Thursday: Hili dialogue

November 24, 2022 • 6:45 am

Posting will be light today as it’s the American Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 24, 2022), and all good Americans (save vegans and vegetarians) are tucking into copious portions of turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes, yams, and dessert. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is followed by a nap, and then watching an (American) football game.  Reader Debra sent a video of Curly of the Three Stooges making Thanksgiving stuffing (here’s another with Mo and Shemp doing the same routine).

There will be no “readers’ wildlife” feature today as few people will be looking at it on a holiday, and I don’t want to stint a photographer. I may put up one or two other posts.

Google also has an animal-themed Thanksgiving Doodle (click to see where it goes). It’s all carved by hand.

It’s also National Sardines Day (ecch) and D. B. Cooper Day, marking the day in 1971 when a man who called himself “Dan Cooper” hijacked a plane, got $200,000 ransom, and then parachuted out of the plane somewhere between Seattle and Reno. His body was never found, though some of the ransom money was recovered.  Cooper is presumed to have died from the jump; the case is unsolved, and the feds suspended the investigation in 2016.

And it’s Evolution Day (International observance), marking the publication of On the Origin of Species on November 24, 1859. A first edition of that book will now run you a whopping $950,000 as a presentation copy (sent by the publisher to specified individuals, but not inscribed in Darwin’s hand. (No copies inscribed by Darwin are known.) A “regular” copy will still run you $400,000. These are two of the 1250 copies printed; they sold out on the first day.

And a tweet; read Darwin’s correspondence! (h/t Matthew)

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 24 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*This is why it’s not safe to assume that a given crime is a “hate crime” directed at a particular group without more direct evidence. Remember the nightclub shooting at a gay club in Colorado Springs that killed 6 and wounded 18? Many people, including journalists, jumped to the conclusion that it was a homophobic shooting based on hatred of LGBTQ people Well, that may be true, but new evidence makes that less likely:

Before a court hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, new details were emerging about the person the police have accused of killing five people in the attack.

The suspect, who may face hate crime charges, identifies as nonbinary and uses they-them pronouns, the suspect’s lawyers said in court papers filed before the hearing.

The suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was being held without bond, and was expected to appear at the hearing by video from the El Paso County Jail.

. . .Prosecutors had not yet filed formal charges, or said what they believed the motive was for the attack.

Public defenders representing the suspect indicated their client’s preferred pronouns in a series of court filings that were made public late on Tuesday.

One footnote in the filings said: “They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal filings, will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich.”

Lawyers for the suspect did not respond to requests for comment.

Kristen Prata Browde, a co-chair of the National Trans Bar Association, said that a suspect’s gender identity should have no bearing on whether they can be prosecuted for a hate crime in the Club Q shooting.

“The motive for a crime isn’t dependent on whether you are or are not a member of a protected class,” Ms. Prata Browde said. “It legally has no significance, as far as whether the actions of this individual fit within the law regarding hate crimes.”

She said it would be best for the court and prosecutors to respect the suspect’s preferred pronouns and gender identity, and treat them “like any other defendant.”

Well, there’s such a thing as Bayesian inference, and if an Orthodox Jew shoots up a synagogue, it would perhaps be a bit rash to deem it an anti-Semitic hate crime.

*Speaking exactly of that, Jesse Singal has a column about journalists who jump to conclusions about motives when they know little: “Controversial take: It’s bad to put words in the mouths of murder victims.” He’s referring specifically to reporter Ben Collins on NBC’s “Morning Joe” column, and Collins immediately said the Colorado Springs murder was a hate crime, and blamed fellow reporters for not doing more to quash hatred of the LGBTQ community:

Watching Collins’ emotional appeal to his fellow journalists to Do Better, you would think that it had been determined that Aldrich had been radicalized by, say, LibsofTikTok or Matt Walsh. You’d think this was a case-closed claim, because here is a Disinformation Reporter going on a cable TV news program and treating it as such. He is the authoritative voice, the antidote to all the right-wing smoke that obscures so many Americans from the truth.

Except four days later, we actually don’t know why Aldrich committed his heinous acts. We do know a bunch of useful details thanks to actual reporters (as opposed to Disinformation Reporters), including Joby Warrick, Robert Klemko, Razzan Nakhlawi, Alice Crites, and Cate Brown of The Washington Post (I feel like if I’m going to mention Ben Collins’ name, I should mention all of theirs as well).

. . .This was a very disturbed young man who both menaced others and was menaced himself. That’s really all we know, motive-wise — the Post reporters don’t speculate, because they are real journalists (they do note that authorities are seeking to charge this as a hate crime, but — this is me talking — that doesn’t tell us anything on its own, since prosecutors often try to charge as heavily as possible). Another Post article, this one by Scott Wilson and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, notes that the authorities are still trying to figure out Aldrich’s motive (someone inform Ben Collins). Further complicating everything, Aldrich said through his lawyers that he is nonbinary and wants to be referred to as they/them (you’ll note I refer to Aldrich as male throughout this piece —  if it later comes to light that he’d previously come out as nonbinary, I’ll refer to him using they/them pronouns, but I think there are limits to politeness and self-ID, and I’m not going to take a mass murderer at his word on the basis of one legal filing).

So the fact of the matter is we don’t know why Anderson Lee Aldrich shot up Club Q. But to Ben Collins, that doesn’t matter. What matters is immediately to tie the shooting to a broader narrative. This, it goes without saying, is utterly bankrupt journalism. It could certainly be that Aldrich shot up the club out of antigay or anti-trans animus fueled by (say) LibsOfTikTok’s endless spotlighting of the most off-putting left-wing LGBT people on social media. But until you know that, you can’t assume. This is something you learn in the first week or two of any intro to journalism class. What Collins has done here is really wrong. He has spread a huge amount of… well, not even misinformation, because we don’t know yet! This is basically the journalistic equivalent of being not even wrong.

*According to the Washington Post, quite a few present and former staffers of the House’s January 6 investigating committee are mad at its vice-chair Liz Cheney, and for two reasons: she’s focusing the report too much on Trump (neglecting other important stuff), and is using the committee to further her own political ambitions.

Now, less than six weeks before the conclusion of the committee’s work, Cheney’s influence over the committee’s final report has rankled many former and current committee staff. They are angered and disillusioned by Cheney’s push to focus the report primarily on former president Donald Trump, and have bristled at the committee morphing into what they have come to view as the vehicle for the outgoing Wyoming lawmaker’s political future.

Fifteen former and current staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, expressed concerns that important findings unrelated to Trump will not become available to the American public.

The feuding brings to the fore a level of public acrimony within the Jan. 6 committee that previously had largely played out behind the scenes, as public attention was focused on a series of blockbuster public hearings focused on Trump’s role fomenting the attack.

Several committee staff members were floored earlier this month when they were told that a draft report would focus almost entirely on Trump and the work of the committee’s “Gold Team,” excluding reams of other investigative work.

Potentially left on the cutting room floor, or relegated to an appendix, were many revelations from the “Blue Team” — the group that dug into the law enforcement and intelligence community’s failure to assess the looming threat and prepare for the well-forecast attack on the Capitol. The proposed report would also cut back on much of the work of the Green Team, which looked at financing for the Jan. 6 attack, and the Purple Team, which examined militia groups and extremism.

“We all came from prestigious jobs, dropping what we were doing because we were told this would be an important fact-finding investigation that would inform the public,” said one former committee staffer. “But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”

Cheney’s staff and others have defended her, characterizing the kvetchers as “disgruntled.” Well of course they’re disgruntled! How else should they feel if what they claim is true? (We don’t yet know.)

*The latest mass shooting in the U.S. took place Tuesday evening at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia.  It seems that these things happen about three times a week now. This time, six people died (all employees) and several were injured, two critically. The shooter was a manager of the store, and shot himself after killing the other six.

It was the third recent high-profile mass shooting in the United States, after three students were killed at the University of Virginia last week and five people were killed on Saturday night at a gay club in Colorado Springs.

Here are the details:

  • The Walmart gunman used a pistol and was found dead at the store, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Chief Mark Solesky of the Chesapeake Police Department. Donya Prioleau, an employee on the overnight shift, said she saw the gunman come into the break room and, without a word, begin shooting. Read her account.

  • The police identified the six people who were killed as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, Tyneka Johnson and a 16-year-old boy whose name they are withholding because of his age. Several other people were injured and taken to hospitals, and two remained in critical condition late Wednesday, according to officials.

  • Fifty people were in the store at the time of the attack, the police said. One shopper, Jeromy Basham, said he heard what sounded liked several loud claps, then people yelling, “It’s a gun, get out!” He described the ensuing chaos.

  • Police identified the gunman as Andre Bing, 31, and said they were seeking a motive. Walmart said in a statement that he was an overnight manager who had worked for the company since 2010. Here’s what his co-workers said about him.

  • Walmart’s chief executive, Doug McMillon, said his “heart hurts for our associates and the Chesapeake community.” The retailer has long been at the center of the gun-rights debate. After a series of mass shootings, Virginia tightened its gun laws in recent years, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, has suggested rolling back some of those changes.

How is it at the center of the gun-rights debate? In a mixed way:

Although the chain sells guns at its stores throughout the United States, Walmart has imposed increasingly strict restrictions on firearm sales as mass shootings have continued in the country. In recent years, it stopped selling handguns and certain rifles, including AR-15s, and raised the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21.

After 23 people were killed by a gunman in a Walmart store in El Paso in August 2019, the company publicly urged Congress and President Donald J. Trump to strengthen background checks and renew the debate over an assault rifle ban.

Do you think Walmart will stop selling guns now, just as a gesture towards its murdered employees? I wouldn’t bet on it.

*A live cat, trapped in a suitcase, was detected by an X-ray machine in New York City. (h/t Matthew) It apparently belonged to someone else in the household and jumped into the suitcase, which some idiot locked and closed without looking inside. (h/t Christopher).

A TSA agent in New York City spotted a live feline trapped inside checked luggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport — but safely got the cat out of the bag, authorities said Tuesday.

The orange tabby’s brush with potential tragedy happened on Nov. 16 when the bag was checked from JFK to Atlanta for a connecting flight to Melbourne Orlando International Airport in Florida, officials said.

“The cat did not belong to the individual with the suitcase, it belonged someone else in the household,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told NBC News.

The flagged luggage was taken aside and the cat rescued before the tabby could have ended up in the pressurized cargo hold.

A bit more from CNN:

The traveler is thought to have missed his flight, but rebooked for the following day, sans cat. Meanwhile the cat — apparently called Smells — appears unbothered by his escapade, according to the New York Post, which appeared to have tracked it down.

Here’s the X-ray.  How could the traveler have overlooked that cat?

And a TSA tweet; at least one person among the TSA authoritarians has a sense of humor:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is gathering wood:

Hili: Are you preparing for winter?
A: The newspapers wrote that there might be trouble.
In Polish:
Hili: Przygotowujesz się do zimy?
Ja: W gazetach pisali, że mogą być kłopoty.

. . . and a picture of Baby Kulka:



From Merilee, a Mark Parisi cartoon:

From Jean: the bronze ducks in the famous “Make Way for Ducklings” statue in the Boston Commons have been dressed up as Puritans for the holiday:

From Nicole:

From Divy:

God’s over at Mastodon, but still has tweeted only once.

From Barry. Chuck Jones, who directed the Roadrunner cartoons, lays out Da Roolz:

From Masih: Iranian soldiers fire on civilians while chanting “Allahu Akbar”:

From Luana. So much for the police’s theory (and the FFRF’s, too) that the crime was motivated by “anti LGBTQ animus”—a “hate crime”:

From Ken, who says this, “Secretary Mayor Pete’s got a bone to pick with some people. (I’d sure like to see Uncle Joe throw the 2024 race open to the field. All I am saying, is Give Pete a Chance)”. I agree; I’ve always been a fan of Mayor Pete.

Also from Barry, who says, “What a showoff!”. Hey, it’s sexual selection, Jake!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boy about three years old was gassed:

Tweets from the estimable Professor Cobb. A simple equation shows why the first one must be true:

I hope the guy put this fish back:

The Pale Blue Dot revisited: Earthrise as the Artemis-1 capsule comes around from the backside of the Moon:

48 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. Not impossible, but pretty stupid unless the person making the claim didn’t have some supporting evidence. Otherwise they’d (the accused + legal team) be handing the prosecution a major bat for them to be beaten with in the “mitigation/ sentence negotiation” part of the proceedings.
      I’m assuming there is no significant “it wasn’t me/him/them” evidence. If the shooting got any news mention here, I didn’t see it.

        1. None whatsoever. Hollywood celebrities courageously “come out” as non-binary every day. And any obvious physical evidence to the contrary cannot be pointed out because denying the self-affirmed gender identity is itself a hate crime, say the activists. The accused could claim to be a woman named Lia or Wendy or Tinkerbell for all anyone would be able to rebut it.

          It will be interesting to see if the absurdity of this presumption makes more impact on our mental bull-shit-detection circuits than it has so far in sports, shelters, and prisons.

          The wisdom of Solomon approach that pretends this all makes sense is to say that it’s the nature of the victims and not the assailant that makes it a hate crime or not. Nonetheless if you say that if an A attacking other A’s is a hate crime, to me it means you don’t fully believe the assailant ‘s claim to be an A.

          Of course if he is convicted, he will complete his transition to female and demand to be sent to a woman’s prison. Delightful.

          1. Under the US federal hate crime statute, and the state counterparts modeled after it, it is the defendant’s animus directed at “the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin” of the victim that is the essential distinguishing characteristic of the crime. Some state statutes have added “sexual preference” and “sexual identity” to the list of prohibited animuses.

            The actual or perceived characteristics of the defendant is not an essential element of the offense.

          2. The precedent has already been set that one need only state one’s identity and nothing more to become whatever one wishes as well as retaining the right to change back or change to something entirely different at any time, or so it seems based on the rules of gender fluidity. I yam what I yam until I yam not, I suppose a non-binary Popeye would have quipped. But I think we can dispense with the notion of “rules”, as we’ve often seen that even rules of thumb are no longer valid (and offensive to the thumb-challenged) and can be altered or jettisoned on a whim, to suit the Orwellian needs of whomever is claiming to be the oppressed in any given situation. Welcome to the Bizarro World Alice in Wonderland Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend postmodern deconstructionist age. We’re all mad here. I guess it’s time to stop worrying and love the bomb.

        2. I don’t presume to speak for Gravel-Inspector, but I assume that by evidence he means evidence that the perpetrator has previously come out as non-binary to friends/family/social media.

          1. Ah, but who are we to say? The assailant could have been quietly suffering, alone, the private torture of gender dysphoria all his life, coming out only with the public act of killing people assumed without evidence to be just like himself.

            If the victims are all cis-gendered gay people, for the assailant to identify as non-binary but not gay could be a bad move as it provides evidence for the animus against “the other” that says “hate crime.” He might have been better to say he was gay. But this wouldn’t get him into a woman’s prison, so there is that.

    2. Similar thoughts here. The lesson all around is don’t assume anything. Including this person’s claimed gender identity.

      1. Perhaps the identity of the victims or the shooter isn’t really the issue that needs to be focused on. Sure, one should not discount the reasons behind this act of violence, but we seem to get tripped up by this sort of thing. For me, it’s the violence itself that is the issue. Our nation is a danger to itself, no matter how you want to divide it, by cops, or ICE or black or white or Hispanic or immigrant or sexuality or politics or any number of possible categories for victims or perpetrators. Our news is filled with violence. 4 university students stabbed, three university students shot, 2yr old murdered and dumped in a landfill, Walmart employees shot, club goers shot, and so on. We often seem focused on the specifics, but they are part of a very disturbing general attitude towards life in this so-called first world nation. I don’t have any answers. I don’t have much hope, either. Now that I’ve depressed the shit of out myself, I’m going to go have a drink and withdraw from the world as best I can.

        1. Well said Christopher, and depressing as your comment is, I agree entirely. Immediately after the attack, LGBTQIA+ Guardian columnists claimed it was an attack on the ‘queer’ community. They flexed the opportunity to emphasise how they never feel ‘safe’, and the LGBTQIA+ community must oppose this ‘queerphobic’ hate. Other commenters claim the non-binary identity of the shooter is evidence that bigotry is not the motive. Others speculate that the newly-assumed identity is a cynical plot to escape the worst legal consequences. Furthermore, they are happy hijacking the tragedy to object to gender self-identification.

          Why the hell does identity have anything to do with any of this? People, young people, have died. Families are in turmoil, lives will never be the same. Yet people are using this tragedy to further their own political argument. It’s opportunist and insensitive and irrelevant.

          The gender or sexuality of any of the people involved are unimportant. The fact that these were people with futures, ambitions, families, friends is what matters. The fact that they were murdered in a mass shooting, by an idiot with a gun is what matters. Let’s concentrate on the unfortunate victims and their loved ones, let’s focus on why guns are so dangerous yet remain so available.

          This was a brutal and violent murder. So, think of those killed, their hopes, dreams and individuality. This isn’t a political opportunity; It’s a time to think of the victim’s loved ones and effect changes that will actually make a difference.

          1. Casting a vote for insensitivity. Actually we can’t do anything about the dead and their families, since thoughts and prayers are rightly frowned on here. You can’t do anything about guns, either, no matter how much you might want to. President Biden is not going to confiscate millions of legally purchased self-loading rifles any more than he’s going to put the oil companies out of business and make your cars grind to a halt. So that’s all water over the dam. Just more thoughts and prayers.

            What we can do is fight battles in the culture wars. So that’s what we do. If even one person who was always so open-minded that his brains fell out now feels just a little rattled, questions the inviolability of self-identification, and starts to wonder about the dangers to society of false signalling, then that is a positive step. If nothing else, women in prison (often because they took the rap for their boyfriends) will be just a little safer if we can begin to ask, “How do we know you’re really trans?”

            Mocking the accused as both sides are now doing is fair comment, finally: “Anyone can see with their own eyes that he is a man” [because he doesn’t wear eyeliner and lipstick],” pouts a man on CNN who is also obviously a man but does wear eyeliner and lipstick and so cannot be questioned.

          2. I agree that thoughts and prayers are pointless platitudes, and agree we can’t do anything for the dead, but helping their families is certainly possible (at least to some extent).

            When it comes to guns, I don’t accept that nothing can be done. I think it can, but it can’t happen overnight. The process would be long and challenging, but it could it could work wonders. Unfortunately, it requires bravery, integrity and rationality from US politicians to even start, but start it must.

            What I object to is people piggy-backing on this tragedy to make political points and push their own agendas. Yes, the fact that this guys claims to be ‘non-binary’ seems ridiculous, along with much of the current trans-obsessed zeitgeist. But do those points have anything to do with the murder or the victims? No. The same goes for the safety of the LGBT community. There is no evidence that this was directed at LGBT people deliberately, but an Australian Guardian columnist was using it to bemoan the impact on her ‘safety’. She lives in Sydney – probably the most gay-friendly place on the globe!

            Jumping in to disseminate one’s political views to all and sundry seems opportunist and cynical, particularly when those views have the most tenuous of links to the real issue: a violent, crazy, selfish idiot had access to a gun, and used it to murder multiple victims.

            One thing is for sure, mocking the gender identity of this murderer, and by extension a large portion of the LGBT community will help no one, especially those affected by the attack. Many of the victims were or are of that community. Don’t get me wrong, I see the tran/identity/gender etc debate the same way you do – I often think the world’s gone totally mad. But I also think that using this event to push these views (or any other political views that won’t help fix the problem) is unseemly, insensitive and unhelpful.

      1. Stronger, are not most ‘trans-women’ not just anti-lesbian, but anti-feminist and, even stronger, basically anti-female (ie. misogynistic) too?

    3. But you can’t question someone’s identity, you BIGOT! 😉

      Clearly I’m kidding, but surely the idiots who made up the “rules” on “preferred pronouns” and “acceptance without exception” can’t suddenly decide that Mx Aldrich’s self-declaration shouldn’t be taken at face value.

    4. “(you’ll note I refer to Aldrich as male throughout this piece — if it later comes to light that he’d previously come out as nonbinary, I’ll refer to him using they/them pronouns, but I think there are limits to politeness and self-ID, and I’m not going to take a mass murderer at his word on the basis of one legal filing)”

      Agree with the other commenters here. The previously established rule was that you were NEVER to question a person’s gender. Even male prisoners who suddenly decide that they’re actually women could never be doubted, despite a rather obvious motive. Why is an exception now being made in this case?

  1. *The latest mass shooting in the U.S. took place Tuesday evening at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia. It seems that these things happen about three times a week now.

    Is there any significant day-of-week variation in the frequency of these events?

    1. In fact there is. The WaPo story cited in Jerry’s Hili a few days ago claiming 1.9 mass shootings per day for 2022 shows a heavy propensity for Saturday and Sunday. The FBI database which uses a different definition comes up with a much lower figure and didn’t note a day-of-week effect, at least not in the abstract/executive summary in the article referenced by DrBrydon.

  2. “The cat did not belong to the individual with the suitcase, it belonged someone else in the household,” TSA spokeswoman

    I’m sure the cat has different opinions about who owns whom in this master-staff relationship.

  3. From Nicole: [image of zonked-out cat in shredded box]

    Has anyone made cardboard or wrapping paper from catnip-fibre, or infused with the functional compounds of catnip? Seems an obvious thing for the “Happy birthday, Moggy” market – let the cat enjoy shredding the voluminous packaging around their catnip-stuffed fabric mouse.

  4. Yes the big fish lives. The BBC reports: ‘It took (the angler) 25-minutes to catch The Carrot which he managed to do successfully, and Andy took some pictures with his prized fish to document the moment, before it was released back in the water soon after.’

  5. I’d sure like to see Uncle Joe throw the 2024 race open to the field.

    You don’t announce something like that immediately on winning an election, and you don’t do it with half your term yet to go, either. At what point in their terms did LBJ and Calvin Coolidge famously do that? With LBJ it was a little more than 6mos from the election, and with Cal it was a little more than a year. All else being the same, I expect that if Joe decides not to run that he won’t make that known until at least March ’24.

    1. I expect that Biden will make an announcement on whether he will run again in 2024 much sooner than March of that year. He will make the announcement of his decision no later than the middle of 2023. The reason for this is that other Democrats contemplating running for the Democratic nomination in 2024 will be “frozen” in place until the Biden decision. Most, if not all, of them will not want to put together a campaign organization until Biden announces his decision. Most will not want to challenge Biden for the nomination should he choose to run. It is very difficult for a challenger to wrest the nominee from a sitting president. Even serious challengers, such as Reagan against Ford in 1976 or Ted Kennedy against Carter in 1980, can’t do it. Moreover, a challenged incumbent president will find it more difficult to be re-elected. Ford lost in 1976 and Carter in 1980.

      Thus, Biden will announce his decision in mid-2023 at the latest. If he decides to run again, he will save potential competitors the fruitless task of putting together a campaign organization to challenge him. It would also enhance Biden’s chances of winning in 2024. If he decides not to run, Democratic contenders will have the time to put together an organization and begin campaigning to win the primaries that start in early 2024.

      1. Moreover, a challenged incumbent president will find it more difficult to be re-elected. Ford lost in 1976 and Carter in 1980.

        And Poppy Bush lost in ’92 after a primary challenge from Pat Buchanan — though I think what hurt Bush most that year was Buchanan’s notorious kulturkampf speech at that summer’s Republican National Convention (the one that, as Molly Ivins observed at the time, probably sounded better in the original German). 🙂

    2. Yeah, I think the optimal time for an announcement would be 6 to 12 months out from the first 2024 primary. (The Democrats still haven’t settled on a schedule for their primaries, but the traditional start date is some time in February.)

      But I’m not sure LBJ provides much of a guide. He didn’t get out of the ’68 race until Eugene McCarthy made a surprisingly strong, albeit losing, showing in the New Hampshire primary in March (based largely on his opposition to the Vietnam War), prompting LBJ’s bête noire, Bobby Kennedy, to change his mind and jump into the race.

      And ol’ Silent Cal was a different era; national radio broadcasting was still in its infancy.

  6. Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday, overtaking xmas as I grew up and didn’t get any more visits from Santy Claus. It took a bit when I switched to vegetarianism, but then found Tofurkey and all was right with the world again. Sadly, I could not get one this year, or a trader Joe knockoff or even a pale imitation by some other company. I don’t know what the deal is. Covid seems to have knocked off my Quorn supply, and now this! And adding insult to injury, or illness to injury, I’m sick so I can’t visit my family. I’ll be eating boca buglers and fries alone today, but at least I found som Sam Smith Winter Welcome to wash it all down. Or maybe I’ll do a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and have popcorn and toast. May all you heathens and infidels have a happy Thanksgiving and have an extra spoonful of Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish for those of us going without.

    1. I am sorry to hear that Christopher. Although, it is nice to be able to celebrate on the day of, I’ve found over the years that Thanksgiving delays pretty well. (My sister used to have a regular day-after dinner for single friends.) I hope you feel better, and can have your regular dinner, soon.

      1. Thanks, but no worries. This is the sixth year of living completely alone, if two d*gs and two cats is really “alone”, covid, family moves, and a couple of deaths have already disrupted comfortably well-worn traditions. It’s just a part of getting older. It’s not how I thought my life at the cusp of middle age would play out but I’m not working, the head cold is waning, I’ve got a 4-pack of fine ales, a bottle of wine for backup, and a stack of books to occupy my mind. Enjoy your holiday, whenever and wherever you happen to celebrate it. Cheers. 🍻

  7. The media are getting all wound around the axle now that it has come out that the Colorado shooter is saying he’s non-binary (and, for the record, that’s all it takes). I saw one commentator theorizing that he’d done this to avoid hate crime charges. Here’s also a trans woman on CNN asserting that it’s ridiculous as she can look at the suspect and tell he’s a man. I would have thought that the “you can tell” argument would be too embarrassing to use nowadays.

  8. I can easily see how a person could accidentally lock a cat in a suit case. The suitcase is open, but one side has that rigid retainer wall locked in place so you can’t see what is in it. Cats being cats, they can see that as a safe tight space to squeeeze into.

    1. It almost happened to me once, long ago. My elderly cat Stinky (don’t ask) jumped into my rigid style suitcase, which was sitting full and open on my bed. I had finished packing and was busy doing something else when Stinky jumped in to take a nap. My guess is the force of him jumping in caused the open case to close, which I didn’t even notice as I picked it up to leave. Fortunately, before I got to the door, Stinky let out a howl and was saved. He didn’t seem put out at all.

      Happy turkey day to all. I hope you can spend it with family and friends.

      1. Hmmm! Your cat was called Stinky and the one in the original post was called Smells. I can only surmise that they were both trying to escape somewhere where they could begin a new life with a less embarrassing name! 😉

    1. You, too. And that goldfish worries me. I’ve got 2 about 10-12” in my pond with the koi and from what I’d read about goldfish assumed they’d pretty much stopped growing. Though if fish adapt to the size of their environment they couldn’t get THAT big. I mean, right now they’re stuck in a horse trough in the basement waiting for the spring to be sprung.

  9. Whether the Colorado Springs shooter is non-binary has been questioned by some of the people who know him. Whether that is just a ploy may be difficult to ascertain.

    How could anyone who lives in a household with a cat not check suitcases or other bags before closing them???

    And thank you to Prof. Ceiling Cat for providing a column today in spite of its being a holiday. As someone who is alone on holidays, I am thankful for that, especially the “cattoons.” But given my feline companions, I’m not really alone. They are often better companions than human company.

  10. “From Ken, who says this, “Secretary Mayor Pete’s got a bone to pick with some people. (I’d sure like to see Uncle Joe throw the 2024 race open to the field. All I am saying, is Give Pete a Chance)”. I agree; I’ve always been a fan of Mayor Pete.”

    I hope to Hank that Uncle Joe will bow out as well. (Though I worry a lot about who the Dems will pick for 2024!) In any case, he won’t do it until the last moment that makes sense. It will be a calculated political move (I hope!) to aid his successor.

  11. I have seen an x-ray of not one cat but two. One was sitting the other lying down. The airline rep got it totally wrong and sent them through the oversize and fragile x-ray. Yeeks!

  12. I wish that a person who’s gay couldn’t possibly commit an anti-gay hate crime. Unfortunately, some people are indoctrinated from childhood into very anti-gay ideas (“My son isn’t, can’t be, gay!”). If the child is in fact gay, he grows up hating himself and/or the people who seem to tempt him to be gay. Shooting gay people could be a form of killing what one hates in ones self.

    Reading about this shooter’s father makes me feel somewhat sorry for the young man, a victim as well as perpetrator. (but no less perpetrator for all that)

  13. On a visit to the Field Museum’s rare book room last Friday, I was able to see the Museum’s copy of the first edition of Darwin’s Origin. I think I’ve seen first editions on display before, but this was the first time it was out on a counter where I could actually look at it. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time that its was less than a week before the 163rd anniversary of its publication.


    1. There’s a news piece on the BBC about a Darwin letter up for auction today at Sotheby’s, expected to surpass £1,000,000.

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