Tuesday: Hili dialogue

June 9, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Tuesday, June 9, 2020: National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day. And here I have to kvetch and cavil, for I consider putting rhubarb into pie to be a capital offense.  It is a vegetable! Not only that, but adding rhubarb to a good strawberry pie just degrades the things. I know many love it, and will oppose me, but take a number and get in line. . .

It’s also Call Your Doctor Day, World Pet Memorial Day (to remember and mourn your expired pets), Coral Triangle Day, and Donald Duck Day, by decree of Walt Disney:

Donald Duck’s first appearance on screen was in the animated short film “The Wise Hen”, on June 9, 1934. Although Donald’s birthday is said to be on March 13th in the 1949 short film “Donald’s Happy Birthday”, Disney later decided that Donald’s official birthday is June 9th, the day he first appeared in film. Thus, June 9th is Donald Duck Day.

And here’s “The Wise Hen”. Donald appears at 1:59, much like the later Donald:

News of the day:

I’m rather anxious today as I fear Dorothy has re-nested in the same spot, and, by my calculations, if she did the ducklings will drop in the next few days. Unless they get along with Honey and her brood, which is unlikely, I’ll have to go back into the pond and remove them, making them orphans but saving their lives. It’s a hard decision but I see no alternative.

I’m sure you’re all up on the demonstrations, defund-the-police movements, and so on. But here’s a NYT article (click on screenshot below) showing how the current Supreme Court has slowly taken down the wall between church and state—most recently by approving government “pandemic payments” for the salaries of clergymen, something that never would have occurred in the past. As the Times notes,

What is remarkable is not that the federal government is spending tax dollars for religious uses in a way not seen before, or even that it is doing so on a vast scale. It’s how little pushback this program has elicited. With respect to public funding of religion, the separation of church and state has all but disappeared, without a bang or even a whimper.

But I don’t know how we push back against Supreme Court decisions!

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 110,964 , an increase of about 500 from yesterday (the increase in deaths in our country appears to be slowing). The world toll now stands at 405,439, a one-day increase of about 3,200 from the day before.

Stuff that happened on June 9 include:

  • AD 68 – Nero commits suicide, after quoting Homer’s Iliad, thus ending the Julio-Claudian dynasty and starting the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
  • 1856 – Five hundred Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa for the Mormon Trail.
  • 1928 – Charles Kingsford Smith completes the first trans-Pacific flight in a Fokker Trimotor monoplane, the Southern Cross.

The flight took nine days in three hops: Oakland to Hawaii, Hawaii to Fiji, and Fiji to Australia. Here’s the plane:

  • 1954 – Joseph Welch, special counsel for the United States Army, lashes out at Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army–McCarthy hearings, giving McCarthy the famous rebuke, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

This was the straw that broke McCarthy’s back, and here’s the decisive moment (it’s a six-minute video, and I’d watch the whole thing to get the story):


At 8,047 meters high, Broad Peak is the 12th highest mountain in the world, but was summited five years after Everest. Here it is:

  • 1959 – The USS George Washington is launched. It is the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
  • 1973 – In horse racing, Secretariat wins the U.S. Triple Crown.
  • 1978 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens its priesthood to “all worthy men”, ending a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men.

God sent them a revelation, which was quite convenient given the growing civil rights movement. It’s curious why God waited so long. . . .

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1868 – Jane Avril, French model and dancer (d. 1943)

Avril was a famous can-can dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris as well as a famous subject of Toulouse-Lautrec. Here she is in a Lautrec drawing and in real life.

Jane Avril by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on the left and on the photo by Maurice Biais. Source.

And the most famous depiction of Avril by the painter (1893):

  • 1891 – Cole Porter, American composer and songwriter (d. 1964)
  • 1915 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (d. 2009)
  • 1960 – Steve Paikin, Canadian journalist and author
  • 1963 – Johnny Depp, American actor
  • 1981 – Natalie Portman, Israeli-American actress

Notables who perished from this Earth on June 9 were few, and include:

  • AD 68 – Nero, Roman emperor (b. 37)
  • 1870 – Charles Dickens, English novelist and critic (b. 1812)
  • 1994 – Jan Tinbergen, Dutch economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1903)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a Deepity:

Hili: The world after the pandemic will not be the same.
A: And what kind of world it will be?
Hili: It will be a post-pandemic world.
In Polish:
Hili: Świat po pandemii już nie będzie taki sam.
Ja: A jaki będzie?
Hili: Będzie światem po pandemii.

