Monday: Hili dialogue

A week from today I’ll be in Hawaii; praise Ceiling Cat! It’s Monday, June 10, 2019, and National Iced Tea Day. Do they have this beverage in the UK?  I don’t remember seeing it there, and its absence may betoken the UK’s lack of Southern food, to which this libation is the perfect accompaniment (especially barbecue). It’s also the day for another great nonalcoholic drink: National Black Cow Day. This is a toothsome combination of root beer and ice cream, also known as a “root beer float” in the U.S.

I just fed the ducks, and all eighteen ducklings are present and accounted for. But it’s chilly and overcast today.

On this day in 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem, Massachusetts for “certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries”. She was the first person accused of withcraft to be executed, and here’s her memorial at Salem:

On June 10, 1793, the Jardin des Plantes museum opened in Paris, becoming the world’s first public zoo a year later. In 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted in New Zealand, burying the famous Pink and White Terraces, the object of many excursions by Europeans and a lucrative tourist business by the Maoris. I much regret that they can no longer be seen, but recent work suggest that at least part of the terraces, the largest silica “sinter deposits” on Earth, may still exist buried below the ground or even below the adjacent lake. Here’s what the Pink Terrace looked like before it was destroyed (photo is of course hand colored):

Speaking of nonalcoholic drinks, it was on June 10, 1935, that Dr. Robert Smith took his last drink, and later founded Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio, United States along with Bill Wilson. I gather it’s religiously based, but it also seems to work. Is there anyone with experience in the group who wants to talk about the faith aspect? On June 10, 1940, Italy declared war on France and the UK.

On this day in 1944, Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds became (and remains) the youngest person ever to play in a major-league baseball game. He was just 15 years old! As he said about his first game: “I was pitching against seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders, kids 13 and 14 years old… All of a sudden, I look up and there’s Stan Musial and the likes. It was a very scary situation.” He didn’t do well in this appearance, and returned to the minor leagues for eight years.

On June 10, 1947, Saab produced its first automobile. Here’s the very first car to come out of the factory, the Saab 92001. It’s a lovely car.

On this day in 1990, British Airways Flight 5390 landed safely at Southampton airport after the windscreen blew out, sucking the captain partly out of the front window. Pinned there, he managed to survive as the first officer landed the plane after 20 minutes. Although the pilot had frostbite, bruising, shock, and fractures to his right arm, left thumb and right wrist, he went back to work within five months of the accident. Here’s a 13-minute reconstruction of the accident:

On June 10, 1991, 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe, California. She wasn’t recovered until 2009.  Finally, according to Wikipedia, it was on this day in 2002 that “the first direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans [was] carried out by Kevin Warwick in the United Kingdom.” You can find the paper describing this strange experiment here

Notables born on this day include Gustave Courbet (1819), Howlin’ Wolf (1910), Judy Garland (1922), Nat Hentoff (1925), Maurice Sendak (1928), E. O. Wilson (1929, he’s 90 today), João Gilberto (1931), Eliot Spitzer (1959), Gina Gershon (1962), Elizabeth Hurley (1965), Tara Lipinski (1982), and Kate Upton (1992).

Here’s a Sendak cat reproduced from Catster, with the caption “A pen and ink and watercolor sample from Very Far Away, showing the book’s protagonist, Martin, ‘listening to his friends’ stories.’ The orange pal with the fine posture seems to be taking a skeptical view of the chatty sparrow’s tall story.”

Those who died on June 10 include Antoni Gaudi (1926), Marcus Garvey (1940), Jack Johnson (1946), Spencer Tracy (1967), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1982), Louis L’Amour (1988), John Gotti (2002), Ray Charles (2004), and Gordie Howe (2016).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili does cat stuff. She didn’t break the mug, but I’m told the coffee landed on the floor instead of inside Andrzej:

A: Hili, was it you who pushed my coffee mug to the floor?
Hili: Much ado about nothing.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, czy to ty zrzuciłaś mój kubek z kawą na ziemię?
Hili: Wiele hałasu o nic.

From Merilee (Michael Fisher put this in a comment in March):

And via Seth Andrews:

Roy! Jimmy! Vinnie!

An honest-to-Ceiling Cat Trump tweet. Is he really that ignorant? (Don’t bother to answer.)

A tweet from Nilou with some information that was new to me:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. Of this one she says, “This is one of the best tweets ever. They also look like they’re fighting their own reflection in a mirror.”

