Sunday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Sunday, June 7, 2020: the monthiversary of Honey’s brood leaping down from their nest. In another month all the ducklings should be flying. It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, National Frozen Yogurt Day, and National Child’s Day.

News of the Day: The protests in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd are growing and have spread overseas. Most of them yesterday were, thank Ceiling Cat, peaceful (Seattle was an exception). But even in Hyde Park, where I live, some stores are boarded up and the parking lots of strip malls blocked with garbage trucks. Many of the protests involve calling for the abolition of police departments, like this one in Minneapolis, where the mayor was booed for refusing to commit to abolishing the police. Here’s a tweet showing it (that young “kid” is 38-year-old mayor Jacob Frey, a former civil rights attorney. (h/t cesar).

But what will they replace the police with? I don’t think a lot of thought has gone into that kneejerk reaction. Police need reformation, not abolition.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 110,023 , an increase of about 1,000 from yesterday, and not as much of an increase as yesterday’s from the day before. The world toll now stands at 399,494, a one-day increase of about 5,000 from the day before.

Stuff that happened on June 7 include:

  • 1654 – Louis XIV is crowned King of France.
  • 1862 – The United States and the United Kingdom agree in the Lyons–Seward Treaty to suppress the African slave trade.
  • 1892 – Homer Plessy is arrested for refusing to leave his seat in the “whites-only” car of a train; he lost the resulting court case, Plessy v. Ferguson.

The Supreme Court vote had only one dissent, while the majorityh opinion said, in part, “”The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based on color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to the either …” Oy! It was overturned in 1954 in the case of Brown v. Board of Education.

The ship was torpedoes by a German submarine in May, 1915, which helped bring the U.S. into the war several years later. Here’s a photo of the ship’s luxurious lounge and music room:

  • 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Midway ends in American victory.
  • 1965 – The Supreme Court of the United States hands down its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, prohibiting the states from criminalizing the use of contraception by married couples.
  • 1977 – Five hundred million people watch the high day of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II begin on television.
  • 1982 – Priscilla Presley opens Graceland to the public; the bathroom where Elvis Presley died five years earlier is kept off-limits.

Here’s the famous “jungle room” in Graceland (I’ve never visited the place):


Notables born on this day include:

  • 1778 – Beau Brummell, English cricketer and fashion designer (d. 1840)
  • 1837 – Alois Hitler, Austrian civil servant (d. 1903)

Here’s Hitler’s dad, but he doesn’t look much like his evil son:

Here’s Gaugin’s “Mimi and Her Cat,” painted in 1890:

Here’s Deano, the King of Cool, singing one of my favorites from him: “Inamorata.” It’s from the movie “Artists and Models” (1955), also featuring Shirley MacLaine and the rub-ee here, Dorothy Malone. Jerry Lewis was also in this one.

Those who joined the bleedin’ Choir Invisible on June 7 include:

  • 1329 – Robert the Bruce, Scottish king (b. 1274)
  • 1954 – Alan Turing, English mathematician and computer scientist (b. 1912)

It’s still not been established with certainty whether Turing committed suicide from eating a cyanide-laced apple or died from cyanide poisoning from an electroplating apparatus he had in his house.  He was posthumously pardoned for his conviction for homosexual acts by Queen Elizabeth in 2013. Here he is as a young man:

  • 1967 – Dorothy Parker, American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist (b. 1893)
  • 1980 – Henry Miller, American novelist and essayist (b. 1891)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is protecting the feline equivalent of freedom of speech:

A: What are you doing there?
Hili: I’m guarding the freedom of meowing. Without it no freedom is complete.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Strzegę wolności miauczenia, bez niej żadna wolność nie jest pełna.
(Foto: Paulina R.)

A meme from Bruce Thiel, who says it applies to the New York Times:

From Stash Krod:

From Jesus of the Day, which reminds me of my own drug-induced pseudo-profundities:

A tweet from Andrew Sullivan about the cowardice and groveling of the NY Times about the Cotton on-ed (more later). I’ve put up his whole three-tweet thread below. Yesterday I wrote about the curious absence of Sullivan’s column in New York Magazine last Friday.

and this. . .

From reader Barry. I don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” answer here. The deer gets its life back but the snake is deprived of a meal, and natural selection is derailed. You can see the diversity of responses in the thread following this tweet. I would have saved the deer for sure.

Tweets from Matthew. The first one is an eye teaser and Matthew says, “Watch to the end; only 30 seconds long.” If you concentrate hard, you can see the illusion moving both clockwise and counterclockwise.

I’m still amazed not only that the ovipositor can go through solid wood, but that these ichneumon wasps can locate a larva deep within the wood and precisely lay an egg in it. Those abilities are fantastic.

The source of this eerie sound is given in the thread. Can you guess it?

Yes, this is true, and shows us that, in terms of generations, the Civil War isn’t really that far away:


  1. jim batterson
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Brown v Board of Education was a powerful and important decision for local school boards across the nation. it said that the implicit impact of separating children because of race was wrong in and of itself. From the decision:
    “To separate [black children] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone.”
    Though this ruling came down in the mid-fifties, Virginia first resisted under its governor’s “leadership” calling for massive resistance by closing all schools in several localities rather than integrate them. Through the sixties, most school districts grudgingly desegregated, though full integration would have to wait for the slow change of housing patterns over decades. Integration of school buildings was accomplished in many localities in the South through purposeful movement of black children and white children using school buses, an action that is often referred to as “busing”. In the seventies, the Supreme Court gave its approval to this process in the charlotte-mecklinburg (north carolina) case. In the eighties and nineties, when I served on a local school board in virginia, there was still a significant and loud faction of parents in our city who opposed integration under the guise of preferring “neighborhood schools”.

