Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, and National Mulled Cider Day, an appropriate drink for this chilly week in Chicago. It’s also Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day (be careful when purchasing; Costco has a reliable and non-duplicitous organic brand), Orange Shirt Day (in Canada), Chewing Gum Day, International Translation Day, and International Blasphemy Rights Day.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot below) is a weird one: a interactive animation of a d*g, apparently riding in a car going down the highway. When you click on the beast, it sticks out its tongue and exudes hearts. It turns out that, according to Google, it’s a “dachshund bobblehead”:

Today’s interactive Doodle celebrates the dachshund bobblehead, an iconic weiner dog doll with a wobbly, spring-attached head that originated in Germany as a friendly vehicle accessory. . .

. . . The dachshund has long been recognized as a popular German symbol. That special status was only strengthened in the 1970s with the manufacture of the first daschund bobbleheads, known affectionately in German as the “Wackeldackel”–or “wobbling dachshund” in English. The agreeable canines could soon be found perched on the rear dash of traditional German notchback cars, nodding along to every twist and bump in the road.

And there’s an interview with the Doodle’s “lead engineer” David Lu, who tries to explain this:

Q: What do you hope people take away from your Doodle?

A: I want all non-German speakers to appreciate the word wackeldackel, which perfectly encapsulates what this Doodle is about. It’s also way more descriptive than “German Wiener dog Bobblehead”.

All I can say is “WTF?”  Perhaps German readers can explain more.

News of the Day: There is the debate, of course, and I’ll watch some of it, though it will give me indigestion to hear Trump (I’m writing this on Tuesday evening), and I’m worried that Biden will make fluffs. We’ll discuss the debate in a post this morning; hold your thoughts until then.  All I’ll say now is that it was a godawful mess, too dreadful to watch in its entirety.

In the meantime, Trump is planning an October ICE assault on “sanctuary cities,” getting ready for a big roundup of undocumented immigrants in places that have irked him. As the Washington Post reports,

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation, known informally as the “sanctuary op,” could begin in California as soon as later this week. It would then expand to cities including Denver and Philadelphia, according to two of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive government law enforcement plans.

Given that most Americans favor some immigration reform, and the Democrats have done little about it, this brazen move could well work in Trump’s favor, and was clearly calculated to boost his chance of reelection.

The New York Times has an editorial by law professor Joan Wlliams, “The case for accepting defeat on Roe,” arguing that maybe the demise of Roe v. Wade would be a good thing, allowing states to make the rules. Now that seems dumb, doesn’t it? For the states themselves have been chipping away at women’s ability to get abortions. But somehow Williams thinks that people’s goodwill will lead to a “legislative restoration of abortion rights” in the states, as the referendum did in Ireland:

. . . the best tribute we can pay to [Ruth Bader Ginsburg’ is to do what she suggests: open up the kind of dialogue that occurred in Ireland, where young people knocked on grannies’ doors and persuaded them to vote to legalize abortion, which — much to the distress of the Catholic Church — they did. (At the same time, activists galvanized to ensure that, in the absence of a referendum, women throughout the country would have access to and knowledge about medication abortions.)

Who is Williams kidding? Does she know what state legislatures will do if Roe v. Wade were overturned?

UK Animal news 1: Several readers called my attention to a BBC report that five African gray parrots have been removed from public display in a wildlife park because they said BAD WORDS. There is no information about who taught them to cuss.

UK Animal news 2: Villagers in the town of Tredegar, Wales, built a scaffold to rescue a kitten stuck in a tree for four days after the fire service couldn’t reach it. There’s a video at the site. Another article, with a photo, reports that the kitten was finally rescued. (h/t Dom)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 205,859, an increase of about 950 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll is still listed only as “1.0 million +.”

Stuff that happened on September 30 includes:

  • 1520 – Suleiman the Magnificent is proclaimed sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1541 – Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto and his forces enter Tula territory in present-day western Arkansas, encountering fierce resistance.
  • 1791 – The first performance of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute takes place two months before his death.
  • 1888 – Jack the Ripper kills his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.
  • 1915 – World War I: Radoje Ljutovac becomes the first soldier in history to shoot down an enemy aircraft with ground-to-air fire.

Liutovac used a modified Turkish cannon to shoot down the plane, and sure enough if the replica of that cannon (or maybe the original) adorns his grave:

  • 1939 – NBC broadcasts the first televised American football game.
  • 1941 – World War II: The Babi Yar massacre comes to an end.
  • 1947 – The 1947 World Series is the first to be televised, to include an African-American player, to exceed $2 million in receipts, to see a pinch-hit home run, and to have six umpires on the field.
  • 1949 – The Berlin Airlift ends.
  • 1962 – James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, defying racial segregation rules.

Here’s a photo of Meredith at the University; the caption is “Photograph shows James Meredith walking to class accompanied by U.S. marshals.; James Meredith walking to class at University of Mississippi, accompanied by U.S. marshals. According to, the men flanking Meredith are U.S. Marshal James McShane (left) and John Doar of the Justice Department (right)”

Here are the cartoons, which will undoubtedly get me reported in Pakistan and this post removed by WordPress in that country. (They’re also in Wikipedia at the link; I wonder if that entry is also banned in Pakistan.) In a book about the cartoons, The Cartoons that Shook the World, Yale University Press was too cowardly to reproduce them.


