Noms: Apalachicola

We dined late last night due to my genial host having gotten lost on the drive from Apalachicola, Florida (where he and his paramour live, and where I’m staying) to Panama City, where my plane arrived. Plus the time zone line is between the airport and the lovely small Gulf town where I’m staying.

Apalachicola is known for fishing, shrimping, and especially its local oysters, so naturally I essayed a dozen of these bivalves at The Taproom of the Owl Cafe, a seafood and craft beer joint.  They were plump, sweet, and mild, and I downed a dozen before the main course: a soft-shell crab sandwich.

Dinner (a locally brewed milk stout accompanied the oysters):

Activities for the day: After a hearty local breakfast (venue yet to be determined), my two buddies and I will head for St. George Island, a 20-mile long barrier island composed of white sand—and a place where cryptic white mice have evolved. There we will launch a skiff which can be poled like a punt (the water is shallow). I won’t fish, but will observe my friends trying to catch speckled sea trout, sea mullet (“kingfish”) red drum (“redfish”), Spanish mackerel, and other diverse species.  No worries: all caught fish will be returned to the sea.

Caturday felids: Siberian farm cats, Big Cat Scan, Aleppo cat rescuer

First up we have some cats hailing from Siberia where they sleep in hen-houses and protect the farm from rats and mice. They’re a tough posse,




Several readers sent me this:

The lion in question, 14 year old Tomo,  needed a scan to examine infection in his gums.

PIC FROM Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo and Aquarium / Caters News – (PICTURED:Tomo, the 14-year-old African lion having a CT scan at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The infection was then treated with oral antibiotics.

Finally, a heartwarming story of paramedic  Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel who had built s cat shelter ion Aleppo but was forced to evacuate the city after heavy shelling. He has rebuilt and now has a veterinary clinic which treats all types of animals for free and people of all ages can visit to play with the cats.
He has a Facebook page here:

A visitor communes with the cats

h/t: Ivan, Michael, Stephanie, Malgorzata

Saturday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning!

Today J.C. Penney opened his first store in 1902; Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush established America’s first abolitionist society in 1775, and in 1912 the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg on its first voyage to America giving the world it’s most memorable civilian sea tragedy and, some years later, it’s most excruciating ballad. In 1935 during the height of the Great Depression, Oklahoma and then Texas were hit by a severe dust storm that was to remove 300 million tons of topsoil. It was dubbed Black Sunday and compounded the economic damage already experienced in the region.

In slightly less serious affairs, please enjoy this cat scarfing down food as fast as it can go.

Amazing footage of a Great White.

A handful of Tribolonotus gracilis.

A cool scan of a snake mid-meal.

And a tale of a baby leopard.

On to Poland where Hili is receiving tributes from visitors to court.

Radek: I haven’t seen you for a long time.
Hili: Only because you haven’t been here for a long time.


In Polish:

Radek: Dawno cię nie widziałem.
Hili: To tylko dlatego, że dawno nie przyjeżdżałeś.

Finally, an update from Gus, who is looking particularly pristine today.

Hat-tip: Barry

Paper of the month: Postmodernists on “doggy bio-politics” as exemplified by Obama’s Water Dog Bo

You know what? I don’t care if the paper below was published is a predatory journal, or an obscure journal or whatever: it still gives scholars the opportunity go cite a publication on their curriculum vitae, thereby advancing their careers.

I have no idea how Organization rates among scholars, but Wikipedia does suggest that it doesn’t rate badly, having a decent impact factor:

The journal is abstracted and indexed in Scopus, and the Social Sciences Citation Index. According to the Journal Citation Reports, its 2013 impact factor is 2.354, ranking it 36th out of 172 journals in the category “Management”.

Click on the screenshot to go to the pdf. The subject is what can be trawled, via postmodernist jouer, from Obama’s pet water dog Bo. The abstract gives you a taste of the rest:

I struggled hard with excerpts of this paper, trying to find something in it worth saying or hearing, but what i got was this (an excerpt; my emphasis):

The direct interventions on Bo, rather than on the individual citizen, exemplifies how the rules of the game for self-crafting are reconfigured with both normative framings and an opening up of a less confined space, wherein individuals are activated to engage in dog-infused ethical decision making to be channelled anew (cf. Weiskopf and Willmott, 2013). Much akin to how Skinner (2013) describes the self-ethical process of becoming a ‘good farmer’ via the construction of the ‘organic’ within a community, but in our case without as direct enterprising bents. That is, Bo is not mainly offering us to become better at economic cost benefit analyses on how to ‘invest’ in certain practices to optimise ourselves as human capital (du Gay, 1996; Weiskopf and Munro, 2012), neither is Bo teamed up with instrumental self-quantification measures to regulate our intentions to enhance biospheric vitality (Chandler in Chandler and Reid, 2016: 27–49). Rather, Bo’s presence in the White House, in the media and in political debates extends the biopolitical self-regulative agenda to what we conceptualise as ‘doggy-biopolitics’, a power exercised in relation to the optimisation of dogs en masse.

Bo is an especially powerful instrument of doggy-biopolitics as he can fulfil the role of a humanlike person with a close personal relationship with the members of the First Family, whereas he can also be biologised when characteristics traditionally associated with dogs are needed: liveliness, loyalty and honesty. In contrast to previous First Dogs, Bo is not merely invoked as a rhetorical resource used to meet arguments in a conflict, but is construed as a person with a voice and feelings of his own, invoked by alternative voices to shape and scrutinise presidential subjectivity. As dogs are generally thought to be honest by nature, Bo can be said to be the perfect litmus test for truth.

All I can glean from this is that Bo alternated between the roles of “dog” and “anthropomorphized pet”, and that’s about it. The rest of the paper, which goes along similar lines, is at your disposal—and I suggest that literally.

When I read this, the thought came to mind, “Why, this obscurantist nonsense is just like religion!” And then I realized that that was indeed true: postmodernism is a sort of religion. It has its gods (Foucault, Derrida) whose behavior and scriptures are sacred;it cares not a whit for what is true, but rather is concerned with a twisted form of tribal bonding; it takes up space and wastes people’s time; it makes decent careers for people who are unsuited to do anything meaningful (viz., theologians), and it engages in arrant obscurantism, using a special and tortuous jargon to confound regular people. Indeed, its purpose is not to be understood by us regular Joes and Jills, but to speak to others in the faith, and, by saying the right things, join the tribe and “construct” a career.

Those of you who have the stomach to read the whole paper, and find its nugget of truth—if there is one—by all means weigh in below. But my quick reading convinces me that this is just like Feminist Glaciologyor racist white Pilates.

Well, at least the paper’s figures have pictures of Bo, so you can see a dog if you like canids. Here’s Figure 5:

h/t: Maarten, who wrote of the journal: “My dog could get published in there, and I don’t even have one!”

He added, in his cover email:

So when Bo Obama was fetching a football, the canine was in fact complicit in an evil plot to entrench the Foucauldian hegemony of the neo-liberal order. Or something to that effect.
Have fun!

A believer comments: God doesn’t want organ donation

Here’s a comment I got on my post “Social Justice Warrior would rather let someone die than donate her organs, because they might go to rich or “overeducated” people“. That post, which was one of the most ridiculous manifestations of Authoritarian Leftism I’ve ever seen, recounted the views of one Kristel Clayville, a visiting assistant professor of religion at Eureka College and a fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. My university! (She’s also a minister of the Disciples of Christ).

Because Clayville believes there are social inequities in the system of distributing harvested organs for transplantation, she took the “Screw it: I’m taking my liver and going home” attitude, saying that she was keeping her damn organs until the system is fixed to her liking. Well, plenty of poor people do get organs, and her attitude is selfish, stupid, and reprehensible.

Here’s one almost as reprehensible; a comment from a reader who says that God doesn’t like organ donation either:

I’ve approved that comment, which you can find here if you want to have a discussion. I am very curious why God doesn’t want organ transplantation since it saves lives. Does he want souls in Heaven with all their organs intact? (But He could have the power to regenerate them–except in dogs; just ask Edward Feser.) And what about the souls that will wind up in Hell; can’t they give their organs to one who is Heaven bound? Even Jehovah’s witnesses, who don’t allow blood transfusions, aren’t opposed to organ transplantation so long as the blood is removed from the organ.

This ability to know the Will of God fascinates me, but I can’t pursue it as I’ll soon board my plane.

I didn’t get groped!

My luck is turning, perhaps thanks to my Lucky Ducks. I breezed through TSA Pre-Check today in about 2 minutes, wearing my shoes and fleece—and nobody touched my buttocks. (Granted, I went through the metal detector rather than the See-You-Naked Machine.)

To celebrate, I had a Dunkin Donut (guess which flavor?) and a large coffee. I noticed that my cup bore a strange resemblance to a mustachioed man. Do you think this is deliberate?  After all, wouldn’t you be happy if you were dispensing coffee to tired travelers?

Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday the Thirteenth: April 13, 2018. If one were superstitious, one would be loath to begin a journey today, but I’m off this morning to Florida and New Mexico for two weeks. It’s National Peach Cobbler Day, an estimable comestible, as well as [Thomas] Jefferson’s birthday in America. (Note that it’s also Christopher Hitchens’s birthday.)

Note to readers: as I’ll be on the road, please limit any emails to me, including those that have links.  One every three days or so would be something I could handle. But of course if I make errors in posts, let me know any time. Grania will be taking over the Hili dialogues, and perhaps Greg and Matthew can make a few posts as well, but in general posting will be light.

On this day in 1742, Handel’s Messiah made its debut in Dublin, Ireland. And on April 13, 1861, Fort Sumter in South Carolina surrendered to Confederate troops. The Civil War had begun. In Amritsar, India, on this day in 1919, the infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place, with British troops killing at least 379 protestors and wounding over 1200 in an enclosed space: another nail in the British coffin in India.  On this day in 1943, the graves of 22,000 Polish civilians and resistance army were discovered—they were part of the Katyń Forest Massacre ordered by Lavrenty Beria and his Soviet secret police. On this day in 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first African American male to win the Best Actor award (Lilies of the Field).  Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress in 1939 (Gone with the Wind), and Halle Berry nabbed the Best Actress Oscar for her 2001 performance in Monster’s Ball. 

On this day in 1976, the U.S. Treasury reintroduced the two-dollar bill as an official note; Jefferson’s portrait was on his bill, and that was his 233rd birthday.  26 years ago on this day, basements throughout the Chicago Loop was flooded (I remember this well),  closing the Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Finally, it was on April 13, 1997, that Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament: he was only 21.

Notables born on this day include Catherine de’ Medici (1510), Guy Fawkes (1570), Thomas Jefferson (1743), Butch Cassidy (1866), Samuel Beckett (1906), Eudora Welty (1909), Madalyn Murray O’Hair (1919), Seamus Heaney (1939), and Christopher Hitchens (1949). Those who died on April 13 include Emil Nolde (1956), Wallace Stegner (1993), and Günter Grass (2015).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being extra demanding:

Hili: What time is it?
A: 6:30 a.m.
Hili: Prepare breakfast. I will come in a moment
In Polish:
Hili: Która godzina?
Ja: 6.30
Hili: To zrób śniadanie, ja zaraz przyjdę

From Matthew: a Sphynx in its luxurious bath:

This thread contains some hilarious geographic mistakes. Just go to one of the two tweets and read down on the site:

A meta-joke:

Put the sound up on this one:

Another illusion from Matthew, who says, “Look at one, see what happens to the other”:

From Grania. I would LOVE to have a pot thrown by a cat!

And here’s the story of Flame the Firehouse cat, sent by both Grania and Heather Hastie. A lovely story (sound up):

And a heartwarming story of a huggy cat who finally found a home (sound up):


Thursday: DuckLog (with added mating!)

**COPULATION UPDATE!!** After today’s afternoon repast, the ducks swam around the pond, and all of a sudden both of them went completely underwater and disappeared. Then they surfaced far from where they disappeared: they’d apparently swum very quickly underwater. Then they did it again, except this time only Frank surfaced. When I looked closely, though, he was on top of Honey, who was almost submerged. It was clear that they were mating, and the deed was over in a few seconds. The warm weather (I went outside in just a light shirt) has made them frisky, and this presages some ducklings!

I hadn’t seen mating before, so this is a new one on me.


These will be my last duck photos for a while, as I’m leaving tomorrow. The good news is that I’ve found a ducksitter—actually two: a new assistant professor here whose mom I know, and the grad student of that prof. I’ll put up photos of them later if I get their permission. They are both animal lovers, so I’m leaving Honey and Sir Francis in good hands. I showed the student the ropes this morning, and she’s taken to the task like a duck to water.

Here’s Frank coming ashore to get his morning corn (Honey had already eaten):

Honey doing postprandial preening on the duck island (I’m promised that the water level will be lowered, making more islands available):

Frank on the water:

And I was told by a resident of the Botany Building that he saw the ducks flying down to the pond from a second-floor window this morning. I had no idea, but apparently Frank and Honey nest up there, right above the soft vegetation of the bank, to keep the nest away from predators. And if that’s the case, then, like wood ducks, the mother will fly down and incite the newly-hatched ducklings to plummet from the nest to the ground. Since they’re so light, that fall won’t hurt them, and they’ll be in the pond within seconds.

Stay tuned for duckling news. (I don’t think they’ve yet laid eggs, and it will be a month before any eggs hatch.)

I’ve circled the putative nest, which looks like a pile of leaves:

Students try to shut down CUNY lecture on free speech

Grania brought this tweet to my attention. Josh Blackman, an associate professor of law (and expert in Constitutional law) at the South Texas College of Law at Houston, was invited to speak by the Federalist Society at the City University of New York.

As he recounts in an article on his blog about his experience, Blackman was invited to talk about “originalism” (the judicial philosophy of interpreting Constitutional Law as how the Founders supposedly intended) as part of a panel on constitutional interpretation. As nobody else accepted, he decided to talk about free speech on campus, a talk he’d given several times before without problems.

But, of course, you can’t talk about anything if you’re poltically impure. He was warned that there would be protestors, and the president of the Federalist society explained why:

The President provided an explanation:

These students saw first, that this is a Federalist Society event; and second, they saw a few of your writings (specifically a National Review article praising Sessions for rescinding DACA and ACA), and instantly assume you’re racist; and third, our event being titled about free speech is reminiscent of events that claim free speech just to invite people like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter.

I’m no fan of Sessions, and I’m a supporter of DACA and the Affordable Care Act, but he wasn’t even going to talk about those. I’d always be interested in hearing a talk on free speech.  But the students didn’t see it that way. You can see their protest in the hall, which is fine and apparently within CUNY’s guidelines, but they also interrupted his talk for the first few minutes and were impolite. Eventually they settled down and let him speak (I haven’t yet heard the talk, though I watched the disruption.) Again, we have another instance of the Left disrupting the Right, and, as always, I’ll be glad to post about the reverse situation if I hear about it (it’s rare).

I have to say that attendance was extremely light, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was the topic, the Federalist society, or a lack of advertisement.

Here are a few photos of the protestors, including them standing in front of the room as Blackman tries to speak (I consider that disruption). You’ll be familiar with the tropes.

I particularly like this as an example of mush-headedness. One’s existence and another’s opinion are NOT alternatives to be ranked. You can have both!


Here’s the old “hate speech” canard. See if you think Blackman purveyed that in his talk:



This is why the idea of “hate speech” is unworkable

Yes, there can be “hate speech” that unreservedly expresses hatred for a person or a group, and while I deplore that, I also don’t think it should be illegal. That’s because the concept truly is a slippery slope, for expressing criticism of religions, countries, movements, and so on can always be construed as “hatred”. (“Hate speech” is also protected by the First Amendment, probably for that very reason.)

Here’s an example. This picture, posted on Facebook in 2015, shows Miriam Ciss, the daughter of Julius Ciss, executive director of Jews for Judaism in Canada. Facebook flagged it as offensive and removed it. The flagging, removal, and reinstatement, which may have been recent, have just been made public.

Here’s what Julius Ciss wrote  about the incident, which he allowed to be made public two days ago:

Last week I posted the following regarding how Facebook had tagged the attached photo as “insensitive”:

“It seems that someone complained to Facebook about this previously posted photo of my daughter at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. When I posted it, I stated:

“My daughter, Miriam Ciss, was in Auschwitz Concentration Camp today. My mother Helena and Aunt Dolly survived Auschwitz Birkenau. This is just one of the amazing photos she took. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover.

“What I didn’t say was that aside from my parents and aunt, the Nazis murdered both my father’s and mother’s entire families.

“Well, today I received the following notice from Facebook: ‘Your photo wasn’t removed because it doesn’t violate our community standards, but it has been marked as insensitive because it could offend or upset people.’

“What do you think?”

This above posting went viral and in seven days, from April 9 – 15, 2015:

Reached 1,886,456 people,
Was Liked by 69,751 individuals,
Commented on 26,211 times,
Shared by 19,816 persons.

I guess enough friends complained because Facebook has now issued the following apology, just in time for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Rememberance Day):

“It has come to our attention that a piece of your content was mistakenly flagged by one of our reps. This was a mistake and we’ve reversed the action taken. We apologize for our error.” – Eleanor, Community Operations, Facebook

I thank Facebook for acknowledging this mistake.

There’s more, including a touching excerpt from Miriam’s diary about her visit, but I’ll leave you to read it.  Besides that, the point is that if this is considered “hate speech”—at least a photo sufficiently “offensive” to warrant some functionary removing it from Facebook—then there’s hardly anything that can be exempt. After all, this doesn’t even say anything about Palestine; it’s just a remembrance of the Holocaust along with the flag of the land established for Holocaust survivors. It’s can be “offensive” only to anti-Semites.

h/t: Malgorzata