Saturday: Hili dialogue

December 18, 2021 • 7:15 am

Welcome to Cat Sabbath: Saturday, December 18, 2021: National Suckling Pig Day (not kosher!). I’ve had it a few times, but I’m disturbed at the thought of killing piglets, even though I know that they’d have a rotten life even if they let them grow up.

Here’s a Jewish suckling pig joke:

An elderly rabbi, having just retired from his duties in the congregation, finally decides to fulfill his lifelong fantasy–to taste pork.

He goes to a hotel in the Catskills in the off season (not his usual hotel, mind you), enters the empty dining hall and sits down at a table far in the corner.  The waiter arrives, and the rabbi orders roast suckling pig.

As the rabbi is waiting, struggling with his conscience, a family from his congregation walks in!  They immediately see the rabbi and, since no one should eat alone, they join him.

Shocked, the rabbi begins to sweat.  At last, the waiter arrives with a huge domed platter. He lifts the lid to reveal-what else?–roast suckling pig, complete with an apple in its mouth.

The family gasp in shock and disgust, they quickly turned to the rabbi for any type of explanation.

“This place is amazing!” cries the rabbi. “You order a baked apple, and look what you get!”

It’s also National Ham Salad Day (not kosher), Bake Cookies Day, (Snow)flake Appreciation Day, National Twin Day, National Wear A Plunger on Your Head Day, and International Migrants Day.

News of the Day:

*Abortion news from reader Ken, who wrote:

You see that the FDA has lifted the ban on the sale of mifepristone — the pill that allows women to terminate pregnancies at up to 10-weeks’ gestation — through the mail? (Nineteen red states already bar such so-called telemedicine sales of abortion medication, and others are expected to follow suit now that the FDA has acted.)

*The longest sentence yet has been handed out to a Capitol rioter for the January 6 insurrection. Robert Scott Palmer, who admitted throwing a fire extinguisher (twice), a wooden plank, and a pole at the Capitol police has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison. That’s a stiff sentence, but I think appropriate as a guideline for others convicted in the insurrection and a deterrent for future violent morons.

Palmer was first publicly identified by online sleuths, who tracked him down through pictures and video of Palmer in an American flag jacket brawling outside the Capitol. According to his plea agreement, Palmer sprayed a fire extinguisher at a line of police and twice threw the empty canister. When he refused to back down, Palmer was shot in the stomach with a rubber bullet.

Well, he’s got five years to nurse his sore tummy.

*There’s a new campaign afoot to rename places in America that have names that are now offensive. And there are many of them, mostly using derogatory terms like “squaw”, “Chinaman,” or “Negro”. (They were named a long time ago.) In fact, there are hundreds of such places, as this WaPo map shows:


A lot of the impetus for this action comes from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a Native American. And I have to say this is one renaming campaign I favor, at least for the names cited in the article, places like “Squaw Tits” (mountains), “Negro Mesa” and “Redskin Mountain.” Time for a change!

My only question is this: since “Negro” and “colored person” are clearly offensive, why haven’t they already changed the names of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and The United Negro College Fund”?

*The NYT reports on an efficient new rat trap that uses, yes, Oreo cookies, which rats apparently love. And it’s very clever, though I don’t favor killing rats:

The Italian-made battery-operated device, which wouldn’t look out of place in the MoMA design store, is a new development in controlling New York’s four-legged foes. They’ve also caught the attention of Mayor-elect Eric Adams. In a radio interview this fall, he called the traps “amazing” and vowed to explore deploying them across the five boroughs once he is officially leading City Hall.

Besides its innovative design and noxious chemicals, the rat trap also has a secret weapon: Oreo cookies. “Peanut butter Oreos are the best,” said Jim Webster, Rat Trap Distribution’s director of operations, while installing the contraption outside of Casa La Femme.

The scent of the cookies, crumbled and placed in the top compartment of the two-part trap, along with sunflower seeds, acts as a lure. For a week or so, rodents will be free to crawl through the device’s holes and snack as much as they want.

Once the rats become regulars and “get comfortable,” Mr. Webster said, the device will be turned on, and a platform will drop them into the lower part of the contraption, which serves as a catch basin not unlike a dunking tank at a carnival booth.

There’s ethanol in the catch basin, which supposedly knocks the rats unconscious before they drown, but it seems cruel to me. I’ve never been able to trap and kill anything but cockroaches.  And when they wanted to put glue traps in my lab to catch a few mice that were running about, I wouldn’t let them. Being stuck in glue and dying slowly is just cruel.

*Also at the NYT: a longish article on how Elizabeth Holmes has changed her clothes and her “look” to try to get the jury in her California trial to find her not guilty.

Instead there was … sartorial neutrality, in the form of a light gray pantsuit and light blue button-down shirt, worn untucked, with baby pink lipstick. She looked more like the college student trying on a grown-up interview look than the mastermind of a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.

By the time opening arguments began in September, the new look had been perfected: a no-name skirt suit (or dress and jacket or pantsuit) in a color so banal as to practically fade into the background. Her hair was set in loose waves around her face, like Christie Brinkley or a contestant on “The Bachelor.” Her face masks were light blue and green — the colors of nature. There was not a power heel or a power shoulder in sight. The only part of her outfit that was branded in any way was her diaper bag backpack (her son was born in July), which was from Freshly Picked and costs around $175.

In other words, Holmes is trying to win the jury’s sympathy by trying to look like somebody they could relate to instead of what she is: a narcissistic power monger. Telling defendants what to wear is of course normal procedure for a criminal lawyer, even if it seems shady. But if Holmes is found innocent given the evidence against her, and her dress and attractiveness played a role in that verdict (we’ll never know), I’ll be angry.

From Nellie Bowles’s essay on Bari Weiss’s Substack site:

Reads to get mad about:

No Mai Tais for you. Do you want tens of thousands of words in the best newspapers in America about how tiki bars are racist? Oh, you don’t? Too bad. Tiki bars are colonialism, says Eater. They are cultural appropriation says The Los Angeles Times. The New York Times says their past is underexamined. And this week a Chicago blog offers the latest in a couple years of very long pieces about how tiki bars are very bad.

No shallots, either: Meanwhile, the New Yorker this week offers 8,000 words on the young chef Alison Roman, who was cancelled and lost her New York Times column for calling Chrissy Teigen a sellout a year and a half ago. Roman comes out on top–it turns out she’s a hustler who never went to college. The profile is full of dings like: “but she has little to say about the sustainability of tuna.” Follow @micsolana for more, since I’m cribbing from his funny riff on this.

*John McWhorter’s latest biweekly NYT column is about the eternal value of great books: “Aristotle, Kant and company are the foundation a college education is built on.” It’s a vigorous defense of reading the “Great Books” as a way of becoming a better person. What does he mean by that? Well, McWhorter asked his mom, a University teacher, exactly what college was for. Her (and his) answer:

She said that after four years of college, students have, or should have, a sense of the world’s complexity, that everything did not easily reduce to common-sense observations of the kind you preface with “Well, all I know is …”

Mom had that right, I think, and Great Books lend precisely this perspective. Having a sense of how to decide what your life is for amid all the possible choices before you; understanding that the ethics of how civilizations and power operate is complex rather than reducible to facile binaries and snap judgments; tasting the elusiveness of the single, irrefutable answer and thus truly appreciating the wit of Douglas Adams’s famous proposal that the answer to everything is “42.” One is, surely, a better person with this perspective under one’s belt.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 804,266, an increase of 1,294 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,363,546, an increase of about 7,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on December 18 includes:

He lived from 1215-1294, and decreed a stately pleasure dome.  Here’s a print that, says Wikipedia), makes him look younger than he was when he was older:

(From Wikipedia): Portrait by artist Araniko, sling drawn shortly after Kublai’s death in 1294. His white robes reflect his desired symbolic role as a religious Mongol shaman.
  • 1777 – The United States celebrates its first Thanksgiving, marking the recent victory by the American rebels over British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in October.
  • 1865 – US Secretary of State William Seward proclaims the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery throughout the USA.
  • 1892 – Premiere performance of The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The great composer:

Tchaikovsky in Odessa, where he conducted five concerts in January 1893
  • 1916 – World War I: The Battle of Verdun ends when the second French offensive pushes the Germans back two or three kilometres, causing them to cease their attacks.
  • 1917 – The resolution containing the language of the Eighteenth Amendment to enact Prohibition is passed by the United States Congress.
  • 1932 – The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans in the first NFL playoff game to win the NFL Championship.

The game was played under unusual circumstances; watch this 4-minute video to see why:

  • 1972 – Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.
  • 1981 – First flight of the Russian heavy strategic bomber Tu-160, the world’s largest combat aircraft, largest supersonic aircraft and largest variable-sweep wing aircraft built.

Here’s a Tu-160 at a Russian air base:

  • 2018 – List of bolides: A meteor exploded over the Bering Sea with a force over 10 times greater than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.
  • 2019 – The United States House of Representatives impeaches Donald Trump for the first time.

Notables born on this day include:

Thompson (below) got the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the electron, the first detected subatomic particle. Here he is ca. 1920-1925:

The assassination of the Archduke and his wife is what set off World War I. Here’s the bloodstained uniform that he wore when assassinated in Sarajevo:

Stalin as a young man. He was responsible for the death of some 20 million people, including his own people, many of whom he let starve to death:

Here’s his final speech in 1952:

  • 1879 – Paul Klee, Swiss-German painter and educator (d. 1940)

Klee: “Cat and Bird” (1928), depicts a thought—one that Hili often has:

  • 1886 – Ty Cobb, American baseball player and manager (d. 1961)

Cobb was a nasty person and an aggressive (but fantastic) baseball player. The caption of the photo below (from Wikipedia): “Charles M. Conlon‘s famous picture of Cobb stealing third base during the 1909 season”. Cobb would often slide with his spiked feet towards the base, making opponents wary of tagging him. 

  • 1897 – Fletcher Henderson, American pianist and composer (d. 1952)
  • 1913 – Willy Brandt, German politician, 4th Chancellor of Germany, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1992)

The prize was for his efforts to reconcile Eastern and Western Europe.

  • 1916 – Betty Grable, American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 1973)

Every GI had this picture of Grable on his locker in WWII; it’s about as iconic as a pinup can get. What people don’t know is that she posed with her back to the camera, and a come-hither look, because she was visibly pregnant:

Grable was called “The girl with the million dollar legs” because she starred in this 1939 film:

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  • 1922 – Esther Lederberg, American microbiologist (d. 2006)
  • 1939 – Harold E. Varmus, American biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate

Varmus (right) interviewing reader and origami master Robert Lang at Kent Presents, August, 2018. He interviewed me, too, but I don’t have a photo. Varmus was a great guy, and showed me photos of his cats. His Prize was for discovering where retroviral oncogenes came from.

  • 1943 – Keith Richards, English musician
  • 1946 – Steve Biko, South African activist, founded the Black Consciousness Movement (d. 1977)
  • 1946 – Steven Spielberg, American director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded DreamWorks
  • 1963 – Brad Pitt, American actor and producer
  • 2001 – Billie Eilish, American singer

Those who kicked the bucket on December 18 include:

Yes, the infamous Lamarck, who nevertheless did good biology, especially in botany.

  • 1892 – Richard Owen, English biologist, anatomist, and paleontologist (b. 1804)

He was also a critic of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Photo below (he looks mean):

  • 1971 – Bobby Jones, American golfer and lawyer (b. 1902)
  • 1997 – Chris Farley, American comedian and actor (b. 1964)

Farley and Beushi were the two great Comics of Size from SNL, and both died very young. Here’s Farley in a classic “Matt Foley” scheme. It’s hilarious, or so I think:

  • 2008 – Mark Felt, American FBI agent and informant (b. 1913)

He was the real “Deep Throat” of Watergate fame. Photo:

  • 2011 – Václav Havel, Czech poet, playwright, and politician, 1st President of the Czech Republic (b. 1936)
  • 2014 – Mandy Rice-Davies, English model and actress (b. 1944)

Rice-Davies and Christine Keeler helped bring down John Profumo, British Secretary of State for War:

  • 2016 – Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian-American actress and socialite (b. 1917)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili and Szaron are being cats:

Hili: Why are all the doors closed?
A: And where do you want to go?
Hili: Everywhere.
In Polish:
Hili: Dlaczego wszystkie drzwi są zamknięte?
Ja: A gdzie chcecie wejść?
Hili: Wszędzie.

