Thursday: Hili dialogue

Well, we have two more days until we’re into September: it’s Thursday, August 30, 2018, and it’s National Toasted Marshmallow Day again (I remember this from last year). I like to ignite my marshmallows and wait until they’re charred completely black before consuming them. (I suppose that makes them carcenogenic.) It’s also International Day of the Disappeared.

Duck news: as of yesterday evening, Honey and James were still absent from Botany Pond. But as they seem to miss just a day at a time, I’ll check this morning.

They may indeed be gone, and thanks to Reader Diane G., I discovered that ducks sometimes pair up before migrating, so I’m hoping Honey takes the wing of James in ducky matrimony before they leave. Ducks from this area overwinter after the Mississippi flyway, often spending the winter in the Mississippi Delta, but some don’t migrate at all, and stay in Chicago. More fun facts: ducks can migrate at about 90 kilometers per hour (56 mph), move in flocks of from 12-35, and migrate in mixed-species flocks (i.e., different species join together in a single V formation).

Not much happened on August 30. In 1835, the city of Melbourne, Victoria was founded in Australia. On August 30, 1909, Charles Doolittle Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale fossils, the most famous of which, discussed by Steve Gould in his book Wonderful Life, are the chordates, possible early versions of our ancestors. Here are two early chordates (see more lovely fossils here):

Metaspriggina walcotti, Pikaia gracilens.


On this day in 1918, Fanni Kaplan tried to assassinate Vladimir Lenin, shooting him in the neck and shoulder. Lenin survived but never fully recovered, and he died in 1924. Kaplan was executed by the Cheka on September 3. On August 30, 1963, the famous hotline between the leaders of the U.S. and of the Soviet Union became operational. Exactly four years later, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. On this day in 1984, the Space Shuttle Discovery had its first voyage, and, in 1992, the 11-day Ruby Ridge standoff ended when Randy Weaver surrendered to federal authorities.

Notables born on August 30 include painter Jacques-Louis David (1748), Mary Shelley (1797), Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff (1852, Nobel Laureate), Theodor Svedberg (1884, Nobel Laureate too), Huey Long (1893, assassinated in 1935), Raymond Massey (1893), Ted Williams (1918), Warren Buffett (1930), Robert Crumb and my adopted mother Malgorzata Koraszweska (both 1943), Molly Ivins (1944), Lewis Black (1948), Fred Hampton (1948), and Andy Roddick (1982).

Crumb, of course, was the premier cartoonist of the psychedelic era, creating characters like Flaky Foont, Fritz the Cat, and, his most famous character, Mr. Natural. Crumb is still trucking!

Those who died on this day include Max Factor, Sr. (1938, founder of the cosmetics firm), Jean Seberg (1979), Glenn Ford (2006), Seamus Heaney (2013), and Oliver Sacks (2015; could it really have been three years ago?)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is staying out too long:

A: Don’t you think it’s time to go home?
Hili: I will think about it.
In Polish:
Ja: Nie sądzisz, że pora wrócić do domu?
Hili: Pomyślę nad tym.
From reader Nilou. How I wish I could do this to Honey, but I have never touched her.

An awesome tweet sent by reader Barry:

Tweets from Grania. Find Jack!

Nevertheless, she persisted. . .

. . . and another tiny ginger kitten:

Tweets from Heather Hastie. The first one is just plain weird, but also great—a baby emu meets a dog. Look at that coloration, a pattern that disappears when the emu grows up.

Salacious pareidolia:

Matthew and Heather both sent this amazing video of a FISH FIGHT (not a fistfight):

Tweets from Matthew. He says about this one, “No evidence it has anything to do with jellyfish (cats don’t prey on fluorescent things), but it’s a nice vid.” (The thread posits that fish chase glowing things and jellyfish use their glowing tentacles to lure in those fish to eat.)

Matthew’s comment about this loony pastor was simply, “Yikes.”

Some history of science; Darwin, of course:



  1. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    American evangelicals have not just abdicated any imaginary claim they thought they had to the moral high ground, they have gone up into space and nuked it from orbit. Any time these fuckers try and claim it again the word ‘Trump’ is all we will have to say.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Speaking out of both sides of the tongues.

      And happy birthday to Malgorzata who brings us Hili, everyday.

  2. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    When I see videos like that one of the pastor, and the NRA one with Dana Loesch, and I hear the president(the president!) talking about his opponents’ inevitable ‘violence’ in the next few months, it makes me very worried for the fabric of your country.

    I waver these days between thinking Trump is a paper tiger, who’s completely doomed and will be removed from office pretty swiftly once things come to a head, to thinking he’s the greatest threat to liberal democracy since the end of the second world war.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      tRUMP is a paper tiger. A wet toilet paper tiger to be more precise. I once tried to put myself in his shoes, but mysteriously found it compelling to march into our local Spaceforce recruitment office when I did.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Another worry is that all this rhetoric from the hyper religious and the super paranoid members of the far right (and the prez himself) will inspire some loon to go on a rampage against an imagined enemy such as a news headquarters.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Well, their side, for all the rhetoric about antifa etc., is notably more likely to go and do that kind of thing. They own the guns after all(Trump supporters have said that to me more than once).

