Thursday: Hili dialogue

January 16, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Thursday, January 16, 2020, and I’m in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of my favorite cities in the U.S. As I’m here for R&R, please don’t expect copious posting (or braining) for a week.

It’s National Hot and Spicy Food Day, but also National Fig Newton Day, one of my favorite cookies (the Brits call them “fig rolls” and classify them in the family “biscuits”). They were devised as a curative for digestive problems, and are in fact named not after the scientist, but after the town of Newton Massachusetts, near Boston, where they were invented. Here’s how they make them (they’re showing the production of “Fig Newmans,” the equivalent product made by Paul Newman’s company).

After watching this video, I desperately want some Fig Newtons NOW—and a big glass of cold milk. Like Oreos, Newtons demand milk.

It’s also Appreciate a Dragon Day, National Religious Freedom Day (marking the day when Jefferson’s Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom went into effect in 1786), and Prohibition Remembrance Day, celebrating the day of infamy when Prohibition was ratified by the requisite number of states (75% of them) in 1919. It didn’t take effect until a year later, but it was one of the worst Constitutional decisions ever made in the U.S.

News of the day:  I’ve been traveling, but saw the video below last night. Yesterday I wrote a short post showing Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to shake Bernie Sanders’s hand after the debate. There was no audio, and so people could only speculate about their post-debate exchange onstage. Now, however, CNN has recovered the audio, and you can hear what they said (it’s at 1:01 in the Anderson Cooper report below).

Warren accuses Bernie of calling her a liar, and he tries to defuse the argument, saying that they’ll talk about it later but also saying that she also called him a liar. This is mere sideline drama in a very serious election, but it marginally erodes my support for Warren, speaking to her self-control (she was wearing a microphone, though she probably forgot. I’m already dubious about the electability of Sanders, and have to consider electability in the primaries, where I choose among Democrats).

Warren remains, however, among my top candidates, and I will repeat, as I have many times, that the worst Democratic candidate is infinitely better than the best (and only) Republican candidate (i.e. Tr*mp), and I’ll be voting Democratic in November.

It’s worth listening to the whole ten-minute report.

Stuff that happened on January 16 includes:

  • 27 BCE – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
  • 1412 – The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy.
  • 1605 – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid, Spain.

Surely you’ve seen this famous rendition of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. You know who drew it, right? (If not, go here.)

  • 1707 – The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union, paving the way for the creation of Great Britain.
  • 1786 – Virginia enacts the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.

The Statute was of course the model for the First Amendment of our Constitution, and Jefferson wanted it counted among the three accomplishments listed on his gravestone at Monticello. Here they are (note the absence of “President of the United States”):

Jefferson on the University he founded:

In conformity with the principles of our constitution which places all sects [denominations] of religion on an equal footing – with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment and surprise, and with the sentiments of the legislature in favor of freedom of religion manifested on former occasions [as in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom] – we have proposed no Professor of Divinity.

  • 1909 – Ernest Shackleton’s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole.
  • 1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.
  • 1964 – Hello, Dolly! opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances.
  • 1969 – Czech student Jan Palach commits suicide by self-immolation in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in protest against the Soviets’ crushing of the Prague Spring the year before.
  • 1979 – The last Iranian Shah flees Iran with his family for good and relocates to Egypt.
  • 2001 – US President Bill Clinton awards former President Theodore Roosevelt a posthumous Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish–American War.
  • 2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.

Notable born on this day include:

  • 1902 – Eric Liddell, Scottish runner, rugby player, and missionary (d. 1945)

You remember Liddell as the “muscular Christian” in the movie “Chariots of Fire” who refused to run on the Sabbath, even though “God made me fast.” Liddell died as a missionary in China in 1945, suffering from a brain tumor.

  • 1908 – Ethel Merman, American actress and singer (d. 1984)
  • 1910 – Dizzy Dean, American baseball player and sportscaster (d. 1974)
  • 1933 – Susan Sontag, American novelist, essayist, and critic (d. 2004)
  • 1948 – Ruth Reichl, American journalist and critic
  • 1974 – Kate Moss, English model and fashion designer
  • 1980 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, American actor, playwright, and composer

Those who Bought the Farm on January 16 include:

  • 1794 – Edward Gibbon, English historian and politician (b. 1737)
  • 1906 – Marshall Field, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Marshall Field’s (b. 1834)
  • 1957 – Arturo Toscanini, Italian cellist and conductor (b. 1867)
  • 1986 – Herbert W. Armstrong, American evangelist, author, and publisher (b. 1892)
  • 2009 – Andrew Wyeth, American painter (b. 1917)

Here are two of Wyeth’s cat paintings.