The paintings, shown below, were Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen and View of the Sea at Scheveningen. They were recovered in Italy in good condition. Curiously, the Wikipedia link above says that the combined value was $30 million.

They’re far from Van Gogh’s best work, but hey, they’re original Vincents:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1882 – Hans Geiger, German physicist and academic (d. 1945)
  • 1915 – Lester Maddox, American businessman and politician, 75th Governor of Georgia (d. 2003)

Maddox, an inveterate bigot and segregationist who refused to serve blacks in his restaurant after the Civil Rights Act of 1964,, was interviewed by Dick Cavett on December 18, 1970.  The discussion got heated, and Maddox stormed off Cavett’s show:

  • 1917 – Buddy Rich, American drummer, bandleader, and actor (d. 1987)
  • 1924 – Truman Capote, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (d. 1984)

Here’s one of three videos of Capote on the Tonight Show on November 27, 1972. He was sui generis, and in the interview he talks about his masterpiece In Cold Blood.  But do not neglect his short book A Christmas Memorywhich is also a wonderful remembrance from Capote’s childhood.

  • 1928 – Elie Wiesel, Romanian-American author, academic, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2016)
  • 1931 – Angie Dickinson, American actress
  • 1935 – Johnny Mathis, American singer and actor
  • 1942 – Frankie Lymon, American singer-songwriter (d. 1968)
  • 1943 – Marilyn McCoo, American singer

Those who flatlined on September 30 include:

  • 1955 – James Dean, American actor (b. 1931)
  • 1989 – Virgil Thomson, American composer and critic (b. 1896)
  • 1990 – Patrick White, Australian novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1912)
  • 2012 – Barry Commoner, American biologist, academic, and politician (b. 1917)
  • 2017 – Monty Hall, American game show host (b. 1921)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s washing herself on the windowsill, embellishing her intentions:

A: Are you practicing yoga?
Hili: No, I’m striving to achieve perfection through hygiene.
In Polish:
Ja: Uprawiasz jogę?
Hili: Nie, dążę do doskonałości przez higienę.

From Su, a logo of this crappy year:

Speaking of 2020, this is from reader Charles:

From Rick; this is pretty much me these days. I do know some things, but so does everybody.

From Titania. Yes, this is a real article, and it was in Slate.

Tweets from Matthew, who’s just taken his daughter to school. Cambridge isn’t what it used to be!

A followup tweet. I guess Matthew and Tina are enjoying their Big Day Out:

Both Greg and I, going by this tweet alone and not having read the paper, are guessing that the work is good and the analysis sound, but naming these things as separate species is dubious:

A battle for territory on the reef. The weapons: the gape of your maw.

Try this; I bet you get the same mood as I.

This is ineffably sweet, even though it’s Wednesday:

Sound up for this one:

An original (and a retouched) color photograph—of Rodin!


  1. Posted September 30, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Capote’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is one of my favourite books, MUCH better than the film, which turned it into a soppy sentimental romance. Though, I admit, the film is a guilty pleasure.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      I’ll take “Answered Prayers.” Wicked.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      I’ll have to check those books out.

      • Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Ditto. I’ve seen the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but not read the book. The only Capote book I’ve read is, sadly, “In Cold Blood.”

        • rickflick
          Posted September 30, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          The “sadly” is how I think of Capote. True, as his friends called him. He was a great talent. Later in life he lost his balance, many friends, and died a pitiable drunk. Sad.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Full disclosure, “Answered Prayers” is Capote’s unfinished novel from his later degenerate days. One wouldn’t call it highbrow. I don’t read it to be morally uplifed,

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink


        • rickflick
          Posted September 30, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          I might still like to check it out. I find Capote quit fascinating. I find myself wanting to understand him better.

  2. Posted September 30, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Presumably Blue states will allow abortion and many Red states won’t? Americans overall seem to be 60:40 in support of the legality of abortion, and one thing people really dislike is being subjected to other people’s religious rules (as oppose to adopting religion voluntarily).

    This is partly why in Ireland (along with child abuse, Magdalene Laundries, etc) there has been sea change against the Catholic Church in the last 15 years.

    Thus, states outlawing abortion could be a part of a long-term discrediting of religion. Americans would remember why they have a First Amendment.

  3. Historian
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Sadly, we have to add another icon to the list of those who died on September 29th – Helen Reddy. Best known for her hit “I Am Woman,” she inspired generations of young women to change the world.

    • C.
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Lesser known but influential country music singer/songwriter Mac Davis has also died. He wrote In The Ghetto and A Little Less Conversation, both covered by Elvis.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    The fact that Roe v Wade still exists by a thread is the only reason a woman can get an abortion in Kansas. After the last doctor was murdered in church several years ago in Wichita his facility has continued only by flying in doctors from outside the state to continue.

  5. flayman
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    It is true that RBG did not like Roe. She was asked to argue the case and turned it down. Her focus was on equal protection cases and she felt that the privacy argument was weak. I’ve heard a lot of constitutional lawyers say this. She also believed that the legislative trend would solve it sooner or later democratically. RBG had an equal protection case about reproductive rights that might have helped to ease the Court in, but it was abandoned after the US Air Force changed its policy. Interestingly (and cleverly), it was about a female captain who wanted to have her baby and not be discharged.

    When RBG was being considered for the Supreme Court, Clinton had doubts about her. After a Madison Lecture she gave at NYU, women’s rights groups were broadly of the opinion that she would vote to overturn Roe. Can you believe it? It has been law now for nearly 40 years, contentious though it was. It would not be wise to overturn it and leave it to the states. It would, however, be better if there were an equal protection footing that could replace it. That seems unlikely unless it actually were overturned, and still unlikely then.

    • flayman
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Nearly 40 years? Try nearly 50 years. Sheesh.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Maddox, an inveterate bigot and segregationist who refused to serve blacks in his restaurant after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was interviewed by Dick Cavett on December 18, 1970. The discussion got heated, and Maddox stormed off Cavett’s show …

    The other guests on that show were birthday boy Truman Capote and football great Jim Brown (who’s reputation was that of a militant in those days, long before he showed up in 2018 with Kanye West in Donald Trump’s Oval Office). Maddox agreed to appear on the Cavett show because he thought the other guest was going to be soul singer James Brown (with whom Maddox had had some type of friendlier relations), not Jim Brown the ballplayer. (I doubt Maddox knew who Truman Capote was, or what to make of him.)

    Randy Newman wrote a song about this show, “Rednecks” on his album Good Old Boys, in the voice of a southern narrator who mistakes Dick Cavett for “a smart-ass New York Jew” and is pissed about the treatment Maddox received:

    • gscott
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      I met Lester Maddox once – it must have been in 1972 or 1973. I saw an announcement that he was coming to preach at the Rawsonville Baptist Church, just a few miles away from Ann Arbor, so my roommate and I decided that we had to go. Needless to say, we were the only long-haired suit-wearing SAAB-driving semi-hippies in the congregation (Union shirts and bowling jackets would have been more appropriate). By this point in history, Lester had rehabilitated himself, and gave a generic sermon to the roughly 40-50% black congregation. We also got to watch the total-immersion baptism, but turned down the appeals from our fellow worshippers to be saved and testify in front of the crowd. On the way out of the church, we all lined up to shake hands with Maddox, and I thanked him for coming. No pick-ricks were visible.

    • C.
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I misread your first lines as “Maddox, an invertebrate biologist…”

      After a quick check I did find a Rosalie Maddocks, invertebrate biologist at the University of Houston. I think I’d rather read about crustaceans than crusty old racists.

  7. Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Well, “Dumbass” IS my default mood…

  8. darrelle
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Once upon a time in my college days a regular group of friends and I used to hang out at one particular friend’s place and play cards on a regular basis. The host had a bird. I can’t remember what kind.

    A number of us worked at trying to get the bird to make an obscene comment about a particular friend. The phrase we tried to teach it was, “Greg’s a douchebag.” We worked at this steadily for weeks, but to no avail.

    Then one night, weeks after we had given up and forgotten the whole thing, during a rare instance of quietness, the bird spoke with perfect clarity. “Greg’s a douchebag!” Man, we just fell about the place. Even funnier, Greg was offended. Which only made us laugh harder.

  9. sugould
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Tiny monkey rescue made my week. Will save it to watch after the next debate. Or whatever else comes up.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Try this; I bet you get the same mood as I.

    I tried it twice before reviewing the range of possible results, so mark me down as “double dumbass.”

  11. Posted September 30, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The Dachshund Bobble Head has another interesting feature. The background glides by and doesn’t appear to repeat, or perhaps I just lost interest before it got to the end. Makes me wonder if it is generated algorithmically. That wouldn’t be too hard to pull off.

    • sugould
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Because of what you said, I went back and watched all of it. Not too long, and dog changes expressions three times!

      • merilee
        Posted September 30, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        I did stick around for its tongue to come out🐾🐾

        • Posted September 30, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          No waiting necessary! All you do is put the mouse pointer over the dog and he sticks his tongue out. You do have to click to bobble his head and make the hearts flow.

      • Robie
        Posted September 30, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        I also noticed that if you move your cursor around its head, its eyes move to follow the cursor. Clever!

  12. Posted September 30, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    “All I can say is „WTF?“ – so do I. I never would have clicked on today’s Google doodle, that quite boring smiling dog; Wackeldackel are so much outdated nowadays. But when Doodle’s „lead engineer“ David Lu explains that he wishes people to appreciate the word Wackeldackel he might have a little point so far that the pronounciation ( ‘waggl-daggl’ ) of the word composition describes on the one hand, what the dachshund does and rhymes at the same time quite well. But in the end: much Doodle ado about nothing.

    • merilee
      Posted September 30, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      More like Vaggeldaggel

  13. Doug
    Posted September 30, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Regarding Titania’s post, how do those parents know that their child is a daughter? Maybe they are a transgender boy who is a transvestite.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: