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:




  1. Posted October 20, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Theo sends a head butt and purrs to cheer you up = )

    • BJ
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Please note, we recommend you do not use the aforementioned Poop Chute (TM) to send anything but poop. Extensive market research shows that use of the Poop Chute (TM) as a multipurpose delivery system generally results in the recipient of your non-poop packages being unhappy with your choice of transference.

      • Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        I just cannot unsee the visual: poop chute 😂

        • BJ
          Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          If you install our Poop Chute (TM) in your home or office, you will find that the series of pneumatic tubes and packaging options are specially designed for the highest performance in the area of fecal delivery. It is an elegant and efficient solution to your most pressing fecal freight needs.

  2. Blue
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    … … and then just this morning ?
    for a wee bit o’cheer, AllYa’All … …
    I see this ! =

    Y e a for Ms Hastie and her Posse ! et al !


  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It is alright to feel a little depressed once in a while, particularly if the mind turns to politics or the current situation in America. But remember, all things are temporary and will not stand for long. Both Bush and Obama gave us a glance to remember. I would also recommend, if you have the time, to review the Maddow show last night and the O’Donnell show. The Maddow show made a very good case to explain the incident in Africa that resulted in the death of 4 America soldiers and O’Donnell did a fine job of ripping into General Kelly and showing what a disgusting example he tried to defend yesterday. Really good reporting…

    • Historian
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      It’s a testament to our current situation that George W. Bush looks better every day. As Trump would say, SAD!

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Yes, very sad but that is sometimes what comparisons do. As someone who spent some time in the military, and it really makes no difference, except I have seen these guys, like Kelly before – If he is looking for sympathy as a gold star parent, he is not going to achieve it by the disgusting display he presented on TV yesterday. He called Senator Wilson an empty barrel. He degraded her on TV for doing exactly what he did, listen in on a conversation. he went back in time to degrade her for something she may have done at some meeting he attended at FBI. Did he not see the pathetic display by his boss at CIA shortly after becoming president?? He remembered back in the good old days when he was a kid and women were revered. Not like today? Did he also miss the video of his boss on the buss degrading women like nobodies business. This General Kelly is a low life creep with the most convenient memory I have ever seen.

        • Historian
          Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Kelly’s comment about how women were revered in his youth is something that will resonate with Trump’s base. In the 1950s, women were revered as long as they stayed in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Kelly doesn’t understand today’s world and what he sees, he doesn’t like. Kelly, as does Trump’s base, pines away for the supposed golden years of the 1950s when things were supposedly great, especially if you were a white, Christian male. This is why Trump’s movement is truly reactionary, attempting to restore a world that will never come again, if it ever actually existed at all.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            I suppose the really bad part, now that we have seen Kelly up close, he is one who some thought would be keeping this mental child of a president under control. I do not see that as a possibility at all.

            • Mark R.
              Posted October 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

              I was actually glad to see Kelly pull this stunt. The facade of his position as “adult in the room” is clearly unveiled- he’s a tool like the rest of trump’s crew. Now if only the media would realize this.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted October 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                Yes, I don’t know about the media as a whole, much of it is simply a catch up community whether on line or on the tube. But real journalism not only reports the story, it also provides the evidence and justification for their report. Remember that, next time you see a talking head on the TV just reading from a prompter. Maddow certainly is an on air journalist, however the journalist on the staff provide her with the homework to present clear and meaningful news. As the rest of the Niger story comes out we will see if her presentation holds up. I think it will. But our state department, our executive just put Chad on the list of Muslim countries that would not be allowed into the country. Within days we had 4 guys killed in Niger.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted October 21, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

                Of course the media realise this. That’s why they’re bigging him up as Trump’s child-care-in-chief. Trump is good for ratings.

      • W.Benson
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        G. W. Bush actually projected himself as statesman. I never would have thought it possible.

  4. Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    “As does calling everyone we don’t like „Nazis“.”

    We have similar developments in Germany: people who take a different standpoint are branded as Nazis. There is no interest at all in discussing the matter, it is only about labelling.

    • tomh
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Where would you draw the line? How about the three men who offerred the Nazi salute and shouting “Hail Hitler” before firing on a crowd of protesters in Gainesville, Florida yesterday, would one be justified in calling them Nazis? Or do you have to have an official membership card from the 1930s.

      • busterggi
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        I’m willing to draw the line at folks who still worship Hitler or Trump, not a dime’s difference.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted October 21, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          Hitler was more competent that Trump is.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 21, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            He was also, most certainly, more sincere in his beliefs.

            (But unlike many folks, I have never regarded sincerity as the slightest extenuating circumstance).


            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted October 22, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

              “Sincerity is essential in politics. Once you can fake that, you’re made.”
              I’m not sure who it was said that. Socrates, Cato, Augustus?

