Thursday: Hili dialogue

June 14, 2018 • 7:00 am

It’s already Thursday, June 14, 2018, and National Strawberry Shortcake Day. I like it New England style: served on a biscuit with whipped cream, and not too sweet. Here in the U.S. it’s Flag Day, celebrating the day when our Flag (Make American Great Again!) was adopted in 1777. (It’s also The Donald’s damn birthday.) The World Cup begins today in Russia, and I hope the grad students manage to set up the conference room so we can watch some games on the big screen. Google has a Doodle celebrating the event

I’m not watching today’s game:

Forbes notes that there’s also a secret minigame in which you can defend against goal kicks:

This isn’t the first soccer Doodle Google has put out. The search giant released a Soccer Google Doodle mini-game that let you play as the goalie against an AI kicker.

While this is (sadly) not a diverting mini-game, it’s still a good-looking Doodle. It’s also just the beginning. Google will release a new Google Doodle every single day of the tournament from June 14th to July 15th when the World Cup ends.

A total of 32 teams from around the globe will compete over the next month, with the first game, between Russia and Saudi Arabia, kicking off Thursday morning.

32 different artists from each of the competing nations will contribute Google Doodles over the course of the next few weeks, with all 32 artists collaborating on this first entry.

Clicking on the Doodle will take you to a schedule of upcoming games. Scroll down and you’ll find current news stories and other relevant information.

I am having trouble braining again today, and have no idea what to write, or whether to write. We will see if the Muse strikes, as she struck yesterday.

On this day in 1775, the U.S. Army was born as the Continental Army, as established by the Continental Congress. And on June 14 two years later, the Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress as the U.S. flag.  On this day in 1789, as reported by Wikipedia, “HMS Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,600 mi) journey in an open boat.”  On June 14, 1822, Charles Babbage proposed his “difference engine” (a computer) in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society; it was to be used to compute mathematical and astronomical tables. On this day in 1907, Norwegian women got the right to vote.  On June 14, 1919, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown left from St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight. Using a biplane, they arrived in Galway, Ireland, the next day. It’s not often known that Charles Lindberg was feted not for making the first nonstop transatlantic flight, but the first nonstop SOLO transatlantic flight (1927). On June 14, 1937, the U.S. Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act. This prescribed a tax (and special revenue stamps) for growing, selling, and prescribing “marihuana”.  But of course it was illegal, so buying the stamps incriminated you. Here’s what they looked like:

A dark day for the First Amendment: on this day in 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill establishing that the words “under god” would be inserted into the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. Finally, on June 14, 1966, the Vatican finally deep-sixed its list of prohibited books (started in 1557): the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

Notables born on June 14 include author Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811), Nobel Laureate Karl Lansteiner (1868, he distinguished the A, B, and O blood groups), Burl Ives (1909), Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928), Junior Walker (1931), and, yes, Donald Trump (1946). Also Leon Wieseltier, my old editor at the New Republic (1952) and Steffi Graf (1969). Those who joined the choir invisible on this day include Benedict Arnold (1801), Edward FitzGerald (1883), Adlai Stevenson I (1914), Mary Cassatt (1926), G. K. Chesterton (1936), Jorge Luis Borges (1986) and Alan Jay Lerner (1986).

Here’s a Cassatt: “Children playing with cat” (1908):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is trying to insert herself into the Oppression Hierarchy. Malgorzata explains:

“Hili doesn’t know why she feel excluded. But it’s nice to be a victim and she wants to be one as well so she is working hard to find a reason for feeling excluded and to blame somebody for it.”

Hili: I feel excluded.
A: From what?
Hili: That’s what I have to investigate.
In Polish:
Hili: Czuję się wykluczona.
Ja: Z czego?
Hili: Właśnie muszę to zbadać.

And in Winnipeg, Gus looks cute—”Earless and fearless,” as I call him

From reader Gethyn, part of Theo’s staff, we have a cat discovering refraction. I do believe this is real and shows the cat’s puzzlement at its paw not being where it feels it should be.

Grania sent some tweets:

From BBC’s Moscow correspondent, showing the Russian press billing Kim Jong-un as the “victor” in the Singapore summit. Ask me if I care.

The same goes, of course, in the DPRK:

As I wrote the other day, Trump’s biggest faux pas was lauding Kim Jong-un and his supposed love for his people:

Achilles, of whom we’ll probably hear much in the next month, predicts a Russian soccer win over Saudi Arabia. Reader Michael sent a link to news about Achilles, the FIFA “Official Animal Oracle”.

A new species of turtle. Translation of the French:  “Let’s take a moment to greet the arrival of this little tortoise in the scientific world. Kinosternon vogti is a totally new species discovered in Mexico and this photo is… ❤
The link to the species description is here.

Tweets from Matthew: Look at those antennae!

A lovely fly, though I have no videos of the “leaping larvae”:

Move over, Gene Krupa! Listen to this girl play the drums:

And I find this completely appropriate; after all, raccoons are Honorary Persons. I still think the female Procyon lotor should have been given its own woods and many treats. It wasn’t even named!

From reader Su: a SJW cat up for adoption kvetches about cultural appropriation:

And from Merilee. This trope on Air Force One has been going around, but I think it’s hilarious:


35 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. The pledge has been messed around with on more than one occasion. The original version makes the most sense and is the easiest to say without stumbling:

    “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    1. There is some controversy as to whether the addition of “under God” was intended as pushback against atheistic Communism, or more covertly as a retort to the New Deal.

      The phrase was taken from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. God had veered in and out of previous versions of the Pledge, but these were versions adopted by private societies, not by an act of Congress.

  2. In the UCL ear Institute sweepstake I got Russia 🙁
    Talk about nerdy – this is how they made the ‘draw’ –
    “This was performed with a simple script that assigned random indices to the teams and the participants and then merge the two to assign each participant a team. I have attached the R code as a supplement in case anyone wants to scrutinise the code.”

  3. I’m not sold on reincarnation, but that kid on the drums, channelling John Bonham…

    She was even doing the triplets on the bass drum.

    1. That was really enjoyable. I play that song on guitar all the time and I never really appreciated the drums till now. Unbelievable how much nuance and presence. She is remarkable.

  4. Seeing as how they were both so fond of paradox, it’s too bad Borges didn’t live long enough to comment that he died on the same date as Chesterton.

    1. Your comment about paradox is paradoxical is itself eminently paradoxical. It would have been a perfect instance of magical realism.

  5. Continental army born in 1775 and died in 1783 roughly 8 years later after the treaty with Britain was signed. Most without promises of pay or anything else. Thanks for your service boys. Yes, the country started a long history of screwing people who served. Keep up the good work. Your newest president cannot wait to see you in action again.

  6. That Marihuana Tax Act – so they managed to turn what was probably only a minor offence (growing marijuana) into a Federal crime if you didn’t grass yourself up by buying their stamps? That stinks.


  7. It’s like FIFA have managed to symbolise their moral bankruptcy in the form of a single game: Russia vs Saudi Arabia. And it’s the opening game, the showcase. I assume Voldemort and Darth Vader are going to sing a duet for the opening ceremony too.

      1. Well, it would have been surprising if the cat (or octopus) predicted a Saudi victory and turned out to be right!

  8. I’d say the Russian press (as interpreted by Steve Rosenberg) have got it pretty well right.
    (And it’s nothing that US liberals haven’t been saying)


    1. Yes. And, I was disappoint with the NYT item: “North Korea wasted no time spinning the results of the Singapore summit in its favor…” Why did they call it “spinning” when they were just reporting the results?

      1. Yes, I thought that too. They don’t need to spin anything – the POTUS handed them everything on a shiny gold, Trump-brand platter.

  9. Re Lan{d}steiner, does his name not have a *d*? Perhaps I’ve had it wrong for many years….

  10. Achilles, of whom we’ll probably hear much in the next month, predicts a Russian soccer win over Saudi Arabia. Reader Michael sent a link to news about Achilles, the FIFA “Official Animal Oracle”.

    I dont think the cat had been asked a soccer question in that video. Rather, he had been given a warm-up question: “Which country’s propaganda campaign to disrupt the American presidential election was more effective?”

  11. I would argue that the joint flight was way more difficult than the solo flight because two dudes in a biplane are bound to get on each other’s nerves.

  12. I’m an England fan, and there’s no way it would ever happen, but I would have fully supported them if they’d told FIFA to bugger off and refused to turn up for this disgusting World Cup, the only purpose of which is to soften Vladimir Putin’s image(and enrich the cabal of interchangeable scumbags who make up FIFA). I don’t see much difference between apartheid-era South Africa and Russia today, and almost everyone agreed to veto the former eventually. We should be doing the same with Russia, especially after the incontrovertible evidence of the last few years that they attacked the electoral systems of pretty much every western democracy in existence. What more do they have to do?

    The sporting bodies(invertebrate bodies clearly) that allowed Russia to bid successfully for the winter olympics and this world cup are contemptible.

    For all the OTT talk about venal global elites, this is one instance where the truth is actually close to the rhetoric. FIFA are completely unaccountable, shadowy, obscenely wealthy and almost comically corrupt. And yet football is so flooded with money and supporters are so uninterested in wider issues when our teams are playing that this truck keeps barreling down the road. It’s a disgrace.

  13. I don’t find any videos of jumping Neriid fly larvae, but did find a slo-mo video of a gall midge larva jumping

    The larvae of the cheese fly, piophilia casei also leap, and this phenomenon inspired a lowly miller in 16th c. Italy to develop a theology which eventually got the poor bloke burned at the stake by Pope Clement VIII. This story was admirably told by the historian Carlo Ginzburg (son of the novelist Natalia Ginzburg’s) in his fascinating book “The Cheese and the Worms.”

    At his trial, the miller declared: “I have said that, in my opinion, all was chaos, that is, earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed – just as cheese is made out of milk – and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels. The most holy majesty decreed that these should be God and the angels, and among that number of angels there was also God, he too having been created out of that mass at the same time.”

    In his observations of the jumping larvae, he saw an analogue to John the Baptist jumping in Elizabeth’s womb — Luke 1:41, “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”

    1. No, Gus’s hearing is absolutely fine. Deafness in white cats is generally when they also have blue eyes.

        1. I have wondered if he has ‘phantom ear pain’ but I don’t seriously think so. He does still have about half the ear left. The vet did a great job of making them look nice and even when he removed the frost bitten tips. 🙂

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