Sunday: Hili dialogue

May 9, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a chilly and rainy Sunday, May 9, 2021: National Coconut Cream Pie Day.  It’s also Mother’s Day, with the apostrophe implying the celebration of only a single mother (shouldn’t it be either “Mothers Day” or “Mothers’ Day”?), National Butterscotch Brownie Day, Lost Sock Memorial Day (where do they go?), and National Moscato Day, celebrating a wine that is often dire but can be superb.

Google celebrates Mother’s Day with a gif that links to tips on how to celebrate (click on screenshot):

News of the Day:

The New York Times reported that a bomb placed outside a girls’ school in Kabul, Afghanistan (most likely by the Taliban) killed at least thirty and wounded dozens more yesterday; but last night’s evening news reports the death toll of over fifty. What kind of filthy, misogynistic pig would try to kill women for trying to learn? The only thing that was heartening about this reprehensible act was the interviews with the wounded girls in hospital, one who said that she was going to become a doctor no matter who tried to stop her.

By the time you read this (I’m writing on Saturday), the remnants of the Chinese rocket booster will likely have struck Earth as it tumbles to the surface. It’s unlikely someone will be hurt, even though the pieces could be sizable (up to 200 pounds!), as there’s a 70% chance the debris will land on water. Still, there’s a not negligible chance that some debris could land in an inhabited area. I will give a free autographed copy of WEIT to anyone who is struck but survives.

UPDATE: CNN reports that most of the booster burned up, but some landed near the Maldives. It’s unclear whether any debris hit the island.  CNN also says that “NASA has lambasted China for its failure to ‘meet responsible standards’ after debris from its out-of-control rocket likely plunged into the Indian Ocean Saturday night.”  As if the Chinese will pay any attention!

Also in the NYT, Liz Cheney, soon to be deposed as a Republican House leader for her opposition to Trump, is the subject of a column by Frank Bruni, who tells us (as if we didn’talready  know) that Cheney has a record of diehard conservative voting. No, she’s not perfect (a “perfect Republican” is an oxymoron), but she’s sure as hell better than Mitch McConnell. Bruni ends with a moment of charity:

But Americans deserve the truth, and Cheney, not McCarthy [the House Minority leader], is telling it. So she can’t be discounted as a villain having a rare good-ethics day, just as she shouldn’t be anointed St. Liz. She refuses our tidy categories. How frustrating. How human.

Great: South Carolina is bringing back the electric chair, which seems to be one of the cruelest ways to execute anyone. Because of a lack of lethal-injection drugs, the state hasn’t killed anyone in over a decade, and so the new bill, passed by the state legislature, allows death row inmates to choose between the electric chair and a firing squad. The article will also tell you how that state executed 14-year-old George Stinney, Jr. in a gruesome spectacle, a boy later exonerated of the murders for which he was convicted. (The jury deliberated all of ten minutes.) There’s a 22-minute YouTube reenactment of this tragedy here. And here’s 14-year-old Stinney’s mug shot, taken the year he was executed. Because he was too small for the electric chair, he had to sit on a Bible as he was executed.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 581,056, an increase of 675 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,298,072, an increase of about 12,300 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 9 include:

  • 1662 – The figure who later became Mr. Punch makes his first recorded appearance in England.

Wikipedia notes this: “The Punch and Judy show has roots in the 16th-century Italian commedia dell’arte. The figure of Punch is derived from the Neapolitan stock character of Pulcinella, which was anglicized to Punchinello. He is a variation on the same themes as the Lord of Misrule and the many Trickster figures found in mythologies across the world. Punch’s wife was originally called “Joan.”

Here’s Mr. Punch:

  • 1671 – Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempts to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.
  • 1726 – Five men arrested during a raid on Mother Clap‘s molly house in London are executed at Tyburn.

A molly house is where gay men met to find partners. Sodomy was a capital offense in England until 1861, and the men were executed for “buggery.”  And people say that we haven’t advanced in morality?

  • 1926 – Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claim to have flown over the North Pole (later discovery of Byrd’s diary appears to cast some doubt on the claim.)

Here’s the plane that supposedly flew over the Pole. Now that feat seems dubious:

  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: The SS executes 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv (Khmelnytska oblast. The Zoludek Ghetto (in Belarus) is destroyed and all its inhabitants executed or deported.
  • 1945 – World War II: The final German Instrument of Surrender is signed at the Soviet headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst.

