Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 19, 2019 • 10:00 am

At least for this week we’ll continue with Grania’s format for the dialogue, as well as using only the tweets she sent me.  As she is not around to add the Hili dialogue to my pre-written posts, Hili dialogues (and all other posts) will be several hours late until I return to Chicago.

So it’s Wednesday, June 19, 2019, and National Martini Day. If I want a “sophisticated” drink, I’ll have a martini, or rather a Gibson, which is a martini with a pickled onion instead of an olive. And I’ll go very light on the vermouth:

It’s Juneteenth as well, which has been celebrated, especially by the African-American community, for over 100 years, as it commemorates the announcment in Texas of the abolition of slavery throughout the U.S.—on June 19, 1865. The event that marks this is given in Wikipedia:

On June 18, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops to occupy Texas on behalf of the federal government. The following day, standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read aloud the contents of “General Order No. 3”, announcing the total emancipation of those held as slaves:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Other events on this day include (all bullet points taken from Wikipedia):

  • 325 – The original Nicene Creed was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea.
  • 1269 – King Louis IX of France orders all Jews found in public without an identifying yellow badge to be fined ten livres of silver.
  • 1862 – The U.S. Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying Dred Scott v. Sandford.
  • 1865 – Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are finally informed of their freedom. The anniversary is still officially celebrated in Texas and 41 other contiguous states as Juneteenth.
  • 1953 – Cold War: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.
  • 1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.
  • 1991 – The Soviet occupation of Hungary ends.
  • 2012 – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange requested asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the US after publication of previously classified documents including footage of civilian killings by the US army.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1623 – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (d. 1662)
  • 1896 – Wallis Simpson, American wife of Edward VIII (d. 1986)
  • 1902 – Guy Lombardo, Canadian-American violinist and bandleader (d. 1977)
  • 1903 – Lou Gehrig, American baseball player (d. 1941)
  • 1914 – Lester Flatt, American bluegrass singer-songwriter, guitarist, and mandolin player (d. 1979)
  • 1945 – Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1947 – Salman Rushdie, Indian-English novelist and essayist
  • 1963 – Laura Ingraham, American radio host and author

Those who died on June 19 include:

  • 1953 – Ethel Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1915)
  • 1953 – Julius Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1918)

Both were executed for espionage.  And, finally,

  • 2018 – Koko, western lowland gorilla and user of American Sign Language (b. 1971)

Koko is the only non-human individual whose death I’ve seen listed on a Wikipedia “date page”. There may of course be more.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej and Hili have a Serious Discussion about evolution. I think Andrzej is right.

Hili: Is memory an adaptation?
A: It’s possible, because without it we wouldn’t be able to learn, and learning is crucial for
In Polish:
Hili: Czy pamięć jest adaptacją?
Ja: Raczej tak, bez niej nie moglibyśmy się uczyć, a uczenie się jest konieczne dla przetrwania.

Finally, these are the very last tweets that Grania sent me. There will be no more from her, and it’s just so sad. I’ll present them without comment.

Grania loved the Twitter site Emergency Kittens, and also sent me one or two kitten tweets when I was sad or depressed. And here is the last one from her:

19 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I do hope you will continue to use the bullet points for the births/deaths/historical dates in honor of Grania, at least if it is not too much trouble. I find them much easier to follow.
    I’m still in shock and sad for you, her friends, and the four-footed beings for whom she was staff.

  2. 1953 – Cold War: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.

    It was the same queer and sultry summer when the narrator of Ms. Plath’s The Bell Jar didn’t know what she was doing in New York.

    I don’t think it’s fair to label Ethel, in the deaths section, “an American spy.” But then, “fairness” had naught to do with the Rosenbergs’ case. Julius was a Soviet spy — the VENONA decrypts confirm that much — but Ethel was, at most, a minor accessory after-the-fact. She was charged with a capital offense to pressure her to squeal on her husband (which, to her credit, she refused to do), just as Ethel’s hapless brother, David Greenglass, was suborned to change his testimony to implicate her.

    Their execution was a travesty of justice, lambs put to the slaughter on the twin altars of the Red Scare and rampant antisemitism.

  3. Wikipedia has definitely included other non-non-humans besides Loki the gorilla in its Recent deaths’ feature on its main page. I think other examples include Granny, an orca officially known as J2), and a giant sequoia.

      1. I don’t follow the McCarthy reference. Both Rosenbergs and Ethel’s brother and sister-in-law conspired to give state secrets to the USSR. That really happened.

            1. A list of people who deserve to die is indeed what I was referring to.
              My own feeling is that nobody deserves to die.

          1. It’s the same authoritarian certitude with which Islamists call for the execution of apostates. Substitute nationalism for religion.

  4. Is memory an adaptation? Yes, of course. Many animals have memory. Look at the tweet of the crow getting noms by displacement of water. Evan a flatworm has a rudimentary skill at remembering signals. Mice in mazes, etc. As I remember, operant conditioning (B.F. Skinner) is a kind of learning that differs from complex learning like humans do (is the notion of consciousness involved?). Whatever memory is, and however it works, I wish I had more of it. I think I’m rambling…

  5. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange requested asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the US after publication of previously classified documents including footage of civilian killings by the US army.

    I think that’s a breach of Wikipedia’s neutral point of view rule, on the part of whoever wrote it. That might be his stated reason for seeking asylum, but his actual reason was more likely to avoid facing trial for rape in Sweden.

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