Thursday: Hili dialogue

July 7, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Thursday, July 7, 2022, National Strawberry Sundae Day.  But a hot fudge is better, and the the best specimen I know of is found at Margie’s Candies on the north side, open since 1921.

The Big news is that BORIS JOHNSON has resigned as head of the Conservative party, and will leave as Prime Minister this fall. See “Da Nooz” below for an up to the minute report.

As Chicago Magazine noted when describing it as an “iconic food item” last year (the place’s 100th anniversary):

The original location celebrates its centennial this year, and as the neighborhoods surrounding it have changed, Margie’s has remained a constant, a beacon for teenagers who cluster in groups and for older couples on dates, everyone outside waiting for a booth. Inside is a diner/candy shop/ice cream parlor, its walls covered in memorabilia, much of it dating to that night in 1965 when the Beatles stopped by after their concert in Comiskey Park. Greek immigrant George Poulos named Margie’s for his wife, who ran it until her death in 1995. Margie’s homemade ice cream is just fine, but the magic comes in the way the sundaes come together — order the hot fudge version and you’ll get a gravy boat of rich chocolate plus whipped cream that’s dispensed showily from a gun. $5.25; 1960 N. Western Ave., Logan Square

The hot fudge is indescribably good; the place is pretty much the same as it was in 1921, and you can choose how to dispense your hot fudge. I often wind up scraping or licking the gravy boat, though I haven’t been there for several years. And the Beatles ate there!  Voià: one hot fudge sundae:

It’s also  World Chocolate Day and Tell the Truth Day (read Sam Harris’s book on lying).

Stuff that happend on July 7 includes:

  • 1534 – Jacques Cartier makes his first contact with aboriginal peoples in what is now Canada.
  • 1863 – The United States begins its first military draft; exemptions cost $300.
  • 1865 – Four conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are hanged.

John Wilkes Booth, the main assassin, had of course been killed. Here are the four conspirators about to be hanged. One of them, Mary Surratt, was a woman—the first woman executed by the federal government. Surratt, who ran a boarding house, was accused of taking care of the guns designed to kill Lincoln, and it’s not clear if she was guilty. But despite five of the nine judges in her trial recommending that President Johnson grant her clemency, she was hanged.

  • 1898 – US President William McKinley signs the Newlands Resolution annexing Hawaii as a territory of the United States.
  • 1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.

And here’s the diagram for the first commercial bread slicer, invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder:

The banzai charge, the Japanese equivalent of Pickett’s charge in the Civil War, is a mass foot charge of soldiers directly at the enemy. It’s also considered a form of honorable suicide, as it nearly always fails and results in the deaths of most Japanese soldiers. Here’s the result of one banzai charge on Guadalcanal on August 21, 1942:

Here’s his trip, that lasted three years, including a stint as a doctor in Mexico, and wound up in Cuba; the rest is in history.

  • 1958 – US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Act into law.
  • 1980 – Institution of sharia law in Iran.

This is a video from the U.S. State Department, so consider it propaganda. But there’s a lot of truth in it. After the hijab became mandatory, masses of Iranian women took to the streets in protest—to no avail. Now the campaign against oppression of women must be continued by exiles like Masih Alinejad.

  • 1981 – US President Ronald Reagan appoints Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • 1992 – The New York Court of Appeals rules that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.

Although it is legal for women to go topless in New York, I’ve never seen one. They do, I understand, have topless marches, and occasionally women disrobe to exert their rights. You can see some of this on the Google Image search page, but this is a family website so you’ll have to look for yourself.

  • 2005 – A series of four explosions occurs on London’s transport system, killing 56 people, including four suicide bombers, and injuring over 700 others.

Here are the suicide bombers in a Wikipedia picture with its caption:

The four bombers captured on CCTV at Luton station at 7:21 am on 7 July 2005. From left to right: Hasib Hussain, Germaine Lindsay, Mohammad Sidique Khan, and Shehzad Tanweer.
  • 2016 – Ex-US Army soldier Micah Xavier Johnson shoots fourteen policemen during an anti-police protest in downtown Dallas, Texas, killing five of them. He is subsequently killed by a robot-delivered bomb.

Here’s a news report showing the robot but not the explosion. It is a good idea to use robots to take down people who are killing others or trying to kill others. But this does seem to have been a “one off”:

Here are all the goals and hightlights of that game:


The big news is that BORIS JOHNSON IS TOAST! The Guardian reports this:

Boris Johnson is to resign on Thursday as Conservative leader but will push to stay on as prime minister until autumn, prompting a backlash from some Tory MPs who say he has to go now.

Johnson resigned after an extraordinary standoff with his cabinet, which ended after Nadhim Zahawi, his new chancellor, told him to quit. By that point, more than 50 ministers had walked out, citing his mishandling of a string of scandals and failure of ethics.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “The prime minister will make a statement to the country today.”

Johnson is understood to have spoken to the Queen to tell her of his plans. However, his push to stay on as prime minister until the autumn while a Conservative leadership contest takes place provoked fury among MPs.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, said the party needed “a new leader as soon as practicable”.

“Someone who can rebuild trust, heal the country, and set out a new, sensible and consistent economic approach to help families,” he added.

Let reader Jez, who just emailed me, give us the latest skinny:

It’s been a crazy morning – 8 ministers, including the Secretary of State for Education appointed just 35 hours earlier, resigned between 6.30 am and 9 am. The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, also pointed 35 hours ago, called on Boris to quit but didn’t resign himself.Numerous leading Conservative party big cheeses openly comparing the PM to Trump barricaded in the White House and refusing to accept he’d lost the election – one of them said that he had made the comparison to Boris in person.Boris’s old university friend Michael Gove was sacked as Minister for Housing, Levelling Up and Communities after advising Boris to quit last night. A Downing Street spokesman described Gove as a “snake”. A Tory MP said Gove had “taken Boris the metaphorical bottle of whisky and revolver, but Boris downed the whisky and turned the gun on Gove!” It’s been endless fun, although I’m struggling to concentrate on my work.

Matthew, whom I asked yesterday what is happening in Britain, and if Johnson was going to leave, said this:

They swallowed camels and are now straining at a gnat. But basically the Tory party has woken up to Boris’s lies and egomaniac behaviour. The technicalities of getting rid of him are complex. But it will happen
. . . and it did! A journalist from the London Evening Standard agrees with Dr. Cobb:

Larry the Cat, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, takes the credit:

and a restrospective:

This bit below is now obsolete, written last evening:

*The Guardian, I was told by a Brit, is where we should go to see what’s going on with l’affaire Boris, for, unlike the BBC, they have live coverage. And as of Wednesday early evening, Boris was still PM and had fired Michael Gove, the “leveling up secretary”. Resignations in the government are happening at a furious pace (another is below), but one of Johnson’s private secretaries has announced that the PM will fill all the vacancies by direct appointment: no problem.

*A NYT op-ed from a history professor, “The end of the illusion that smokinng is a choice“, by Sarah Milov of U.Va. Well of course it’s not a choice in the sense that the laws of physics will either make you a smoker, a non-smoker, or, like me, someone who, in the past, smoked very sporadicially and then quit when it was no longer pleasurable (about a week).

This was motivated by the FDA proposal to lower the levels of nicotine, the main addictive substance in cigarettes. As Milov notes,

Publicly, tobacco’s advocates have argued that smoking is a choice of free, responsible adults. As early as 1929, the United States Patent Office granted patents to engineers who had devised processes for denicotinizing tobacco. But as one 1935 American Tobacco Company pamphlet reassured its readers, “The makers of Lucky Strike cigarettes deliberately refrain” from these techniques because “such removal of nicotine produces an emasculated product, shorn of the very qualities which give a cigarette character and appeal.” Selling the cigarette has always involved selling both the illusion of choice and a product designed to preclude it.

. . .“We can’t defend continued smoking as a ‘free choice’ if the person was ‘addicted,’” a tobacco lobbyist observed more than four decades ago. And yet this is precisely what the industry has done — with the unintended blessing of even anti-tobacco lawmakers, whose rules have granted the validity of the cigarette’s engineering while making it ever more difficult, expensive and stigmatized to be a smoker.

