Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 13, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, September 13, 2022, and National Peanut Day. Remember Mr. Peanut, an aristocratic goober complete with top hat, gloves, cane, monocle, and spats? I wonder if he’s still around? Yes–he is!

It’s also International Chocolate Day, Fortune Cookie Day, National Ants on a Log Day, Snack a Pickle Day (make mine half sour), Positive Thinking Day (not in my calendar), and Bald is Beautiful Day.

Ants on a log is a snack made with peanut butter and raisins atop a celery stick. My mom used to serve it sans raisins, or use Cheez-Whiz (canned artificial cheese substance) instead of peanut butter.

. . . and a nice fortune:

Stuff that happened on September 13 includes:

I had no idea that the statue had such a tortuous history. From Wikipedia:

A block of marble was provided from a quarry in Carrara, a town in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany. Agostino only got as far as beginning to shape the legs, feet, torso, roughing out some drapery, and probably gouging a hole between the legs. His association with the project ceased, for reasons unknown, with the death of Donatello in 1466, and ten years later Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to take up where Agostino had left off. Rossellino’s contract was terminated soon thereafter, and the block of marble remained neglected for 26 years, all the while exposed to the elements in the yard of the cathedral workshop. This was of great concern to the Opera authorities, as such a large piece of marble was not only costly, but represented a large amount of labour and difficulty in its transportation to Florence.

In 1500, an inventory of the cathedral workshops described the piece as “a certain figure of marble called David, badly blocked out and supine.” A year later, documents showed that the Operai were determined to find an artist who could take this large piece of marble and turn it into a finished work of art. They ordered the block of stone, which they called ‘the Giant’,[9] “raised on its feet” so that a master experienced in this kind of work might examine it and express an opinion. Though Leonardo da Vinci and others were consulted, it was Michelangelo, at 26 years of age, who convinced the Operai that he deserved the commission.[10] On 16 August 1501, Michelangelo was given the official contract to undertake this challenging new task. He began carving the statue early in the morning on 13 September, a month after he was awarded the contract. He would work on the massive statue for more than two years.

The statue was outside from 1504-1873 (369 years!) before it was moved inside in Florence. Notice that there’s a sling behind his back:

Here’s the earliest surviving sheet music of that anthem, also from 1814.  It’s not a very good national anthem; “America, the Beautiful” would be far better.

  • 1848 – Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage survives an iron rod 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter being driven through his brain; the reported effects on his behavior and personality stimulate discussion of the nature of the brain and its functions.

Here’s  photo of Gage holding the rod that went through his skull.  He died from epilepsy, surely related to the injury, in 1860.

Several views of Gage’s skull with the rod:

Here’s Meredith going to Old Miss with company (see caption). He’s still with us at 89:

(From Wikipedia) James Meredith between U.S. Marshal James McShane (left) and Justice Department’s John Doar, University of Mississippi, October 1, 1962 Photo by Marion Trikosko, Courtesy U.S. Library of Congress (LC-U9- 8556-24)

The stolen device contained a small capsule of cesium chloride, a highly radioactive substance. The thief dismantled it, dug into the cesium and some even put it on their body. Four people died grim deaths as a result and hundreds were contaminated. A gif is below, showing how it emitted gamma rays.

(From Wikipedia) A wheel type radiotherapy device which has a long collimator to focus the radiation into a narrow beam. The caesium chloride radioactive source is the blue rectangle, and gamma rays are represented by the beam emerging from the aperture.

Da Nooz:

*Russia still holds huge swaths of Ukraine, but the scrappy little country’s new offensive continues to gain ground.

Ukraine on Monday continued its push to reshape the terrain of the 200-day war, claiming more territory in both the northeast and south, and raising questions over whether Russia’s once-daunting military can hold the territory it still controls in the country.

The Ukrainian military claimed to have advanced into an additional 20 Ukrainian towns and villages over the past 24 hours that had been under Russian control, adding to the hundreds of square miles it has retaken in the northeast.