        • Claudia Baker
          Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Paper tiger or no, I find it fucking terrifying. From “Witch Hunt” to “Enemy of the People” to “Google doesn’t pay me enough attention” to “there will be Violence”, this guy is totally nuts, off his rocker, certifiable. Add the religious nut jobs to the mix, and it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know it’s going to crash and be bloody and horrible, but there’s nothing you can do to stop it. I’m losing sleep here!

        • Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          But we have all the brains!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        No sooner said (or written) than done though here by phone, threatening Boston Globe employees and calling the paper an “enemy of the people.” He’s been arrested.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted August 30, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          Am I wrong or has Trump used the ‘enemy of the people’ phrase, again, in a new tweet, despite news of this guy’s arrest being widespread?

          Who is at the fucking wheel? Who is driving this thing?

          • Claudia Baker
            Posted August 30, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            You are right about that.

            And, there is NOBODY in charge. Which is a very sobering and frightful thought.

    • David Coxill
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      The snatch snatcher is just getting his excuses ready for November if the repubs lose control of both Houses .
      Just like his rant on election night when he said that 3 million illegals voted for HRC .

  3. Historian
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The congregants of the pastor probably believe every nutty word he says. Yet, there are some pundits who think that they could be weaned away from Trump by rational discourse in which it is explained to them how he is a danger to their material welfare and democracy, and that Democrats are much more concerned about them. As much as these congregants, these pundits live in a fantasy world. In terms of political action, these people need to be ignored and not a penny should be spent trying to woo them. Democratic resources need to be expended on getting out the vote of people who do not show up at the polls in states and districts where they would make a difference.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Charcoal is used to adsorb small molecules

    I have seen it – advertised? – to adsorb things from human digestive systems

    I once ate too much charred bbq chicken and was sick

    Thank you

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    How long, O Lord, how long, until we finally shall be rid of these superstitious Dark Ages?

    How long shall I take counsel (or “councel” as your humble servant, the Donald, spelled it again in a tweet this morning) in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

    (With apologies to the authors of Psalm 13.)

  6. Ken Pidcock
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The first time I read about Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, I ordered a printed copy to give to our daughter, a graphic designer. It took forever to get it; I suspect the publisher was swamped with orders after the piece I read. In any event, if you like books as physical objects, it’s a pretty one.

  7. Merilee
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    That cute little emu seems top-heavy, kinda like those Bozo-the-Clown punching bags we had as kids.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Big bummed emu joke for you Merrily, Merrily, Merrily

      An Aussie truckie walks into an outback cafe with a full-grown emu behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.

      The truckie says, ‘A hamburger, chips and a coke,’ and turns to the emu, ‘What’s yours?’ ‘I’ll have the same,’ says the emu.

      A short time later the waitress returns with the order ‘That will be $9.40 please,’ and he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

      The next day, the man and the emu come again and he says, ‘A hamburger, chips and a coke.’ The emu says, ‘I’ll have the same.’

      Again the truckie reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

      This becomes routine until the two enter again. ‘The usual?’ asks the waitress.

      ‘No, it’s Friday night, so I’ll have a steak, baked potato and a salad,’ says the man. ‘Same,’ says the emu.

      Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, ‘That will be $32.62.’

      Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.

      The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. ‘Excuse me, mate, how do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?’

      ‘Well, love’ says the truckie, ‘a few years ago I was cleaning out the back shed, and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.’

      ‘That’s brilliant!’ says the waitress. ‘Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!’

      ‘That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,’ says the man.

      The waitress asks, ‘What’s with the bloody emu?’

      The truckie sighs, pauses, and answers, ‘My second wish was for a tall chick with a big bum and long legs, who agrees with everything I say.’

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Oh that’s good.



      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Parroted by an emu := emu-lated.

        Parroted by a trailing emu := emu-belated.

        • darrelle
          Posted August 30, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink


      • Merilee
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink


        • Merilee
          Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          PS Michael, you do know how to pronounce my name properly (unlike many).🤓

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            Of course I do – taking care re the details is reserved for the bestest people.

    • BJ
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      I find emus very confusing. They seem like they shouldn’t exist. If there is a god, he done fucked up.

      • W.T. Effingham
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Emus have mysterious legs.(Apologies to U-2).

  8. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Malgorzata: Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin!

  9. Hempenstein
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Oliver Sacks nicely remembered/referenced in this song.

  10. BJ
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    OK, stray cat question for the experts here:

    I have a momma and papa cat with two recently born kittens living under my deck. The come out for several hours a day every day to sun themselves and drink from the pool (the pool doesn’t use chemical chlorine, in part for this reason). I want to feed them some cat food, but I don’t want them to become expectant of getting the food or come to rely on it in any way. How often can I leave them some food without it becoming an expectation for them?

    • Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      You are in a pickle. If you do nothing, those kittens will grow up feral, and will lead short and hard lives. If you want them at least have a chance at long, luxurious lives, you need to see to it that they are captured and delivered to a shelter. If the parents are also feral they should at least be captured, tested for diseases, and neutered, before being released again.

