Thursday: Hili dialogue

Time is marching on, drawing us ever closer to extinction. It’s Thursday, August 23, 2018, and National Spongecake Day. It also seems to be National Cuban Sandwich Day (is that cultural appropriation?), a comestible much better than spongecake.

News of the day from Paris: a man killed two (his mother and sister) and wounded one with a knife before being shot dead by police. ISIS is claiming credit but there’s no evidence for the connection.

And more insanity from Trump (h/t Grania):

On this day in AD 79, Mount Vesuvius began rumbling—on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. It erupted the next day, releasing, so says Wikipedia, over a hundred thousand times the energy of the combined atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  On August 23, 1305, William “Freeeeeedom!” Wallace was executed for treason, brutally drawn and quartered in London.  Something I didn’t know: on this day in 1784, the western part of North Carolina (now eastern Tennessee) declared itself an independent U.S. state called “Franklin.” It lasted four years after being rejected as a state by the Union. On August 23, 1927, the Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in Massachusetts for murder and robbery; 200,000 came out for their funeral procession, and it’s still not clear which, if either, was guilty. On this day in 1942, the Battle of Stalingrad began; as Wikipedia notes, “it was the largest (nearly 2.2 million personnel) and bloodiest (1.8–2 million killed, wounded or captured) battle in the history of warfare.” The battle ended with a Russian victory and German withdrawal/surrender five months later.

On August 23, 1973, the Norrmalmstorg robbery, a botched bank heist, took place in Stockholm. The four hostages bonded with and became protective of the two robbers during a six-day siege, giving rise to the term “Stockholm syndrome“. After a tear gas attack, the robbers surrendered and were tried and convicted, though one conviction was later quashed. Both robbers are still alive. Here’s the arrest of Jan Erik Olsson, the robber who spent ten years in jail.

On this day in 1990, East and West Germany announced the reunification of Germany on October 3 of that year. Finally, on this day eleven years ago, the remains of Russia’s last royal family members (Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and his sister Grand Duchess Anastasia) were discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia, where the Tsar and his family were executed by Bolsheviks in 1918. The family’s remains now rest in the cathedral in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

Notables born on August 23 include biologist Georges Cuvier (1769), Arnold Toynbee (1852), Edgar Lee Masters (1868), Gene Kelly (1912), photographer Galen Rowell (1940, died in a plane crash in 2002), Keith Moon (1946, died 1978), and Kobe Bryant (1978). Those who died on this day include caliph Abu Bakr (634 AD), Rudolph Valentino (1926), Sacco and Vanzetti (1927; see above), and Oscar Hammerstein II (1960).

Here’s what is probably Rowell’s most famous photograph, a rainbow seeming to strike the Potala, the Dalai Lama’s palace in Lhasa, Tibet:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili seeks enjoyment in her wanderings:

Hili: Survival is not everything.
A: What do you mean?
Hili: Entertainment is important as well.


Wildfires are plaguing the American northwest; Seattle is so polluted that residents are advised to not go outside:

Things are dire in the UK, and I’m not even mentioning the Brexit debacle:

I wonder what my reputation will be?

Even though this is a d*g, it’s an amazing video, for it’s watching itself on television and applauding! (See video.)

And a bear accidentally hitting itself in the balls:


  1. Posted August 23, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Cuban sandwich day? Oh dear, mine were not cubic! But I had rolls 😉

    • Posted August 23, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      PS want some brain-aching physics speculation?!

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted August 23, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        It is more like hearth aching. Last time Penrose tried this he got criticized because it was bad statistics; this time he has gotten criticized because it is bad statistics.

        Never mind that we have better theory that rely on all the cosmic background data and more; never mind that oscillating universes got a blatant entropy problem.

        Maybe we should store it under Penrosiana.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted August 23, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          “hearth aching” = heart-aching /never try to comment before the first cup of coffee.

