Sunday: Hili dialogue

March 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, March 21, 2021. It’s National Crunchy Taco Day. (I prefer mine uncrunchy.)

It’s also many other holidays: Great American Meatout, National California Strawberry DayNational French Bread DayNational Healthy Fats DayNational Fragrance DayBuzzard DayWorld Sparrow DayInternational Day of ForestsInternational Francophonie DayWorld Poetry DayInternational Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, World Poetry Day, World Puppetry Day, and Atheist Pride Day.

In honor of World Sparrow Day, here’s a white-throat sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis):

News of the Day:

You probably already know most of the news, and there isn’t much for me to add: Atlanta is having big demonstrations against hatred of Asians (we had one in Chicago, too), an you can read about each of the eight victims of the Atlanta shooting here.

Unaccompanied children continue to accumulate at and across the border. As The Washington Post reports:

There are currently more than 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children in the care of Health and Human Services, and 5,000 more in the care of Customs and Border Protection, nearly twice the previous record, according to the latest figures obtained by The Washington Post.

Many of these children are still in custody despite the legal requirement of no detention longer than 72 hours. I still have no idea where these children will go if their parents don’t enter the country. Who will take care of them? Don’t they need their parents with them? In the meantime, the Biden administration denies, in the face of all the facts, as well as statements of the immigrants themselves, that new immigration policies had anything to do with this situation, nor that there’s a crisis, even though the NBC Evening News headlined the story as “Border Crisis”.  Dems have to fix this mess quickly and humanely lest the GOP make this a big selling point during the midterms.

As I said repeatedly, we can now stick a fork in New York governor Andrew Cuomo, because he’s done. Another woman has come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct, creating an unpleasant atmosphere in his office. And “in his office” is relevant, for the accuser, Alyssa McGrath, is currently an employee in Cuomo’s office. Although most elected officials from New York have suggested he step down, 50% of New York voters don’t think he should resign immediately, while only 35% say he should, with 15% undecided. This is a curious disconnect between the opinion of the public and of elected officials.

Have you been fully vaccinated and are wondering what you can now do safely? There are two new articles on this, one in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 541,493, an increase of 773 deaths over yesterday’s figure.  The death rate is clearly falling; I don’t remember a daily figure of fewer than a hundred in the past year.  The reported world death toll stands at 2,723,088, an increase of about about 8,400 deaths over yesterday’s total. 

Stuff that happened on March 21 includes:

  • 630 – Emperor Heraclius returns the True Cross, one of the holiest Christian relics, to Jerusalem.
  • 1556 – On the day of his execution in Oxford, former archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer deviates from the scripted sermon by renouncing the recantations he has made and adds, “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine.”

More details of Cranmer’s recantation and execution from Wikipedia:

Cranmer was told that he would be able to make a final recantation but this time in public during a service at the University Church. He wrote and submitted the speech in advance and it was published after his death. At the pulpit on the day of his execution, he opened with a prayer and an exhortation to obey the king and queen, but he ended his sermon totally unexpectedly, deviating from the prepared script. He renounced the recantations that he had written or signed with his own hand since his degradation and he stated that, in consequence, his hand would be punished by being burnt first. He then said, “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine.”[105] He was pulled from the pulpit and taken to where Latimer and Ridley had been burnt six months before. As the flames drew around him, he fulfilled his promise by placing his right hand into the heart of the fire while saying “that unworthy hand”. His dying words were, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit …; I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

It’s a pity that such bravery has to go to defending one religion against another instead of something more meaningful.

Here’s the first page of the Butler Act, which of course was challenged by John Scopes that same year and adjudicated (and upheld) by the Scopes “Monkey Trial”. Note that the bill prohibits the teaching of human evolution, not evolution occurring in any other species. Had substitute-teacher Scopes talked about evolution in general in his class, and hadn’t mentioned evolution, he could not have been a test case of The Butler Act.

  • 1928 – Charles Lindbergh is presented with the Medal of Honor for the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.
  • 1935 – Shah of Iran Reza Shah Pahlavi formally asks the international community to call Persia by its native name, Iran.
  • 1946 – The Los Angeles Rams sign Kenny Washington, making him the first African American player in professional American football since 1933.
  • 1963 – Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary (in California) closes.
  • 1965 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Here’s a photo of some marchers. There were several marches during that period, culminating in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

This is one of the most recent cases of mass hysteria we have, but read about nine others throughout history, and don’t miss the “Meowing and Biting Nuns”!

Here’s a short documentation of the unpowered flight, which lasted nearly 20 days:

Notables born on this day were few, and include:

Wally ‘n’ me!, May 2013. He was visiting to give a talk, and when I met with him we talked photography rather than science (he’s an avid amateur photographer). On the screen, one of his photos. Note that his posture is much better than mine.

  • 1970 – Cenk Uygur, Turkish-American political activist

Cenk is 50 today. I don’t like him.

Those who experienced a demise on March 21 were also few, and include:

  • 1556 – Thomas Cranmer, English archbishop (b. 1489)
  • 1617 – Pocahontas, Algonquian Indigenous princess (b. c. 1595)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is observing Andrzej through the window:

A: What are you looking at?
Hili: I’m observing you how you think.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Patrzę jak myślisz, to bardzo zabawnie wygląda. It looks very funny.

And here’s a photo of Szaron, who is getting along much better with Hili these days:

From Rick: A most excellent SMBC cartoon:

From Bruce:

Someone sent this to me, but I forgot who (sorry!). It’s a cartoon by Mark Parisi.

I found a tweet of a Japanese temple deer bowing, but it disappeared overnight. Here’s another one. Apparently the sacred deer have learned to bow for deer crackers:

Here’s one from Instagram:

From Simon. Cats and turtles all the way down!

Tweets from Matthew. I didn’t know prairie dogs could do this. They’re like animal Slinkies:

The beautiful sand cat, Felis margarita.

Here’s another photo from Wikipedia:

A restorative act of humanity:

Neymar gets his jab!

This is the biggest fly I’ve ever seen, by a long shot:

A bracing minute of barn owls:

68 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

        1. Ah – thank you. As a A-atheist Pride Dayist, I am proud to know I was wrong about Atheist Pride Day – imagine the Atheist Pride Day cake, games, and parties that did not exist!

  1. Dems have to fix this mess quickly and humanely …

    The problem is that there is no humane solution. If migrants receive the sort of decent, humane treatment that we would all want them to receive, then that encourages more to come. Does anyone have good ideas for getting out of that bind ….? (If you do, I’m sure Biden would love to hear from you, as would politicians in Europe, Australia, etc.)

    1. Stop the clock, folks! Two months of a democrat being in office before we switched to “well it’s unfortunate, but we need the concentration camps”.

      It’s almost like you absolute ghouls just found Trump gauche and never cared about the children at all.

      1. Have you read the Roolz? (I suspect you haven’t.) You are not allowed to call readers names like “ghouls”. The rest of your comment would have been fine, but you will apologize for the name-calling or you’ll never post here again.

      2. Hi Pat, feel free to tell us what your preferred policy would be. Argue for open borders if you wish, but be sure to think through the consequences.

    2. You won’t stop people from trying to come in to your country by making it inhumane for the people who get caught. If you think about what they went through to get there in the first place, you’d understand they are desperate. The only way you are going to stop people from wanting to come to the USA is to make life better in their own country.

      Not that I understand why everybody is so concerned about immigrants. As a rule they are good for the economy and the government.

      1. On “good for the economy” — and this is a genuine question — is there good evidence that immigrants increase GDP per capita (as opposed to simply increasing GDP)?

        1. They certainly become a focus for resentments. In a geographically small country like the UK we have had a huge influx of migrants/immigrants in the last 25 years or so – some to stay. Most of them are lower end jobs not high end jobs.

          This means more urban sprawl, pressure on schools & public services, more little boxes spreading across the countryside, more carbon emissions, less land for farming & less space for wildlife. But that is the same all over…

          1. you think picks your sprouts? (Autocorrect wanted me to go with “prouts” so perhaps this disgusting vegetable represents your “magdalene” moment?)

          2. According to the BBC,

            The number of people living in the UK could have fallen significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. One study suggested 1.3 million foreign-born people may have left the country between 2019 and 2020.The report, by the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCOE), was followed by a similar study from University of Oxford, which suggested that between about 400,000 and 600,000 people had departed.

            Younger working-age people in their 20s and 30s had left in the greatest numbers, according to the Oxford report.


          3. I think it is harder for countries who haven’t been traditionally immigrant societies (UK, Denmark, Japan, etc) to absorb immigrants – particularly those from wildly different cultures. It is not an unreasonable reaction when you think about it though no reason to be jerks about it. (I’m not saying you are, I’m thinking of Nigel Farrage.)

            For those countries that do have a major immigrant history (USA, Australia, Canada, Israel) … different story. Pulling up the ladder after oneself or one’s family have arrived from elsewhere is a bad look.

            (an Australian immigrant to the US, 1993)

      2. “The only way you are going to stop people from wanting to come to the USA is to make life better in their own country.”

        And the Biden administration is doing just that. Here’s an excerpt of an article I found.

        If you own a car in El Salvador, there is a good chance you pay gangs a monthly fee to keep it safe. It is just a fact of life, according to Alberto Velázquez Trujillo, director of Faith in Action in Central America.

        You also cannot drink the municipal tap water, so you will have to divert a good percentage of your income to bottled water, he said. Then again, you might not have a job, so you will not be able to afford purified water.

        The Biden administration has vowed to invest $4 billion in Central America to address issues like these and other factors that drive immigration to the United States. They include economic insecurity, violence, environmental crises and government corruption.

        On his first day in office, Mr. Biden introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, an immigration reform bill that offers aid to Central America. The bill proposes an approach that focuses on private investment in Central America, supporting programs to improve security and the rule of law and to confront corruption.

        I agree with you that this is the best (only?) real solution. But the money can’t be dumped into corrupt countries; there needs to be accountability and transparency. Of course, the administration knows this, and hopefully they will be able to distribute the money accurately and successfully.

        I’ll just add, as if it’s any surprise, that in 2017 the Trump administration slashed all funding to Central America. I’m sure this fact has exacerbated the current surge at the border.

    3. I agree with the Biden administration’s not calling this a “crisis” but they need to counter with a solid plan of action to make it true. So far we don’t hear too many answers. It is also hard to believe they didn’t know this was going to happen. Although the Trump border plan was brutal, my guess is that it worked to discourage people trying to come to the US. If you remove the brutality, the pent-up demand will be the obvious reaction. Assuming they knew this, is it possible they already had a plan to let this become a problem for a short time only to show how good they are at cleaning it up? Probably not. Biden isn’t that devious, is he?

  2. I see Tennessee is continuing the proud tradition of brain removal with the latest dust up at their capital building where a bust of their greatest war hero Nathan Bedford Forrest sits. It was installed in the 70s and recently the Capital Commission voted to remove the bust. However, the republicans are not happy with that and instead would remove the commission.

  3. 1804 – Code Napoléon is adopted as French civil law.

    Elements of which continue to govern Louisiana law, according to noted legal scholar Mr. Stanley Kowalski:

  4. “Atheist Pride Day”

    Oh that – I always forget. In the way I always forget about non-golfer day, a-astrologer day, and a-skier day. So it’s good to have a reminder! A day where I can say out loud that the identity of the atheist is just as important as those other a-days.

      1. That non-blood day, is that the same as non-bleeding day. That’s the day I want to go to the doctor.

          1. Ah. Not quite. The old blood letting or bleeding most likely killed lots of patients but the medical boys kept doing it anyway. Likely it killed George Washington as they guessed at least 2 pints were drained out of him while he was sick in bed.

    1. “a-skier”:

      Here “skier” refers surely to alpine, participants whose lives are largely taken up in the queue for the gondola, and the trip uphill.

      Always possible to take up nordic, AKA cross country, skiing. So positive, rather than negative, response to the sport where they wear foot wide boards, clamp their 3-pound boots at the heel to them, and wouldn’t dream of actually climbing the hill with their own effort—AKA recreational alpine skiing, or downhill.

      I’m exaggerating of course; the international alpine ski competitors really are extraordinary athletes doing pretty dangerous things in downhill and superG. And some of the snowboard events are absolutely the most entertaining for TV spectators!

      1. Interesting idea

        “One more day – one god further”

        “________ days with no gods”

        How many days old is our universe?

        1. That’s an interesting idea. When was atheism “invented”? Were there atheists among the cave men? We know there aren’t any in foxholes but that’s not very helpful.

    1. Humanists UK has been running a campaign to remind people to tick the “No Religion” box on the “What is your religion?” question. I certainly did so. It will be interesting to see the outcome when the statistics are published later this year.

    2. Interesting, Jeremy. I just completed the Census for my own household and assisted my mother with hers. Kudos to your brother!

  5. Mass participation triathletes (and other such aerobic athletes—marathoners, nordic skiers, even climbers which apparently has become a competitive sport partly) mostly do it for self satisfaction, and train also for good health but you gotta keep it up into old age.

    So that admirable behaviour on the video didn’t surprise me in the least, from knowledge of many of the people I know. Lots of them have an excess of competitiveness, but wouldn’t dream of any kind of trickery or cheating, e.g. getting EPO or other unethical help. A few get altitude tents, i.e. sleep high, train low works to increase aerobic capacity, but very few I think, that aspect being on the line with respect to ethics. I doubt it has any effect on health.

  6. Have you been fully vaccinated and are wondering what you can now do safely? There are two new articles on this, one in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

    As a 57 year old Canadian I am suffering from ever more excruciating vaccine-envy!

    We’ve had a truly foot-dragging roll out of the vaccine here, and we are in this limbo of “will the vaccines actually show up on time?” due to things like vaccine nationalism. (Not that Canada itself is free of such blame).

    On the American forums I read it seems EVERYONE is getting vaccinated. Not only that, plenty are refusing the vaccine “I’m not gonna take that b.s. vaccine!” and “I got offered but refused. Why should I take it? I’m young and healthy!”

    I want to reach through the screen, shake them, and say “Then give it to me or someone who appreciates the vaccine!” And it’s just amazing to me that after a year of a pandemic, with information about why people (even currently healthy people) should get vaccinated, it hasn’t sunk in.
    At some point I have a hard time pushing off judgement from “It’s just a lack of information or ignorance” to…no…at this point it speaks to some level of actual stupidity.

    In my province of Ontario the variants are taking over, cases are shooting up, hospitals reporting getting more full and that people are entering the hospital younger and sicker than before. So while we see others getting vaccinated (thank goodness my mother got the shot!) for those of us last-in-the-vaccine line it’s actually more dangerous than it’s ever been out there, which makes the wait all the more difficult.

    Sorry for kvetching. It’s a glass-half-empty day in pandemic-brainville.

    1. It is true that in Canada in every province and territory the percentage of vaccine administered has stayed high, as supplies have come in, but too slowly. Someone here awhile ago seemed to say that our lack of production facilities was the fault of a Conservative, Harper I think, government bad decision years ago. That wouldn’t be surprising, but I haven’t checked.

      At least here, vaccine ignorance and then resistance to getting it does seem lower than in US. Still I sometimes unrealistically wonder if there couldn’t be some sneaky way to ‘inoculate’ all TV sets so that they release a god-awful stink into the house every time Faux News is tuned into.

      I’m old in Ontario, just got 1st jab of the vaccine, and so will my younger wife in a few days. I do think they are doing pretty well at a very difficult job at least now this month. Certainly doing the reservations online is vastly faster than by phone. And I have a feeling that the variants are being poorly presented by the news, and will be less of a problem for the scientists than feared, though getting to the stage of suppressing Covid will take longer.

    2. My sister, mid/late 50s and living in Oregon, has been griping about still not having had her jab in Oregon if it’s any consolation. In the UK we apparently set our new national record, with over 844,000 jabs yesterday. It isn’t going to last, though, as vaccine supply is about to get “lumpy” apparently .

      1. I hear you.

        Though I’m amazed to see many in America, having been vaccinated, starting to talk about the pandemic almost in the past sense. What it “was like” during the pandemic.

        Meanwhile I realized that given Canada is now allowing a 4 month spread between 1st and 2nd doses, folks like me and my same age pals may not be fully vaccinated until November! And that’s IF the vaccine pipeline to Canada doesn’t suffer more big bumps from vaccine nationalism from USA or EU!

          1. It seems that most of the travel restrictions being discussed in the UK have to do with continuing to block travel from the UK to the EU because of the fear of brining back variants from poorly vaccinated areas. I’m trying to figure out when the UK officials will begin to allow vaccinated persons to visit the UK from the US. From what I can detect there is an expectation of internal restrictions being mostly gone in a month or two. (I’ve got these airline tickets to Glasgow that have been kicked into the future twice since the pandemic struck and I’m wanting to use them at the end of May.)

  7. I mostly prefer uncrunchy tacos also. However, there’s a food trend sweeping Southern California (perhaps wider but not traveling right now) that is worth noting. Birria tacos! They are crunchy tacos filled with stewed beef or goat. They are served with a thin chili gravy for dipping. The combination is great. Here’s a picture. I’ve now made myself hungry but today’s lunch is Korean via my wife’s visiting family so I’ll have to wait.

      1. In my home town near Seattle, WA, there is a taco truck that serves birria. You can have it in tacos, burritos, tortas, or à la carte which is served like a stew with tortillas on the side. I’ve actually made it with lamb (since I couldn’t find goat) and it was wonderful. It has spices like cinnamon and clove, which gives it its unique flavor, and uses both ancho and guajillo chilies. I’m hungry now too, but I think I’ll take Paul’s authentic Korean lunch instead. 🙂

        1. Some of my Korean lunch will be authentic as it will be cooked at the home of my aunt-in-law who’s Korean but some of it is from the local Korean supermarket, H-Mart.

          I’ve always wondered about the name, H-Mart. It ought to be K-Mart but I guess that was taken. Their stores are a Disneyland of Asian foods, though biased toward Korean, and I recommend a visit. They have 66 stores in 12 states according to Wikipedia.

          1. H-Mart is the best! There is one about 40 minutes away that I visit a few times a year. I cook Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese cuisine (I’m such the appropriator) and H-Mart has supplied any ingredient I’ve ever needed (though sometimes I need help locating it). So with H-Mart supplementing your meal, you’re in good hands; I always buy a pound of their bulgogi. And I bet if I wanted to make birria with goat, I could get it there too.

            I also found this:

            The “H” stands for han ah reum, a Korean phrase that roughly translates to “one arm full of groceries.”
            Love the translation!

          2. I see we have an H-Mart in Toronto, but I actually haven’t been into the city in about a year. We do have a good Korean store quite nearby and a new, excellent Chinese supermarket very nearby, which also carries some Korean and Japanese foods.

    1. There is a little place in our town that makes very good braised lamb tacos. They also have a variety of about 100 different tequilas. My kind of place.

        1. Come on down any time!

          Haven’t had them in a while, what with covid and all. Now I’m thinking I might have to braise a lamb shoulder in my new multicooker.

      1. Do you stick with one favorite tequila, or do you try new ones each time? I think I’d have to try a new one each time. 100 varieties? That’s nuts…in a good way. 🙂
        I wish there was a Mexican place around here that served lamb/goat. Nada.

        1. I seem to have the same problem you do. I’m compelled to try new stuff. Lots of misses that way, but it’s the only way to find new good stuff.

          1. But it’s worth it when you do! I’m like that with beer too. I’m glad they allow you to break up a six pack, or I’d have wasted LOTS of money by now.

            1. Absolutely. I love the make your own 6-pack thing that has become common. Lets me try 6 new beers at one time with low risk. Most recently I picked up a Mexican hot chocolate brown ale and an orange creamsicle wheat ale that were new to me. The former is a keeper, the latter not so much.

              1. We have similar tastes, as I’d have picked out those two as well. Both sound excellent, though the proof is in the tasting, of course. As we’re on the subject, one reason I like ciders nowadays is how they follow the seasons (or trends) and all my favorite producers create a new offering every quarter, or so. Some are way out there like habanero (good!) and “saffron solstice” (a little weird). You get the picture. Beer brewers do it to some extent, but not as much as the cider makers (are they considered brewers too?)

  8. Regarding psychosomatic freak-outs with international implications, the most recent I`m aware of, from 2018, involved suspected sonic weapons (developed by Putin, of course) used against US diplomatic staff serving in the territories of US arch-enemies Cuba and China. In Cuba, high-frequency chirps of tropical crickets have been suggested as possible culprits.

  9. Regarding the deer at Nara temple, be sure to buy plenty of the senbei (deer biscuits). I know from experience that the deer (however holy) are prone to bite if one doesn’t reciprocate to their bow with a biscuit!

  10. The enormous black fly seems indeed to be a species of Gauromydas, perhaps G. heros (a “Mydas fly”: See the link at end; Google will translate it to a reasonably understandable English). The fly looks and is reported to behave like a Tarantula Hawk (Pepsis spp.). Pepsis wasps have really nasty stings, making the fly a Batesian mimic. Tarantula Hawks are common in São Paulo, but I have never (knowingly) seen the fly.

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