Thursday: Hili dialogue

Yesterday on the “pet peeve” thread, which to my surprise got over 340 comments, a reader noted that one big pet peeve was someone greeting you with “Good morning.” But I have to do it here; the laws of physics decree it. So, good morning on Thursday, October 5, 2017. There’s a lot to write about today, but I have shoulder therapy and other tasks, so I’ll do my best. Be aware that one post is about the cleverness of raccoons. It’s National Apple Betty Day, also known as apple cobbler, and I’m told it was one of the Reagans’ favorite desserts in the White House. If you know how this dish got its name, please enlighten us below. The Harvest Moon (an October full moon) will be at its peak this evening, though it looks mighty fine right now (I saw it walking to work). It’s also World Teachers’ Day, so if you’ve learned anything on this site, go into in your wallet, find those green pieces of paper with pictures of Andrew Jackson on them, and send them along.

On this day in 1793, during the French Revolution, Christianity was disestablished in France. Those who opposed this, of course, were espousing antidisestablishmentarianism, a word my father taught me when I was young.  On October 5, 1877, Chief Joseph surrendered his Nez Perce band of Native Americans to General Nelson A. Miles. It was a sad day, but the troubles were just beginning for that tribe. On this day in 1938, the Nazis invalidated all the passports of the Jews.  On October 5, 1944, women acquired the right to vote in France; I had no idea it was that late. On this day in 1962, The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do” on side A and “P.S. I Love You” on side B, was released in the United Kingdom. On October 5, 1970, PBS (the Public Broadcasting System) was founded; I hope you’re watching the “Vietnam” series right now, as it’s very good.  And: First Canadian in Space Day; on October 5, 1984, Marc Garneau, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, became the first Canadian in space.  Also on the ship were rations of freeze-dried poutine and Tim Hortons donuts, which Garneau requested. Finally, in this day in 2001, Barry Bonds broke the all-time home run record for a single season, poling numbers 71 and 72 for the San Francisco Giants; he went on to hit one more, setting a record of 73 that hasn’t been surpassed.

Notables born on this day include Jonathan Edwards (1703), Francis Peyton Rous (1879), Larry Fine of the Three Stooges  and Ray Kroc of McDonald’s (both 1902), Willi Unsoeld (1926), Steve Miller (1943; one of the worst rock performers of our time), Maya Lin (1959; see her in the penultimate episode of “The Vietnam War”), our own Website Physicist™ Sean M. Carroll (1966), and Kate Winslet (1975). Those who died on October 5 include Tecumseh (1813), Louis Brandeis (1941), Nobel Laureate Lars Onsager (1976; he was responsible for having me kicked out of my dorm at The Rockefeller University, but that’s another story), Rodney Dangerfield (2004, died without respect) and Bert Jansch and Steve Jobs (both 2011).

Here’s one of my favorite Burt Jansch songs:

Oh hell, here’s another:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has apparently heard of Chairman Meow:

Hili: Do not disturb.
A: Why not?
Hili: I’m preparing for a Great Leap Forward.
 In Polish:
Hili: Nie przeszkadzaj.
Ja: W czym?
Hili: Szykuję się do Wielkiego Skoku.

Matthew sent this tweet in which life imitates art: the rabbit/bird illusion:

And three tweets pinched from Heather Hastie. First, a cat selfie gone wrong:

And two kakapo tweets; I guess they’re reducing inbreeding on the island. I wish Dr. Andrew Digby would take pity on me and invite me to the kakapo island:

Poor Jimmy!!!


  1. Paul S
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Missing an s, antidisestablishmentarianism.

    Steve 5 chord Miller is one of my guilty pleasures. I enjoy The Stake.

    • Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Okay, I’ll fix the word. Thanks.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Ah yes, one of my peeves the very next day.

      One thing about all those peeves. If you have too many of them, you might just be single, or soon will be.

      • Liz
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        This is one of mine also. I rarely do this.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted October 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Weirdly, German for all of its long words has none for antidisestablishmentarianism.

      SOME online language translators if you type it in, give as the German
      “gegen die Trennung von Kirche und Staat”

  2. Linda Calhoun
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Add to birthday list:

    Neil deGrasse Tyson, 1958.


  3. Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    a reader noted that one big pet peeve was someone greeting you with “Good morning.”

    Hard to believe anyone could object to this!

    Must be one hard-core sour puss!

    This expression (I’d wager) is the most common standard (non-slang, non-familiar) greeting (or “good day”) in most European languages.

    The English version, of course, and:
    Guten Morgen
    Buenas dias
    Bom dia
    Goeije morn
    God morgen
    God morgon
    Dzień dobry
    Dobrý den

    • Hempenstein
      Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      To add to that, Greek for Good Morning is (phonetically) Kallemeera. I learned that thru sign language from a Greek couple working in their garden beside the hotel I was staying in in Crete, one morning when I greeted them with Kallespeera (Good Evening), which I had mistakenly thought was Good Morning. It made them happy that I was trying.

      Hempensteins top 13 words to learn before visiting a country that speaks a different language:
      Good Morning
      Sorry/Excuse me
      Thank you
      One to Ten

      If pressed for time, just 6: the first three and one to three. It’s amazing how far you can go on those.

      I think Good Morning in Turkish is Gyunyden, but PCC[E] probably knows that one better than I.

      • Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Totally agree on the key words to learn. (I always say: You need to learn how to be polite with people. This includes gestures, touching/not-touching, and orienting your body.)

        On one very long, extended trip, I learned those words in 16 languages, as we went along. 🙂

        I always found that holding up fingers worked fine for numbers. And, when I couldn’t remember, for instance, how to say “forty”, I’d say “twenty, twenty” — and they almost always got it!

      • darrelle
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        Concur with your word list, but would add one more. “Toilet” or an appropriate equivalent.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      I always loved the Japanese – Ohayogozaimasu.
      One that I could pronounce.

  4. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    You think 1944 is late for France giving the vote to women. Switzerland didn’t do it until 1971, and one canton wouldn’t let women vote in local elections until 1991. I kid you not.

    The last country, of course was Saudi Arabia, in 2015, only 122 years after the first country (NZ-1893).

    How long will it be until there are no blasphemy laws (embarrassingly, NZ still has one) are gone in every country and there’s marriage equality everywhere?

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Steve Miller (1943; one of the worst rock performers of our time) …

    I had a college roommate, who had a cousin a few years older — a real hippie, lived in a teepee in the woods outside town — who used to come over our apartment every once in a while to clean up and make phone calls, and when we’d discuss music, he was always carping about what a rotten performer Steve Miller was. (I liked a couple of Miller’s early, pre-1975, albums, but never went to see him, especially after he crossed over into pop.)

    So, what’s with guys your age and their problem with Steve Miller? 🙂

    • Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      What’s my problem?

      Start with this:

      I wanna reach out and grab ya”


      “Some people call me Maurice
      Because I speak of the pompitous of love”

      What the bloody hell is “pompitous”.

      I could go on, but that’s enough to consign him to perdition.

      And really, “guys my age”?

      • darrelle
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        I definitely wouldn’t categorize Steve Miller as great, but his music was in the library of music I grew up on and so I have fond memories of some of his songs and could probably sing along every word of at least 10 of his songs.

        Though I have to admit that they haven’t aged well for me. At this late date about the only song by Steve Miller that I won’t automatically press the “skip” button for is Winter Time. A simple song but sweetly nostalgic.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        The hippie cousin in the woods was three or four years older than my roommate and me, same as you — although perhaps I came to a hasty generalization on that one. 🙂

        I was worried maybe I missed some Steve Miller Altamont moment that only guys your age had the skinny on.

        • Doug
          Posted October 5, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          “What the bloody hell is pompitous.”

          Cecil Adams explained this in his column “The Straight Dope;” Miller was inspired by the line “Oh my darling, let me whisper sweet words of pizmotality and discuss the puppetutes of love” in “The Letter” a 1954 R&B hit by the Medallions. The song’s writer, Vernon Green told Adams that “pizmotality” and coined “puppetutes” were coined words meaning “secrets” and a paper-doll fantasy of a woman, respectively.

          “And really, ‘guys my age’?”

          I’m in my 50s, and whenever I see my doctor, he’ll tell me that this or that condition is “common in men your age.” I thought “Oh great. I’m at the age when doctors start using the phrase ‘men your age.'”

          • Doug
            Posted October 5, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Ignore the word “coined” before “puppetutes.”

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 5, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            I’m no huge Steve Miller fan — although I liked his first few albums, right up until around the time of “The Joker,” when he crossed over into the mainstream. But then, I tend to prefer cult favorites to artists who attain widespread mass success.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        I got to college in the early Seventies, boss. Ya gotta realize that guys my age, who came up on the tail-end of things, we always worried we missed out on most of the really cool stuff.

      • Larry Smith
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        And more Steve Miller horribleness, from “Take the Money and Run,” trying to rhyme “Texas” and “what the facts is”!