Here’s the last page of that instrument of surrender:

  • 1960 – The Food and Drug Administration announces it will approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle’s Enovid, making Enovid the world’s first approved oral contraceptive pill.
  • 1974 – Watergate scandal: The United States House Committee on the Judiciary opens formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.
  • 1979 – Iranian Jewish businessman Habib Elghanian is executed by firing squad in Tehran, prompting the mass exodus of the once 100,000-strong Jewish community of Iran.

Notables born on May 9 include:

  • 1860 – J. M. Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright (d. 1937)

Barrie was most famous for creating Peter Pan. Here he is (Barrie, not Pan):

by Herbert Rose Barraud, sepia carbon print on card mount, 1892

Carter is of course the man who discovered and excavated King Tut’s tomb. Here he is opening Tut’s coffin in 1922:

And two rebels born on the same day:

A tweet sent by Matthew about Sophie Scholl, beheaded in 1943 along with her brother and a comrade for opposing the Nazis. Sophie was only 21.

  • 1927 – Manfred Eigen, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)
  • 1949 – Billy Joel, American singer-songwriter and pianist

Here’s Joel explaining his hit “PIano Man” at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre in 1994:

Those who died on May 9 include:

  • 1931 – Albert Abraham Michelson, German-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1852)
  • 1977 – James Jones, American novelist (b. 1921)
  • 1986 – Tenzing Norgay, Nepalese mountaineer (b. 1914)

Tenzing and Hillary, the first people to summit Everest:

  • 2010 – Lena Horne, American singer, actress, and activist (b. 1917)

Here’s Horne doing her timeless hit, “Stormy Weather,” and I believe that Cab Calloway is conducting the orchestra:

  • 2020 – Little Richard, American singer, songwriter, and pianist (b. 1932)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Paulina shows Kulka to Hili on the windowsill. Hili doesn’t like it, but at least she’s not hissing! You can see Szaron lounging on his blanket to the left.

Hili: What are you doing on my windowsill?
Kulka: I’m looking at you fuming.
In Polish:
Hili: Co ty robisz na moim parapecie?
Kulka: Patrzę jak się złościsz.

Here’s a picture of Kulka taken by Andrzej:

From Linda, a new Pearls before Swine cartoon:

From Facebook via Alex:

From Jesus of the Day:

Titania keeps pace with the ever-changing list of Approved Words:

From Luana: Walt Disney has gotten into the heavy-duty antiracism business. Here are two tweets, but there are more:

From Simon, who really wants this sign. Grammar and punctuation matter!

Tweets from Matthew. This whole thread has some amazing feats of bird migration:

A lovely glass sculpture of a tarantula:

New life: a lamb is born. This guy really knows what he’s doing!

Tweet of the week!

25 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Possibly Liz Cheney deserves some of what she is getting from the sinking party she belongs to. Hard to say but also hard to have much sympathy. Her father certainly did his part to send this party to the hell it is in even thought he would think otherwise.

    1. It’s hard to know which will hurt Trumpism more, Cheney staying or going. If she stays, she may partially “save” the GOP from Trump, making it a more potent force in 2022 and 2024. If she’s forced out, Trump consolidates more power, again helping him and the GOP. On the other hand, if the GOP stays under Trump’s control, it will get crazier and crazier as each politician tries to outdo the other in terms of Trumpishness, bringing more GOP voters to vote against them (I hope). Hard to know what to root for.

      1. Seems a fait accompli at this point; Cheney’s as good as gone, almost certainly as the GOP house conference chair, likely from her seat in congress come the 2022 election.

        1. Certainly that’s what everyone is saying. I just wonder if it’s going to be another secret vote where enough vote to keep her because they don’t risk Trump’s ire.

          1. In which case Kevin McCarthy (the most maladroit congressional leader in modern political history) will get his nuts squeezed by El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago to give up the names of those suspected of being disloyal, so Dear Leader can mete out condign punishment.

            1. That will happen regardless. They are all being watched constantly from Doom Beach. Although the Cheney vote poses the future of the GOP as a dilemma, I don’t think anyone can save the party. We should simply help it destroy itself. That said, I’m still scared about what will happen in 2022 and 2024. Will they be seen by enough voters as the Crazy Party or will Biden have been hit by some crisis that makes his administration look bad, causing the voters to bring back the Crazy?