Reader/ornithologist/photographer Bruce Lyon has a new foster kitten, but he wants to keep it. He sent a few notes:

The kitten is a female and she is tiny (she weighs 1 lb 6 oz; not sure how old). We have not named her yet because we are fostering her (which means we will find another home for her if our cat Scout freaks out too much about having a new kitten in the house). We ‘staff’ have all fallen in love with the little pixie so we sure hope that senior cat Scout gives us the green light to keep her. So far the signs are promising.
Kittens make everything better! The daily shitshow known as the news somehow now seems a little less depressing.
I don’t see how he can possibly give away this little cutie:

Look at that spotted tummy!

The picture below was sent by Paul Hughes, who was with us on my first trip to Antarctica last fall. His notes:

I’m a member of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and have just received the latest copy of their quarterly magazine. The front cover usually highlights their latest exhibition, but in lockdown it says simply, “Keep Smiling”. Of course, the illustration to go with it just had to be a cat. This one is from the 1967 Cheshire cat psychedelic poster by Joseph McHugh, which also had a logo at the top saying, “We’re all mad”.

From Jesus of the Day:

A bit of Canadian chauvinism posted by Diana MacPherson:

Tweet from Simon, showing Sarah Cooper, now famous for her lip-synching of Trump, describing about how he inspected the White House bunker (he lied about that, too):

Tweets from Matthew; I’ve put a news story of this Marine below the first tweet:

The story from CBS News:

I’d like to see this poem:

Now this is a man who loves his cats (see the story):

Real ice (from water) on Mars!

This is a funny story, surely not true but still a chuckle. I didn’t get it the first time I watched it:

A lovely photo of a wasp taking off from a flower:


63 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. The NYT article about the erosion of the separation between church and state is quite troubling. The current Supreme Court will foster this trend. The authors of the article are quite correct that this will take place with hardly anyone knowing or caring. People are more concerned with staying alive, having an income, and restructuring the racial contours of American society. There is little appetite to take on another cause. So, we are experiencing two contradictory trends: the increasing secularization of the populace and growing government support of religious institutions that fewer and fewer people care about. Ultimately, there will be a clash between a secular nation and the vanishing line separating church and state. But, that day is years, perhaps decades, away. By then, the rulings of the Roberts Court may be so embedded in American law that they may be hard to reverse. This situation is but another legacy of Trump and his Republican enablers that will long outlast his administration, even if he leaves in January. Trump may be gone, but Trumpism will not be.

    1. Really, Prairie Home Companion?

      You can put rhubarb in anything — Just not in my mouth.

    1. As a lad rhubarb and custard was a Sunday mainstay. If only we could have had some pastry too…

    2. I have liked it, and I have wretched over it. It seems there is a fine line between ‘yum’ and ‘auugghh’! with rhubarb, which may have to do with ripening and/or preparation.

    3. My late mum made a mean rhubarb crumble. With custard (Bird’s, of course). Haven’t had it for many years.

      It was great.

  2. approving government “pandemic payments” for the salaries of clergymen, something that never would have occurred in the past

    I have an issue with that, but I suspect not as much of one as JAC has.

    To be clear, what the bill actually does is provide relief for any small business or charity that meets certain criteria. Many churches do. So they are treated just like any other small business or charity and can apply for relief. It does not call out priests for a special payout or even churches for a special payout.

    I would have no problem with that if churches actually operated by the rules that govern small businesses and charities. You want the same benefits? Play by the same rules. Want to be treated like a regular charity? Start keeping publicly available tax records showing how much you took in and what you used it on. You want to be treated like a small business? Start paying property tax and doing all the other IRS-related stuff small businesses have to do.

    I have no problem, in principle, with covid-19 support going to religious ‘businesses’. The problem is these ‘businesses’ aren’t really businesses in any other legal sense, which makes the system unfair. It’s sort of like saying I have no problem with pastors receiving unemployment checks when they are out of work…using the same rules everyone else has to follow. But if pastors have some special rule where they get more money or get it easier or get it faster, then no, that’s not right. And that’s what’s happening here. They’re getting the ‘unemployment’ support easier.

    1. SCOTUS has struggled mightily over the years with the issue of public financial aid to religious institutions. The line that eventually emerged essentially has been that public funds can be used for secular purposes — donating text books on secular subjects to parochial schools, for example, or providing transportation for parochial school students — but cannot be used for the purpose of proselytizing.

