Thursday: Hili dialogue

The week is flying by: it’s now Thursday, October 10, 2019: National Tic Tac Day, celebrating the mint people use to freshen their breath.

It’s also National Angel Food Cake Day (nobody makes that delicious cake any more), World Porridge Day, Squid and Cuttlefish Day, National Love Your Hair Day (what about bald guys?), National Depression Screening Day, and World Day Against the Death Penalty.

And Tony Eales tells us that it’s International Jumping Spider Day, and thoughtfully provides us with a photo he took:

News of the Day: In a stunningly stupid and cruel move, President Trump told American soldiers not to interfere as Turkey bombed the Kurds in Syria, Kurds who were our allies against ISIS. I wonder what Hitchens would say about that were he alive? Well, I know what he’d say, but would like to hear him say it.

Stuff that happened on October 10 includes:

  • 1845 – In Annapolis, Maryland, the Naval School (later the United States Naval Academy) opens with 50 students.
  • 1846 – Triton, the largest moon of the planet Neptune, is discovered by English astronomer William Lassell.
  • 1871 – Chicago burns after a barn accident. The fire lasts from October 8–10.

This is the famous “great Chicago fire” that burned 3.3 mi² of the center city, killed 300 people, and left 100,000 homeless. It may indeed have started with a fire in the O’Leary’s barn, but we don’t know if that involved a cow kicking over a lantern.

  • 1913 – U.S. President Wilson triggers the explosion of the Gamboa Dike, completing major construction on the Panama Canal.

Here’s the explosion of the Dike, filling the last dry portion of the Canal, the Culebra Cut. The Canal opened in August of the next year.

  • 1957 – U.S. President Eisenhower apologizes to Ghanaian finance minister Gbedemah after he is refused service in a Delaware restaurant.
  • 1973 – U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns after being charged with evasion of federal income tax.

Here’s his resignation (he died in 1997)

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1731 – Henry Cavendish, French-English chemist, physicist, and philosopher (d. 1810)
  • 1900 – Helen Hayes, American actress (d. 1993)
  • 1901 – Alberto Giacometti, Swiss sculptor and painter (d. 1966)
  • 1917 – Thelonious Monk, American pianist and composer (d. 1982)
  • 1930 – Harold Pinter, English playwright, screenwriter, director Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2008)
  • 1941 – Peter Coyote, American actor, director, and screenwriter [JAC: He’s the narrator of Ken Burns’s “Country Music” series]
  • 1954 – Rekha, Indian actress
  • 1958 – Tanya Tucker, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1959 – Julia Sweeney, American actress, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1963 – Daniel Pearl, American-Israeli journalist (d. 2002)
  • 1974 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., American race car driver and actor

Here’s Giacometti’s “Le Chat” (“The Cat”) which sold last year for £12.6 million:


Those who died on October 10 include:

  • 1659 – Abel Tasman, Dutch merchant and explorer (b. 1603)
  • 1911 – Jack Daniel, American businessman, founded Jack Daniel’s (b. 1849)
  • 1913 – Adolphus Busch, German-American brewer and businessman, co-founded Anheuser-Busch (b. 1839)
  • 1963 – Édith Piaf, French singer-songwriter and actress (b. 1915)
  • 1985 – Yul Brynner, Russian actor (b. 1920)
  • 1985 – Orson Welles, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1915)
  • 2005 – Wayne C. Booth, American educator and critic (b. 1921)
  • 2013 – Scott Carpenter, American commander, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1925)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is in the way:

A: We are going to dry walnuts on this table.
Hili: Are you trying to tell me that I’m in your way again?

Photo by Sarah Lawson

In Polish:
Ja: Na tym stole będziemy suszyć orzechy.
Hili: Chcesz powiedzieć, że znowu ci przeszkadzam?

From Travis Simpson via Fat Cat art, who says, “#cheezitchallenge So this is what happens when Chelsea and I are bored and our 🐱 is a heavy sleeper. 4 paws balancing cheezits is our new record…”

Note the line of crackers on the tail and one carefully balanced on each paw. Is this a waste of Cheez-Its? You be the judge. But if it were my cat, I’d totally eat the Cheez-Its after the cat woke up. That’s how much I like them. (The white cheddar variety is best.)

Jimmy Carter still instantiates the way an ex-President should be. He was on the news last night sporting that big shiner, but still building houses.

And philosophy is born!

There’s a winner in Alaska’s Fat Bear Contest: Holly, weighing in at a hefty 1400 pounds. Check out the NPR story in the link below, and be sure to look at Holly’s “before” and “after” pictures.

Somebody lacked a bit of foresight!

From the Happy Cats Club via gravelinspector:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie: Everyone‘s a critic!

And a sneaky cockatoo:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a tweet by Andreas Kay, who (as I posted yesterday) just died of brain cancer. What a loss! Without him, would you know of this fantastic creature?

Not very graceful, but gets the job done:

As Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that!”



