Tuesday: Hili dialogue

June 11, 2019 • 7:00 am

It’s Tuesday, June 11, 2019, and if you’re in Chicago don’t forget this book event with Andrew Seidel and me tonight. It’s National German Chocolate Cake Day, which I find so-so because of the coconut, and Kamehameha Day, a public holiday in Hawaii honoring the king who unified the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810.

All eighteen ducklings are alive and well, fingers crossed. I have named the new hen Anna Mallard after our soon-to-depart duck farmer Anna Mueller. (Our last joint feeding is on Saturday.)

Today’s Google Doodle is a one click-animation (click on screenshot to go to page) celebrating the Women’s World Cup:

Here are the scores so far and the games scheduled for today:

June 12 was a big day in history. According to calculations by the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes , it was on this day in 1184 BC that Troy was sacked and burned during the Trojan War.  n 1509, Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon (there are many events involving Henry’s wives throughout the year!). She was left by Henry for Anne Boleyn, but wasn’t executed. On this day in 1748, Denmark adopted the “Nordic Cross flag” now used by all Scandinavian countries. Here are all the flags of Scandinavia. How many do you recognize?

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to draft a declaration of independence. In 1920, during the Republican Presidential Convention in Chicago, the GOP party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel (still in operation) to arrive at a consensus on their candidate for President, leading to the famous image of the “smoke-filled room.” Sadly, their candidate was Warren G. Harding.

On June 12, 1955, in the deadliest ever racing accident in motorsports, 83 spectators were killed and over 100 injured when two cars collided at the 24-hour Le Mans race. Here’s a Pathé video, which is a bit gruesome:

On June 11, 1962, three prisoners, Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin, supposedly escaped from Alcatraz, though it’s not clear whether they made it to shore. And one year later, Alabama governor George Wallace stood in front of the door of the Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama, trying to block two black students from registering for school. Later in the day, the National Guard helped them to enter and register.

On June 11, 1963, Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức immolated himself with gasoline in Saigon to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam. Here’s a photo of the event; a similar one won the Pulitzer Prize for photography that year. What amazes me about the photo is how stoic the man looks though he must be in incredible pain.

Journalist Malcolm Browne’s photograph of Quảng Đức during his self-immolation

On June 11, 1963, President Kennedy, addressing the nation from the Oval Office, proposed the Civil Rights act of 1964. Kennedy was assassinated before it passed, but his bill was pushed through by Lyndon Johnson, an amazing effort recounted in Robert Caro’s superb biography of LBJ. On this day in 1987, Diane AbbottPaul Boateng and Bernie Grant were elected as the first black MPs in Great Britain.

On June 11, 2001, Timothy McVeigh was executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing. His accomplice Terry Nichols remains in federal prison in Colorado. Finally, one year ago today, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un held their failed summit (the first meeting of the leaders of the US and DPRK) in Singapore.

Notables born on this day include John Constable (1776), Richard Strauss (1864), Jacques Cousteau (1910), Vince Lombardi (1913), William Styron (1925), Gene Wilder (1933), Jackie Stewart (1939), Joe Montana (1956), Mehmet Oz (1960), and Shia LaBeouf (1986).

Here’s a drawing by Constable, “Sleeping girl holding a cat against her chest”:

Those who took the dirt nap on June 11 include Alexander the Great (323 BC, but do they really know?), John Wayne (1979), Timothy McVeigh (2001, executed, see above), and David Brinkley (2003).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is remembering old times and good times. I’m told that Hili is in deep mourning for Cyrus and is behaving very oddly, not eating her food and not coming into the living room where she used to cuddle with Cyrus.

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m looking at old pictures.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Oglądam stare fotografie.

From Facebook via Stash Krod: the world’s worst party food, and, with ham and cheese, it’s doubly unkosher!

As the kids say, “Woo woo!”

A tweet from John Brockman, and yes, I’m on about free will again:

Nilou sent a tweet showing the Tower of London’s Ravenmaster with his newest hatchling. The Ravenmaster needs not just a sponge, but a dictionary!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. How did that red one get in there?


Well, if this isn’t the best job in the world, I can’t imagine a better one.

Tweets from Grania. I especially love this one:

Grania says that drunks are never this coordinated in Ireland (this was taken in Sweden):

Somebody needs to learn a little science here, or to stop lying:

Tweets from Matthew.  Cats will be cats.

I think you can guess what’s going on here.

I want one in my room, but in a tank!



45 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

    1. Thanks, I didn’t know the Shetlands and Orkneys flags. As far as I know they are not independent states, but they do have variations of the ‘Nordic’ cross.
      The ones shown are a piece of cake, no need to google them (from left to right): Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

  1. Motor racing safety has come a long way since the time of that tragedy at La Mans. Drivers like Jackie Stewart receive much credit for improvements in safety. Today an injury or death in formula 1 is rare. I must say the ruling in the race in Canada last weekend was not well received. Penalty to Vettel cost him the race.

    1. What cost Vettel the race was his mistake which meant he left the track. Had there been a barrier or a wall instead of grass, his race would have been over. Had there been no wall on the other side, Hamilton would have gone past him.

      1. The call made was unsafe entry or reentry on to the track and into the racing lane. However, this rule applies when a car spins out or otherwise leaves the track for any reason and the drive then can reenter in a safe condition. Vettel’s reentry onto the track was not by his control but was instead, part of his loss of control into the grass. Where walls are has nothing to do with it. In fact Vettel was lucky he did not hit the wall. A driver does not have control of the car when it goes to the grass at well over 100 mph.

        This was a normal racing mistake going through a corner and there should not have been a penalty. His team continues to protest the call. Certainly Hamilton was not going to protest because it gave him the race.

        1. Actually, the rule is, in this scenario, that you have to live a car’s width when you re-enter. There’s nothing that says “only if you are in control”. If Vettel was not in control, the rule book does not absolve him.

          In any case, I disagree that he wasn’t in control, I think he could have avoided going all the way across the track. The stewards, of course, will have a lot more evidence than we do because they have access to all the car’s telemetry. I think they are more likely to be correct than either of us.

          By the letter of the law, as Jolyon Palmer says, the penalty was deserved.

          Yes, I agree that it was a normal racing mistake, but normal racing mistakes do not guarantee that you will not be overtaken. Vettel made a mistake that should have lost him the lead and would have on a track without a concrete wall on the outside of the corner. The way he protected the lead is considered unfair under the current rules.

          The rules have to be applied and they have to be applied consistently. Had Vettel spoken up against Verstappen’s penalty for an almost identical incident last year, I might have some sympathy, but Vettel didn’t speak up then.

          1. Did you read Vettel’s criticism available at the article you mentioned? Did you watch the race? Will I go with you and a couple of officials or everyone of the people covering the race Sunday, Ferrari and Vettel? There are times to apply rules and there are times when you have what is called racing. This was racing, pure and simple.

            1. Of course Vettel criticises the outcome. He lost out because of the decision. He is wrong. As simple as that.

              There are times to apply rules and there are times when you have what is called racing.

              No. Utterly false. If you have rules, you have to apply them fairly and consistently.

              1. I take it from your answer you did not watch the race or hear all the discussion at the time. You remind me of a guy who once tried to tell me all about working on the F-100 aircraft, when in fact, he had never touched one. You can impress some people on line. That is why some people are there.

              2. I take it from your answer that you are now conceding the points I made, since you have stopped arguing against them.

                You remind me of a guy I once knew who tried to tell me about working as an F1 steward, when, in fact, he never had so much as a paddock pass.

                You can argue that the rule is wrong and should be changed, there is some merit in that but I haven’t seen any neutral argue that the rule as it stands was incorrectly applied.

    2. There was a freakish death of a track marshall in the 2001 Melbourne Grand Prix. He was behind a safety barrier when a wheel came off a vehicle. The safety barrier had a narrow vertical aperture to allow staff to enter and leave the track. The wheel, travelling at speed, found the aperture, and penetrated the safe area and killed the poor guy. Safety barriers now have a horizontal aperture.

    1. I’d at least give it a try, since I’ve been pleasantly surprised by combinations of sweet and savory foods before. Although bananas are only lightly sweet.

      1. I remember being shocked at trying bananas in Tobago when I was a kid: the bananas in Britain are powdery, sweet and incredibly bland, whereas the ones in Tobago were actually tangy, citrus-y; almost as intensely juicy as lemons and oranges.

        Then I went back home and had the same bloody awful bananas for the next twenty years.

  2. Anna = also appropriate because of Anas platyrhynchos.

    And having the Finnish & Icelandic flags in that assemblage makes them Nordic, at least as explained to me. Sweden/Norway/Denmark = Scandinavian. Add Finland: Nordic.

  3. our soon-to-depart duck farmer Anna Mueller …

    Any chance of getting an unredacted Mueller report on the State of the Duck before she heads off into the sunset?

  4. in re ” … … told that Hili
    is in deep mourning for Cyrus, ”
    grieving is hard, Ms Hili.

    Grieving is effing hard.


    1. Poor Hili indeed. It is fascinating to me that animals grieve. Hili can’t know that Cyrus is dead and won’t be coming back, but she is in a deep funk because of his absence.

      The picture of Cyrus makes me very sad.

      1. I wonder if she could have picked up cues that we humans cannot detect, a certain scent. his movements and other subtle signs apparent only to her. Dogs can be trained to detect cancer and some have a natural ability to detect the onset of seizures. Then there’s Oscar, the cat who is apparently able to detect when someone will die https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_(therapy_cat). Hili and Cyrus were so close, literally, that I wouldn’t be surprised if she senses that Cyrus was on his last legs, and this time, he isn’t coming back. If so, that makes her grief even more sad.

  5. Earlier Women’s World Cup results:
    France-South Korea 4×0 (Friday)
    Germany-China 1×0 (Saturday)
    Spain-South Africa 3X1 ”
    Norway-Nigeria 3×1 ”
    Australia-Italy 1×2 (Sunday)
    Brazil-Jamaica 3×0 “

      1. Reversing the film could be used for continuity. Some shots were made from the opposite side of the track which makes the right to left flow of cars switch to left to right, which can be confusing for the viewer.

  6. “On climate change, a senior Trump National Security Council official criticized State Dept scientific testimony by saying “a consensus of peer reviewed literature has nothing to do with the truth.””

    Is Trofim Denissowitsch Lyssenko alive again, but changed his profession?

    1. Yes, let that sink in: “a consensus of peer reviewed literature has nothing to do with the truth.” Un-be-lievable. Brother Trofim was a dilettante.

  7. So, religion *doesn’t* poison everything. Nothing is lost with the exclusion of ham & cheese bananas. That and the Bible’s condemnation of eating of bats demonstrates that religion does have some tenets worth following.

    1. But it ain’t the banana that’s the un-kosher bit.

      I like nothing better than a nice croque monsieur, and if the Jewish faithful are stupid enough to turn their noses up that leaves more for me. [vbeg]

      Bananas are also fine, on their own, but not I think with ham & cheese.

      Any time religion has a tenet worth following, it’s a bit like the stopped clock – right twice a day.


  8. I look forward to attending the interview with Andrew Seidel. It is good fortune for me that it’s at UIC (literally two minutes’ walk from my office). I might have expected it to take place at the University of Chicago (PCC homebase) which, although in the same city as UIC, is a bit of a haul from here.

  9. I forget the exact date – probably sometime in 1986 or 1987 – I was working in the JFK building at Government Center, Boston. I occasionally took the commuter bus in from Framingham. One day as the bus was coming up Beacon street, I saw a puff of smoke in the distance. When we passed the State House, I saw what I thought was a manikin burning on the steps. In the evening news, I learned it was a Haitian man who had burned himself to death protesting treatment of Haitian refugees. My thought was “I wish I had had a camera to take a picture; there are no pictures of this, so his sacrifice is probably in vain.” I am afraid I was pretty much right about that.

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