One of the most famous modern American paintings is Wyeth’s Christina’s World, depicting a woman, paralyzed in her legs, crawling across a field (see it at the link). Wyeth saw that scene in real life and made it into a fantastic image. But he also painted her room, producing the picture below, Christina’s Bedroom (1947). She had a black cat.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is (of course) hungry:

Hili: Can we stop working for a moment?
A: And do what?
Hili: And go to the kitchen.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy możemy na chwilę przerwać pracę?
Ja: I co?
Hili: I pójść do kuchni.

From In Otter News:

A d*g sticking its head out of a fast-moving car:

From Jesus of the Day:

The latest from Titania. Actually, the Uni’s pay isn’t for monitoring fellow students, but instructing them in how to avoid committing microaggressions. And only one of the three statements mentioned was specified as odious by the Uni:

From reader Barry, who notes: “I love these little guys! And I love how that last one takes such a long time to go for it. ‘Okay, okay. Hold on. Don’t rush me. I’m gonna do it! [pause] Nope, not yet. Okay… NOW!'”

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, the adorable Demon Kitten:

From Ann German via Heather. It must be really cool to see this exhibit:

Four tweets from Matthew. First, PENGUINS!

I know nothing about this rumor, but figured I’d call it to your attention so you could check it out:

A really lovely beetle:

And a tweet with a 7-minute video about a Holocaust survivor (worth watching).



42 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. The new Lev Parnas information will make you forget about any cat fights between the democrats. The boring impeachment trial moves on.

    1. Especially if the Senate lets him testify, along with John Bolton.
      The trial won’t be very credible without them, but I don’t think most in the Senate care about being credible.

    2. I am consistently amazed at how the press plays up this brief social interaction as a scandal, while trump uses the constitution as TP daily. Really, who cares about a friggin handshake?

        1. That’s not necessary. But I don’t see why a handshake snub (or not) has gained as much attention as it has.

    3. And Moscow Mitch is losing the battle on witnesses, so his new ploy is to not allow media access to the trial. So much for a free press. Are there really that many idiotic Americans who can’t see through this shit? Are millions so blinded in their hate-cult that they can’t grasp the simple truth that this is not how innocent people act? I thought Moscow Mitch was following the rules set forth in the Clinton impeachment. Liar! Now we have the most corrupt Senate leader in history in bed with the most corrupt POTUS in history. What an f’n mess America and its government has become. The entire GOP is rotten to its core.

      And tonight, Lev Parnas part 2 on Maddow.

    1. Yes, even Parnas says Hyde was nothing more than an alcoholic and did not buy any of his information. But Parnas is implicating the Vice President, of course Giuliani, and many others in this mob like operation in Ukraine. The republican cult will have a very hard time ignoring all this additional evidence. Some of the republican congressmen were involved in this thing as well.

      1. Yes. Watch Rachel Maddow’s interview with Parnas. He refers to the Republican that sent him that email as “Drunk all the time.” and says the man has no credibility. Parnas considered it all just bluster.

    2. Victoria Toensing seems to corroborate Hyde’s role. And for the life of me, I can not imagine why the Ambassador’s physical whereabouts would be important to anyone unless it was to harm her – especially in light of the comments about what payments can buy you in Ukraine.

      This is important. Today. How would you like to be one of the Democratic Presidential race frontrunners knowing that Trump was willing to rub out an Ambassador merely to coerce political dirt on an opponent? What might he do if he felt he could not defeat you fair and square, and Putin offered him his own brand of expertise in making people disappear?

      We should not even be having such a conversation in America.

      1. The surveillance may have been part of an attempt to scare the ambassador into quitting or seeking reassignment. Or possibly they thought they could catch her doing something they could spin into a justification for removing her from her position.

        1. Doesn’t seem credible to me. If you wanted to scare her (as if the President needs a reason to fire someone in the Executive Branch) you would openly follow her. Makes no sense to me.

          The very idea of hiring people with cash delivered by a known Russian mafia bagman in order to “catch” a career diplomat with a spotless record doing something incriminating on a stretch of sidewalk is completely absurd. Truly deeply pathetically absurd.

          1. I wasn’t really pushing those explanations, just offering them as possibilities. We now have documents that suggest people on the Ukraine end were wondering if someone on the US end was willing to pay for a “hit” on the ambassador. So far, we have nothing that says anyone on the US side wanted the ambassador hit. The fact that she wasn’t attacked physically makes me think they may have thought about it but decided not to. In the movie someone would have said, “If we’d wanted her dead, she would be dead!”

            1. But, Hyde, the originator of the “hit” story is a nut job and a drunk. As far as I’ve seen there is no corroboration of any of it.

