Wednesday: Hili dialogue

April 14, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s Wednesday, April 14, 2021: National Pecan Day, celebrating the ingredients of one of the world’s best pies. It’s also International Day of Pink, promoting solidarity with the LGBTQ community, National Dolphin Day, Pan American Day, and School Librarians’ Day.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1400-Feb. 3, 1468), inventor of the mechanical printing press with moveable metal type and oil-based inks. Although of course someone else would have invented it later, his creation was one of the most consequential inventions of all time. Today marks the 21st anniversary of Mainz’s Gutenberg Museum presenting a retrospective of the man’s life.

News of the Day:

When Honey was refreshing herself with food and water on the pond for an hour yesterday, I took the opportunity to peek at her nest on the third-floor window ledge. Two eggs are visible (circled), and the nest has been improved, with more sticks and a better circular layout. But there are surely more eggs than we saw, as we counted three last Friday, and several must be buried in the down. (She plucks that down from her breast to line the nest. Isn’t that a good example of kin selection?) I predict hatching around May 5, as we don’t know if Honey’s finished laying. We can’t see Dorothy’s nest as it’s on a windowledge behind a sealed wall.

According to the Associated Press, the white cop who killed Daunte Wright, supposedly mistaking a gun for a taser, has resigned from the force, and the police chief of the town, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, has also resigned. The screwup was Kim Potter, a 20-year veteran of the force, and they haven’t yet decided whether to charge her with a crime. There will of course be a civil suit. And the looting and rioting in the town has continued.

Well, twenty years after 9/11 and our incursion into Afghanistan, the whole bloody show is finally ending. Joe Biden has announced that by 9/11/2021, all U.S. troops will be out of that country. But I feel sorry for the Afghanis, as the article notes:

A new intelligence report released Tuesday offered a grim assessment of Afghanistan and the prospects for peace. American intelligence agencies assessed that a peace deal was unlikely in the next year, and that the Taliban would make battlefield gains.

“The Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support,” the report said.

We lost this one, I’m afraid. The Taliban will take over, which was what we were trying to prevent. Afghani women will be brutally controlled and oppressed.  But it’s time to cut our losses, as there’s little we can do to help the country.

It’s no secret that I dislike the “squad” of four Democratic representatives, as I think they’re arrogant and also anti-Semitic. I guess Nancy Pelosi shares my feelings, at least according to a report about her new biography in HuffPost. The excerpt is short:

“Pelosi unloads on the Squad, at one point adopting a child-like voice when discussing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and offers the squad this blunt advice: “You’re not a one-person show. This is the Congress of the United States.”

Though Anthony Bourdain is no longer with us, he has a new book coming out,  a travel guide largely compiled by his long-time associate Laurie Woolever. The NYT gave it a lukewarm review, but I may have a look at it anyway. Like nearly everyone, and like all food lovers, I was a big fan of Bourdain, and his suicide was a real shocker. It just goes to show that you can never tell . .

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 562,994, an increase of 987 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,974,469, a big increase of about 13,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on April 14 includes:

Here’s an illustration from April, 1561, of what was supposedly seen. My guess is that it was a sundog; I put a picture of one below the drawing:

Photo of sundog taken by Martine Male in Yellowknife, Canada in September 2018:

  • 1775 – The first abolition society in North America is established. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage is organized in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.
  • 1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln lives till the following day.

Here’s the only known photo of the dead President:

When the assassinated president was laid out in his coffin in the rotunda of New York’s City Hall for a viewing attended by 120,000 people on April 24, 1865, his widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, explicitly banned shutterbugs to preserve the privacy of the solemn moment. But Brig. Gen. E.D. Townsend, who attended the viewing, let a local photographer take a picture of the slain Lincoln.

Just before the doors opened to the public, photographer Jeremiah Gurney Jr. and his assistants were allowed to come in and set up their equipment and take a daguerreotype photo of the solemn moment.

I can’t really see him very well.

Now that is worth reading about; see the link.

  • 1894 – The first ever commercial motion picture house opens in New York City, United States, using ten Kinetoscopes, a device for peep-show viewing of films.
  • 1909 – A massacre is organized by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian population of Cilicia.
  • 1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 23:40 (sinks morning of April 15th).

Here are six minutes of underwater footage of the wrecked and ruined ship:

Here’s what purports to be a film of that hailstorm in Bangladesh:

  • 1999 – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.

Odd that it happened on April 14, same as Bangladesh. Here’s a two-minute documentary of the half-hour hailstorm in Sydney:

  • 2003 – The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.
  • 2014 – Two hundred seventy-six schoolgirls are abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1629 – Christiaan Huygens, Dutch mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (d. 1695)
  • 1866 – Anne Sullivan, American educator (d. 1936)

Sullivan, who was largely blind, is of course most famous for teaching Helen Keller how to communicate. Here they are in 1899 with Keller on the left—in a photo taken by Alexander Graham Bell. After meeting, they were together almost their entire lives, and when Sullivan died in 1936, Keller was holding her hand.

Here’s the famous scene from the 1962 movie “The Miracle Worker“,  in which Keller, played by Patty Duke, learns that objects (in this case water) have names. Sullivan is played by Anne Bancroft, and both won Oscars for their performances.  This is a fantastic scene, illustrating Keller’s own biography:

Keller’s breakthrough in communication came the next month when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of “water”. Writing in her autobiography, The Story of My Life, Keller recalled the moment: “I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten — a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that w-a-t-e-r meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. The living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, set it free!” Keller then nearly exhausted Sullivan, demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world.

  • 1904 – John Gielgud, English actor, director, and producer (d. 2000)
  • 1932 – Loretta Lynn, American singer-songwriter and musician
  • 1950 – Francis Collins, American physician and geneticist

Those who garnered their Final Reward on April 14 include:

  • 1759 – George Frideric Handel, German-English organist and composer (b. 1685)
  • 1964 – Rachel Carson, American biologist and author (b. 1907)
  • 1995 – Burl Ives, American actor, folk singer, and writer (b. 1909)

Here’s Burl Ives as Big Daddy complaining about mendacity from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s dialogue demands a clarification, which Malgorzata provides:

Empathy is a feeling you have towards somebody else – you can’t have it towards yourself. That’s why Andrzej says that Hili mixed up something or misunderstood the word empathy. But Hili is adamant that she is right. What she probably feels is a mixture of pride, satisfaction and self-pity.

The dialogue:

Hili: I feel a deep empathy.
A: With whom?
Hili: With myself.
A: You mixed up something.
Hili: I know what I’m talking about.
In Polish:
Hili: Odczuwam głęboką empatię.
Ja: Wobec kogo?
Hili: Wobec siebie.
Ja: Coś pomyliłaś.
Hili: Wiem co mówię.
And here is Szaron, who now sports a flea and tick collar:


From Bruce:

From Not Another Science Cat’s Page:

From Nicole:

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation of the shooting of Daunte Wright, Rashida Tlab’s claim that we get rid of all the cops and all the jails is ridiculous. She’s also prejudged the Daunte Wright case as “government funded murder.”

From Simon: Another video of a man playing piano for an elephant:

Tweets from Matthew. First, the awesomeness of one of Matthew’s favorite animals, the capybara:

Below: Holyoake was a famous early rationalist, and you can read more about him here. A bit from Wikipedia about his blasphemy, and I’ll add that Holyoake spent six months in prison for this act:

In 1842, Holyoake became one of the last persons convicted for blasphemy in a public lecture, held in April 1842 at the Cheltenham Mechanics’ Institute, though this had no theological character and the incriminating words were merely a reply to a question addressed to him from the body of the meeting.

Well, at least the guy had an interesting life:

Sound up to hear these wonderful ducks. They’re sea ducks from the Arctic, and only the males have the long tails and white bodies (females are brown and short-tailed).

Here’s a grim fact, and you can guess the reason:

I’m not a huge fan of dogs in general, but I am of border collies, which are smart, hard-working, and, most important, love their jobs!

23 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I have a suggestion for Rashida Tlaib.

    How about we try her strategy in HER Congressional district and see what kind of results we get.


    1. Brooklyn Center, located in Minnesota’s 5th district, is represented in congress by Talib’s buddy Ilhan Omar. I suggest Talib’s tweet is just an indirect to say Democratic Progressives are on the side of people who are being shot dead because they do not bow down and kiss the boots of truculent police officials. Consider, for example, the president of the Minneapolis (also 5th district) Police Union Bob Kroll:

      1. I could see some sense in your argument if she were to direct her anger towards the police Union president specifically, yet she was calling not for the removal of a single officer but rather the end of all policing in America. There are plenty of examples of how dangerous a nation without a functioning police force can be. A member of congress who watches from afar the invasion of Capitol Hill by armed and violent marauders ought to know better. Can you or she, just for a moment, imagine how that attempted coup would have played out had the Capitol Hill Police, as thinly deployed and underprepared as they were, not been standing between congress and the terrorist mob? She has been on the receiving end of many death threats, and who is it that is there to protect her? Law enforcement. The world is a nasty place, people are horrible. Sometimes, the cops are the bad guys, sure, but their also the ones who stand in between us and the darker aspects of our society, and considering the surge in violent crime we have witnessed this year, to have a childish mentality of all cops are bastards so we should get rid of them is borderline insanity. But if that’s what she wants, then let her put her own ass on the line first. Just don’t volunteer me and my community for your scorched earth stupidity.

  2. Tlab’s remarks reveal the great damage that can be done by the ideological zealotry of the far left. Most Americans are sympathetic to the economic and recovery measures proposed by Biden. Yet, Tlab is doing her best to win for Republicans votes they do not deserve. The far left has always been more effective than the far right in shooting themselves in the feet. This is because the far right has been able to garner significant support (although in a distinct minority) by appealing to people’s bigotry and fears. The far left appeals to no one except themselves. They never learn.

  3. We lost this one, I’m afraid. The Taliban will take over, which was what we were trying to prevent

    Just an offhand guess, but we probably needed to sustain ~200k troops in the country for a good solid decade to reach a ‘stable effective government’ outcome. We simply didn’t do what was necessary (IMO). As a contrast, after WWII we stationed 350,000 troops in Japan. Those numbers dropped over the years of course, but AIUI were high throughout the 1952 “official’ end of the occupation and a bit beyond that due to the Korean War. AFAIK they’ve never dropped below about 50k, even long after Japan had become a peaceful ally. For comparison, here is what I could find for US troops in Afghanistan over time. 350k for the first seven years, it ain’t.

    I guess the argument for the ‘other side’ is that we should’ve gone in, punished the leaders who allowed OBL to base there, and gotten out. I.e. sent the limited message that allowing terrorists to base attacks on the US from there will not be tolerated, but not tried to nation-build. I think that would’ve also been a viable strategy. But we tried to sit somewhere in the middle between those two strategies, which didn’t turn out in our favor. (All IMO.)

    1. Just a question for you or anyone else. Why do we continue to station nearly 50 military in Japan today. The enemy is no longer cold war Russia. So it must be N. Korea. Do they look like they would invade Japan? No. I am not saying we do need something there, but 50,000 military and maybe 100,000 dependents? What we have there is the military industrial complex. I guess this is in our “interest”.

    2. Japan was already a developed, centralized nation before occupation. Afghanistan is desperately poor, undeveloped, and fragmented. The US could not succeed there without nation building on an unprecedented and unsustainable scale.

  4. You are not a one person show. This is the congress. Could have fooled me says Ted Cruz or Matt Gaetz.

    The Afghanistan saga was a loser as soon as we stayed after letting Ben Laden get away. We were doomed just as the Soviets had been before us. There was never a strategy to win and we did not. No different than Vietnam. If you cannot define what winning is, what it looks like, then you need to leave. Comparison to WWII is totally wrong. We beat the Germans in Europe in total. There was no question. We stayed to help rebuild.

    Afghanistan was a lot like Vietnam. The enemy was always somewhere else and for whatever reason we could not go there. We were lost because we never knew how to win. We had no business being there. The terrorist were defeated from using our airlines as soon as we locked the doors.

    1. There was never a strategy to win and we did not.

      There was a strategy in Afghanistan? Apart from hitting back at some of it’s temporary residents?

    2. The Soviets had the Taliban almost beat and Afghanistan on the way to secular rule before the US entered the flay on the side of the locals, giving them arms and backing their religious radicalism. The attached video is the pep talk Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski gave the Taliban in 1979. America’s defeat in Afghanistan can be squarely laid at the feet of presidents Carter and Reagan and, ultimately, the American mind-set of thinking that winning will make things better.

      1. That makes no sense because it does not connect to the Terrorist of the late 1990s or 9/ll. That is like saying the French are responsible for our loss in Vietnam. Carter and Reagan if he could would laugh at this idea. If we did not have WWI we would not have had WWII. So who is at fault for this one?

    1. I adored that subtle play. I know for me personally after a lifetime of atheism when *I* saw that frozen waterfall I accepted Jay-sus as my lord and savior. I mean — how could you not? It is FROZEN – and in three places no less. Says it all, doesn’t it?

  5. Hili: I feel a deep empathy.
    A: With whom?
    Hili: With myself.

    So, Hili uses the pronouns “them, they”?

  6. 1. White men are racist, sexist and violent.
    2. White men are the most heavily armed group in America.
    Therefore, we should get rid of the police.

    1. Indeed. Of course, the latest shooting in Minnesota was by a female cop but doubtless the rioters reserve the right to assign the gender they feel is appropriate…

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