The F.D.A.’s nicotine proposal is, at long last, an opportunity to test one of the industry’s core propositions. Only then will we truly see if smoking is a free adult choice rather than the consequence of addiction and skillful product design.

What she proposes is not a test of free choice, but of whether smokers will quit if they don’t have access to nicotine. Some will and some won’t, but that’s an illusory “choice” and is the result of physical law. Milov is proposing that the FDA is testing how much it can manipulate a habit it doesn’t like by changing government regulations. It has nothing to do with “free choice”.

*The Washington Post discusses the new problem of how people in states that ban abortions can get abortion pills through the mail, which may involve “legally risky tactics.”

The medications — mifepristone and misoprostol — are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and can be taken up to 10 weeks into pregnancy. The Biden administration has said the drugs have been authorized as safe and effective for use in all 50 states. But remote providers could be targeted in criminal probes by local and state prosecutors, get hit with civil lawsuits, and lose their medical licenses if they violate rules by prescribing and shipping pills to people in states where abortion is illegal.

So telehealth abortion services, which sprang up in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and their activist allies are now seeking workarounds, some of which present significant legal questions.Some advise patients to drive just across state lines to have their telehealth appointments and use out-of-state addressesto receive pills at places where they remain legal. It’s thrusting everyone involved into legally gray areas.

“If you’re not following the rules and not acting in good faith, there is a lot of trouble you can get into,” said Dianne Bourque, a health-care lawyer specializing in licensing and regulations at the firm Mintz.

Services like commercial mail-forwarding companies (pills sent to an address in a state where abortion is legal, then forwarded to a state where it’s not) might provide a workaround, but it’s not clear. The post highlights a website that will give you information, but of course you are responsible for determining if you’re violating the law of your state:

. . . and now the Plan C website contains a detailed account of how patients in states with abortion bans can use telehealth services and mail-forwarding services to obtain pills.

Of this I am pretty sure: a woman determined to get an abortion will get one; the questions are whether she gets in trouble legally or whether she gets in trouble medically by not using professional advice.

*Until I read this article in the Wall Street Journal, I wasn’t aware that the U.S. government is very wary of “prisoner exchanges” to get back citizens imprisoned outside the U.S. The person concerned is, of course, WNBA star Brittney Griner, imprisoned in Russia since mid-February for allegedly bringing vaping oil infused with hashish into the country. (She’s on trial now, facing a ten-year sentence which will almost certainly be imposed—99% of Russian criminal trials end in convictions.)

Biden has asked the National Security Council to intervene, but this comes up against American policy:

But a trade for [Griner’s] release would require the easing of significant tension—and not just between two hostile superpowers during wartime.

The White House would have to feel comfortable setting aside longstanding misgivings about the strategic risks of trades. Public opinion and the likelihood of any political opposition could also be at issue.

And a key component of the president’s administration, the Justice Department, reflexively objects to such deals, in which Russians convicted of crimes in the U.S. are released as a means of obtaining the return of Americans held in Russia.

. . .The U.S. has done prisoner exchanges with Russia—despite the historic lows in relations between the two countries—as recently as late April.

The Biden administration cheered the homecoming of Trevor Reed, a former Marine detained in Russia since 2019 who had been found guilty of assaulting two police officers.

Senior administration officials said that it had been “a very hard decision” to get him back by commuting the sentence of Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian citizen sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011 for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” Biden said at the time.

Those challenges haven’t abated in recent months, as the U.S. has had to weigh the prospect of additional deals to free Griner, as well as Whelan, a former U.S. Marine held since 2018, convicted of espionage in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years. Both have been officially declared by the U.S. to be wrongfully detained in Russia.

The opposition to such swaps is based on the supposedly tacit admission that the American conviction was based on political rather than legal considerations. I don’t really understand that; to me it seems that this is just a way to “unpunish” someone convicted in an American court in the cause of getting back one of our own citizens. What would be unfair if Griner, who may in fact be guilty of the Russian charges, moves to the head of the “swap line” of other American prisoners because of her fame.

*Finally, professional eater Joey Chestnut once again won the July 4 Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, downing a total of 63 dogs (with buns) in just ten minutes.  This is his 15th win, and here’s his victory (I’m fascinated by this contest). He won despite a leg injury and  protestors briefly rushing the stage.

Go, Joey!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is once again inspecting the edibles:

Hili: I’m going to check on the walnuts.
A: Wait until summer.
Hili: Elżbieta needs green ones for liqueur.
In Polish:
Hili: Idę sprawdzić orzechy.
Ja: Poczekaj do jesieni.
Hili: Elżbieta potrzebuje zielonych na nalewkę.


From Divy:

From Facebook via Stash Krod. The kitten does NOT want to relinquish its salami. Why would they torture it like this—give it the damn salami! (Be sure to turn the sound up.)

From Jesus of the Day:

. . . and here’s the real Bert:

A tweet from God, flogging His New Book. (It might be funny!)


A tweet from Ken on Congressional Loon Marjorie Taylor Greene’s blaming the most recent mass shooting on antidepressants and their makers. His comment:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene knows who is to blame for the Highland Park mass shooting, and it is Big Pharma and antidepressants (definitely nothing to do with guns). How she knows this, she does not say:

It’s not guns that kill people, it’s Big Pharma!

A tweet from Dom: a Fourth of July celebration gone very badly wrong:

From Barry, who’s impressed by the voice:

From SImon, who calls this (including the remarkable head stability) a “killer combination of evolved characteristics”. I think it’s chasing a decoy, not an animal.

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. I didn’t get this one at first (I blame early morning and the lack of coffee):

From Larry, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, but this was yesterday:

Finally, THIS LACUNA MUST BE FILLED. I love the caption!

28 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. Yes, the bit about how “once the herd moves it can do so quickly” hasn’t gone down very well with Tory MPs, who see it as suggesting they mindlessly followed others and that it’s their fault he’s having to resign, deflecting blame from his own mistakes (as usual).

      And Darwin got a mention….!

      1. Yes a distinct lack of humility from Johnson and no acknowledgement at all that it was his persistent dishonesty that brought him down.

  1. Hili dialogue fan here with a minor correction to today’s translation:

    Poczekaj do jesieni = “Wait until fall.”

  2. Does anyone who discusses addiction ever focus on the addicts’ victims?

    I am sick to death of hearing both “It’s a choice” AND “They can’t help it; they’re addicted”.

    I was born into a household with three smoking adults, and ended up with a lifetime of lung disease as a result. I have never, not once in my life, spent so much as a nickel on a tobacco product. I absolutely did NOT have a choice.

    And I am also not interested in platitudes about how I just have to suck it up and accept it because the poor dears can’t help themselves. I wish people who say that could spend two weeks with my lungs.

    Do I have a solution? No, except to avoid addicts whenever and wherever possible.


    PS: Just as an aside, I admit that my feelings about Christopher Hitchens are colored by his addictions. I have read a lot of his writings, and found a lot I agree with, but I never hear his name without wondering if he forced his children to ride in a car with him in bad weather, with the windows rolled up, while he chain-smoked.

    And people who thought his smoking and drinking were “charming” traits have never had to live with an alcoholic or a drug addict. If they had, they would get a taste of just how not-charming it really is.

  3. They swallowed camels and are now straining at a gnat. But basically the Tory party has woken up to Boris’s lies and egomaniac behaviour. The technicalities of getting rid of him are complex. But it will happen

    I don’t think the characterisation is correct. “straw that broke the camel’s back” is more apropos, I think. There’s been gradual build up of scandals that have made BJ an electoral liability and that’s all that really matters. The only question is why they left it so late.

    1. Yep. Boris was elected on a mandate of “Get Brexit Done”, and having got Brexit done, the electorate now see no need for him, and are no longer willing to overlook his faults. Looking ahead to the next election, the Tory party have taken the hint.

  4. Of this I am pretty sure: a woman determined to get an abortion will get one; the questions are whether she gets in trouble legally or whether she gets in trouble medically by not using professional advice.

    “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

    I believe this nation cannot endure, permanently half respecting reproductive freedom and half imposing forced-births.

    I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

    It will become all one thing or all the other.

    (With credit due Honest Abe and Mark 3:25)

    1. Politicians on both sides like having issues that never get solved so they can go to their voters every few years and get them fired up. For the GOP, abortion was one of these issues–the GOP establishment was quite happy with Roe, and they could demagogue the issue safe in the knowledge that their promises about abortion carried no weight because their hands were tied.

      Now that politicians actually have to do their jobs — make decisions and be accountable to the voters — I predict that in two or three years the majority view on abortion will prevail, and most of the U.S. will end up with laws more or less the same as in Europe.

      My hypothesis is that most politicians are spineless, and far prefer striking poses and making grandiose statements to doing the work of governing and being accountable. If you force them to be accountable, it will force them to be more reasonable if they want to be re-elected.

      1. So I take it you agree with Abe and me that the nation will, eventually and in essence at least, become all one thing — viz., a nation that allows women reasonable access to abortion?

        Let us hope that this can be achieved without another Civil War and with as little suffering as possible in the interim for women between the ages of menarche and menopause.

    1. It’s some version of the availability heuristic, I think. When rating things and people “best” or “worst” people are almost always strongly biased in favor of recent people and events because they come easily to mind. And I’m always suspicious of these ratings.

    2. Well, a discussion on those lines could run and run. But, FWIW, I think he was worse than either of those. The only ones I would regard as much worse than BJ are Lord Rosebery (1894-5) and Anthony Eden (1955-57).

    3. Was Chamberlain actually a bad prime minister? I know that, in retrospect, the policy of appeasement looks to have been a disaster but at the time, it seemed to be the logical thing to do and, according to Wikipedia, was pretty popular with the British public.

  5. I’m pretty sure the Don Winslow of the tweet forwarded by Dom with the Fourth of July fireworks gone awry is the great crime novelist — the best in the business, IMO, since Elmore Leonard died about a decade ago. He’s carved out his own niche of what might be called West Coast and US/Mexican border noir, with classics such as The Death and Life of Bobby Z, The Power of the Dog, The Winter of Frankie Machine, and Savages, among others.

    1. That 4th of July celebration gone awry seemed like a good metaphor for the current plight of America.

  6. Brittney Griner: she just pleaded guilty to possession. Is it because she’s a public figure that this is such a big deal for the U.S.? If she were any other citizen picked up for possession overseas, wouldn’t she be on her own?
    Boris Johnson: does this mean the era of bad hair is over? Or should I worry about Ted Cruz?

    1. Nope.

      in which the packaged product is sterilized by heat The patent to Rohwedder relates to a bread fastening machine intended to secure the slices of a loaf of bread together in their original position after the loaf has been cut by a bread slicing machine The

  7. I think the best description of the ministers and others resigning yesterday came from the Leader of the Opposition “the sinking ship leaving the rat”. The Conservative Party have brought it all on their own head. Mr Johnson behaved in exactly the same way during the 8 years he was Mayor of London.

  8. “Iran before the regime”

    I think a video like that can soon be made in America. “America before the regime”. The regime being the new Ayatollahs in black robes sitting on SCOTUS and the destruction in their wake.

    1. That video is not very factual. The Shah’s regime was a pretty bloody dictatorship. The SAVAK was feared for arresting, torturing and murdering anybody even mildly critical of the regime.

  9. What would be unfair if [Brittney] Griner, who may in fact be guilty of the Russian charges, moves to the head of the “swap line” of other American prisoners because of her fame.

    I dunno. Griner isn’t a PoW, like John McCain at the Hanoi Hilton, who took a military oath, along with his fellow prisoners, that it would be first in/first out. We live in a celebrity culture; to expect that a high-profile prisoner isn’t gonna get special treatment blinks reality.

    Plus, something tells me that if the Russians had arrested someone like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps — who, if memory serves, himself sometime liked to get one toke over the line, sweet Jesus — at the Moscow airport with a vape pen, he’d likely be home already.

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