Thursday: Hili Dialogue

I just realized that America has a long weekend coming up: May 28 is Memorial Day, so no Americans with a regular job will be going to work. But that’s still four days off, as today is Thursday, May 24, 2018. It’s National Escargot Day (I eschew the consumption of snails) as well as Victoria Day in Canada, a democracy that still pays homage to the deceased head of a monarchy. I believe it’s the case that all Canadian coins, and the $20 bill, have a portrait of the Queen on them. Is this not an embarrassment to you, my friends to the North?

On this day in 1607, 100 English settlers landed in Jamestown, Virginia, the first English colony established in America. On May 24, 1626,  Peter Minuit bought the island of Manhattan from the Lenape tribe of Native Americans. According to Wikipedia, he paid 60 guilders’ worth of goods in return, today’s equivalent of about $1,200. That would buy a month’s rent on one square inch of downtown Manhattan.  On this day in 1683, the Ashmolean Museum opened at Oxford, England: the world’s first University museum. On this day in 1738, John Wesley was converted, beginning the Methodist faith (this day is celebrated by Methodists as “Aldersgate Day.”)  On May 24, 1830, Sarah Josepha Hale published the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (the music came later); the rest is history. Exactly 14 years later, Samuel Morse sent a Biblical quotation, “What hath God wrought” (Numbers 23:23) from Washington D. C. to Baltimore, Maryland, beginning the first commercial telegraph line. On May 24, 1940, Igor Sikorsky carried out the first successful flight of a single-rotor helicopter.

Finally, on this day in 1976, the famous French wine competition “The Judgment of Paris” took place, with blind tastings of chardonnays and red wines from France and California. A California wine placed first in each category (Stag’s Leap Cabernet and Chateau Montelena Chardonnay), launching California wines as world-class products and immensely pissing off the French. Many excuses were made.

Here’s Sikorsky at the controls of one of his early helicopters, the same model that set the record noted above. (Born in Russia, Sikorsky developed the machine in the U.S.):

Notables born on this day include Jean-Paul Marat (1743), William Whewell (1794), Queen Victoria (1819), two Nobel Laureates in Literature from Russia, Mikhail Sholokhov (1905) and Joseph Brodsky (1940), Bob Dylan (1941), Patti LaBelle (1944), and Kristin Scott Thomas (1960).  Notables who died on this day were few; they include Nicolaus Copernicus (1543), Sonny Boy Williamson (1965), Duke Ellington (1974), and Joseph Mitchell (1996).

Re Duke Ellington: he was a gourmand. Here’s a passage from his biography Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington, by Terry Teachout (the dessert, a melange, was characteristic of the Duke’s meals):

Duke, who is always worrying about keeping his weight down, may announce that he intends to have nothing but Shredded Wheat and black tea. . . . Duke’s resolution about not overeating frequently collapses at this point. When it does, he orders a steak, and after finishing it he engages in another moral struggle for about five minutes. Then he really begins to eat. He has another steak, smothered in onions, a double portion of fried potatoes, a salad, a bowl of sliced tomatoes, a giant lobster and melted butter, coffee, and an Ellington dessert — perhaps a combination of pie, cake, ice cream, custard, pastry, jello, fruit, and cheese. His appetite really whetted, he may order ham and eggs, a half-dozen pancakes, waffles and syrup, and some hot biscuits. Then, determined to get back on his diet, he will finish, as he began, with Shredded Wheat and black tea.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is making fun of all the folks who tout the superiority of organic food:

A: What have you sniffed out?
Hili: Organic grass.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam wywąchałaś?
Hili: Organiczną trawę.

Here’s a video of a woodpecker going after a Tesla (original post at Boingboing). When I asked reader and birder Diane G if this was a pileated woodpecker, she sent me this informative reply:

Yes, a beautiful male pileated!  Probably going after its reflection–trying to get at the “interloper.”  Lots of birds attack their reflections this time of year. Apparently they see competitors. 🙂  When the light is right I get some birds doing this to my front bay window–happily NOT pileateds, though!  Usually cardinals.

Did you know Woody Woodpecker was modeled after a pileated?  Even his laugh.

One of the comments below the Boingboing article:  “Wouldn’t be the first pecker with a Tesla.”  😉

From Matthew, who said, “Doctor Magic (turn up the sound). How does he does this?” I told him, “I it’s a trick, but it doesn’t look as if he’s palming the lights.” Answer: go below the fold at the bottom.

A woman changes her mind about global warming. Good for her!

This has gone viral. An eagle went after a rabbit caught by a fox, and accidentally took the fox, too. Fortunately for the fox (but not the rabbit), the canid dropped free and is all right. But it lost its dinner!

. . . and a good photo of the fracas:

From Grania, who says “Idiotic tweet but the responses are great!” And so they are: have a look at the thread.

Lazy swimming cat!

I don’t know how ducks brought up by a d*g can learn to be ducks (their mom was killed by a fox, backstory here).

