Sunday: Hili dialogue

October 16, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Sunday, October 16, 2022: National World Food Day, celebrating the UN’s creation of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on October 16, 1945. It’s also National Liqueur Day, National Dictionary Day, and, best of all, Global Cat Day. To celebrate, here’s a picture of me with my late cat Teddy, discovered, scanned, and sent to me by an old friend:

And to make it global, here I am some years ago in the Mani in Greece, holding up a feral cat at a fish restaurant. I believe i named it Odysseus:

*In the news, climate-change activists threw two cans of tomato soup on a van Gogh painting of sunflowers at London’s National Gallery.  Click to read the story:

Fortunately, there was glass in front of this famous painting (van Gogh did several versions of “Sunflowers”), so only minor damage was done to the frame, while the two miscreants glued their hands to the wall. They were both arrested.

At just after 11 a.m. on Friday, two members of Just Stop Oil, a group that seeks to stop oil and gas extraction in Britain, entered room 43 of the National Gallery in London, opened two tins of Heinz cream of tomato soup, and threw them at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” one of the treasures of the museum’s collection. It is one of six surviving images of sunflowers that van Gogh made in 1888 and 1889.

As the gloppy orange liquid dripped down the glazing that was protecting the painting, the pair smeared their hands with glue and stuck themselves to the wall beneath the work. In videos of the incident posted online, gallery visitors can be heard saying “Oh, my gosh!” and calling for security; one of the activists delivers a speech in which they ask visitors whether they “are more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people?”

. . .Mel Carrington, a spokeswoman for Just Stop Oil, said in a telephone interview that the group’s intention had been to generate publicity and to create debate around the climate crisis and the actions needed to stop it.

Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” had nothing to do with climate change, she said. It was simply “an iconic painting, by an iconic painter” and an attack on it would generate headlines. But the choice of soup was more symbolic, Carrington said: In Britain, many householders were struggling to pay fuel and food bills because of soaring inflation, and some could not even afford to heat up a can of soup. The government should be helping ordinary people deal with “the cost of living crisis,” rather than enabling fossil fuel extraction, she added.

Is there anybody willing to defend this group, or the two morons who threw the soup? I found only one comment in the NYT defending the action, but I didn’t read all 972 comments. The painting had nothing to do with oil, van Gogh is one of the world’s most beloved artists, and the defacing will do nothing but degrade the “Just Stop Oil” group.

*Once again the Washington Post’s staff writer Aaron Blake lists the top ten Democratic Presidential candidates for 2024, which at this point serves only as an amusing exercise in prognostication. Here they are from 1 to 10, with their position in the last ranking given) in parentheses.

  1. Joe Biden (1). Too old, but if  he runs, he’s got my vote.
  2. Pete Buttigieg (2). My favorite candidate to date.
  3. Kamala Harris (3). God help us if she’s nominated.
  4. Gretchen Whitmer (8). She’s moved up quite a bit in this ranking, and is my favorite woman candidate.
  5. Gavin Newsom (7).  A dissimulator.
  6. Amy Klobuchar (4). Another creditable candidate.
  7. Bernie Sanders (6). WAY too old (he’ll be 83 at election time). I voted for him in the last primary election, but wouldn’t again.
  8. Elizabeth Warren (5). Not for me.
  9. Roy Cooper (9).  I haven’t followed him closely enough to judge.
  10. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Thank goodness she has no chance of winning. Her character is summed up in her already making excuses for losing:

On the one hand, she said, she wants to believe someone like her could run and win. “But at the same time,” she said, “my experience here has given me a front-row seat to how deeply and unconsciously, as well as consciously, so many people in this country hate women. And they hate women of color.”

But let’s face it: if Uncle Joe wants to run in 2024, the Dems will let him.  However, someone should talk him out of it. He’s done a good job before, but I don’t want the President to die in office.

*In another sign of the boldness of Iranian protestors, demonstrators against the government set Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, site of many a torture, rape, and murder, on fire yesterday.

Since opening five decades ago under the shah, Evin Prison has been a symbol of political repression in Iran. It is the detention center for an untold number of protesters who have demonstrated against the Iranian government since the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman in police custody for allegedly not adhering to strict Islamic dress code, authorities said.

Violence erupted Saturday between detained protesters and Evin Prison guards, with a sewing workshop being set on fire, according to Iran’s state media. Smoke could be seen rising from Evin Prison in northern Tehran, and gunshots and explosions could be heard on numerous videos shared on social media.

