Tuesday: Hili dialogue

First, two notes about deaths: The toll in the Las Vegas shootings has reached 59 dead and more than 520 people wounded. The weapon, as you could tell from its sound, was either an automatic rifle (fires continuously when you pull the trigger) or had been converted to one. Sales of automatic weapons are illegal in the U.S., but you can apparently buy legal kits online to convert semiautomatics to automatics. Those kits should be banned, and there’s no valid reason not to do so. I share the feelings of Steve Israel, former Congressman from New York, in his despairing op-ed in today’s New York Times,Nothing will change after the Las Vegas shooting.” Be prepared for the NRA’s ad defending gun ownership, which will appear after a few days of judicious silence.

And Tom Petty did die, but only at 10:40 last night Chicago time, so he was indeed still alive (but almost certainly brain dead) when the first reports of his death were issued. A sad loss for the rock world.

Posting will be light today as I am showing a visitor around campus.

Now: Good morning; it’s October 3, 2017. It’s National Soft Taco Day as well as German Unity Day, celebrating the reunification of that country in 1990.

On October 3, 1789, George Washington proclaimed America’s first Thanksgiving day, always the fourth Thursday in November. On this day in 1849, Edgar Allen Poe, surely suffering from alcoholism, was found lying delirious in a Baltimore gutter; he died four days later. On this day in 1942, the Germans had their first successful launch of  a V-2 /A4-rocket from Peenemünde, Germany. Attaining an altitude over over 84 km (52 miles), it was, according to Wikipedia, the first man-made object to reach space. But space is now conventionally defined as 100 km above Earth’s surface, so Wikipedia is wrong about at least one of these two claims.

On this day in 1995, O. J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in his trial for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Everyone was watching the verdict, including all of us in the lab. He was guilty, I claim, but the jury was confused. The Juice now loose again, and will enjoy a lavish lifestyle despite the huge civil judgment against him brought by the Goldman family.

Those who were born on October 3 include Eleonora Duse (1858), Pierre Bonnard (1867), Thomas Wolfe (1900), Gore Vidal (1925), Lindsey Buckingham (1949), Al Sharpton (1954) and Gwen Stefani (1969).  Notables who died on this day include Francis of Assisi (1226), Myles Standish (1658), and Woody Guthrie (1967).

Thomas Wolfe, as many of you know, is one of my favorite writers. Here’s a photo (he was quite tall):

Here’s a nice Bonnard: Le Chat Blanc (1894):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is messing with her mattress. Poor Cyrus!

A: Hili, what are you up to?
Hili: Shh, I’m about to scare Cyrus.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, co ty planujesz?
Hili: Cicho, zaraz wystraszę Cyrusa.

Out in Winnipeg, Gus is washing his ear—or what’s left of it.

Grania sent a cat tw**t. What is that treat it grabs?

Here are two tweets put up by Heather Hastie; she posted this first one herself, and it makes a lot of sense:

And a sweet feline Romeo and Juliet story: tomcat walks over spikes to get to his inamorata:

Finally, the darling of HuffPo tells us all what the Las Vegas shooting was really about:


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Very good statements from Heather. Watching some of the news last night, Rachael listed all the gun shows in Vegas on the schedule. You could go to one almost any week all year round, there are so many. These are pretty much unregulated events where you can buy just about anything made. So even if you don’t want to go to an official gun shop, there is no need. This mass murderer had 42 weapons found in his hotel room and home.

  2. Blue
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Stated from and of Ms G l o r i a actually:


    ps This person, Ms Gloria ? This is
    for whom, for President of the United States
    of America with Ms Cecile as her Vice –
    Presidential running mate, I on another
    tongue – out Tuesday voted:
    … … 08 November y2016. Write – in.

    I ‘d wanted to be responsible by my vote.
    To be accountable.

    • Blue
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b24YF3DPiWM =

      “I may be an atheist.”
      “I stand for … … ”

      … …

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Yes, Heather clearly took it from another source; what I meant is that she POSTED it.

