Tuesday: Hili dialogue

April 13, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s Tuesday, April 13, 2021: National Peach Cobbler Day (a dessert on offer at some of the BBQ restaurants I visited in Texas). It’s also Scrabble Day (celebrating the 1899 birthday of the game’s inventor, Alfred Butts), and Thomas Jefferson Day (he was born April 13, 1743).

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) marks the 151st anniversary of the opening of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, showing some of the items on display.

News of the Day:

There’s been another shooting of a black man by a Minnesota cop; this time a 20 year old named Daunte Wright was killed by a single shot from a cop (the cop’s race was unspecified, but of course is vital in cases like this). Wright was pulled over for an expired registration when the incident took place. Apparently bodycam footage shows that the cop mistook her (it was a woman) gun for a taser. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but there will be an investigation. According to the NYT, “protests, violence, and looting” broke out in a suburb north of Minneapolis. Joe Biden reacted with the proper restraint and condemnation of violent protest::

President Biden said he had watched the body-camera footage, which he described as “fairly graphic.”

“The question is: Was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” Mr. Biden said at the White House.

“In the meantime,” he added, “I want to make it clear again: There is absolutely no justification — none — for looting, no justification for violence.”

Wright’s mother has also called for calm.

Speaking of police killings, there’s an op-ed in the WaPo called “How toxic masculinity helped kill George Floyd.” The argument for that motivation or cause is, shall we say, extremely thin (if you hold it sideways, it disappears). The editorial is ludicrous and should not have been published. It shows that the Post is not just woke, but woke to the point of losing any semblance of journalistic standards.

The lockdown has eased in England, as shops, hairdressers, and PUBS have reopened after a Johnson-imposed lockdown.  I’ve missed my trips to the UK and especially those great, well-kept pints of real ale. Oh for a Taylor’s Landlord!

The BBC reports that a deaf sheepdog in Norfolk named Peggy has learned to respond to hand signals and body language instead of whistles and calls. The link gives more information, but I’ve put a video below. (There’s a similar situation with a deaf dog named Gus, though he transitioned from sheep to goats.) [h/t: Jez]

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 562,007, an increase of just 476 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,961,025, an increase of about 10,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on April 13 includes:


  • 1861 – American Civil War: Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces.
  • 1870 – The New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art is founded. [See above]
  • 1873 – The Colfax massacre, in which more than 60 black men are murdered, takes place.

Some details from Wikipedia:

The Colfax massacre, sometimes referred to by the euphemism Colfax riot, occurred on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, in Colfax, Louisiana, the seat of Grant Parish. An estimated 62-153 black militia men were killed while surrendering to a mob of former Confederate soldiers, members of the Ku Klux Klan and the White League. Three white men also died in the confrontation.

In the wake of the contested 1872 election for governor of Louisiana and local offices, a group of white Democrats armed with rifles and a small cannon, overpowered Republican freedmen and state militia (also black) occupying the Grant Parish courthouse in Colfax. Most of the freedmen were killed after surrendering; nearly 50 were killed later that night after being held as prisoners for several hours. Estimates of the number of dead have varied, ranging from 62 to 153; three whites died but the number of black victims was difficult to determine because many bodies were thrown into the Red River or removed for burial, possibly at mass graves.

Here’s a picture from the time: “All native men were forced to crawl the Kucha Kurrichhan on their hands and knees as punishment, 1919″.  This was also ordered by General Dyer before the massacre because a group of Indians had assaulted a female missionary on that street. Dyer was a nasty piece of work. 

This is another massacre of the innocents, one that gave considerable leverage to the Indian independence movement. Dyer was removed from duty but not otherwise punished. To some, he was even a hero!  Here’s a re-creation of the massacre from the movie “Gandhi”:

  • 1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson’s birth.
  • 1958 – American pianist Van Cliburn is awarded first prize at the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Here’s a report on his prize (you can see his whole performance here):

Here’s Poitier’s award, presented by Anne Bancroft. Poitier is still alive at 94.