The person who requested this must himself be a robot!

Several readers sent me this tweet; two lynx are having a vociferous standoff (sound ON!). I posted this as a video a long time back, but here it is again:

From Heather Hastie, who sent several tweets about the flightless kakapo. Click on the tweet below to see more. I’m impressed by the amount of care that the Kiwis put into saving this wonderful species.

The point of the weighing endeavor below: female kakapos who weigh more are in better condition, and, like some other species, may have been selected to produce more males, in accordance with the Trivers-Willard hypothesis (I won’t explain it here; go to the link). The point is that if you’re in good nick, you want to produce males who can inseminate the hell out of the population, spreading more of your genes. That’s why they don’t want the lady kakapos to get too fat, as keeping the species going requires just a few males but a lot of females.

Finally, reader Jon sent yesterday’s cartoon of Pearls Before Swine, feature both ducks and outrage culture:

Here’s how the light trick is done:




  1. Posted May 24, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Here’s our smart cat eating grass and listening to Ellington…

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Crimony! ~1.7kg! That makes those kakapos about the size of ducks, doesn’t it? I had no idea they were that big!

  3. Posted May 24, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The monarchy thing doesn’t bother me. I don’t consider it so much “homage” as “acknowledging” an aspect of culture and history. Although it wouldn’t bother me not to have a monarchy, it is what it is, and if that’s what people want (if in fact they do), let them have their pleasure.

    Besides under the agreed upon procedure, it is almost impossible to amend our constitution, so I expect that it will be this way for a long time.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Not as embarrassing as tens of millions of Jerry’s fellow USians voting for Pu$$y Grabber. I’d stick with Victoria Day if I were you!

  4. freiner
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    No wonder that one of Ellington’s nicknames was “Dumpy!”

  5. Posted May 24, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Why would it be an embarrassment to put your head of state on your currency? It’s just a picture of a person. I don’t think it’s entirely logical that the Queen of the UK is the head of state in Canada but as long as she is, why not put her picture on your notes? I mean, at least in the UK, she shows up to open parliament, appoint governments and sign acts of parliament into law.

    Anyway, would it be any more embarrassing than having a constitution that makes the state explicitly secular but also putting “In God We Trust” on your paper currency?

    • Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Yes, that is also embarrassing. And I’ll admit (which the Canadians won’t): IT SHOULDN’T BE THAT WAY!

      • Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        It seems that (some) Americans make more of an issue of the monarchy than most Brits, Canadians or Australians. Is this a relic of George III? 🙂

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          We had to boot the Brits outta this country twice — and the second time they burned the White House before leaving. Some grudges die hard. 🙂

          • Richard Jones
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            As I recall(from reading about it as I wasn’t there!) the US under President Madison invaded Canada and we threw you out.

            I don’t care one way or the other that the British monarch is head of state. The government selects her representative, the Governor General and the system works. We also get a holiday for Victoria Day!

            • Doug
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

              The United States never “invades” other countries. We were trying to LIBERATE Canada.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

                To paraphrase the colonel in Full Metal Jacket, inside every Canuck there’s an American citizen trying to get out. 🙂

              • Richard Jones
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

                Thank dog you failed. Tha War of 1812 was a real.mess on both sides. Incompetent commanders (apart from Brock) who was killed in the first battle, untrained troops, poor supply it was the arrival of regular British troops released after Napoleon first defeat that turned the tide.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

              There was no Canada yet. Still British when that happened.

              • Richard Jones
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

                True, it was a British colony but it was Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec). The Maritime provinces and Newfoundland were there I think. Halifax, Nova Scotia is the oldest city in Canada.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

                However there is was no country and the troops were British.

              • Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

                Quebec City, surely.

              • Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

                There were, however Canadians (and Canadiens).

                Of course when we became unBritish is not obvious. (I personally say 1930, with the Statute of Westminster, but that was not received well last year because of the anniversary thing everyone wanted to do. :))

              • Diane Garlick
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

                Good point.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            That is hard to believe considering more than half the people in this country could not tell you who we fought in the revolutionary war let alone the the war of 1812. I would also say that the U.K. has done far better in adjusting their government and bringing it up to date than we have.

            • Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

              In what ways has the UK better updated its government than the US has?

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

                Well, unless I am mistaken the British has kind of made their King/Queen symbolic as apposed to the guy who once cut off heads. That would be an adjustment to most people. The modern parliamentary system seems to be a good adjustment as well to managing modern govt. What have we done to change since the beginning — almost nothing and that is a problem. When you attempt to live by 230 year old ideas today, you will have problems.

              • Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

                The UK turning its monarchs into figureheads is not a real comparison, as we dispensed with that nonsense from the start. Whereas the US Senate was switched to popular election in 1913, the House of Lords is still class-based, its members either appointed or hereditary, and includes a substantial number of clergy. I’m unfamiliar with UK basic law, but the 230-year-old ideas incorporated into our Constitution — amended 27 times, btw — have served us exceptionally well, and continue to protect our civil liberties to an extent now rapidly vanishing in the UK, especially wrt free speech.