      Meanwhile that whole family is hungry now so I would feed them. Put out enough to help them get by, trying not to let the word get around among your local ‘possums and raccoons!

      Our own experience with a feral cat in the neighborhood was that once captured and examined by a vet, he was found to be carrying feline leukemia, which is untreatable, 100% fatal, and highly contagious among cats. The only humane choice was to have him euthanized that same day — and given a respectful burial under our kitchen window.

      • BJ
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        We have cats every year; in fact, the mom and dad of these two kittens have been here for over a year (they showed up last summer). They seem quite healthy and generally run around playing or lounge around on the deck. When I had my first cat, he used to catch chipmunks and squirrels constantly, so perhaps they have a bounty of prey around here, or maybe someone nearby is feeding them.

        Last year we had nine adult cats hanging around for at least half the year. Since we gets cats year-round, it would be impractical to go around catching all of them and taking them to shelters. So, I simply want to give them some food every now and then in case they’re terribly hungry, but they’re not at all skinny.

        • David Coxill
          Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Talking of cats ,a place on the far south of south Island in New Zealand wants to cull all the cats in the area .

  11. Hempenstein
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Re. van’t Hoff, there was a wonderful physical biochemist, Yeshayau Pocker from U Wash Seattle and who resembled SZ Sakall – Carl in Casablanca. He used to attend the same meetings I used to attend on carbonyl-metabolizing dehydrogenases/reductases. Referring to the thermodynamic unlikelihood of converting an alcohol to an aldehyde, his punchline was always, “Van’t Hoff vould roll ovfer in his grafve!” It was always the best part of the lecture.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      There are meetings on “carbonylmetabolizing dehydrogenases/reductases”?? I need to get out more.

      • Merilee
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Life in the fast lane…

      • Hempenstein
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Yep, in Breckenridge last month, which I just discovered. Had I known I mightta even gone since I have an old friend there I couldda stayed with. Ah, well, being retired. As a result of those meetings I wound up seeing an eclectic mix of Helsinki, Gifu (Japan), Dublin, Varallo (Italy), Ystad (Sweden), and Kranjska Gora (Slovenia), with places like West Lafayette IN, Taos, Burlington VT, Nashville IN, Deadwood SD, and Lexington KY in-between.

        • Claudia Baker
          Posted August 30, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          I stand in awe. I can hardly even spell those words, let alone attend meeting about them. You, sir, have my respect.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Good luck with that!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        My reply was meant for “BJ” @ #10.

    • Posted August 31, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      I don’t remember what it was specifically, but I was studying for a physiological psychology course and my father (organic chemist) stops in and sees the reaction done by the appropriate neurotransmitter pathway and says something like “that’s unlikely, but then again, it is in an animal, so you never know really weird selective catalysis you’ll find”.

  12. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    That pastor makes about as much sense as Trump. What a collection of total, utter fuckwits.


  13. Blue
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    H a a a a ppy, Happy Birthday, Ms Koraszewska !

    I don’t know,
    but I ‘ve been told … …

    IF you keep on d a n c i n g … …
    THEN you never grow old !

    … … and MANY more such ones to YOU !


  14. Larry Smith
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Good ol’ R. Crumb… wish I’d kept the copies of my brother’s Zap Comix…

    If you’ve never seen it, I’d recommend looking at Crumb’s illustrated Book of Genesis. Something about Crumb and the Old Testament makes them a (mister) natural fit…

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      The problem I have with R. Crumb, and it’s a big one, is Angelfood McSpade, his racist comic character; and I don’t find at all convincing his attempts to dismiss the crude racism and at the same time to justify it.

    • Posted August 30, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I’ve still got a sizable collection of my Zap comix in good condition. I wonder if they’re worth anything. . .

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        A small fortune, I guess.

  15. Claudia Baker
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    That’s how I like toasted marshmallows too – burnt to a crisp on the outside. One of my kids’ friends almost gagged watching me eat one this summer around our campfire. My kids, however, are used to it and just tease me. “Wait ’till you see how our Mom likes hers cooked!” Then they laugh. We are a misunderstood minority PCC.

    • darrelle
      Posted August 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you two. Start out by slowly warming it until it’s heated through as evidenced by it beginning to rotate on the skewer, then stick it right in the flame to light it on fire, let it burn for a moment, blow it out, then eat it.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Yup and Yum

      • Merilee
        Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Me four (no pun on French word for oven). Marshmallows are way too sweet without that burned umami flavor.

  16. David Coxill
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Re the Fish fight ,their behaviour is the basis for a lot of Laurel and Hardy films .

    Stan Laurel
    “We haven’t eaten for 3 days .
    Old woman .
    “Oh you poor men ”
    Stan Laurel .
    “Yes ,Yesterday ,today and tomorrow “.

  17. Posted August 31, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Have any of the Darwin/biology generally historians done any work specifically on his diagrams? I know they are always talked about (in part by their near absence in Origin, but …)

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