Sunday: Hili dialogue

May 2, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Sunday, May 2, 2021, National Chocolate Truffle Day. It’s also World Tuna Day, Lemonade Day, International Scurvy Awareness Day, Brothers and Sisters Day, and National Play Your Ukulele Day.

News of the Day:

Actress Olympia Dukakis, who you may remember from the 1987 movie “Moonstruck” (both she and Cher won Oscars for their performances in the film) died yesterday at 89.

DANGER! Everybody to get from street! Space News announces that Long March 5B, a Chinese booster rocket, is going to enter the Earth’s atmosphere in an uncontrolled manner:

. . . this core stage is now also in orbit and is likely to make an uncontrolled reentry over the next days or week as growing interaction with the atmosphere drags it to Earth. If so, it will be one of the largest instances of uncontrolled reentry of a spacecraft and could potentially land on an inhabited area.

I don’t think it will (I think the vast amount of the Earth’s surface is uninhabited (think of the oceans), but still. And if somebody gets hurt (this being America), who do they sue?  (h/t Ken).

What’s Bill Nye the Science Guy up to? Well, he’s pitching Bombay Sapphire Gin since he likes that brand for his martinis. I’m not a fan of Nye, but I won’t comment.

Meanwhile, India set yet another world record with over 400,000 new covid cases reported yesterday.

In India’s capital, New Delhi, a hospital treating coronavirus patients ran out of oxygen on Saturday. It took an hour for fresh supplies to arrive. In the meantime, at least eight patients died, among them one of the hospital’s own doctors, said S.C.L. Gupta, the medical director of Batra Hospital.

The incident marks the second time in recent days in which an oxygen shortage at a Delhi hospital proved fatal. On April 23, a different hospital ran out of oxygen and 26 critically ill coronavirus patients died.

Watch the videos of Indian hospital scenes at the Washington Post. So sad!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 576,337, an increase of 691 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,207,581, an increase of about 11,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 1 includes:

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, is arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft.
  • 1559 – John Knox returns from exile to Scotland to become the leader of the nascent Scottish Reformation.
  • 1611 – The King James Version of the Bible is published for the first time in London, England, by printer Robert Barker.

Here’s the first page of the first version of the King James Bible with the Wikipedia caption:

The title page’s central text is: “THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Testament, AND THE NEW: Newly Translated out of the Original tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties speciall Comandement. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. ANNO DOM. 1611 .” At bottom is: “C. Boel fecit in Richmont.”.

A 1616 small illuminated edition will cost you about $300,000.

  • 1945 – World War II: The Soviet Union announces the fall of Berlin.

Here’s a photo of a meeting of the Russian and American armies

(From Wikipedia): 2nd Lt. William Robertson, US Army and Lt. Alexander Sylvashko, Red Army, shown in front of sign East Meets West symbolizing the historic meeting of the Soviet and American Armies, near Torgau, Germany.
  • 1945 – World War II: The US 82nd Airborne Division liberates Wöbbelin concentration camp finding 1000 dead prisoners, most of whom starved to death.

Citizens of a nearby town were ordered to inspect the concentration camp; here’s a photo of that. Did they know what was going on?

Wikipedia caption: “Citizens of Ludwigslust inspect the concentration camp under orders of the 82nd Airborne Division.”


I think it was a good move for the Army to force civilians to confront what their military was doing (I’m sure many of them knew). Here are some inspecting the dead from a death march. Wikipedia caption:

“German civilians, under direction of U.S. medical officers, walk past a group of 30 Jewish women starved to death (Czechoslavkia) 1945”

Here’s the flight deck of an early Comet 4:

  • 1955 – Tennessee Williams wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
  • 1986 – Chernobyl disaster: The City of Chernobyl is evacuated six days after the disaster.
  • 2000 – President Bill Clinton announces that accurate GPS access would no longer be restricted to the United States military.
  • 2011 – Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI’s most wanted man, is killed by the United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Here’s Obama’s announcement of the killing:

Here’s a short reconstruction of the killing. Although it’s said that the Navy Seals had instructions to either kill or capture him, and Bin Laden wasn’t armed when confronted (he could have been wearing a suicide belt, though), the guy below says that it’s clear it was always a “shoot a shoot-on-sight/kill mission.” I think that’s true, but I always wonder if they couldn’t have captured the guy without harm to the soldiers. I always prefer life without parole to simply killing a guy like Bin Laden, who was apparently unarmed.

Notables born on this day include:

Richthofen, the “Red Baron”, wearing his “Blue Max”, Prussian’s highest military award. He was shot down at 25; by that time he’d had 80 victories in combat.

  • 1903 – Benjamin Spock, American rower, pediatrician, and author (d. 1998)
  • 1921 – Satyajit Ray, Indian director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1992)

Ray was a very great director, and you might want to see his films. Here he is with Ravi Shankar recording the music for Pather Panchali (1955), the first movie of his famous Apu Trilogy

Those who died on this day include:

Here’s my favorite Leonardo, “St. John the Baptist” (1613-1616, said to be his last painting).

  • 1957 – Joseph McCarthy, American captain, lawyer, judge, and politician (b. 1908)
  • 1972 – J. Edgar Hoover, American 1st director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (b. 1895)
  • 2011 – Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabian terrorist, founder of Al-Qaeda (b. 1957)
  • 2014 – Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., American actor (b. 1918)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata explains Hili’s thoughts:

Hili is full of disdain for all people who make prognoses about the future of humanity, from Malthus to the Club of Rome to Paul R. Ehrlich and his successors. So she is asking what new predictions such people have produced.