                But I’d be curious to know what changes you’d like to see in the US.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

              I believe the British already had a parliamentary system during the war of 1812.

              • Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

                Yes – from what I understand the usual date for Parliament as we understand it is 1688.

    • Graham Martin-Royle
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Strangely, Scottish notes don’t always have the monarch on them.

      • Dominic
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        …& now Northern Irish ones are the wrong way around, which presumably means everyone there will need new wallets that go the other way! 🙂

        • Dominic
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            I note that the Ulster Bank is owned by the ROYAL Bank of Scotland. (Of course that will probably turn out to relate to some title bestowed by the House of Stuart and nothing to do with the current royals.)


    • David Duncan
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      To save the blushes of our Canadian readers I’ll happily accept any banknotes featuring Vicky or Liz.

      I’ll also accept any US$20 notes featuring the slaveholder who sometimes had his slaves whipped.

  6. Peter
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Feeling no embarrassment about the queen on our coins, and Victoria day fell on Monday, May 21st this year. Most Canadians simply refer to it as May long weekend, or May long, or even May two four, which I understand refers to the amount of beer one is supposed to consume over three days while soaking up the sun on the deck of one’s cottage.

  7. Moishe
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    We Canadians are not half as embarrassed at having the monarch on our currency as you Americans should be at having the drunk at the end of the bar as your current president.

    • Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Who says many of us are not embarrassed? I HATE Trump and despise his minions and the policies of the Republican Party. If I had a choice of getting rid of Trump and Pence and replacing them with Democrats, or getting the Queen off Canadian currency, I’d take the former.

      My, the Canadians are getting awfully defensive, even touting Trump as a riposte to my claim, which is that a democracy should not scrape and bow to a heredity monarchy. I hope you realize that mentioning Trump is not a counterargument to what I said.

      • Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Give it up Jerry. It’s not bowing and scraping. It’s acknowledging. I don’t know any Canadians who bow and scrape. Why would you want to die on this hill? 🙂

        • Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          Don’t tell me what to say. (Please read the commenting Roolz). And I’m not dying on any hill; just expressing my opinion.

          As far as I know, Canadians have to curtsy to the Queen and are instructed to call her by very specific names, not to mention backing out of the room. There is no class of people who should have to be bowed to or given such instructions. The Royalty may have been useful, but now it’s an embarrassment. Do you want to die on the hill of paying homage and deference to a group of not-too-bright people who are your “rulers” simply because they inherited it?

          Yes, I know our democracy elected Trump, and that was a problem; but it’s not a problem with the democratic system. In this day and age, a hereditary monarchy that is treated as a special class of people is simply embarrassing. In a democracy, it should be abolished. I’m always amazed at the arguments that progressive people come up with to defend the existence of a hereditary monarchy where simply by being in a family, you get to be celebrated and, yes, scraped and bowed to. I refer you to Christopher Hitchens:

          Here is from a website discussing matters royal:

          If you’ve ever found yourself wondering whether or not to curtsey, what to say or what to do if something goes wrong, Lucy Hume, associate director at Debrett’s – an acknowledged authority on modern British etiquette – has come to your rescue. In an intriguing new investigation undertaken by Reuters, Ms Hume has outlined the dos and don’ts members of the public should follow when meeting members of the British Royal Family, arming you with everything you need for the perfect royal moment.

          To begin, you should definitely give in to that instinct to curtsey or bow your head as a sign of respect. Hume says: “One of the key things to bear in mind is how to greet a member of the royal family when you meet them for the first time, and it’s customary in a formal situation for women to curtsy – a brief bob is sufficient – and for men to bow from the neck.” If the meeting occurs at a reception or a less formal event though: “it might be appropriate to shake their hand, but it’s best to wait for them to offer their hand first before you reach out yours.”

          Once the initial greeting has been navigated, it’s important to remember how to address the various members of the royal family. “If you are introduced to the queen, you address her as ‘Your Majesty’. Any other members of the royal family are addressed as ‘Your Royal Highness’ and for women you thereafter would call them ‘Ma’am’ and, for men, you would call them ‘Sir’.”

          Yes, “wait for them to offer their hand.” Because they are VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

            Makes me think of the joke Abe Lincoln told in the Spielberg movie, about Ethan Allen seeing a portrait of George Washington in the loo while visiting with the King. 🙂

            • Diane Garlick
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

              Ha Ha!

          • Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            Canadians have to curtsy to the Queen and are instructed to call her by very specific names, not to mention backing out of the room

            This used to be the case but hasn’t been for decades. Nowadays the Royals see themselves as public servants, playing a civic role, raising money for charity, et cetera.

