Hmm Weekly for July 7, 2020

I got so much Tuesday on my mind

Hmm Weekly for July 7, 2020


Ask The Sophist

Subject: Hey just a quick question!
To: <>

Dear The Sophist:

Hello there,
My name is Lara. I am the owner of the website [REDACTED]. I came across a piece of your content (here---> Great post by the way! I actually have a piece of content relevant to the article you have and put together an article on Personal Boundaries and Personal Space in which you can check out here--->  https://[REDACTED].com/the-importance-of-protecting-your-personal-space-spiritually-and-mentally/.

I thought this would be nice to share as I was wondering if you would be interested in featuring a link to my article in your content. I think this would make a very valuable addition to your already wonderful post! Let me know what you think! Looking forward to collaborate. Thank You so much for your time!

Much appreciation,
Scammers Live in Vain

Dear Turing Tess,
I felt compelled to answer your letter, even though technically it reached my mailbox through the main address, rather than the dedicated Ask The Sophist address. Partly this was because no actual letter-writers came through this week, but there were plenty of other possible workarounds for that. Mainly, it was a feeling that your mechanical, impersonal request to insert a spam link about protecting spiritual boundaries into an old post about a war criminal on a dead website captured something very genuine about the spirit of our age.

I think I've mentioned this before, Tess, to the human readers of this successor publication to the daily website to which you were trying to get a link inauthentically added, but most days I try to get out the door with my family for a walk, to escape the tedium of the pandemic lockdown and to take advantage of the long but now already dwindling sunlit evening hours. Mostly we go to Central Park, but sometimes we go to Riverside Park. Tuesday night, we decided to do the latter.

As we reached the foot of the long flight of stairs down to the riverbank, a briny, tide-pool sort of smell greeted us. My eight-year-old said it smelled "salty," and for a moment the odor had a certain appeal,  as if the Hudson—which is really an estuary at this point—truly was connected to the whole alive and aromatic ocean. Then the smell got stronger and less attractive with every step. We reached the big rocks piled along the shore and began to walk along them, and I looked out at the water and saw a pale dead fish, its body partly torn or rotted away, floating there.

Beyond that dead fish was another one, and another after that, and more after those. Their decaying bodies floated all along the shore in a broken line, mingling with garbage. The smell became a monstrous stench. A watery feeling began gathering at the bottom of my esophagus, on top of the pork chops I had just eaten, and I briefly thought about what it would be like if I had to take off my plague mask to vomit.

I pulled my always-connected informational device out of my pocket and searched for "dead fish hudson" on Twitter. There were complaints going back a few days, and then a link to a story in the Daily News: Fish were, in fact, dying by the thousands. They were mostly Atlantic menhaden in their nursery waters, and they were apparently suffocating as algae bloomed in the unusually warm river.

The various bodies of water in Central Park have been full of signs warning about toxic algae blooms there, too. Not long ago, on the shore of the Pond where we'd previously seen a black-crowned night heron feeding, the shallows were a bubbly bluish mess that looked like a cross between Windex and motor oil. The Lake was clogged with green murk, though at least the fish were still alive enough to be jumping.

We came back to Riverside Park on Wednesday and the dead fish were even worse. Somehow people were dining at socially distanced outdoor tables at the cafe at the end of the pier, with the horrible smell like a seawall between them and the river.

Why am I telling you about this? Your message is another reminder that we have unleashed processes against ourselves that will not stop propagating until we are all suffocated in the reeking clouds of our own rotting way of life. Personal boundaries? Personal space? You think too small, Tess. We need to fight for the space and boundaries that will drive the spambots, and the entire industry that causes them, and the constant leak of bad faith and carbon dioxide, out of our lives.

The Sophist

Got something you need to justify to yourself,  or to the world at large? Other columnists are here to judge you, but The Sophist is here to tell you why you're right. Send your questions  to, and get the answers you want.

Another Week, Another Hmm Weekly

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Recent Fourth of July Pyrotechnics

The Poopy Puppy had a retail price of $1.99 but came with a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE offer at SKY KING FIREWORKS of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. Please visit the Tube site for more Hmm tubes.


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Why do the tomatoes have bones in them?


Magazines, cont’d.

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UNTIL WE FIND a better source, we present select recipes from the leviathan and encyclopedic 1896 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, Principal of the Boston Cooking-School, several editions of which are available on Google Books for the delectation of all.



Sardine Sandwiches.
Remove skin and bones from sardines, and mash to a paste. Add to an equal quantity of yolks of hard boiled egg rubbed through a sieve. Season with salt, cayenne, and a few drops of lemon juice; moisten with olive oil or melted butter. Spread mixture between thin slices of buttered bread prepared as for Bread and Butter Folds. (Hmm Weekly for June 30, 2020).

Chopped Ham Sandwiches.
Finely chop cold boiled ham, and moisten with Sauce Tartare. Spread between thin slices of buttered bread prepared as for Bread and Butter Folds.

Lobster Sandwiches.
Remove lobster meat from shell, and chop. Season with salt, cayenne, made mustard, and lemon juice; or moisten with any salad dressing. Spread mixture on a crisp lettuce leaf, and prepare as other sandwiches.

If you make one of these sandwiches, before you eat it, please won’t you send a picture to

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