Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Tuesday, the Cruelest Day, July 14, 2020, Bastille Day  and National Caviar Day. I’ve had the real thing (osetra) only once in my life and loved it, but that was an experience unlikely to be repeated on both moral and financial grounds. It’s also National Grand Marnier Day (cultural appropriation), National Mac and Cheese Day, and Shark Awareness Day.

News of the day: Although three federal executions were slated to occur this week, a federal judge blocked them pending resolution of legal challenges to the procedure of lethal injection.

Over in Poland, to the dismay of my friends there, far right-wing president Andrzej Duda narrowly won a second term—a term that will last five years. The country is in terrible hands, and terrible shape.

As Trump pushes hard to re-open schools no matter what, the two largest school districts in California—San Diego and Los Angeles—decided to go to online-only classes this fall. I’m starting to wonder if those colleges that will welcome students back to campus in September, like the University of Chicago, are making a mistake in view of the resurgence of the pandemic.

Trump retweeted this conspiracy-theory tweet from game-show host and conservative Chuck Wollery.  Trump’s destroying the country with his madness on various issues, and we get crap like this (retweeted):

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 135,402, an increase of about 650 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 572,740, an increase of about 4,200 from yesterday.

Speaking of masks, I am running out of my favorite mask: the ear-loop surgical mask. Does anyone know where I can get some of these?

Stuff that happened on July 14 includes:

Priestly was “theologically and politically controversial”, even though he was a well-known scientist (and discovered oxygen). The rioters burned his home to the ground, and he lost many valuable manuscripts and papers (he and his family managed to escape).

Here’s Doré’s famous picture of the Matterhorn disaster, caused by the snapping of a worn-out rope:

  • 1874 – The Chicago Fire of 1874 burns down 47 acres of the city, destroying 812 buildings, killing 20, and resulting in the fire insurance industry demanding municipal reforms from Chicago’s city council.
  • 1881 – Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.

Here’s Billy the Kid (real name Henry McCarty). He was only 21 when he was shot:

The park includes Carver’s boyhood home, a later home, and the family cemetery. Here’s where he was born:

  • 1960 – Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild.

Here’s Goodall in 1960, probably at Gombe:

  • 1976 – Capital punishment is abolished in Canada.
  • 2016 – A terrorist vehicular attack in Nice, France kills 86 civilians and injures over 400 others.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1862 – Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter and illustrator (d. 1918)
  • 1910 – William Hanna, American animator, director, producer, and actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (d. 2001)
  • 1912 – Woody Guthrie, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1967)
  • 1913 – Gerald Ford, American commander, lawyer, and politician, 38th President of the United States (d. 2006)
  • 1918 – Ingmar Bergman, Swedish director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2007)
  • 1938 – Jerry Rubin, American activist, author, and businessman (d. 1994)

Here’s Gustav Klimt and his beloved kitty (artists favor cats over dogs):

Those who experienced decease on July 14 were few, and include:

  • 1827 – Augustin-Jean Fresnel, French physicist and engineer, reviver of wave theory of light, inventor of catadioptric lighthouse lens (b. 1788)
  • 1881 – Billy the Kid, American criminal (b. 1859)
  • 1939 – Alphonse Mucha, Czech painter and illustrator (b. 1860)

Here’s one of Mucha’s great Art Nouveau posters, Salammbô (1896), with a photo of Mucha below it:


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes an in-joke about her country:

Hili: I’m entering the realm of the absurd.
A: And where have you been?
Hili: In the Valley of the Shadow of Nonsense.
In Polish:
Hili: Wkraczam w krainę absurdu.
Ja: A gdzie byłaś?
Hili: W dorzeczu niedorzecza.

From Jesus of the Day (I have a vague recollection that I may have posted this before):

A cartoon by Matt Handelsman, sent by reader Charles:

Also from Charles, some cat psychiatry:

A tweet from Titania, who shows once again how close wokeness comes to satire.

Duckling rescue!

From Simon, a cool video turned into a geeky science joke:

Tweets from Matthew, who says, “Click on the pic.”

This is ineffably sad. I didn’t know that declared fish extinctions were that rare, but this is apparently the first one in our time:

This is one of those creatures that, even if you knew in advance how evolution worked, you’d never guess would evolve. And no, it’s not a man in a bird suit!

I think this is the second time that the Dean of Canterbury delivered his homily while a cat snarfed his milk:


And a wonderful comet photo:




21 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Trump retweeted this conspiracy-theory tweet from game-show host and conservative Chuck Wollery …

    Come now, my good man, if hosting The Dating Game and Love Connection on teevee does not for expertise on pandemics make, giving one portfolio to expound on the SARS-CoV-2 and to gain the ear of the leader of the free world, what on earth would?

  2. While it is notable that the IUCN has listed a marine fish as extinct for the first time, the story is not as straightforward as it appears. The species is known from a single specimen collected over 200 years ago. (The photograph accompanying the story is not the listed species, but a related one.) In such cases, where almost nothing is known of a species’ distribution or habitat, it can be difficult to say much about its current status. Searches in the vicinity of the only known locality are helpful, but the failure of such searches is not dispositive. The cumulative weight of repeated failure is more compelling, and the IUCN assessors must have thought so; I do not have the specialist knowledge of the assessors for this species, and thus cannot contest their assessment.

    It is, however, not the case that we knew well where this species lived, could go and find them, and now we can’t.

    There are many species known from only a single specimen or locality. Having assessed or reviewed a fair number of species (mostly lizards) for the IUCN myself, I would have been reluctant to list a species so poorly known as “extinct”.

    1. The US is an outlier amongst Western countries in so many ways, many of them not so good at least through the eyes of an outsider. Still, at least the abortion ban in Georgia has been ruled unconstitutional…

  3. Hili is absolutely right. For the last 4 years we’ve been in the realm of the absurd and the Valley of Nonsense. I’ve gotta come up for air.

  4. I suspect, before the end of the day, we’ll hear (a lot) about Bari Weiss’ resigning from the NY Times.

  5. The shoebill reminds me more of the skeksis from The Dark Crystal than The Muppets. Both Jim Henson and Frank Oz creations though, so that explains latest resemblance.

  6. Amazing. Trump now casting doubt on one of the USA’s most esteemed immunologists in Dr. Fauci, while promoting the crazy conspiracy theories of an ex game show host.

    Any sane person understood Trump was unfit for office, but we couldn’t even dream he’d constantly dazzle us with just how bad he’d be.

    Please Mr. Carnival man, I’d like to get out of the fun-house now, back to reality!

  7. @Jerry

    Re: Masks

    Walmart is carrying them here. Last time I looked they had 25 and 50 packs of surgical masks.

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