It also said it had recaptured nearly 200 square miles in the southern region of Kherson in recent days, in an offensive that aimed to cut off thousands of Russian soldiers stationed west of the Dnipro River in territory that Russia claimed in the initial stages of its invasion.

Russia still holds vast chunks of eastern and southern Ukraine. But Russian officials, describing the retreat as a planned move to “regroup,” face hard questions, especially with a growing backlash to their “special military operation” in Ukraine from pro-war voices at home. Moscow’s military leaders, analysts say, will have to take a cleareyed look at their forces’ current conditions, which are depleted and demoralized in some areas.

And get a load of this. Signing the petition mentioned below was a brave act given Putin’s behavior, and could even lead to murder of the signers:

Municipal deputies from 18 councils in Moscow and St. Petersburg signed a petition on Monday calling on President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to resign. The petition came after a municipal council in St. Petersburg last week called on the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to investigate Mr. Putin for treason over his decision to invade Ukraine. Those deputies have been charged with discrediting the Russian army, an administrative offense.

*From reader Ken:

The Justice Dept. has issued 40 subpoenas regarding its Jan. 6th grand jury investigation in the past week and has seized the electronic devices of two of Donald Trump’s top advisors pursuant to search warrants.

From the NYT article linked above:

Two top Trump advisers, Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman, had their phones seized as evidence, those people said.

The department’s actions represent a substantial escalation of a slow-simmer investigation two months before the midterm elections, coinciding with a separate inquiry into Mr. Trump’s hoarding of sensitive documents at his residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.

Among those the department has contacted since Wednesday are people who are close to the former president and have played significant roles in his post-White House life.

Those receiving the subpoenas included Dan Scavino, Mr. Trump’s former social media director who rose from working at a Trump-owned golf course to one of his most loyal aides and has remained an adviser since Mr. Trump left office. Stanley Woodward, one of Mr. Scavino’s lawyers, declined to comment.

. . .The subpoenas seek information in connection with the plan to submit slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump from swing states that were won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump and his allies promoted the idea that competing slates of electors would justify blocking or delaying certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

In a new line of inquiry, some of the subpoenas also seek information into the activities of the Save America political action committee, the main political fund-raising conduit for Mr. Trump since he left office.

*Meanwhile, Britain continues to mourn the loss of Elizabeth II, but it’s also led to some pushback against royalty. As the Guardian reports (and I’ve retweeted some of these incidents in a rare bout of Coyneian tweeting), the cops are arresting “republican” (anti-monarchy) protestors for holding up anti-royalist signs or shouting related slogans. That article reports two protestors arrested but now there are more:

Two protesters who expressed republican sentiments have been arrested at events proclaiming the accession to the throne of King Charles III.

A man said he was arrested for shouting, “Who elected him?” when the proclamation was read out in Oxford.

Symon Hill, 45, said he had come across the event by chance as he walked home from church. The history tutor said that after he shouted the words, some people nearby told him to “shut up” and he responded by saying: “A head of state has been imposed on us without our consent.”

Three security guards approached him before police intervened, he said. Hill said he was taken to a police van, despite the protestations of others, who defended his right to free expression.

. . . “I didn’t in any meaningful sense disrupt the ceremony; I just called out something that a few people near me would have heard, and then they carried on with the ceremony, and they [the police] collared me. I find it really alarming that you can be arrested for expressing an opinion in public. I am feeling quite shaken.”

. . .In Edinburgh, a woman holding a sign saying, “Fuck imperialism, abolish monarchy” was arrested moments before the reading of the proclamation. The incident took place outside St Giles’ Cathedral, where the Queen’s coffin is due to lie on Monday.

A police spokesperson said a 22-year-old woman had been arrested in connection with a breach of the peace. Some people were heard booing at the proclamation of the King during the Edinburgh event.

Remember, Britain has no First Amendment, and restrictions on expression are tighter than in the U.S. You can be arrested for giving offense, creating a public disturbance when you didn’t, and uttering “hate speech.”

More civil liberties violations:

Matthew’s note on this one: “This is the problem, the police will say. This guy seems to be yelling about Prince Andrew.” The guy OFFENDED someone, and gets attacked. But of course the speaker is supposed to be the problem, not the assaulter.