            Many people — for reasons of tradition, theatre and pageantry — want and *choose* to go along with curtsying, etc. Many people enjoy participating in such stuff!

            But these days this is entirely optional. Protocol nowadays allows one to act towards royals the same as one would if, say, introduced to the President of another university, meaning respectfully but normally.

            (And I doubt if anyone has backed out of the room in the last hundred years. 🙂 )

          • Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

            From the the official website (the above quotes are not official guidance):

            “There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.

            “For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.”

            It’s also worth noting that anyone who isn’t interested in meeting the Queen and playing the royal game needn’t do so.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            It seems, with respect, that only PCC feels it should be an embarrassment and none of the subjects who prospectively should be embarrassed are really bothered about it. It seems more like a theoretical objection than anything real.

            What probably removes a lot of force from the argument is the fact that Elizabeth has discharged her duties in pretty exemplary fashion for the last 60+ years, and has remained substantially apolitical.

            Your argument might have carried more conviction when Obama was Prez. Strictly speaking Trump is irrelevant but he is such an appallingly noisy elephant in the room it’s hard to avoid the obvious comparison when discussing anything to do with heads of state.


            • Diane Garlick
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

              I’d say the Trump presidency is a few orders of magnitude more dire than what’s left of the English Monarchy. Would be kinda interesting, though, if a Royal with all the statesman-like talent of the Cheeto-in-chief ever came along.

          • Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            “And I’m not dying on any hill; just expressing my opinion.”

            Me neither and me too. It just seems like you are choosing to ignore what some Canadians have to say on the subject, which rather surprises me and insisting that we bow and scrape. I am trying to say that it’s rather like honouring a tradition than kowtowing to royalty. For example: don’t people stand when the president enters a room? It’s nothing other than protocol not subservience.

            • Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

              The President is elected by the people; royalty get bows and scrapes by being part of a particular family. No honor is due them. And (and you surely must admit this), the perks and obsequiousness that devolve upon the Windsors far exceeds what happens to a President. When Chelsea Clinton got married, did you see all that pomp and circumstance? We honor the office, which, for the Royalty, happens to have no function except to cater to those who love glittery soap operas.

              And, you know, I don’t care what some Canadians say about loving their royalty. A lot of Brits say the same thing. I think they’re misguided. If you asked North Koreans, they’d say they all love Kim Jong-un. Not that he’s the same as Elizabeth, but it’s all the result of how you were brought up.

              • Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

                I can provide a counterexample to the issue boiling down to how you were brought up. I was born and raised American, but immigrated to Canada when I was 23, obtaining citizenship (dual) when I was 31.

                I had no qualms about taking my oath of Canadian citizenship, which required me, in part, to “swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.” Admittedly, when I first immigrated to Canada, the thought of taking this oath made me a bit uncomfortable, but that was my American upbringing. Once I learned how things operate in Canada, I had no problem with it.

                I would not actively champion the British monarch as Canada’s head of state, but I see no reason to be embarrassed by the fact. Part of the issue I think is a misunderstanding between head of state and head of government. I wasn’t really attuned to the distinction until I started studying for my Canadian citizenship exam, as there is no distinction in the US (and “head of government” doesn’t make much sense there either). The Queen is Canada’s head of state, not the head of government. She has nothing to do with governance at all.

                There are other aspects of government to be embarrassed about though. As a Canadian, I am mildly embarrassed by the existence of our Senate. As an American, I am extremely embarrassed by the existence of the Electoral College (among other things).

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

                That’s another misconception I’ve heard from Americans but not usually intelligent ones so I didn’t add it to my list. I’ve axtually heard Americans say that the PM of Canada was Tony Blair (back when he was PM of the UK). So there is the idea that Canada is a colony ruled by the UK.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

                Good to see the Jacobin spirit still alive & kickin’, boss. 🙂

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            Not just Canadians. Americans are instructed to do the same. Of course you don’t have to as Pierre Trudeau thought it all BS and pirouetted behind her. And Nixon called him an asshole.

            • Diane Garlick
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink


          • Richard
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

            Yes, I do consider Her Majesty to be a very special person, and I doubt that we shall see her like again.

            With all due respect to our good host, and without any wish to infringe Da Roolz, I submit that over there you have a narcissistic, opportunistic, semi-literate buffoon who is derided around the world; whereas over here we have a woman who has dedicated her life to the service of her country and is respected around the world. Which would anyone rather have as their head of state? I know which one I prefer.

          • Posted May 24, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

            Absolutely – as an ex-Brit (now overseas) I could never get really exercised about the royals until I read about all the rules one is expected it follow when one meets one. I saw an interview with Emilia Clark (the actor) the other day and she was talking about how when she met Prince William at some junket she was given a list of do’s and do nots including ‘do not turn your back on him’. How utterly f’n ridiculous. I realised that if I were to ever meet a Royal (more than unlikely I’m glad to say) I would never be able to bring myself to follow these obsequious rules without feeling deeply embarrassed for myself.

      • Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Like evolved species, evolved democracies carry historical baggage. Think of it as “junk DNA.”

        Getting rid of the monarchy in Canada would be nearly impossible because, I believe, it requires the unanimous consent of the provinces. There is strong support for the monarchy in some provinces.

        • Diane Garlick
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          All in all, a better unretractable problem to have than ours with guns.

    • Rita
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink


      • Dave
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        No-one is required to “bow and scrape” to the monarch. Even here in the Mother Country, we gave up sending people to the Tower for that long ago.

        Having the British monarch on your currency is a sign of belonging to a family of nations linked by common history, language, democratic institutions and shared sacrifice through two world wars and many conflicts since. The members of that family of nations are, without exception, among the most peaceful, stable, secularised,civilised, humane and prosperous countries on Earth. All of them are magnets for immigrants from every corner of the world, many of them fleeing from countries which laughably claim to be “People’s Republics”, “Democratic Republics” and other such meaningless titles.

        Perhaps if the rest of the North American continent had remained part of that family of nations, it wouldn’t be the violent, oligarchic, god-addled, dysfunctional mess that it is now.

        • Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          As far as I know, Canadians have to curtsy and bow to the Queen and also back out of the room when she’s there. Plus calling her “Her Majesty” and such.

          Thanks for the insult to the U.S.; think of how you’d feel if I said that about your country. But of course you didn’t think. I needn’t add that as “dysfunctional” as it is, the U.S. is still a magnet for immigrants.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

            Um no. Im Canadian. I don’t have to do anything pertaining to royal protocols. There is no requirement to do that that I’ve ever seen. How do you think that would go over in Quebec? We have enough trouble keeping the nation together.

        • nwalsh
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Here here, or is it hear hear?

        • Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          For all its problems, the USA is a great nation and leader of the free world. I fear that she is resigning this role for a long time or for good. I cannot imagine what we are going to do without Pax Americana.

          • Diane Garlick
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            I often think we Americans (some of us, anyway) are tougher on ourselves than even outsiders are (though we do deserve so much criticism, especially now). At any rate, it is cheering to hear such a perspective from your part of the world.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            No worries; the Balkans have always been such a peaceable place. 🙂

  8. Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The woodpecker has clearly heard that the Tesla Model 3 has loads of bugs in it…

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    … on this day in 1976, the famous French wine competition “The Judgment of Paris” took place, with blind tastings of chardonnays and red wines from France and California.

    There’s a fine, full-bodied movie, with dry humor and a savory aftertaste, about this event, Bottle Shock, starring Alan Rickman and Jeff Pullman among others.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Yes, came here to mention the movie. I enjoyed it, too.

  10. Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Having the queen on our currency isn’t the least bit embarrassing. Now, if it was Charles….

    • Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      This is the problem with sexual reproduction: you never know what will come out of the chromosome lottery.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Wonder if The Duke would order all that food with frim-fram sauce with the oss’n’fay, and shafafa on the side, way Pops and Ella did.

    • freiner
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      That usually comes with a side of Nat King Cole Slaw.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        All to be consumed at Jack’s Teagarden.

        • freiner
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          Oh, dear. How far will this go? All the way to the J. C. Higginbotham?

  12. Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The Royal Family and homeopathy have a lot in common. Both cost a lot, yet do absolutely nothing.

    • Dominic
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I’ve danced with a man, who’s danced with a girl, who’s danced with the Prince of Wales.
      – a bit like homeopathy that!,_who%27s_danced_with_a_girl,_who%27s_danced_with_the_Prince_of_Wales

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I’m not a royal watcher, but there is no Dutchess of Essex. There’s a Countess of Essex. The former MM is now the Dutchess of Sussex.

      She probably came to believe in homeopathy on her own, but perhaps she’s fallen under the homeopathic spell of her father-in-law.

      • Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        It’s not clear that she believe in this woo as opposed to just making dosh by advertising it. If she does, that’s something that the press didn’t emphasize about Markle.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          True, she could have been in it for the money. I don’t know which is worse, ignorance or greed.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        That photo of Meghan M. is from long before the Royal connection. This was the LA awards season [Golden Globes etc.] & there’s a thing called “Gifting Suites” where actors, celebs & producers get free goods just for standing in front of an ad board while smiling & clutching some expensive hat, shoe, makeup product etc.

        A determined young actor can pick up 10s of thousands of dollars of free product & form a relationship with a brand that can later be worth millions of dollars for an unknown who later becomes much better known!

        This particular one was the “HBO Luxury Lounge gifting suite” at Four Seasons Hotel, LA Jan 14th 2012. There were a bunch of female actors there such as MM, Andie MacDowell [who has done much product ‘whoring’ in a long career] & Melissa Rauch. The main products that day were L’Oreal Paris, New Era Cap [horrible baseball-style caps] & Boiron [homeapathic medicine].

