites that’s important in determining whether libraries order new books and whether people buy them. The review, written by an “observant Muslim woman of color”, was very favorable, and in fact Kirkus awarded the book a prized “star” for its quality. That’s a big boost in attention and sales. You can see the original review at the second link above.

Then a regressive Leftist group called “YA Twitter”, devoted to policing YA books, ginned up a social media campaign of outrage, all because the book was seen through the eyes of a white girl, and was supposedly a “white saviour” novel. (Moriarty says this is wrong.) It’s clear that many of those who complained to Kirkus hadn’t read the book, as it hadn’t been released: they were operating solely on the book’s summary on Kirkus and Amazon. Yet the book was very favorably reviewed, and given a star, by what would seem to be a reviewer who would be the most captious: a religious Muslim woman.

Well, Kirkus caved in the most cowardly way: the star was removed and the review changed, with these rather negative (and clearly anti-Trump) sentences added (see my comparison of both reviews at the second link above):

Sarah Mary’s ignorance is an effective worldbuilding device, but it is problematic that Sadaf is seen only through the white protagonist’s filter. Still, some will find value in the emotionally intense exploration of extremist “patriotic” ideology, the dangers of brainwashing and blind spots, and some of the components of our nation’s social fabric that threaten to destroy us, such as segregation, greed, mistrust, and mob mentalities.

A thought-provoking, chilling read with a controversial premise.

The book was suddenly “problematic” because it was, in effect, a case of cultural appropriation: the book apparently should have been told through a “Muslim filter”.

I was upset about this because it shows how the Regressive Left can effectively censor a book they don’t find ideologically congenial, thus molding the politics of young people to their liking. It’s thought policing. We should be just as upset about this as the Left was when the Right tried to censor Lesléa Newman’s pro-gay book Heather Has Two Mommies (1989).

Now, in a piece at Vulture, Claiborne Smith, the Editor-in-Chief of Kirkus, who had some ‘splaining to do, tries to ‘splain what happened. What ensues is cowardsplaining. The first piece of news is that this kind of alteration had never happened on Smith’s watch:

Yet while investigating criticisms may be business as usual, Smith admits this is the first time during his tenure that a review has been pulled and altered in this way.

The second piece of news is the Kirkus tried to get Moriarty to remove both reviews from her personal Facebook page (you can see them at the second link above), citing the “fair use” doctrine. But that applies to using Kirkus excerpts for publicity, while Moriarty was trying to show how Kirkus changed her review. I suppose Kirkus has a legalistic argument here, but it seems likely they were simpy embarrassed at having what they did made public:

On Tuesday, after Moriarty posted the text of both reviews in a comment thread on her personal Facebook page, the magazine [Kirkus] reportedly called her publisher repeatedly to demand that she take the comments down. (Smith describes this as a standard fair-use issue — authors and publishers are only permitted to excerpt 35 percent of a review for marketing purposes.)

More repugnant is this third piece of newsKirkus changed the review by simply deciding themselves (after social media outcry) that it needed alteration and then “persuading” the Muslim woman who first wrote it to bend to their will. Does the folowing sound like the Muslim reviewer had much input into the changes and what was to be said?

.  . . while the Muslim woman who wrote the original review was involved in the editing process — “the decision to retract the star was made in full collaboration with the reviewer,” [Smith] says — altering the review does not appear to have been her idea in the first place. According to Smith, Kirkus concluded internally that edits would be made before reaching out to the reviewer.

“We wanted her to consider if changing what we thought was sort of reductive word choice, and adding deeper context, is something she thought might be appropriate,” he says, though he emphasizes it was ultimately her call: “I did not dictate that to her. She made that decision on her own.” (The word choice in question likely refers to text in the original review that referred to Sadaf as “a disillusioned immigrant,” which some commenters took exception to.)

Smith is simply covering his tuchas here. Had Smith or the other editors not come down on her, and told her what changes needed to be made, and that the star had to be removed, the review would have stood as originally published. For what choice does a paid reviewer have if she doesn’t want to alienate her bosses? Again here’s how Smith responds to the “cynic’s” claim (which is also mine) that Kirkus told the reviewer what needed to be changed:

“We wanted her to consider if changing what we thought was sort of reductive word choice, and adding deeper context, is something she thought might be appropriate.”

Sorry, but I simply don’t believe that. I’m sure they told the reviewer what changes they wanted, and of course she had to assent. That’s surely what Kirkus means by saying “she made that decision on her own.” Some “decision”! It’s like saying a Saudi woman makes her own decision to cover up when she leaves the house. I share the cynical take described by Vulture:

Kirkus’s critics are skeptical of that claim; among the more cynical takes on the controversy is that Kirkus used the reviewer’s identity as a shield, only to then suppress her voice when it didn’t toe the line. Smith bristles at that: “It’s like no one believes that this reviewer has a mind and can change her opinion. Is that so difficult to believe?”

