Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s almost Halloween, which is tomorrow; today it’s Tuesday, October 30, 2018, and once again National Candy Corn Day, celebrating the Worst of All Possible Candies. Made of perfume and paraffin, this candy has no rival in confectionary dreadfulness.

Speaking of Halloween (the source of all c—y c–n, today’s animated Google Doodle (click on screenshot below) is the outfit’s first multiplayer game: you can play with up to six other people throughout the world. See the explanation at C|Net.

Meanwhile in Washington, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway put her metatarsals in her mouth on Fox News, once again lying about Trump’s leadership against hatred. Do remember that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband (who are Jewish) had to persuade the President to denounce anti-Semitism after the Pittsburgh attack. But more invidious is the second clip, in which Conway blames the anti-Semitic hatred in the country, which led to the Pittsburgh shooting, on the nonbelievers and anti-religious: “This is no time to be driving God out of the public square.”

On this day in 1485, Henry VII was crowned King of England, beginning the Tudor reign. On October 30, 1831, Nat Turner was arrested for leading his bloody slave rebellion (55-65 people were killed, 51 of them white). He was soon caught, hanged and his body cut into pieces. On this day in 1938, when my father was 20 years old, Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater broadcast his radio play of The War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in many Americans who thought the play was a real news broadcast, announcing the invasion of Earth by Martians. My dad remembered people rushing out into the streets in panic.  On this day in 1942, reports Wikipedia, “Second World War: Lt. Tony Fasson and Able Seaman Colin Grazier drown while taking code books from the sinking German submarine U-559.” And two years later, Anne Frank and her sister Margot were moved from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen Lager, where they were to die of typhus shortly before the war’s end.

One year after that, in 1945, Jackie Robinson, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs, signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black man to play major league baseball.  On October 30, 1961, because Stalin supposedly “violated Lenin’s precepts”, Father Joe’s body was moved from being on view in Lenin’s tomb to a burial site with a plain marker.  Finally, on this day in 1995, the citizens of Quebec voted very narrowly (50.58% to 49.42%) to remain a province of Canada. I wonder if such a vote will ever occur again.

Notables born on this day include John Adams (1735), Alfred Sisley (1839), Paul Valéry (1871), Ezra Pound (1885), Charles Atlas (1893), Robert Caro (1935; still working on the last volume of his great biography of Lyndon Johnson), Grace Slick (1939), Henry Winkler (1945), and Stephanie Izard, our own Chicago chef (1978).

Those who died on this day include Kitigawa Utamaro (1806), Egon Schiele (1918), Harry Houdini (1926), Indira Gandhi (1984), River Phoenix (1993, only 23 years old), Studs Terkel (2008) and Ted Sorensen (2010). Here’s a lovely print by Utamaro, “Cat Dreaming”:

And another: “Wild Chrysanthemum: Woman and Cat”:


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili saw a bug:

Hili: Look, it’s walking.
A: What’s walking?
Hili: I don’t know, you’ll have to ask an entomologist.
In Polish:
Hili: Patrz, chodzi.
Ja: Co chodzi?
Hili: Nie wiem, trzeba zapytać entomologa.

Humor of the day from reader Neil: Amish salsa!. He notes:

Saw this in my local grocery store (run by Amish). The Amish will appropriate Mexican culture but they won’t appropriate buttons, cars, or birth control. Go figure.

Somebody tell the Culture Police!

Tweets; the first sent by reader Nilou. The comments indicate that it’s eating and not a fake animation. This starfish twerks even better than James Pond:

Tweets from Grania. This first one is most enlightening: be sure to watch until the end:

Check out the cat circle in this early painting:

A guy stabbed in the chest for telling his pal the ending of his books!

Do you know about social credit in China? Listen to this, and then read an explanation here.

Here’s a heartwarming story from the reliably soothing Dodo site:

Tweets from Matthew. This is a stupefying case of mimicry, and there’s no explanation other than this caterpillar is a Batesian mimic of a snake:

A cuttlefish is born!

A gorgeous beetle. Does anyone know the species?

Can you spot the moth?

Here are two more photos to help:




  1. Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed listening to Matthew’s World service broadcast last night – available as a podcast –
    Tracking the First Animals on Earth
    What were the first animals on the Earth? Zoologist Matthew Cobb explores the origins and early evolution of the animal kingdom.


  2. Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband (who are Jewish)

    You learn something new every day. I honestly didn’t know you could convert to being Jewish until I decided to try to disprove that Ivanka is Jewish.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      If Ivanka can be Jewish, can Rachel Dolezal be black?


      • Posted October 30, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        This is truly a disgusting remark.

