Friday: Hili dialogue

December 24, 2021 • 7:00 am

Welcome to Christmas Eve: Saturday, December 24, 2021: National Eggnog Day. I’ve never had a version I’ve liked: this is the libation equivalent of Christmas fruitcake. Nobody likes them, but they are proffered anyway.

Don’t forget to send me one good photo (and a few words) showing your cat or cats with a Christmas theme. The deadline is 5 pm Chicago time today.

It’s Christmas Eve, of course, with these related holidays:

And it’s also Last-Minute Shopper’s Day.

Wine of the Day: The top of the label (not shown) has the year: 2016—a very ggod year for red wines in Europe, including Rioja. Muga makes top-of-the line-Riojas, and the Selección Especial is their top of the top. It was pricey ($37), but this is my special Christmas treat with a rare ribeye steak, so I figured I deserve it. I bought it because the 2016 vintage was rated highly by all sources.

And it was (I have half a bottle left): rich but not tannic, and one of the best Riojas I’ve ever had, made in the old-fashioned gutsy style. I decanted it, but five years weren’t enough to produce much sediment. I’d like to try this puppy again in four or five years, but alas, I had but one bottle, and it’s a dead soldier.

News of the Day:

*Guilty: Kimberley Potter, a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April (after the stop, the cops found that he had an outstanding warrant). The case made extra headlines because Potter is white and Wright was black, and because Potter claimed that the shooting occurred because she mistook her gun for a taser. The jury, which deliberated for 27 hours, didn’t buy that, convicting Potter of first- and second-degree manslaughter. Potter, 49, faces at least 11 years in prison, but the d.a. has asked for a longer sentence.

*Now Putin is rattling his saber even more loudly. Yesterday the evil Russian President held a four-hour press conference in which he quite emphatically blamed the U.S. and NATO for “the situation”, the “situation being that Russia continues to mass troops on the border between that country and Ukraine, while demanding notarized promises, signed in blood, that NATO won’t expand further into Eastern Europe:

Russia’s Foreign Ministry last week published sweeping demands it presented to the United States and NATO that would effectively bar all other former Soviet republics, including Ukraine, from joining or cooperating with the alliance.

Putin described the U.S. response to Russia’s proposals — what Moscow refers to as “security guarantees” — as “positive.” He added that he expects to hold negotiations with a White House delegation about Ukraine and NATO in Geneva next month.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki underscored Putin’s comments about diplomatic talks and said the United States also believes that diplomacy is the “best path and the right path.” She dismissed the idea that either NATO or Ukraine was threatening Russia, noting that NATO is a “defensive alliance, not an aggressive alliance.”

“Facts are a funny thing, and facts make clear that the only aggression that we are seeing at the border of Russia and Ukraine is the military buildup by the Russians and the bellicose rhetoric from the leader of Russia,” Psaki said.

In an interview with a Sky News reporter, Putin got all worked up and said that Ukraine really belongs to, yes, LENIN!

*Jurors are deliberating for the third day in the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos trial, but there’s no sign of a verdict yet. Holmes faces up to 20 years in jail.  Likewise for the Ghislaine Maxwell trial for procuring women for underage sex with Jeffrey Epstein and his pals. That jury has deliberated for 16 hours with no verdict, and will resume deliberations on Monday. Maxwell is charged with six federal counts and faces up to 70 years in prison. Even half of that would be a life sentence, as she’s 59.

*The New York Times is still osculating the rump of faith with an unctuous op-ed by former Republican speechwriter and full-time believer Peter Wehner. The title: “Why Jesus never stopped asking questions.” Wehner has not a scintilla of doubt that Jesus existed and did and said what the New Testament reports:

Twenty centuries after his birth, Jesus still holds a revered place in the hearts of billions of people. I am among them. I imagine that it has influenced almost every area of my life, like food coloring dropped in water.

Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him.

So why so many questions, Mr. Jesus?

Kerry Dearborn, a professor emerita of theology at Seattle Pacific, told me that in terms of the ways in which Jesus communicated, “I’m convinced he used questions and stories as a means of connection and transformation — to awaken us, to whet our appetites, to invite us to draw nearer, that we might open up more fully to God and to God’s purposes in and for us.”