Yes it is—when the reviewer’s job is on the line. Sorry, but Smith is being a spin doctor here, and I don’t believe him. In the end, though, he admits he removed the star because of public pressure based on the book featuring a white point of view (my emphasis below):

The answer isn’t necessarily clear. Would Kirkus’s reviewer have changed her mind independently, even if the review hadn’t been pulled for evaluation? Or did she feel pressured to alter what had proven to be a deeply unpopular opinion when asked if she wanted to, even without explicit instructions to do so? What is clear, though, is that the choice to un-star American Heart reflects something noteworthy about Kirkus’s framework for critique — one in which a book’s value is determined not just by the quality of its storytelling, but also by its politics. The sentence added to the review indicates that writing the book from Sarah Mary’s point of view remains an admirable choice from a craft perspective (“an effective world-building device”), but wrong from a moral one (“it is problematic that Sadaf is seen only through the white protagonist’s filter”). And while Smith says the call-out of said problematic element is not meant to dissuade readers from reading the book — “If readers don’t care that this novel is only told about a Muslim character, from the perspective of a white teenager, that’s fine” — he acknowledges that Kirkus does care, and does judge books at least in part on whether they adhere to certain progressive ideals. When I ask if the book’s star was revoked explicitly and exclusively because it features a Muslim character seen from the perspective of a white teenager, Smith pauses for only a second: “Yes.”

That tells us something about Kirkus, and it’s not pleasant. Well, let us see if Kirkus removes stars (or downgrades books) in the many similar cases when one culture or sex is described by members of another. There go future Huckleberry Finns and To Kill a Mockingbirds, as well as Shindler’s Lists. I doubt they’d carry out this viewpoint policing as a matter of course, because it’s simply insane. Kirkus did it because a group of offended ideologues objected: it’s not policy but simply kneejerk reactivity.

Now we see that Kirkus judges books not on their quality, but on their adherence to certain tenets of “progressive ideals,” which apparently including not writing about one culture from the viewpoint of another. Is that a way to judge books? I don’t think so.

Caturday felid trifecta: Cat brings home plush friend, a polite cat who knocks, and Maru gets into a tiny bowl (with bonus lagniappe)

We have an all-video Caturday felid post today. The first one, in which a cat steals a plush tiger, seems familiar, and I may have posted it before. Well, you can’t see it too often. This cat, named Timmy, has his own Facebook Page; he was recently very ill but seems to be recovering.

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This very polite cat has learned to knock on the door using a lock:

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What is it about Maru that compels him to enter any box or vessel he sees? I know of no other cat like this, and of course that is why he’s famous. After his recent failure to enter a “too small box,” Maru redeems himself here by entering (with only his legs) a glass vase. This cannot be comfortable, and I am baffled. Perhaps he has some kind of feline compulsive disorder?

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Lagniappe: reader Michael calls our attention to a Japanese video by the Ohkawa Furniture Craft collective showing off their skills by producing tiny furniture for cats. Note the miniature alarm clock! Reader Stephen also found a link giving more information.

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Kurt Andreas sent us photos of both animal and vegetable; his IDs and descriptions are indented:

Dogwood Thyatirid Moth (Euthyatira pudens), New Paltz, New York (April 25, 2013). A gorgeous little moth with a mohawk.
Winter aconite (Eranthis sp.), New Paltz, New York (March 23, 2013)  An early bloomer that lets me know it’ll only be a few weeks before Snowdrops and Crocuses start popping up.
JAC: I wonder what’s around to pollinate this?

Avis James, an old friend who teaches biology at New Mexico State University, took her students, well, “scorpioning”. You may not know that scorpions fluoresce under UV light because of a substance (identity unknown) in their cuticle. (This ability to fluoresce may even have a function enabling the animals to see at night). Biologists often find scorpions by going out at night with UV lights, and that’s what Avis and her class did. Here’s her description—with a bonus felid.

I took my Zoology class on a late summer field trip to black-light for invertebrates.  We were just outside Las Cruces, NM, but behind a local peak were there were no city lights.  One of the students, Matthew Gallien, took these photos of scorpions.  They are most probably in the genus Vaejovis.  We were using 100 LED UV flashlights: they were fabulous.

We found that other things glow under black-lights out there, including scat.  No pictures of glowing poop attached.

The final picture, a bobcat (Lynx rufus) is from another class field trip.  We went to the Alameda Zoo in Alamogordo NM.  My student Hannah Whittaker took this when she was in the enclosure with the animal.  This is a rescued animal: someone tried to keep it as a pet.  That didn’t work out so well, but it now it can’t be released into the wild.

