Tuesday: Hili dialogue

NOTE:  I am taking off for Singapore, Hong Kong, and China for several weeks beginning tomorrow, so posting will be light, and probably limited to the Hili dialogues and a Caturday felid. I will do my best to post from these places, but I will be busy and also unsure of internet connection in some areas. Bear with us and stay tuned. With luck, I should have some awesome pictures of noms, as I’ve already conferred with my hosts in both Singapore and HK and jointly decided on an Eating Plan.  If you’re interested in my talks in all three places, put a note in the comments and I’ll post information.

So, today is October 25, 2016, and we’re coming up to the election on Tuesday, November 8. On that day Hillary wins the Presidency, and I collect about $400 from all the liberal Chicken Littles who were so afraid of a Trump victory that they’d gladly pay me if Clinton won. And those of you who have bet me, believe me: I’ll collect, for if you don’t pay, you’ll sleep with the fishes.

It is, according to the Foodimentary site, a day you won’t believe:


So, you have a license to have fried chicken (preferably not KFC), a cheese steak, a New York pizza dripping with oil, and so on. After all, it’s only one day a year! Not much happened on this day in history. Here’s a small example from Wikipedia:

  • 1861 – The Toronto Stock Exchange is created.
  • 1900 – The United Kingdom annexes the Transvaal.
  • 1920 – After 74 days on hunger strike in Brixton Prison, England, the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney dies.
  • 1924 – The Zinoviev letter, which Zinoviev himself denied writing, is published in the Daily Mail. The Labour party would later blame this letter for the Conservatives’ landslide election win.

Oy! Notables born on this day include Pablo Picasso (1881). Minnie Pearl (1912; “How-DEEEEE!), Helen Reddy (1941; she is woman), and James Carville (1944). Those who died on this day include a lot of people killed in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, including  many nobles. It marked the first effective use of the English longbow in battle. Also on this day, Roger Miller died in 1992, and Bobby Riggs (remember his match with Billie Jean King?) in 1995, and Richard Harris in 2002. Harris, of course, sang one of the worst songs in the history of rock, and, looking it up, I found out this fun fact:

Composer Jimmy Webb wrote “MacArthur Park” about his breakup with Susan Ronstadt, a cousin of singer Linda Ronstadt. MacArthur Park was where the two occasionally met for lunch and spent their most enjoyable times together. [See here.]

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, autumn rains have begun in Poland, to Hili’s endless frustration. She’ll soon be looking for the Door to Summer:

Cyrus: When it stops raining we will go for a walk.
Hili: Do you think it will ever stop?
In Polish:
Cyrus: Jak przestanie padać to pójdziemy na spacer.
Hili: Myślisz, że kiedyś przestanie?
Finally, and I may have posted this before, here’s the sign that hangs over the break-room sink in W. Ford Doolittle’s lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax:


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    The longbow is an invention on par with the plow for how much it changed human activity – or so I learned from James Burke’s Connections.

    • Dominic
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Surely the composite bow had greater impact, used as it was by Mongols & Turks etc to conquer Asia & the ancient civilisations…?

      • TJR
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Indeed. You can make an argument that European predominance was largely due to the composite bow. China, India and the middle east all got conquered by composite bow-armed steppe nomads or their immediate descendants, but Europe was further from the steppes and hence left free to conquer the world.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        I find the relative impacts of this or that early invention to be a fascinating topic. What about the stirrup? Someone told me that was a very big killer app back in the day.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted October 25, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Burke also makes a point of the stirrup.

          If he had time he might have hashed out longbow, thisbow or that bow.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Let us know what the folks in East Asia make of the US election.

    Oh, and the World Series, too. (Don’t tell me 1.5 billion Chinese don’t hang on every pitch between the Cubs and the Indians!)

    • Dominic
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      They may wonder, as probably most Americans (& everyone else) do, how you can have a democracy then have no choice!

  3. eric
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Here’s wishing you safe travels and only one Trump’s worth of security groping!

    (I hereby declare “a Trump” to be the official SI unit for the amount of security groping one receives, equivalent to one crotch-grab)

    • Posted October 25, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Isn’t that a very large (hence impractical) unit, even for use with the TSA?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        The metric system has a way of handling stupidly large or small units (check out the farad or the pascal).

        So the TSA could just use milliTrumps or microTrumps.


        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted October 25, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          I’d characterize the farad as awesomely large rather than stupidly large. As a kid one of my bucket-list items was to assemble a one-farad capacitor bank using multi-millifarad electrolytics salvaged from old tube radio power supplies. Finally succeeded sometime in my teens. It wasn’t good for much other than vaporizing narrow strips of aluminum foil, but I had fun with it.

  4. Richard Jones
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The longbow was instrumental in winning the battle of Crecy in 1346.

  5. Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    “…you’ll sleep with the fishes.”

    Anthony “Tony T” Taglialucci couldn’t have said it better.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Jerry’s version: he’ll put a goldfish bowl in your bedroom. 🙂

  6. Marina
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Lots of good luck with the internet in Continental China. I’m studying Chinese, love many Chinese sights and have Chinese people in high esteem, but after waiting 40 minutes to connect to an European site you start considering Hong Kong like your Shangri La

    • Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I’ll be in China only a few days; mostly in HK (and a week in Singapore, where I’m sure the Internet is world class).

  7. kieran
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    One of the deputy lord mayors of cork was my great grandfather when Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike. Some interesting pictures of collecting the body and later on stage with Micheal Collins at a pro treaty rally in cork.