      The most nettlesome issues in this regard arise regarding the payment of funds into a religious institution’s general account, since (money being fungible) even where such funds are earmarked for a particular secular purpose, those funds free up others that can then be used to proselytize.

      That’s been the issue with regard to school-voucher programs, and would appear to be the issue regarding PPP payments.

      1. This (covid-19 support) would be an issue even if the money weren’t fungible. Imagine a church that sets up a separate legal entity for their charity work, and keeps all their books good, separate, and in order. Money given for the charity never goes to proselityzation. Covid-19 hits, both the church unit and charity unit are now suffering unexpected losses. The priest gets his Covid-19 income check along with everyone else, right? We don’t exclude him from the support given to all Americans (earning below a certain income level) merely because he’s a priest, do we? And while they’re now running two 501(c)(3)’s instead of one, with clearly separate missions and separate revenue tracking, they’re both entitled to whatever support the bill gives to 501(c)(3)’s, right?

    2. I tend to agree, the clergy should be supported like everyone else. The benefit of supporting any person’s employment is not just that the person does better, but also that the wheels of commerce continue to turn; that the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker all stay in business as well. Synergy, or one of those deepity words.

  3. Make no mistake about it. There is nothing more rare or delectable on the planet than a well made rhubarb pie. Prof. CC may be an heroic defender of truth in matters of religion, but his persistent attacks on rhubarb pie reflect a more sinister side of his character. It is certainly true that rhubarb should never be mixed with anything so insipid as strawberries. On the other hand, continuing to apply the social construct “vegetable” to a plant that has openly identified as a fruit is unacceptable. It reflects the lack of diversity and deep power asymmetries that continue to afflict the ideology of the academic establishment concerning pie to this day.

    1. I am doubting everything PCC(e) has ever said or written. Is there even such a thing as speciation?

      Strawberry-rhubarb pie is the best pie possible. And this is the time of year for it. Big juicy strawberries easily available – and cheap. My neighbor has rhubarb growing in her back yard. We have already made three pies (one to the neighbor with the rhubard). More this weekend.

    2. I’m with you. Strawberries are not FOR pie, and should never be mixed with rhubarb, which needs no enhancement.

      When I was a child, my mother used to make rhubarb pie from rhubarb growing in the back yard. It was a formative experience, and I enjoy all things sour to this day. Rhubarb won’t grow where I currently live, so I’m stuck paying five dollars a pound for it on the rare days it’s available at the grocery. Something must be done. Congress must act.

    3. Put me down for a strawberry-rhubarb pie! My mom made them and I was always a fan. I still buy rhubarb pie sometimes at a place called Jongewaard’s Bake ‘n’ Broil, which I believe to be a cool name.

      1. I’m with you. My dad made a mean strawberry-rhubarb cobbler. I just don’t like how rhubarb makes my teeth feel. Chard does the same thing, but to a lesser extent. Hard to explain, but it gets a strange coating (chalky?).

          1. You’re right, spinach does do the same, forgot about that. Didn’t know it was oxaliC acid though; thanks for the learnings.

        1. I know exactly what you mean but it has never bothered me. We keep a small jar of oxalic acid on the table so we can get that feeling whenever we want it. Ok, not really.

  4. I am convinced that many in the republican party no longer want a democracy but a theocracy and are slowly but determinedly guiding the US in that direction. The wine video isn’t true, it is a TikTok challenge.

  5. I see that fokker tri-motor was the plane Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne died in a crash.

  6. The short on the Army-McCarthy hearing is pretty good, but it omits the subplot that drove the modus vivendi Joe Welch had reached with Roy Cohn — that Cohn had used his political influence to improperly pressure the army into giving special treatment to his “friend” about town, G. David Schine, to keep Schine from being transferred overseas.

    That was the subtext to Welch’s other famous exchange with McCarthy regarding whether a particular photograph of Schine had come from a “pixie,” which Welch explained to McCarthy was a close relative of a “fairy.”

    In retrospect, Welch’s veiled attack certainly seems homophobic, though it should be recalled that McCarthy and Cohn (whose own homosexuality was a more-of-less open secret, although he denied it publicly until his dying day) persecuted not only a bunch of feckless old Leftists, but also the so-called “Lavender Menace” posed by gays inside the government.

    1. “Until his dying day.”

      Yup, and he died of AIDS, but said it was something else. And his legacy of shiftiness and lies and deflections and projections are still alive and well in Trump- one of his admirers. And with Barr, Trump finally got “his Roy Cohn”.

  7. @Bruce Lyon

    I’m probably giving you information you already know, but just in case you don’t, I figure I should post here how to make it more likely that Scout will accept your new friend. Although, from the sound of it, you may already be past the point of what I’m about to post.

    First, keep the kitten in a single room in your home for the first day or two (include a litter box and food, obviously), without Scout seeing or interacting with her, to see how Scout reacts to her scent and the knowledge that there’s a new cat in the house. If, after one or two days, Scout seems OK, let Scout into the room, and let them interact until Scout either goes after her or loses interest (Scout may hiss or act a bit aggressively at some point, but it’s OK as long as he doesn’t attack her. Just keep an eye out for any extreme aggression. He might just be showing that he’s the dominant one in the relationship). If Scout seems especially accommodating, you might even let the kitten out for a little while. If you let the kitten out, make sure Scout gets to keep his own litter box, while the kitten gets a new one, and do the same with the food, as Scout might not be ready to share these things. If Scout does act with aggression immediately, repeat with longer sessions for the next couple of days. After three or four days, you should know whether or not Scout is willing to accept the new kitten as part of the family.

    During this time, give Scout as much attention as possible, just so he knows you still love him just as much and the new kitten will never replace him or take away any of your affection and cuddles from him. Make sure he knows he’s still top cat! And if the kitten starts annoying him (she will likely try to play with him), put the kitten back in the same room in which its been sequestered until they’re both ready for their next interaction.

    Good luck! Like I said, I’m not assuming that you don’t know this information, but I want to post just in case because I want to know that kitten will end up in your loving home!

    Meanwhile, on the rhubarb pie front, the comments section has me imagining this scene from Airplane! (and I’m joining in!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvPugcb7QGE

      1. Other famous Fosters I can think of, without looking it up (I’m sure there are many, considering how common the surname is):

        Ben Foster (also an actor, and an excellent one at that!)

        Kurtis Foster (former NHL player. Hockey is my favorite sport)

        John (or is it Jon?) Foster (former Presidential cabinet member, I think Secretary of State, don’t remember for which President)

        Scott Foster, who has an awesome story: https://www.nhl.com/news/emergency-goalie-scott-foster-enters-game-for-chicago/c-297467924

        Summary of Scott Foster’s story: on very, very rare occasions, both the starting and backup goalie for an NHL hockey team are injured in the same game, requiring them to bring in an “emergency backup,” who is usually a local guy who happens to play hockey for fun locally and attends games as a fan. They don’t designate someone with significant experience for an obvious reason: this was only the second time in NHL history that this had happened! An accountant 36 years old at the time, he had never played a professional game of hockey in his entire life, even in the most minor of hockey leagues. It’s always an amazing story: a guy who never got to play professional hockey is suddenly playing in an NHL game in front of 20,000 fans. Imagine living what was only ever a dream, for just one night! He stopped all seven shots he faced from one of the best offenses in the league, until the game ended fourteen minutes later.

        The above happened again this past season, when Zamboni driver David Ayres got to play for the Carolina Hurricanes and made a couple of awesome saves! He had never played a game of professional hockey either. His very first play was aggressively leaving the net to grab the puck just probably 1/2 second before an opposing player got to it and perfectly passing it behind the net to one of his defensemen, ensuring that the other team didn’t gain control of the puck in the Hurricanes’ defensive zone and allowing for them to break out to the other end of the ice. Watch the video in the link for a great and inspiring story.

        Sorry if I got a bit excited above. I just love both hockey and feel-good stories.

        1. Let us not forget Florence Foster Jenkins, the famously off-key socialite-cum-soprano portrayed by Meryl Streep in the 2016 bioflick.

        2. Stephen Foster, famous American songwriter, who wrote “Oh, Susanna” and many other famous songs during the 19th century.

    1. I think Bruce is already doing all this. And the good news is that although the kitten and the senior cat are a bit wary of each other, they are still playing together. Things augur well!

      1. That’s great to hear! If they’re already playing together, it does indeed sound like all will turn out well. I’m very glad to hear it.

        Now, get on the rhubarb pie train, Jerry! We’re taking numbers and the line is long 😛

      1. You’re going to have to study some of the older recipes for making ‘mincemeat’ Jerry. Our forebears had very different ideas about what belonged in the categories of sweet and savoury.
        But I shouldn’t complain; if you don’t eat them there will be all the more rhubarb pies for the rest of us! BY choice, I would keep strawberries out of pies altogether. In fact, most mixed fruit pies are a kluge related to not having enough of one kind in my view. Take the infamous “hartleberry” pie (a mixture of blackberries and apple). Neither flesh, nor fish, nor good red herring, if that’s not confusing the question even further!

