Wednesday: Hili dialogue

April 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Hump Day: Wednesday, April 21 2021: National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day. It’s also National Banana Day, Tuna Rights Day, Thank You for Libraries Day (indeed!), and Keep Off the Grass Day.  And we have two non-American holidays: National Tea Day in the UK and, for Rastafarians, Grounation Day, celebrating the date in 1966 when Haile Selassie (a divine figure to Rastas) visited Jamaica.

Jah meets a Rastafarian on that visit:

News of the Day:

It was no surprise that Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges in the death of George Floyd, especially when the jury reached a verdict after only 10 hours of deliberation. The video was crucial here: had that not existed, Chauvin might well have gone free. I think the outcome is just, but I hope they keep Chauvin away from the other prisoners in jail. As an ex-cop in a state prison, his life isn’t worth a plugged nickel.

The judge revoked Chauvin’s bail, so he’s in stir now, and will be sentenced in eight weeks.

And yet. . . another black person, a 16-year-old girl this time, was killed by police, who say the girl was lunging at other girls with a knife. This happened yesterday in Columbus, Ohio.

The Washington Post has an absorbing article about Mary Ann Vecchio, the girl in the “Kent State Photo”, wailing over the body of Jeffrey Miller, a student she’d been talking to moments before, who was summarily shot through the mouth by the National Guard during the Kent State University protests. It was 1970, and she was just 14 at the time. Three other students were shot as well: four dead in Ohio.

The photo won the Pulitzer Prize for student photographer John Filo, and is an icon of the unrest (and governmental injustice) in the Vietnam War era (the protest was over the invasion of Cambodia).

Here’s Vecchio today.  Read what she has to say, and what her life was like then and now. She’s given very few interviews, as the memory of that day still haunts her.

The word “marijuana” is apparently now racist. HuffPost says this, recommending that we say “weed” or “cannabis” instead:

The term “marijuana” originates from Mexican Spanish, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but it was used by “racist politicians who first criminalized cannabis … precisely because they wanted to underscore that it was a Latino, particularly Mexican ‘vice,’ and that word, with all its implications, has become the most common name for cannabis in the United States today.”

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 568,131, an increase of 729 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now at 3,059,987, an increase of about 15,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on April 21 include:

“Remember the Alamo” was the supposed battle cry of the Texans. Here’s their leader, Sam Houston:

  • 1898 – Spanish–American War: The United States Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports. When the U.S. Congress issued a declaration of war on April 25, it declared that a state of war had existed from this date.
  • 1918 – World War IGerman fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron”, is shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France.

His plane fell in Allied territory, and was ripped apart by people who wanted a keepsake. Here’s a photo from Wikipedia with the caption, “Australian airmen with Richthofen’s triplane 425/17 after it was dismembered by souvenir hunters.”

  • 1934 – The “Surgeon’s Photograph”, the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, is published in the Daily Mail (in 1999, it is revealed to be a hoax).

Here’s the photo; read Greg Mayer’s post from 2015 about the fakery of this photo, which was really of a toy submarine with a putty head affixed to it:


  • 1960 – Brasília, Brazil’s capital, is officially inaugurated. At 09:30, the Three Powers of the Republic are simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1972 – Astronauts John Young and Charles Duke fly Apollo 16‘s Apollo Lunar Module to the Moon’s surface, the fifth NASA Apollo Program crewed lunar landing.

Here’s a quiz for you: how many people have walked on the Moon. Answer at the bottom of this post?

  • 1982 – BaseballRollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers becomes the first pitcher to record 300 saves.

Fingers went on to accumulate 341 saves, but that record has long been surpassed. The current record holder is Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who accumulated an astounding 652 saves. And here’s a short video of Rivera’s career. Here’s Rivera’s last turn on the mound:

  • 1989 – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.
  • 2014 – The American city of Flint, Michigan switches its water source to the Flint River, beginning the ongoing Flint water crisis which has caused lead poisoning in up to 12,000 people, and 15 deaths from Legionnaires disease, ultimately leading to criminal indictments against 15 people, five of whom have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1816 – Charlotte Brontë, English novelist and poet (d. 1855)
  • 1838 – John Muir, Scottish-American environmentalist and author (d. 1914).

Here’s Muir, who has been largely canceled because of his racist sentiments:

  • 1932 – Elaine May, American actress, comedian, director, and screenwriter

Here’s May handing out the “Mediocrity Award” at the 1959 Emmys. She attended classes at the University of Chicago, where she met Mike Nichols (the award recipient; his real name was Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky), but never enrolled here:

  • 1939 – Sister Helen Prejean, American nun, activist, and author

Those who ventured into the Great Beyond on April 21 include:

  • 1699 – Jean Racine, French playwright and poet (b. 1639)
  • 1910 – Mark Twain, American novelist, humorist, and critic (b. 1835)

You may know that Twain was a great lover of cats:

  • 1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, German captain and pilot (b. 1892)
  • 1977 – Gummo Marx, American vaudevillian and talent agent (b. 1893)
  • 1978 – Sandy Denny, English singer-songwriter (b.1947)
  • 2003 – Nina Simone, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and activist (b. 1933)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili isn’t keen on her walkies today:

Hili: Are you going to the river?
A: Yes.
Hili: Have a nice walk.
In Polish:
Hili: Idziecie nad rzekę?
Ja: Tak.
Hili: Miłego spaceru.