  2. Roger Maxson
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    1924 would not be correct as year of battle of Stalingrad? 1942-1943

    On Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 7:46 AM Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “Time is marching on, drawing us ever closer to > extinction. It’s Thursday, August 23, 2018, and National Spongecake Day. It > also seems to be National Cuban Sandwich Day (is that cultural > appropriation?), a comestible much better than spongecake. News of” >

    • Posted August 23, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Also, is “withdrawal” correct? As I remember, a large part of the German forces were completely surrounded and thus were unable to withdraw.

      • David Coxill
        Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        The German forces that had advanced into the Caucasus Mountains had to retreat PDQ because they were in danger of being cut off .
        The Germans almost got as far as Grozny .

        According to the British Historian Anthony Beevor ,after the surrender a Russian Officer is said to have pointed to the ruins of Stalingrad and told a group of German prisoners ,this is what Berlin to going to look like .

        And 75 years later a Russian company called Stalingrad Miniatures make 1/35 resin figures of German /Russian soldiers and civilians .

    • Posted August 23, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Fixed, thanks. Typo.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    … Cuban Sandwich Day (is that cultural appropriation?) …

    Not at the little Cuban café around the corner from where I sit, it ain’t. I’ma head over there for lunch for the famous “Cuban Mix.”

    • darrelle
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      The town I live in is not that great for food. Cuban cuisine is very poorly represented here. Any time I’ve run across a place offering a Cuban sandwich I’d give it a shot. Some were OK sandwiches, but not in the same league as a fine, real deal Cuban.

      Then one day I stopped in a local, somewhat rundown, convenience store owned by an Indian couple and which has a small, simple kitchen operated by a women that I’m pretty sure ain’t Cuban. She makes a variety of sandwiches, wraps & burritos. I’ve stopped at this shop often over the years and am on a 1st name basis with the owner, but I’ve never bothered to try anything from the kitchen. On this one day I stopped for a drink and, pressed for time, I decided to just go ahead and order something for lunch as well and save myself a second stop on the way back to the office. I asked the kind woman behind the counter what her most popular sandwich was. She said, “The Cuban.” So, not expecting much I tried it anyway.

      OMG. I almost cried. I hadn’t had a Cuban that good since maybe 2012 in Miami, or my old favorite Cuban joint in Orlando back in the 90s. Her Cubans hands down, no contest whatsoever, are the best Cubans in the county. Heck, they may be the best Cubans I’ve ever had. Did not expect that. Cultural appropriation at its best.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 23, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Sandy’s Cafe in Key West is my fave. Puro Cubano.

    • Posted August 23, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Love me a good Cuban Sandwich! Didn’t know it had its own day.

      In the Los Angeles area, we don’t have a huge Cuban population that I know of but we do have Porto’s Bakery Cafe, a local chain that has a great Cuban Sandwich. Every one of their restaurants is mobbed virtually all the time but they have a Disneyland-efficient way of handling the crowds that is quite effective at getting people in and out quickly. Their prices are reasonable but their volume is such that they must be making a killing. Worth going just for the experience.

  4. Frank Bath
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Have no doubt, your good reputation is assured Jerry.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    … the Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in Massachusetts for murder and robbery; 200,000 came out for their funeral procession, and it’s still not clear which, if either, was guilty.

    What happens when the type of nativist fear Donald Trump stirs up takes hold of a nation.

    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 4:28 am | Permalink

      People like Sacco and Vanzetti were a legitimate reason for this type of nativist fear. From their Wikipedia article:

      “The men were believed to be followers of Luigi Galleani, an Italian anarchist who advocated revolutionary violence, including bombing and assassination… For three years, perhaps 60 Galleanists waged an intermittent campaign of violence against US politicians, judges, and other federal and local officials, especially those who had supported deportation of alien radicals. Among the dozen or more violent acts was the bombing of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer’s home on June 2, 1919. In that incident, Carlo Valdinoci, a former editor of Cronaca Sovversiva and an associate of Sacco and Vanzetti, was killed when the bomb intended for Palmer exploded in Valdinoci’s hands… Sacco and Vanzetti were found to have correspondence with several Galleanists; one letter warned Sacco to destroy all mail after reading.”

