Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Thursday, February 16, 2017—National Almond Day. And in North Korea it’s the Day of the Shining Star: the claimed but uncertain birthday of the late Kim Jong-il. And the latest from the Government Follies is that Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, has withdrawn from being considered. The New York Times reports:

The toppling of one of President Trump’s cabinet picks was a victory for Democrats, unions and liberal groups that had been attacking Mr. Puzder’s business record and his character since he was chosen in December. Conservative publications, including National Review and Breitbart, had also expressed resistance, zeroing in on Mr. Puzder’s employment of an undocumented immigrant as his housekeeper.

And records from his 1988 divorce, disseminated Tuesday night by opponents, resurfaced spousal abuse accusations that made some Republican senators uncomfortable. His ex-wife had recanted those accusations, but senators from both parties privately screened a videotape from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that featured her laying out the charges while in disguise.

The opposition from Republicans was broad, and the reasons varied. Among the senators who expressed concerns were John Thune of South Dakota, Rob Portman of Ohio, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Tim Scott of South Carolina, more than enough to scuttle the nomination.

As one of my Japanese friends wrote me in endearing English, “It seems to never calm down after the President was replaced with a new one in the United States.”

On this day in 1923, archaeologist Howard Carter opened the burial chamber of King Tut. Famously, when he was asked by the expedition’s sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, “Can you see anything?”, Carter replied “Yes, wonderful things!” Among the items in the tomb, discovered only in 1925, were Tutankhamun’s gold death mask (top) and his mummy (bottom), which remains in the burial chamber:


Tutankhamun became Pharaoh at age 9, ruled for 9 years, and died at 18, perhaps from malaria (DNA tests show he was infected), an infection of the bone (he had a clubbed foot), or a combination of maladies.



On February 16, 1933, Prohibition officially ended in the U.S. In 1959, Fidel Castro became Premier of Cuba, and precisely 19 years later, the first computer bulletin board system was created here in Chicago.

Notables born on this day include two biologists, Francis Galton (1822) and Ernst Haeckel (1834), as well as Sonny Bono (1935) and science writer Natalie Angier (1958). Those who died on this day include sexologist William Masters (2001) and Lesley Gore (2105). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Princess is having a tussle with a rug. Like Hitler, she’s become a Teppichfresser.

Hili: One day I will win with this rug.
A: And that means?
Hili: I will bite it to death.
In Polish:
Hili: Kiedyś w końcu wygram z tym dywanem.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Zagryzę go.


  1. Walt Jones
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I long for the days when the scariest three words in politics were Congressman Sonny Bono.

  2. David Duncan
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    “Lesley Gore (2105).”


    • James Walker
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      She’s not quite dead …

      • Historian
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        According to Wikipedia, she died on February 16, 2015.

    • mordacious1
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      It’s her party and she’ll die when she wants to.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        I thought that might come up.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:08 am | Permalink


  3. Randy schenck
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Kim Jong-nam killed by Kim Jong-il. Keeping it all in the family.

    • Dave
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Killed by Kim Jong-un, I think.
      Confusing your -il with your -un is probably a capital offence in North Korea.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Not quite Michael and Fredo, is it?

  4. Posted February 16, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Post today shows disease n deepest oceans

    Old Salt Blog
    Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Deepest Ocean Trenches
    Posted: 15 Feb 2017 08:42 AM PST

    Photo: Dr. Alan Jamieson

    There appears to be no limit to the man-made pollution of the oceans. Toxic chemicals have now been found in the deepest portions of the ocean, at the bottom of the Marianas and Kermadec trenches. Each trench is over 10 kilometers deep and 7,000 kilometers apart in the Pacific Ocean. A study based on expeditions led by Newcastle University’s Dr Alan Jamieson found high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the fatty tissues of amphipods, a crustacean, in the trenches. PDBs and PBDEs were banned in the 1970s after they were determined to be carcinogenic. These chemicals are classed as Persistent Organic Pollutants – or POPs, because they are highly resistant to natural degradation and can persist in the environment for decades.

    In a press release, Dr Jamieson, said, “We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the amphipods we sampled contained levels of contamination similar to that found in Suruga Bay, one of the most polluted industrial zones of the northwest Pacific. What we don’t yet know is what this means for the wider ecosystem and understanding that will be the next major challenge.”

    The research suggest that that the POPs settled in the deepest parts of the oceans as dead animals and particles of plastic fall downwards. POPs accumulate in fat and are therefore concentrated in creatures up the food chain. They are also water-repellent and so stick to plastic waste.

    “The very bottom of the deep trenches like the Mariana are inhabited by incredibly efficient scavenging animals, like the 2cm-long amphipods we sampled, so any little bit of organic material that falls down, these guys turn up in huge numbers and devour it,” said Dr. Jamieson.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:10 am | Permalink

      Jeez, that’s depressing.

  5. busterggi
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Tut’s box aged much better than he did.

  6. Christopher
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Every picture featuring Hili shows off some gorgeous woodwork. Floors, tables, chairs… must be quite a beautiful home.

  7. Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I find it nice that some conservatives have criticized Mr. Puzder. In recent weeks, I was under the impression that they would swallow anything thrown by Mr. Trump.

  8. Mike
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    That Death Mask has to be one of the Ancient Worlds greatest pieces of Art. I never cease to be amazed at the skill of ancient Gold and Silversmiths, and and what they achieved working in the conditions they did.

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