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Until Trump came along Spiro Agnew was the poster child for crooked politician. Bribery and extortion were in the guy’s genes if that is possible. The only reason he resigned and saved us yet another corrupt president was the first class investigators had him cold and some extra help with extra activities outside of his marriage. I would recommend listening to Maddow’s podcast – Bag Man. It is a very good story.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Spiro Agnew’s another name that I only know of because of The Simpsons. I thought it was a brand of watch until recently for some reason.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        The great thing about Agnew was that his move up to VP did not get in the way of collecting the bribe money. He just gave access to the bag man to make deliver at his office in the white house, no problem. New job, same station.

        • Sarah
          Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Around that time Bob Hope reported in a mock-serious tone that a terrible fire had broken out in Spiro Agnew’s library and destroyed both his books. “And he hadn’t finished coloring in one of them.”

      • Peter Taylor
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        The first time I heard of him was via Tom Paxton’s “Ballad of Spiro Agnew”:

        We didn’t have google (was back in the 70s) and he was virtually unknown in the UK.

    • Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      So Gerald Ford became president without being on a presidential campaign ticket. Is he the only president with that distinction?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        He got there by assassination (Kennedy) but then won the election in 1964. He could have run in 68 but threw in the towel because of Vietnam. There were several others who got there by assassination or death of the president. Andrew Johnson got there when Lincoln was assassinated but he never did win election by himself. In fact, he nearly was impeached.

        • Sarah
          Posted October 10, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          You mean Lyndon Johnson, but he was on the campaign ticket in 1960. As far as I know, Ford was the only president to succeed to the office without having been a vice-president first. Were there any other such anomalies?

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 10, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

            I’m sorry, I was talking about LBJ. You are correct, Ford replaced Agnew and then Nixon but lost when he tried to get elected. Carter I believe beat him. Probably lost due to pardon he gave Nixon. Other than Andrew Johnson I can’t think of any but there were other chances for this.

        • Posted October 10, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Gerald Ford, I said. Not LBJ.

  2. Reggie
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    National Love Your Hair Day (what about bald guys?)
    Exactly. There should be a National Remember What It Was Like To Have Hair Day.

  3. Mike Mayer
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The deadliest wildfire in American history occurred on October 8, 1871. But it was not the Chicago fire:

    • rickflick
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Same day? That’s quite a coincidence. Possibly as many as 2,500 fatalities! Why haven’t we heard of this?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 11, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Because Chicago upstaged it. Chicago had far more reporters and far more efficient communications. The 19th-century equivalent of ‘if there ain’t video, it didn’t happen’.


        • rickflick
          Posted October 11, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          Hard to imagine how they’d handle it today.

  4. Charles Sawicki
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    “In a stunningly stupid and cruel move, President Trump told American soldiers not to interfere as Turkey bombed the Kurds in Syria, Kurds who were our allies against ISIS.”
    This is so stupid that it even drew negative comment from some in the GOP. There seems to be no obvious profit in this for Trump. I wonder what drove the decision, since it certainly serves the interests of Russia by reinforcing doubts about our reliability as allies. I would like to see the transcript of the call.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    As I recall, nolo contendere is a legal phrase “Ted” Agnew almost single-handedly put in the American lexical consciousness in 1973. (It’s the type of “no contest” plea that’s widely available in many state-court jurisdictions but all but unheard of in federal court.)

    I think its literal Latin meaning is, “Let’s get rid of the thieving bastard of a vice president before going balls-to-the-wall on the impeachment of Richard Nixon.”

    • Randy Bessinger
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Having lived through that era, what is interesting is Agnew used the same excuses of the “corrupt liberal media was after him” as his mantra. Like today, his followers ate it up.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        As I recall, he referred to the press as “the nattering nabobs of negativism” — but then, he had Bill Safire for a speechwriter in those days. 🙂

    • Historian
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Sometimes life amazes. Who thought that it would be possible for there to be an administration more corrupt than Nixon-Agnew?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Yeah, Trump is much worse than Nixon. The crimes of Richard Nixon subverted only US domestic policy. Those of Donald Trump are subverting US foreign policy and national security. Trump is putting his personal self-interests (and the interests of foreign nations that align with his own) ahead of this nation’s best interests.

        • Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          You are forgetting Nixon/Kissinger’s sabotage of Vietnam peace talks, secret illegal bombings of Cambodia, and many other related Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos things.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

            Yes, Nixon probably committed his most corrupt act to get himself elected in the first place. He never had to answer for this either. When LBJ was attempting a peace plan prior to the 1968 election, Nixon and his fellow conspirators, the wife of Chanault, can’t remember her name, stepped in and killed the whole thing. They got the South Vietnamese to refuse attendance with the North, thus killing the plan at that time. It is as close to treason as one could get. So then Nixon wins in a land slide and on we go to Watergate. LBJ knew he had done this but did not step up.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 10, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            You’re right, Lou; I was limiting it to Watergate and the Plumbers and Nixon’s obstruction of justice. Cambodia and Nixon’s other Southeast Asian war crimes were considered by Peter Rodino’s judiciary committee, but didn’t make it into the articles of impeachment it passed. (And Nixon’s pre-1968-election fuckery regarding the Paris Peace Talks wasn’t yet public knowledge in those days.)