      They were immigrants plotting violent overthrow of the government of their host country.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Generally do not think of the Germans in world war two as a siege. Not normally part of their strategy, yet we have Leningrade and Stalingrade. Probably had as much to do with the German’s lose as anything, this old fashion form of war, the siege.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      The sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad both resulted from German military errors, and both proved very costly.

      Leningrad was largely undefended when von Leeb halted his panzers – they had outrun the infantry – and still largely undefended when his panzers were later withdrawn for the attack on Moscow. Had Leningrad fallen, the USSR would have lost 10% of its manufacturing, rail access to the Arctic ports could have been cut fairly easily, and a large part of Army Group North transferred south, where the war still could have been won in 1942.

      Stalingrad was not a primary objective of the carefully planned attack into the Caucasus but Hitler’s interference – the offensive was going so well he thought it had been won in the initial stages and could be speeded up – screwed up the logistics, force concentration and priority of objectives. Even so, Stalingrad very nearly fell and the army also got to within one kilometre of capturing the vital crossroads at Ordzhonikidze (sp?) through which passed all supplies for Soviet armies in the West Caucasus.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    There is nothing as simultaneously funny and cringe-inducing as watching another male accidentally hit himself in the nads. I still laugh every time I think of my brother stepping on that rake.

    • George
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Just proof of how weak men are. No capacity for pain. Which lends credence to the saying, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Imagine a man experiencing the pain of childbirth.

      • David Coxill
        Posted August 23, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        There was a poster campaign in GB in the 1970s with a photo of a pregnant man ,it’s aim was to get men to use condoms .

        Talking of condoms ,my late father laughed his head off at the fact that there was a French Rugby player with the name of condom.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Not sure about a sacrament, but they’d probably be performed at the health club, in a booth between the shoe shine concession and the towel dispensary.

      • Posted October 13, 2018 at 4:36 am | Permalink

        I disagree. The inguinal region of men is heavily innervated to induce protective behavior and so is uniquely sensitive; they have a much higher capacity for pain when the injury is in any other body part. Women are far less sensitive to pain in the inguinal region. Moreover, oxytocin released during birth reduces pain. In my experience, the pain of childbirth was far less severe than what I anticipated and what could be expected, given the injuries.

  8. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    “Time is marching on, drawing us ever closer to extinction.”

    I think Pink Floyd put it more poetically –
    So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again.
    The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.


  9. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    What is a Cuban Sandwich?

    • darrelle
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Cuban bread (sort of like French bread but not quite) typically cut 8″ – 12″ long then split (much like a “sub”), butter, ham, slow roasted pork, Swiss cheese (more cultural appropriation!), dill pickles, mustard. Once assembled the sandwich is then pressed until the bread is crusty. There are, of course, some variations but that is the classic Cuban.

      Just reading the ingredients doesn’t really give you a good idea of the sandwich. It’s one of those things where the parts fit together in such a way that the final result far exceeds the sum of the individual parts. At least that’s true of a properly made Cuban. Not done properly it’s just a regular sandwich.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Aquí está:

  10. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    “Fewer than one in four think Corbyn would make the best PM. And he’s up against the worst leader in modern history.” [Theresa May]

    Really? *The* worst?
    I rather think he means ‘the worst British leader in modern history’. I don’t think we Brits can compete with the Yanks on this one, if only ‘cos T May doesn’t Tweet 😉

    But that led me to a morbid reflection – what if there are NO good leaders left? What if all the good ones have been used up? What if G*d (or whatever powers created the world) supplied a finite quantity of great leaders and now there are no more left?

    What if we’re condemned to the equivalent of Vladimir Putin / Kim Jong Un / Theresa May / Donald Trump (in increasing order of dreadfulness) forever more?

    I think I need a beer.


    • David Coxill
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the supporters of Corbyn think he is the one to end the 8 years of cuts the tory party have inflicted on the great British public ,food banks have become the norm in many places .
      Maybot came up with a term ,just about managing
      to describe those most affected .