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Also take heart in Geo Will’s comment on Tr*mp:

    “Let me say something mildly on his behalf. He is barely on speaking terms with the English language. I don’t think I’ve heard him complete a sentence in two years that had a subject, an object and a verb. He makes George W. Bush look like Cicero.”

  6. Avis James
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I think you should have some pie for breakfast. That might cheer you up.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    When I’m in one of those foul moods, when the world seems especially rotten, the one thing that can reliably shake me out of it is listening to Bobby Darin sing “Mack the Knife”:

    No way that doesn’t put a skip in my step, a grin on my mug.

    • Laurance
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Ohhh, now look what you’ve done! First Bobby Darin and Mack the Knife, and that led me to look for the German Mekki Messer. And then I was offered Elvis and Promised Land. And then Chuck Berry:

      Oh wow! I love this music at age 76 as much as I loved it at age 16!

      So here I sit on my butt with this stinkin’ thing on my knee and my walker beside me and my wheelchair awaiting me, and I’m grinning like a fool!

    • BJ
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      The best of the bunch. The Rat Pack had nothing on him.

  8. Blue
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Sexual harassment is a “problem,” yes,
    not only because it is wrong; but I am
    wanting to be clear: in very, very many
    jurisdictions Worldwide ? Sexual harassment
    is a problem that also is a c r i m e:
    “Sexual harassment is a form of illegal
    employment discrimination in many countries,
    and is a form of abuse (sexual and
    psychological) and bullying.” … … from
    at where is a graphic upon its righthand
    margin which delineats the nomenclature in re
    problems of a sexual nature that in very,
    very many areas of the World are, now,
    finally, … … all c r i m e s.


  9. BJ
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I was discussing with my parents recently how strange it feels that I now look back on W. Bush and think “I wish we could have that type of Republican President back.” All the scandals, all the illegal maneuvering and politicizing of federal departments, the lying into wars of aggression…it’s doesn’t seem nearly as bad now.

    • Craw
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “All the scandals, all the illegal maneuvering and politicizing of federal departments, the lying into wars of aggression…”
      They didn’t seem bad to you from 2009-2017?

      • BJ
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        I said “it’s doesn’t seem nearly as bad now.” Meaning from 2009 to 2017, it still seemed as bad as it did during W.’s administration.

        Now that we’ve had less than a year of Trump, I miss having someone who only sometimes embarrassed himself when he spoke, and only because he wasn’t a very good speaker.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          Quite true (though I will never forgive Dubya for Iraq).

          Anybody remember when Sarah Palin was thought to be the worst thing that could possibly happen?


  10. Laurance
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Awww…my condolences! Yes, I can sure identify! On Saturday I fell and broke my knee, and now I’m doomed to a wheelchair (and a walker for short distances) for the next six weeks, and get to miss out on a number of good things I had planned. It’s easy to get grouchy!

    My comfort and consolation are these two elderly cats I recently adopted. They’re such sweet cats! Petting and snuggling with cheerful, friendly old cats is so wonderful, as you know! Do you have access to Cat Comfort? If you don’t have cats yourself, do you have an obliging friend with a cat who will assist?

    • Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Sadly, no; none of my friends here have felids.

    • BJ
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      I’m so glad to hear when someone adopts older cats. Kittens have a great chance of being adopted, but very few people out there are willing to adopt older cats. It breaks my heart knowing that the vast majority of them will end up dying alone in a cage. Of course, whenever I adopt I would love to have the joy of raising and watching a kitten, but I always adopt an older cat who will probably never find a home without me.

      You did a great thing and brought a happy life to two cats who needed you. I’m thankful they found you 🙂

      • Laurance
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        I feel so lucky! I went around to the shelter and said, “I’m an old cat myself, and I have no business adopting a kitten who will likely outlive me. I want the old kitties whom nobody wants because they’re “too old”.

        And how about two or three cats who have always lived together and ought not be separated? Lots of people will want this cat but not that one – I’m told that these pairs can be hard to keep together.

        And black cats! People are superstitious and don’t want them because they’re ‘bad luck’.”

        So what happened? Everyone was overjoyed that I’d come in with those requests. I now have two sweet old guys who have lived together and get along so well, and one of them is a black cat with a white locket on his throat. I got exactly what I was looking for, and the shelter people are so happy that these elderly fellows now have a Forever Home.

        Actually at 10 and 11 they aren’t that elderly. Yes, these ages are considered senior, but these guys both have permanent health problems that will likely carry them off before they get really really old. I am willing to take on the responsibility. These cats are so totally lovable and well worth caring for. They are rewarding this care and making me happy.

        They aren’t the only middle-aged seniors. My Sweetie is only 66 going on 67, but like these cats, he’s in bad shape with serious health problems and dementia that is slowly progressing. He’s in our local nursing home. And he desperately misses our old cat who died a year and a half ago.

