Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s the first Hump Day of fall: Wednesday, September 26, 2018, and National Pancake Day (didn’t we just have a Pancake Day?).  In the U.S. it’s National Good Neighbor Day, though I don’t know how to celebrate it. (I am a good neighbor. Won’t you be my neighbor?)

As reader Su points out, it’s opening day of zucchini season. And it can’t come soon enough, as I despise this “vegetable”. The slaughter of zucchini is approved even by cats:

Why is the worst-tasting vegetable also the one that grows the best?

On September 16, 1580, Sir Francis Drake finished his circumnavigation of the Earth, the first captain to do so (Magellan’s expedition had succeeded earlier, but Magellan didn’t make it all the way back.) A sad day for archaeology: it was on this day in 1687 that the Venetians, attacking the Ottoman Turks in Athens, who had turned the Parthenon into a powder magazine, fired a mortar at the structure. It blew up, destroying the roof and three of its four walls. It’s now a sad remnant of its former self. On this day in 1789, Thomas Jefferson was appointed the first U.S. Secretary of State and John Jay the first Chief Justice of the United States. On this day in 1905, Albert Einstein published his first paper on the special theory of relativity. Here’s the first page of that paper, “The electrodynamics of moving bodies”:

On September 26, 1950, UN troops recaptured Seoul from the North Korean military during the Korean War. Exactly three years later, rationing of sugar in the UK ended. I was surprised to learn that it took eight years after the end of World War II for Brits to regain unrestricted access to sugar, but I’m sure there are some older readers who remember rationing. On this day in 1960, the first televised Presidential debate took place in the U.S.: Nixon debated Kennedy, and Nixon lost. Nine years later, the Beatles released their album Abbey Road (nearly 50 years ago!). On September 26, 1973, the Concorde made its first nonstop crossing of the Atlantic. As the BBC notes:

The French model of the supersonic airliner flew from the US capital, Washington, to Orly airport in Paris in three hours 32 minutes. The pilots, Jean Franchi and Gilbert Defer, cut the previous record for a transatlantic airliner journey in half, flying the plane at an average speed of 954 mph (1,535 kph).

On this day in 1981, Nolan Ryan threw five no-hitters, setting a major league baseball record for pitchers. Finally, on this day ten years ago, as Wikpedia notes, “Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.” The “wing” is basically a backpack, and here’s his device and his flight, which took all of 13 minutes.


Notables born on September 26 include Johnny Appleseed (1774), Thédore Géreicault (1791), Ivan Pavlov (1849), cartoonist Winsor McCay (1867), Lewis Hine (1874) T. S. Eliot (1888), Jack LaLanne (1914, died 2011), Marty Robbins (1925), Andrea Dworkin (1946), Olivia Newton-John (1948). Chunky Pandey (1962), and Serena Williams (1981). Those who fell asleep on this day include Juan de Torquemada (1568), Daniel Boone (1820), Levi Strauss (1902), Bessie Smith (1937), and Byron Nelson (2006).

Lewis Hine took heartbreaking photos of child labor. Here’s a spinner in a Massachusetts Mill around 1908:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is getting irritated by Cyrus’s favorite hobby:

Hili: I’m getting tired by your running after the ball.
Cyrus: Why?
Hili: I can’t see any sense in it.
In Polish:
Hili: Męczy mnie to twoje bieganie za piłką.
Cyrus: Czemu?
Hili: Nie umiem znaleźć w tym żadnego sensu.

Some tweets from Grania; the first is of special interest to scientists:

Read this article by Shelby Steele (from Hirsi Ali’s tweet below). A snippet:

Today’s left lacks worthy menaces to fight. It is driven to find a replacement for racism, some sweeping historical wrongdoing that morally empowers those who oppose it. (Climate change?) Failing this, only hatred is left.

Hatred is a transformative power. It can make the innocuous into the menacing. So it has become a weapon of choice. The left has used hate to transform President Trump into a symbol of the new racism, not a flawed president but a systemic evil. And he must be opposed as one opposes racism, with a scorched-earth absolutism.

For Martin Luther King Jr., hatred was not necessary as a means to power. The actual details of oppression were enough. Power came to him because he rejected hate as a method of resisting menace. He called on blacks not to be defined by what menaced them. Today, because menace provides moral empowerment, blacks and their ostensible allies indulge in it. The menace of black victimization becomes the unarguable truth of the black identity. And here we are again, forever victims.

