Thursday: Hili dialogue

May 7, 2020 • 6:30 am

Posting is likely to be very light today, as it’s Honey jump day, I need to return Cuthbert to his/her family, and it’s onerous to keep the drakes from attacking Dorothy. Please bear with me until things return to normal. Today’s Hili post is truncated (no tweets) and there may be few others. I have more to write about travels and the like, but that will have to wait until all the ducks are safe.

Good morning on a chilly (in Chicago) Thursday, May 7, 2020. It’s National Leg of Lamb Day, a cut that will now cost you more than it did last week, and National Cosmopolitan Day a drink I never tried and, until this moment, didn’t know what it was made of. It  It sounds pretty dire, and too sweet for a cocktail, but many people (and the television show Sex and the City) claim credit for inventing it or popularizing it.

Curiously, it’s both the National Day of Prayer and the National Day of Reason. Pick one, as you can’t celebrate both!

Today’s Google Doodle goes to a game called Hip Hop, in which you can act as your own hip hop DJ, playing with a turntable with two records (click on screenshot to play):

News of the day: No better than yesterday, though there are suggestions that a coronavirus vaccine may be ready sooner than expected. Reported deaths from the virus are 74,581 in the U.S. and about 264,000 worldwide. According to the New York Times, the European Union is on the verge of economic collapse.  Trump is having a “mission accomplished moment,” first disbanding the White House Task Force on the coronavirus pandemic and then backtracking, saying it will remain but with a different focus.

Stuff that happened on May 7 includes:

Notables born on this day include:

I could find only one notable that drew their last breath on May 7, and that’s:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is again napping and pretending she’s working:

A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I’m sorting out my values.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Porządkuję moje wartości.
And a bonus photo of Szaron, who has learned to sit on the windowsill:

From Jesus of the Day:

Biologist and reader Ursula Goodenough had kittens born on her bed from a mother aged only 9 months (Delores). All are black and white ones. Her narrative:

The tuxies on top are dubbed Blaze (Zorro mark on head, wide white center) and Patch (black over one eye, narrow white center). One of the two underneath black ones is in fact more of a charcoal gray.

Needless to say, they came up with this amazing pose all by themselves.

Delores has been outstanding throughout. She’s now cool about leaving them and taking a break — scheduled feedings rather than on-demand — and although still vigilant, is much more tolerant of family visitors than yesterday.

Three are already spoken for (one being my granddaughter so s/he will stay in the family), and if I can resist keeping one for myself (one of my other two cats just turned 21; she’s still hanging in there but her turn is coming), I’ve been told it’s not hard to find kitten homes here. The [Martha’s] Vineyard litter that included Delores was quickly snapped up last summer.

Before the last one was born:

87 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Copy edit note: your “stuff that happened” list has the 1994 Munch entry listed twice.

    Good luck Honey with the jump, and good luck PCC reuniting Cuthbert with his family.

  2. You have identical entries in both births and deaths for Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. I sssume that the entry under births is an error.

  3. the European Union is on the verge of economic collapse.

    Yep. No surprise there. The Bank of England is reporting that the UK recession will be the worst in the entire history of the UK.

    I particularly feel for those in Italy and Spain whose economies were a bit iffy before they closed down their entire countries.

  4. Botany Pond is a beehive of activity. Looks like Jerry has reinforcements. Also appears that Honey is down. And a box with what I think is Cuthbert has arrived. So he/she may be reunited with his family soon.

    1. Thanks for keeping us updated, George. I do apologize for my recent lame attempt at humour. I don’t know what came over me.

      I am seeing a hen with just four babies. Three drakes spoiling the happy family montage.

  5. Trump is having a “mission accomplished moment,” first disbanding the White House Task Force on the coronavirus pandemic and then backtracking, saying it will remain but with a different focus.

    Trump backtracked on the COVID-19 Task Force not because it still has some crucial role to play in fighting the disease (it was never naught but a prop for his task-force press conferences), but because he got phone calls from friends telling him how “popular” the task force is. He also said the task force would undergo some changes in personnel, with new members replacing some of the originals.

    Trump is approaching this like the manager of the Beach Boys sending a band consisting of a couple of the originals and a bunch of replacements back out on the road again because the crowds still want to hear “Surfin’ USA” and “Little Deuce Coupe.”

