Saturday: Hili dialogue

October 16, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to CaturSaturday, October 16, 2021, and, it’s actually World Food Day, promoting food security and the end of hunger.

It’s also Sweetest Day, National Liqueur Day, International Sloth Day, International Repair Day, World Spine Day, National Dictionary Day, and, most important, Global Cat Day, appropriate for a Caturday.  The first reader to send me a picture of their cat (a good one!) and a few words about it will have the picture put right below this sentence.

And here’s the winning cat, Bella, which took just seven minutes after posting to arrive. Bella is staffed by Linda Mercer, who tells us the following.

Bella is a cat welfare cat and about 12 years old.  She still races through the house, leaping on furniture and knocking chairs over.  She is very good company for an elderly person – keeps me on my toes!

News of the Day:

*Former President Bill Clinton has been in a hospital in Irvine, California for four days, and it’s finally been announced that he was suffering from a urinary-tract infection that spread to his blood, creating the dire possibility of sepsis. However, he’s said to be responding well to antibiotics, his white-cell count is down, and he may be released tomorrow.

*David Amess, a 69-year old Conservative member of Parliament who has served for 40 years,, was stabbed to death yesterday as he was meeting with a group of his constituents. He died in full view of the group. The police have arrested a 25 year old man in connection with the killing, and the NYT adds this: “[The police] said the investigation would be led by counterterrorism officers, raising the prospect that it would be treated as an act of terrorism.”

UPDATE: According to CNN, Amess’s killing has been formally declared a “terrorist incident.”

“The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” according to a statement from Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard on Friday.

*Tomorrow morning we Chicagoans may face a severe police shortage, as the police union has told its members to delay the city’s vaccine mandate (city employees have to report their vaccine status by today). The union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot are suing each other; we may lose half the police force tomorrow in a walkout (and you know what that means in Chicago); and the National Guard may be called in to do policing.  The miscreant police would go on unpaid leave Lightfoot is playing hardball:

“As Chicago’s Mayor, I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders,” Lightfoot said in a statement issued Friday morning. FOP Lodge 7 President John Catanzara “has time and again deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and falsely claiming that there will be no repercussions if officers are insubordinate and refuse to follow a City and Department directive or order,” she said.

*Lord, Trump can’t let well enough alone. According to Rolling Stone and several other sources, the old rumors of the “pee tape”—supposedly showing Trump watching two Russian prostitutes urinating on a bed once slept in by Barak Obama (an act called “golden showers”, except that that usually involves people urinating on each other)—had long been forgotten. The rumor was never substantiated, though Democrats would dearly have loved it to be real. But the Trumpster couldn’t hold back, and had a verbal ejaculation in front of Republican donors:

During a private speech at a Republican retreat in Palm Beach on Thursday, the former president assured the crowd full of wealthy donors, lobbyists, and elected officials that getting doused in urine is not one of his sexual proclivities.

“I’m not into golden showers,” Trump said, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post. “You know the great thing, our great first lady — ‘That one,’ she said, ‘I don’t believe that one.’”

You know it doesn’t matter if he says stuff like this: he won’t lose any support.

*According to KTOO in Alaska, Fat Bear Week was a huge success this year, with a record number of voters for the most rotund ursid: 800,000 voted, or 100,000 more than last year. I suppose it’s the pandemic keeping people home, but the better news is that Otis, a Senior Bear with bad teeth, won (h/t Laurie):

Otis has won the competition before, but his is still a bit of an underdog story. Otis is older than a lot of his river-mates, and he’s missing two canines. This year, he came out to Brooks River late.

“But he stuck to his plan,” Fitz said. “His plan is to go to the waterfall and wait for his opportunities to fish in his preferred fishing spots, really try to avoid confrontation with the more dominant bears. And once those opportunities open, he goes to those spots, he sits, he waits for those fish to come to him. So he’s really a master of energy economics.”

Otis captured the hearts of viewers from all over the world.

He captured mine, and he sure did pack on the pounds. Here he is showing his increased avoirdupois.  Look at that belly! Otis is nearing the average lifespan for a grizzly: about 25 years.  You can read more about his winning personality here.

*Here’s an update on the injured Jack the Cat from his staff. He’s making a rapid recovery, which you can judge from the video below. The pins will be removed from his paw soon.

Jack doing well, it is now 2 weeks post button removal, jaw bones healed enough to eat dry, crunchy food again. Here’s a video of him enjoying his favorite treat, “Tasty Chicken Flavor Temptations.”

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 723,031, an increase of 1,587 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,906,505, an increase of about 8,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 16 includes:

  • 1793 – French Revolution: Queen Marie Antoinette is executed.
  • 1834 – Much of the ancient structure of the Palace of Westminster in London burns to the ground.
  • 1846 – William T. G. Morton administers ether anesthesia during a surgical operation.