        While the music and attitude of “The Joker” is passable (and who can forget the wonderful extended Venn diagram of Steve Miller:, his best and possibly only good song IMHO is “Enter Maurice”:

        • Posted October 5, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          My first rock concert was: Pablo Cruz, Steve Miller Band, and the Eagles, Met Stadium, August 1978. Largest public gathering in Minnesota to that date (they claim).

          It was fantastic! Very few subsequent concerts could compare; and very mighty few exceed it — if any.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 5, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          Dang, I hate to defend Steve Miller, since (as I said above) I’m not a big fan, but I always kinda liked that “Texas”/”facts is” rhyme — strikes me as a Cole Poter-ish enallage.

          • Liz
            Posted October 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

            I saw this whole thing earlier but couldn’t find the one song I actually like. Know most of the songs but “Serenade” is the only one I ever really liked. It took me a little bit to find the name as I had it on a mix cd in college. I also like the part in “Take the Money and Run” when they clap sequentially because my roommate in college liked that part. She didn’t really like music which I thought was bizarre. All of the rest of the Steve Miller Band songs remind me of freshman year of high school. We all listened. We’d sing out loud (guys and girls) “I really love your peaches wanna shake your tree” which is catchy but whatever. Apologies for the saccharininity.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    My dad taught me the word “antidisestablishmentarianism,” too — on the theory that it was the longest word in the English language (although I don’t think that’s technically accurate).

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I suppose I’m in defense mode now:

    Here’s what I wrote yesterday :

    “Including the time of day in salutations in electronic communications.”

    That’s not the same as categorical rejection of salutations. I also gave exceptions, and noted that this is way down the list of my pet peeves.

    Not sure what else to say. That WAS a bang-up post though, comment-wise – and exactly as expected, wow.

    • Posted October 5, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Yes, I should have added you said “in emails”. Sorry.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        Thank you … though, I see how the language isn’t precise enough to exclude phone conversation.

        And, “after much deep and profound brain things in my head”* PCC(E), I’d like to say that the Hili Dialogue is officially now an exception to this Pet Peeve of mine.

        And now, I resume the search for : a life.

        *Julien, King of Lemurs

  8. Posted October 5, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    One must be very peevish to be peeved by being greeted by “good morning.”

  9. Posted October 5, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    So Jimmy will finally get a turn. Not very Darwinian.

  10. Liz
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The first song made me think of “All My Days” by Alexi Murdoch. I don’t think I’ve ever heard either of those songs.

  11. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink


    I disagree with your praise for the Burns/Novick video on the Vietnam War.

    Here is my view of it.

    The Ken Burns and Lynn Novick film on the Vietnam War currently being shown on the PBS network is an insult to history and an insult to the millions who died in the war.

    Officially, 58, 000 Americans, most of them teenagers, were killed. No one knows how many Vietnamese were killed, but estimates go as high as 3.5 million. Shouldn’t we be given some sense of moral outrage at this gratuitous loss of life and massive killing of civilians?

    What Burns and Novick give us is an entertainment, a war movie, with some very gruesome scenes. Better than the fictionalized crap of John Wayne, and earlier, John Ford, but still lacking a serious and thoughtful portrayal. Wayne and Ford made films to sell tickets and popcorn to movie audiences. Burns and Novick want us to believe that their product meets a higher standard. It does not.

    Let’s start with the opening. We are told that several millionaires and billionaires have given money to produce the series. (No mention of tax deductions!) One donor is one of the Koch brothers. Surely they had no personal agenda in donating cash to this production! Their foundations supported this interpretation of history out of pure generosity, public spiritedness and charity! Sure they did! If you believe that you are already beyond help for a course in critical thinking. Let me try to provide some alternative commentary.

    One group of people missing from the Burns/Novick series is the group of professional historians. These folks are trained in the analysis of primary source documents and methods of basic research. Historians who ask difficult questions of national political leaders and who check their responses against the evidence of the historical record are a national resource and should not be ignored. There are a number of them out there with excellent books offering intelligent analysis and probing of official versions of reality. None appear in this film series.