Look how fast its little feet go!

Tweets from Matthew.  This possum must have thought it died and went to heaven!

Bonus kitten. You can read about Lois Mailou Jones here.


Tweets from Grania. Like her, I love bodega cats, or any store or library cats:


You’re just gonna have to read this whole thread:




  1. Posted June 10, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I know nothing of iced tea but I know a cat that likes miced tea!

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    “Drink your big black cow – and get outta here”


    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      “Down to Greene Street. There you go. Looking’ so outrageous.”

  3. GBJames
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I think there is considerable reason to doubt that AA works at all. For one thing, secrecy rules prevent gathering statistics one way or another. (Or so I’ve read.)

    • randy bessinger
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      It works…for some. Since it is secret, good stats aren’t available. Smart Recovery is another program that works for some. It is science based (on Cognitive Therapy). That program requires no belief in a higher power. To be fair, alot of the tools are similar.

    • Marta
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      To the extent that AA works, I think it’s largely a placebo effect.

      Efficacy of AA is 5% or lower; AA has a very high recidivism rate. However, as you say, secrecy (or “anonymity”, as AA would have it) makes it impossible to measure anything like an efficacy rate.

      In any case, of those who manage to stop drinking altogether or to drastically reduce consumption, data shows that they do it on their own.

      It’s hard to do, and I try not to knock the various things people try to cope. Even so, AA is not the way to go, and it’s shameful that so many court systems are still forcing people into it.

      • randy bessinger
        Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        My opinion is there is a wide spectrum of people who have alcohol issues. I think some quit on their own, but others need a support group. I disagree with some of the comments here (overly harsh and generalized) but then again I know what worked for me😀.

        • Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          Posted, but lots of links, so in mod.

    • Minus
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      AA guy here. This can bea long discussion and I don’t want to get one started here. Just wanted to clear up a couple of misconceptions. First off, there are no rules in AA. Anonymity is not the same as secrecy. You don’t have to have “faith” to get sober in AA. You don’t have to do anything except what you are comfortable with. There are many atheists and critical thinkers in AA. Anyone who has been in AA for awhile knows the the alleged 5% recovery rate is probably optimistic.

        Posted June 10, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that AA dogma discourages, aggressively, the conventional medical approaches. Those have much better results.

  4. Stephen Mynett
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Iced tea is not common here but it has been around in the UK for a long time, as well as iced coffee.

    There are some very nice ones about, although a lot are Tisanes rather than teas if you wish to be pedantic.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    It’s also the day for another great nonalcoholic drink: National Black Cow Day.

    The Black Cow drink we used to serve back in my days as a mixologist was made with Kahlúa. Pretty sure that’s the one The Dan was singing about.

    • Posted June 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Come to think of it, a root beer float with a dose of Kahlúa would be worth a try.
      A new name would then be required.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The first Hawaiian word most people learn is Mahalo and they usually get it wrong. They think it means trash because it is on most of the trash cans. Thanks for that.

  7. Posted June 10, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    It’s world swallowtail day today people!!!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 11, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      I miss butterflies – not many in my city these days. If you have more photos Saloni send ’em in! 🙂

      • Posted June 12, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

        Sure, I have a few nice pictures of rare butterflies species from western ghats.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1944, Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds became (and remains) the youngest person ever to play in a major-league baseball game. He was just 15 years old!

    Those were “the War years” when a lot of strange stuff happened in major-league baseball, while most of the top-line players were off serving in the military. Philip Roth wrote a baseball novel set against that background, The Great American Novel.

    Joe Nuxhall went on to be the longtime radio voice for the Cincinnati Reds.

  9. Blue
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    in re ” .. .. anyone with experience in the
    group who wants to talk about the faith
    aspect? ” and while Alcoholics Anonymous and
    Al – Anon may work for a few to stop their
    addictions to fermented liquids and to the
    addicted people, they both are definitely
    androcentric / patriarchal. Read that:
    religious and oppressive.

    “ … … they understood our men as we did
    not ! ” and “ Today most of our men are
    better husbands and fathers than ever before.
    ” — — out of Mr Bill Wilson / his pen on
    pages 105 and 108 in Chapter Eight’s “ To
    Wives ” of the Big Book regarding an
    alcoholic’s other women, Mr. Wilson
    presenting that chapter AS IF … … his wife,
    Ms. Lois Wilson, had actually scripted it herself
    ––- — all the while himself, during and
    after ending alcohol consumption and,
    o’course, whilst still vowed to the same
    Ms Wilson, having for himself countless sexual liaisons. Quite theologian – like:
    a liar and hardly godly, er, … … good.