  8. I love rhubarb pie! Rhubarb is also known as “pie plant” because it makes such good pies. I ate it many many time as a youngster, as my mother grew rhubarb in the garden.

    Adding strawberries is also fine with me, but not necessary. I don’t think I ever ate strawberry-rhubarb pie before age 30, so it strikes me as a relatively recent innovation. I love a good strawberry pie, too.

    I just love all pies!

    1. Rhubarb needs just enough sweetener to balance out the sourness. I then add cinnamon to enhance the flavor. With a home made butter crust it turns into a most satisfying dessert.

  9. Rhubarb is for crumble. Strawberries are for cream. Neither should be wasted inside a pie.

    The best thing to put in a pie is steak and kidney – or pork.

    Sorry if I offend you. Let me offer you this poem as a peace offering

    Far above memory’s landscape let the fears
    unlatched from thundering valleys of your mind
    carry the lightning. Stare the Sun Up. Find
    kinetic heat to scorch the mist of tears.

    All that your vision limned by night appears
    loose in dismembering air; think yourself blind
    Louder than death in headlines the unkind
    elements hawk; my passion: stop your ears

    Deny me now. Doubting Thomas. Thrust
    into my side the finger of your grief.
    Tell me I am an apparition frayed
    out of the tattered winding sheet of lust.
    Recall no ghost of love. Let no belief
    summon me, fleshed and bleeding, from the shade.

    ~~ Walter Lehmann aka Gwen Harwood

    I’e got a tin ear as far as poetry is concerned. She uses “limned” so it must be good is how I think.

    She submitted two poems and the other one also has an acrostic.


    1. Meh. If this is any example, it’s no wonder she wasn’t published. But I do like the spit in the eye.

  10. WRT:

    1856 – Five hundred Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa for the Mormon Trail.

    1978 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens its priesthood to “all worthy men”, ending a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men.

    God sent them a revelation, which was quite convenient given the growing civil rights movement. It’s curious why God waited so long. . . .

    I believe, according to family genealogy, my 3rd great grandfather James Holt was in that 1857 group. I was born and raised Mormon but am now atheist. Your question about the 1978 ban lift is spot on.

    Joanna Brooks has a new book on racism in the Mormon church that I highly recommend. Amazon carries it. I bought the Kindle version.

    1. Biologically speaking, a fruit is anything that comes from a flower…so squash, cucumbers, tomatoes are all fruits. Rhubarb doesn’t come from a flower, so it’s not a fruit. For what it’s worth 😉

      1. I think that’s the opposite of what he was claiming. No that all vegetables are fruits, but that all fruits are vegetables.

        (Not taking a stand on this critical issue of our time, but that’s how I read HAT.)

      2. My point is that vegetables – lexically, “edible parts of plants” – include all the fruits. So to say that rhubarb doesn’t belong in pie because it’s a vegetable … well, that lets out apples and blueberries and peaches, too.

  11. Strawberries are for shortcake, rhubarb for pie. To mix them is to lose their exquisite individual tastes. Strawberries aren’t in season yet here, but I made our first (homegrown) rhubarb pie of the season the day before yesterday. A little ice cream on top…out of this world.

  12. Canada Geese are weird creatures. They look like rubber, and they honk like rubber. One of the very few species who look as annoying as they honk.

  13. And here I have to kvetch and cavil, for I consider putting rhubarb into pie to be a capital offense. It is a vegetable!

    I think pie contents are only limited by taste:

    “A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients. Sweet pies may be filled with fruit (as in an apple pie), nuts (pecan pie), brown sugar (sugar pie) or sweetened vegetables (rhubarb pie). Savoury pies may be filled with meat (as in a steak pie or a Jamaican patty), eggs and cheese (quiche) or a mixture of meat and vegetables (pot pie).”

    [ https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/09/tuesday-hili-dialogue-286/ ]

    So rhubarb pie or pot pie contains vegetables by definition.

    If you want a berry, perhaps try tomato.

    1. I was hoping you’d mention lemon meringue pie, my favorite. It consists of a custardized lemon filling (should have lemon zest) with a thick egg white meringue on top. (P.S. I also like rhubarb pie (without strawberries)).

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