        These cats have been declawed (and yes, that’s cruelty to animals – I didn’t have it done!), which means that I can take them to visit at the nursing home! Once I’m back on my feet, that is…

        And I realize I’ve just broken Da Roolz by writing a long reply. Ceiling Cat, I have sinned, please forgive me and save my non-existent soul, because if I lived in Chicago (my dad came from Oak Park) I’d invite Jerry over for all the cat love he’d want to soak up.

        • BJ
          Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          I can’t imagine Jerry will be anything but happy to read a comment like this, no matter the length 🙂 I appreciate all the details. It’s a wonderful story.

          • claudia baker
            Posted October 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink


        • Posted October 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          No you haven’t sinned. Ceiling Cat has touched you with his heavenly paw and blessed you!

  11. Scott
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I wish I could take your summary of current events and read it to someone say, five years ago and watch the expression they make or head explode. Whichever.

    • busterggi
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      ha, ha, ha, you think I didn’t bring up his activities to the folks upstairs?

      Guess that’s why he retired nicely with a full pension and I got fired on phoney charges.

  12. Liz
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Ha. I was like that earlier this morning, came on here, read this and smiled. I lived in Somerville for a year which is next to Cambridge. Machu Picchu in Union Square is good if you find yourself looking for Peruvian. Orleans in Davis Square is good for brunch. It was only for a year from 2010 – 2011 and I wasn’t so fond. I travel up to MA sometimes for lunch but have only been back to Cambridge/Somerville twice. The Somerville movie theatre was kind of neat. Not my favorite place to live. Decent beers on tap, though.

  13. busterggi
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I spent the better part of ten years working with a Nazi in the late ’80’s & ’90’s when I worked for the City of New Britain. The real thing, a former member of the German American Bund in the ’30’s. He still reverred Hitler, still considered any white non-Germans to be inferior, non-whites (including Jews of course no matter their color) were not even human to him. He cheated at his job, extorted money from businesses using his politcal connections,destroyed ‘inconvenient’ files which were needed for legal actions, falsified data and pretty much every other petty Trumpian action he could. He got to retire with a nice pension thanks to decades of connections that his Bundist daddy had started when he was politically active in the ’20’s and ’30’s.

    Violence against Nazis is appropriate.

    • Craw
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      “Violence against Nazis is appropriate.”
      I believe those were the last words Gregor Strasser heard.

    • Historian
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Violence was not appropriate. He should have been arrested and imprisoned if he did what you said he did.

      The German American Bund was a nasty bunch of Nazis in the 1930s. The Atlantic has posted recently a six minute film of their rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1939. It is quite chilling how the rally organizers attempted to equate Nazism with Americanism. The film reminded me of some things that go on today.

    • Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Violence against Nazis is appropriate.

      No it isn’t. A prison sentence might have been appropriate in this case, but beating the crap out of him is not going to make the World a better place.

      • busterggi
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        The ignorance of folks who believe the ‘justice’ system works is touching.

        I hope you never have to find out the truth about it for yourselves.

        • Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          That you live in a country with a broken justice system is not an excuse to go round beating the crap out of people.

          • Paul S
            Posted October 20, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            It’s always the people doing the beating that think it’s ok. I’ve never seen a proponent of beatings volunteer to be beaten.

            • busterggi
              Posted October 20, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

              There was Captain Carnage…

  14. HBB
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding me of Patrick Matthew. I’m going to give him a little birthday shout-out in my evolution lecture in a few minutes.

  15. nwalsh
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Jerry, no disgrace losing to the team with the highest payroll in the majors. Hopefully you won’t have to wait another 109 years for another WS win.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Goodness me!! I thought I knew much more about the Watergate scandal than most Americans, but I hadn’t realized that Robert Bork was the fellow who fired Cox.

    You can always learn something new even about stuff you are fairly well versed in.

  17. Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    the problem of sexual harassment is far more pervasive than I imagined

    I think the fact that we know this is cause for optimism. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging its existence.

    Twenty years ago, sexual harassment was just as pervasive as it is now, but nobody was talking about it so it just carried on.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    “It’s National Eggo Day”

    I misread that as ‘National Ego Day’ and I was going to comment, I thought that was *every* day. 😉

    Btw, am I the only person who thinks having a ‘national day’ for every conceivable thing is kinda daft?


  19. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted October 21, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    approving of Nazis being punched (apparently a Nazi got punched in Florida yesterday when Richard Spencer was speaking)

    Is this a reference to the pictures going around of a Nazi with a swastika tee-shirt, red braces (ummm, en_US, “suspenders” – which means something very different in en_GB, very ‘Cabaret‘), and the most impressive set of sideboards (“muttonchop” facial hair) I’ve seen for a while. “Muttonchop Nazi” gets a poke in the face, and lurches backwards to headbutt the Nazi behind him. Laugh? I needed to load the washing machine.

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