  8. eric
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I believe Singapore and China both have the Gros Michel (“Big Mike”) variety of banana that is basically now extinct in the west, but is supposed to be much more flavorful than the Cavendish. I’ve never tried one so I don’t know if that’s true, but if you get the chance to eat one, I’d be curious to get your opinion of it!

  9. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the MacArthur Park link. The imagery in the video was a strange trip through a bygone era that I only vaguely remember.
    I had felt before (and still do), that the song does get good during a slow stretch which begins at about the 4 minute mark. But yes before and after that it is just awful.

    • Sastra
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      I still worry about that cake left out in the rain…

    • Dave
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      I can see why many people hate it, but I’ve always thought MacArthur Park to be a work of epic (if demented) musical genius. It’s just so utterly bizarre, so different in structure from just about any other pop song I can think of, that I can’t help but love it. However I do prefer Donna Summer’s disco version to the Richard Harris original.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        I really like the Donna Summer version a lot. I can’t say I’ve ever listened to the original.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 25, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Never heard MacArthur Park. How old are you?

          (Sorry, can’t help asking. You have heard of the sixties, right? )


          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            OTOH you do admit to liking it (one version anyway). As do I though I’ve never heard the Donna Summer version. So I really shouldn’t be a smartass.


          • Heather Hastie
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

            I was born in the 60s. Apparently my favourite song when I was two was ‘Yellow Submarine’.

            • dabertini
              Posted October 26, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

              Now that is cool!! No doubt you were precocious.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted October 26, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

                I’m afraid I was, and constantly criticized for being that way as well. Not a good look for a girl!

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Oh, boy. Does the mention of MacArthur Park bring back memories. There IS a restaurant here in Palo Alto called MacArthur Park, but I usually just think of General Douglas when I pass it.


      I have personally adopted the custom of referring to Julian dates as ‘dates’ rather than ‘days’.

      So by my terminology, the Battle of Agincourt took place on this ‘date’ in 1415, although if we retroactively apply the Gregorian calendar, it was 10 days ago.

      (As I think I have posted, I have been concerned ever since in April this year, several news media falsely reported that Miguel Cervantes [Gregorian calendar Spain] died on the same day as Shakespeare [Julian calendar England], April 23rd, 1615. Cervantes died 10 days earlier.)

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Count me in the “worst song” camp as well.

      But “rock”? I’m not seeing it.

  10. dabertini
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    “If you’re interested in my talks in all three places, put a note in the comments and I’ll post information.”

    Are you kidding!! Of course I am interested in your talks. This is the only site I am interested in. In fact I am going to buy myself a pair of cowboy boots and a surfer shirt to support PCC(e)and stick it to those IDiots who have the nerve to criticize your hobbies!!

    • Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Here’s what I have for Singapore (no HK schedule yet):

      31 Oct 2016 (Monday)

      6pm , Lecture Theatre (that can seat 450, est. 350) “Why Evolution is True, and many reject it”
      Host : NUS Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Contacts : Prof Peter Ng, Prof Rudolf Meier, Dr Joelle Lai Duration : 60-90 mins
      Format : Pre-talk reception with food till 6:30pm, talk of 45-60 mins, Q&A

      1 Nov 2016 (Tuesday)

      7pm , Performance Hall , Yale-NUS (capacity 300, est. 135), “Evolution, Science, Faith”
      (This is a conversation followed by Q&A, not a lecture)
      Host : Dr Philip Johns
      Contacts : A/Prof Neil Clarke, A/Prof Khoo
      Duration : 60-75 mins
      Format : Interview 15 mins, Q&A the rest of the evening

      • dabertini
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Awesome, thanks!

        • Steven Hill
          Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          At of writing, there are 31 seats available for 31/10 and 19 for 01/11.

  11. jaxkayaker
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I’m interested in hearing about the talks you will give, Jerry.

    Is Denny’s acceptable for greasy food day?

  12. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Yes, please do post about the talks…

    Anyone familiar with the works of Joseph Wambaugh, such as the Choirboys, The Blooding, will know that MacAuthur Park sometimes played a roll in his books.

    • Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      See above for Singapore. I’ll get the Hong Kong and China schedule today, which begins around Nov. 5 or so.

  13. rickflick
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Halifax sure has a way with guilting. There using our evolved nurturing reflex to get things done. I have to admit, it would work on me better even than a glazed doughnut. I can see this used to encourage millennials to vote.

  14. Posted October 25, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Greasy food day? That and Jerry’s plans remind me of Yum Yum’s Hong Kong style fast food at UBC. (Now I understand it is gone.)

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Why not KFC?

    • dabertini
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Oh heather, do you really have to ask?!!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes I do! Maybe they’re better in NZ, but I’m a sucker for a Zinger Burger!

        • dabertini
          Posted October 25, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          No way!! Fish tacos, indian curry, game meat or truffles!!

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            The only one of those I like is Indian curry.

  16. Doug
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    “Helen Reddy (1941; she is woman.)”

    But she’s still an embryo.

  17. David Duncan
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Very keen to see pictures and details of noms and talks in Singapore and HK.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    ‘Not much happened on this day in history’?

    Agincourt was ‘not much’ ?

    And I happen to *like* MacArthur Park.

    Guess I need my brain recalibrated.


  19. barn owl
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    As long as no one left the cat out in the rain!!

  20. Claudia Baker
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Bon voyage Jerry! Look forward to postings about your trip. I loved Singapore.

    I had home-made hash browns for breakfast this morning, in honour of greasy food day. Delish!

    Hate “MacArthur Park”. But only slightly more than “Lighter Shade of Pale”.

  21. Diane G.
    Posted October 26, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    iBuen viaje!

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