Friday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s the end of the work week, but does anybody know that it’s a Friday (June 19, 2020)? Well, it’s National Martini Day, so help yourself to a Friday libation (shaken, not stirred).  It is of course Juneteenth, and here’s a brief history of the holiday from Wikipedia:

Juneteenth (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth), also known as Freedom DayJubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day, is an American holiday celebrated annually on June 19. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent.

Celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. It spread across the South and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, it was eclipsed by the struggle for postwar civil rights, but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African American freedom and arts. By the 21st century, Juneteenth was celebrated in most major cities across the United States. Activists are campaigning for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 47 of the 50 U.S. states.

There’s a special Google Doodle on Juneteeth (and if you click on it you’ll go to the video below the screenshot):

The YouTube notes for the video:

Today’s video Google Doodle, illustrated by Los Angeles-based guest artist Loveis Wise and narrated by actor and activist LeVar Burton, honors the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. Short for “June Nineteenth,” Juneteenth marks the true end of chattel slavery across the United States — which didn’t actually occur until 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. . . Go behind-the-scenes of the Doodle:

Finally, it’s National Eat an Oreo Day, National Flip Flop Day, Ugliest Dog Day, Garfield the Cat Day (see below), and a superfluous holiday this year: Work at Home Father’s Day.  Here’s Scamp, voted the World’s Ugliest Dog last year:

News of the Day:

The big news, of course, is the Supreme Court overturning Trump’s attempt to dismantle the DACA plan. This heartening decision is said by some to be a possible bump for Trump, who can now use the decision to fire up his base (only 30% of Republicans approve what the court did), but I don’t care: what’s right is right, and the Court should not make decisions about what will or will not help re-elect a President. Trump will one day be gone (hopefully in November), but the law is forever. (Well, almost . . . )

Meanwhile, coronavirus infections are spiking in several states, prompting states like California to enact mandatory mask-wearing laws. But conservatives are pushing back on these laws.

And, it finally happened: all the op-eds on the  front page are either woke or along with the Party line. I suspect we’ll see very few  contrarian or heterodox op-eds there in the future after the editorial-page editor was fired over the Tom Cotton kerfuffle.  A screenshot of today’s page:


Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 118,458, an increase of about 700 over yesterday’s report.  The world death toll now stands at 453,878, an increase of about 5,000 from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on June 19 includes:

  • 325 – The original Nicene Creed is adopted at the First Council of Nicaea.
  • 1846 – The first officially recorded, organized baseball game is played under Alexander Cartwright’s rules on Hoboken, New Jersey’s Elysian Fields with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23–1. Cartwright umpired.
  • 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.
  • 1978 – Garfield, holder of the Guinness World Record for the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip, makes its debut.
  • 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.

Assange is now in prison in London, with his next hearing in September.

  • 2018 – The 10,000,000th United States Patent is issued.

Here’s that patent (click on screenshot to see the whole schmear):

Notables born on this day include:

Moe, like his brothers, changed their names because Jewish names (his was Moses Harry Horowitz) were verboten in American film. Here’s Moe and Larry in their last picture, made in 1974 (“Larry Fine”‘s real name was Larry Feinberg). Both died the next year.

  • 1903 – Lou Gehrig, American baseball player (d. 1941)

Here’s part of the Iron Horse’s touching farewell speech in 1939 at Yankee Stadium, made after he was diagnosed with ALS (the full text is here). He was only 36, and died on June 2, 1941.  His nickname came from his endurance; until Cal Ripken, Jr. broke the record, Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games was considered untouchable (Ripken’s number was 2,632). Gehrig’s uniform number, 4, was the first number to be retired in major league baseball (this means that no Yankee player can ever wear that number again).

  • 1910 – Abe Fortas, American lawyer and jurist (d. 1982)
  • 1919 – Pauline Kael, American film critic (d. 2001)
  • 1945 – Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1947 – Salman Rushdie, Indian-English novelist and essayist

Those who began pushing up daisies on June 19 include:

  • 1953 – Ethel Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1915)
  • 1953 – Julius Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1918)
  • 2013 – Slim Whitman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1923)
  • 2017 – Otto Warmbier, American college student detained in North Korea (b. 1994)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was caught lying on freshly-washed laundry:

A: Hili: This is a clean towel.
Hili: And I am a clean cat.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, to jest czysty ręcznik.
Hili: A ja jestem czystym kotem.
Nearby, at his (and Mietek’s) future home, Leon is kvetching:
Leon: The meadow is wet again.
In Polish: Znów mokra łąka

From Jesus of the Day. How indeed?!