    At Trump’s urging, many states are reopening public businesses and loosening social-distancing requirements, even though those states have NOT met even the meager first-phase benchmarks announced by the coronavirus task force in the roll-out of its supposed three-phase “gated” plan for reopening the nation — and even though, with the exception of the New York metro area (the nation’s original hot-spot, which has already suffered such grievous losses), the rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths is on the rise for the rest of the country.

    Gird your loins ladies and gents, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, my fellow countrymen: This nation is charging pell-mell into the devil-take-the-hindmost phase of this crisis.

    1. Yes… Any national effect the quarantine had, which only mainly reduced the rate of increase a little, will soon be wiped out. Our ‘decline’ is more like a ‘shoulder’. *Sigh* It is not one of our finest moments.

      I went to get take-out at our favorite Mexican restaurant the other day. It was crowded with waiting customers inside, and few wore masks (I sure as hell did — a good one). What was worse was none of the staff wore masks and the cashier had the sniffles though that may have been allergies.
      I ain’t going back.

      1. The local Mexican place near us was overwhelmed with customers on Cinco de Mayo. Which I’m sure they appreciated, but the police ended up being called because nobody was obeying the governor’s social distancing declarations.

        Which is a roundabout way of saying if you try it again next week, you might find the staff and situation a lot different, a lot safer.

      2. We’ve relied on restaurants that provide curbside pickup and skipped the Cinco de Mayo scene completely. I heard reports about the local BelAir Cantina being a virus transmission zone on Tuesday.

        I think June is going to be a really bad month, case-wise.

    2. The only bright side – when the curves start to rise again, and grandma and grandpa are dead, tRump will have sealed his electoral coffin.

      1. I know it’s early, so I hate to get too optimistic, but have you had a gander at the recent polling?

        The good ship Trump is foundering on the rocky shoals of the Donald’s own shallow mind.

        Expect to see the character assassination of an incumbent president’s opponent, and an all-out effort to suppress the vote, the likes of which this nation has never before endured.

        1. I think you are right that we will see vote suppression efforts turned up to 11. I’m hopeful, based on the failed attempt to terrorize voters in Wisconsin last month, that Republicans will be utterly destroyed in November. (Hopeful, not confident.)

          1. When I’m in a cheerful frame of mind (such as when I’ve just taken a batch of oatmeal-raisin cookies out of the oven, and the home roasted coffee is done perking, such as just now) I’ve been predicting a landslide against tRump. Not so much for Biden, but against tRump.

              1. I’ll take any result that puts Trump out of the White House.

                But what I’m really hoping for is a victory decisive enough for the Dems to carry the Senate (and, of course, keep the House) — a victory that will drive a stake through the dark heart of Trumpism, once and for all.

              2. “…a victory that will drive a stake through the dark heart of Trumpism, once and for all.”

                A consummation devoutly to be wished.

              3. Populism is one of those things that we will never see die out. The divisions in the country will outlast this administration, and Biden may not be able to do much about it.

            1. The election is 100% about tRump. A tree stump could be his opponent this year with little difference in the vote.

  6. At what point do they stop with the recession and call it what it is – depression. Maybe if the administration ever realizes this is a pandemic and not another flu season. Stay busy with the ducks. Much better than thinking about the new reality or bozo the clown for another 7 months.

    1. Probably you were being rhetorical, but here’s a pair of definitions:

      A recession is widespread economic decline that lasts for at least six months.
      A depression is a more severe decline that lasts for several years. For example, a recession lasts for 18 months, while the most recent depression lasted for a decade.

      So I guess we’ll have to wait awhile before calling it, though you and I can probably agree as to what we’ll be calling it a couple of years down the line.

  7. 1824 – World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony in Vienna, Austria. The performance is conducted by Michael Umlauf under the composer’s supervision.

    Dude was deaf, right?

    1. This article was published a few months ago and argues that Beethoven wasn’t completely deaf, and is based primarily on Beethoven’s “conversation books.”

      “From 1818, he carried blank ‘conversation books’, in which friends and acquaintances jotted down comments, to which he would reply aloud.” However, this is misleading because the article goes on to say that Beethoven wrote answers in the conversation books and quotes his responses.

    1. Our father, who may or may not be in heaven,
      hallowed by thy name, assuming you exist and have a name,
      Thy Kingdom come, assuming you exist, have a kingdom, and it can come,
      Thy will be done, assuming you have a will, and that it can be done, on earth as it is in heaven, assuming there’s a heaven
      Give us this day our daily bread, assuming you exist and have access to a bakery,
      And all the above assuming that you not only exist but also listen to prayers and at sometimes act accordingly.

      Yeh, it does seem to lose some of its rhetorical power, doesn’t it.

      1. I prefer the Roger Zelazny version:

        “Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.”

        1. A silk-stocking Wall Street law firm would’ve billed a thousand bucks an hour to write something like that.

      1. True enough. But it’s rich coming from a tabloid like the New York Post, which wouldn’t recognize a Pulitzer if Mick’s ex threw one at old Rupert.

          1. Jez’s link is to the NY Post (you know, the Rupert Murdoch tabloid where Donald Trump first became a “star” on its infamous “Page Six”) which ran an awfully snarky editorial on the topic for a fish-wrapper.

              1. Attention’s gettin’ harder to pay every day this pandemic lingers on, buddy. For me, anyway.

    1. It seems a very good and pithy rebuttal of that project. I do wish it had more details, so to provide a more complete teaching moment.
      The 1619-ers will be unable to absorb the lesson, however, since to them it is automatically disqualified by the conservative label of its author.

    2. I have commented on the 1619 project several times previously so I will not repeat myself except to state the following.

      1. Those who claim that the country was founded in 1776 are declaring what I call the Adam and Eve view of American history. Just as Adam came from nothing, so did the country. What is now the United States had a history before formal independence was declared.

      2. 1619 is as good a date as any to mark the country’s actual beginning. This is why colonial history is taught in American history survey courses.

      3. Yes, there are some factual errors in the NYT articles. But, I have found factual errors in history books written by professional historians. They should be corrected, but they do not diminish the thesis of the project: that race and slavery have played a major role in the unfolding of American history to this very day.

      4. We may be entering another era when this willful ignorance prevails. The NYT is fighting against them.

      5. The notion that the American Revolution was not fought to protect slavery, at least in part, is a contentious issue among historians. It is not as clear cut as some may think as to what were the many motivations of the revolutionaries.

      6. The fact that the Constitution does not explicitly use the word slavery is actually an indication that the institution was on their minds. Somehow, the Founders attempted to reconcile the creation of a Republic with the institution. Ultimately, the effort failed, at least peaceably. It took a civil war to end it.

      7. Most importantly, regardless of what the Founders aspired to, southern slaveholders did nothing to end slavery. Indeed, it grew stronger over the decades. Actions speak louder than words.

      8. I do not know whether to laugh or cry that once again we see so-called liberals falling for a conservative scam. I would not look to George Will as the final word on understanding American history. The revolutionary era is complex. Americans rebelled for many reasons, but whatever their motives, when the dust settled, slavery was stronger than ever. Apparently, some readers of this site have no problem rejecting religious myths, but when it comes to the origin myth of the country, they can’t wait to wave the flag.

      Kudos to the New York Time and the 1619 Project.

      1. I won’t argue against your position because I just don’t have the spoons for it, but my sense is that some of those errors that you dismiss are not merely important for the thesis of the 1619 project but are, rather, critical to it. Having read it and several responses, both critical and favorable, I find that though the piece is interesting in the sense that it focuses attention on events we are taught little about, it fails to make its central case that the US was founded on slavery. Those errors of fact and interpretation are not minor. One must ignore many other facts and interpretations in order to maintain their argument. As a scientist, I have trouble with this aspect of historical writing* – ignoring countervailing facts (often blithely and deliberately), as was done here. It just doesn’t fly.

        IMO, of course.

        *I will readily concede that therein may lay my problem with this piece

      2. I do not say that George Will is the final say and obviously he is not going to satisfy all with the article. But if you strongly believe in the 1619 effort, how do you argue against specifically what is said in the short article. I heard nothing on this.

        The revolution was already underway when the British made the request the slaves should take their side. From April to November at least. By most accounts the revolution began in Massachusetts in 1775, not on the plantations of South Carolina or Virginia. For the 1619 project to claim the revolution was primarily about slavery is just plain wrong. Slavery was very much a fact in all the southern states, no one disputes that. So much so that they compromised to accept it at the convention in 1787 in the document they later ratified. There were a number of Black soldiers who fought on our side in the revolution. They were not slaves as best I know, they were people in Massachusetts. People free to make their own choice.

        1. Just a note; its true that there were more slave holders in the South at the time, but the first man to die in the War for Independence was a former slave from Massachusetts . Cripus Attucks was born into slavery in Framingham Massachusetts but later obtained his freedom. He was the first to be shot and killed at the Boston Massacre.

        2. I addressed some of Will’s assertions in my previous comments. I believe that much of what Will says could be reasonably rebutted. Unfortunately, I will not do so because I do not wish to take the considerable time it would take to do so and the result would be longer than the rules allow.

          What Will writes is standard conservative boilerplate that attempts to counter any narrative that challenges the notion of American exceptionalism, which includes the belief that God views the U.S. with particular favor.

            1. Most conservatives do accept this view. I will grant that Will presumably does not, but he probably does believe that the U.S. is somehow inherently different from the rest of the world because of the ideals of the Revolution. In fact, there may be something to do this if one considers slavery and the problems of race a minor irritant in the broader scheme of things.

              1. Many of the 1776 patriots were committed to a republic based on enlightenment ideals. Others were committed to their self interest, including the slave holders. But the revolutionaries were facing the most powerful nation on earth, so they all needed to “hang together or hang separately.” The reality was more complicated than the 1619 ideological viewpoint presents.

          1. Yes, Massachusetts, that hotbed of slavery, set fire to the ideas of revolution in the colonies. Forget the French and Indian war, the intolerable acts and the simple fact that England sent ships to Boston Harbor to put down this rebellion of slaves.

  8. Dot and the huge flotilla resting on the duck island on the left (internet left-wise). Now all over the big pond with Jerry in red sweater keeping guard.

    Wingman has his ‘hands’ full; these are the Days of Our Wives.

    1. All seems to be peaceful at Botany Pond – 12:20 pm Chicago time. Jerry (wearing red) is out feeding Honey – I think it is Honey, she has fewer ducklings. She is on the “beach”.

      Two drakes on the pond. Assume it is Wingman and his buddy. Not sure if the other drakes will reappear today. Dorothy may be on an island or in the channel.

      No turtles on the beach which is surprising given the weather. A few on the duck ramp – aka turtle tanning bed. Right now it is 64F (18C). Mostly sunny. Tomorrow, not so nice. Down to 42F (6C), overcast and windy. Low of 32F (0C). The coming week, high temps will range 47F to 64F (8C-18C). But it should not get below freezing – lowest will be 38F (3C),

      1. There might be hens with ducklings on both islands based on what people are looking at and taking pictures of. There are about a dozen people at the pond. If the campus was not closed, I think it would be over a hundred – probably more. Botany Pond and the ducks were popular before Jerry arrived on campus in the 1980s.

        Still waiting on a Cuthbert update.

        1. That’s really wonderful. I gather from Jerry that, since he started feeding them proper food and looking out for them with the pond staff’s assistance, the mortality rate of ducklings has plummeted. Hurrah!

      2. At 1:30pm, wondering who that woman in grey jacket was doing – talking off Jerry’s ears and gesticulating. Dot is somewhere on the pond with many ducklings. She absconded with a few of Honey’s.

        1. From Jerry:

          Jerry Coyne
          ​Dorothy and Honey are on the pond now; Dorothy came with 10, Honey with 9, and they mixed it up this morning, swapping broods, so that we no long know who is mother to who. Dorothy has 12, Honey 5.

          Jerry Coyne
          ​Two are in intensive care for being too wet and hypothermia, but they should be fine and we’ll try to reintroduce them to the moms tomorrow or Friday.

      3. I didn’t know that Wingman had a buddy but I see two drakes swimming around together with no chaser in sight, so assume it’s Wingman and his pal. How did one drake become his pal, while the others are interlopers, and does Pal help chase the other drakes away or just hang with Wingman?

        1. I wondered that too. I can speculate that the pal drake is performing a supporting role on the chance he can mate with one of the ducks when Wingman is entertaining the other. That would be an adaptation in strong contrast to the chase and rape strategy of the others.

          1. Very interesting. If your surmise is correct, that kind of altruism(?)would certainly be “in strong contrast to the chase and rape strategy of the others.” Hope someone can answer definitively.

  9. It makes you happy yo take good care of your beloved ducks so enjoy! We’ll stil be here when you get back.

  10. Just saw some people with kids and a d*g sit right by the water’s edge, near the ducks. Dog was running around a bit, didn’t look like it was on a leash. Hope PCC(E)gets there soon and sends them off with a good explanation.

    1. I think there should be signs reading: “Please keep d*gs [and children] on leash and away from water’s edge.

      1. Botany Pond is usually like Grand Central. This is a very busy part of campus. The Reynolds Club and Hutchinson Commons are right next door. They form the student union – and have $1 milkshakes on Wednesdays. Get a milkshake and go see the ducks is kind of a UofC tradition. If the campus were not closed, there would be at least a hundred people hanging around Botany Pond during lunch time. The ducks get used to people.

  11. Almost 3 pm EST. Jerry is still out on the pond, talking with people and supervising the ducks. I can see one hen on an island with turtle guardians. I assume the chicks are there too.
    A long day! He deserves a stiff aperitif and digestif tonite!

    1. I think one of the people Jerry has been talking to is a UofC photographer. Fancy camera equipment and taking a lot of time.

      We should set a time standard. Assume you are in the Eastern time zone. If we give a time to our observations either give the time zone or use Chicago time.

      1. Using Central time (Chicago time) would make the most sense, given where the University of Chicago happens to be.

  12. “During the Battle of the Coral Sea, United States Navy aircraft carrier aircraft attack and sink the Imperial Japanese Navy light aircraft carrier Shōhō; the battle marks the first time in naval history that two enemy fleets fight without visual contact between warring ships.”

    It should be noted, too, that the US lost an aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington, in the battle.

    The battle was more noteworthy than a fight between fleets out of visual range. The Japanese fleet was providing air cover for an invasion fleet heading towards Port Moresby. If they had succeeded,the Allies would have lost New Guinea, and the Japanese could then have diverted more assets to Guadalcanal to fight the fragile American presence there.

    The Doolittle raid on Japan also came into play here. There is opinion that a strategic victory could have been achieved by the US if the carriers used in Doolittle’s raid had been made available for the confrontation in the Coral Sea, instead of using them for an essentially useless bombing raid on Tokyo.

    1. The Battle of Coral Sea also seriously degraded Japan’s carrier capabilities, so much so that the US was at equal strength at the Battle of Midway the following month, probably the most decisive sea battle of the war.

      1. Japan could have had a carrier advantage over the US at Midway if they could discard their rigid thinking. The Shokaku was too badly damaged. The Zuikaku had lost too many aircrew. If the surviving Shokaku aircrew had been transferred to the Zuikaku, it could have participated in Midway and given Japan a big advantage. But they did not.

    2. The most important factor of the Doolittle raid, completely unforeseen, was that it led to the Japanese attack of Midway. Which was a major disaster and completely changed the situation in the Pacific.

      US was not on Guadalcanal at the time of the Battle of the Coral Sea. After Coral Sea, Midway was June 4-7 and the Marines landed on Guadalcanal on August 7.

      1. Yes, indeed.

        I didn’t check the actual dates (I thought they were close enough for the point to stand). Japan divided her resources between the overland attack on Port Moresby down the Kokoda Track, and Guadalcanal, after the US invaded there, which was a consequence of the sea-borne invasion being forced back after the Battle of The Coral Sea.

        Another what-if scenario relates to Japan’s huge naval base at Rabaul, which was located in the middle of a caldera. The volacano blew in 1994 and essentially flattened the town, which was then relocated 20km away. One wonders what would have happened if the volano had erupted during WW2.

  13. We Brits were brought up to believe that one of the incentives of the War of Independence was for the colonies to achieve expansion to the west, which the British authorities forbid having previously negotiated agreements with the American Indian tribal leaders which they intended to honour. We were also told that the issue of taxes was a red herring, as taxes were actually reduced (although they were then enforced, which was presumably the cause of the resentment).

    Of course, as always when it comes to historical summaries, the situation was more complicated than we were led to believe. The same is probably true of the version taught in US schools.

    I’m also old enough to recall seeing books carrying warnings along the lines that the publication was not to be made available in the US because it didn’t recognise the author’s intellectual property rights (I don’t remember the exact wording). US allegations of Chinese breaches of copyright infringements always sound a little hollow.

    1. I believe you are correct on the agreements with the Indians. Getting to more of the land west was a big deal to the colonies and mother England was in the way. Another overlooked item leading to revolution was the British final refusal to share power. To allow the colonies to have a share in it. When the answer is no there is not much room for negotiation.

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