Monday: Hili dialogue

July 30, 2018 • 6:30 am

It’s Monday, July 30, 2018, the penultimate day of the month, and National Cheesecake Day. It’s also the International Day of Friendship, celebrated most vigorously in South America. I am down to six ducks: five ducklings plus Honey, and will do another census when I feed them in an hour. One thing’s for sure: I’ll have Honey for a while longer, as she is only now growing flight feathers after her molt.

On this day in 1619, the first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses in Jamestown, Virginia, met for the first time. And on this day in 1930, Uruguay won the first FIFA World Cup in its home town of Montevideo. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it, and I’ve put in a short video:

The first FIFA World Cup™ was one of a kind. Taking place wholly in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, the sport’s inaugural showpiece was rich in details that might bemuse the modern football fan: four teams arriving together on the same boat, an unfinished stadium, even a one-armed goalscorer in the Final. Yet it ended with a familiar outpouring of joy as the whole of Uruguay took a public holiday after La Celeste became the first world champions by defeating neighbours Argentina 4-2.

On July 30, 1956, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the Congressional resolution making “In God we Trust” the U.S. National Motto. Oy gewalt! Exactly six years later, the Trans-Canada Highway, the longest national highway on the planet, was officially opened.  And on this day in 1965, Lyndon Johnson created a huge feat of socialism, signing into law the Social Security Act of 1965, which included Medicaid and Medicare.  On July 30, 1966, England defeated West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final (played in London) in extra time. Here’s a 9.5-minute video of that dramatic match.

On this day in 1974, President Richard “I am not a crook” Nixon turned over the subpoenaed White House “Watergate tapes” to the special prosecutor after the U.S. Supreme Court said he had to.  One year later, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared from the parking lot of a restaurant outside Detroit, Michigan, and was never seen again. His fate remains a mystery. Finally, on July 30, 2003, the last Volkswagen Beetle made in the old style rolled off a Mexican assembly line.

Notables born on July 30 include Emily Brontë (1818), Thorstein Veblen (1857), Henry Ford (1863), Casey Stengel (1890), Henry Moore (1898), Buddy Guy (1936), Peter Bogdanovich (1939), Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947), Hilary Swank (1974), Misty May-Treanor (1977) and Hope Solo (1981). Those who expired on this day include William Penn (1718), George Pickett (1875), Claudette Colbert (1996), “Buffalo Bob” Smith (1998), and Michelangelo Antonioni (2007).

Moore did drawings as well as sculptures; here’s his “Jaguar”, drawn in 1981:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is once again fixated on noms:

Hili: We can talk about it at lunch.
A: Talk about what?
Hili: What’s for dinner..
In Polish:
Hili: Możemy o tym porozmawiać przy lunchu.
Ja: O czym?
Hili: Co będzie na obiad?

Some tweets from Matthew. First, street violence in Sweden.

More hares, this time in England:

Matthew explains the tweet below: “Phymata are assassin bugs, and their minds are always killing, even if they are otherwise occupied… Milichids are kleptoparasitic flies.”

Matthew says, “Watch until the end”:

Not a leaf. What is it?

It’s this, a near-perfect example of mimicry:

This question is a bit confusing, but make a guess about where the heart might be:

From reader Gethyn:

Some tweets from Grania:

This will probably be too late, as the poll expires in ten hours (I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon), but see the vote. I’d take physical immortality any day, though the conditions of aging and other stuff need to be specified.

Look at that d*g’s face!

A decent science pun:

The second tweet is the one to look at:

Finally, a cartoon, also contributed by Grania:


52 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Because when it is written on a coin or a paper bill, THEN it’s … it’ll be … they’ll….

    It’ll make Him happy. That’s what.

  2. Those hares in the second video look so much like small kangaroos. They get around in the same way, they have a similar posture and they even fight in the same way. Has this similarity ever been noted by biologists and is it of any interest?

  3. Can the insect wings get nibbled by bugs, and THAT is how it ends up looking like leaf damage?

    That is, the scabs on the wing really are scabs and not how the wings grew on their own?

  4. To refer to government run programs such as Medicare and Medicaid as socialism creates a problem, which is that the term has so many meanings as to render it meaningless. Wikipedia notes: “There are many variations of socialism and as such there is no single definition encapsulating all of socialism.” The article goes on to state: “In his study Ideologies and Political Theory (1996), Michael Freeden states that all socialists share five themes: the first is that socialism posits that society is more than a mere collection of individuals; second, that it considers human welfare a desirable objective; third, that it considers humans by nature to be active and productive; fourth, it holds the belief of human equality; and fifth, that history is progressive and will create positive change on the condition that humans work to achieve such change.” Who could argue with this bland definition (except for some hardcore conservative ideologues) since it avoids defining as an element of socialism the state ownership of the means of production? I think that Pinker would heartily endorse the last element. Nevertheless, the word is politically charged.

    Even though socialism has many definitions, in today’s political environment the word is bandied about with little thought about what it means to the people who speak it. Rather, it has become a proxy for a vague feeling of certain programs being good or bad. Thus, Bernie Sanders call himself a socialist because he believes in strengthening government involvement in such areas as health care. Many old-line socialists consider his claim to be a “true” socialist as laughable. On the other hand, the right wing is assiduous in attempting to tar “socialists” of the Sanders ilk as being the equivalent of Stalinists. In the 1930s, the right wing attempt to paint FDR and his New Deal programs as socialistic, if not communistic. This effort failed, but the right wing never gives up (a lesson liberals need to learn).

    In terms of electoral politics, Democrats and liberals should avoid using the term. It will gain them few new supporters and may lose them some under the withering right wing attack, which will attempt to charge them with desiring to end individual freedom. Rather, Democrats should simply emphasize how government programs can help people while avoiding the nearly meaningless term of socialism. This tactic worked for FDR and can work now.

    1. I still think there’s an enormous electoral audience for Sanders-style ‘working-stiffs-versus-corporate-fatcats’ socialism. I agree that anyone who adopts it as a political approach would need to avoid the word like the plague, but Sanders shows that someone who took the working class’s side on economic matters would pull in serious votes.

      It’s completely and utterly topsy turvy insane that an orange billionaire crook who wouldn’t piss on a poor person if they were on fire has managed to nab that demographic. I can’t stand the Sarandon-style Bernie or busters, but I think Sanders probably would have beaten Trump. The Democrats played it achingly safe.

    2. I took Jerry’s “huge feat of socialism” statement to be an ironic comment on how the American rightwing always tries to brand progressive legislation — from the original Social Security Act of 1935, to child-labor laws, to the 40-hour work week — with the scarlet letter “S.”

    3. I think it would probably be a good idea for Democrats and liberals to argue, explain, claim that “socialist” policies they support are an investment in the individuals that make up society and that such investments pay off very well by helping more people maximize their potential which in turn improves society as a whole. I don’t ever here this kind of argumentation from them and I’ve never understood why.

      Heck, if you think about it from a certain direction it’s actually a quite conservative concept. Investing in your future by putting your money on a low risk investment.

    4. I think Bernie Sanders refers to himself as a “socialist” partly to counter the conservatives’ using of that term as a club with which to beat Dems. It seems to be working, though probably due to more than just Sanders.

    5. Various conservatives do deny the first premise explicitly (Thatcher did, for example). In fact this metaphysical disagreement is the root of many of the debates, as far as I can tell.

      It is, however, true, that I regard this disagreement unfortunate because the idea that social systems actually exist seems such a banal truism to me.

  5. I don’t understand anyone who can countenance living literally _for ever_. I’ve thought about it and it strikes me as one of the most nightmarish things I can imagine… Living for, say, a billion years, being utterly exhausted, maybe even deeply unhappy, and yet knowing that there’s an infinite amount of time still left*. I get something very similar to vertigo when I think about it, existential vertigo.

    *this is assuming genuine immortality, so even the heat death of the universe can’t kill you. You’d just be left there, floating in space, alone for ever.

      1. Ah, see that changes everything. I’d sign up for that, although I’d have an extensive checklist of further questions, eg.

        – that I get to keep my hair

        – that I don’t end up looking like a shrunken head by the time I’m a thousand and instead get a Dorian Gray kind of deal

        – that I get to deny, on a whim, anyone I don’t like from gaining immortality(this is crucial)

        Provided all those requirements are met I’d happily sign up.

      2. I think euthanasia only makes sense if you suspect you are not going to recover from some illness and, therefore, you are going to die soon anyway. Even if the desire comes from deep depression, how can one be sure it isn’t just a passing phase? Perhaps you will meet someone in a week or a year that will change your life and rekindle the will to live.

    1. Funny how the Christians who are looking forward to “eternal life” in Heaven never seem to consider how appalling it would be.

      After all, once you had heard Moses tell his story of parting the Red Sea waters for the 700,000,000,000,000,000,…,000th time you might be starting to get a little tired of it, and him.

      1. I think if you’re looking forward to eternal life in a physical heaven where you get to meet Moses then it’s unlikely you’ve considered much of anything too closely.

      2. To paraphrase The Hitch, no matter how much fun the party, no one wants to go knowing they can never leave.

    2. I wonder how many aspects of our lives — and I especially mean such positive aspects as maturity, concern for others, wisdom — follow from our sense of mortality. How would that change if our deaths were no longer inevitable or could be indefinitely deferred? What would life be like without memento mori?

  6. The republicans fought against social security and the republicans fought against medicare. If either of these things were removed today the republicans would fight to keep them. Proof that republicans do not know what they want.

  7. “the Trans-Canada Highway, the longest national highway on the planet, was officially opened.”

    Errm, not quite. Sorry, Canada. 4860 miles is impressive but –

    It seemed fairly obvious to me that if there is a Russian highway parallelling the Trans-Siberian Railway, it would beat that comfortably.

    And there is, Route AH6.
    6800 miles

    But it seems both are allegedly beaten by Australia’s Highway 1, which goes right round the continent. 9000 miles. However, since it goes in a circle, having driven the whole length of it you end up exactly where you started. So I maintain that’s cheating. Quite obviously, no two points on the highway are ever more than half the total distance apart, or 4500 miles; a condition which does not apply to the Trans-Canada or Trans-Siberian routes.


    1. I think the point was that when it was completed in 1962 the Trans-Canada Hwy was, at that time, the longest national highway on the planet.

      Arguably the Trans-Siberian Hwy wasn’t completed until 12 August 2015. At least, that’s when it became fully paved. I wouldn’t consider unpaved roads to be a highway, but then that might be a bit elitist of me.

      Long roads are usually really messy. The Trans-Siberian highway is an excellent example. It is made up of many roads of various types built over a wide span of time. Probably all contenders for the title are like that.

      1. You probably would not go for the Alcan highway, even now that they say it is fully paved. Use to be lots of gravel.

  8. On this day in 1974, President Richard “I am not a crook” Nixon turned over the subpoenaed White House “Watergate tapes” to the special prosecutor after the U.S. Supreme Court said he had to.

    Is anyone here sanguine that President Donald “Witch Hunt” Trump would be as compliant with a final SCOTUS order directing him to respond to a federal grand jury subpoena? Trump launched his most direct attack yet on the special counsel’s investigation in a series of tweets this weekend. He uses these as trial balloons. As soon as he thinks he might get away with it, he’ll fire Mueller and/or Rosenstein.

    Hear that sound? It’s the rumblings of an impending constitutional crisis.

    1. I’m currently reading ‘Collusion’ by Luke Harding. The scale and depth of Trump’s ties to Russia, how far they go back, are astonishing.

      More and more in the last few weeks I’ve begun to think that we’ve built him up into a much more capable opponent than he actually is, and that the combination of his own consistent witlessness and voluminous crookery will see him brought down more easily than we thought.*

      For all the talk about how brilliant his populist instincts are(and they are), he’s also a complete idiot who repeatedly makes things harder for himself. There are events in this book I’m reading that are nuclear-level stupid, but I’d just completely forgot about them because by the next week he’d done something ever more idiotic. Eg., remember when he leaked super-classified information about an Israeli agent to the Russian government? It was either borderline treasonous or disqualifyingly incompetent, and it’s hardly come up since.

      *Which is not to say we drop our guard or underestimate him for a second of course. He is still incredibly, unprecedentedly dangerous.

      1. I agree with you on Trump’s arrant incompetence. What makes him difficult to dislodge is his near 90% support from the (increasingly white-nationalist) Republican Party faithful, in this the age of the Republican Party’s ruthlessly clinging to its purchase upon all branches of government despite its ever-diminishing demographic base.

      2. I’ve never understood how people could look at Trump and decide that he is particularly smart. Many people on all sides seem to think so. Even many who despise him say so repeatedly.

        I can not fathom why. I’ve always opined that he is a moron. Sure, he has some level of animal cunning when it comes to bullying. Great. I don’t think that’s genius or brilliant. I think it has more to do with the facts that for his entire life his wealth has sheltered him and enabled him to get away with the grade school playground bullying behavior. And therefore it grew. But, considering his starting wealth he hasn’t done well and a close up examination of his business history shows that. His wealth has been enough to protect him despite all his lying, cheating, stealing and losing.

        And now that he is POTUS he continues to get away with it not because he has any brilliance but because 1) the Republican party worked on preparing their base for 20 plus years for someone just like him by playing on and arousing their baser instincts and behaviors. They’d hoped of course for the Kwisatz Haderach of low moral fiber to be their own man, but instead they lost control and got Trump. They figure their best odds of retaining the most power and authority are to ride the beast as best they can so they do virtually nothing no matter how stupid, venal or illegal it may be. No matter how bad it makes the US look, heck, actually be, to the rest of the world let alone US citizens.

        And, 2) now that Trump is let loose on a much wider scene as POTUS compared to his previous life in which he was relatively invisible to the general public, many people just aren’t used to someone like Trump being so openly, brazenly, craven, stupid, dishonest and bullying and they don’t quite know how to respond.

        Trump ain’t smart. He just wasn’t trained properly as a child.

    2. Not with ya on this one. He will likely bale before impeachment. When push comes to shove, this guy is a coward. He has shown this trait many times. Entirely all mouth and zero substance.

      1. Oh, I don’t disagree with you on that. But I have no confidence that Trump would respect a final court order — especially once he figures out how few divisions of the Army Chief Justice Roberts commands. We may, all of us, be in for a harsh lesson on how our American norms and institutions depend upon mutual consent rather than enforcement by raw power and authority.

  9. That pun doesn’t work for me, at least after the first glance. (Okay, so it *is* a pun.)

    But how about “Velociraptor = (Distance/Time)*Eagle”?

    1. The algebra student in me wants to simplify by crossing out the “raptor” in both the numerator and denominator, getting distance over time, or just velocity, not velociraptor.

  10. … make a guess about where the heart might be

    I should think mares and maidens may be more interested in where the junk might be. 🙂

    1. To judge from the picture it must all be in the horsey bit. Possibly a design flaw – it could have had twice as much fun with a horsey set and a human set in the more or less appropriate locations!

  11. Nixon at least had some semblance of a conscience and could feel shame. A rank amateur psychopath compared to Trump.

  12. Got to love Uruguay, first World Cup soccer champion in 1930 and 88 years later taking 5th place in the World Cup with a population of only 3 million people. Vamo’ LA CELESTE!

  13. At first I thought that since dinosaurs had two brains, centaurs could have two hearts, but I wisely Googled it, and found


    In constitutional law, “accomodationism” is the notion that government can aid or endorse religious establishments as long as all are treated equally, and thus “In God We Trust” passed constitutional tests.

    However, in practice, such practice so very frequently ends up endorsing one religion over another. Strong evidence indicates that this frequently happened with prayer in public school, which is why IMO it is a good thing that it was abolished. (There was a notorious incident in a New Jersey high school in the 1950s of a principal who took glee in forcing a Jewish student to read New Testament lessons. My source is this was personally told to me by Alan Kors)


    There was a reasonably likable teen comedy about the Watergate tapes in 1999 entitled “Dick” (71% on Rotten Tomatoes), but targeted at teenagers, none of whom in 1999 had lived through the Watergate era- hence it was a flop.

    1. Yep, “Equal treatment” of every religion ends up something like “separate but equal”. We know how “equal” those black schools in the South were.

  14. Rather than a ‘gaggle’ of nuns, how about ‘giggle’ though I suppose that might be sexist. Of the various official (!) ones, I’d vote for a ‘superfluity’ of nuns.

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