From Simon: Our new vaccination card:

From Science Humor: Well, I hope the “by chance” is also sarcastic, because real evolution isn’t “all about chance”.

From Nicole:

From Athayde:

From Ginger K: a really cool astronomy photo:

From Cesar, who asked, “Do snakes really do this?” Yes, some of them do. One of my Drosophila colleagues, collecting flies in Africa, was chased by a wickedly fast (and deadly) black mamba. He got into his car, whereupon the snake reared up and tried to climb in through the driver’s side window! (My friend survived.)

From Simon. I’m assuming that the head is “work”.

Tweets from Matthew, who was a bit hung over today. I disapprove of disturbing hibernating beetles this way, as it makes them use energy they need to conserve. Still, a cool video; sound up.

A Beatles-loving cat!

From Ziya Tong: a cockatoo on a Mission from God:

The question is, of course, “WHY did the buffalo do this?” They aren’t kin, or even of the same species, and there’s no possibility of reciprocal altruism!

TikTok, guns, and schools; what could go wrong?

33 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. I enjoyed the video of the football game, if for no other reason, to hear Doc Emmrick’s voice again. I miss him.

  2. I fully support new place names, or better yet, reverting back to older ones. Euro-American names for rivers, valleys, springs, and mountains are boring, often repetitive, and are frequently unrelated to anything about the place. We lost so much great history with the erasure of native place names, especially in the bland as hell Midwest, so I’d go one further, after correcting the names that are felt to be racist, let’s also revert back to the original names that the religious dullards of the past changed and subsequently called “Devil’s (fill in the blank). New Zealand could follow suit by changing that stupid Christchurch for something, anything else.

    1. Euro-American names for rivers, valleys, springs, and mountains are boring, often repetitive, and are frequently unrelated to anything about the place.

      What makes you think that the names given by the previous occupants of the land are any less dull, repetitive and frequently unrelated to anything about the place, just because you personally don’t understand what they mean?

      For example, I live in a city that is built around the River Avon. Avon is quite an interesting name for a river until you realise its derived from the Celtic word that means “river”.

      Anyway, quite a lot of native names translate to “it’s a river, stupid” or “who is this idiot who doesn’t know what a mountain is?” or “your finger, you fool”. (plagiarised from Terry Pratchett).

      1. Then there is Torpenhow Hill.

        Long ago the local word for a hill was “Tor”. Then new people came along, and their word for a hill was “Pen”. So they called that hill Tor Pen. Then new people came along, and their word for a hill was “Howe”. So they called it Torpen Howe”. Then new people came along, and their word for a hill was “hill”. So they called it Torpenhow Hill.

        Which means Hill-hill-hill hill.

      2. I live in Connecticut, which is filled with Indian place-names. “Connecticut” itself comes from the name of a river, which simply translates as “long river.” A book on the subject said that Indians didn’t really have “place names” in the sense that Europeans did; they simply referred to a big mountain as “the big mountain,” a small pond as “the small pond,” and so on. They didn’t say “Let’s name this place after so-and-so.”

    2. Let’s not get seized in a fit of noble-savage zeal. The original point was “offensive” place names, so unless you think we give offence merely by being here, I’d set the sights lower.

      1) Negro is Spanish for black. Calling people Negroes when they don’t want to be any more is wrong, sure, but if Spanish-speaking explorer-settlers thought a plateau looked black in a certain light, why should they, and we, not call it Mesa Negro?

      2) Eastern Canada already has many place names that are anglicized or francified versions of original Native expressions. They differ from the originals only in the omission of glottal stops and consonant combinations that English and French speakers don’t use. The provincial tourism authorities provide, for interest, the meanings of these words. They are almost always prosaic pedestrian expressions like river fords, places to catch eels, etc. My favourite, Tatamagouche in Nova Scotia, means “river rolling out in foam”, but few are anything like as poetic. Some are corruptions, like Economy Mountain from the Micmac Kenomee which I don’t know the meaning of, possibly just “big hill”, as Jeremy alludes to below. The point is that these places are in fact named today close to what the Natives originally called them. Larger European settlements were named whatever the Europeans who built them wanted to call them.