Here’s a thread on what arrests were legal and which were not (follow the thread at Twitter). Matthew’s comment:

“Even allowing for the very different legal and cultural situation in the UK compared to the US, people are shocked by this [the squelching of anti-royal speech]. Here’s a good thread from a criminal lawyer.”  There’s also a link to that Guardian article about the speech kerfuffles:

*Elizabeth Holmes already filed one motion for a new trial after one of her former employees who testified against her in the Theranos prosecution said that the prosecution make him say things he didn’t mean to say. Now she’s asked for another new trial on still different grounds (yes, this is from the Daily Fail, but it’s confirmed from other sources).

Holmes, 38, on Tuesday filed a motion in San Jose District Court alleging that a key witness for the prosecution now regrets the role he played in her conviction for investor fraud and conspiracy related to her failed blood-testing startup.

Less than 24 hours later, the former CEO filed another motion claiming that prosecutors made arguments in the trial of Theranos COO Sunny Balwani – her co-accused and lover – that would likely have seen the jurors in her case reach a different verdict.

Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced in October after a jury early this year found her guilty of defrauding investors out of millions of dollars in Theranos – a company which garnered a valuation of $10 billion based on its ‘revolutionary’ blood-testing technology, later proved to be a hoax.

She is currently free on bail, but is facing up to 20 years in prison.

She will, of course, do everything she can to stay out of prison, or at least delay being jailed. We’d all do that, of course, but so far the case that she committed fraud is pretty convincing. If she gets a new trial, it would be months or years before she’d ever see prison—and that’s if she’s convicted.

*Good news for those who have sent embarrassing text messages on iPhones, and want to edit them or even delete them after they’ve been sent.

With the iOS 16 software update for iPhones, Apple has finally added an edit and “undo send” function to its Messages app.


• In the Messages app, tap and hold on the message you just sent.

• Up pops a box. Tap on Edit.

• Fix your message, then tap the blue check mark.

• Your embarrassment is over.

A few details to keep in mind: You only have 15 minutes to edit a message — Apple shrank the window after feedback that longer windows could be abused. 
The person on the receiving end will see a note that you’ve edited or unsent the message. They will also have the ability to see your unedited text by tapping and holding on that Edited flag. So you might have some explaining to do.


• In the Messages app, tap and hold on the message you just sent.

• Up pops a box. Tap on Undo Send.

Just keep in mind: You only have 2 minutes to delete a message.

And most of all, know all of this only works when you’re texting people with iPhones. Messages to your Android friends — the ones who live in green bubbles — are sent in plain old SMS format that can’t be changed or forgotten.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili almost had some bad luck (I think she’s conflating black ants with black cats):

Hili: Not one more step.
A: Why?
Hili: A black ant crossed my path.
In Polish:
Hili: Ani kroku dalej.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Czarna mrówka przeszła mi drogę.

. . . and a photo of Kulka nuzzling Szaron.  Remember, these two are fast friend, but Hili will tolerate Szaron but cannot stand Kulka.


From Merilee: cats will be cats:


From Facebook, a Doug Savage cartoon:


From Anna, a Scott Metzger cartoon of a Cat Hotel:

Bonus: Gal Gadot at age 18, reporting for her mandatory stint in the Israeli Army:

The tweet of God. I’m not sure about the first part of His pronouncement. But the followup tweet is scary!

From Ricky Gervais, a snippet of his latest standup show:

From Malcolm: A car charging point that, if you turn it a bit, looks like a cat charger:

From Barry, who says, “Never mess with a mom’s baby.” That cat is ENRAGED! (Apparently this tweet has been removed. Pity.)