Little Kukla is up in the trees. She’s a climber like Hili; are they related?

A cartoon sent by Matthew:

From BobonBooks; I’m proud to say I’ve read most of these:

A cartoon by Will Santino from Jesus of the Day:

From reader Ken, who says “Attorney Lin Wood going full batshit at this past weekend’s Health & Freedom Conference in Tulsa”:

From Luana, who says that this “is for people who think that animals don’t have emotions like humans.” (I haven’t read the paper.)

Tweets from Professor Cobb. I love this first one:

Checkmate, creationists!

I remember this from my days of buying Day-Glo pigments to mark fruit flies. Re the second tweet, do check out this link to scientists reviewing products on Amazon.

This is pretty amazing:

Platypus! Will I ever see one in the wild?

Quiz question answerAn even dozen people, all men, have set foot on the lunar surface.

33 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I loved the joke about the indecisive diner and the duck. Bonnie Tyler and Andrew Lloyd Webber have just been reminiscing on BBC Radio 4’s news about Jim Steinman, who died yesterday. Apparently, in restaurants Jim could never decide what food or wine to choose and would order one of everything and try them all. An amusing mental image, although shockingly wasteful. Doubtless the serving staff found a use for the leftover wine (we’re talking about bottles costing hundreds of dollars each).

  2. I’ve read four of the books on the “pretend we’ve read” table (of the ones I can see), but I can’t imagine ever pretending to have read the ones that I haven’t. Mostly, if I haven’t read a book it was because I wasn’t interested enough at any given time to read it. I don’t understand the point of pretending to have read a book.

  3. Ref. the cartoon “So, we have a proposition”

    Right, this is purely my stream of conscious thoughts whilst trying to figure that out…
    – a glass of milk
    – 2 biscuits, one asking ‘So, we have a proposition”…
    – is that; we (the 2 biscuits) will dip ourselves in you (the glass of milk) ?!
    That’s where I stopped thinking and scrolled on…

        1. Yes. Camping. Or just sitting in the back yard around a fire pit. Maybe the kids have friends over for a sleep-over. It is perhaps an American thing, perhaps, but I think most adults and youngsters hold precious the memories of preparing ‘smores around a fire. Finding the right stick to skewer the marshmallows, and holding them over the fire to toast them. Debating whether it is best to just brown them slightly, or let them burn and blacken first. Pressing them into a sandwich made with a chocolate candy bar and some graham crackers. They are good.

            1. Thanks Mark, being from the UK (Northern Ireland), I have no such cultural history or experience of S’mores. From your link, I’m curious to try one !

          1. Can also be be done over a gas flame. I blew an Austrian date’s mind late one night in Vienna when I prepared him a s’more in our kitchen. He had never even heard of marshmallows🙀

        2. Given your ID of one of the participants as a glass of milk (which I couldn’t figure out – it is very obscure), I think the porposition was of a DP session with the glass of milk as the filling in the sandwich.
          And yes, my speelung choker has reminded me to be careful about positioning porpoises. Bloody smiling rubber fetishist cetaceans.

  4. The truth seems to matter less and less, but if that girl wasn’t about to stab the other girl, I don’t know what she was doing. One of the useful features of YouTube is the ability to control video speed (via the little gear at the bottom right of the player), and when you slow the bodycam footage down, you can clearly see the girl draw back the knife to stab the other girl. This cop saved a life. Interestingly, there was an article in Vox yesterday saying that no more footage from these incidents should be released, arguing that they are painful for the community, not that they can undercut the narrative of police murder.

      1. Of course they could have. Or tackled her. Anything but killing her. What really boggles my mind is that, currently, the police look really bad. They have to know this. One would think this might make individual officers a bit more careful in how they present, and a little more hesitant to use lethal force, and yet, the opposite seems to be true. They are not helping their cause.

        1. I don’t know the policies, but if I were declaring policies of when to use lethal force, it would be that it is permitted to do so if..
          1) the suspect is an immediate danger to the officer. Do they have a weapon, and are they bringing it up? Are they refusing clear commands? In practice, this may also apply if they are entering their car, after having refused commands, and you know they have a weapons charge already (that being in reference to the recent other shooting in Minnesota, where the officer still intended to use a taser).
          2. if the suspect is an immediate danger to another person. As in having a knife and lunging at a girl and having ignored commands. That applies to this present situation. Even though the suspect was a juvenile, police are trained to put that aside in moments like these since if you don’t the suspect could still kill someone.

          So I think that in the present situation the officer acted in the bounds of lethal force. The problem with tasers is they are slower to deploy (on the non-dominant side of the body), and they don’t always work. Very tough call, though.

          1. I think they’ll find the officer to have acted within the law, I just can’t escape the feeling that there are ways respond that don’t involve killing people. Is shoot to kill the policing equivalent of C-sections in the US, where we perform more than three times the WHO recommended rate, not because USian women are incapable of completing birth without one, but because of fear of litigiousness?

      2. Taser shots are effective on larger target areas, and I believe legs and arms are chancy, as both darts have to squarely hit their target. Also depends on how long they use it on you.

        1. Also, there were several people engaging in violent conflict within 20 feet of the officer. The Taser allows you to engage one of them, if you get lucky. As soon as the taser is discharged, the officer becomes essentially unarmed, at least for the time it takes to drop the taser and pull out the pistol.
          The kid running around frantically trying to stab everyone eliminated the possibility of taking the time to set up a more careful approach.
          Another thing to consider is the way a taser works, the darts need to be embedded in muscle for the taser to immobilize someone. If you tase an obese person, and the darts don’t get to the muscle, it is going to be painful, but will not cause immobilizing muscle spasms.

      3. Well, when you shoot someone in the leg, it hurts a lot, and they generally say something like “dude, you shot me in the leg”. It would not stop a person who is in the process of stabbing someone. Also, hitting a person in the leg requires pretty good aim, and there is a decent chance of missing, or even hitting the stabbing victim instead.

        The first attempted stabbing victim shown on on the bodycam fell down, after which an adult male present started kicking her in the head while she was on the ground. As this was happening, the girl with the knife pushed another girl against a car and had her arm pulled back, ready to stab her with a pretty big knife. That is when the cop fired on her, and she fell, allowing her planned victim to lunge out of the way. What I have described is literally two seconds of the incident. If the cop had held his fire for half a second more, the second girl would have been stabbed in the abdomen, and the stabber might well have gone after someone else.

        Once again, I have never been a cop, but military training covers many of the same issues. When you are within 20 feet of someone with a deadly weapon, a taser is a really poor choice. They don’t always stop people, and if the armed person comes at you from that range, you will not get a chance to draw the gun. You don’t try to shoot the knife out of her hand, because you will probably miss. You aim for center of body mass, which stops people pretty much immediately, and poses less risk to bystanders.

        Some commenters (Not here) have stated that it was a knife fight, and it was not fair for the cop to use a gun. The idea that he should have also used a knife is absurd, of course. It was not self defense, he saved the life of a young Black girl who was about to be gravely wounded.

        When you see a person, armed with a deadly weapon, about to kill someone, you stop them if you can. Using deadly force to stop someone who poses an imminent threat of significant injury or death to someone is the most basic and universally acceptable use of such force.

    1. I haven’t looked for any of the video of this incident, but given the last few decades of news, you have got to question the sanity of anyone who produces a knife in the presence of the police. It may be temporary insanity (drink, drugs, biochemistry), but there is major insanity in that act alone.

  5. First reaction to the Lin Wood video:

    The man is mad!

    Second reaction:

    My God, look at all those people cheering agreement with him!

    1. What is the difference between Lin Wood and a right-wing evangelical minister? The answer is nothing except in the video at least Wood doesn’t mention God. As organized religion diminishes, there will be more Lin Woods. The adoring throng in his audience are inherently irrational. If religion doesn’t feed on this, people like Wood will. As much as one may cheer the declining influence of religion, don’t expect the ushering in of another age of enlightenment.

  6. The video was crucial here: had that not existed, Chauvin might well have gone free.

    He wouldn’t have needed to go free, because he never would have been charged, I imagine. The original police report of the incident was floating around quite a bit yesterday – an appalling rewrite of truth – and that is all we would have gotten.

    As for the young woman who was shot and killed, as I understand it, she was the one who called the police for help. So there is that. We’ve got a trigger happy police problem in this country.

    1. The trigger-happiness of the police is only a problem if they’ve got lethal force released by those triggers. It has been bad enough when the force under their hands is limited to a heavy club (“truncheon”) – which is why those were downsized to extendable batons with weighted ends, which can certainly break (limb) bones, but really struggle to actually cause a major intra-cranial bleed.
      Tasers are a bit moot – I think most (UK) police forces only issue them to armed officers, in a separate weapon-safe so they can be deployed without enabling access to firearms. But that may have changed in the last few years – it was under review the last I saw, a couple of years ago. They’re “less lethal” too – people do die with dodgy tickers, and anyone knocked to the ground has a non-trivial chance of a lethal head injury. But they’re probably less lethal than guns.

  7. It cost the modern equivalent of $6 billion to put each of the Apollo astronauts on the Moon. Do you think that was a rational allocation of resources?

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