. . . The blaze and unrest among Evin prisoners demonstrated how the uprising against the Iranian government has become the biggest challenge of President Ebrahim Raisi’s young government. The protests started with Ms. Amini’s death and focused on the country’s mandatory hijab, or headcovering, for women, but they have morphed into something larger, calling for the end of the strict Islamic governance ushered in with the country’s 1979 revolution.

Here’s a tweet with a video of the unrest:

And I predict, with less confidence than usual, that the Islamic government will indeed meet its end, perhaps in just a year or so.

*Disgraced startup fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, creator of Theranos, now has her sentencing hearing for wire fraud scheduled for November 18. She could face years in prison, though the fact that she has a kid may reduce her sentence. She also has a  hearing for a new trial on Monday, though it’s unlikely her bid will succeed. Her sentencing has been delayed twice before:

After a jury convicted Holmes in January on four counts of defrauding investors out of more than $144 million, Holmes’ sentencing has been delayed twice. Originally, she was to be sentenced Sept. 26, then the date was pushed to Oct. 17. On Wednesday, Judge Edward Davila in U.S. District Court in San Jose set the new date, with the hearing to start at 10 a.m. in the courtroom where her four-month trial took place.

Holmes, 38, founded the blood-testing startup in 2003.  The company closed in 2018 after a 2015 newspaper exposé led to federal investigations. Holmes in 2018 was banned for 10 years from serving as an officer or director of a public company and agreed to pay a $500,000 fine in a deal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The jury acquitted her on charges of defrauding patients.

I don’t think she’ll get another trial this time, but she’s canny, and I’m wondering if she’ll somehow manage to flee the country before she goes to jail.

*Finally, a MAN BITES DOG STORY!  From the “oddities” section of the Associated Press, we get this:

Police in Germany said Friday they detained a man for resisting arrest and biting a service dog.

Officers were called to a dispute between two 29-year-old men and a 35-year-old woman in the western town of Ginsheim-Gustavsburg shortly after midnight.

The trio acted in an “extremely aggressive and uncooperative” fashion, police said in a statement. Officers were only able to overpower one of the men by using “massive physical force,” it said.

“In the course of resisting arrest the 29-year-old man also bit a police dog,” the statement said, adding that the canine did not sustain any injuries.

Meanwhile, the 35-year-old woman injured a police officer with a punch to the face.

All three were detained and spent the rest of the night in jail to sober up.

Lock ’em up! No biting of animals!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron’s looking enviously at Hili’s dinner

Szaron: Is there anything left in your bowl?
Hili: You will learn when I go away.

In Polish:

Szaron: Czy tam jeszcze coś zostało w twojej miseczce?
Hili: Dowiesz się jak stąd odejdę.


From Nicole:

From Merilee: a present for a cat on its birthday:

God judges Himself!:

From Masih. If the Iranian regime is overthrown, cellphone cameras will have played a big role. Look at this brutality!

A tweet from reader Ken, who notes, “This one made me laugh. (Haven’t the poor Hurricane Ian survivors suffered enough without having to be exposed to Ron DeSantis in this outfit?)”

From Simon: A lovely photo of Autumn in Chicago (Simon says the guy has lots of good Chicago photos):

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. The second one is wonderful:

Here’s the original:

This, on the other hand, is not so wonderful:

A fantastic photo from the Webb Space Telescope, and taken 5,000 light years away (that’s 29,000,000,000,000,000 miles!):

42 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

      1. For what it’s worth, I didn’t read Brad’s comment as an attack or homophobic comment; I thought it was just a light-hearted implied pun on the possible double meaning of “to date.” I don’t know the guy (maybe there’s past history there?), but the response seemed a bit harsh.

        1. Robert, I read it like that too (we’re all kinda civilised here). In fact, I thought it was pretty funny. But then, I know as little as you do about Brad Hunter.
          For a date -if I’d have to choose- I’d go for Kamala Harris or maybe AOC or even Gretchen. All beautiful, attractive women.

        2. I agree that was his intent as well, but Brad should have used an emoji or something to clue that it was a joke. 😉 or some such…

  1. The white boots DeSantis sports are classic Gulf shrimper gear and thus an excellent choice for the photo-op. Around here we call them “Seadrift Ropers.”

    1. The initial shaming he got about the boots seems to have come from political people who are actively scanning the media looking for things to criticize him for, and doing so with little or no knowledge of the subject.
      About half the commercial fishing boots are white in color. If you stand on deck in the hot sun for a few hours wearing black rubber boots, you will learn to appreciate lighter colors.

      1. I owned and operated a commercial lobster (“crawfish,” as we call them in Florida) boat before I went to law school. I wore white boots (though shorter) during the winter months, along with the bottoms of my foul-weather gear. (It rarely got cold enough in Key West for the tops.)

        The old-timers on the docks used to tease me mercilessly, saying I looked like Joe College from Ohio when I got to town as a 22-year-old, and a few months later suddenly I looked like an old salt who stepped off the cover of National Fisherman. 🙂

    2. Yeah, De Santis maybe an idiot, but he’s definitely no idiot, if you get my point. The white boots were a clever move, I’d think.

      1. If true, that would be a mitigating (weak, but still mitigating) circumstance. The irony of sunflower oil shortage due to the war in Ukraine (that war itself a good reason to at least temporarily increase North Sea oil production) is not lost on most readers here, I’d guess.

      2. I read that they chose that painting precisely because it was protected by glass.

        There I was thinking that they objected to it because it’s an oil painting…

        1. An Act for the Mitigation of Annoyance Caused By Protesters with Cyanoacrylate Glue.
          Be it proposed to this House that all adherents(!) of this form of protest are allowed to make their protestations fully and completely, to whit:
          a) No constable, watchman or other officer of the law may detach them from their site of protest.
          b) No ordinary subject may try the same, on pain of being glued alongside.
          c) No water, victuals or refreshments of other kinds (including flammable or edible cannabis) shall be given to the protestor(s), on pain of being glued alongside.
          d) In the case of The King’s Highway, footpaths, towpaths, sheep tracks and railway lines, traffic is not to be diverted or delayed. Road sweepers and similar will be compensated at time and a half for cleaning off the resultant unpleasantness.

          Should The House see fit to agree with this legislation, it is expected that such forms of protest will become extinct in one week’s time.

    1. Ken, that crossed my mind, too, but it looks like Campbell’s hasn’t been available in Europe in a decade. Heinz has a similar market penetration in the UK as Campbell’s does in the US.

      And I love the braille book!

    2. Campbell’s wouldn’t work though, because it’s a gelatinous blob like jello (at least it was the last time I opened a can, decades ago). As protests go, this one might win some sort of non-sequitur award.

    1. I fear that is wishful thinking. The Ayatollahs’ troops are not bothered by small pangs of humanity, as the Shah’s soldiers were (they refused to fire on revolutionary guards hiding behind schoolgirls). After all, they have Allah on their side!
      But I definitely hope I’m wrong and you’re right.

  2. … I’m wondering if she [Elizabeth Holmes]’ll somehow manage to flee the country before she goes to jail.

    After her conviction, Holmes’s $500,000 bond secured only by her signature was converted to a bond secured by property. Plus, it is a standard condition of bond in federal criminal cases that the defendant surrender her passport and other travel documents. And, were she to flee the country, she would forfeit her right to have her conviction reviewed on appeal under the fugitive disentitlement doctrine.

    I don’t think she’ll risk running. Were I making book, I’d set the over/under bet on her sentence in the range of 8 to 10 years. I don’t think her having a young child will cut much ice with the sentencing court. I’ve heard plenty of federal district court judges respond to such arguments from defendants by observing that’s it’s almost always innocent family members who suffer the most from a defendant’s crimes. Presumably, the child will be well taken care of by the father, hotel heir Billy Evans, while Holmes is in stir.

  3. As far as I can tell, I exhibited what E O Wilson called Biophilia at a very young age. I have always been horrified by the insults and attacks on the environment and our fellow creatures. Being bitten on the thumb by the very first box turtle I ever saw didn’t make me hate them, I hid the triangular flesh wound so the parents wouldn’t take the turtle away (sadly, the turtle wasn’t radioactive so I didn’t get super powers). But I cannot for the life of me understand the thinking behind attacking great art as an environmental protest. Are they in a race to the bottom with PETA for world’s stupidest protesters? Are they secretly employed by Jeremy Clarkson to turn people off green initiatives? Or is it that they are just two more examples of how divorced from reality the millennial generation is? Their only real accomplishment is to reinforce the notion that pro-environment “tree-huggers” are morons. Assholes! What a couple of ignorant little shits they are!

  4. Why isn’t Al Franken on that list? If he were the candidate, I think the Democrats would win hands down.
    And we’ve recently seen comedians can actually make great presidents. If I were a USian, I would most definitely vote for him.

        1. I’m not so sure, indeed, the pussygrabber was not impeded in the least.
          And Tweeden’s account stinks, eg. she said that Franken grabbed her breasts while she was asleep, but he did not, as the video evidence shows, he only pretended to do that, but without touching. That obviously puts the rest of her allegations in doubt. I think that Franken deserved a proper investigation, before being demonised. Gillibrand’s role was particularly nefarious. Several senators (Duckworth, Udall, King, Leahy, Heitkamp, Merkley and others) calling for his resignation at the time, now concede they made a big mistake.
          I’m not so sure he is beyond ‘redemption’. He would undoubtedly make the best president of the bunch.

          1. I agree that Franken’s “act” wasn’t nearly so bad as to get him to leave Congress; I just think that in today’s Zeitgeist it would rule him out as a Presidential candidate. I think he’d be a terrific one.

            1. We agree to agree there. On the bacon that is, we only differ in that I think there is still hope he’s not beyond ‘redemption’, but that’s admittedly just a hope. (I’m an incorrigible optimist, obviously)

      1. In some ways, actual malfeasance is less damaging in politics than unfounded accusations. When there is visible fire, we can see how big it is and then put it out, letting it be forgotten. When we only smell smoke, even if it’s only fake stage smoke, we can entertain lurid unbounded fantasies about what the unseen fire is doing, and where and when it might some day burst into flame.

  5. Pete Buttigieg (2)always strikes me as being very intelligent. It must be the way he articulates his ideas. Something in his verbal display says – this guy is very bright. Perhaps brilliant. I seem to remember reading that the typical IQ of presidents is estimated to be about 130. The highest estimated IQ goes to president John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams. If Buttigieg is elected, we will be assured of a president who at least will be plenty competent to handle the job. I find that a very pleasant thought.

  6. I think Buttigieg would probably make a pretty, or stronger, a very good president, but I somehow fear his sexual orientation will be a big impediment to him actually being elected. Will traditional Democratic voter blocks, such as the religious black Americans, vote for him? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing all black voters of homophobia, but it is undeniable that for large swats of religious black voters ‘gay’ is still a nono. Sad as it is, such is reality.
    On the other hand, I also thought Obama was basically unelectable because he was ‘black’. How wrong can one be? Still, I think Buttigieg would be a ‘high risk’ candidate.

    1. Since you mentioned Obama, let us use the Way-Back Machine…2008, California, Proposition 8, which sought a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman….according to Pink News (I had to google to find the relevant data) 78% of black Californians voted to support that definition. Add to that 53% of Latino voters who also voted the same. One can only hope that the US has progressed somewhat since then, but I think it would probably be a republican landslide if he were the candidate.

    2. Since it’s all spitballing at this point, here’s my foreigner‘s prediction.
      The Democratic nominee will be Kamala Harris. By precedent, it’s a dark-skinned person’s turn even though, like Barack Obama, she’s not sociologically a Black (capital B) American. Passing over a sitting VP to nominate a white person will cause the Blue cities to stay home on Election Day and deliver the election to the Republican nominee, who will be…

      Donald Trump.

      As someone who would likely be an Independent were I a U.S. citizen, I would vote for Buttigieg in the general but he won’t survive the primaries. He ticks more exclusion boxes than inclusion ones among the Democratic power factions.

  7. “Roy Cooper. I haven’t followed him closely enough to judge.”

    To quote Samuel Johnson: “I do not wish to speak ill of a person behind his back, but I believe he’s an attorney.” (Sorry, Ken 😊)

  8. It IS time for the president of the United States to be a woman.
    A NON – reTHUGlican … … woman.

    There are, of course, PLENTY of Us … … h i g h l y qualified to do this lead.

    My thinking: Deal with IT.


  9. When climate-change activists or any other such-likes ask my advice, I always suggest self-immolation as the clear #1 choice of all the greatest activists. Not to brag, but nobody who has followed my advice has ever complained. 100% top protest advice!

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