        Chances are good that MM would not have realised it’s homeopathic & if she had known it’s likely she wouldn’t have realised it’s pseudoscience – very few people do. I’m guessing 75% of peeps don’t know. She’s in deep now of course with her dad-in-law using homeopathic gardening products & talking to his beloved plants!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          There is some cereal made from Prince Chuck’s farm that I used to like even though i cringed about where it came from because of the woo practices.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            Duchy Organic Muesli with Raisins & Almonds? It’s very good indeed although I go with Jordans Muesli, Natural @ 50% the price with a thick natural, living Greek Yoghurt & fresh fruit chopped & added by me.

            I do like Duchy Organic strawberry preserve – heaven. Also overpriced.

            “Sainsbury’s exists to keep the chavs out of Waitrose” [the upper classes at shop might say this]

            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

              Except for Trader Joe’s muesli, which is awful, the only brand I’ve seen in stores here in Berkeley is Familia, which is Swiss, and I don’t know if any brand could be better.

              Where do you get these detailed facts about gifting suites and the like? MM may not have known that was homeopathic “medicine,” but I think there’s more than a 50-50 chance that she did. She was into that celebrity blog scene, touting various products, giving advice and the like, though I haven’t seen any of her posts; and homeopathy is big these days in the states, even among supposedly educated folk. I’d bet that many of these celebrities who’re into health swear by homeopathy. Wikipedia, which debunks homeopathy and that particular stuff, says that it’s big in France. Interesting how it came into being. To me, the name sounds like some scrofulous disease, not a remedy.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

                Our Mr. Fisher can find anything online. I’m considering hiring him to find lost friends and all those pairs of sunglasses I keep losing. 🙂

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

                Too kind 🙂

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

              @Jenny Henniver
              I did reverse image search of the Twitter pic of MM & came up with this link to Getty Images of the event which supplies all the info: But Getty Images have pulled her pic from the event in the last few hours! Interesting – perhaps a copyright thing?

              Anyway this Daily Mail story is just as useful & seems accurate:

              France is a bit different to everywhere else – eg they don’t think it’s medicine unless it goes up the arse [a general truism] 🙂

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for the explanation. I know all about the French fixation on anal suppositories. It mystifies me for two reasons: 1) the fixation itself, and 2) I’da thought it would be the Germans who have a cultural fixation on things scatological.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          The Queen is into homeopathy too, so Charles had he influence as a child.

  13. Dominic
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Talking of kings, 400 years ago today James I – he was VI in Scotland – banned bowling –

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Golf (invented in Scotland) has also been banned in Scotland way back when. Men were supposed to be practicing archery at the public butts on their days off to prepare for war, not playing games.

  14. Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    If you look at the still photo of the eagle, fox, and rabbit, it looks like both the eagle and the fox both are holding the rabbit. The fox probably got away unscathed.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      That’s what I saw.

    • Diane Garlick
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that was quite a relief to see. Had those talons snagged the fox I’d fear for his future.

  15. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I had no idea what kakapo “booming” was, so looked it up. Here’s a link to the sound Sounds like one picked up a trombone and blew into it. But the entire booming ritual is, may I say, kakapookooky.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      There’s lots of cool info at the link!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes indeed, and coming from a native New Zealander and kakapo lover, that says a lot about the site. Everything about those dear, dorky birds is kooky and delightful; and now I must add the booming to the list. I’m just in love with them.

  16. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Canadians were on holiday this Monday past for Victora Day. For some reason we have the holiday a week before the actual day and unlike many other commonwealth nations, we don’t celebrate Queen’s Birthday.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Victoria Day is celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25th [in Canada & Scotland] – it’s to honour Queen Vic’s birthday on May 24th. Some years the day lands on the old bird’s actual birthday. In a small part of Scotland it’s also a public holiday! The weird Commonwealth eh? 🙂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Yeah totally weird. Canadians see it as the unofficial start of Spring and many open their cottages at this time. It’s iffy weather in May and poor New Brunswick has snow this week while I was complaining in Ontario that 27C is too damn hot and why can’t we have weather that isn’t so extreme?!

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          If I were there I’d build my seasonal outdoors activity around the evil black fly. Hate the buggers.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            Deer flies I found to be the worst. Repellent doesn’t bother them as much.

            • Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

              Those are a real menace in Finland.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

                I hate them. I put repellent on everywhere and they still menace me and buzz around my head.

        • nwalsh
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Diana, 31 degrees here in Kelowna yesterday. 29 presently. Agree too warm, but it will get warmer.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            Ugh. Kelowna is so much prettier than where I live and you have way nicer winters so though I hate it hot, I like Kelowna better.

  17. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Pernicious myths about Canada that many Intelligent Americans believe:

    1) Canadians must bow and curtsey to the monarchy. No! And even though there are forms of address, MPs and MPPs as well as the PM all have formal address. Here is what PET did and no gulag

    2) It is illegal to deny the holocaust (Sam Harris has repeated this crap often spread by the alt-right twice). No!