That’s truly profound! But wait! Yes, WAIT!  There’s still more, but waiting is the point:

. . . Kate Bowler, an associate professor at Duke Divinity School who was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 35, told me, “Jesus’ tender birth and violent death leave the problem of suffering unanswered until the end of days. We must learn to live and die in the not-yetness of suffering and empire, fear and uncertainty. But our questioning hearts in the face of evil is not an affront to faith. Jesus simply says: Wait. All will be revealed.”

No thank you, Jesus. Nothing will be revealed, and I don’t much like not-yetness.

*The writer Joan Didion, whose nonfiction I much admired, died in Manhattan yesterday at age 87. The cause: complications of Parkinson’s Disease.  My favorite books of hers were her two early essay collections,  Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, and her later heartbreaking account of the death of her husband and the concurrent illness of her daughter, The Year of Magical Thinking.

The Associated Press has an outstanding selection of Photographs of the Year at its site. I’ll show just two of the many, but look at all 154. Captions below are from the AP:

Health care worker Nazir Ahmed carries a cooler with vaccines and looks out from a hillock for Kashmiri shepherds to vaccinate in Tosamaidan, southwest of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on June 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Stephen Mudoga, 12, tries to chase away a swarm of locusts on his farm as he returns home from school, at Elburgon, in Nakuru county, Kenya, on March 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

*The Guardian reports the depredations of another genuine cat burglar. Click on the headline below to read about the thieving moggy (h/t Matthew)

This cat is a perv! An excerpt:

New Zealand cat with a reputation as a talented thief has taken his habit to new lows by bringing home drugs and a pair of lacy black knickers, according to his owners.

Keith’s crime wave started three years ago, when he began stealing bras from nearby clothes lines and bringing home live eels from the local Heathcote river in Christchurch.

But his ambitions have grown. According to owners Ginny and David Rumbold, in recent weeks the five-year-old black cat has brought home a bong and a ziploc bag containing unidentified white powder. He also left a pair of knickers on the back fence.

. . .The Rumbolds have resorted to filling two plastic boxes outside their front gate with their cat’s ill-gotten gains so that neighbours can swing by to retrieve them. But returning the goods has proven to be little deterrent to Keith, who has a habit of repeatedly stealing the same items.

A particular favourite are the steel-toed boots of a local tradesperson. Despite the man weighing down his shoes with fluorescent green 2.5 kilogram weights, Keith still manages to haul them home unseen – one shoe at a time.

I have no idea why cats do this, unless they’re bad at hunting and need to bring something home.

Speaking of New Zealand, if you want a snarky take on the big kerfuffle about whether indigenous “ways of knowing” should be taught coequal to modern science in science class, read this short article in BFD, “Is there something in the water?

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 813,790, an increase of 1,369 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,403,154, an increase of about 7,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on December 24 includes:

Kirimati is local argot for “Christmas.”  Here’s the 150-square-mile island and its location:

This isn’t one of my favorite Christmas carols but here’s some Wikipedia information about it:

[The song was] composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011.


  • 1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning.

The cadets got drunk and brawled after they smuggled a barrel of whisky into the Academy, which was forbidden. When the dust settled, 70 cadets were implicated and 20 were court-martialed.

  • 1865 – Jonathan Shank and Barry Ownby form The Ku Klux Klan.

The Klan marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. in 1928:

  • 1871 – The opera Aida premieres in Cairo, Egypt.
  • 1906 – Reginald Fessenden transmits the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.

Here’s a video about Fessenden’s work:

This happened in several years when soldiers on opposing sides met, unarmed, in no man’s land. Here’s a photo that Wikipedia labels ”

British and German troops meeting in no man’s land during the unofficial truce (British troops from the Northumberland Hussars, 7th Division, Bridoux–Rouge Banc Sector)

  • 1943 – World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander for the Invasion of Normandy.1
  • 1968 – Apollo program: The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed ten lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures.

Here’s the famous picture of “Earthrise” taken on December 24, 1968, by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders.


  • 1973 – District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.

Notables born on this day include:

Carson wearing a beaver hat. His exploits included engaging in the genocide of Native Americans:

  • 1822 – Matthew Arnold, English poet and critic (died 1888)
  • 1868 – Emanuel Lasker, German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher (died 1941)

Lasker, born in Germany as the son of a Jewish cantor (religious singer), held the world’s chess championship for the longest period of anyone to date: 27 years. Here he is in Berlin in 1933:

  • 1903 – Joseph Cornell, American sculptor and director (died 1972)

Cornell was famous for his “art boxes”: assemblages of stuff in wooden, glass-fronted boxes. Here’s one:

Hughes became a recluse and an eccentric. As Wikipedia notes,

Dietrich wrote that Hughes always ate the same thing for dinner, a New York strip steak cooked medium rare, dinner salad, and peas, but only the smaller ones, pushing the larger ones aside. For breakfast, Hughes wanted his eggs cooked the way his family cook, Lily, made them. Hughes had a “phobia about germs”, and “his passion for secrecy became a mania.”

That dinner doesn’t sound too bad, except the part about the big peas.

  • 1907 – I. F. Stone, American journalist and author (died 1989)
  • 1922 – Ava Gardner, American actress (died 1990)

It is my considered opinion that Ava Gardner was the most beautiful movie actress of all time, and one of the world’s most beautiful women. She married three times, all to famous people: Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra (during that marriage, she had an affair with Robert Mitchum and, before that was involved with Howard Hughes and many other notables [see above]). Unfortunately, she died young (67) because she had lupus but also chain-smoked and drank like a fish. She was an atheist later in life.

Here she is in the movie Show Boat (1951). Maybe I like her because she has a feline appearance.

Here’s an informative video biography:

I was once going to ask readers to list their most attractive actress and actor.  Here are my choices:

Most attractive actress: Ava Gardner
Most attractive actor: Robert Redford

Please add you choices in the comments below; I really want to know them!

  • 1940 – Anthony Fauci, American physician, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

“Dr. Fauci” (it’s always “Dr.”) is 81 today.

Voerderman was also a great beauty, and went to Cambridge University; how many men watched the t.v. show “Countdown”, which she co-hosted, just to see her? (I was one.) Here she is in action:

  • 1962 – Kate Spade, American fashion designer (died 2018)

Those whose relatives thought would meet their maker on December 24 include:

  • 1524 – Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer and politician, Governor of Portuguese India (born 1469)
  • 1863 – William Makepeace Thackeray, English author and poet (born 1811)
  • 1984 – Peter Lawford, English-American actor (born 1923)
  • 1993 – Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and author (born 1898)
  • 1994 – John Boswell, American historian, author, and academic (born 1947)

As I’ve said before, John (known as “Jeb” because his initials were J.E.B.) lived across the hall from me sophomore year at William and Mary. It was whispered then that he was gay, but he later came out and became a famous historian at Yale, writing about the history of homosexuals. He was also a pious Catholic. Sadly, he died of AIDS at only 47.  A photo of Jeb:

  • 1997 – Toshiro Mifune, Chinese-Japanese actor and producer (born 1920)

Here’s an overview of Mifune’s many samurai roles:

2008 – Harold Pinter, English playwright, screenwriter, director, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1930)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the pessimistic Hili looks out the window at the night:

A: What do you see there?
Hili: Darkness, my dear, darkness.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam widzisz?
Hili: Mrok, mój drogi, mrok.
Andrzej sent a picture of Kulka gazing out at the snow (which she does not like):

From The Far Corner Cafe of reader Pliny the in Between:

From Malcolm:

I can’t remember where I got this, but thanks to whoever sent it to me:

And a cat meme from Pyers, who points out that the cat is Larry, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office at 10 Downing Street:

A tweet from Titania:

From Ginger K., but I added one funny tweet in the thread (soccer lovers will understand):

From Barry: “How Christians think evolution workd.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew: Now here’s a female walrus where she’s not supposed to be. She should meet up with the errant walrus Wally, head north, and breed:

This is just RONG!

Well. . . . it’s clearly aposematic!

73 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. The armed Met officer pictured is on guard duty outside Number 10, but as a rule British police do not carry guns. Carrying a cat is common of course.

      1. Hendon(*) are rumoured to have a special breed of six-shooter cats.

        (*) England’s police training campus, also home to some “funny” stuff.

  2. There are just so many that I could be happy with any of a half dozen or so of each category, but on the spur of the moment if I must choose one male and one female, they would be:
    Male – Cary Grant (love the ties and suits)
    Female – Grace Kelly

    1. Perfect.
      Runners up…Runners, up…Runner-UPS:
      William Holden and, for just being so danged appealing, Mira Sorvino.
      But if there is a God, she’s bound to look like Ava Gardner.