Of special interest to those, like me, who think the Labour Party is infested with anti-Semitism:

Look at this sad little kitten! I think it’s a Somali breed:

Tweets from Heather Hastie, including a possessive owl:

I’ve always thought this bird was surreal:

What a kick! Even Messi couldn’t do that.


And a cat pulls a good wrestling move on the d*g. Takedown: two points!



  1. TomT
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed the list! Minor correction: on this day in 1981 Nolan Ryan threw his fifth no hitter. It would’ve been really impressive if he’d thrown all five on the same day!

  2. mikeyc
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Ah, but Messi CAN do that and even better (remove());


    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      In high heels?

      • mikeyc
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        Good point!

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        And asphalt.. and a moving goal..

  3. Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Regarding Corbyn and the Labour Party:

    Jeremy Corbyn aspires to be Prime Minister of Britain. Yet here he is praising a regime that has called for the murder of British citizens…

    Corbyn eulogises a regime that has also murdered tens of thousands of political opponents and tortured and imprisoned tens of thousands more…

    Corbyn lauds a disgusting regime that tortures, mutilates and executes people for non-crimes, in deliberately horrible ways. A regime that is the world’s leading executioner of children…

    From 2009 to 2012, Corbyn also took £20,000 from Iranian state broadcaster – even taking money from them 6 months after the broadcaster had its UK license revoked for being complicit in the detention of, as well as the filming of, the torture and forced confession of a journalist. During the 3-year period Corbyn appeared on the regime’s propaganda TV station, over 1300 people were hanged by the Islamic state of Iran…

    Corbyn claims to be a defender of human rights and throughout his adult life, has regularly taken part in various protests and demonstrations. Yet he has called for the lifting of the sanctions on this barbaric Iranian regime – all the while calling for sanctions on other countries. In the video clip Corbyn praises Iran to the heavens and berates the West for military involvement in the Middle East. Yet today, he remains silent on Iran’s involvement in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. In the video shot a London mosque, he berates the West’s involvement in Iran – but of course remains silent on Iran’s appalling human rights record.

    Corbyn has surrounded himself with various Trotskyist and Stalinist fanatics like Seumas Milne, the odd apologist for Islamic extremism, even a convicted soccer hooligan, a convicted arsonist (who tried, twice on the same night, to burn down a hotel full of people) and a 9/11 conspiracist, amongst others.

  4. Robert Seidel
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Interesting, the following event is featured prominently by the German Wikipedia, but the English one hides it under “More Anniversaries”:

    1983 – Soviet Air Force officer Stanislav Petrov identifies a report of an incoming nuclear missile as a computer error and not an American first strike.

    It’s perhaps the closest we’ve come to WW III since the Cuban Missile Crisis, after all.

  5. Marilyn
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    How could you miss that it’s also George Gershwin’s birthday! He was born in 1898.

    • freiner
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      YES!! Strike Up the Band!

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1960, the first televised Presidential debate took place in the U.S.: Nixon debated Kennedy, and Nixon lost.

    Nixon was scum — a cheapjack crook and political thug who wormed his way onto four winning presidential tickets over the course of 20 years from the Fifties to the Seventies. But compared to Donald Trump, Nixon seems like Pericles in the Golden Age of Athens.

    The United Nations never laughed in Nixon’s face.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      I was delighted to see that they did laugh at Trump. Even though it’s a breach of protocol.

      Because no president before him (and this includes Nixon) would have made such a vainglorious, arrogant speech. It deserved laughter and it would have been a disgrace if he had been allowed to get away with it.


      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        I was also delighted that “UN laughs at Trump” played on all the news outlets. Did it get reported on Fox News I wonder?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          The report in NZ was that it left our ever-diplomatic PM Jacinda Ardern at a loss for words. She apparently managed not to join in the laughter, but what flummoxed her was when a reporter asked her what parts of President Trump’s statement she agreed with. It took her a while to find a diplomatic way to avoid flat-out saying ‘none’.


        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          I understand Fox News omitted the laughter from its tweet concerning Trump’s UN speech.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Oh, and the other reason I am pleased that they laughed is specific to Trump and this is that he would have taken diplomatic silence – or even a frosty silence – as agreement. In a way that no other leader or past President would.


  7. Mike
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Some comments from Noam Chomsky re the alleged anti-semitism of Jeremy Corbyn.

    “The charges of anti-Semitism against Corbyn are without merit, an underhanded contribution to the disgraceful efforts to fend off the threat that a political party might emerge that is led by an admirable and decent human being, a party that is actually committed to the interests and just demands of its popular constituency and the great majority of the population generally”

  8. Historian
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    “The left has used hate to transform President Trump into a symbol of the new racism, not a flawed president but a systemic evil.”

    All presidents are flawed to a degree. Particularly flawed among recent presidents were George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Lyndon Johnson. Even Nixon was not as flawed, and that is saying something. To argue that Trump is flawed is, to use a word currently in vogue, an attempt to “normalize” him, to make him appear really not different from past presidents. No, he is different in kind. This is why a cadre of people, who have been lifelong Republicans and conservatives their entire life, find him more repugnant than ever. Some in this group include Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, Nicolle Wallace, Michael Gerson, and Steve Schmidt (McCain’s 2008 campaign manager). They understand that he is a threat to democracy, whose only loyalty to himself. They know that this crime family boss embarrasses the country to the entire world. Is it any surprise that Trump was openly laughed at during his speech to the United Nations yesterday?

    Steele, a black conservative, is always good for the right wing to trot out to “prove” it is not racist. The degree to which the right wing is racist can be debated, but certainly racists feel at home in Trump’s Republican Party. But, the intent of Steele’s article is through sleight-of-hand to make it appear that Trump really isn’t so bad because some on the left have declared Trump a racist. In reality, Trump is much more than a flawed person. He is a danger to the best of American traditions that have evolved over the last 250 years.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Also, “the left is seeking a replacement for racism”. Because racism has been wiped out? If someone claims not to see racism in America today it’s because they’re ignorant or lying.

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Usually ignorant.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Good to “see” you musical beef.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink


  9. DrBrydon
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Cows are still common in our neck of the woods. I drive by several pastures on my way to the store. Now I want to get a couple balls, and toss them in. Also, that stork looks like a Muppet.

  10. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    All credit to Yves Rossi, though the commentators were getting a bit carried away there I think. It wasn’t really a more historically significant flight than Bleriot’s.

    But that jet wing is cool. There’s a nice video of three Rossi-equipped jetmen flying in company with the French aerobatic team –


    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      You beat me to it! Love that video. Stupid human tricks indeed!

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    One wonders if Prof Ceiling Cat’s distaste for zucchinis has anything to do with the fact they resemble giant cucumbers –


    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      I guess that nobody has ever served him a proper zucchini soup or stuffed zucchinis.

  12. rickflick
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I would agree that zucchini squash should be banned as unfit for human consumption except for zucchini bread, which is quite good.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Damn, beat me to it. I was gonna say . . ., “There may be one good use for zucchini, zucchini bread. All that I’ve had were quite good and tasted nothing like zucchini. Would have never known there was zucchini in it. Apparently all the zucchini does is provide moisture and perhaps some texture. The bread is a sweet-bread similar to banana bread in density but lighter in color, wonderfully moist, perhaps a bit more delicate in texture and no particular flavor except moderately sweet bread flavor.”

  13. Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    ” the Concorde made its first nonstop crossing of the Atlantic”

    That raises interesting questions about where jets stop while crossing the Atlantic, and how they avoid sinking when they do.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget about Iceland and Greenland!

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        That’s true.

      • revelator60
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Back in the 50s flights from London to New York would often stop in Ireland. I think they might have also stopped in northeastern Canada.

        • Posted September 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I was on some of those flights as a child. I think only jets could make it all the way without refueling, though perhaps the Lockheed Constellation could do it. I was on a “Connie” once. It was a very beautiful aircraft.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:25 am | Permalink

          Gander, Newfoundland, and Shannon, I think.

          The first land-based non-stop flight was from Berlin to New York by a Lufthansa FW200 Condor in 1938. Took 25 hours. But political developments prevented any further progress.


  14. Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I like the “zucchini hunter” photo. I would think that the gun would damage the zucchinis. And what role does the cat play?

    BTW, I like zucchini. A very versatile vegetable!

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Certainly a hunt that causes less pain than the usual kind.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Those unpleasant objects in the photo are not Zucchinis. When they grow to that size they have become marrows, and are thoroughly nasty. Zucchinis should never be more that 15 cm long and 3 cm thick, and preferably less. Then, properly used, they are delicious.

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. Didn’t know that. I remember my mother serving something she called “marrow” but I don’t remember if I liked it. I didn’t associate it with zucchini but now I do!

        • Frank Bath
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          In the UK we call them courgettes, from the French I suppose. Lovely cut into discs and fried.

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        One of the best ways to have zucchini is to add it to seafood/meat/veggie paella while cooking it down. It lends a certain sweetness and well-needed moistness to the dish.

        • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          The overgrown ones are great in soup and curry, much like how vegetable marrow (winter melon) is used.

  15. Richard Bond
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I remember WWII (and after) rationing. As children, my sisters and I used to play with the counterfoils of the food coupons. I blame rationing for the atrocious reputation of the British sandwich.

    A stingy old lady of Brean
    Was quite appallingly mean
    If a sandwich, she said
    Had but one piece of bread
    There’d be no need for meat in between!

    I suspect that the justly maligned British sandwich is a relic of WWII food rationing, which applied to obvious sandwich fillings such as meat, eggs and cheese, of which the minimum would be used that would make plain bread almost palatable. Quality was not helped by the mandatory standard loaf. Rationing was not lifted until the early 1950s, by which time, I guess, the tradition was firmly ensconced. Things are much better today.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I remember sugar rationing ending and queuing up with my brother and sister to buy all the sweets (candies) we could afford – alas a couple of pennies only. Heady days.

  16. jahigginbotham
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    [Probably] Cora Lee Griffin, Whitnel, North Carolina, December 1908.
    Lewis Hine caption: One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C. She was 51 inches high. Had been in mill 1 year. Some at night. Runs 4 sides, 48 cents a day. When asked how old, she hesitated, then said “I don’t remember.” Then confidentially, “I’m not old enough to work, but I do just the same.” Out of 50 employees, ten children about her size, December 1908.

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Good to see that she survived till old age and had a happy family.

  17. Peter Welch
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you about zucchinis. They grow too well. Produce too prolifically. And taste awful unless amended with more delectable additions–cheese bread crumbs etc.

    But disagree with your post of Shelby Steele and Hirshi Ali which apparently from its placement you agree with. First calling Trump simply a “flawed president’ great understates the real and continuous threat we all face when a thin skinned, incompetent can make the sole decision about whether this world has a nuclear war or not.

    As to whether hating Trump is now a tactic adopted by the left because rationals have nothing else left to fight for. Could it be any more Breitbart?

    I personally hate Trump. I believe I am rationally entitled to that hate. In his first year, Trump and his Republican allies tried their best to take away ACA protections from all 300 million Americans including my disabled wife and our disabled son. Those ACA protections allow the disabled to have medical insurance. Without med. ins. coverage our family cannot afford the EXTREMELY expensive medications they both need to live.

    Currently Brett Kavanaugh is being rushed unto the Supreme Court by Trump and his allies. Shortly after he is seated his vote will take control of women’s own bodies away from them and give it to the government. His next critical vote will end the ACA and its protections that allow my wife and son medical coverage. My wife and son will lose coverage because they have exceeded an annual or live time cap or some other made up insurance rule. Then we will go bankrupt trying to buy their meds that cost 100s of thousands of dollars a year. Then they will die.

    Perhaps you have something you love? Some duck? Some squirrel? Perhaps even a person. When Trump threatens their life or lives, how will you feel about him?

    I hate him. I hate Republicans. I hate folks stupid and cruel enough to vote Republican. They have come for my family. I hate them for it.

    Hirshi Ali has much to be admired for. But the above post shows she has been heavily influenced by the propagandists at`the Hoover Institute to write scurrilous nonsense in order to dismiss the genuine outrage that all decent folks should feel about Trump. In my particular case, justifiably hate. Money talks. She takes the money. She produces propaganda. I am sad for her. She has been incredibly brave in her opposition to the many cruel aspects of Islam. I am sorry she has taken the admiration we should all feel for her and spent it so poorly.

    Which now begs the question, why you would republish such a screed? I just cannot understand. I am growing weary of the new curmudgeon persona you have decide to assume. You are a better person than that. Good folks do not provide political cover for Trump and his excesses. You really should stop.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      I am so very sorry that this nightmare of a president has been visited upon you and your family. I can’t imagine the hell you’re going through now. I hope there will be some reprieve, the sooner the better, when people open their eyes and see the monster lurking within him and his cadre.

  18. Alex Kleine
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I can’t stand actual zucchini. But fried zucchini flowers, on the other hand are delicious when dipped in spicy mustard or BBQ sauce.

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      What do they taste like?

      • Alex Kleine
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Something akin to popcorn chicken, but with a spike of something lettuce-like.

  19. Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Yeah Karen, leave my fucking stuff alone!

    as for you Corbyn you could use a good stuffing, try dry crackers while your talking.

  20. Dionigi
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Sugar rationing was lifted for the coronation of queen Elizabeth the second. I remember all the kids in our village were given a coronation mug full of sweets, something that most of them had not seen before.

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