  • 1976 – The United States Treasury Department reintroduces the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson’s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.
  • 1997 – Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1519 – Catherine de’ Medici, Italian-French wife of Henry II of France (d. 1589)
  • 1570 – Guy Fawkes, English soldier, planned the Gunpowder Plot (probable; d. 1606)
  • 1743 – Thomas Jefferson, American lawyer and politician, 3rd President of the United States (d. 1826)
  • 1866 – Butch Cassidy, American criminal (d. 1908

Here’s Cassidy (seated, right) with a bunch of his thuggish associates, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Harry Longabaugh, “the “Sundance Kid”,  is seated on the extreme left:

  • 1906 – Samuel Beckett, Irish novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
  • 1909 – Eudora Welty, American short story writer and novelist (d. 2001)
  • 1919 – Madalyn Murray O’Hair, American activist, founded American Atheists (d. 1995)
  • 1924 – Jack T. Chick, American author, illustrator, and publisher (d. 2016)

Many of us read and enjoyed Chick’s over-the-top Christian pamphlets, especially the ones about evolution. Here’s a few frames from his famous “Big Daddy” strip, in which a Christian student dismantles his evolution-teaching professor:

  • 1939 – Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)

Those who went to a greater glory on April 13 include:

This financier and businessman was known for his power as a trencherman. Here’s an account of his meals from Wikipedia:

Brady’s enormous appetite was as legendary as his wealth, though modern experts believe it was greatly exaggerated. It was not unusual, according to the legend, for Brady to eat enough food for ten people at a sitting. George Rector, owner of a favorite restaurant, described Brady as “the best 25 customers I ever had”. For breakfast, he would eat “vast quantities of hominy, eggs, cornbread, muffins, flapjacks, chops, fried potatoes, beefsteak, washing it all down with a gallon of fresh orange juice”. A mid-morning snack would consist of “two or three dozen clams or Lynnhaven oysters”. Luncheon would consist of “shellfish…two or three deviled crabs, a brace of boiled lobsters, a joint of beef, and an enormous salad”. He would also include a dessert of “several pieces of homemade pie” and more orange juice. Brady would take afternoon tea, which consisted of “another platter of seafood, accompanied by two or three bottles of lemon soda”. Dinner was the main meal of the day, taken at Rector’s Restaurant. It usually comprised “two or three dozens oysters, six crabs, and two bowls of green turtle soup. Then in sumptuous procession came six or seven lobsters, two canvasback ducks, a double portion of terrapin, sirloin steak, vegetables, and for dessert a platter of French pastries.” Brady would even include two pounds of chocolate candy to finish off the meal.

I’m in awe!

  • 1956 – Emil Nolde, Danish-German painter and educator (b. 1867)

Here’s a fine cat painting by Nolde:

  • 1993 – Wallace Stegner, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1909)
  • 2006 – Muriel Spark, Scottish novelist, poet, and critic (b. 1918)

If you haven’t read any Spark, I recommend The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which was made into a movie starring Maggie Smith, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.

Likewise, Grass’s early novels, especially The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse, and Dog Years, are terrific.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata explains the dialogue:

Old people are grumpy, pessimistic and fearful. The fact that both Andrzej and Hili find the situation (in the world) terrifying may be a sign that they are both old and not a verdict on the state of the world.

The dialogue:

Hili: All this horrifies me.
A: Me too.
Hili: We are getting old.
In Polish:
Hili: Przeraża mnie to wszystko.
Ja: Mnie też.
Hili: Starzejemy się.
And a photo of Szaron (on the first floor windowsill) with the caption, “A view from Paulia’s balcony”.
In Polish: Widok z Pauliny balkonu.

From Facebook:

From Bruce:

An optical illusion from Jesus of the Day:

Titania finds more examples of opposite actions that are both racist:

This was on the news last night. Michael Fisher, once a master sergeant in the Marine Corps, gives the first salute to his newly-commissioned son, Second Lieutenant Triston Fisher, who followed in his dad’s footsteps to become a jarhead. It’s a moving moment, and dad calls his son “sir,” for a Second Lt. outranks a Master Sergeant.

Reader Barry says this about the tweet below:

“Not your favorite mammal, …but his reaction to what he sees on the television screen fascinates me. Why does the dog react this way? It seems to ‘know’ that Darth Vader is a menacing character. Is the dog reacting to the heavy breathing? Is it because Vader is dressed in black and towers over everyone? Is it the music? I’d love to hear from a dog specialist and ask what’s going on, how it is that a dog can have such a reaction to a two-dimensional moving image with music. Amazing.”

Tweets from Matthew. I read this Crick anecdote somewhere before. The guy had moxie—and principles!

Look at that head stabilization!

Two people with futuristic cat carriers. I’ve seen these devices on the Internet, but never in person:

I truly wonder whether this memorandum is for real:

There is no insect funnier-looking than this one!

26 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Is it possible that Minnesota is the new Mississippi. This attempted arrest and shooting indicates this is a police force without proper training and one has to wonder if they even know what they are doing?

    1. Or perhaps it is just highly selective outrage. There are hundreds of blacks shot by law enforcement each year in the US, more than enough to provide pretext for riotous celebrations all year round.

      I suspect the least well-trained police officers are found in rural white communities (where there is little to do and no one gets upset if a criminal dies).

    2. If you are only listening to NPR, you’re getting a slanted take.

      I’m not saying the shooting was justified. What I am saying is: Too early to tell.

      What you don’t hear on NPR is that Wright was pulled over for expired license plate tabs. The police attempted to arrest him after putting in his DL because he had an active arrest warrant. He resisted arrest and tried to flee.

      And every cop knows this can happen when a person resists arrest and goes for their car door (clearly these cops needed better training as well):

      Again, I’m not saying this was a justified shooting. But if you take NPR’s take, it sounds like they pulled him over for having an air-freshener hanging from his rear view mirror and then the just hopped out and shot him.

      1. I am not getting any of this from NPR and that would make no difference to me. It would make no difference if I got it from Fox, heaven forbid. I watched the complete video and listened to what was happening. Does anyone every do that. I mean not take some bodies slant but only uses their own. How crude this would be.

        They had the guy out of the car facing his car and attempting to put on hand cuffs. Apparently the cop doing this had never used cuffs before because he never came close. Also, having got the guy out of the car, why would you leave the keys in it? Really stupid. So then, after screwing up the hand cuffing the guy actually gets back into the car – with three policemen/women right there. How does this happen? Then the woman police person, with 26 years on the force, shoots the guy with her gun when she was hoping for the taser? This is beyond comprehension. She is surprised and says – Oh, I shot him. This woman police is also a training officer. Then to finish it off – the guy takes off down the road and crashes his car. Who cares what they pulled him over for? Look at the facts in front of you.

        1. Even the intended tasering is questionable. So her plan was to send a strong electric charge through a guy who has his foot near the gas pedal of a car, while there are a bunch of officers milling about the car? Entirely aside from pulling the wrong sidearm, that doesn’t seem wise.

          1. Exactly. These cops are so covered with crap, tasers and pepper spray, guns and bullets, radios and cameras. They look like a pack of Marines hitting the shore – only they are only pulling over a driver in the city. How does a cop and his buddies sit on the neck of a dying man for 9 minutes while someone takes a video of it? I guess we need more facts.

            1. And any car they pull over in the city might turn into resisting arrest, high-speed flight, or shooting (by the person pulled over). In an instant.

      2. Based on what is known, the officer intended to use their taser, which seems more appropriate at that split second. But the confusion is how hard is it to pull the wrong weapon when making those split decisions.

  2. Observing the dog watching Darth Vader, I’m reminded of the behavior of our five cats, all lying about watching with much interest a show about South American forest life. The sound is off, but there are tapirs, jaguars, coatis, assorted parrots, etc., all apparently of interest to the five cats.
    Then there is a clip of a harpy eagle sitting on a branch. The cats are transfixed, staring immobile at this thing as if it were of more significance than all the other animals combined.
    The bird is still for a time. looking at the camera; then it spreads its huge wings and launches directly toward the camera.
    Boom! Room emptied of cats!

    1. Our former cat Tilly, whose foolishness has been noted at WEIT in the past (https://whyevolutionistrue.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/thumbnail_Tilly-in-the-washing-machine.jpg ) once, and only once, reacted to something on TV. We were watching Gardners’ World when she suddenly spotted a mouse on the screen and was absolutely transfixed. When it ran out of view, Tilly pounced behind the TV set looking for it, and she spent the next few minutes mightily puzzled about where the rodent had disappeared. I’ve never seen an animal watch TV in that way before or since.

      1. My thought was, give the doge the remote so he might select another channel – or turn it off.

      2. My three year old cat Rain watches the live cam of the bird feeders on Sapsucker Pond at Cornell Uni every morning. He will meow until I turn it on, and then watches it solidly for long periods of time. While he seems to enjoy watching the birds, he gets very excited when a squirrel appears, batting at the tv, looking behind it, and once knocking the tv over by leaping at a squirrel on screen.

      3. We had just moved to a new home with a four bladed ceiling fan in our bedroom. Our cat, which had been accustomed to sleeping on the bed at night, refused to enter the bedroom. After many days of trying to entice the cat into the room, we draped a sheet over the fan blades – in came the cat. All we could figure is the fan triggered instinctive fear of avian attack from above.

  3. Apparently bodycam footage shows that the cop mistook her (it was a woman) gun for a taser. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but there will be an investigation.

    The body cam footage and the Police (chief?) short analysis of it is worth watching, IMO.

    My initial thought after seeing it is (1) yes it was a screw-up, not an intentional shooting, but (2) it was such an egregious departure from training/expected conduct that I’d personally be fine with holding her culpable for the results of her actions. Given the differences in objects (the gun weighs ~4x the weight of the taser) and position (tasers are intentionally worn on the other side of the body as the gun, and intentionally drawn/used with the officer’s off-hand), this IMO falls into the “the professional should have known/could be reasonably expected to know” category. Where does that fall in MN’s criminal law? I have no idea. That’s up to prosecutors and jury to decide, I guess.

    1. When under threat and one’s amygdala is screaming its head off I can actually understand why two similarly shaped (gun, taser) devices can be confused.
      In some jurisdictions they made a policy to not go on high speed car chases b/c all that adrenalin explodes humans and effects judgement.
      I don’t know if this is the case here but thinking about something from one’s sofa at home is diff to the “scene of battle”.

  4. It’s a shame that Churchill’s reaction to Crick isn’t recorded. One can imagine him being either angry or amused. In other news, I learned the word hetaira today. How wonderfully English to employ Greek for a euphemism, and enjoy the expectation that it would be understood. And people talk down Classics. Also I just noticed that Crick’s home is called “The Golden Helix”.

  5. Dog-Vader: Dogs don’t know words (well, maybe a few); but they know everything about tone, posture, body language, etc. We do too, which is why Darth Vader looks menacing (and was intended to of course).

    1. I worked with a woman who was a wheelchair user, and had an assistance dog too. She went to a play, and as usual, was sat in the front row to give room for the wheelchair. When the villain made his first appearance on stage, exuding menace (and probably twirling his moustache too) the dog reacted by growling loudly and barking. The cast was delighted. A good review from the dog, who had clearly suspended his disbelief.

  6. Speaking of police killings, there’s an op-ed in the WaPo called “How toxic masculinity helped kill George Floyd.” The argument for that motivation or cause is, shall we say, extremely thin (if you hold it sideways, it disappears). The editorial is ludicrous and should not have been published. It shows that the Post is not just woke, but woke to the point of losing any semblance of journalistic standards.

    That piece was penned by Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor and current law professor at Georgetown, who occasionally contributes opinion pieces to WaPo. It is not a piece written by the WaPo editorial board. Accordingly, I don’t think it’s appropriate to treat it as an official statement of WaPo policy. WaPo‘s stated practice is to publish a wide variety of opinion pieces from across the political spectrum; its editorial board plainly does not endorse every such piece it publishes (including, obviously, the conservative columnists it publishes regularly and syndicates nationally).

    It’s certainly possible to take issue with the merits of Butler’s piece (though I think he’s got the semblance of a point to make). It’s equally appropriate to complain generally that WaPo has been slouching towards Wokeville. I just don’t think Butler’s piece alone can be taken as proof of that point.

  7. The unintentionally funny cartoon by Jack Chick reminded me of the effect that worthy anti-alcohol leaflets distributed in pubs by the Salvation Army in the ’70s used to have on me and my drinking buddies. In one memorable strip, the protagonist (a rabbit for some reason – Harvey, perhaps?) appeared to swig a single can of beer before descending into full-blown alcoholism and drug addiction.

  8. A New York Times article from 2008 makes the case that the legend of Diamond Jim Brady’s food consumption is based on embellishments derived from Brady’s first biographer:

    While on the topic, I recommend the 1935 film “Diamond Jim,” scripted by the great Preston Sturges. I’m sure it’s heavily fictionalized but Edward Arnold is perfectly cast and the melancholy ending is unforgettable. Alas, the film has never been officially released on DVD/Blu-Ray, though ray-market copies aren’t too hard to find.

Leave a Reply to eric Cancel reply