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      I’ve long thought that “Nolo Contendere” could make for a great aria sung by a baritone in an opera.

      • Sarah
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Yes! Perhaps in a Handel oratorio.

        • merilee
          Posted October 10, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          And I may have posted this a few months ago:

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 10, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

            Grazie infinite! That is brilliant – and hilarious!

            • merilee
              Posted October 10, 2019 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

              Prego. I can’t get the trumpo cheetah out of my head.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted October 11, 2019 at 2:03 am | Permalink

                Hey, Prego is a spaghetti sauce, are you insulting me? 🍝 (that’s supposed to be a spaghetti emoji)😊 (and that’s supposed to be a smiley face emoji to indicate I’m just being facetious) Never in my life have I used emojis until now.

              • merilee
                Posted October 11, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

                Glad to see some emojis on your plate😋
                I’m sure you know that “prego”=“I pray” is how ya say you’re welcome in Italia.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted October 11, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, Chef Boyardee splained it to me.

          • rickflick
            Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

            They should do an update with Juliano-ho! and Pompeo-ho!

            • merilee
              Posted October 10, 2019 at 11:23 pm | Permalink


              • merilee
                Posted October 11, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

                I had always thought of it as Chef Boy-ar-dee’, not Chef Boy-ar’-dee. The things ya loins on dis here website🙀
                Not that I’ve eaten that crap since I was about 10…

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted October 11, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            Brilliant. That’s how you troll someone in the classiest possible way.

  6. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I was walking in the park this morning and I saw a man flopping about in the duckpond, claiming he was “drowning” and begging for help.
    I said ‘where were you in Normandy?’ and walked off. You have to be fair with these people otherwise they will take advantage of you.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, if anyone had any doubt just how stupid this guy in the white house really is, just listen to his excuse for throwing the Kurds under the bus. They did not help us in WWII?

      I think some one commented the question, what is in this for Trump? That is easy, he has a big tower in Turkey. It’s business. Also, Putin probably ordered it.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Yes, his life has been one string of dodgy, underhand favours, quid-pro-quos. It’s just in the past that meant getting a planning permit or a write-off on a loan. Now those favours involve leaving the Kurds to get slaughtered, or lifting sanctions on enemy superpowers, but he’s still approaching them in exactly the same utterly cold, selfish, utilitarian way.

        The total lack of concern he exhibits when making decisions that could end up costing hundreds, thousands, of lives is the sign of a psychopath. Whether it’s a New York zoning permit or the life of a Kurd, his attitude is identical. They are pieces, objects to be used and then discarded.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        From what I hear, the Kurds didn’t show face to help Uncle Sam at the Battles of Concord and Lexington either. The slackers.

        Trump’s obliviousness would be funny, were it not so freakin’ tragic.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    941 – Peter Coyote, American actor, director, and screenwriter [JAC: He’s the narrator of Ken Burns’s “Country Music” series]

    Also, IIRC, a ci-devant hippie who was a founding member of “The Diggers” in the late Sixties Haight-Ashbury.

    • merilee
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Peter Coyote drove me crazy in one of Ken Burns’s previous efforts (the one about the prairies?) He should be the poster child for Bob and Ray’s Slow Talkers of America😬

  8. MP
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see Rekha’s name in “Born today” list. Did Bollywood just made its debut on professor’s blog?

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Here’s Monk playin’ probably his best-known tune, “Straight, No Chaser.” Happy birthday, man:

  10. Ruthann Richards
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Re the Cheez-It crackers: more important than whether the crackers are wasted is that some of the salt on them will get on the cat’s fur. Then, of course, the cat will groom where the crackers have been and consume far more salt than it should. Not good for the cat.

  11. rickflick
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I visited Panama 5 years ago and they were working on the new, bigger, part of the canal. It was completed in June 26, 2016 to allow newer, bigger, ships.

  12. Vita206
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The ‘Birth of Philosophy’ would be more appropriately attributed to the Pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales, Heraclitus, Parmenides who sought alternative explanations of reality to the Homeric religious explanations. They were a seeking a naturalistic and rational perspective.

    • Posted October 10, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      True, but the explicit meta-perspective discussed does seem to be from Plato – and the image in question is of the Platonic Socrates, so …

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 10, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Breaking News I am just getting from MSNBC. Two associates of Giuliani were arrested last night. They were arrested at DC airport getting ready to leave. These were clients of Giuliani in Ukraine and have been arrested on campaign finance charges (21 page indictment).

  14. Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Pardon my ignorance but how do we forcibly remove a Vice President? Impeachment only or can the President fire his VP?

    The answer may be of contemporary importance

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Since the VP is technically an elected official, I don’t think the president can fire him. Impeachment or resign, such as what Agnew did. That’s all I got.

  15. Posted October 10, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    How many eyes does that spider have?

    • tjeales
      Posted October 10, 2019 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      The usual, eight.

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