      There is some agitation to respell these names with the “correct” Indigenous transliterations, which merely shows that agitators are never satisfied. The challenge is that these languages had no writing. Expressing them faithfully in written form is claimed to require use of obscure symbols that don’t appear in the Roman alphabet. The majority settler population still needs to be able to find its way around the countryside.

      3). Renaming is an exercise in power and shouldn’t be done as a form of appeasement or atonement, unless the agitators offer something in return, which they never do. The impetus should come from within the community to change its own name (as Berlin chose to become Kitchener) and not be imposed from above. Last summer, Toronto was seized with a woke fury and wanted to change the name of Dundas Street. This long colonization road branches into several counties and includes a bustling eponymous town. The Toronto people told all the rest of us, “Guess you’ll have to change your names, too.”. We said, “Guess again.”. As it is Toronto might succeed in changing the name of Dundas Square, a small piazza recently created from urban renewal at Yonge St. It will be fun watching the fistfights among the factions over what they should rename it to.

    3. The original Maori name for a part of Christchurch was Otautahi, meaning ‘the place of Tautahi’ after a chief who once lived there. Given that both the Maori name and the English name tell us something about the history of the place and the people who lived there, and that the city is very much a colonial construction, your use of ‘stupid’ for the English name and ‘dullards’ suggests a degree of bias. Which name(s) should be used, in my opinion, is a matter to be decided individually and democratically by the locals.

  3. We use AKCHY Humane Mouse Traps (Amazon 2 for $15.99). These are small and simple and work very well. We use peanut butter and release the mice elsewhere.

    1. I use Victor live traps, and we release elsewhere as well. These traps have the advantage of being able to hold several mice at one time. We ‘ve had as many as ten overnight.

      My barn cats still help, but they are getting older (11 1/2 years), and have turned into weather wimps. They come in very quickly when it’s below 25 degrees.


  4. Zsa-Zsa: I’m a very good housekeeper. Whenever I get divorced, I always keep the house.

    A rabbi comes into a butcher shop and sees a mouth-watering ham. “What does the fish cost?”

    1. I think I read somewhere that the Spanish ‘tapas’, often made from pork meat, was to find out whether Moorish and Jewish converts were really converted.

  5. I recommend Harold Varmus’ 2009 book, “The Art and Politics of Science” as an interesting read for any early or mid-career scientist or engineer who is sometimes confused by high level political or funding decisions. Among other stories, Dr Varmus presents the bigger picture of forces that influence science spending and decision making in the U.S. amply illustrated by his personal experiences including his efforts to buck the establishment in an getting published research freely available to all at a time when journal prices were going out of sight.

  6. And when they wanted to put glue traps in my lab to catch a few mice that were running about, I wouldn’t let them. Being stuck in glue and dying slowly is just cruel.

    I’m sure the zoology (or ecology, somewhere in that vicinity) department has no shortage of “capture-release” traps for small mammals – designed so you can ring, blood-sample or whatever mice, shrews etc, then release them back into the environment for further study. Capture-recapture population estimation being the simplest such intervention (which needs to be non-harming)
    Of course, using them condemns the Department to a minion doing a daily round of inspection for whatever fate awaits – be that ringing, feeding to the cat farm, or whatever. Which will be considerably more expensive than a weekly round of replacing glue traps.
    I assume the glue traps should be sited where the air flow is good and warm, so the carcass mummifies rapidly, not stinking the place out.
    I was discussing rat-traps a few months back with the neighbours. She (but not the “he” of “neighbours”) seemed upset at the idea that the poison-distributing traps would leave the rat’s pups to starve in their nest. But … just what did she think was going to happen? Currently, they still have a rat in their shed, and worry about their beloved puppies getting bitten. (I’m slightly on the rat’s side, but suspect the dogs would discover a new joy in life, being terriers.)

    *There’s a new campaign afoot to rename places in America that have names that are now offensive.

    Have the Pecksniffs already come for (and taken away) old classics like “Gropecunt Lane” (almost but not quite extinct in Britain) or “Slough of Despond” (just west of London, despite the encouragement of the Luftwaffe)?

    how Elizabeth Holmes has changed her clothes and her “look”

    The only part of her outfit that was branded in any way was her diaper bag backpack (her son was born in July), which was from [doesn’t matter]

    Has she, yet, tried breast-feeding in court? (Or getting her council to ask for a “short adjournment to breast feed her darling baby boy who you heartless court officials are threatening to part her from forever and anon”?) It’ll be a finely balanced judgement on whether that would generate more sympathy than revulsion in the jury. But I’ll bet her lawyers are making (or have made) that calculation.
    Born in July … so the trial dates were announced in September or August last year. Cynical? Moi?

    1. Can the prosecution mention Holmes’ sartorial choices in their presentation? It might backfire if the jury thinks it’s mean-spirited and has nothing to do with the crime for which she is charged. The jury presumably knows from TV that virtually all defendants do this kind of thing and that it is considered fair game.

  7. Cobb was a nasty person and an aggressive (but fantastic) baseball player. … Cobb would often slide with his spiked feet towards the base, making opponents wary of tagging him.

    Cobb would reputedly sharpen his metal spikes with a file before ballgames, the better to leave a nasty gash in the leg of any ballplayer trying to tag him out as he slid into a base.

    There was a pretty good biopic of him in the ’90s, Cobb, with Tommy Lee Jones in the title role. The film’s frame story is that a sportswriter (Robert Wuhl — HBO’s Arli$$) has come to visit the dying Cobb to ghostwrite his autobiography, supposedly to set the record straight:

    1. I just always think about the line from Field of Dreams: “Ty Cobb wanted to play. But none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it! Ha-ha-ha-ha!”

    1. Years ago, I noticed that the Forest Service (or was it USGS?) had started bowlderizing their Wyoming maps. The previously-named S.O.B. Creek became Sob Creek, and the delightful ShitHouse Mountain was now SH Mountain.

  8. That snake’s behaviour is quite weird. I wonder if anything would have happened had the guy just sat put.
    Black mambas can be quite agressive, especially if they have perceived you as a threat. But since this looks to be in Thailand (?), it would not be a black mamba.
    I think the guy got bitten judging from his gait, probably more than once. I hope he went for medical care soon afterwards

    1. Here in the US, we generally don’t see agressive snakes. Rattlesnakes, for example, would rather get away from you if you encounter them. I was out walking around a nearby open space/parkland with my friend Luke, who is originally from Tasmania, He was worried about snakes and he told me that in Australia it was not unusual to be chased by a Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus).

      1. It seems strange that a snake of that size would be aggressive toward a creature many times its size and much more dangerous. I suppose some have to be that way to maintain the species’ reputation. But wouldn’t that be group selection? Even better, wouldn’t running away be a better strategy for survival?

  9. Rice-Davies and Christine Keeler helped bring down John Profumo, British Secretary of State for War …

    You would say that, wouldn’t you?

    From Ms. Rice-Davies’s demure dress, including the crucifix around her neck, I’d say that coaching witnesses as to proper attire isn’t a “shady practice” exclusive to defense lawyers. Prosecutors are at least as culpable, frequently having the femme fatale testifying against her accomplice take the witness stand looking every bit the innocent schoolgirl.

    1. A cross, to be a crucifix, has to have a soon-to-be corpse nailed to it. Lurid Catholic imagery on the Crown’s witness would probably not have helped its case with a Church-of-England jury against Dr Ward. But you are right: the costuming is still spectacularly shameless.

      Besides, as everyone knows, the only proper way to wear a cross that size on a necklace is with a low-cut sweater. Really low-cut. The ends of the horizontal arm have to rock side to side. If your mum won’t let you wear a sweater like that, then you undo an extra button on your blouse when she’s not looking.

  10. I lived in Concord, Mass for years, and there is a “Squaw Sachem Trail.” Very Hoity-Toity neighborhood I might add.

  11. On the McWhorter piece, it happens that, for odd demographic reasons, I had an extremely poor liberal arts education in college. Not only no Great Books, but no literature whatsoever. It certainly would have been nice if I’d had a “better” education, but I doubt that there are many of my acquaintance who regard me as uneducated. I worry that perspectives like McWhorter’s only serve to reinforce the hierarchy of American higher education.

    1. As Christopher Beha suggests in the intellectual memoir reviewed in the piece McWhorter links to, it’s never too late to take a crack at the 51 volumes in what Harvard refers to as “the five-foot shelf.”

      Beha first tucked into it after surviving a bout with blood cancer.

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