Monday: Hili dialogue

May 28, 2018 • 6:30 am

We’re getting close to June, as today is Monday, May 28, 2018, the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. and National Brisket Day, a holiday for both Jews and Texans. It’s also Menstrual Hygiene Day, a day instituted by a German NGO. As it’s a holiday, and nobody is at work, I am insane for being in the office. But there are ducks to feed.

On this day in 585 B.C., a solar eclipse occurred, and one predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales. It took place while Alyattes was battling Cyaxares in the Battle of Halys and the astronomical event led to a truce. As Wikipedia notes, “This is one of the cardinal dates from which other dates can be calculated.” But I’m amazed that they could predict such an eclipse so long ago. On May 28, 1588, the Spanish Armada (130 ships, 30,000 men) set sail from Lisbon, heading towards England.  It took three days for all the ships to depart. The assault failed, of course, and a third of the Spanish ships failed to make it home. On May 28, 1871, the Paris Commune fell. And 21 years later to the day, John Muir organized the Sierra Club in San Francisco.

When I was young, the Dionne quintuplets, born to a French-Canadian family in Ontario, were a big deal. Born on this day in 1934, they were the first quintuplets known to have survived infancy. These days this isn’t such an unusual event, but back then they were very famous, and were even presented to Queen Elizabeth II. Here they are at the age of 13. Two of them are still alive:

On this day in 1937, the German automobile company Volkswagen was founded. And exactly five years later, Nazis in Czechoslovakia killed over 1800 people in retribution for the assassination attempt (successful) on Holocaust architect Reinhard Heydrich. As Wikipedia reports, the assassins were linked “to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. Both villages were razed; all men and boys over the age of 16 were shot, and all but a handful of the women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps.”  On May 28, 1987—and you may remember this—the West German pilot Mathias Rust (age 18), landed a private plane in Red Square in Moscow. Detained, he was released on August 3 of the next year.  Here’s a short documentary on Rust’s achievement:

On May 28, 1999, Leonardo’s “The Last Supper”, after undergoing renovation for 22 years, was put back on display. And on this day in 2002, the last girder was removed from the World Trade Center site after the terrorist attack. The end of “cleanup” was celebrated with a ceremony at Ground Zero.

Notables born on this day include William Pitt the Younger (1759), Louis Agassiz (1807), Jim Thorpe (1888), Patrick White (1912), Walker Percy (1916), Rudy Giuliani (1944), Gladys Knight (1944), Leland Sklar (1947), Kylie Minogue (1968; she’s 50 today), and Carey Mulligan (1985). Notables who died on May 28 were few; they include Noah Webster (1843), war hero Audie Murphy (1971), and Maya Angelou (2014).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is contradicting Steve Pinker:

Hili: Memory has an optimistic feature.
A: And that means?
Hili: I’m always thinking that it was better in the past.
In Polish:
Hili: Optymistyczna cecha pamięci…
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Zawsze myślę, że dawniej było lepiej.


And in Winnipeg, Gus shows his “third eye”:

Tweets from Grania. The Catholic Church, butthurt by the outcome of the referendum, is calling their believers who voted for repeal “sinners”. Nya nya nya, Vatican!

. . . and here are some tweets that affirm this:

CubeSats are miniature satellites (see here):

These consorting felids are caught in the act; the black one gives the stink eye to the camera:

Matthew sent honeyguides; they are brood parasites of other species and the eggtooth is for killing not their siblings, but their unrelated nestmates:

It’s spring, and all baby animals are out. Which reminds me—it’s time to tend the ducklings:

Look at the tongue on this numbat. There are several species, but all eat termites:

Okay, you tell me why camels have “filters” on their cheeks.

Maternity time:

And guess who this evolutionary geneticist is.  I knew him. Hint: he’s dead now.

A puffin soaring on thermals:

And on a more sober note, this is how Palestinian children graduate from kindergarten (h/t Malgorzata):


35 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Catholics who voted Yes should consider coming to confession, the Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran said.”

    I didn’t think “Nyah nyah we won!” was encouraged in the confessional… 😉


  2. Will those people who walked out of Mass ever go back? Another own goal for the Catholic church.

  3. Puffin: It’s not riding on a thermal, it’s using ridge [or slope, or hill, or cliff] lift – i.e. wind deflected upwards by an obstacle.