      • nicky
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        And a Damn Good post it is!

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 4, 2017 at 3:24 am | Permalink

      Blue–I certainly hope your state was one of those already sure to go for one candidate or another; otherwise, there was no excuse for votes of conscience in this last election (except for the Republicans, of course).

      • Blue
        Posted October 4, 2017 at 5:07 am | Permalink

        So unfortunately, Ms Diane G, it was. It IS.

        It did .not. used to be so bloodyingly red, but’ now it is so off the rails that its
        Legislature, both of its houses as big Republican majorities, just this last Monday, 10 Aprii 2017, literally killed my and 11 others’ jobs: a state agency that used its taxes to try to research and find through grants to researchers, sustainable best practices in agricultuee. Killed it. Zeroed us out to Our End. After its 30 years of trying to stop the flagrantly lathering uses of pesticides, insecticides and other chemical inputs including faux fertilizers.


    • Diane G.
      Posted October 5, 2017 at 1:47 am | Permalink

      BTW, I’ve been reading several reports that this attribution to Steinem is actually incorrect.

      • Blue
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

        Ms Gloria herself has stated that the basis for her being attributed for these words came “from the internet,” meaning that its overall defining is all out there inside the interwebs.


        • Diane G.
          Posted October 5, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          Well, that should settle it. But knowing the internet, it won’t. 😉

  3. dabertini
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I love Tom Petty. It is so sad to lose him. I have heard that you can’t go anywhere in California without hearing a Tom Petty tune. RIP TP.

    • Larry Smith
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Nor can you avoid places in So. Cal that appear in his songs… Reseda, Mulholland Drive, the 101, the (San Fernando) Valley…

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Dunham’s tweet apparently follows her re-tweet of a Newsweek story: “White men have committed more mass shootings than any other group.”

    Statistics show that since 1982, the majority of mass shootings — 54 percent — were committed by white men, according to data from Mother Jones. Black people were the second largest perpetrators of mass shootings based on ethnic background, but only accounted for roughly 16 percent of the total incidents during the same time period.


    I don’t know what they mean by ‘shootings’ vs. ‘incidents.’ I would have said that ‘mass shooting’ were the incidents, but perhaps by ‘shooting’ they mean person shot.

    In any event Dunham is being royally excoriated on tweeter for her opinion.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Do the people on tweeter know the difference between truth and opinion? Probably not.

    • Carey Haug
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Lena is second only to Pat Robertson who thinks we have angered God with our wicked ways. At least she acknowledges guns as part of the problem.

    • nicky
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Well, may we conclude that the race of mass shooting perpetrators roughly conforms to the composition of the male population? Hence, for once, we may leave race out of the discussion? Or am I mistaken somewhere?
      Btw, have there been any female mass shooters in, say, the last half century?

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Lena Dunham is one of the few people who sound just as stupid on twitter as off.

  5. Craw
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    “Sales of automatic weapons are illegal in the U.S.”

    This is actually not true. When the law was passed older, existing weapons were grandfathered in. They can be bought an sold with ATF approval, and after paying a fee to the ATF.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I knew a guy who had lots of guns and kept them in this huge gun safe. Among his guns he had 7 Thompson machine guns. I suppose they were grandfathered in but have no idea if he owned them legally. They used lots of them in WWII but after that, there was no purpose for them. In a reasonable society they would be collected and destroyed but not here.

  6. Desnes Diev
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I read that Paddock had more than 20 rifles in the room with him and at least 15 in his house. All legally bought. How that can be allowed? I can’t understand why someone would (and could) buy almost 40 rifles that are not even collector weapons.

    • Richard
      Posted October 4, 2017 at 3:28 am | Permalink

      Take a look on YouTube at the “most armed man in America”. Prepare to be dumbfounded.