    3) We are all dying waiting on long lists for health care because socialism sucks. No! As a Canadian who has had cancer I can tell you I received an operation 2 weeks after diagnosis and started treatment right after. My dad had the same. My mom, who had bronchiectasis, receives on going and regular care from several specialists. Heck, I just saw a rheumatologist after waiting all of 2 days. But of course, this is a provincial thing as the feds don’t manage healthcare and the far north is under serviced in everything including health care.

    Others include the idea that we are a backward nation and we all want to move to the US so “keep Canadians on their side of the border” as some US politicians have said. All of Canada laughed at that one. We just wanted to go shopping FFS.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Canada! Stalwart people & nobodies fool.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink


    • Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      This is what Wikipedia says about Ernst Zündel, who was tried and convicted in Canada for Holoaust denial:

      In 1983, Sabina Citron, a Holocaust survivor and founder of the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association, filed a private complaint against Zündel before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In 1984, the Ontario government joined the criminal proceedings against Zündel based on Citron’s complaint. Zündel was charged under the Criminal Code, section 181, of spreading false news by publishing Did Six Million Really Die? The Truth At Last.

      Zündel underwent two criminal trials in 1985 and 1988. The charge against Zündel alleged that he “did publish a statement or tale, namely, “Did Six Million Really Die?” that he knows is false and that is likely to cause mischief to the public interest in social and racial tolerance, contrary to the Criminal Code.” After a much publicized trial in 1985, Zündel was found guilty. One of the prosecution witnesses, Auschwitz survivor Arnold Friedman, a Holocaust educator in Toronto, testified that ” … prisoners marched off to the ovens never returned” to which Zundel’s lawyer, Doug Christie, replied ” … if those who disappeared might not have been led out a nearby gate.”[23] His conviction was later overturned in an appeal on a legal technicality, leading to a second trial in 1988, in which he was again convicted. Zündel was originally found guilty by two juries but was finally acquitted upon appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada which held in 1992 that section 181 (formerly known as section 177) was a violation of the guarantee of freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      The 1988 trial relied on testimony from the Holocaust deniers David Irving and Fred A. Leuchter, a self-taught execution technician.[24] Leuchter’s testimony as an expert witness was accepted by the court, but his accompanying Leuchter report was excluded, based on his lack of engineering credentials. In 1985, key expert testimony against Zündel’s alleged Holocaust denial was provided at great lengths by Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg, who refused to testify at Zündel’s 1988 trial. Zündel was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment by an Ontario court; however, in 1992 in R. v. Zündel his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada when the law under which he had been charged, reporting false news, was ruled unconstitutional.[25]

      So the charge was “spreading false news”. And he was convicted twice. The distinction between this and finding Holocaust denialism illegal really does escape me here.

      • Posted May 24, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you are correct PCC. Canada’s laws regarding “hate speech” allow anyone who expresses a false or unpopular view to be persecuted, if not prosecuted. IMHO, this is a far greater flaw in Canada’s governance system than the occasional bowing and curtseying, obnoxious as that might be.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          Give me a break. Have you read criminal code 320? Look at how you can say what you want – for one if you believe it’s true:

          • Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

            Yes I have. I hope you will give me a break if I point out that 319(2) can easily be used, and has been, to prosecute holocaust deniers. Also, Zundel was extradited to Germany by Canada to face charges of holocaust denial. It is a basic principle of extradition that a country does not extradite a person unless the alleged offense is prosecutable within its jurisdiction.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

              The Supreme Court over turned all of the complaints against Zündel as unconstitutional. Their Defense actually hinges on whether he believed the holocaust really didn’t happen or if he was just trying to cause mischief, which he did in Canada for 40 years. He got booted back to Germany not by Canada but by the US when he over stayed his visa. He wasn’t a Canadian citizen so that’s where America sent him back. It wasn’t Canada that convicted him or sent him back to Germany where he was put in jail. The defences for spreading what people see as hate are reasonable as outlined and you can even have an opinion about religion and even private conversations in (gasp!)that socialist country with all the red on its flag, Canada

              (3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)

              (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;

              (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;

              (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or

              (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada

              • Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

                You really need to check your facts. The US deported Zundel to Canada which extradited him to Germany.


              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

                Oh yes I forgot, he made that ludicrous claim to be a refugee. Rex Murphy mocked him for it. Canada was holding him because he had no citizenship as a Canadian, he has no landed immigration status and he had national security warnings against him for his involvement with dangerous groups like Aryan Nation. He then gave up because of a stomach tumour and Canada agreed to send him back to Germany. None of it was about his pamphlets denying the holocaust. So I do know my facts. I know because I wrote a pepper on Zündel arguing for his right to free speech and I was labelled a Nazi by my English teacher.

              • Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

                If you want to support your Canadian limits on free speech, go ahead. Please don’t then insult my intelligence by claiming that Canadians have free speech.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink


              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 24, 2018 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

                And here is Rex Murphy’s piece back when it all went down

                He describes Zündel as deliciously stateless. Murphy can be an asshole, but like many assholes, it’s funny when they do what they do to someone you don’t like.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 24, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        You really need to do more research on Ernst Zündel Jerry. The asshole was in Canada for decades. If spreading the news that the holocast wasn’t real was illegal how did he get to live in Canada for decades doing it and running a white supremacist group? You can keep telling all the Canadians on here that we are wrong about our laws but please show evidence that there is a law in Canada forbidding me from denying the holocaust it some weird interpretation from Wikipedia about Zündel. I think you suggested once it was illegal in Canada to wear a pro nazi shirt which is false too. Feel free to think we are backward slaves to some totalitarian thought police if you would like but it isn’t based in any fact.

        • Posted May 25, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

          Diana, You really need to cool it. I never suggested that Canadians are backwards slaves to some “totalitarian thought police.” Where did I say that?

          The fact is that Zündel would not have been prosecuted in the U.S. for what he said, period. Ergo, there are more restrictions on speech in Canada than in the U.S., period. And I think that’s generally the case. That was my point. How you get from that that I think Canadians, whom I much like, are “backward slaves to totalitarian thought police” defies me.

          I never said nor thought that the U.S. was superior to Canada in every ways; each country has its advantages, and Canada has many (no Trump, for instance). But you are acting like I dissed the whole country. I’m sorry you feel that way, but it’s simply not true. And yes, Zündel was prosecuted for denying the Holocaust, period.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 25, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            I never said you “said” you said Canada is backward but the vivacity with which you have over and over again stated false things like “bowing and scraping” despite evidence by many Canadians to the contrary certainly suggest you really really believe we do these backward things. As for hate laws, I explain what happened to Zündel where I talk elsewhere here. No claims against him were upheld by the Supreme Court. He was, as Rex Murphy put it, “deliciously stateless”, after 40 years living in Canada as a landed immigrant when he left Canada and over stayed his visa in America. He claimed refugee status in Canada was held during that claim then was sent to Germany where he was a citizen and where, unlike Canada, it is illegal to deny the holocaust. 40 years he lived in Canada. 40! A lifetime! And all complaints were overturned by the Supreme Court. We have hate laws but it is rare to be able to throw people in jail using them unlike some who imply Canadians are being persecuted for having conversations. This article explains it using a real American example.

            Canada has real problems: the north that is underfunded, horrible conditions on reservations, a past that is shameful toward the indigenous populations, Kinder Morgan, separatism, identity, provincial health care often underfunded by people who don’t believe in funding universal healthcare, trade deals, stupid old laws like blasphemy laws, Trump. Free speech isn’t one of our issues.

  18. Posted May 24, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m a Canadian who thinks that Canada should abolish the monarchy here and change how the Governor General gets into office (I am happy with a “head of state vs head of government” split like the French sort of have.)

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes I like the French system too but in English speaking Canada (most of Canada) we are a minority as only 43% agree. That number goes to 71% in Quebec.

    • Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      So you would change from a powerless figurehead head of state to a powerful president who can choose the Prime Minister? Not me. Responsible goverment rocks!

      • Posted May 25, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        I didn’t say that.

        I said abolish the monarch *and* change how the GG works.

        Elsewhere I mentioned the “jury senate” -i.e., random selection of senators. Since both the senate and the GG are supposed to be sort of “second thoughts” and such, maybe have the GG be appointed by the jury senate. Or randomly selected from them, or any number of other ideas.

        (I meant the analogy with France in terms of *duties*.)

        • Posted May 25, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          Since the unelected position is that of a powerless figurehead who has, TTBOMK, never second-guessed Parliament in modern times (and shouldn’t since Canada is a democracy), then why not abolish the position altogether, perhaps along with the Senate? At least having a hereditary monarch as a HOS some symbolic value.

  19. freiner
    Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how these things work in Canada (they mostly don’t work in the States), but can’t the Royals do something about the traffic on the QEW? It is Her Road, isn’t it?

    • freiner
      Posted May 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I hope nobody takes offense at that. I’m personally trying to get the King of Prussia to clean up the messes on the PA Turnpike and Schuylkill Expressway. His name shows up on stuff around there for some reason.

    • Merilee
      Posted May 25, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      There ARE fancy ERs all along it (urrs, as Rowan Atkinson calls them).

  20. Posted May 24, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Kill me if I understand how in an animal with chromosomal sex determination, body weight of a parent could skew the sex ratio of the progeny!

    • Posted May 24, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      I don’t really believe it myself, but if the Kiwis have data on kakapos, then data are data!

      • Posted May 25, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Well, in humans, obesity is connected to heart disease and that sort of thing – so by an extended analogy …

        (this is a poor argument, but not a horrible one. :))

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