Reader Gary Radice sent some lovely Oregon landscapes:

Not wildlife pix, but here are some land/sea/sky scape photos from the Oregon coast, looking south from Ecola State Park toward Cannon Beach. That is Haystack Rock in the middle of the first photo.
That empty beach is pretty typical for Oregon, especially midweek and off-season. Did you know that the entire Oregon coast, all 353 miles of it, from the low tide line to the vegetation line, belongs to the people of Oregon? There are no private beaches.

Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Saturday, October 21, 2017. It’s going to be another beautiful day in Cambridge, even though back in Chicago the Cubs, after last year’s Moment of Glory, have resumed their status as Perennial Losers. But there’s one down side: it’s National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day: a travesty of a food if ever there was one. Give me a plain cheesecake with a graham cracker crust or, if necessary, a bit of cherry topping. The addition of pumpkin turns it into the dessert equivalent of the yuppie’s dream: a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice latte. I eschew all pumpkin-flavored cheesecake. In the Bahá’i faith, today celebrates the birth of the Báb.

On this day in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Strait at the tip of South America that bears his name. On October 21, 1805, Lord Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar but lost his life. On this day in 1879, Thomas Edison applied for a patent on his incandescent electric light bulb. In 1945, the women of France were finally allowed to vote (1945!). And on this day in 1983, according to Wikipedia, “The metre [was] defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.”

Notables born on this day include Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772), Alfred Nobel (1833). Oswald Avery (1877), George Solti (1912), Martin Gardner (1914), Ursula Le Guin (1929), Carrie Fisher (1956), and Kim Kardashian (1980).

Those who died on this day include Horatio Nelson (1805; see above) and Jack Kerouac (1969). Here are two of my literary/life heroes: Kerouac (right) and Neal Cassady (left), who appears as Dean Moriarty in Kerouac’s great novel On the Road. Cassady was also the driver of the “Furthur” bus for the Merry Pranksters’ cross-country trip described in Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. This is a famous photo known to all Kerouac fans.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants to run for Leader of the World, though no such position exists. We could be sure, though, that were she elected we’d all be required to take mandatory naps:
Hili: The world needs a new leader.
A: Are you going to run?
Hili: It’s too early to say.

In Polish:

Hili: Świat potrzebuje nowego przywódcy.
Ja: Będziesz kandydować?
Hili: Jeszcze za wcześnie, żeby coś powiedzieć.

Out in Winnipeg, Gus and his staff had a nice day outside before the winter snows begin. Naps were also involved. His staff reports:

It was a beautiful fall day today, I think we broke a record at 25°C.

A tweet from reader Barry (with a video):

Three tweets found by our own Twitter Addict, Matthew Cobb; be sure to watch the videos in the first two!

Check out the bouncy bobkittens!

How many fox kits does this vixen have? What a nutritional load that is!

And more mammalian fitness on display:

Postmodernism and its effect on politics and prose

Jasbir Puar, an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, has managed to both be an LGBT activist and queer studies professor and at the same time demonize Israel at the expense of Palestine. She does this, of course, by claiming that gay rights in Israel (there are none in Palestine) is an example of Israeli “pinkwashing” or “golden handcuffs“. This is a classic example of how the anti-Israel faction of the Left is adept at turning virtues into vices, for Puar ignores the abrogation of gay rights by Palestine–so violent is her hatred of Israel.

She’s also claimed, falsely, that Israelis systematically poison the Palestinian populace with chemicals and radiation, do medical experiments on Palestinian children, and harvest the organs of dead Palestinians. This woman has a dicey relationship with the truth.

I spent an unpleasant hour after a nap reading, or rather straining to read, Puar’s prose, and suddenly realized that her writing, and in all likelihood her politics, are heavily influenced by postmodernism. The first, politics, by a blatant disregard of truth in favor of “privileging” one’s hatred and ideology, and the second, her writing, by its tedious and almost unbearable opacity.  Working my way through an interview with Puar, which I strongly suspect was a written and not live one, I came across this three-sentence paragraph, which rivals Judith Butler’s famous sentence that won the Bad Writing Contest in 1998. (It has not escaped my notice that Butler also does gender studies and queer theory, and that Puar got her Ph.D. in those same fields where Butler teaches: at Berkeley.)

Here, my friends, is a single paragraph showing the wages of postmodernism in both thought and expression. I did not enact the emotional labor to untangle its meaning, but if you read what she’s written, it’s pretty much all like this. If you wish, you can tell me what it means.

 In Terrorist Assemblages I propose a rapproachment of Foucauldian biopolitics and Achille Mbembe’s critique of it through what I call a ‘bio-necro collaboration’, one that conceptually acknowledges biopower’s direct activity to death, while remaining bound to the optimalization of life, and necropolitics’ nonchalance towards death even as it seeks out killing as a primary aim. I allege that it is precisely within the interstices of life and death that we find the differences between queer subjects who are being folded (back) into life and the racialized queernesses that emerge through the naming of populations, thus fueling the oscillation between the disciplining of subjects and control of populations. The result of the successes of queer incorporation into the domains of consumer markets and social recognition in the post-civil rights, late twentieth-century era, these various entries by queers into the biopolitics optimalization of life mark a shift, as homosexual bodies have been historically understood as endlessly cathected to death, from being figures of death (i.e., the AIDS pandemic) to becoming tied to ideas of life and productivity (i.e., gay marriage and reproductive kinship).

