Thursday: Hili dialogue

February 18, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, February 18, 2021:  National “Drink Wine” Day. And I will—I promise. But why the scare quotes? Are we only supposed to pretend we’ll drink wine? It’s also Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day, Pluto Day, and Thumb Appreciation Day, for which I’ll show this most excellent video:

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot), celebrates the life of Audre Lorde (born 1934, died on this day in 1992), a poet described by Wikipedia as ” a self-described ‘Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,’ who dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, capitalism, heterosexism, and homophobia.” The Doodle gives eight successive quotes from her, emphasizing intersectionality and the essential unity of all struggles. 

News of the Day:

Important! Important! For just this one day only, in honor of the Mars Rover’s (hopefully) successful landing, Krispy Kreme is selling a Mars Donut! From yahoo!life:

The new sweet treat was designed to look like the red planet. The donut is filled with Chocolate Kreme, dipped in caramel icing with a red planet swirl, and topped with chocolate cookie crumbs. Chocolate and caramel? You can’t possibly go wrong.

It may be dire (I don’t much like Krispy Kremes), but you have to admit that it’s a cute donut:

Other important news: C|Net gives you a guide on how to acquire and use the famous “cat filter”, which is especially useful for lawyers. Apparently it’s not so easy to use it without instructions (h/t GInger K.)

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh died yesterday at 70; we’d known for a while, since he announced it in February, that he had terminal lung cancer.  The day after this news, Trump gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In France, one house of the legislature has passed an anti-radicalism law that has Muslims in a rage because it appears to single out Islamic radicalism. The bill, called “Supporting respect for the principles of the Republic,” has these provisions (h/t Hos):

A section that makes it a crime to knowingly endanger the life of a person by providing details of their private life and location is known as the ’’Paty law.” It was named for Samuel Paty, the teacher who was killed outside his school after information about where he taught was posted online in a video.

The bill bolsters other French efforts to fight extremism, mainly security-based.

And although the AP adds this:

. . . The bill mentions neither Muslims nor Islam by name. Supporters say it is aimed at snuffing out what the government describes as an encroaching fundamentalism that is subverting French values, notably the nation’s foundational value of secularism and gender equality.

They also say this:

Lawmakers in the French parliament’s lower house on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would strengthen oversight of mosques, schools and sports clubs to safeguard France from radical Islamists and to promote respect for French values – one of President Emmanuel Macron’s landmark projects.

And France24 says this:

The government insists the bill doesn’t target Muslims. It seeks to halt the issuing of virginity certificates, the practice of polygamy and forced marriage. It would crack down on fundamentalist teaching by requiring all children three and over to be in school, and tighten rules on the funding and functioning of mosques and religious associations.

Doesn’t singling out mosques, and the provisions right above, constitute effectively indicting Islam? I haven’t read the bill, but the claim the bill isn’t aimed at radical Islam seems contradictory. The bill is expected to pass the other legislative body, which is conservative, without a problem.

Surprise! HuffPost reports that a poll it took in collaboration with YouGov shows that “only half of Americans have heard of ‘Cancel Culture’.” (It’s actually 52%.) The reason they’re so happy about this is because they see Cancel Culture as a whipping boy of Republicans, and the fewer Americans that know about it, the better HuffPost like it (they, of course, don’t believe in Cancel Culture). But HuffPost don’t realize that hearing the term and seeing people deplatformed or viciously attacked are two different things. And “Cancel Culture” surely played a role in the absence of the predicted “blue wave” in last November’s elections. Further, the survey shows that “among those who are familiar with the term, 67% say it is a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ serious problem”. I’d fall over if HuffPost ever published a political article that didn’t demonize the Right in some way, for they’re unable to even pretend to be objective (h/t Ken)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 490,326, an increase of about 2,500 deaths over yesterday’s figure We are likely to exceed half a million deaths within a week. The reported world death toll stands 2,442,727, an increase of about 11,300 deaths over yesterday’s total. The death rate appears to be dropping worldwide as well as in the U.S.

Stuff that happened on February 18 includes:

  • 1861 – In Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.
  • 1861 – With Italian unification almost complete, Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont, Savoy and Sardinia assumes the title of King of Italy.
  • 1885 – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published in the United States.

A first edition and first printing of this puppy, in good condition, will cost you about $20,000, and I’m surprised it’s that low:

The book was illustrated; here’s one sort of sad picture:


Not very far! Here’s a postmarked letter from that flight:

Here’s the movement of the tiny dot that was Pluto, a PLANET:

  • 1943 – World War II: The Nazis arrest the members of the White Rose movement.

Christof Probst and Hans and Sophie Scholl, two of the perpetrators of the anti-Nazi movement, were tried four days later and guillotined the same day.  Here is a memorial, with white roses, that stands in room 253 of the Munich Court of Justice, where the three were tried and instantly convicted by Roland Freisler, the Nazi’s odious “hanging judge”.

On the same day that Probst and the Scholls were arrested, and with the war all but lost, the nefarious Goebbels called for “total war” (“totaler Krieg”); see video below. Note that he slips and starts calling for the extermination of the Jews, correcting himself to say, “exclusion of the Jews”

Here are the Seven at a news conference on February 28. How many can you name?

  • 1972 – The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, (6 Cal.3d 628) invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment.
  • 2001 – FBI agent Robert Hanssen is arrested for spying for the Soviet Union. He is ultimately convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Hanssen is living out his days at the Federal Penitentiary “ADX Florence”, the toughest prison in the U.S.

  • 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes the first of hundreds of thousands of classified documents disclosed by the soldier now known as Chelsea Manning.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1745 – Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist, invented the battery (d. 1827)
  • 1838 – Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist and philosopher (d. 1916)
  • 1906 – Hans Asperger, Austrian pediatrician and academic (d. 1980)

What is now known as “Asperger’s Syndrome” was called by him “autistic psychopathy”. Here he is with a young patient in Vienna around 1940:

  • 1931 – Toni Morrison, American novelist and editor, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019).
  • 1933 – Yoko Ono, Japanese-American multimedia artist and musician
  • 1950 – Cybill Shepherd, American actress and singer

Here’s Shepherd starring as Jacy Farrow, the man-killer in my favorite American movie, The Last Picture Show. It was her first film, and she was 21. Jeff Bridges, below, is grinning because they just had sex in a motel. It’s a hilarious scene, because all of Jacy’s friends are lined up in cars parked outside the room, seeing if it really happened.

  • 1954 – John Travolta, American actor, singer and producer
  • 1957 – Vanna White, American model and game show host
  • 1968 – Molly Ringwald, American actress

Those who expired on February 18 include:

  • 1294 – Kublai Khan, Mongol emperor (b. 1215)
  • 1455 – Fra Angelico, Italian priest and painter (b. 1395)

Here’s one of his most famous paintings, “The Annunciation”, now in the Prado:

  • 1546 – Martin Luther, German priest and theologian, leader of the Protestant Reformation (b. 1483)
  • 1564 – Michelangelo, Italian sculptor and painter (b. 1475)
  • 1967 – J. Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist and academic (b. 1904)
  • 1998 – Harry Caray, American sportscaster (b. 1914)
  • 2006 – Bill Cowsill, American singer and guitarist (b. 1948)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s just trying to get some rest on Andrzej’s chair:

A:What are you thinking about?
Hili: That whenever I sleep here you come to disturb me.
In Polish:
Ja: Nad czym myślisz?
Hili: Nad tym, że ile razy tu śpię, to przychodzisz mi przeszkadzać.

And here’s Paulina, who brought baby Hili to Malgorzata and Andrzej a decade ago, photographing Kulka—who may be related to Hili—in the snow (photos by Andrzej):

Apropos of Tuesday’s cynical take on modern pop songs (and Ariana Grande in particular), reader Kieran sends this from SMBC:

More humor for the aged from reader David:

From Jesus of the Day:


From Luana: words worth pondering:

A tweet from Simon. CRISPR, of course, is the newest and coolest way of editing genes:

Tweets from Matthew. First, he got THE JAB!:

Oldest DNA yet recovered, and sequenced as well. There were two lineages of mammoths in Siberia at the time, only one of which colonized North America:

Herding cows is easier than herding cats:

They’re so lovely but so vicious. . . .

Of this one Matthew says, “I hope she got therapy afterwards.”  I have no idea what this is from, but if it’s a practical joke, it’s not funny. I suspect it’s from a Japanese game show or something:

This is the kind of thing theologians get paid to argue about:

15 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. … the claim the bill isn’t aimed at radical Islam seems contradictory.

    I guess what they’re saying is that the bill does indeed target “radical Islam” but does not target “Muslims”, in that moderate Muslims are not targeted and can support the bill (as some do).

  2. Here are the [Chicago] Seven at a news conference on February 28. How many can you name?

    I used to have a hard time recalling John Froines and Lee Weiner off the top of my head, but after watching Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 a few months ago, I can remember all seven (eight, if we include Bobby Seale, whose case was severed after Judge Julius Hoffman declared a mistrial as to him).

    There was some inspired casting in that flick, including, especially, Sacha Baron Cohen as the clown-prince of the antiwar movement, Abbie Hoffman.

    1. Obituary in this morning’s wapo for Rennie Davis, second from left in picture with microphone across his arm, who died February 2 from cancer at age 80.

  3. Not having any idea who Ayishat Akanbi might be, I googled her. Turns out she’s written a book about wokeness, The Awokening: Clarity, Culture and Identity in the Web of Chaos. By “reimagining the phenomena of ‘wokeness,’” Akanbi hopes that her book will “provide an alternative to our culture of public shaming and moral purity.” More here. Sounds maybe promising.

  4. Does the bill target Islam or does it just happen to be that at this current time and place that Islamic radicals are causing more problems than other radicals?

    1. I’d like something that doesn’t massively restrict the freedoms of everybody while being almost useless in tackling the problem. Targeting islamists is the lesser evil.

      1. The best thing they (or any country) can do is prohibit Saudi Wahhabi imans in their mosques. They CAN just not issue visas to them. And possibly monitor Saudi religious investment. Their active and subsidized spreading of Wahhabism/Salafism has caused pretty much ALL the problems of Islam vs the rest.
        D.A., J.D.
        (writer about Middle East polices – atty)

  5. … the Federal Penitentiary “ADX Florence”, the toughest prison in the U.S.

    The Florence “Supermax” ranks as the nation’s “toughest,” I suppose, in terms of being the most secure and the one imposing the strictest isolation on inmates. But it’s clean and it’s safe from inmate-on-inmate violence, and I know from some legal visits there that the staff has a relatively laidback Rocky Mountain vibe (as opposed the the mean redneck persona one tends to encounter from corrections personnel at some rural penitentiaries).

    There are certainly other federal penitentiaries, and most state maximum-security facilities, that are much more overcrowded, filthy, and dangerous.

  6. 1972 – The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, (6 Cal.3d 628) invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment.

    California reinstated the death penalty a few months later with Proposition 17. The first post-Anderson execution was carried out 10 years later, in 1992, and 13 prisoners were executed from then until 2006, when a capital punishment moratorium was imposed over the state’s use of lethal injection. There are currently 744 inmates awaiting execution on California’s death row.

  7. “Jeff Bridges, below, is grinning because they just had sex in a motel.” Actually they just hadn’t had sex in this scene because Duane (Jeff Bridges) couldn’t rise to the occasion.

  8. Paulina is looking stylish wearing those high heel pumps in the snow. 👍 Now I see where we’re getting all those great Kulka shots adventuring outdoors.

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