Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s the end of the week, and we’re a week into fall: it’s Friday, September 28, 2018, and it’s National Strawberry Cream Pie Day. That’s a nice pie, but I’d prefer a strawberry pie sans cream filling. It’s also Freedom from Hunger DayWorld Rabies Day, and International Right to Know Day. 

News of the Day: Brett Kavanaugh may have lied under oath when he testified that he had not watched Christine Ford’s testimony, or so the Wall Street Journal and The Inquisitr report. That would be enough to disqualify him. Further, the American Bar Association has urged the FBI to do an inquiry into Kavanaugh’s behavior before the Senate votes on his confirmation.

On this day, one day after leaving France, William the Conqueror landed in England, and the Norman Conquest began. And on September 28, 1781, American Continental Army forces, backed by our friends the French, defeated the British forces under General Cornwallis at Yorktown. This was the beginning of the end for the Brits in America. On this day in 1899, according to Wikipedia, “The first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defines the length of a meter as the distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.”  That’s inconvenient, of course, and depends on one having the “standard bar.” Today the meter is defined like this:

The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of ​1299,792,458 of a second.

Now anybody can do this! On this day in 1928, Alexander Fleming noted that a mold growing in a Petri dish had killed the bacteria around it, leading to the discovery of penicillin and the award of a Nobel Prize 17 years later to Fleming, Florey, and Chain.  On this day in 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany agreed how to divide up Poland. Poor Poland! On September 28, 1941, Ted Williams finished the baseball season with a batting average of .406, the last time a major league player hit .400 or better for the season. The story of how he did it (a “great American fable” according to the video below) is a small tale of courage:

Before the final two games on September 28, a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics, he was batting .39955, which would have been officially rounded up to .400. Red Sox manager Joe Cronin offered him the chance to sit out the final day, but he declined. “If I’m going to be a .400 hitter”, he said at the time, “I want more than my toenails on the line.” Williams went 6-for-8 on the day, finishing the season at .406.

He was just 23 years old Williams. was then drafted, served as a naval aviator in World War II, and returned to baseball for the 1946 season. His lifetime batting average was .344. Here’s a short documentary on the .406 season.

On this day in 1970, President Gamal Nasser of Egypt died of a heart attack. Exactly 25 years later, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Finally on September 28, 2008, Falcon 1, launched by SpaceX, became the first privately developed liquid-fuel rocket to put a payload in orbit.

Notables born on this day include Georges Clemenceau (1841), William S. Paley (1901), Max Schmeling (1905), Ethel Rosenberg (1915), Tuli Kupferberg (1923), Brigette Bardot (1934), Christina Hoff Sommers (1950), Sylvia Kristel (1952), and Mira Sorvino and Moon Zappa (both 1967).

Those who died on this day include Herman Melville (1891), Louis Pasteur (1895), Edwin Hubble (1953), Harpo Marx (1964; real name Adolph Marx), Jon Dos Passos and Gamal Nasser (both 1970), Miles Davis (1991) and Pierre Trudeau (2000).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Miss Hili is having grandiose and solipsistic notions:

Hili: Do I look like a Sphinx?
A: You look like a female cat in an orchard.
Hili: Apparently you lack imagination.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy wyglądam jak sfinks?
Ja: Wyglądasz jak kotka w sadzie.
Hili: Pewnie brak ci wyobraźni.

A tweet from reader Barry, who characterizes it in two alternative ways:

“Hey, leave the fish alone, for Chrissake. He’s just trying to live.”
“No effing way you’re going to own that fish. I saw it first!”

Tweets from Grania; have a look at Cohen’s indictment of the Labour Party. If you can’t see it, make a judicious inquiry. Cohen is a gem.

One excerpt:

Until and unless that day arrives, you can best chart the changes in left-wing culture by looking at what isn’t said and cannot be said without risking ostracism: the new works that aren’t written; the old works that can never be revived. When I listen to modern Labour supporters, I keep remembering Destiny, David Edgar’s play from 1976. Destiny is set during a by-election in a West Midlands town close to Enoch Powell’s Wolverhampton. A neo-fascist leader, inspired by the National Front types of the time, instructs his candidate that it is not good enough to tell voters that speculators and wreckers are destroying Britain: he has to say that they are Jewish speculators and wreckers.
Then in a line that has stayed with me since I was a teenager, the fascist leader asks the candidate what he would say if a voter told him that immigrants were just as British as he was. The candidate promptly gives the approved answer:
 ‘Just because a cat is born in a kipper box it doesn’t make it a kipper.’
It is a sign of how deep the rot has penetrated that the modern echo of the sentiment that, even if they live here, even if they and their parents and grandparents were born here, immigrants or the descendants of immigrants can never be truly British, comes not from a fascist or a gin-soaked Tory, but from Jeremy Corbyn. He said of Jews, who had argued against him at a meeting in Parliament, that despite ‘having lived in this country for a very long time – probably all their lives – they don’t understand English irony’.
Nor, ironically, do supposedly serious and committed artists, who boast of their willingness to tackle taboo subjects, but run for cover as soon as a truly hard question arises.