Here’s Morton, a dentist, extracting a tooth under ether. He may have been the first to use it in public, but for the rest of his life he maintained that he’d also discovered its properties, which is questionable

A first edition and first printing of this classic, published in three volumes, will run you between $65,000 and $125,000.

Brown, an ardent abolitionist, raided an arsenal to arm slaves for a rebellion against slaveholders. He was captured and hanged, the first person in the U.S. to be executed for treason. Here’s a photo: he always looks a bit off, but he did think that he was on a mission from God. A photo from 1856:

  • 1869 – The Cardiff Giant, one of the most famous American hoaxes, is “discovered”.

This was a 10-foot (3-meter) tall “petrified man”, shown below, and it’s incredible that people thought this poorly carved image was real. Paleontologist O. C. Marsh revealed that it was not only made of soluble gypsum, but had fresh tool marks on it. In the meantime, its owners had made a pile. It now rests in the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

  • 1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the first family planning clinic in the United States.

Sanger has fallen out of favor for her promotion of “negative eugenics”, inhibiting the reproduction of those considered less fit. Her conception, though, went beyond family planning all the way to sterilization. A photo:


  • 1923 – The Walt Disney Company is founded.
  • 1934 – Chinese Communists begin the Long March to escape Nationalist encirclement.

Here’s the route of all three Communist armies during the march. The longest of the series of marches lasted a full year. (Communist enclaves are shaded in red.)

Here’s a photo of the ghetto wall (“Aryan side” to the left, Jewish to the right), and a roundup of Jewish men from the ghetto for forced labor.


There’s an archived eyewitness account of the hangings, which didn’t dispatch all of the convicted men that quickly, here.

  • 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis begins: U.S. President John F. Kennedy is informed of photos taken on October 14 by a U-2 showing nuclear missiles (the crisis will last for 13 days starting from this point).
  • 1964 – China detonates its first nuclear weapon.
  • 1968 – Tommie Smith and John Carlos are ejected from the US Olympic team for participating in the Olympics Black Power salute.

They had won gold and bronze medals in the 200 m dash, and were kicked out of the games for their gestures. Though such gestures on the podium are still barred, it’s highly unlikely now that someone making them would even be punished.

A video of the raised fists narrated by one of the runners, though I’m not sure which one.

(From Wikipedia): Gold medalist Tommie Smith (center) and bronze medalist John Carlos (right) showing the raised fist on the podium after the 200 m race at the 1968 Summer Olympics; both wear Olympic Project for Human Rights badges. Peter Norman (silver medalist, left) from Australia also wears an OPHR badge in solidarity with Smith and Carlos.

This may win the prize for the worst Nobel Peace Prize ever awarded. The miscreants, with the U.S. war criminal on the right:

A MUCH better Nobel Peace Prize!

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1758 – Noah Webster, American lexicographer (d. 1843)
  • 1854 – Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright, novelist, and poet (d. 1900)

Here’s “Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony in New York in 1882.” He died in Paris of meningitis, aged 46.

  • 1888 – Eugene O’Neill, American playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1953)
  • 1927 – Günter Grass, German novelist, poet, playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2015)
  • 1938 – Nico, German singer-songwriter, model, and actress (d. 1988)

Nico’s real name was Christa Päffgen,  Here she is singing the Velvet Underground song, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, which you’ll remember from the banana album. The performance is at the Preston Warehouse, UK, in 1982. She died at 49 in a bicycling accident on Ibiza.

  • 1947 – Bob Weir, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Those who became defunct on October 16 include:

Cranach was a friend of Martin Luther, and painted this picture of the great dissenter in 1529, undoubtedly from life:

The Wikipedia article on Nuremberg Executions gives the last words of the condemned as well as photos of their bodies post mortem.

  • 1973 – Gene Krupa, American drummer, composer, and actor (b. 1909)

Here’s some of Krupa’s famous drum work on “Sing, sing, sing” with the Benny Goodman band. Goodman appears to play his sweet licorice stick:

Kerr holds the record for most Best Actress nominations for an Oscar without a win. She got an honorary Oscar in 1994, though (click screenshot to enlarge):

Kerr with Burt Lancaster in the movie “From Here to Eternity”:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is ambitious today:

Hili: I’m going to eat my breakfast and disappear.
A: Where to?
Hili: A quest for adventure.
In Polish:
Hili: Zjadam śniadanie i znikam.
Ja: Dokąd?
Hili: W poszukiwaniu przygody.

And a photo of Szaron, the Dark Tabby:


From Divy (neither she nor I make claims for its authenticity, but it might be real!):

From Facebook:

From the Not Another Science Cat page (note the tag for the artwork)

Here’s an audio of Gina Peddy, the school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, saying what must be done in accordance with “a new Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing ‘widely debated and currently controversial’ issues.”  I don’t think that law was intended to include the Holocaust, which isn’t widely debated except by rabid anti-Semites or in the Middle East (not really debated but denied). Nevertheless, Peddy urges schools to show “the other side”.

From Masih, who sends a link to a Washington Post article she wrote about a 26-year old Iranian activist, on furlough from prison, who was rearrested for writing about what happens to women in Iranian prisons. You can probably guess, but read the article.

A tweet from Barry who says, that was a relaxing Sunday! You might want to turn the volume off. . .

From Simon: another beautiful hypothesis killed by an ugly fact:

Tweets from Matthew. Check out all the photos in the first one. Some people take Halloween very seriously!

A planet orbiting a not-too-distant star (96 light years away). It’s amazing they can even get these images.

Live and learn.

A beautiful deep-sea larval octopus (I may have posted this before). This is likely Wonderpus photogenicus, and what a great Latin binomial that is!

26 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Down in Texas, the republicans have invented so many laws the teachers don’t know which end is up. Southlake, a town near Dallas, is where the — You cannot teach that stuff here started several years ago. The madness about CRT before it even had a name.

    I saw something on that clown who is the new union president in the Chicago police. He replaced the one who died of the virus and he is demanding it not be mandatory. Maybe he can follow in the other guy’s foot steps.

  2. ‘That one,’ she [Melania Trump] said, ‘I don’t believe that one.’

    Suggesting that the former FLOTUS does believe the other non-golden-showers ones — viz., the two dozen or so allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape, made by other women against Donald Trump (who will soon have to sit for a deposition in the federal defamation lawsuit brought against him by journalist E Jean Carroll, who has accused Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room during the mid-1990s. Should be interesting.)

  3. I’m curious about the Jane Eyre first edition shown. It gives Bronté’s name rather than the pen name under which I believe it was first published.

  4. The reaction to John Brown’s raid was one of the most significant events leading up to the Civil; therefore, the reaction was one of the most significant in American history. The raid itself was insignificant in that it was a total flop; it came nowhere to inciting a slave revolt. In the South, the raid raised once again the region’s paranoid fears of a slave revolt. It was a boon to secessionists, who argued that slavery was not safe in the Union. In the North, some people (probably not a majority) viewed Brown as a Christ like martyr for freedom. Obviously, the South resented this immensely. One can argue that if one person had to be chosen as playing the most prominent role in leading to secession, it would be John Brown.

    Historians have had a tough time in evaluating John Brown. Was he a crazed religious fanatic, whom today would be characterized as a domestic terrorist? After all, even prior to the raid, he had murdered some pro-slavery people in Kansas. Or, was he truly a hero, a person willing to put his life on the line, which others were not, in an attempt to end a thoroughly evil institution? Of course, he was both, and this is why he will remain always one of the most controversial and fascinating figures in American history.

    Another important thing to note about Brown is that it was his religious fanaticism that drove him to his actions. This tradition of the highly religious to take direct action against people or institutions perceived as being against God’s will has persisted to the present day. I would guess that many of today’s anti-abortion activists view themselves as modern John Browns. Depending on one’s perspective, religious crusades can be viewed as being in the service of good or bad ends.

    1. AH Yes, give me my religious freedom to go out and kill some people. Some of the most dangerous people on the planet, these religious. And wasn’t it good old general Lee, still working for the Union at that time, who captured Brown. He had to love that.

    2. John Brown came to pay his respects to my Great Grand Uncle Thomas Washington Barber whose body was laid out in a room in the Free State Hotel in Lawrence, KS. Uncle Thomas, an abolitionists who moved to the territory of Kansas from Ohio, was murdered by pro-slavery men on 6 December 1855.

  5. RE Texas schools’ policies…. There are a lot of crackpot views among parents and citizens – views that they take very seriously – actually religiously. I served on a local school board in the 80’s and 90’s and for several years at Halloween time we would entertain, during the open public comment time at board meetings, two or three parents objecting to Halloween celebrations in K-3 classes as the holiday is the devil’s work. There were similar opinions involving satan with regard to some content of our science books though it was so outlandish, I cannot recall exactly what the subject was. This is all a bit ironic in that U.S. publicly funded education began in Massachusetts with the “Great Satan Deluder Act of 1642” by which children had to be taught to read their bibles in order to counter the devil’s intentions for their idle hands.

      1. Yeah. I should have said party rather than celebrations. Just a seasonal social event with cake and candy for kids.

    1. In researching the Cardiff Giant (i.e. reading the Wikipedia page) to find the answer to that question (perhaps the sculptor thought everybody was circumcised), I found some interesting facts.

      The owner of the original giant – David Hannum – sued PT Barnum who had created a copy for calling his original giant a fake. He lost the suit because the judge ruled it was ok to call a fake a fake. Also, it was apparently Hannum, referring to PT Barnum’s clients who said “there’s a sucker born every minute” rather than Barnum himself.