  7. Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, we germans are celebrating today the reunification of our country (Tag der deutschen Einheit. But that date is the official date only, a public holiday.
    Of historical importance for the reunion was actually the 9th of November 1989, the day when the Wall fell.
    Only this date could not be chosen as a holiday because it is also the date of the Reichskristallnacht, when many Jewish shops were set on fire by Nazis.

    Until I read your post today I didn’t know the Wehrmacht developed in Peenemünde the first rocket V2/A4 which could reach nearly the space. I only knew that Peenemünde was a place where nazis built missile technology. In school we were teached only about the crimes of the Hitler regime, not about inventions of the Nazis.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Now that is interesting propaganda. Since Hitler was determined to be bad, there could be no innovation or good to come from it. I wonder how they handled Wernher Von Braun. Just a scientist who ran off to the U.S. to continue working on missiles? Also, Germany was working on development of a Nuclear bomb, which is kind of why we got into it.

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, of cause there were inventions and developments in technology during the Hitler regime. But I think it is more important for every german pupil to learn about the crimes of the Nazis and how and why it might happen.
        On the other hand, it is much less important to be informed about all the technical inventions of the Nazis.

        • Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Pretty much all that’s taught about WWII in German schools is the atrocities of the Nazis.

          von Braun was a fellow traveler, but it really wasn’t Nazis per se who invented all those technical innovations — in fact, most times, the nazi leadership thwarted or misused the product of the scientists. At the same time the A-4 was being developed, several ground-to-air anti-aircraft rockets were in development which could have made a significant impact against Allied bombing. But Hitler wanted his “vengeance” weapons, so resources were diverted to the A-4/V-2 and the V-1, neither of which had any real military value.

  8. Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Thanks Heather, reading the fair treatment clause warmed my day.

  9. bbenzon
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    “Le Chat Noir” electrified me when I first heard it in my teens. Cat Anderson with the Lionel Hampton Big Band:

  10. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    On this day in 1849, Edgar Allen Poe, surely suffering from alcoholism, was found lying delirious in a Baltimore gutter; he died four days later.

    Wikipedia is considerably less sure than you are, saying that “Evidence of the influence of alcohol is strongly disputed.”

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    One of the first books about the OJ trial written by someone with NO professional connection to the case was Vincent Bugliosi’s “Outrage: The Five Reasons OJ Simpson Got Away with Murder”.

    The 4th chapter on the incompetence of the prosecution is especially eye-opening.

    • Dale Franzwa
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t remember if I posted on this before but I remember reading somewhere about the possibility those infamous gloves probably shrank so they wouldn’t fit OJ’s hands. Anybody else come across this?

  12. Brian salkas
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    The NRA should be ashamed. They are fear-mongering and lobbying for gun manufacturers. They are tantamount to a religious cult with political sway.

  13. Derek Freyberg
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    A minor point.
    As far as I know, you cannot legally buy a kit that will convert a semi-automatic weapon (such as an M16 look-alike) into a fully automatic weapon, but:
    you very likely can buy such a kit even if it is illegal;
    you very likely can legally buy enough of such a kit that with some tools and skill you can convert from semi-auto to full auto; and
    most important, in most states (I think there are only four or five states that don’t allow this – California being one) you can definitely legally buy devices that have the effect of making a semi-auto weapon into a full-auto one. They are “bump stocks”, which modify the recoil so that your finger effectively repeatedly and rapidly pulls the trigger – faster than you could do so voluntarily, and “gat cranks”, which are crank devices that can be fitted to a weapon so that cogs on a cog wheel “pull” the trigger as you crank the handle of the crank, such as three or four times per turn of the crank. And I’d think someone with a bit of mechanical skill could even add a motor to the crank, though it would be clunky. Either way, you can legally achieve very rapid fire, maybe not as aimed as a designed fully automatic weapon, but well able to spray bullets until the magazine is exhausted.
    But such is the nature of self-loading weapons.

  14. ploubere
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes, all of the above about the legality of automatic weapons are true. What is perhaps interesting is that even in the army the M16s given to regular troops are not fully automatic, they have a 3-shot limiter.

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