This next tweet is disturbing:

Well, it’s just a baby. . . .

Contra this d*g, I’m trying to eat my veggies, having a salad for lunch nearly every day:

And why wouldn’t an owl enjoy a head scritch?

No, it’s the KITTENS that say “μ”!

Maajid Nawaz is mad, and rightly so. Really, Brits, do you want the anti-Semitic Corbyn as your PM?

The tweet to which he refers:

Finally, some satire relevant to yesterday’s grilling by Senators, which itself was almost satire. (I didn’t know the FBI employed veterinarians.) Don’t miss the song.

I still think Kavanaugh will withdraw his name, or will be voted down.



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 28, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Brett Kavanaugh may have lied under oath when he testified that he had not watched Christine Ford’s testimony, or so the Wall Street Journal and The Inquisitr report.

    That claim surprised me; I thought the whole point of making Ford go first was to give Kavanaugh the opportunity to watch and then respond to her testimony.

    But, then, Kavanaugh has shown an alarming lack of candor every time he’s testified before the judiciary committee.

    • Historian
      Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Minutes ago the NYT reported that Jeff Flake would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. This doesn’t surprise me. He has always been all talk and no action. He’s just another ultra right-winger trying to make himself look good for history. I shed no tears that he is leaving the Senate.

      • mfdempsey1946
        Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Jeff Flake proves again that he is a tower of Jello.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 28, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        It could be he’s also protecting his right wing image so as to get his next employment at a swanky right wing lobbying group or a seat on a corporate board. He’s going to have to support his retirement life style.

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        The LA Times just reported that Flake wants an FBI investigation before the vote. Some women confronted him in an elevator and he grew a spine (supposedly).

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          I’ve seen those Republican spines before; they’re retractable.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 28, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Nice meta4. Kind of erotic.

            • Posted September 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

              Agreed but I was thinking more like the xenomorph in Alien.

    • George
      Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      I want Kavanaugh to be confirmed. If he is tossed aside, the Republicans will simply put another wingnut on the court without his baggage. At least the Democrats will have a chance to eventually impeach Kavanaugh and have him removed from the court.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        That would set a horrible precedent, both in putting him on the Court and in removing him. To date, our nation has had but one Supreme Court justice impeached, Samuel Chase, who was impeached (but acquitted) in 1806, during the administration of Thomas Jefferson.

        The US Supreme Court is routinely named as among the nation’s most respected institutions in opinion polls. If the Kavanaugh nomination is crammed through, I fear that will be no more.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          As a kid during the civil rights era, I recall taking a car trip with my folks through the South and seeing billboards calling for the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren and Associate Justice William O. Douglas.

          Those were trying times, too, but luckily for our country, nothing ever became of those impeachment efforts.

        • mikeyc
          Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          That last bit is painful, Ken. Trump has sullied so much of our political institutions and now this; this is his doing. Not only his choice of appointee but all the bitterness, anger, hatred, resentment and entitlement that his election has wrought. feck. Gotten to the point where I don’t even want to turn on my computer in the mornings. I’m hoping for some good Honey and James photos today.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted September 29, 2018 at 5:12 am | Permalink

            I would not just blame Mr Trump. Another one at least as culpable is Mr McConnell.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted September 29, 2018 at 5:06 am | Permalink

          Ken, I lost my respect for the SCOTUS in their 2000 election ruling.
          Later I found that the SC has always been kind of conservative, reactionary even, with the exception of the Warren and -to a lesser degree- the Burger courts.
          Interesting piece in the Atlantic about that:

      • Posted September 28, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        They will need some justification to impeach Kavanaugh beyond what we’ve seen so far. Perhaps Ford can get her local police department to open an investigation. My guess is that if proper detectives looked into this case they would discover a few witnesses who could jog a few memories. They don’t even have to win Ford’s case but uncover evidence that shows that Kavanaugh was a drunken sexual predator and was obviously lying to the Judicial Committee.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 28, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    … Williams. was then drafted, served as a naval aviator in World War II, and returned to baseball for the 1946 season …

    Williams got called back up to active duty with the Marine Corps during the Korean War, where he served as John Glenn’s wingman on combat missions over N. Korea.