        • Posted October 30, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          What’s so disgusting about it? Not as bad as seeing the sea cucumber poop.

          • Posted November 11, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

            I, on the contrary, think that this was cute. People with constipation can only envy.

        • Posted October 30, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think so. I think it is an interesting question and the answer in respect of what makes somebody black is complicated.

          For example, is Barack Obama black? He was born to a white mother and and black African father and he was brought up mostly by his mother. On that basis, you’d have to argue he is mostly white, but, of course, in appearance, he is black, especially as far as Chicago taxi drivers are concerned.

          Appearance seems to be all that matters when labelling somebody as black even though it covers an enormous diversity of cultures and appearance.

          • Posted October 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            I agree. My first reaction to the Dolezal case was that it seemed ridiculous. But, if I remember correctly, her subsequent explanation was surprisingly reasonable. She said that she felt a strong tie to black culture due to having been raised by a black mom, or something like that.

            • Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

              If you have been immersed in a particular culture since birth, regardless of your appearance, you are going to feel part of that culture.

              I see a parallel here with transgenderism. Maybe there is a good reason why we accommodate somebody who is biologically male but who identifies as a woman but we don’t do the same for somebody who has white skin but identifies as black, but nobody has told me what that is yet.

      • Posted October 30, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Interesting question. I admit I played fast and loose with the language. Wikipedia says Ivanka converted to Judaism i.e. the religion associated with Jews. I don’t know if that necessarily qualifies her to be called “Jewish” but I followed Jerry’s lead on that.

  3. Hunt
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I love candy corn.

    That is all.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      No, that is not all. I like it too.

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

        Me also. Connected to an early childhood memory of staying with my great grandmother when I was four. She kept a bowl of it on the kitchen counter, as a remedy for everything. Worked on me!

        • Harrison
          Posted October 30, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          I’ve never met anyone who didn’t either love or hate candy corn. It was Marmite before Marmite.

    • Posted October 30, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I like it too though I do recognize that it is 100% junk.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted October 30, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Ditto. But only in small but steady intake. It must be mostly about how it invokes memories of childhood since [whisper]it really is not very good[/whisper].

    • rickflick
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      There must be a recessive gene for that.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted October 30, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Haha – yup. It might be the sugar addiction gene.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      I’m not a huge fan, but my wife found a recipe once for homemade “Butterfinger” bars. The ingredients were candy corn and peanut butter which is melted down at a specific temperature and cooled. I’m telling you, they tasted exactly like the real thing. Even had that strange shard-like texture. I don’t know how someone figured it out, but it’s brilliant!

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted October 30, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Sounds yummy to me!

  4. W.T. Effingham
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Poor Kellyanne. “…(blah blah blah blah)… anti-religiousity that is SOMEHOW in vogue…(blah blah blah).” LOGIC, Mrs. Conway, that is your SOMEHOW , LOGIC. Meanwhile, we have a starfish and a sea cucumber with their responses to Mrs. Conway…

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Re: Kellyanne Conway, one of the more interesting twitter feeds out there is that of KaC’s husband, George Conway, who’s taken to continually trolling Donald Trump, including by retweeting the recent WaPo piece by Ronald Reagan’s younger daughter, Patti Davis, who urges that the nation simply stop looking to Donald Trump during times of tragedy like the synagogue shooting, since the man hasn’t a shred of compassion or empathy or decency in him.

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

      It’s a very strange situation: George trolling, Kellyanne kissing ass. Must be very weird at their house sometimes.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      And right before the midterms. You’d think he’d have enough political savvy to act like he cared…maybe cancelling a rally, denouncing and distancing himself from the white supremacists, doing something more impassioned than a subdued teleprompter speech. Instead he just makes everything worse with his lack of empathy, turning off voters that might have supported him had he acted like a “normal” President. Cynical as it is, these kinds of tragedies are Presidential “gifts”; passed Presidents would unite the people, show leadership and sorrow, address the nation from the Rose Garden; it’s a time when it’s easy to “be liked”.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 30, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        “past” Presidents…argh

        • Diane G
          Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          Well, the majority are passed.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 30, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        I’ve said it before – when you have no empathy, you have no shame.

      • Diane G
        Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        “And right before the midterms.”

        Don’t think he needs to worry about that, what with the Russians, the RNC, state measures that make it very difficult for (certain) people to vote, etc.

  6. Sastra
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    So essentially the White House is blaming Bill Maher for the synagogue attack.

    I call that ‘ducking into the punch.’