      At the election last year ,the tories went in with a ioo seat majority ,afterwards it was down to two ,she is dependent on those fruitcakes in the DUP to remain in power ,and the pundicks were saying Labour were going to get wiped out ,but they increased their share of the vote .
      As for maynot being the worst ,i think david -call me dave -cameron has that honour .

      • AC Harper
        Posted August 23, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Arguably Tony Blair (Weapons of Mass Destruction) was worse. He committed the UK to war, rode the economic boom to the top, and stepped away for some other fool to carry the can.

        • David Coxill
          Posted August 23, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          He started off with the good will of the British public behind him ,t was a shame he wanted to bestride the world stage with W .

          At least you are not blaming Labour for the 2008 crash ,or are you ?

          Perhaps Gordon Brown should have told the bankers to go p**s up a rope when they came begging ,like wot they did in Iceland ,and maybe jailed a few of the Merchant Bankers .

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 23, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          I entirely agree that Blair was appalling. Whether worse than Teresa May I can’t judge.

          But he certainly had far more political savvy and sense of decorum than the Great Orange One.
          (That is, admittedly, a bar so low it’s virtually subterranean)


    • Posted October 13, 2018 at 4:45 am | Permalink

      Increasing order of dreadfulness? Give me Ms. May over Putin every time!

  11. Roger
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    It’s Keith Moon day. Everyone go smash your drum sets! j/k don’t unless you are rich lol.

    • Roger
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Also back in the day Pete Townsend was something else on guitar live in concert. (When he wasn’t smashing them lol.)

    • David Coxill
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Is it true that a group of Hotel managers once went round to his house and wreaked the place?

      • mikeyc
        Posted August 23, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        If it isn’t it sure ought to be.

        • David Coxill
          Posted August 23, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          The Who were leaving an hotel one time ,and he is supposed to have said “Hang on ,i forgot something ” Then went back to his room and chucked the tv into the swimming pool .

  12. DrBrydon
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    That dog watching himself on TV is fantastic.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. I don’t know how similar to human perception this is, but it appears that this dog uses mirror neurons to “feel” the motions of his TV body. I think he’s thrilled at his performance.

  13. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Poor Trump. Such a victim of circumstance.

  14. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    It is hilarious that Trump is calling Clinton crooked. “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” /rhetorical Q, it is blatantly obvious he never had one

    • Harrison
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty far from a fan of Hillary but it’s still ridiculous seeing her as the Trump cult’s Great Satan, this straw person they trot out for the two minutes’ hate.

      • Posted August 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it really amazes me that the Trumpers can make such a big deal about Hillary’s email server. How can that possibly compare to what Trump is involved in? They are so brainwashed.

        • Harrison
          Posted August 23, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          The email business was investigated for two straight years. Benghazi for four. And Trump barks that Mueller ought to be looking into “crooked Hillary” with the same exasperating insistence of a child telling daddy to check the closet for monsters one more time. He’s sure they’re in there somewhere.

      • Posted October 13, 2018 at 4:48 am | Permalink

        But I think he is right that she was sloppy in her campaign in key states. As far as I see, this is actually a bipartisan consensus, the only difference is that Democrats are sad about it while Republicans are gloating.

  15. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Now having read about the Paris killings, I reflected – after a detour on the sad side of the news – that these things tend to uncover bigotry.

    Sweden has a small branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir which attacks human rights and successful societies, and propose that people should not vote in the upcoming election. This has been covered in media since the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has researched it.

    Now the agency gets criticism because it has never researched the much older and larger group with similar proposals of Jehova’s Witnesses or even the small groups of Plymouth Brothers that seems to behave similarly [ ]. One may wonder why that has not happened…

  16. Les Faby
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Trump’s mentor was Joseph McCarthy’s Roy Cohn. He represented Trump in his 1970s housing racial discrimination case. You can see Cohn’s influence in his tweets and innuendos.
    He knows plenty about how McCarthy did his damage.