Two memes from Bruce Thiel:

From Dom we have a tweet reporting a paper on a fruit-eating frog. If true, this would be a one-off, since no frog is known to eat fruit. Greg Mayer cites the Journal of Zoology article and say it “looks legit.” As far as I know (I may be wrong), all frogs eat other animals, which can include small rodents and invertebrates.

From reader Barry, who says “aliens live below us”:


Tweets from Matthew. Re the first one; I remember these ludicrous prognostications. Are we there yet? Nope!

Okay, somebody tell me how storm petrels manage to do this (sound up, please):

Neither Matthew nor I had any idea that measles came from rinderpest in cattle. Rinderpest has been vanquished from the planet, but its relative measles is still with us:

Look at this amazing beast! The caption has been translated from Spanish:

The people on Twitter are debating whether this video shows lunacy in Serbia or Russia, but it’s clearly lunacy as people fight for water that’s been poured over the relic of a saint’s foot. UGH!

Matthew says this comes from Saint James’s Park yesterday morning. The “thousands of geese” seems a bit exaggerated, but it is a sight nonetheless!

30 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. Virginia is about to join the list of states that officially recognize juneteenth as a holiday. Governor ralph northam announced this week that today is a paid holiday for state workers and that he would propose making juneteenth a permanent state holiday in legislation to the general assembly. Democrats control both houses in the general assembly and, in public statements, the leaders of both houses favor such legislation. This continues a recent trend here in the capital of the confederacy as last year lee-jackson day holiday honoring two confederate generals was eliminated and that holiday for state workers was moved to election day.

  2. I’d have to guess that the storm petrels are using memory of their local environment to avoid hitting the wall. Owls are said to do as much. Echos from the sound of their wings might help warn of proximity to objects. The vocalizations might help them avoid colliding with one another.

    1. He was terrific in Game, Set, Match.
      And just for the record, my son AND my favorite grandfather were also born on June 19th.

      1. He was also terrifying in an underrated Johnny Depp film called ‘From Hell’, loosely based on the Jack The Ripper mythos and set in that era. Very, very creepy performance.

    2. Came here to report this – sad.

      Why do we publicly lament people we never met, but in a fantasy? I don’t know, but I like to think it has to do with expressing things we wish we could…. and with that, my words become like scattered scraps of lumber, sort of looking like something but accomplishing nothing…

        1. I enjoy recognizing or discovering actors that played a character in a movie when I never knew it was them. Andy Serkis is a particularly clever actor in this regard, for me.

      1. You don’t have to have met someone to connect with them.

        I’ve always thought the central tragedy of the human condition is our inability to share our minds and emotions with other humans. We can tell them how we feel, but part of us wants to really, metaphysically share ourselves. To be part of another person and vice versa. When I see something beautiful I tell people about it. But deep down I want them to literally feel what I feel. Which is impossible. But I still want it, and I still long for it.

        So in that sense we never truly connect with anyone, even our nearest and dearest – all connection is one stage removed, with the metaphysical barriers represented by our separate, cordoned-off minds making true connection impossible. So we make do with simply trusting that people feel the same way we do. And the more evidence we have for that trust, the more we love those people. It’s not the true, platonic, yearned-after ideal of connection, but it’s as close as we can get.

        And we can feel that way about people we’ve never even met. I felt something of that towards Hitch when I heard he died.

  3. “This heartening decision is said by some to be a possible bump for Trump”

    …But I thought DACA was one of those issues that was surprisingly popular with Americans? Last thing I read it had about two thirds of Americans in favour.

    Also, even if 70% of Republicans(ie. Trump supporters) are against it, that still means 30% aren’t. And given how modern Republicans tend to march in absolute lock(goose)step on policy questions 30% is pretty hefty.

      1. I read a recent Politico piece in which local Republicans were all quoted as being supremely confident of a landslide Trump victory in the coming election. So there seems to be a fair bit of wishful thinking going around.

      2. I think they are referring to motivating his base to get out and vote. The DACA decision gives him one more battle to wage in his fight against immigrants. I suspect we’ll hear him frame it in tomorrow’s monstrous Oklahoma rally/virusfest. “The Supreme Court still has too many stinking liberals on it. Re-elect me so I can continue fixing that.” With DACA, he’d prefer that the courts do his dirty work for him. He can pretend to be friendly to the dreamers while, he hopes, the courts declare the law as unconstitutional or illegal. Of course, his lawyers and DOJ cronies are the ones arguing the cases.

        Even though the MSM has not been covering Trump’s rallies, perhaps they will cover this one due to it being the first in months and a COVID breeding zone with perhaps a 100,000 potential victims. Trump’s desperation will also be at an all time high due to his lousy polling numbers. I predict it will really be something to behold, and not in a good way.

      3. Some think that anything that excites tRump’s base must help him. I don’t see it. They are going to troop to the polls for their hero regardless. They can only vote once. I hope.

  4. As I commented on the tweet, the geese invasion video seems fake. Look at those shadows! Also, each goose seems completely oblivious to its neighbor. Their movement seems wrong somehow.

    1. “the geese invasion video seems fake.”

      You win ‘Most 2020 Sentence Of The Thread’

    2. I don’t know how this scene could be easily faked, although technology is pretty surprising sometimes. I did notice the geese seemed quite evenly distributed over the foreground terrain, as if they might be copy and pasted into place. But, that’s easy to do with still imagery. Not so easy with film. Maybe those geese have a sense of interval as they do during flight.

    3. I don’t think its fake but even so, the line ‘thousands of ’em!’ is from the film ‘Zulu’ when Cetewayo’s impis (of Zulus, not geese) descend on Rorkes Drift

  5. The Google Doodle gets it wrong; Juneteenth, though a significant day, did not mark “the true end of chattel slavery across the United States”. Slavery continued in Kentucky and Delaware until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, December 6, 1965. I suppose I should cut Google a little slack -most people make the same error, and the details of the end of slavery in the US are complicated, but Wikipedia got it right. I guess it is a little like Cinco de Mayo – not the most important day, but the one we decided to celebrate.

  6. Apropos of yesterday’s post, today CNN ran the following story:
    “Protesters tore down a George Washington statue and set a fire on its head”

    Protesters in Portland, Oregon, wrote the words “Genocidal Colonist” on the ill-fated statue, which was also tagged with “1619” and “You’re on native lands” (which surely applies just as much to the protesters?).

    This happened in Portland, the notorious Mecca of hipster morons, so such tantrums probably won’t become the rule in the rest of the country. So I hope. If you want to tear down a statue, try a Confederate’s instead.

    1. Are we going to change the name of Washington, DC? [“DC” = “District of Columbia,” named for Columbus.] Two racist dead white males in one name! This can’t be allowed to stand.

      1. Maybe they can still save “Columbia” as Wikipedia says:

        “As a quasi-mythical figure, Columbia first appears in the poetry of African-American Phillis Wheatley starting in 1776 during the revolutionary war.”

  7. Meanwhile, coronavirus infections are spiking in several states, prompting states like California to enact mandatory mask-wearing laws. But conservatives are pushing back on these laws.

    “The World Health Organization warned Friday of a “new and dangerous phase” of the coronavirus pandemic with people tiring of lockdowns despite the disease’s accelerating spread.

    The warning came as it emerged the virus was present in Italy in December, months before its first confirmed cases and about the same time as the disease was first reported in China.

    The virus, which has now killed more than 454,000 people and infected 8.4 million people worldwide, is surging in the Americas and parts of Asia even as Europe starts to ease restrictive measures.

    Lockdowns imposed to halt the spread of the disease have caused crippling economic damage, but the WHO said the pandemic still posed a major threat.

    “The world is in a new and dangerous phase. Many people are understandably fed up with being at home… but the virus is still spreading fast,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.”

    [ ]

    Read: US and India are not helping.

    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. Assange is now in prison in London, with his next hearing in September.

    The immediate reason being that he was sought in court for two rape cases in Sweden. Due to Ecuador shielding an accused in a criminal case, the cases were eventually dropped, but UK still wants him to stand trial for his eloping justice.

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