Tuesday: Hili dialogue

April 20, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s the Cruelest Day, Tuesday, April 20, 2020: National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day. O! What I wouldn’t give to have one of these cakes that my mom used to make. Yes, it uses canned pineapple, but so what? Better that than no pineapple upside down cake, a lacuna that has been my lot for over five decades.

It’s also National Cheddar Fries Day (an inferior American version of poutine), Lima Bean Respect Day (seriously?), and UN Chinese Language Day (United Nations). The stoners among you will recognize that, being 4/20 in American date notation, it’s also a day to celebrate smoking weed, since “420” is American argot for marijuana. Why? Here’s why:

In 1971, five high school students in San Rafael, California, used the term “4:20” in connection with a plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop, based on a treasure map made by the grower. Calling themselves the Waldos, because their typical hang-out spot “was a wall outside the school”, the five students — Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich —designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 pm as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase “4:20 Louis”. After several failed attempts to find the crop, the group eventually shortened their phrase to “4:20”, which ultimately evolved into a code-word the teens used to refer to consuming cannabis.

There’s a Google Doodle today that celebrates the 70th birthday of singer Luther Vandross, born on this day in 1951 (he died on July 1, 2005 of a heart attack). Click on the screenshot to see a special YouTube animation of his singing:

Here’s an iPhone photo of my walk to work on Sunday morning. It’s always dark when I go, but I like it.

News of the Day:

If you watched the live feed yesterday, you’ll know that the Mars helicopter Ingenuity succeeded in its first flight, and kudos to the team of NASA teenagers that succeeded in their four-year quest to build and test it.  Here’s a video of the full flight. I just can’t get over this–it’s on MARS, for crying out loud!


And a bit of Googling fun. Be sure to click on the drone icon to the right after you search.

The jury in Minneapolis is now deliberating the fate of Derek Chauvin, the accused murderer of George Floyd. I’m pretty sure he’ll be convicted of something, as he seemed wantonly indifferent to Floyd’s pleas, but Congresswoman Maxine Waters just couldn’t keep her gob shut, and that may provide grounds for an appeal:

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer is now saying in court that the comments of Representative Maxine Waters of California, who attended a protest in a Minneapolis suburb after a police officer’s killing of Daunte Wright last week, had the effect of “threatening and intimidating the jury.” In response to a question from reporters at the protest in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minn., about what demonstrators should do if Mr. Chauvin is acquitted, Ms. Waters said: “Well, we’ve got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Even Judge Cahill, who presided over Chauvin’s trial, said that Waters’s comments could lead to any guilty verdict being overturned. Imagine the pressure to convict that the jurors are under on top of having to weight the evidence, for they know that if Chauvin is acquitted, the country will go up in flames.

The oldest living American just died.  Hester Ford of North Carolina passed away at the ripe old age of 115 years and 245 days, a date that’s verified. She was born on August 15, 1904. But someone in Japan is substantially older:

With Ford’s passing, the Gerontology Research Group lists Thelma Sutcliffe of Nebraska, born in 1906, as the oldest living American. The world’s oldest person is Kane Tanaka of Japan at 118 years old, it says.

Roosevelt Patterson greets his grandmother Hester “Granny” Ford during Ford’s 111th birthday party. “Hester “Granny” Ford” turned 111 years old, and celebrated her long life at her Charlotte home on Saturday with family and friends.

Yes, it’s now become two in two days, which means that I have to report on yet another multiple shooting, this time up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, near where Greg lives and works. Three people were killed and three injured in a bar shooting. A suspect is in custody.

In the NYT, columnist Ezra Klein reports on a revised form of cancel culture, when companies fire a social-media-mob victim whose words or actions may tarnish the company’s commercial image. In this case, “cancellation” is all about the bucks as well as transgressing moral purity, and here’s Klein’s solution for those too eager to join a mob:

So here’s a guideline that I think would make online discourse better. Unless something that is said is truly dangerous and you actually want to see that person fired from their current job and potentially unable to find a new one — a high bar, but one that is sometimes met — you shouldn’t use social media to join an ongoing pile-on against a normal person.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 567,287, an increase of 483 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now at 3,044,553, an increase of about 10,400 over yesterday’s total.

Lots of stuff happened on April 20, including this:

A word about that painting (below):

The original painting, which was produced shortly after the event and traditionally attributed to Urban målare (“Urban [the] Painter”), is lost, and virtually nothing is known about it. However, a copy from 1636 by Jacob Heinrich Elbfas held in Storkyrkan in Stockholm is believed to be an accurate copy and was until recently erroneously thought to be the restored original. It was previously covered by layers of brownish varnish, and the image was hardly discernible until carefully restored and thoroughly documented in 1998–1999.

  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: The Siege of Boston begins, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.
  • 1828 – René Caillié becomes the second non-Muslim to enter (and the first to return from) Timbuktu, following Major Gordon Laing.

Non-Muslims were killed in that city; Caillié entered by disguising himself as an Arab. Here’s a postcard supposedly showing the house in which he stayed:

Here’s a diagram of one of the experiments they did to disprove spontaneous generation:

This is the disk, which is lowered into the water until the pattern is no longer visible. That depth is taken as the transparency of the water:

  • 1898 – U.S. President William McKinley signed a joint resolution to Congress for declaration of war against Spain, beginning the Spanish–American War.
  • 1902 – Pierre and Marie Curie refine radium chloride.

Here’s the Nobel pair in their lab. The first isolation of radium was done via electrolysis of radium chloride, separating the elements:

  • 1916 – The Chicago Cubs play their first game at Weeghman Park (currently Wrigley Field), defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings.


  • 1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims, his final victories before his death the following day.

Here’s Richthofen (who was shot down at age 25) in the cockpit of his famous red biplane:

  • 1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: On his 56th birthday Adolf Hitler makes his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.
  • 1945 – Twenty Jewish children used in medical experiments at Neuengamme are killed in the basement of the Bullenhuser Damm school.
  • 1961 – Cold War: Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed Cuban exiles against Cuba.
  • 1968 – English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech.

This short video gives the gist of the nativist speech as well as its results

  • 1972 – Apollo program: Apollo 16 lunar module, commanded by John Young and piloted by Charles Duke, lands on the moon.
  • 2008 – Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race.
  • 2010 – The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers and beginning an oil spill that would last six months.
  • 1999 – Columbine High School massacreEric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.

It amazes and disgusts me that Harris and Klebold are regarded in some circles as heroes.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1850 – Daniel Chester French, American sculptor, designed the Lincoln statue (d. 1931)
  • 1889 – Adolf Hitler, Austrian born German politician, Führer of Nazi Germany (d. 1945)
  • 1893 – Joan Miró, Spanish painter and sculptor (d. 1983)

Miró painted many cats, here’s one called “Jumping Cat”:

  • 1913 – Willi Hennig, German biologist and entomologist (d. 1976)
  • 1949 – Jessica Lange, American actress

Those who petered out on April 20 include:

  • 1912 – Bram Stoker, Anglo-Irish novelist and critic, created Count Dracula (b. 1847)
  • 1982 – Archibald MacLeish, American poet, playwright, and lawyer (b. 1892)
  • 1993 – Cantinflas, Mexican actor, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1911)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, HIli doesn’t want to be stepped on. But Andrzej has never stepped on Hili! Malgorzata notes that “she’s just mean.”

Hili: Notice that I’m lying here.
A: It’s difficult not to see.
Hili: One never knows with you.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
Hili: Zwróć uwagę na to, że ja tu leżę.
Ja: Trudno cię nie zauważyć.
Hili: Z tobą nigdy nic nie wiadomo.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)

From Facebook:

From Stephen:

From Facebook:

A nefarious little moggy!

From reader Barry, who says, “This is outside a Trinity Baptist Church in South Carolina”.

Tweets from Matthew. First, the Big Event of yesterday:

I saw this, and it was a great moment.  Sound up:

And a cat’s reaction:

This was more appropriate yesterday on the anniversary of Darwin’s death, but I didn’t get it before I posted the Hili Dialogue. Yes, Darwin was a bit of a depressive.

Here’s an anti-Semitic conversation on a site called The Clubhouse, which Matthew says “is like audio Twitter.” There’s audio, so sound on:

. . . . aaaand, it’s DUCKLING SEASON!



32 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

    1. Sad to relate, then, that Charles Geschke, one of the co-creators of PostScript, the direct predecessor of PDF, died last Friday. If PDF is a religion, then Geschke is its prophet, peace be unto him.

  1. Grounds for appeal because of what Waters said? After four years of Trump that takes some guts. Incited treason in January and what happened to him? Nothing.

  2. Even Judge Cahill, who presided over Chauvin’s trial, said that Waters’s comments could lead to any guilty verdict being overturned.

    I don’t see that happening. The jurors have been instructed to avoid any news reports concerning the case, and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, are presumed to have followed such instructions. If the defense were truly concerned about Rep. Waters’s statements, it should have asked the court to question each of the jurors separately, in chambers, to inquire, first, whether any of them is aware of congresswoman Waters’s comments and, two, if so, whether those comments would have any influence on their deliberations or determination of the case. To my knowledge, this was not done. Thus, an inadequate record was made to support the reversal of a verdict by an appellate court on this issue.

    I’ll be very surprised of Chauvin walks on this one. I watched as much of the presentation of evidence as time permitted, and it seemed to me the prosecution put on a devastating case. Defense counsel represented their client competently, but, once the defense’s contention regarding the causation of Floyd’s death fell apart in light of the expert medical testimony, they were left without a coherent theory of the case — invariably the sine qua non for obtaining a two-word verdict.

    1. concur with all of this. The defense was always to throw everything but the video at the jury hoping to confuse them as to cause of death. There were so many causes, just ignore that 9 plus minutes that actually caused his death. Only extreme police favoritism can get this guy off and the prosecution did a very good job. I think they must find guilty on all counts.

    2. Seems to me that if Waters’s comments are cause for concern the judge’s comments are an order of magnitude more so.

    3. The jury does not need to know what Rep Waters’ said to know that a not-guilty verdict will result in violence. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last five years will know exactly what will happen.

      Still, it was grossly irresponsible and unprofessional for her to have said it.

      1. Still, it was grossly irresponsible and unprofessional for her to have said it.

        Was it though? The reporter pressed and pressed ‘what should the protestors do’ to get her to respond. Her response was that they keep protesting, and while I wouldn’t have used the word ‘confrontational’, it was clearly off the cuff and I do not interpret it to mean she wanted violence.

      2. The jury does not need to know what Rep Waters’ [sic] said to know that a not-guilty verdict will result in violence. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last five years will know exactly what will happen.

        Any cases you’d care to cite where such concerns have been shown to have influenced a jury’s verdict?

        Any solution you’d care to propose for this perceived problem?

  3. Thanks for information on the origin of the Secchi disk. I was part of a local citizen-science non-profit that regularly monitored the health of the James and Nansemond rivers in our waterfront neighborhood. As a small grassroots organization, we were pretty budget constrained, but along with inexpensive gps to assure repeat data from the same river locations week after week, the simple Secchi disk tied to a measuring string provided straight forward quantitative information that the public could easily relate with. I never knew about its origins.

      1. The thing is that mass shootings are very much the exception. Most gun deaths are, in order of numbers: suicides, domestic murders then inter-male beefs. These are daily, individual and VASTLY outnumber mass shootings. And unreported. As Pinker says: “Go with the trendlines, not the headlines.”
        D.A., J.D.

  4. How could one external comment be enough to throw out a trial? First, the comment was hardly news, everyone was boarding up their stores long before her comment. Second, what would prevent provocateurs from intentionally making such comments so that trials they didn’t like would be thrown out?

  5. Unless something that is said is truly dangerous….

    Klein would do better to try and define what speech is “truly dangerous” if he wants to moderate the blacklisting. We know historically (even from this year) that people’s ideas of what is truly dangerous are pretty weak (and we should know that the Supreme Courts’ idea of what is dangerous speech is very narrow). It would have been nice if he had just called for an end to cancel culture, rather than saying there is an appropriate time for it.

  6. For some reason, I don’t remember what, you can’t make pineapple upside down cake with fresh pineapple. Something to do with acidity, I think.

  7. Mars Helicopter: I do like that the we sent up a device that looks more like a harmless, slow-moving mosquito than an armor-plated military drone, set to destroy the first thing that moves.

  8. Black-bellied duck: was the snake (@ 20 sec) looking for a ducking snack, or did it just bump into it by accident?

  9. The stripped ducking are cute. I don’t remember seeing this duck in one of Mr. Avise identification sessions. Where is it local? What type of water snake is it to decide a duckling would be of interest?

  10. Maxine Waters is crazy to have said what she said. Where is her respect for the rule of law, the ability of the jurors to come up with the “right” verdict? Instead, she basically gives the hordes in the street permission to go wild if they don’t like the verdict. She’s not going to be able to hide behind the nuances of “confrontational”.

    What really bothers me about this is that she’s in Congress. She’s supposed to be talking about legislation that is going to solve our policing problem. Instead, she’s calling for demonstrations in the streets which is what you do when lawmakers aren’t listening. She seems to be unclear on the concept.

  11. That’s von Richthoven in his biplane alright, but I would submit that his “famous” plane was his triplane. Per Wikipedia: “Richthofen flew the celebrated Fokker Dr.I triplane from late July 1917, the distinctive three-winged aircraft with which he is most commonly associated—although he did not use the type exclusively until after it was reissued with strengthened wings in November. Only 19 of his 80 kills were made in this type of aircraft, despite the popular link between Richthofen and the Fokker Dr. I. It was his Albatros D.III Serial No. 789/16 that was first painted bright red, in late January 1917, and in which he first earned his name and reputation.”

  12. Of course some people said some bad things in Clubhouse. Who cares? They have every right to be as odious and vile as they want. Unless they are committing a crime, let them speak anywhere they want.

  13. The Chauvin verdict is in…shouldn’t be long now until we find out. I think he’ll be convicted, but I’ve thought the same of past cases and was proven wrong.

  14. “I have to admit it’s getting better…” Beatles
    Happy 4/20!! More freedom to put into your lungs and bloodstream what YOU want, not what conservatives and religious scorns ALLOW you to. We just legalized weed in NY – and about time too.

    Surely how you treat your body should be your own business. Women can (and should!) have jurisdiction over their wombs/reproduction, shouldn’t we all have jurisdiction over our bodily autonomy and chemistry?

    D.A., J.D.
    fmr defense atty / writer

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