    Had Williams not missed the better part of five seasons in military service, he might well have made a run at the home-run record then held by Babe Ruth.

    Williams is also one of very few major-league ballplayers to have played during four decades, starting his rookie season in 1939 and calling it quits after the 1960 season.

    • kieran
      Posted September 28, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      If today’s rules are applied to Babe Ruth’s era would he have scored more home runs?

      • George
        Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        I don’t know where to start. You do not score home runs. You hit them. When you hit a home run, you score one to four runs, depending on how many men are on base. Things that affect the number of home runs you hit are steroids and the ball. Every year there are complaints that the ball has been manufactured differently and as a result will carry farther.

        The rules of baseball have not changed that much since Ruth’s era. The American League added the designated hitter in 1973.

        Another factor is ballparks. They are not standardized. The distance to and height of the outfield wall varies as does the amount of foul territory.

        One thing going for Ruth – he did not play against ballplayers of color. Not just African American but also Latino. Baseball was segregated until 1947. So he did not play against Satchel Paige – who may have been the greatest pitcher of all time.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          The main “rules” change affecting home run totals, I suppose, would be the increase to 162-game seasons from the 154-game schedule played in Ruth and Williams’s days.

          • George
            Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

            Forgot the schedule thing. Kieran’s (Irish?) comment emphasized that PCC(e) has an international readership – many of whom know nothing of baseball.

        • mikeyc
          Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Yeah, home runs aren’t such a great measure of hitting prowess. On base percentage, slugging average and batting average are better.

          For on base percentage it is Ted Williams all time, followed by Babe Ruth. For slugging percentage those are reversed – Ruth is best all time with Williams a close 2nd.

          • George
            Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            But you forget OPS (on base percentage plus slugging). Perhaps the ultimate measure of a hitter’s ability – except for OPS+.

            Ruth leads Williams in both measures. 1.1636 to 1.1155. Above 0.900 is considered great. In OPS+ (adjusted OPS) it is Ruth 206 to Williams 190.


    • Posted September 28, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I’m no baseball fan, but I’ve always found it amazing that 1 hit in 10 distinguishes a bad hitter from a great one (.200 vs. .300) and again from an amazing and these days unheard of one (.300 vs. .400) …

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Here, let Kevin Costner break it down in Bull Durham for you:

  3. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    These boiling lakes (methane hydrate mats?) are worrying. On the ocean floor these mats are also found, over huge surfaces, kept in place by high pressure and low temperatures. A potential positive feedback loop. Might climate change turn out worse than we are expecting?
    Is there anybody here with some more on this?
    I gather that the permafrost thawing may also release humongous amounts of methane.

    • mikeyc
      Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Some of the numbers I’ve seen about methane stores (as you say there are huge amounts on the seabed, in permafrost and at the bottom of Arctic lakes) are very scary indeed, especially since they can be released spontaneously and in great quantities. If released en masse these CH4 resources have the capacity to almost double the green house effect of our total CO2 input in the past generation and it could happen in an extremely short time.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted September 29, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

        That is exactly what I’m afraid about too.
        But I can’t find a good résumé.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    My dog would be face first in that bowl of greens as soon as it was put in front of her. She loves vegetables and fruit (she loves oranges, but I rarely let her have a nibble).

  5. rickflick
    Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I can’t get over how slim and slight Ted Williams looked back in the day. His shoulders don’t look like he worked out much. Compare to Barry Bonds physique in the time of anabolic steroids.

  6. David Coxill
    Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Not going to comment on the Corbyn witch hunt ,but i remember seeing the BBC play” Destiny “,1976 ,long time ago .

  7. Posted September 28, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Randy Rainbow is a gem. A friend of mine recently turned me on to his work.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 28, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Many of his older pieces, though dated by now, are thoroughly worth watching just for the cleverness and the songs.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 28, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I agree, he is a huge talent and funny as hell.

  8. Posted September 28, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This was the beginning of the end for the Brits in America.

    Sorry but I can’t resist a small dig at this. Britain maintained control of parts of America for quite a while after the USA seceded from the Empire – Canada and parts of the West Indies are the most significant parts.

    • Posted September 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      In fact, the BNA 1867 was designed to *keep* the Brits in the Americas – to protect the colony from being overrun by the US.

  9. Posted September 28, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    The fish geek in me can’t resist trying to ID the fish in the bowl – it’s very unusual. Perhaps a loach of some kind.

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