  3. Is there something in the water? I read that title and thought, What an excellent question! Challenge Maori Ways of Knowing with determining whether a sample of water is safe to drink! Alas, that wasn’t what the article was about. I think that some real-world problems like water safety (no one gets to drink the water in order to find out) should be used to demonstrate the limits of ‘other ways of knowing.’ Nothing like a nice outbreak of Cholera to bring one back to scientific rigor.

  4. I imagine that it [the revered place Jesus holds in his heart] has influenced almost every area of my life, like food coloring dropped in water.

    More like how a drop of ink ruins a pitcher of milk.

  5. He [Jesus] asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables.

    Yeah, well, Socrates asked a lot of questions, too, over four centuries earlier, and the dialogues of Plato, the primary source by which we know of Socrates, are of more straightforward provenance than the canonical gospels.

  6. Female actor: Maureen O’Hara
    Male actor: Tyrone Power (though mention of Toshiro Mifune reminds me of one of his regular costars, Tatsuya Nakadai, another handsome devil)

  7. Yep. Maureen O’Hara and Tyrone Power are on my list of the half dozen or more that are just difficult for me to distinguish between.
    EDIT: sorry this was supposed to be in concurrence with Comment 9 by StephenB (jgb)

    1. I’m with you, Jim. Difficult to choose just one. It was between O’Hara and Deborah Kerr for my number one. (Do I have a thing for redheads? I love that my wife is raven-haired, though.)

  8. … [Joan Didion’s] two early essay collections, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, and her later heartbreaking account of the death of her husband and the concurrent illness of her daughter, The Year of Magical Thinking.

    [Spoiler alert] Didion’s daughter, Quintana Roo, dies, too, even before The Year of Magical Thinking was published. Didion wrote something of a sequel memoir about this, Blue Nights.

    1. Now that I think about it, Didion’s dying in Manhattan seems a bit ironic, given that one of the essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem“Goodbye to All That” — is about her decision to leave New York, after a decade of living there, to return to her native California.

  9. Robert Redford’s never done anything for me. But Paul Newman, Tom Hardy, Tom Burke, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba…🥰🥰

  10. I reflexively find the male body disgusting sexually, but if I had to get with one, it would be either Idris Elba, Jon Hamm, or Daniel Craig (man do I hope Elba is the next Bond!!!!). I don’t think I’d mind making out with them, but I don’t think I’d be turned on either…

    Female: Keira Knightley (get me to my fainting couch!), Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Selma Hayek

    1. I reflexively find the male body disgusting sexually …

      I wouldn’t go so far as that, but I’ll admit that, whenever I’m in a theater watching a movie that has a scene with full-frontal male nudity, my hand reflexively shoots up between the screen and my eyes along with the thought, “Jesus, get that junk outta here.”

      I’ll also admit that the thought of two grown men even cuddling gives me the willies. But I’ve understood from the time I was a youngster that that was my issue to deal with, not the two guys’.

      On a related note, I understand that some people reflexively find my passion for raw oysters disgusting.

      1. Re: your “issues”. You will love the Mr. Deity episode entitled “Mr. Deity and the Naughty Bits”. It appears others have the same issues you do. However, luckily for the human species,there are others who aren’t so bothered. Definitely not Intelligent Design.

        1. You ask me, women’s bits are beautiful, flower-like even. (Just ask Georgia O’Keefe.) That’s the reason some refer it by the Hawaiian word “puanani.”

          Men’s bits, OTOH, look like something slapped together from parts plucked off the offal pile. 🙂

      2. I understand that some people reflexively find my passion for raw oysters disgusting.

        That rather depends on what you do with them.
        Sorry, I’m channelling the woman who did that “you’re moving out today” song, with it’s line about “the baker told me what you do with bread” – which has had me both fascinated and slightly worried at the same time since I first managed to work out the lyrics.

  11. Lillian Gish
    Brad Pitt

    I don’t think it is fair to sum up Kit Carson as primarily an agent of genocide. Doing so requires judging him in the context of the 21st century, but viewing the natives through the perspective of a Disney film, complete with talking animals. If we choose to judge him in that context, we should judge the natives by those same standards.
    Even during the time period, it was commonly noted on the frontier that Easterner’s romanticism towards Indians was related to the tribes in their area having been long subdued or assimilated.
    It really comes down to a fundamental incompatibility of cultures. Not just on racial lines, either. If you visit some of the cliff dwellings in the southwest, you can see the extraordinary lengths that native populations who depended on agriculture had to go to to avoid the predations of nomadic raiding tribes. Up in your area, they built earthworks and wooden palisades. None of these types of defenses were to be undertaken casually, considering the technology available to the tribes constructing them.
    Beyond that, people like Carson had a pretty nuanced view of the natives, having lived among and married into native tribes. He was conversant in the Navajo, Cheyenne, Apache, Crow, and Comanche languages, possibly more.
    It seems wrong to judge someone like him from a comfortable distance of over 150 years, when we can barely even conceive of the world in which he lived.

    1. I had only a vague idea who Kit Carson was but given he was described as a génocidaire, I thought I ought to at least read his Wiki entry. I did note that attempts to cancel him by removing statues and memorials and many names in the territory he lived and worked have been rebuffed, wisely, in my minimally informed view. It’s complicated, as they say. Was he among the better? Or among the worse?

      Americans have always met resistance from the various Native tribes against their westward expansion, which is understandable. No one likes to be driven off lands that they shed blood to drive other people off of in the past. I always wonder what I would have done if I had been the President of the United States during those decades. Would I have decided that Manifest Destiny ran out of steam when it came up against resistance that we would have to kill, and we would just end the United States at St. Louis? (or the Alleghenies. Or the mouth of the James River.) Would a party with that platform be able to win election against a party that wanted to press advantage and conquer the lot? Who wants a broad remote frontier with hostile people living on the other side? You will have to defend your settlements against raiders who don’t respect your border unless you can pacify them. And will you be responsible for feeding them if their reduced territory (because you are occupying some of it) can’t support them, even though they are a foreign nation? Especially if you can’t defeat them in pitched battles and so have destroyed their food supplies to redress the asymmetry. Where does that end? And there was settlement on the west coast that wanted to be linked to the east by land instead of sailing around Cape Horn. This is a good place to think about just how much choice the political leadership of a democracy truly had in what to do about the Frontier.

      (Canada’s expansion westward was no doubt eased by Native awareness in our new territory about the havoc that a resolute militarily powerful state could inflict on those who resisted. By the time our Indian agents and Catholic priests showed up on the Plains, with no military capacity backing them up, we found the Cree and Blackfoot in a more conciliatory frame of mind, resigned to the changing times. They were mostly willing to sign treaties surrendering the land without bloodshed aforethought, just cash, disease, starvation, and a few revolts subsequently. I don’t know what we would have done in the face of resistance on the American Indian scale. If we had been unable to obtain and settle the Plains, the United States would undoubtedly have annexed the territory. So you did make it easier for us. No finger-pointing from me.)

  12. Most attractive actress: Ava Gardner
    Most attractive actor: Robert Redford

    Please add you choices in the comments below …

    When it comes to screen sirens of that era, I gotta go with Rita Hayworth. During a bout of insomnia the other night, I re-watched the movie she made with her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Orson Welles, The Lady From Shanghai, and she looked just as good shorn of her trademark raven tresses for short blonde hair (although her studio reportedly threw a shit fit about it).

    And, though I might not be a great judge of male pulchritude, I’d say Newman over Redford.

        1. Naah – he’s been safe for the best part of a week. Only the most barbarously hungry gourmands would eat a goose that hasn’t been hung for at least 5 days.
          Some would argue that you’re meant to hang the carcass up with a bit of twine around the neck, and when it falls to the floor, it’s ready to dress. It enhances the flavour. And keeps it out of reach of the cat. If you do it right.

  13. Fellow film buffs, we can use Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator to knit together separate yarns appearing in today’s Dialogue and comments, as it casts contemporary beautiful people playing their classic beautiful forerunners: Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner, Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn, Jude Law as Erroll Flynn, Kevin O’Rourke as Spencer Tracy, et al.

    1. The manslaughter verdict means the jury DID believe it was an accident – a criminally negligent accident.

      The best definition of criminal negligence I ever heard was, “Yeah, we know you didn’t mean to do it, but if you can do something that stupid, we need to lock you up anyway.”

        1. Yeah, I know, but the SS hooked its members up with women from occupied countries, too, so long as they appeared likely to bear them sufficiently Aryan-looking offspring.

          Got my doubts about Dolph Lundgren’s parentage, too, even though he’s Swedish (supposedly). 🙂

  14. If you don’t like fruit cake, it’s because you have never had a good one. My mother (aged 86) makes the best fruit cakes known to man. I won’t eat ANY fruit cakes but I will eat hers. They are to DIE FOR. You will get drunk on these things. They’re fabulously good.

    She also used to make homemade eggnog & that was OMG incredibly good too. So rich you could only have one cup.

  15. re: Peter Wehner’s questions and parables of Jesus
    I find the one about the “good” Samaritan somewhat racist.
    Deploy the woke brigade!

  16. I’m picking a blonde and brunette for each. 🙂
    F: Uma Thurman and Ava Gardner
    M: Brad Pitt and George Clooney

    Brandy with homemade eggnog is a delight, says I. Eggnog from the store is cloying.

  17. Only a fruitcake would turn down fruitcake! 😁 I love marzipan … Christmas cake should be moist. Feed it with brandy.

    Most attractive actress: Jennifer Connelly 🥰
    Most attractive actor: Steve Buscemi 🤣

  18. A slightly off-piste choice, but Olga Georges-Picot was very beautiful. I’m not sure about the male choice: perhaps a younger Greg Peck or Cary Grant…?

  19. I’ll leave the judgement of women to others. For male: Antonio Banderas. All the Hispanic/Latino male actors are sexy. Some Italians too. Some American male actors are handsome but not sexy, i.e. George Clooney. Redford? So-so. The unhandsome ones are the sexiest: Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper for example.

  20. The Klan marching in the 192i photo was not the Confederate Klan, which was born in 1867 and died out in 1872 or so. The Klan in Washington was born in 1915 by cultural appropriation, prompted by Hollywood, expanded nationwide from Georgia, grew to a membership of 50,000, was not secret (although many chapters later burned their records), and raised, proudly, only the America flag and the cross of Jesus. It was in a nuthell MAGA! Your and my grandfathers and great uncles may have been dues-paying members. Harry Truman was!

    1. I greatly underestimated KKK membership in the 1920s. The Northern Klan, the one that marched twice on Washington-DC with governmental blessing, peaked out with about 5 MILLION dues-paying members (20% or more of adult white US protestant males!), racists all! I’ve searched KKK rally photos from that period, seen countless white sheets and Old Glories, but nary a Confederate flag anywhere. The Southern Klan in the 1950s — the neo-Confederates — never had many more than 10,000 members, a mere 1/500 of its immediate predecessor, but it could be counted as a true terrorist organization. It is hard to know how many members were in the original Klan. It was a secret to the point of having neither membership lists nor the ability to establish a centralized policy even for disbanding. The government and press used it as a boggie-man to pin any violence against Blacks or resistance to Reconstruction. There was even a name for this divisive “Radical Republican” [their term, non mine] press propaganda: “waving the bloody shirt.”

  21. Like you, Jerry, I’m concerned about Putin causing trouble for Ukraine. Around the time of the Winter Olympics of 2014 in Sochi, I had a hunch he would go after Crimea while everyone was distracted by the games, and he did just that. Now the next Winter Olympics is in Feb. 2022 in China. Would he try such a dastardly deed again?

  22. Female: Vivian Leigh.

    Male: Errol Flynn had the Platonic ideal male face. Nevertheless, I don’t find him nearly as appealing as other male actors. For example, I find Humphrey Bogart, who was hardly classically handsome, to be much hotter.

  23. Post-truth – a situation in which facts are less important in shaping public opinion than references to emotions and personal beliefs.

    Post-truth is a specific state of socio-political and intellectual life in highly developed democratic countries, which was created by the media and people performing important public functions, mainly politicians; the effect of the spread of populism, which distorted the original sense of practicing politics in the countries of parliamentary democracies, because it eradicated the struggle for arguments, ideas and realizable ideas from public life, and instead introduced a game on emotions and cheap sensation.

    For God’s sake, what’s the point of listening to what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has to say about truth and facts?

    Quite apart from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

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