    Burns/Novick tell us a little about Vietnam’s history and the period of French colonization. What they do not tell us about is what the USA was doing when the French were taking over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. We were in the business of acquiring Alaska from Russia, taking over Hawaii, capturing the Philippines, building the Panama Canal, acquiring Puerto Rico and “Remembering the Maine” and yelling, “to Hell with Spain!” Nowhere in the film series do the producers describe the USA as an imperialist nation. The historical record shows that we were in fact imperialistic and that we still are. We have more than 150 bases around the world

    Burns/Novick use a device that lends itself to distortion. They interview veterans and ask them to recall their impressions. They do not seek to reconcile these impressions with reality. If a veteran feels he was spit upon, then he is recorded as spit upon. (There is no real evidence of anti-war people spitting on returning soldiers. Why would an anti-war person want to attack a returning veteran? Many anti-war people did ask veterans to refuse to go to war.) Each speaker has their own separate reality in the Burns/Novick film and no one speaks back to them. Speaking back used to be called conversation and when Socrates did it; it was called dialogue.

    What bothers me the most is that Burns/Novick tick off the long train of American Presidents who pushed us into the war in Vietnam without calling any of them to account.

    Harry S Truman did not follow Franklin Roosevelt’s policy toward abolishing European colonialism. Truman fired the internationalists and brought in Senate cronies like James Byrnes, a racist ignoramus, to be Secretary of State. Eisenhower let Dulles, who knew little of history, become Secretary of State. Under Dulles, thanks to Senator Joseph McCarthy the State Department lost most of the people who knew anything about Asia or Southeast Asia. He purged them because of “Communist” suspicions. Anyone who knew anything about Mao Tse Tung was considered a communist sympathizer. Ignoramuses were considered trustworthy. JFK and LBJ had no idea of what they were up against in Vietnam and both seemed to be mainly worried about the next election in the USA.

    None of this fraud, dishonesty, stupidity and ignorance is delineated in the Burns/Novick film. Instead we are told to sit back in our easy chairs, sip a drink, of choice, and let PBS explain the world for you from the point of view of, we are told, donors like you. You and the Koch brother!

    This is not history. It is story telling designed to make us feel good. It insults the service of those who served and the intelligence of those who are asked to watch.


    John J. Fitzgerald

    Vietnam veteran and co-author of The Vietnam War: A History in Documents.
    New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

    • Art
      Posted October 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      I agree with much of what you say, John. Interviewing veterans can be fascinating, but 100 veterans from one war will give you 100 different views of history. And as we age, our memories fade and become more selective. That old cliché of being spit on in the airport always baffled me. I’m sure it happened to someone somewhere, but certainly not as often as it has been cited in writings about the war. I flew home in 1970, in uniform to get a cheap standby seat (and because the Marine Corps was anal about wearing civvies), and no one payed me much attention. On a layover in Chicago I stopped at an airport bar, and some anonymous kind soul bought me a beer. No spitting, no “Baby Killer!” I have not watched any of the Burns videos yet, so will reserve judgement.

      • Doug
        Posted October 5, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        I have long been skeptical of the claims that veterans were routinely spit on, for this reason: we never hear of what happened next. I find it hard to believe that a Green Beret, who has just spent a year in a life-or-death situation, is going to let a hippie spit on him and get away with it. He can take on the Viet Cong, but he’s helpless against a hippie? Why don’t we ever hear “Some guy spit on me at the airport, and I beat the shit out of him?”

        • John J. Fitzgerald
          Posted October 7, 2017 at 2:08 am | Permalink

          Hello Art and Doug,

          An excellent study of the alleged “spitting on veterans of Vietnam” is the one done by Jerry Lembcke, a sociologist at Holy Cross College, entitled _The Spitting Image._ 1998. He finds no evidence for the claim. H. Bruce Franklin has a great book entitled _M.I.A. or Mythmaking in America._ He focuses on the lies told abut the P.O.W./M.I.A. situation. He shows how Nixon manipulated the POW issue to prolong the war. At one point Americans were told we were fighting to get our POW’s back. To this day there are some people who think Vietnam still has Americans held as hostages. This is a very small minority, but they are out there.


    • Posted October 6, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Hi John,

      I saw the whole Burns/Novick video and very little of it made me feel good. I saw mostly dishonesty, ignorance, lack of empathy. I saw lives that were never going to be reconciled with what happened. And I am now aware that our world has yet to heal from that event.

      I have many criticism of the video, but it was worth more to watch it than not to have.

  12. Nilou Ataie
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    This might be a bit mean, but from the looks of them I would take a Blades over a Jimmy any night of the week.

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The Beatles first single came out the same day as the first James Bond film, Dr. No.

    Donovan wrote two songs inspired by Bert Jansch, “Bert’s Blues” and “House of Jansch”.

    Here’s a live performance of the first, done solo acoustic without the extensive background instrumentation that is on the album version.

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