  2. Linda Calhoun
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Do you really think that that snake could have swallowed that deer? And lived?

    That reminds me of the drawing in The Little Prince of the elephant that was swallowed by a boa constrictor.


    • Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      I was thinking the same. Constrictors do try to swallow prey much too large to swallow. Here, the person may have saved both their lives.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted June 7, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      If that video was in the US, then that the snake is probably a Burmese python and thus is an invasive species that is slowly wiping out other species. I would guess the video was shot in Florida. If so, then the action taken was just fine. People are being paid to kill those snakes in the Everglades.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    83? I really don’t want to know how old mom was.

  4. Posted June 7, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Alois Hitler (born Schicklgruber) is a scary looking dude. Historians claim he was abusive to young Adolph, which might explain the latter’s psychopathy.

    Turing looks quite spiffy in that photograph. I have read that, typically, he was quite unkempt.

  5. Posted June 7, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    A new slogan has been showing up in the protests: “Defund the Police”. This sounds a lot like “Abolish the Police” and some probably do mean that. However, many intend it to mean take some of the police funding and put it toward programs that help people, which seems like a laudable idea to me. However, this has got to be one of the worst slogans of all time. Surely they could have come up with a better one.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 7, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Indeed, the serious discussion has to do with defunding particular aspects of policing. Here’s an interesting graphic on the subject:

    • Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      One of many real obstacles is that police unions have become far too powerful. For example, if an office is fired, for good reason, the firing can be blocked by the union. Also, efforts for police reforms back in the Obama administration went nowhere, thanks to the unions.

      • Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Yes, I’m aware of the power of police unions. Fareed Zakaria had a segment on his GPS show this morning where he interviewed the NYT’s reporter that covers policing, Shaila Dewan ( She had some pretty interesting things to say.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 7, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Also, the unions block citizens from finding out if a police officer has a history of abuse and/or complaints. Apparently there is a bill (iirc in New York) to reverse this policy. Now that NY is majority Democratic, perhaps the bill will pass. (Again, assuming this was in NY…might have been New Jersey.) But transparency is what is needed for people to feel safe and hiding an officer’s past misdeeds does nothing to mitigate future misdeeds…Chauvin is a case in point.

  6. Posted June 7, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Could that snake really have eaten that deer anyway? I know snakes are can consume incredibly large prey for their size but that deer seems much too large. Is it not uncommon for a snake to have to give up on a too-large meal, or even die because the prey gets stuck before it gets to the stomach? Perhaps the human prevented a senseless death.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    1982 – Priscilla Presley opens Graceland to the public; the bathroom where Elvis Presley died five years earlier is kept off-limits.

    Despite Elvis’s having been awarded a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (the forerunner of the DEA) earlier in the decade by Richard Nixon to commemorate of his strong anti-drug stand, when the King died on the throne he had about 11 different herbs and spices in his system.

    • revelator60
      Posted June 7, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      What happened to Elvis was what later happened to lots of working class southerners during the Opioid crisis. He thought prescription drugs (especially opiods) were good and illegal ones bad, so anything the doctor prescribed was ripe for abuse.

      Elvis’s visit to Nixon came about because he loved collecting law enforcement badges and uniforms. He was fascinated by the police and was deputized a member of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department. During the 1970s he put a revolving blue light on his Lincoln Mark IV and would pull over speeding drivers, flash one of his badges, and lecture them before giving an autograph and speeding away away from the gobsmacked motorist.

  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Could the sound be from Dog-Day cicadas, which are annual and which are found in California?

  9. EdwardM
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I probably would have let the snake finish his meal.

  10. Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Try as I might, I cannot get this dancer to reverse in my minds’ eye.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Try watching it for a few seconds with your peripheral vision.

  11. Steve Gerrard
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The US is about 4 days away from reaching 2 million cases of COVID-19. I know, the virus pandemic is old news, but still.

  12. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    The spinning dancer illusion didn’t work for me.

    This must be cultural differences: I found the censoring of swear words in the Stash Krod image of plant tags much more disturbing than the Cotton op-ed affair.

  13. Michael R Mason
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Fun fact about Alois Hitler. He was born out of wedlock and grew up with his mother’s surname of Schicklgruber. He changed his last name to his stepfather’s name Heidler (spelled Hitler for some reason) when he was an adult, probably to appear legitimately born. So, Germany in WWII could have been marched across Europe proclaiming “Heil Schicklgruber!” Wonder if that would have made a difference.

  14. Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    But what will they replace the police with?

    There’s an experiment that could be done. The woman with the microphone said she didn’t want the police in her neighbourhood with their guns etc, which is understandable given recent events. So just withdraw the police from black neighbourhoods so they get an idea of what it is like without them.

    It would be an interesting experiment. Unfortunately, people may die.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Compared to current conditions where people die?

      • Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Almost certainly more people will die without a police presence. There will also be more crime of other sorts like looting, robbery, rape, pick pocketing.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          I think you understand, from comments below this one, that we’re not talking about eliminating police services. What is need is recreating them from scratch.

          • Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            I think you understand I was talking about doing an experiment of simply withdrawing the police presence for certain communities.

            The mayor was booed and told to go away because he wasn’t in favour of complete abolition of the police, which we all know would be insane.

  15. Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:49 am | Permalink


    A majority of Minneapolis City Council has pledged to dismantle the local police department

    The article does seem to imply that they intend to replace it with something, though I don’t think they know what.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      My bet is on the idea of establishing separate agencies responsible, for example, for traffic control, homicide investigation, etc. The main goal is to be able to break the power of the police union and establish new accountability protocols.

  16. sugould
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    When I lived in the country for a year, I was lucky enough to see an ichneumon wasp pass by, a fere two feet away from me. It’s “tail” appeared to be at least two feet long. Immediately looked it up, and was even more impressed.

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