From the Auschwitz Memorial: in the camp at 17, died the day before his 18th birthday:

Tweets from Matthew. He and I are both upset that the coppers are arresting every Brit who says or expressed public disdain toward the monarchy and the new King. The first one shows what’s going on:

In this video, nonviolence is met with violence by civilians and detainment by the coppers:

Here’s the cop threatening the man holding up a blank sign (see above):

28 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Wow. U.S. Marshall McShane looks like he is directly out of central casting! As does lanky attorney John Doar who seems to favor Atticus Finch played by Gregory Peck in the movie, “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

  2. I have no time for Prince Andrew and I think he should disappear into obscurity after the Queen’s funeral, but shouting abuse at a man paying tribute to his dead mother is grotesquely crass and inappropriate. I’m glad to that the heckler was ejected from the crowd and I would have the same reaction myself. The heckler hasn’t committed any crime and he shouldn’t be arrested, but there’s a time and a place to voice criticism, and this isn’t it.

    1. So you’re pro-free speech so long as the speech doesn’t offend anyone, David?

      I find few forms of speech more grotesquely crass and inappropriate than having members of the Westboro Baptist Church spreading hate by picketing the funerals of dead American GIs. But, on this side of the pond, such speech is protected by the First Amendment. See Snyder v. Phelps (2011).

      Anyone who wants to maintain the mantle of royalty, and all the privilege that entails, should grow a thick skin, Andrew included.

      1. So much of life’s difficulties can be resolved with good manners. Why on earth would anyone think it appropriate to heckle at a funeral procession?
        As a matter of good policing, arresting the republican hecklers is the simplest and most effective way of preventing a breach of the peace: it is quite impractical for a policeman to say to himself “that chap has the right to say that, so I’ll stop this affray by arresting everyone else in this crowd of mourners who disagree with him”!
        I would be very surprised if any charges result against the arrestee. His crime was against good taste, not against the law.

        1. So you’d give offense-takers veto power over an individual’s free expression by mandating good manners as a matter of law?

          Perhaps the Crown should appoint a Minister of Good Manners to determine whose tender sensibilities merit protecting.

          Or is this to be decided on a case-by-case discretionary basis as the Royals and the Constables alone see fit?

          The only meaningful measure of one’s commitment to free expression is the extent to which one is willing to extend that freedom to expression one finds offensive. Everyone is in favor of free expression for those with whom he or she agrees.

          1. “Perhaps the Crown should appoint a Minister of Good Manners to determine whose tender sensibilities merit protecting.”

            No. that’s not necessary, for the simple reason that no decent human being should want to hurl abuse at someone attending a funeral ceremony for a deceased parent. That goes for anyone – whether it’s Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or the Yorkshire Ripper. It’s just foul, coarse and ill-mannered, and achieves nothing, except in this case to make me feel a bit more sympathetic to Andrew (who, incidentally, has not been proven to have done anything illegal) than I did before.

            I know very well that the Westboro Baptists are not committing any crime when they spew their hate outside the funerals of dead soldiers, but I absolutely condemn them for doing so, for the same reasons outlined above.

            If free expression under ANY and ALL circumstances is your thing, then please let me know next time you attend the funeral of a parent or other close family member, and I’ll pop over to throw a few choice Anglo-Saxon epithets your way.

          2. I condemn the American Nazi Party for wanting to march through Skokie, Illinois, the hometown of many Holocaust survivors. But I wouldn’t want to live in a nation that would forbid them the opportunity to obtain a permit to do so.

            Standing up for free speech is in no way an endorsement of that speech. It is simply a recognition that the best was to address noxious speech is to expose it to the marketplace of ideas, not to have a law enforcement officer silence the speaker.

          3. I normally agree with you Ken, but here I think I’d disagree. Getting a permit and holding your own event is fine. Disrupting someone else’s event, ruining it, then whining about your rights being infringed is where I would draw the line.

          4. Andy, I have a different approach to the matter. Even though I think the protests are bad form, the point is not about what I personally think is acceptable; instead, it is a more general question about to what extent, and by what criteria, someone’s freedom to express their ideas can be restricted. It is a delicate balance, and societies develop their own systems. In each system, any one individual may not like the way others express themselves.

