Monday: Hili dialogue

August 15, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Monday, August 15, 2022: I’d call it the “Ides of August” but I know some classical scholar would say I’m wrong. It’s not only National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, but also Julia Child‘s birthday (August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004).

I loved Julia, and once ran into her and her husband Paul in Harvard Yard (they lived behind the Museum of Comparative Zoology). They were TALL! Here’s a brief but engrossing Nightline video on her life:

It’s also Cupcake Day in Australia, I Love Cowboys and Cowgirls Day, National Best Friends Day, and National Failures Day.

Stuff that happened on August 15 includes:

Here’s a short documentary on the first transit of the Canal. Some years back I went through it while lecturing on a Scientific American cruise, and it was both fascinating and a tight fit.

Here’s Post (with an eyepatch) and Rogers in August, 1935; this may have been shortly before the fatal flight:

Remember this scene?

Here’s Schumann’s jump to freedom. He moved to Bavaria where he got a job and got married, but killed himself in 1998.

An American defector to North Korea! Here’s a short and rare interview he gave to Al-Jazeera:

Here’s an hourlong documentary featuring many of the musicians on one day (how many can you recognize?):

Da Nooz:

*Best news of the day (for me, at least): it looks as if Salman Rushdie is going to survive. The Washington Post quotes his agent, the only source of medical information we have:

Author Salman Rushdie has been taken off a ventilator and “the road to recovery has begun,” his agent said Sunday, two days after the renowned novelist was stabbed in the neck and abdomen at an event in western New York.

“The injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction,” Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, said in a statement to The Washington Post, adding that the recovery process would be lengthy.

Rushdie’s son Zafar also released a statement on Twitter on Sunday morning confirming that his father was taken off the ventilator and was “able to say a few words.”

“Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humor remains intact,” Zafar Rushdie wrote.

That’s great to hear: the guy is cracking jokes! Here’s a tweet from Rushdie’s ex-wife, Padma Lakshmi:

*Are we headed for a Chernobyl-type accident as a result of the Ukraine war? Multiple sources, including the NYT, report that a nuclear power plant in Ukraine is being shelled, almost certainly by Russians.  Many civilians, fearing the worst, have already fled the area.

Shelling near a nuclear power complex in southern Ukraine killed a foreman from the facility at his home in a neighboring town, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday.

The Ukrainian company that oversees the nation’s nuclear power plants, Energoatom, said that Russia had directed at least six shells at the town of Enerhodar, where most of the workers at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant live.

The town is under Russian occupation, and the Russians have blamed the Ukrainians for the shelling of the giant nuclear complex — Europe’s largest — and nearby residential areas. However, the Ukrainians have said that it is the Russians who are firing on civilians, suggesting the intent is to discredit the Ukrainian Army.

. . . The Zaporizhzhia plant is the first active nuclear power complex to be caught up in a combat zone. The United States and European Union have called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone, as the fighting in and around the plant and its active reactors and stored nuclear waste has sparked grave concern that an errant strike and resulting fire could cause a meltdown or release radiation.

The Washington Post adds that 42 countries have called for Russian troops to evacuate the site, and Ukrainian President Zelensky has declared that Ukrainian troops will specially target Russian troops who shoot at the nuclear plant.

*A Palestinian attack on a bus in Jerusalem wounded eight people, including five Americans, one of them pregnant.

Around 1:30 am local time Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET), police said in a statement that a “terrorist armed with weapons shot at a bus and vehicles in a parking lot near the Old City of Jerusalem.”

Two Americans are being treated at the Hadassah Medical Center, and three at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, according to the hospitals. At least two of the Americans injured were tourists, the hospitals said. Israeli media earlier reported that four American victims were tourists and members of the same family.

Two of the victims are listed as in serious condition, while the other six victims are mildly and moderately injured, according to emergency services. One of the wounded was pregnant, and underwent an emergency caesarean operation. Both mother and baby are in serious condition, according to Shaare Zedek hospital.