    And as to its secrecy ? It / its people are
    about as good at secret – keeping ( that is,
    the root at what a secretary … … is )
    as the Front Page of the Des Moines Register.


  10. merilee
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink


    • rickflick
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink


  11. Blue
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Of “library cats,” here is a darling story
    of one named Dewey. Long time now a book and
    given to many children and grandchildren
    including my own. Amazon has for it
    ~1,600 reviews.

    Dewey was a kitten when found. Solo.
    Upon nearly the most frozen and frigid day
    of northwest Iowa’s wintertime at -10 degrees
    Fahrenheit, Dewey finally got his start at
    a good life when someone had shoved him
    through the local library’s book return drop
    – slot … … seriously.

    Dewey, at age 19, has died. Within the arms
    of his loving staff:


  12. Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Typo: Bridget Bishop

  13. Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    AA has a c. 8% success rate, based on careful research. AA claims, without basis, a 75% success rate, declaring anyone who washes out to be simply irredeemable. The latest research on alcohol abuse shows that ‘cold turkey’ approaches generally fail, while taking efforts to moderate drinking and manage the catalysts that lead to abuse are more effective.

    Will try to dig up the related links, but having a busy morning.

    • randy bessinger
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Yes, please provide a link on moderate drinking success and the 8% figure for AA? Frankly, I am highly skeptical of the moderate drinking research claim and would want to see how robust the research. Thanks.

    • Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      AA is Faith-Based, Not Evidence-Based(Harriet Hall)

      “AA’s own statistics show that after 6 months, 93% of new attendees have left the program.”

      We’re addicted to rehab. It doesn’t even work.

      “In a 1990 summary of five membership surveys from 1977 through 1989, AA reported that 81 percent of alcoholics who began attending meetings stopped within one month. At any one time, only 5 percent of those still attending had been doing so for a year.”


      The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous
      Its faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.

      The pseudo-science of Alcoholics Anonymous: There’s a better way to treat addiction

      “Peer-reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. That is, about one of every fifteen people who enter these programs is able to become and stay sober. In 2006, one of the most prestigious scientific research organizations in the world, the Cochrane Collaboration, conducted a review of the many studies conducted between 1966 and 2005 and reached a stunning conclusion: “No experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA” in treating alcoholism. This group reached the same conclusion about professional AA-oriented treatment (12-step facilitation therapy, or TSF), which is the core of virtually every alcoholism-rehabilitation program in the country.”

      After 75 Years of Alcoholics Anonymous, It’s Time to Admit We Have a Problem

      Lists of alternative treatment programs, many of which draw on CBT and/or focus on moderation:

      • rickflick
        Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        I had heard of the weakness of AA, but this array of documentation pretty much tells the story. Thanks for the research.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink


        • Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          I compiled it a while back, when a friend of a friend was ordered to attend AA following a DUI.

          • rickflick
            Posted June 10, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

            Probably best that he not bother to pay attention in class. He could always meditate on his sins. 😎

            • Posted June 10, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              She had a serious alcoholism problem which I observed first-hand, and she could’ve used some real help with a lot of issues. AA seemed to help for a little while, then it all fell apart again. Like it always does, it always does. (h/t Moby).

              • rickflick
                Posted June 10, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

                Of course addiction can be a very serious problem. Sympathy is the first response. I hope your friend gets better help.

      • randy bessinger
        Posted June 10, 2019 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Matt. I scanned the articles and am very familiar with Smart Recovery which is one of the alternatives, Honestly, I don’t dispute the high failure rate of all the programs. That is a pretty easy target😀

        That said, I didn’t see any peer reviewed studies showing that people with serious alcohol addiction were able to switch to moderate drinking. Did I miss the reference? I have no doubt that some can because people drink to excess for multiple reasons.

        I am not a big fan of AA, but frankly most medical Dr’s and psychiatrists still will recommend it to their patients if they think a they have a problem.

        At this point, I feel we know the problem and the low success rate. What I don’t see is good repeatable research of the solutions. I just know what worked for me.

        • Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          It’s been a couple of years since I compiled those sources. I recall reading about the success of moderation, so I might have lost a link. The moderation groups should have some info in that regard.

          In contrast to AA which emphasizes one’s ‘brokenness’, cognitive therapies focus on non-judgmental changing of behavior. In that respect, AA, whatever the merits of its methods, comes from a fundamentally flawed philosophical perspective.

          As you note, different methods will work for different individuals. Again, AA is fundamentally flawed in insisting the only path to recovery it through total abstinence and penitence.

          Considering that even spontaneous desistence of alcohol abuse occurs more frequently than AA’s success, continuing to rely almost exclusively on AA is madness.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 11, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          “…serious alcohol addiction were able to switch to moderate drinking…”

          This might be one of those true Scotsman things… If someone is able to switch to moderate drinking, did they not have a serious problem?

  14. Roger
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I think Trump says stupid things because he knows his name will be plastered all over the news every time.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      I think he says stupid stuff because he is ignorant. I don’t think he cares because it gets him into the news.

    • Jeff Lewis
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      In this case, I don’t think Trump meant that the Moon was a part of Mars. I think he meant a Mars mission would include trips to the Moon as build-up or staging. It’s hard to tell because he does say so many stupid/ignorant things, and his language was very unclear in this tweet, but I don’t think it’s as bad as some are making it.

      • Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        I read it as part of “the much bigger things we are doing”.

        He’s far from articulate, and says so many incredibly stupid things, so it’s not really productive to jump all over this one.

        • merilee
          Posted June 10, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          Just to add to the silliness, I saw somewhere where someone said “Mr. Trump, Sean Hannity is circling Uranus.”

  15. Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    If it wasn’t for the location, I’d wonder if they were distant relatives of mine. My relatives are all closer to London, and the family tree I have doesn’t match any of those names.

  16. DrBrydon
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I prefer a Boston Cooler to a Black Cow.

  17. Michael Fisher
    Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    The link associated with my name in the OP should be THIS ONE leading to to comment #9 of a March Sunday Hili dialogue.

    The personal items scattered on the side of the road in Exeter – Joe Williams description of the location is useless as it could be either side of the cinema since Western Way passes it by. Using Google maps Streetview & @JoeWilliams96 photo The location on Western Way where he found the items is exactly 50°43’25.4″N 3°31’25.5″W [from pavement tarmac patches] THIS LINK IS THE SPOT

    Joe’s historian instincts are leading him astray – he should stay in the present & visit local care homes [within 300 yards or so at first] & the large houses opposite to establish if a dementia sufferer went walkies on or before the 5th June. They tend to go wandering with their prized possessions looking for their past which is vivid to them. Due to privacy laws phone enquiries will be fruitless most of the time – Joe Williams needs to go in person. Anybody with Twitter please let Williams know.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      On the left. Just after the lamppost. In the shadow of the bush:


  18. Robert Van Orden
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I was a member of AA and a true believer for about 11 years from age 23 to age 34. My first exposure to AA was at age 20, following a car wreck.

    I now agree with Matt and others above regarding AA’s efficacy. Over the years, I have read similar articles as those linked by Matt, and I concur with a lot was said above.

    Actually, I initially gained doubts about AA when I became familiar with advanced sports analytics (think Nate Silver). There about confirmation bias and other things.

    You asked about the faith aspect. A big part of the illusion comes from the first step with the key word being ‘powerless’.

    Anyway, as I was winding my way out of the program so to speak, I found Sam’s book on freewill helpful. It gave me an answer for something I could not otherwise account. How was it that I went from seemingly drinking against my own will to completely abstained?

    I had experienced a pretty dramatic shift in attitude and world view from age 20 to 23, with a lot of epiphanies coming in the final week. After that, it was quite easy for me to abstain as I had for over a decade.

    I now believe those epiphanies were my older, slow to learn, quick to react part of the brain as described by Harris in said book finally associating alcohol as a bad thing when hitherto it associated it as a good thing.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 12, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Re that captain who was sucked out of the cockpit window, his incredible survival seems to have made surprisingly little impression on him since he was unconscious for most of it. He was flying again five months later.

    The crew thought he was dead but hung on to his ankles for the duration since they were concerned that his body might be sucked into an engine (it was a rear-engined BAC 111). The ‘body’ had been loaded into an ambulance when it revived.

    By contrast, I seem to recall reading that the first officer, who landed the aircraft, was far more shaken by the experience.


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