            I do think the behaviour of the Westboro people is rather crude and uncultured. But I personally would not support banning them. One might say that such people should question the time and place for such protests. Even though they need not do that, I think it is plausible that these people have indeed considered the question and concluded that the funerals are exactly the right time and place for their protests. Perhaps they think that they are carrying out God’s work, a noble thing in their minds. That I think they are thick is a different question. I don’t expect them to care.

            Regarding the UK kerfuffle, what charges are these people facing?

            Were people arrested at Charles’s proclamation? What are the charges? If anti-monarchists protested at the proclamation, the statement that it is not the right place or the right time may not work. If one were to protest against the monarchy, the proclamation seems to be a good place and time to voice one’s disapproval, but I don’t know exactly why they were arrested.

            We shall have to wait and see what charges they face. If the police drop the charges and let the people go, that might be an issue too.

            Of course individuals will have different opinions, but I am interested in seeing how the system handles it.

      2. Well, let all leave the heckler alone to act out. But, do I reasonably gather that you have no problem with the heckler being heckled? Let us genuflect before and supplicate the attention-seeking heckler.

    2. Any time you show as much tact, class, and respect as the Westboro Baptist church, you need to go home and have a good long look in the mirror. People should not be arrested, but they should question the time and place for such protests.

    3. During the very same procession, 100 Clarence House employees of Prince Charles were told through text message that they could lose their jobs….i find that crass and insensitive

  3. 1948 – Margaret Chase Smith is elected United States senator, and becomes the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

    Just a year and a half into her first six-year term, Margaret Chase Smith took to the senate floor and gave her famous “Declaration of Conscience” against McCarthyism.

    Such a speech would get one un-personed by today’s Republican Party, no matter how high a rating one’s voting record had earned from the American Conservative Union. Look no further than Profile-in-Courage award winner Liz Cheney.

  4. ” “America, the Beautiful” ”

    I’d have to look it up, but *I think* the composition America, the Beautiful is mostly lifted from another piece of music. I heard the piece on the radio one day – I’ll have to read…

    “At various times in the more than one hundred years that have elapsed since the song was written, particularly during the John F. Kennedy administration, there have been efforts to give “America the Beautiful” legal status either as a national hymn or as a national anthem equal to, or in place of, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, but so far this has not succeeded. ”
    Source : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_the_Beautiful

    … hmmm… that’ll bug me – what that tune was. Maybe God Bless America (I. Berlin, 1918)..,

    1. “America the Beautiful,” both lyrics and music, predates “God Bless America” by decades. It seems Berlin had Bates’s lyrics in mind when he wrote GBA. The tunes, though, could not be more different ATB is stately, flowing, and hymn-like. GBA is strident and march-like. My dad used to like to listen to Kate Smith singing GBA. I’m with our host in favoring ATB as our National Anthem.

      1. “America the Beautiful” is set to the tune of an old hymn, “Jerusalem:” “Jerusalem, Jerusalem/ When shall I come to thee?/When shall my sorrows be at an end/Thy joy that I may see?”

        America’s top three patriotic songs (“The Star-Spangled Banner, “America the Beautiful,” and “My Country ’tis of Thee”) are all set to the tunes of old English songs, a common practice at the time. Thomas Jefferson wondered when a distinctly American form of music would evolve, not based on European models; he wondered if American Indian music would be the basis of an American music.

        Actually, the answer was as close as his slave quarters. The first American music to sweep the world was minstrel show tunes–white people imitating African American singers (followed by ragtime, blues, jazz, rock & roll . . .)

        1. Thanks, Doug, for pointing out the role of hymnody in the development of the USA’s patriotic songs. Of the three you mentioned, I can agree that only two of them were developed from old English songs, viz., “The Star-Spangled Banner,” set to the drinking tune, “The Anacreontic Song;” and “My Country ’tis of Thee,” set to the same tune as “God Save the King.” I can’t see how “America the Beautiful” is set to the tune of the lyrics you’re titling “Jerusalem,” which I know and have sung as “Jerusalem, my happy home.” Yes, the lyrics of both songs are in the meter of, but the tune of “Jerusalem” is based on “Land of Rest,” a tune to which several hymn lyrics were set. The tune of “Land of Rest” is in triple meter, whereas the tune of “America the Beautiful” is in duple meter. I believe that Samuel Ward newly composed the melody to Bates’s poem “Pikes Peak.”
          I follow your train of thought concerning distinctly American music. I have often thought that music that is truly and unmistakably American was born from the mating of the European forms and harmony with the African melody and rhythm.

      2. I’m in favor of making “An American Trilogy” the national anthem. It fuses “Dixie,” the slave song “All My Trials,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Many folks nowadays would consider the inclusion of “Dixie” problematic, but the song is a musical analogy of the Civil War, with “Dixie” being supplanted by “Trials” and “Battle Hymn,” which closes the song.

        Here’s the most famous performance of “An American Trilogy,” by Elvis in 1973:

    2. I think I’m just recalling – from Wikipedia :

      “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)” is an American patriotic song, the lyrics of which were written by Samuel Francis Smith.[2] The song served as one of the de facto national anthems of the United States (along with songs like “Hail, Columbia”) before the adoption of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the official U.S. national anthem in 1931.[3] The melody used is the same as that of one of the de facto national anthems of the United Kingdom, “God Save the King”.

  5. …in an offensive that aimed to cut off thousands of Russian soldiers stationed west of the Dnipro River…

    If successful, I wonder if it might be an idea to offer cut-off Russians asylum in Ukraine after a screening process of some sort. Effectively confiscating their army.

  6. Regarding the insults, my sympathy is with the royals. Their role is largely ceremonial and seeing anti-monarchists being arrested is one of the few pleasures they have left — apart, of course, from the pleasures people say Andrew’s being having. If we have the monarchy at all, let the people who rail against them be nicked and quietly released. Also, depending on where you are looking for a job, being arrested for shouting insults at the royals might look good on your CV.

    Besides, it’s bloody rude to behave like that at someone’s funeral. As the baseball chap said, you should always behave yourself at other people’s funerals, or they won’t behave themselves at yours.

  7. And reading recently how the legal fees incurred by Hamilton Jordan in countering the trumped-up-by-Roy-Cohn allegations that he had used cocaine @ Studio 54 had financially wrecked him, maybe some of the recipients of these 40 subpoenas will cooperate vs. fight.

  8. One learns as one goes along. Having found myself defending the British monarchy to people who do not have to live under it, I have come across some interesting arguments that I had not read before. I have, being but human, largely dismissed C S Lewis as a Christian apologist who had that clever trick with words that often appears on notice boards outside American churches. The “I don’t pray to God to get him to change His mind, but to change mine” kind of thing. But in 1943 he wrote a short piece in the Spectator on equality. I don’t know the context for it, and it wanders into a somewhat strange view of marriage, eroticism (I’m making you prick up your ears now!) and feminism. But as so often, he comes out with a few choice and memorable phrases.
    On our modern sport of oppression olympics:
    “When equality is treated not as a medicine or a safety-gadget but as an ideal we begin to breed that stunted and envious sort of mind which hates all superiority. That mind is the special disease of democracy, as cruelty and servility are the special diseases of privileged societies. It will kill us all if it grows unchecked.”

    On monarchy:
    “Monarchy can easily be “debunked”; but watch the faces, mark well the accents, of the debunkers. These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach—men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch.”

    I do like the reference to Poussin and The Dance To The Music of Time in which we all must, willingly or no, partake.

    And echoing Chesterton:
    “Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”

    This last quote makes sense when you read the whole thing and the marriage and clothing metaphors:
    “Human nature will not permanently endure flat equality if it is extended from its proper political field into the more real, more concrete fields within. Let us wear equality; but let us undress every night.”

    The Spectator is available to subscribers only, but here is an archived link:

    Sorry, PCC(E) if this was lengthy.

    1. Regarding the Chesterton quote, it does not seem to be accurate at all. People in monarchies don’t seem to honor heroes other than their monarch any less than people in other forms of government.

      And even if it were accurate the real question is, which is worse? It sure isn’t obvious to me that the latter is worse. More annoying on occasion, no doubt.

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