I don’t care what you say: there is NO EXCUSE for writing this badly, and yet this is considered good writing by postmodernists, for whom clarity is a vice.

Where am I?

I’m in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as you know, and when here I inevitably gravitate to my Ph.D. alma mater, Harvard, which is especially beautiful at this time of year, and holds many great memories for me.

If you know Harvard, you better be able to recognize the place where I took the selfie just below. In fact, I’ll put up five photos from Harvard and two others; identifications are below the “read more” fold:

Check out the fancy brick sculpture. Cats, too!

Read More »

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Don Bredes has a neighborhood moose, and he kindly sent photos and some notes (indented):

Our neighborly moose (Alces alces), whose tracks we’ve been taking note of this fall, wandered through the freshly tilled garden this morning, helping herself to the remaining chard and the Brussels Sprouts leaves by the evidence. My wife and I did not notice her until she’d reached the edge of our field. I went out to wish her a good day–and a good day it is–and managed to approach within 15 yards. That was as close as I dared. She’s bigger than she may appear here and healthy-looking. I spoke to her. More curious than perturbed, she didn’t budge but returned her attentions to her breakfast. A moose has nothing to be afraid of.

 

Friday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: it’s Friday, October 20, 2017.  I’m quite grumpy today, a sad state to be in when in Cambridge with beautiful weather. The Cubs lost to the Dodgers last night by the embarrassing score of 11-1, so they’re not going to the World Series. I didn’t sleep, Trump is President, the Left is tearing itself apart in embarrassing ways, the problem of sexual harassment is far more pervasive than I imagined, Kim Jong-un and Trump are taking us to the brink of war, my Facebook page is full of people complaining about all manner of things (there’s no joy to be seen), and my website comment box is full of invective and hatred (you won’t see the nastiest ones). The only good news on tap was that yesterday both George W. Bush and Barack Obama spoke out (implicitly) against Trump, violating a long-standing dictum that ex-Presidents don’t criticize sitting Presidents. Also depressing are the number of people I’ve seen, on Facebook and elsewhere, approving of Nazis being punched (apparently a Nazi got punched in Florida yesterday when Richard Spencer was speaking). I cannot and will not condone physical violence, even against those, like genuine Nazis and white supremacists, whom we most despise. Approbation of such violence makes me ill. As does calling everyone we don’t like “Nazis”.

It’s National Eggo Day, celebrating a particularly noxious form of commercially sold frozen waffle. It’s also both World Osteoporosis Day and World Statistics Day. One statistic is that 80% of all sufferers from osteoporosis are women. On this day in 1720, the Caribbean pirate Calico Jack was captured by the Royal Navy; he was, of course, hanged. On October 20, 1803, the U.S. Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase: the biggest land bargain the U.S. ever got. And exactly 15 years later, the U.S. and Britain settled the border between Canada and the U.S.: largely along the 49th parallel. On this day in 1935, the Communists’ famous one-year Long March finally ended. On October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines as he’d promised several years before when the Japanese took over. On this day in 1968, Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis.

I well remember this day in 1973, for it was the day of the “Saturday Night Massacre“, when Richard Nixon fired U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and then Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they refused to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Robert Bork finally did the dirty work for Nixon. But that didn’t stop Nixon from resigning in disgrace.

Notables born on this day include Patrick Matthew (1790), who, in an appendix of his book on “Naval Timber and Arboriculture”, produced a remarkably accurate account of natural selection—very similar to that of Darwin and Wallace’s later ideas. Also born on October 20 was Arthur Rimbaud (1854), John Dewey (1859), Art Buchwald (1925), Joyce Brothers (1927), Mickey Mantle (1931), Bobby Seale (1936), Tom Petty (1950, died October 2) and Snoop Dogg (1971).

Those who died on this day include Eugene V. Debs (1926), Herbert Hoover (1964), Merle Travis (1983), Paul Dirac (1984). Burt Lancaster (1994), Muammar Gaddafi (2011), and Paul Kurtz (2012).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili misses the delicious cat treats Hiroko sent her:

A: Are you asleep?
Hili: No, I’m dreaming about Japanese treats.
In Polish:
Ja: Śpisz?
Hili: Nie, marzę o japońskich przysmakach.
 Here’s a tweet from the ever reliable Ziya Tong:

And two from Matthew Cobb:

Matthew says “This one makes sense only if you’ve seen Lord of the Rings: