See you tomorrow, over the radio

Kai Ryssdal hosts the public radio (listener supported) program Marketplace on a daily basis Monday through Friday.

He signs off the program saying,

See you tomorrow, everybody.

Am I the only one whose radio doesn’t come with a camera? Can Ryssdal see me through his website?

Stick that in your tea and drink it.

Gourmet vanilla extract

McCormick  markets gourmet premium pure organic vanilla extract. They tout its quality by telling us that the hand-picked vanilla beans “are left on the vine for up to 9 months to ensure vanilla flavor the way it was intended to be.”

So then, what does “up to 9 months” on the vine mean? Does it mean that some of the beans stay on the vine for only one month? Does it in fact mean that only a token number of beans remain on the vine for a full nine months?

My curmudgeonly take on writing hardened by reading American journalist Theodore M. Bernstein (1904–1979). He was the assistant managing editor of The New York Times from 1951 to 1969.

Among his several books, he wrote Watch Your Language: A Lively, Informal Guide to Better Writing, Emanating from the News Room of the New York Times  (1958). (My copy is still boxed up from my move ten months ago.)

So how am I doing in the writing department? Do I write better after hot tea with sugar? Of course, you wouldn’t know.


See Theodore M. Bernstein papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.

Rooting out corruption

Testimony of George P. Kent, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, before the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on November 13, 2019:

You can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.

Now let’s mull that over with a cup of hot tea with sugar.

Donald Trump has fallen from grace; are the American people now rising in a nascent recovery?

Frankly, I was projecting when I posted that impeachment would bring a new dawn for America.

I’m now recovering from the suspense of whether U.S. President Donald Trump would be impeached and if so when. It was cathartic for me to think optimistically.

Now that the president has been impeached – which is to say indicted for high crimes and misdemeanors – I’m relieved to not be listening to Congressional hearings. I’m recovering. But, we Americans cannot expect to repair damage brought about by President Trump until a new president is inaugurated with a new Senate and House.

If I’m honest with myself, though, my own recovery will be short. I’ll soon be listening to the proceedings of his trial in the Senate. I’ll be listening in suspense over whether new damning evidence will be presented. Will such evidence reveal more corruption or further crimes? Will the Senate hear new testimony that appalls even the Republicans? Will the Republicans ask President Trump to resign, as in the case of President Richard Nixon?

So much suspense, and I’ll succumb to listening from the first gavel to the last.

By the way, I did watch some live feed of the proceedings from The Washington Post because I don’t have a television set hooked up to cable service. I moved into my present apartment ten months ago but have yet to set up my television.

I didn’t have a television during the Clinton impeachment trial either. I reluctantly listened to the disgusting proceedings over the radio. I had the flu during the trial and needed some noise to distract me from the aches, pain, and fever. So why didn’t I listen to classical music? Don’t ask. And classical music is not noise.

Sometime I’ll tell you why I didn’t have a television set.

Construction work has begun on a new Jerusalem entrance road

The Jerusalem Post reports that a new five-kilometer highway that enters Jerusalem from the west reached the construction stage in 2019 (Jerusalem Post, November 11, 2019). This entrance is the second one into the city coming from the west – from Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion International Airport, and the rest of the Mediterranean coast.

Jerusalem’s new entrance road, designated Jerusalem Route 16, feeds traffic into southern Jerusalem. Drivers will bypass the congestion at the Jerusalem Gateway – Sha’ar HaIr – the long-time entranceway into Jerusalem from the west. In fact, this has been the only entranceway into the city from the west. This long-time entranceway has served the city’s Central Bus Station since British Mandate times. Most buses to and from Jerusalem still pass through this “Gate to the City.” Traffic through the Jerusalem Gateway also reaches the city’s convention center as well as government buildings such as the Knesset and the Supreme Court. This traffic won’t be using the new entrance road. Also, the Jerusalem Gateway will continue to serve the city center and the Old City.

A number of years ago, a northern bypass road was built. Besides bypassing east and west the heart of Jerusalem, it serves as a direct entrance to northern Jerusalem. Consequently, the Jerusalem Gateway entrance enjoyed some relief.

Jerusalem’s new entrance road will tunnel under two hilltop neighborhoods and will have three interchanges to serve southern and southwestern Jerusalem. The entrance road is expected to open for traffic toward the end of 2022. The planning stage began in 2001.


Melody of the Israeli national anthem

The famous main theme of “The Moldau” comprises the first musical stanza of “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem, with slight changes.
These changes for the anthem may reflect origin in “La Mantovana, ” a widely popular melody in Renaissance Europe and more recent times.

“The Moldau” (“Vltava”), a symphonic poem by Bedřich Smetana, is from Má Vlast (My Country).

For more about “The Moldau” see Robert Cummings,

The melody of the second stanza of the anthem shifts to “Russian Sailors Dance” in the ballet The Red Poppy,  from a Russian folk tune.

The Red Poppy , 1927, was the first Soviet ballet with a modern revolutionary theme according to Wikipedia.

The entirety of “Hatikvah” is nationalistic. It is also Eurocentric. The direction of Jerusalem in the anthem is toward the east, appropriate for Europeans. For Jews in Baghdad, Persia, and India, Jerusalem is toward the west. Admittedly Jerusalem is also toward the east for Jews in North Africa.

Acquittal: freed from charges

I found these notes after the previous post on the subject:

A not guilty verdict is not exoneration except in a colloquial sense.

U.S. President Donald Trump claims that the Senate will exonerate him. “I’ve done nothing wrong.” What he doesn’t know – or doesn’t want to admit – is that a not guilty vote doesn’t mean innocent.

An acquittal, which is to say a preponderance of not guilty votes in the Senate, would only free President Trump from the impeachment charges. No explanation is attached to the individual votes, though.

A Senator who votes not guilty may intend to say that the President is innocent of the charges. He simply did not do what he was accused of doing. Another Senator might intend that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. The President may still be guilty – just not in the eyes of the law.

What is the difference here?

Those who believe that he is innocent will still associate themselves with him. Those who believe that the President probably did what he was accused of will distance themselves from him.

Similarly with voters, although it is more complicated. People have been known to hold their noses when they reach a ballot box.

‘Not guilty’ is not ‘innocent’

President Donald Trump will go on trial in the U.S. Senate, probably in January 2020.

Senators will choose how to vote: guilty or not guilty. They cannot vote innocent.

A not guilty vote is ambiguous. Is the defendant innocent of charges, “exonerated” in everyday speech? Or did the prosecutors fail to give evidence that rose to the standard of “no reasonable doubt”?

Anyone who will claim that the President was exonerated is speaking colloquially but not legally or morally.

This figure of speech, ‘exonerated’ was previously declared by the President and his supporters after Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller issued his report. This way of speaking is feel-good speech.

The Mueller report did not find sufficient evidence that the Trump election campaign coordinated or cooperated with Russian intelligence agents. That’s it. They did find smoke but failed to find a fire.

President Trump was not exonerated. The failure to find unambiguous evidence doesn’t mean that evidence doesn’t exist. Evidence may yet turn up. Then again maybe not.

The final jury of history has yet to convene.