      Anyway, circumcision is the ultimate proof that Lamarckism doesn’t work.

  6. Glad the Jack the Cat is on the mend. I hope the Jerry the host is similarly recovering with his stitched hand healing well.

  7. A video of the raised fists narrated by one of the runners, though I’m not sure which one.

    That’s Tommie Smith. He and John Carlos were immediately given the bum’s rush out of the Olympic village in Mexico City by the reactionary old President of the International Olympic Committee Avery Brundage (who, as President of the 1936 US Olympic Committee, kowtowed to Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympiad).

  8. This may win the prize for the worst Nobel Peace Prize ever awarded. The miscreants, with the U.S. war criminal on the right …

    At least Lê Đức Thọ, unlike Kissinger, had the decency to decline his half of the prize, on the conspicuous ground that no peace had yet been established in Vietnam, just a signed paper that let Dick Nixon try to save face while cutting and running under terms that were worse than what LBJ was on the cusp of negotiating four years earlier (until candidate Nixon snaked the deal through Anna Chennault’s intercession with the government of South Vietnam).

    Would that there were a hell in which that whole crew could be anxiously awaiting the imminent arrival of their old pal Henry.

  9. In other news, according to a new Gallup poll, 52% of Americans now feel government is trying to do too much, with 57% of independents thinking that (up 19% since the same survey last year).

  10. “You know it doesn’t matter if he says stuff like this: [Trump] won’t lose any support.”

    Perhaps but he has lost a lot of support since he won in 2016 and I suspect the more he asserts his control over the GOP politicians, the more voters drift away from the Republican party. The problem is that his voters are motivated by thinking the 2020 election was stolen. Even if a voter doesn’t want to elect Trump, they may view it as their solemn duty to support their party. On the other hand, Trump continues to select the craziest, Trumpiest GOP politicians for his support. That will definitely win Dems some races in 2022 and 2024.

    In related news, one assumed bastion of Trumpism is not so much:

    The Economist: Military bases swung hard away from Republicans in 2020

  11. The mention of Nico and The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed’s old band) reminds me that there’s a new movie about the seminal band just released to theaters and on Apple TV+. I am definitely going to watch it. Brian Eno famously said that while the album sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”

    Trailer for the film:

    1. A saw a discussion on the telly between some music experts. The question was put “is Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band the best album of all time?” One of the experts said “with the Velvet Underground and Nico being released in the same year, it’s not even the best album of 1967″.

  12. It is interesting, the broader working population is aggrieved, and while there is no political program, they do not want vaccine mandates and will not follow vaccine mandates, and the insistence in pushing these mandates is leading to a confrontation. You have to ask, does Chicago need its police more than its police need Chicago? Further, if you set up the conditions for a general strike on the part of essential workers, could it broaden.

    This is where science leads us astray, I fear. Vaccines may be good, and mandating people to do something good may make rational sense, but where you have angry workers and elected officials how have little in the way of legitimacy giving directives, mandates may only serve as a showcase for how weak the government (and its associated elite class) actually is.

  13. On the Mississippi River watershed picture, the ever-defiant Red River flows northward to Lake Winnipeg. The history of why this worked out that way is rather cool. The river that flowed from the glacial Lake Agassiz, referred to as the Warren River, flowed south and joined up with the Mississippi River. But as it carried so much silt, eventually it backed up as silt was deposited near Bois de Sioux and reversed it’s flow. The Minnesota River remains flowing towards the Mississippi, but it was from the same Warren River before the great backup. The land was rather flat (and still is) so it’s not like the river defies gravity. It became bendy in order to accommodate the flow.

    Naturally, in the spring as the ice melts this presents a bit of a challenge for the floodplain. The ice melts sooner in the south, as does the snow, The runoff from the fields fills the river channels but backs up as it runs into the ice further north, leading to a series of floods moving north. You would think that the constant flooding would make the land pretty much unusable for agriculture, but, then you would have forgotten about all the silt being deposited in the spring. At one tme, the Red River Valley of the North was considered the breadbasked of the world for all the wheat grown there.

    in 1997 the flooding was particularly bad for the entire region, as the result of an early thaw which started the runoff in March, followed by a blizzard and hard re-freeze in April. As the melt resumed, water from runoff was flowing over ice rather than being slowed by absorption into the soil and extended the flooding for miles to the east and west of the river. It destroyed downtown Grand Forks, ND, as fires from broken natural gas lines burnt and blew up buildings. Firefighters were not able to reach them due to the high water running through the streets.

    People from the outside said that Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks-East Grand Forks should not be rebuilt because it would be throwing good money after bad with the repeated flooding, but that’s due to ignorance of the economic wealth from agriculture in the Red River Valley. We need them on those dikes.

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