The dialogue:

Hili: What are the predictions?
A: Predictions of what?
Hili: Of things which cannot be predicted.
In Polish:
Hili: Jakie są prognozy?
Ja: Czego?
Hili: Tego co jeszcze daje się przewidzieć.

And “another batch of Paulina’s pictures” (“Jeszcze jedna porcja zdjęć Pauliny.”)  We see both Kulka and Szaron, as well as a snail:

Several readers sent me this cat meme:

From Jesus of the Day. At last—a tattoo with practical value!

Also from Jesus of the Day:

From Simon, and this animal-botherer deserves what he gets!

Tweets from Matthew. A klepto cat and the attendant reparations (be sure to watch the video):

Matthew says this: “A of nice encounters with strangers, often involving wildlife.” Here are a few:

OY! The second tweet has a link to the story.

You should be able to spot the error here:

I love this tweet but why are they entertaining cows?

An evicted skink.

19 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. What’s Bill Nye the Science Guy up to? Well, he’s pitching Bombay Sapphire Gin since he likes that brand for his martinis. I’m not a fan of Nye, but I won’t comment.

    Nice rhetorical apophasis.

    1. Indeed! And who can doubt that Trump is a master of the rhetorical flourish and knowingly chose the apophasis after he tweeted “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?'”

  2. 1860 – Theodor Herzl, Austro-Hungarian Zionist philosopher, journalist and author (d. 1904)

    “If you will it, it is no dream.”

    Quoted by Catholic-to-Jewish convert, and noted philosopher for all seasons, Walter Sobchak:

  3. Starting tonight at 8:00pm Eastern, TCM is showing Satyajit Ray movies until 8pm tomorrow.

  4. Those who died on this day include … 1972 – J. Edgar Hoover, American 1st director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (b. 1895)

    “It was Hoover’s shameless death in 1972 that led directly to [Richard] Nixon’s downfall. He felt helpless and alone with Hoover gone. He no longer had access to either the Director or the Director’s ghastly bank of Personal Files on almost everybody in Washington.

    Hoover was Nixon’s right flank, and when he croaked, Nixon knew how Lee felt when Stonewall Jackson got killed at Chancellorsville. It permanently exposed Lee’s flank and led to the disaster at Gettysburg.

    For Nixon, the loss of Hoover led inevitably to the disaster of Watergate. It meant hiring a New Director — who turned out to be an unfortunate toady named L. Patrick Gray, who squealed like a pig in hot oil the first time Nixon leaned on him. Gray panicked and fingered White House Counsel John Dean, who refused to take the rap and rolled over, instead, on Nixon, who was trapped like a rat by Dean’s relentless, vengeful testimony and went all to pieces right in front of our eyes on TV.

    That is Watergate, in a nut, for people with seriously diminished attention spans. The real story is a lot longer and reads like a textbook on human treachery.”

    — Hunter S. Thompson, “He Was a Crook” (obituary for Richard Milhous Nixon) (1994)

    1. All true but would say the worst of Nixon was his action to kill LBJ’s attempted peace proposal with N. Vietnam prior to the 68 election. That put Nixon in a class with Trump, the most disgusting president in our history. Amazing how much more they can get by with today as the bar is lowered.

    2. Your remark that Stonewall Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville led to the Confederate disaster at Gettysburg is an interesting undertaking of alternative history, but nothing more than that. It is based on the premise that if Jackson had been alive, he would have performed better than the general who replaced him (Richard S. Ewell) and/or would have been able to persuade Lee to do something different. This may very well have been he case, particularly since Ewell was not a great general, but it is still a speculation. Remember, Lee was the commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia at both Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; Jackson was a corps commander when he was killed. Although speculating on the impact of Jackson’s death is a fun parlor game, I would be chary of making definitive statements.

      1. Understood, though it’s not my remark, but a direct quotation from the Good Doctor of Gonzo’s obit for his old bête noire, Dick Nixon.

        Hunter was born and bred in Louisville, Kentucky (a border state with strong southern sympathies). He was also well-read on the Civil War and, as such, was likely aware of the point you’re making. I suspect he nevertheless felt that Lee & Jackson would serve as a poignant analogy for rhetorical purposes.

  5. In other news, Caitlin Jenner has said that students who are biologically male should not compete in Girls’ Sports. Trans activists are calling him a traitor.

  6. Re Jerry’s remark about it being a good thing to make German civilians confront the dead in concentration camps:

    I am reading an excellent book, Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, by Susan Neiman. She addresses just this issue. And says that such efforts undertaken by the Allied Forces, not just the U.S, in the years following the war’s end were essentially failures. The German people felt that they were the victims, not the ones at fault. This reminded me of a passage I had read some years ago in Tony Judt’s magnificent history of those years, Post War. A poll of West German citizens in the late 40s showed that 45% of the respondents agreed with the statement that, before the war, the Jews were a threat to the security of Germany, and that something had to be done about them. I was shocked to read that, and Nieman’s work has helped me understand it. Not, of course, that there was any truth to it.

    It took another generation of Germans to come to accept the responsibility of their country for the evils it had perpetrated. How that came about is the object of Neiman’s book, and no way could I do justice to her argument here. I should add that Neiman is an American Jew, living in Berlin, and the purpose of her writing is to show that we Americans can learn how to address our own history of racial injustice.

  7. “Citizens of a nearby town were ordered to inspect the concentration camp; here’s a photo of that. Did they know what was going on?”

    Short answer: Yes.

    There were more than 10,000 Lagers in Germany during WWII. The citizens knew the general picture of what was going on, even if they didn’t know all the details.

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