    Thermal lift isn’t nearly that strong so close to sea level – extreme thermal lift [called cloud suck!] is around 20 metres/second straight up immediately below a cumulus cloud. If you’re in a paraglider or sailplane of a small size you can’t get down – nothing you can do.

    I looked up the oral papillae thing – what a wide range of critters have ’em! We have them as bumps on the tongue [which I thought was pronounced “ton-goo” – couldn’t figure out what it was for months – the perils of the self-taught young reader].

  4. “Menstrual Hygiene Day” — Maybe Dear Leader in the White House will issue a proclamation saying some words about women bleeding from their wherevers. The best words, tremendous words, the greatest words ever said about menstruation. Everybody says so.

    1. “Dear Leader in the White House”

      Interesting phrase. Conjures up a fascinating scenario, leads me to speculate what would happen if Kim Jong Un and Trump were magically transposed. Would the quality of proclamations coming out of the White House get more coherent or less?


      1. I don’t speak Korean, but it seems in translation at least that Kim’s pronouncements seem more coherent to me. (But that’s an aesthetic remark, not a matches-reality remark, for which I would be hard pressed to tell.)

        As for “dear leader”, Chomsky has been using that sarcastically about US presidents for decades.

  5. The Catholic Church, butthurt by the outcome of the referendum, is calling their believers who voted for repeal “sinners”.

    That’s sure to convince many of the Lord’s lost lambs to return to the flock.

    1. The term butthurt typically has a very different meaning when the Catholic Church is involved.

  6. My recent reading indicates the requirements to paint frescoes was not suited to Leonardo’s style. He therefore painted directly to the dry plaster using tempera paint and oil paint. His experiment however, began to flake after 20 years and his experimental technique was a failure.

    1. “The Last Supper” — How come all those cats is sittin’ on the same side of the table? I mean, who does that? 🙂

      1. Jesus: Why is it always so expensive for dinner.
        Apostle: Well you do insist on booking 24 seats…I’ll get my coat

        1. I heard he was particularly upset at some of the apostles sometimes ordering wine with their meals.

  7. Situation in Ireland reminds me when I walked out the back door of the local Catholic church in 1968, in the middle of a sermon where some gormless, reactionary parish priest called MLK a communist. Ain’t been back since except for weddings & funerals.

    1. Should have asked, If MLK was a communist what was the Pope? Maybe dictator or supreme leader? Besides, calling him a communist, that was Hoover’s job.

    2. Last time I was forced to go to a church service, around age 15, I broke out into hives. Turns out I was allergic to bullshit.

    1. @Alan but Sophie, above is on the nest & plenty google pics of others, inc butcherbirds. Or am I missing a joke of language etc??

  8. IMO, two of multiple Achilles’ heels of the Catholic church are its sexual ethics and the entire way confession is conceived and administrated. They both intersect in these incidents.

  9. “National Brisket Day, a holiday for both Jews and Texans” reminds me of the old routine by the late, great Steve Landesberg about southern Jews. The internet has failed me on providing a clip of this (but there must be one somewhere as I saw it on TV), but it contained a line similar to “So, Billy Bob, y’all goin’ to temple?”

    1. Embarassment of riches then for a colleague (whose name I have forgotten) in my first philosophy of science class (a music student!) – who was – a Texas Jew. (Isn’t there actually a group named something like that?)

    2. “Forgive me, Yiddish was not spoken in East Texas, and if it was, it wasn’t for long” – Sheldon Cooper

    3. Reminds me of a line in Norman Mailer’s novel Why Are We In Vietnam?. The novel’s set in Texas and the lead character, a kind of malevolent Huck Finn-type, has a psychiatrist named Dr. Rothenberg. Another character says every good Texan pronounces that name “Rottenbug.”

  10. Actually, about Thales – last I checked we do not know when the eclipse actually was – people have tried to guess but it is all so second hand.

    See _The Presocratic Philosophers_, by Kirk, Raven and Schofield. (Or the later 2010 edition, I guess, which I haven’t read.)

  11. Marsupial correction! There’s only one species of numbat. Like many small marsupials it is very rare. Unlike many marsupials it is diurnal. It is unfortunately highly susceptible to predation by feral cats. I’m almost as much an ailurophile as Jerry but I have also been involved in feral cat control – I don’t have much difficulty in separating, in my mind, feral cats from fat, friendly, indoor moggies, unlike some of my colleagues.

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