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink


  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Robert Caro (1935; still working on the last volume of his great biography of Lyndon Johnson) …

    Seems to be something akin to Zeno’s paradox at play with Caro’s masterwork “The Years of Lyndon Johnson.” IIRC, Caro originally envisaged it as a trilogy; then it grew into a tetralogy. Then, book four split in half again for a fifth volume

    If I’m counting correctly, Caro is 83 today. Sure hope he gets to finish his work, which he started back in the Seventies, I think, since, given the changes wrought in the publishing world, we’re unlikely to see anything like it ever again.

  8. Posted October 30, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Even Republican politicians are not interested in getting roped into Trump’s photo-op visit to Pittsburgh today. They’re probably scared that Trump will say something stupid and it will splash back on them too.

    “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were all invited to join the President on his visit but declined, according to two congressional sources.”

    “Pennsylvania’s two US senators were also not planning to join Trump in Pittsburgh. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, was invited to join the President but declined … Democratic Sen. Bob Casey was not invited by the White House …”


  9. rickflick
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    It may be that the idea of social credit in China is an attempt to induce more social consciousness. I’ve noted that many Chinese lack what we take for granted in terms of respecting the rights of others. For example, when visiting some hot springs in Yellowstone park, we saw a Chinese tourist getting off the board walk and using a stick to carve characters into the fragile bacterial surface. This despite signs posted along the way. Others have told me of similar incidences, such as Chinese pushing to the front of waiting lines, etc. I’m told the cultural norms in China are simply different. What we would call rude behavior, is there accepted as normal. Obviously, not all Chinese are like that, but perhaps the credit system is their way of getting fuller cooperation.

  10. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    What also gets m’goat lately is the current Republican talking point which is ‘whatabout all the liberal violence against conservatives?’
    Mountain to a molehill comparisons come to mind.

    • Posted October 30, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Yes, I agree. For example, they deliberately blow up Eric Holder’s remark, “When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about”, as if that’s actually a call for supporters to do real violence. Many GOP politicians are following Trump’s lead. No lie is too outrageous now.

  11. Michael Hart
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Pretty sure that starfish is breathing, not eating (and shown at high speed). It’s part of a taxonomic family that has a sort of fake skin over the dorsal surface, creates a water-filled space with that orange central opening. Protects the tiny gills underneath, some also use the protected space to brood embryos.

    Same goes for the sea cucumber, all that rhythmic dilation is forcing water in & out of a set of lungs. Until the gross part starts (they breathe & poop through the same hole).

  12. Michael Hart
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Or maybe it’s just twerking.

  13. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    The beetle is in the genus Lamprina, and it is in the same family as stag beetles. The long mandibles are in the males, and they use them in combat with other males for access to females.
    the strange curvature seems to be a mystery. The idea that I had read about is that they might face off and fight each other in burrows, where one beetle is upside down to the other. In this way their curvy mandibles can engage with each other.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the info. That beetle is spectacular.

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I believe that I mentioned this last time Jerry dissed candy corn, but it bears repeating.

    In the movie “Psycho” what Norman Bates is constantly munching on is candy corn. It’s very hard to see on a black and white film, and it pretty much quickly transitions from brown paper bag to hand to mouth every time, but it is candy corn.

    It was actor Anthony Perkin’s idea to boot.
    (Damn, with multiple takes, AP would have had to eat a lot of it!!)

    This time I include a closeup

    He’s also eating corn candy while nervously watching Marion Crane’s car drown in the swamp.

  15. DrBrydon
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    There is an excellent book on the “War of the Worlds” broadcast called Broadcast Hysteria. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Welles or radio.

  16. Blue
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    in re ” this candy has no rival in
    confectionary dreadfulness, ” I utterly concur.

    However, there .is., as you may know, a
    mightily clear close second to that horror:
    horehound drops.

    Horehound, incredibly, is a freakin’ plant.

    And in re its hardened candies ? Wicked – bad.
    My taste buds ‘ll never, never again be
    so heinously assaulted. I ‘ve promised them thus !


    • Posted October 30, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes, horehound candies do taste pretty bad but they are intended to. They are based on folk remedy, which probably means they depend at least partially on the placebo effect. No one trusts medicine that doesn’t taste bad.

      Doctor Maturin, ship’s doctor in the Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian, would add a foul-tasting herb to the pills he made to better convince the sailors of their effectiveness. I tried to google the herb’s name but came up empty. I did run across an interesting website:

      Maturin’s Medicine: A medical companion to the Aubrey-Maturin books of Patrick O’Brianhttp://grapevine.com.au/~kwebb/MM.html

      I’m sure the herb must be in there somewhere but I didn’t want to spend the time to look for it.

    • Blue
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      in re its species, “vulgare” ? = TO BE SURE !
      … … quite, quite v u l g a r !


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