The US Embassy in Jerusalem said they are “shocked and saddened” by the attack. They confirmed that US citizens were among the victims and that they were gathering more information.

The suspect was an Israeli citizen, and eventually turned himself in:

The shooter fled the scene, with security forces, the Shin Bet and the IDF in pursuit. Police said a helicopter from the Israel Police’s aerial unit assisted in the search. The suspect later turned himself into police. The weapon he carried with him was seized, according to a police spokesperson.

The suspect is an Israeli citizen from East Jerusalem, a security source told CNN. He was not known for any terror related offenses, but had a criminal record and had spent time in prison, the security source told CNN.

The source said the suspect — whose identity has not been released — was born in 1996. Israeli media has described him as a Palestinian who holds Israeli citizenship.

The fact that he turned himself in rather than fleeing to friendly territory suggests that perhaps he’s seeking money for his family through the Palestinian Authority’s odious “pay for slay” program—which is partly (and unwittingly) funded by the American taxpayer. (We give the Palestinian Authority money that they manipulate to fund terrorists.) In fact, Arabs Israelis who attack Jewish Israelis get a special bonus! (The program gives money to terrorists who attack Jewish civilians in Israel.)

*Well, Biden’s Build Back A Little Bit Better bill is about to be law, and I approve. Thank Ceiling Cat that Manchin and Sinema signed on in the Senate! Each of them, of course got a little pork for their barrel, but, according to the AP, Sinema’s pork is a little more rancid because her catering to special interests is so blatant.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who single-handedly thwarted her party’s longtime goal of raising taxes on wealthy investors, received nearly $1 million over the past year from private equity professionals, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists whose taxes would have increased under the plan.

For years, Democrats have promised to raise taxes on such investors, who pay a significantly lower rate on their earnings than ordinary workers. But just as they closed in on that goal last week, Sinema forced a series of changes to her party’s $740 billion election-year spending package, eliminating a proposed “carried interest” tax increase on private equity earnings while securing a $35 billion exemption that will spare much of the industry from a separate tax increase other huge corporations now have to pay.

The bill, with Sinema’s alterations intact, was given final approval by Congress on Friday and is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden next week.

Sinema has long aligned herself with the interests of private equity, hedge funds and venture capital, helping her net at least $1.5 million in campaign contributions since she was elected to the House a decade ago. But the $983,000 she has collected since last summer more than doubled what the industry donated to her during all of her preceding years in Congress combined, according to an Associated Press review of campaign finance disclosures.

There are two ways to get this pork: get something for your state, as Manchin did, helping reassure your reelection. Or you can take Sinema Street and rake in campaign contributions to the same end. In fact, Sinema’s pretending this tax exemption is good for Arizona. Here’s her Big Lie:

Sinema’s office declined to make her available for an interview. Hannah Hurley, a Sinema spokesperson, acknowledged the senator shares some of the industry’s views on taxation, but rebuffed any suggestion that the donations influenced her thinking.

“Senator Sinema makes every decision based on one criteria: what’s best for Arizona,” Hurley said in a statement. “She has been clear and consistent for over a year that she will only support tax reforms and revenue options that support Arizona’s economic growth and competitiveness.”

Yeah, as if. . . .

*The Elders of Zion, whose sham Protocols laid out the definitive plan for Jewish World Domination, are packing it in and retiring to Florida. Or so said a funny spoof article in a Forward article from 2009, with the headline of “Elders of Zion to Retire” over this picture:

An excerpt:

The Elders of Zion, the venerable and shadowy Jewish organization that controls the international banking industry, news media and Hollywood, has announced that it is disbanding so that members can retire to Florida and live out their golden years on the golf course.

“We had a good run,” said one senior Elder, reminiscing over old photographs of world leaders in his musty, wood-paneled office at an undisclosed location. “Maybe we ran the world for just a little too long. Anyway, now it’s Obama’s problem.”

After a humiliating year left most of its financial holdings, as well as the entire civilized world, on the verge of collapse, the organization has re-defined its mission in terms of bridge games and making it to restaurants for the Early Bird Special.

The announcement comes after a year in which many of the Elders’ most prized institutions suffered disheartening failures. The vaunted global banking system, which lay at the heart of Jewish world domination for almost two centuries, collapsed with astonishing rapidity, requiring trillions of dollars in bailout funds. The newspaper industry, through which the Elders have controlled world opinion, is in shambles, with prominent papers declaring bankruptcy and forcing millions of readers to form their own opinions. And, in the unkindest cut, Hollywood suffered the humiliation of losing the Oscar for Best Picture to Indian film “Slumdog Millionaire.”

. . . Even before this past year, though, the Elders were facing hard times as they struggled to stay relevant and attract young members. The organization has tried to project a more youthful image, setting up a Facebook page and founding a new “Hipsters of Zion” youth division, which has sponsored a number of singles nights. But youngsters haven’t been interested.

“World domination just doesn’t resonate with the younger generation of Jews,” said Marvin Tobman, a professor of non-profit management at San Diego State University and expert on Jewish communal life. “They want the fun of fixing the world, not the responsibility of running it.”

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s on the prowl:

Hili: I’m going to check whether this bird can fly.
A: You don’t need to bother.
In Polish:
Hili: Idę sprawdzić, czy ten ptak umie fruwać.
Ja: Możesz się nie fatygować.
And a picture of Szaron:


A humorous bit on atheism sent by Heather (I don’t know who the comedian is):

From Ivan, a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson:

From In Otter News. Be sure to put the sound up on this one:

The Tweet of God. Y*hw*h is angry about the Southern Baptists:

Salman Rushdie on free speech and the abysmal attack on Charlie Hebdo after terrorists killed its writers and artists:

Masih Alinejad is a tough interviewer. Here she takes apart Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, once Iran’s ambassador to Iran and now the Nancy Schrom Dye Chair in Middle East and North African Studies at Oberlin College.  Here she tries to get him to admit that Iran, by killing innocent citizens (durng Mahalatti’s tenure), was committing human rights violations. Look at how Mahallati tries his best to avoid answering the question (if you look up “weasel” in the dictionary, you’ll see his picture). I wish all journalists were as tough as Masih, who is absolutely relentless here.

They speak in Farsi but there are English subtitles.

From Malcolm; a cat is flummoxed by a tattoo on her staff:

From Barry (I may have posted this before): a raptor gets a human’s snack:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: Another young person (14 years old) killed with a phenol injection in the heart (can you imagine what that is like?):

Tweets from Professor Cobb. Listen to this ferocious kitten!

They found the bear coat-color mutation that changes the color of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) to brown: it’s a single “missense” mutation, which prevents a workable protein from being made. From the paper:

Additional genomic and functional studies identified a missense alteration (R153C) in Tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TYRP1) that impaired protein localization and decreased pigment production.

This is an interesting game, but I don’t think it’s better than “Stray”:

28 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. The Irish comedian is Dave Allen (1936 – 2005), well-known in Britain (he had various series on the BBC) who would sign off his routines with “Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you.”

    1. Dave Allen is known to some of us in the States because one of his TV shows was rebroadcast here on public television. I watched his show and thought he was a hoot. Speaking of hoots, I also watched Benny Hill’s rebroadcasts on public television, and Benny’s impression of Allen is one of his best bits.

    2. He was pretty good there, did laugh quite a bit. He should definitely have been known more widely.
      But I gather he’s met his maker. I bet he’s giving Him a good quarrel. Yes, G*d will probably rue the creation of the Irish right now, they can be very witty, and wittiness is not exactly His forte.

      1. I dunno….an infallible God must have been playing a joke when He made food and air cross in a common passage, allowing choking going down and aspiration coming up as the default. And then He got other end wrong too, routing the urethra through a prostate that constricts it as you get older and more vulnerable to sepsis.

        Barrel of fun that God is.

        1. Agreed, he’s always prone to such kind of fun. Really hilarious, that Omnipotent one is.
          But His practical jokes, albeit great fun, are somehow often somewhat crude (trying to appeal to a larger public?), not really what I’d call ‘witty’.

        2. And even Augustine of Hippo made the remark: Inter faeces et urinam nascimur. (We are born between shit and piss.) Who in their right mind would have designed that? Though, I think the fact for Augustine was proof that humans are indeed “fallen” and need God’s special cleaning powers for redemption.

  2. That’s Irish comedian Dave Allen. As a child he thought funerals ended with the priest saying “In the name of the father, the son, abd into the hole-he-goes.”

  3. “…the Palestinian Authority’s odious ‘pay for slay’ program—which is partly (and unwittingly) funded by the American taxpayer. (We give the Palestinian Authority money that they manipulate to fund terrorists.) In fact, Arabs Israelis who attack Jewish Israelis get a special bonus! (The program gives money to terrorists who attack Jewish civilians in Israel.)”

    Let’s not forget that Iran also funds much of the terrorism from Hamas and the PNA (in addition to other terrorist organizations and activities). And that Iran is culpable in the attempt on Rushdie’s life, and his decades of leading a life looking over his shoulder and, for many years, in complete hiding. Good thing we’ll be making a “nuclear deal” with these peaceful, honest brokers! I’m so disgusted with Biden for reviving this “deal” (I put that word in quotes because Iran gets hundreds of millions of dollars, while all the rest of the world gets is a little plaque for Biden that says, “I did a good job! Look at me, making deals!” And Israel gets an Iran with hundreds of millions of dollars more to pump into its nuclear and terrorism programs, all while maintaining plausible deniability through the sham “inspections”). It seems like something he’s doing just because it was done by Obama and undone by Trump, and thus, by the laws of current political logic, must therefore be an unalloyed good.

    1. I tend to disagree, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with all it’s shortcomings, was about the best we could do, short of overthrowing the ayatollahs (and we all know to where those kind of adventures lead).
      I don’t ask this ‘aggressively’ or rhetorically, but do you seriously have better plans than the JCPOA (that would be acceptable to Iran)? I think there might be better options, but can’t think of one right now.

      1. The better plan is to continue doing whatever we can to keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon — sabotage (as with the computer virus a couple of years ago), sanctions, keeping top scientists from them, keeping certain technological and material knowledge and components from them, etc. — and not engaging in “deals” where we lift sanction that result in hundreds of millions of dollars flowing back into the Iranian government’s coffers, while in return we get “inspections” that are announced well in advance, aren’t allowed to inspect key military facilities, etc.

        Is this a perfect plan? No, of course not. But I don’t see how essentially giving the Iranian government hundreds of millions of dollars for what amounts to sham inspections is a “good plan.” And if the inspections must be announced well in advance and aren’t allowed anywhere near key military sites, what good are they? How do they in any way stop Iran from advancing it’s nuclear program? And if they don’t help stop them, then doesn’t giving the Iranian government hundreds of millions of dollars help their nuclear program, rather than hurt it? At the very least, doesn’t it help them massively increase their funding for global terrorism?

  4. … the organization has re-defined its mission in terms of bridge games and making it to restaurants for the Early Bird Special.

    What, no mah-jongg?

    1. I’m seeing the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry’s father is deposed as Chairman of his condo board for embezzlement, the key evidence being that Mr. Seinfeld’s useless son Jerry couldn’t possibly be successful enough to afford his father passing up the Early-bird Special to dine at New York City hours.

  5. In one of his annotated anthologies, Mr. Larson cited that cartoon as one he was never happy with. He thought “hitting” didn’t quite work as diction in the caption but went with it as deadline was approaching and it was the best he could come up with. After it ran, a reader suggested “colliding” would have worked better. Larson agreed, “Of course!” and kicked himself for not thinking of it himself.

    1. Reminds us of TH Huxley’s (‘how stupid of me not to have thought of that!’ re natural selection) rather unkind, but brilliant, comment on ‘Soapy Sam’ Wilberforce’s death (he fell from his horse on his head): “His end has been all too tragic for his life. For once, reality & his brains came into contact & the result was fatal.”

    2. I have another anecdote where Larson was one-upped by a fan. The cartoon showed a group of porcupines donning earrings, mohawks, spiked necklaces, etc. and the caption read Porcupine Punks.

      The fan suggested “Porcupunks” instead, and of course, Larson had to agree, and as you described, kicked himself for not thinking of it himself.

    3. Larson agreed, “Of course!” and kicked himself for not thinking of it himself.

      An instance of l’esprit de l’escalier — so-called “staircase wit” (the kind of snappy line you think of as you’re leaving a party and reach the bottom of the stairwell).

      I didn’t realize until recently rereading some Saul Bellow that there’s a similar Yiddish term for the phenomenon, trepverter.

      1. I was introduced to that phrase in Jerry’s introduction to Faith vs. Fact. What a great way to describe that feeling of missed opportunity. I actually suffer from it here time to time, now that the edit function is bunk! Sorry, I continue to harp.

  6. On the subject of the Wizard of Oz, the film critic of The Times, Kevin Maher, writes today that it was a short non-fiction book by Salman Rushdie about the film that, in his words, “transformed the way that I thought about film, home and childhood, for ever”, turned him into a film buff, and launched his career as a critic. ( ; paywalled, unfortunately).

    Maher quotes some of Rushdie’s prose, including the description of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as “the anthem of all the world’s migrants . . . It is a celebration of Escape, a grand paean to the uprooted self, a hymn — the hymn — to Elsewhere.” And Rushdie concludes: “This is the last and most terrible lesson of the film . . . In the end, ceasing to be children, we all become magicians without magic, exposed conjurors, with only our simple humanity to get us through.”

    Rushdie seems as perceptive about film as he does about everything else. I must try to find this book!

  7. “Good morning on Monday, August 15, 2022: I’d call it the “Ides of August” but I know some classical scholar would say I’m wrong.”

    Classical scholar here: you’re wrong (sorry …).

    The Ides was on the 15th in March, May, July (= Quintilis), October; it is on the 13th in all other months, including August. The reason: in the original (pre-Julian) Roman calendar, those were the only months of 31 days; all other months except February were 29 days; February was 28 days as now. The Ides was meant to be (just under) halfway through the month … And even after most of the months were lengthened for the Julian calendar, the Ides kept its original position.

    1. That gave me a Proustian moment! When I started learning Latin in 1960, our Latin master taught us the mnemonic:

      In March, July, October, May,
      The Nones are on the seventh day
      (And Ides upon the fifteenth day).

      I don’t think I’ve recalled that little rhyme for well over 50 years. So thank you!

  8. Czesława Kwoka, was not yet 15 years old. Gassing was bad and profoundly evil, but kind of ‘impersonal’. Actively injecting phenol into the heart of a 14 year old girl somehow shows an extra step of depravity (if possible at all), in my books.

    The Auschwitz Memorial shows a survivor on occasion. It kinda reminds us of those tracking d*gs used in finding earthquake victims that get depressed by only finding corpses. They occasionally bury a living person to be found to keep the dogs motivated. (I’m not sure this is a valid comparison, just a feeling).

  9. I attended that Beatles concert. The sound was very bad since they had not yet invented good stadium sound and used the PA system. There seemed a continual flashing of bulbs from the stands. That got me started on a concert binge still ongoing, most recently Roger Water’s latest offering, where the sound was fantastic and no one uses flash anymore. Live sound rules !!!

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