  17. yazikus
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Parton seems like a delightful human.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      I heard Dolly Parton being interviewed on radio on one of her visits to the UK. On being asked if she minded men looking at her cleavage she laughed and said “that’s what it’s there for”: lovely pragmatic woman, totally in control, and much brighter than her overt image suggests.

  18. Posted August 23, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Since you have a few Trump quotes, let me offer a fresh one from this morning’s interview with him on Fox News (as reported by CNN):

    “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job”

    He then goes on to claim that the stock market would crash if he was impeached. I’m guessing it would go down due to the political uncertainty making investors nervous but I doubt it would crash.

    • Mark R.
      Posted August 23, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Only 54% of Americans are invested in the US stock market, but for some reason, Trump thinks the market is the American economy.

      • Posted August 23, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Or, of course, he simply takes credit for any positive measure change that he can. What he doesn’t know (a lot) is secondary.

  19. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Re: William Wallace

    The London Times came out with a list of the 10 most historically inaccurate movies of all time, and listed Braveheart as number 2.

    (Mel Gibson even stars in 3 of the top 6 along with “The Patriot” and “Apocalypto”, the latter like Braveheart directed by him.)

  20. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    With regards to the Sacco/Vanzetti case:

    Most students of this controversial case regard the executions of
    Sacco and Vanzetti as a classic example of the injustice inherent in the
    application of the death penalty.

    Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants. Sacco
    was a shoemaker and Vanzetti was a fish peddler. Both men were
    outspoken anarchists; they believed that government was an
    unnecessary evil that should be abolished. This was a political
    philosophy, whose advocacy was (and is) protected by the First

    In April, 1920, five armed men robbed a shoe company payroll in
    South Braintree, Massachusetts. The paymaster, Frederick Parmenter, and his guard, Alessandro Berardelli, were brutally murdered.

    In May, the police arrested Sacco and Vanzetti. They were carrying pistols when arrested and made false statements to the police when they were interrogated. However, neither had a criminal record, and none of the stolen money showed up in their possession. The behavior of the trial judge and the prosecutor frequently evidenced bias and prejudice.

    In 1921, Sacco and Vanzetti were both found guilty of murder and
    robbery and sentenced to death. Mass demonstrations to prevent
    their executions were held by defense committees, civil liberties
    groups and sympathetic people throughout the United States, Europe
    and Latin America.

    Despite lengthy legal appeals, the verdict of the lower court was upheld, and on August 23rd, 1927, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed by
    electrocution by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    The facts of the case are still being debated. Defenders of Sacco and
    Vanzetti charge that: the trial was unfair; the evidence was flimsy, at
    best circumstantial; and that they were really convicted for their
    political views, not for armed robbery and murder.

    To this day, scholars of the case continue to have reasonable doubts as to their guilt.

    Ehrmann, Herbert B. The Case That Will Not Die – Commonwealth
    vs. Sacco and Vanzetti. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1969.
    Farrell, John A. Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned. New
    York: Doubleday, 2011.
    Frankfurter, Felix. The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti. New York:
    Grosset & Dunlap (The Universal Library), 1977.
    Joughin, Louis and Edmund M. Morgan. The Legacy of Sacco &
    Vanzetti. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press,
    Larson, Edward J. and Jack Marshall. The Essential Words and
    Writings of Clarence Darrow New York: The Modern Library,
    Murray, Robert K. Red Scare: A Study of National Hysteria, 1919-
    1920. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964.
    Watson, Bruce. Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the
    Judgment of Mankind. New York: Viking Press, 2007.
    Young, William and David E. Kaiser. Postmortem: New Evidence in
    the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti. Amherst, Massachusetts:
    University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.


    John J. Fitzgerald

    • Diane G
      Posted August 24, 2018 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      Thanks. Though I’ve often heard about this case, I’ve never really bothered to learn what it was all about.

  21. wiseape108
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Watching that bear video got me wondering: do animals swear?

%d bloggers like this: