Monday: Hili dialogue

January 4, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the first Monday in 2021: January 4: National Spaghetti Day. (I still haven’t been able to find bucatini.)   It’s also World Braille Day, celebrating the birthday of Louis Braille (see below), and National Trivia Day. (Here’s a trivia question: name all seven of the Seven Dwarfs.  You should know the answer because I mentioned this question recently. You will forget at least two of them.) Answer below the fold (click “continue reading” at bottom).

Finally, it’s Dimpled Chad Day, which you’ll remember from 2001; it was on January 6 of that year that Congress gave George W. Bush the Presidency over Al Gore.  If you’re 30 or over, you’ll remember the dimpled chads and hanging chads scrutinized by the Florida ballot counters. The Supreme Court put a stop to that, and so we got W as President.

I have to add that the song “Muskrat Love,” which I posted the other day as one of the world’s worst songs, has been running through my head at bedtime every night. It’s a true earworm, and I can’t stop it.

News of the Day:

Breaking news!  A British judge has just refused to extradite Julian Assange to the U.S., where he’s been charged with violation of the Espionage Act. The judged ruled that extradition would be “oppressive.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures from the window of a prison van as he is driven into Southwark Crown Court in London on May 1, 2019, before being sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

More breaking news! According to CNN, Iran is being bad again, breaking its agreement with other countries. This is a new announcement:

Iran has restarted uranium enrichment toward a 20% target at its Fordow nuclear facility, a government spokesman said on Monday, according to the semi-official news agency Mehr and state news agency IRNA.

The resumption of the enrichment process would breach the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and the international community, implemented in 2016, that froze Iran’s nuclear program in return for a progressive lifting of international sanctions.

Non-breaking news: Trump, still desperate and unwilling to recognize that the game is over, pressured the Georgia Secretary of State to “recalculate” the number of votes (listen to the conversation at the preceding link). When told that “the data you have is wrong”, Trump responds with much blather about tampered voting machines, adding “all I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes.” He then told the secretary “You’re a Republican,” and proceeded to threaten him and his aide with legal action, implying that they were lying and hence violating the law.

Oy, didn’t he know the call would be recorded? Maybe he doesn’t care.

Regarding the above, Dr. Cobb issued a tweet. Matthew’s almost right here, but he’s neglecting the duck pond that Tony would have put in the Rose Garden, as well as the gabagool for state dinners.

In another body blow to a pugilist already down for the count, all ten former living Secretaries of Defense co-signed a letter, published in The Washington Post, declaring that the election is over and it’s time for a transition of administrations. E.g.:

Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived.

The signers are Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry, and Donald Rumsfeld.  Of course Trump won’t listen to that, either, but it’s a lineup of heavy hitters, many of whom worked for Republican Presidents.

Yesterday’s poll on whether University of California Merced professor Abbas Ghasemmi should be investigated by the school for his vile anti-Semitic tweets gave the results below. There was a surprising number of votes to investigate Ghasemmi, but part of that is probably due to my asking an ambiguous question: one can investigate Ghassemi not for his tweets but for whether he was treating students fairly in the classroom and meeting his professorial duties. Those might be indicated by a series of unhinged tweets. So there are two ways the “investigation” should go.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S 351,682, an increase of about 1,300 deaths from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,852,086, an increase of about 7,300 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on January 4 includes this (note that not much stuff happened in January, probably because it was too cold):

  • 871 – Battle of Reading: Æthelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred are defeated by a Danish invasion army.
  • 1762 – Great Britain declares war on Spain, thus entering the Seven Years’ War.
  • 1853 – After having been kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South, Solomon Northup regains his freedom; his memoir Twelve Years a Slave later becomes a national bestseller.
  • 1903 – Topsy, an elephant, is electrocuted by the owners of Luna Park, Coney Island. The Edison film company records the film Electrocuting an Elephant of Topsy’s death.

This is one of the most horrible examples of animal abuse I know.  Topsy wasn’t old or sick, and hadn’t hurt anybody; the Coney Island park owners just couldn’t deal with her any more. First she was fed cyanide-laced carrots, and then electrocuted, and after that strangled. If you want to see the video of the electrocution, it’s on the Wikipedia page linked to “Topsy”.  I can’t bear to watch it again

  • 1999 – Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura is sworn in as governor of Minnesota, United States.
  • 2007 – The 110th United States Congress convenes, electing Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history.

Pelosi was just re-elected as Speaker of the House.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1581 – James Ussher, Irish archbishop and historian (d. 1656)
  • 1643 – Isaac Newton, English mathematician and physicist (d. 1727)

Newton was actually born on December 25 under the modern calendar.

  • 1785 – Jacob Grimm, German philologist and mythologist (d. 1863)
  • 1809 – Louis Braille, French educator, invented Braille (d. 1852)

Braille was blinded as a child by an accident with an awl in his father’s stitching shop. He turned out to be a tireless worker and, though blind, invented his system of raised dots (ironically, produced with an awl) by the time he was just fifteen. The system, barely used during his lifetime, now is universal, using almost the exact characters he devised. Here’s a painting of the man (I couldn’t find any photos):

  • 1900 – James Bond, American ornithologist and zoologist (d. 1989)

Most of you know that the James Bond spy character was named after a real man, an ornithologist who wrote the definitive book The Birds of the West Indies.  Ian Fleming knew Bond, and the rest is history. As Wikipedia reports:

Ian Fleming, who was a keen bird watcher living in Jamaica, was familiar with Bond’s book, and chose the name of its author for the hero of Casino Royale in 1953, apparently because he wanted a name that sounded “as ordinary as possible”. Fleming wrote to the real Bond’s wife, “It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born.” He did not contact the real James Bond about using his name in the books, and Bond did not learn of the identity “theft” until the early 1960s when the 007 books became popular in the U.S. In 1964 during his annual winter stay at Goldeneye in Jamaica, James Bond and his wife visited Fleming unexpectedly.  Also in his novel Dr. No Fleming referenced Bond’s work by basing a large ornithological sanctuary on Dr. No’s island in the Bahamas. In 1964, Fleming gave Bond a first edition copy of You Only Live Twice signed, “To the real James Bond, from the thief of his identity”. In December 2008 the book was put up for auction, eventually fetching $84,000 (£56,000).

. . . In the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day, the fictional Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, can be seen examining Birds of the West Indies in an early scene that takes place in Havana, Cuba. The author’s name (James Bond) on the front cover is obscured.

Here’s the real Bond—not nearly as dapper as Sean Connery:

  • 1940 – Brian Josephson, Welsh physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1960 – Michael Stipe, American singer-songwriter and producer

Those who “passed” on January 4 include two Nobel Laureates in literature:

  • 1877 – Cornelius Vanderbilt, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1794)
  • 1941 – Henri Bergson, French philosopher and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1859)
  • 1960 – Albert Camus, French novelist, philosopher, and journalist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913)

I’ve just started reading Camus’s The Plague, which I found on my bookshelf and decided it was an appropriate read.

Here’s Eliot at 38. He was a very great poet (I’m still amazed that he wrote Prufrock at only 21 or 22), but I think I would have found him a twit:

T.S. Eliot, photo by Henry Ware Eliot, 1926

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili uses profanity for the first time ever in these pages! When I asked what Hili was on about, Malgorzata replied, “Hili is talking about all the stupidity repeated around in mainstream press, on the Internet and between people.”

Hili: Astounding.
A: What is so astounding?
Hili: The speed of dissemination of bullshit is close to the speed of light.
In Polish:
Hili: Zdumiewające.
Ja: Co jest takie zdumiewające?
Hili: Szybkość rozpowszechniania się bredni zbliża się do szybkości światła.

Paulina took another formal portrait of her beloved Kulka:

From Nicole, for the d*g mavens:

From Jesus of the Day, and I hope you know this old trick:

Crikey! I grow old. . . I grow old:

From Dom. I don’t think the “from the author” inscription is from Darwin, but is probably Wallace’s note. But I do see with approval Wallace’s interest in cats:

Maarten Boudry’s cat Winston Purrchill sends us New Year’s greetings:

From Barry: an enchanted bear cub sees its first snow:

Tweets from Matthew: It’s even smoking a Galouises!

And this is a murmuration!

As Matthew noted: “Genuine brawl in a Taiwan restaurant the other day. Some chinese tourists stared at some Taiwanese lads, and you don’t do that. This is my current mood.” (Matthew’s printer broke.) See the news story at this link.

Now here’s some Republican hypocrisy, or is that term redundant?

One of Matthew’s beloved illusions. The small squares are all the same color, and first next tweet proves it.

See?

Click “continue reading” to get the names of the seven Dwarfs:

I bet you forgot Doc and Bashful!

68 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. I hesitate to contradict PCC(E) in his own domain, but Isaac Newton was born on 25 December 1642 in the Julian calendar system in use in England at the time. Whilst this is equivalent to 4 January 1643 in the parts of Europe that had adopted the Gregorian calendar by this date, it’s considered very bad practice to do this kind of date conversion without appending “New Style” or “(NS)” for clarification, especially among historians and genealogists. Besides, PCC(E) should appreciate that 25 December is celebrated as Newtonmas by scientists and humanists around the world.

    1. Harper’s right about the date confusion. But I kind of wish the 1642 number was correct because Galileo died in January of that year. So “1642” would mark the end of one scientific giant’s life and the birth of another. Still, only a year apart is noteworthy.

  2. Not sure why all the distress over Trump’s long phone call to Georgia. I’m sure it was the perfect call. It sounds just like a call of desperation one might make with the law breathing down on him. Happy days.

    1. It’s not my field of law, but …
      wasn’t he soliciting a crime under both Federal and Georgia law?
      It’s one thing to have the law breathing down on you for past crimes (tax evasion is the one that leaps to mind, and I think the one that is most likely to be pursued), it’s quite another to compound your problems by committing another one in public.

      1. The problem with charging Trump with anything having to do with his presidency is that it is likely to further cement his control over his base. Since he positions himself as fighting for the little guy against corrupt institutions, the Deep State, the media, any successful judgement against him is just further proof to his supporters that the enemies arrayed against him are real. In fact, they are real.

        I guess we have no choice but to try to prosecute Trump and bring him to justice, if only to set precedent, I fear none of it will heal the country’s divisions. Nothing but forced internment in re-education centers will do that. Just kidding.

        1. “The problem with charging Trump with anything having to do with his presidency is that it is likely to further cement his control over his base.”
          My response to that is two-fold:
          (1) although I know I don’t understand Trump voters, I wonder how appealing he would be if (instead/also) convicted of non-political crimes, such as tax evasion or fraud. I can see that he might retain his appeal if the only crimes he were charged with/convicted of were essentially political; but I think it will limit his appeal if it becomes sufficiently clear how he has screwed the “little people”; and
          (2) so ****ing what? If he is not pursued, he will retain his control, plus he will be out of prison and retain a forum to air his grievances. It would set a horrendous precedent to fail to pursue him: to my mind it would invite him to continue his appalling behavior and try again in 2024.
          I am not interested in healing the country’s divisions on Trump; I am interested in seeing him fall far and fast, as he richly deserves to do.

          1. I agree that convicting him on non-political crimes will be better. His true fans will still think it is all so unfair but I can live with that.

            I take it as a given that Trump will never actually hold office again. The only one he’d be interested in would be the presidency in 2024. By that time, most of the country will regard him as a loser and will have moved on. What I am more afraid of is that Trump continues to control the GOP and prevent them from compromising with Biden. McConnell’s obstruction will be bad enough but it will be much worse with Trump yelling from the sidelines about how Biden is an illegitimate president. I am interested in healing the country’s divisions so that its politicians can get real work done. I’ll pass on a kumbaya moment with Trump’s fans.

  3. The refusal to extradite Julian Assange is great news at a time when so much of US policy (thanks to Trump) resembles a madman’s dream.

    1. It’s terrible news that – when it comes to national security breaches – even our allies don’t trust us to treat our suspects fairly. But this is probably not anything to do with Trump, as even with an extradition order Assange’s case wouldn’t even go before a court until after Trump is gone and Biden’s appointees are in place.

      If you want to blame this on anyone or anything, blame it on our collective leaders over the past 18 years. We’ve been using GTMO and similar “go hard, make legal exceptions” policies for people considered national security threats since 2001. We shouldn’t be too surprised that our allies now don’t trust us to treat people like Assange legally fairly. It’s long past time for us to (i) stop acting like we’re in some emergency that requires the suspension of legal norms in some cases, (ii) shut down GTMO, and (iii) integrate the prisoners there into the regular military or civilian legal process as appropriate.

      IOW it’s a shame we earned this negative judicial system reputation that would prevent extradition. But earn it, we did. And Trump had little to do with that.

      1. In the US, people die in prisons under (unexplained circumstances) when they pose a threat to the government, Epstein’s example.
        In addition, there is the terrible epidemiological condition of prisoners in the USA.

        In addition, there are acquittals for war criminals and colleagues. It is fatal indeed that the world is losing confidence in the USA.

        In this case, however, the fate of Assange is most important.Because he is an innocent man. I personally belong to traditionalists who call crimes a crime. Revealing someone’s crime is not a crime.

        In addition, the use of torture is not only the domain of the US, but it is enough to read to know that it is also a serious problem in contacts with the US intelligence services.
        The world has regressed in the last 30 years (not everyone knows it, however)

        1. He may or may not be innocent of the crimes he is accused of in the USA. The only way to find that out is to test it in a court of law. In the USA it is illegal to disseminate state secrets to the public and one person has already served prison time for leaking such secrets to Assange. If Assange is found to have aided Chelsea Manning to leak state secrets (which she denies), he is by definition not innocent. You may think the law is wrong, but is the law.

          Aside from the alleged crimes in the USA, Assange may not have been innocent of rape (my opinion is that the allegation are true, or at least, he believed he would be convicted if brought to trial).

          He is very definitely not innocent of breaking British law. He broke the terms of his bail when he absconded to avoid being tried for rape in Sweden and served a jail sentence as a result.

    1. In his last days in office, Trump is splitting the Republican Party, which is maybe what he wants since his goal seems to be to destroy all Republicans that have not publicly confessed absolute fealty to him and do not share his drive to end democracy. As a result, Mitch McConnell’s grasp on the Senate Republicans seems to be shaken. Those Republicans that do support Trump do so out of fear of what he may direct his cult to do. The cult, which has no belief in democracy, can “primary” any Republican that Trump attacks. Some Republicans maintain their integrity, but many are out of office with little power. Axios reports that former House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated: “It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections.” All this means is that when Trump leaves office, he will leave the government in chaos. Biden’s tenure as president will be pure hell. But, for Trump, except if he ends up a convicted felon, times will never be better as the cult continues to send him contributions.

      https://www.axios.com/mcconnell-trump-republican-party-future-904a3098-d11f-4429-b095-d75533eb1c93.html

      1. I doubt Trump has the wherewithal to have decided upon the goal to split the RP and then work to do so. He’s simply being himself, just as he always has. Trump has always made his way through life by blustering, bullying, lying, setting underlings against each other and striking out against those that don’t do what he wants them to do and those that thwart him in any way. You could probably remove his frontal lobes and there would be no real change in his behavior.

      2. I’ve been saying since the start of the presidential campaign season that, in losing, Trump might well tear the GOP apart, between the Trump deadenders and the Republicans who, despite their fear of the Great Man’s base, wished to live on to fight another day.

        Looks like there are now a baker’s Dirty Dozen of Vichy Republicans in the United States Senate (formerly known as “the world’s greatest deliberative body”) and a hundred+ more in the US House of Representatives who are willing to follow Trump over the cliff in congress on Wednesday, in his doomed, insane quest to mount an autogolpe.

        Until the Trump era, I would not have thought such a thing possible in the United States of America.

        1. Trump will tear the GOP apart but it’s largely confined to the politicians. The GOP voters are still solidly behind Trump. Most of them are probably dismissing this battle as just the machinations of the Deep State. Ironically, they all know that Trump has a detestable personality so it’s really easy to believe that he has lots of enemies. Fact is that he does.

    2. I listened to almost all of it (with difficulty), and yes, the effect of him ranting for an hour repeating the same crap over and over is very effective in confirming that he is mentally deranged.

  4. “Winston begging for a better year.”

    He sure doesn’t look thrilled about how this year started for him.

    “I have to add that the song “Muskrat Love,” which I posted the other day as one of the world’s worst songs, has been running through my head at bedtime every night. It’s a true earworm, and I can’t stop it.”

    That’s got to count for something, no? Just wait, ext earworm will be “Brand New Rollerskates”

    1. …”next”, not “ext”. The editor went into an endless loop when I tried to correct the spelling a few seconds after writing it, A previous edit worked fine. Maybe two edits in quick succession aren’t allowed?

  5. A British judge has just refused to extradite Julian Assange to the U.S., where he’s been charged with violation of the Espionage Act. The judged ruled that extradition would be “oppressive.”

    That doesn’t really tell the full story. The real reason the extradition has been denied is that the judge believes that Assange’s mental health is too fragile to go through with it.

    “The judge blocked the request because of concerns over Mr Assange’s mental health and risk of suicide in the US.” ~~ BBC News.

    1. Yup, she said, “Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at HMP Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by the US will not prevent Mr Assange from finding a way to commit suicide and for this reason I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge.”

  6. A note on the new site. Yesterday I was unable to participate in the poll as it showed the result at that point as if the poll was closed. Today I find the “continue reading” on the Seven Dwarfs was again open showing all their names. No big deal but a bit of a glitch somewhere.

    1. The small squares are all identical but they’re not all the same color (depending on what exactly you mean by “all the same color”). They have a color gradient applied to them that goes from upper left to lower right.

      If you cut them all out and overlay them they’re all the same but if you rotate one 180 degrees they no longer align.

    2. Jeff, Drew is just pulling your leg, making fun . If you drag the ‘lined’ square over the image, you will see that all small squares have the same colour. They appear darker with a lighter background and vice versa. A strong illusion by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, one of the Grand Masters of visual illusions.

      1. Thanks, but I don’t understand why whatever happens when the lined square is dragged around demonstrates that all the squares are the same color (and they don’t look the same to me — but I have a long and frustrating history not “getting” optical illusions).

  7. This may be more bucatini than you want, but here’s a link to Barilla’s version on Amazon (if you aren’t boycotting them): https://www.amazon.com/Barilla-Collezione-Pasta-Bucatini-Ounce/dp/B00K73KBZY/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=bucatini&qid=1609772385&sr=8-4. I think it’s possible that the emperor has no clothes in this case. I have cooked bucatini occasionally over the years and come to the conclusion that like other forms of pasta it tastes like pasta.

  8. Lost among the news of the moment was what I feel is extraordinary proof that Trump should be removed using the 25th Amendment: He called the CDC COVID death toll “fake news” and greatly exaggerated.

  9. Re: 50 year-old albums. I know the concept of albums has changed, but does anyone think for a minute that there will be a similarly well-known/loved list of music 50 years hence?

    But what’s with the album “Ram” being attributed to Linda McCartney?

    And thanks for the cute little asides and allusions in Hili’s Dialogue!

  10. The interesting thing about the Trump call is the sheer number of tricks he tried to employ. My favorite is when he got pushback on any claim, he said that that claim didn’t matter because of all the other claims would give him enough votes to win.

    He is a master at appearing confident though there is more than a hint of desperation here. We all wonder if he really believes his own bullshit but I suppose we’ll never know. My guess is that he doesn’t. My evidence is above. The fact that he tries everything he can think of to make his case means that he’s not making a good faith argument. Though he does think he won simply because of the crowds he sees at his events and because he doesn’t believe a guy like Biden could beat him.

    1. I started to listen, but the internet gods intervened and the transcript was published. So I read the whole thing. I really think that he thinks that if he asserts a thing strongly enough people will fold and agree. But the problem with numbers is this, he can assert and assert and assert, and it doesn’t change the math. And that is where I think he got angry.

      Also, not sure how it came off in the audio, but he sounded incredibly rude to Mitchell on the call. I’m genuinly curious how many attorneys he has left at this point.

    2. We all wonder if he [Trump] really believes his own bullshit but I suppose we’ll never know.

      Trump and the truth are orthogonal. It matters not in the least whether something is true or even whether he actually believes it to be true. All that matters to him — all that has ever mattered to him — is to keep the long-con alive.

    3. It is always tough to know when, and to what degree, Trump knows he’s lying or not.

      But I think that problem stems from Trump’s particular relationship with facts and truth.
      I think a lot of the problem is explained by reports that Trump was very influenced by Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power Of Positive Thinking, which included ideas like:

      “Any fact facing us, however difficult, even seemingly hopeless, is not so important as our attitude toward that fact,” Peale wrote. “A confident and optimistic thought pattern can modify or overcome the fact altogether.”

      I doubt that Trump was changed by the book; more that he already had an mindset that fit comfortably with that approach. But generally speaking it appears that Trump does not take the world “as it is” but rather approaches it “as he wants it to be” and by force of will asserts that things are as he prefers, and that spills over in to his asserting this forcefully to other people, which is part of changing the world in the way he wants it to be. It doesn’t even have to be with any deep deliberation, merely springing reflexively at this point from the way his mind works. Like the cult leader who starts with the grift/lie but who has convinced others so strongly he begins to believe the lie himself, Trump just doesn’t spend that much time dwelling on what the truth is. If he encounters what seem to be an uncomfortable fact, he gets off to a fast start reflexively trying to bend the story to his own will, which will of necessity involve bending the viewpoint of other people, those around him, and his maga base. (Of course, at this point, there is also the feedback mechanism of his having appointed only those people who will agree with how he wants things to be, cynically feeding him back only information that re-enforces what Trump wants to believe…)

      1. His confidence in his own BS doesn’t come from actually believing it. Instead, it comes from the idea that everyone else cheats and lies as much as he does. He thinks he is in a war with the rest of the world. He regards anyone who attempts to be truthful and scrupulous as simply weak and not very good at the game. This view of the world allows him to justify pretty much any action, no matter how heinous. After all, everyone else would do the same if they had the chance or was as good at the game as he is. He often accuses others of doing the very same things he’s doing.

  11. What worries me is why did all the former defense secretaries issue that joint statement warning Dump not to even think about using the military to support his lies. Has he been talking about sending tanks into the streets to stop the electoral vote confirmation? I seriously wonder if he’s been considering military intervention. Miller has been saying that Iran has targeted Dump. They might try that as an excuse to declare a military emergency.

    1. I suspect that he’s had some arm-twisting phone calls with military leaders to at least explore his options and test their support. He may not have made these phone calls personally, like the one he made to the Georgia folk. Instead, he’s likely deployed his flunky Secretary of Defense to do his dirty work. I’m guessing these calls would be about whether they were standing ready to defend the vote. It would be an argument like those on the GA call. He really won and his voters are being disenfranchised.

      1. Thanks! I feel a bit better but I wouldn’t put anything past him. He’s desperately trying to hold onto power any way he can. I think he’s facing something terrible we don’t know about once he no longer has the protection of the presidency. Something worse than SDNY. Don’t know what it might be exactly but pure speculation on my part suggests maybe something to do with Russian Mafia and owing them money.

    1. Are you talking about the one where Jesus says, “Hey what’s that on your shirt?” If so, he’s doing the old trick where you make someone look at the spot and then flip his finger upward across his chin and nose. The kind of thing that delights many 12 year old boys.

    2. You beat me to the punch(line) Paul! The prankster Jesus appears to point at something on his victim’s shirt. When the victim looks down to see to what he is referring, Jesus flicks his finger upwards, bopping the gentleman on the nose. Hilarity ensues. But not today as the gentleman is wise to JC’s (Jesus not Jerry) little scheme.

        1. I don’t think the joke depends on it.

          The image is part of a picture of Jesus talking to a businessman in a 1950s office setting (https://www.goodsalt.com/details/rhpas0496.html)
          which itself would seem to reference a painting called ‘Divine Counselor’ depicting Jesus and a businessman in modern dress by an American artist and Seventh-day Adventist called Harry Anderson.

  12. A brilliant play on the connection between ornithologist James Bond and Ian Fleming was in a 2014 episode of the BBC Miss Marple series. Agatha Christie’s character is investigating a murder in Jamaica. In the TV adaptation (though not in Christie’s novel) she teams up with Ian Fleming to solve the mystery. Near the end, she persuades Fleming to attend a lecture by an ornithologist. The fellow comes to podium dressed in a tweed jacket very much like an Oxford don (think photos of JRR Tolkien). In a voice typical of an elderly British professor, he says “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Bond, James Bond.” Fleming then hastily pulls out a pad of paper and a pencil and hastily scribbles something down. Freaking hilarious!!! (And the fictional secret agent never ever introduces himself this way in any of Fleming’s novels. It’s entirely a creation of the films.)
    =-=-=
    I had a Halloween costume in 2004 of “the dangling Chads”. It was a blown-up photo of a Florida ballot and dangling from it were photos of Chad Mitchell, Lake Chad, and various others.

  13. It’s 1943. A resistance in France uses hit-and-run tactics against the occupation. Meanwhile, people discuss the events at a publication.

    “It was a pre-emptive attack against France. Hadn’t we invaded then, they’d surely attacked us” someone says. “they have to do more to protect German lives”, says another, “it may not sound nice, but taking out French people with a sniper is just self-defense at this point”. A journalists who exposes German atrocities is tried, and commenters say things like “his actions endagered German lives, he should answer and pay for what he did”.

  14. Ian Fleming told The Manchester Guardian in 1958

    I wanted the simplest, dullest, plain-sounding name I could find, James Bond was much better than something more interesting, like ‘Peregrine Carruthers’. Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure – an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department.

    As Mark Forsyth points out in The Elements of Eloquence when discussing the diacope, the line “Bond, James Bond” was voted the 22nd greatest line in all cinema by the American Film Institute. Forsyth writes,

    “So […] one of the greatest lines in the history of cinema is a man saying a name deliberately designed to be dull. The only possible explanation for the line’s popularity is the way it is phrased. […] Wording, pure wording.

    1. Meanwhile, my (slate) roofer’s name is, actually, James Bond. He was probably born just about the time Casino Royale came out, so I doubt his parents were aware of the book.

  15. As a Brit, I’m appalled that a judge has decided to block Assange’s extradition to the US. I see him as a trouble causer – a low-life disrupter who creates problems for everybody else, adds nothing useful, and costs taxpayers millions. He has an irrepressible need to be famous and constantly in the news, and will shamelessly associate with the highest bidder (whether that’s in terms of money or media exposure) but he offers nothing in return. He’s never even faced justice for the sexual assaults he is alleged to have committed in Sweden. How many other people would get away with that in the UK? Zero. No one else would escape without facing justice. At the root of all this is his supercillious arrogance; he assumes that he can do what he likes, but without the consequences. After all, consequences are for normal people. The sooner the UK gets rid of him, the better.

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