              1. As far as I know, there’s no actual hit, just a hint that they could if they wanted to. This is available on all the MSM sources:

                ‘Hyde said Yovanovitch had turned off her phone and computer, and that his associates in Ukraine would give updates on the ambassador’s movements. He added, “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price … Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money … what I was told.”‘

              2. If Parnas knew anything about a hit on Yovanovitch it would be in his best interest to distance himself and call Hyde a nut job drunk. Ukraine is investigating the matter and I think Southern District of NY as well. I wouldn’t shrug this off just because Parnas spoke ill of him.

              3. I’m strongly inclined to accept Parnas comment. If he lied about it in a TV interview, he’d look pretty bad going into his trial and sentencing. Besides, Hyde looks like a small-time local politician known to be a kook. Unlikely he’d have any “connections” in Ukraine.

    3. Someone on MSNBC pointed out that Parnas pooh-poohing the idea that Hyde was serious lends further credibility to his story. If Parnas were just saying what reporters and left-leaning voters wanted to hear he’d be more likely to say that Hyde was a credible threat rather than just a blustering buffoon.

      Still, speaking in such a matter about a diplomat should be treated quite seriously regardless of how unserious the person saying it was.

  2. Jefferson’s gravestone is located in a small fenced-in family cemetery a hundred yards or so just off the lawn behind monticello. His interest in separating the new university of virginia from the church influences is rooted in his unsuccesful efforts over the years since his time at the college of william and mary to bring secular faculty there. When he was at william and mary, there was one secular faculty member, william small, a physicist from scotland, who he admired greatly. His larger priciple of separating the college from the church in the age of enlightenment was continually rejected by the college’s board of visitors and the virginia general assembly…even as jefferson was the state’s governor. After those years of beating his head against the conservative education wall, he ended up leading the creation of a new university shaped to his thoughts on its role, culture, and structure…a fifty year effort finally achieved. While the culture and behavior that the same planter’s children brought to the new university were no different than what he experienced at william and mary, it appears that ultimately the new structure had its way.

    1. The book Educating Jefferson has a great deal of info on this period and I would recommend it to anyone. I had no idea how disgusting the Virginia students of that time were. It was nearly impossible to educate these arrogant southern spoiled children. Jefferson’s lack of discipline did not help.

    2. Whoops…planters’ not planter’s children…in original post above…i really miss having an editor in my retirement.

    3. The words, “we have proposed no Professor of Divinity” on the monument, were a welcome surprise. To this day, even Harvard has a divinity program. What a wonderful idea was Jefferson’s! If any christian tries to take Jefferson as their own, we should remind them of this.

  3. There are probably others but I’ve only seen one wing-nut admit that Jefferson was no wing-nut theocrat. And that was D. James Kennedy believe it or not.

  4. >>The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of >>Union, paving the way for the creation of >>Great Britain.

    Er, no – seriously wrong.

    Few Americans get this right.

    Great Britain is the geographical land mass that includes Scotland, England and Wales.

    What happened in 1707 was the creation of the political entity called the United Kingdom.
    Hence, latterly, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (later, Northern Ireland).


    1. Many years ago, I had an intoxicated soccer fan in a bar explain the difference between Great Britain and United Kingdom to me.

  5. In an ironic turn, the Ukraine government has opened an investigation into the surveillance and threatening of the US Ambassador. Trump got his investigation, just not the one he was looking for.

  6. “Warren accuses Bernie of calling him a liar…”

    Shouldn’t this be “Warren accuses Bernie of calling her a liar?” But who knows these days? Or do I need a brain scan?

  7. I don’t really know why Elizabeth Warren was upset about being called a liar.

    She is one.

    Warren lied about her ethnic heritage claiming Native American ancestry. That was a lie that keeps on plaguing her to this day.

    Warren lied about being fired from a teaching position because she was “visibly pregnant”. That was a lie. Warren was offered a teaching contract but didn’t accept it.

    Warren lied about working for the people as a lawyer. Records show Warren worked for big business interests against the interests of the common people.

    Warren lied when asked if her children went to private school. Warren responded that no, they went to public school. That was a lie. They went to private school.

    Warren claimed her father was a “janitor”. Her brother called that out as a lie stating his father was never a “janitor”.

    Back in the day we used to say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” to people like this.

    1. I’m sure the opposition research that the GOP has on Warren and Sanders is hundreds of pages long. They haven’t needed to use much of it, yet. I doubt the 2 progressives could win against the craven GOP and their Master. Doesn’t need to be said I’d proudly vote for either of them.

  8. May I recommend 3 restaurants in the Boston area? Bergamot in Somerville. Creative American cuisine. Legal Seafood is a chain but of very high quality. Excellent seafood. Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse. Excellent grill choices and delicious pasta.

Leave a Reply