              1. No rational person could possibly believe that Donald Trump won a yooge, landslide victory that was stolen from him by massive voter fraud in the last election. Yet over two-thirds of self-identified Republicans ascribe to this belief.

                The Grand Old Party has given up on democracy (in the sense of majority rule). All that matters to them, their minority-party status and plummeting popularity notwithstanding, is grabbing and hanging onto political power by any means available.

      2. Yes, it is a puzzle. But if we look at the longer period of republicans racing to the bottom, this is only a continuation going back many years. All of the principles the republicans use to believe in are now gone, although they have damaged this country a create deal. Now they simply believe in rubbish and lies. The culture of millions of Americans is so corrupt and void of virtues in the cult of Trump, it can have no future in any world. The great leader demands their loyalty and probably has it right up until he is either dead or behind bars.

        The thing is, the mistakes made in forming our government, our constitution, were made a long time ago and we have never fixed any of them. That is why we are where we are today.

        1. I wonder if we’re witnessing a feature of all democracies. Each only lasts until some crazy set of ideas takes sufficient hold in the population that they vote (knowingly or unknowingly) to destroy it. I still hold out hope that the GOP will be so horrible by Election Day in 2022 and 2024 that voters who’ve never voted in their lives come out to vote against it. Of course, with all the shenanigans going on at the state level right now, even that may not be enough.

        2. Mix the authoritarian personality and magical thinking and you get… .well the GOP, Trump, religion. Y’know, all the treasures in life.

          And let’s take no prisoners in the “Decent, good ol’ Liz Cheney” myth. She’s the unapologetic booster of her war criminal father and a right wing nut job in her own right. That she dislikes Trump doesn’t sell her to me. My enemy’s enemy is NOT my friend. She’s ALSO my enemy.

  2. Lost socks go into the black hole that was just recently photographed at least that’s what my dad tells me it’s as logical as the dryer monster my sister came up with when we were kids also yesterday was birth mother’s Day so I’m just calling it “Moms Weekend” from now on

  3. Re CARC,
    On the phone me to the agent after being asked to clarify my last name.
    Me: (spelled out) H.O.W.E (spoken) Howe with no LLs
    Agent: I’m so sorry Mr Noel.

  4. A stranger has never asked to touch my hair or ask if it is real.

    I knew it! Gingers ARE a minority! I am a Person with Hair of Color!

  5. Tenzing and Hillary, the first people to summit Everest …

    For sure the first to summit and successfully descend, thereby living to tell the tale. It’s an open question whether George Mallory and Sandy Irvine reached to summit in 1924 before perishing on the mountainside.

  6. The Disney woke thing is very depressing. I’ve been a Disney fan all my life, but it’s beginning to be like being a Cubs fan: a lot of pain and disappointment. The guest experience has gone downhill at Walt Disney World. One of Walt’s complaints about the existing amusements parks before he built Disneyland was that there was nowhere to sit. Now Walt Disney World has begin removing benches, because it’s so crowded that sitting people are in the way. The article, “The Wokest Place on Earth,” in City Journal includes this:

    The second article [in a collection of employee resources] encourages parents to commit to “raising race-consciousness in children” and argues that “even babies discriminate” against members of other races. A graphic claims that babies show the first signs of racism at three months old, and that white children become “strongly biased in favor whiteness” by age four.

    I am now waiting for a Cast Member to chide a guest about racism. It can only be a matter of time.

  7. JM Barrie was an estimable author, and one of his claims to fame is, almost single-handedly, having introduced the girl’s name ‘Wendy’ to the world:

    “The name was inspired by young Margaret Henley, daughter of Barrie’s poet friend W. E. Henley. With the common childhood difficulty pronouncing Rs, Margaret reportedly used to call him “my fwiendy-wendy”. [Wikipedia].

    All you Wendys out there: you have Barrie, Peter Pan and Margaret Henley to thank for your moniker!

  8. Just as an aside Christopher Rufo … featured today and last Friday is a former Director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Wealth and Poverty.

  9. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it – what the guy setting those bombs in Kabul was thinking as he surreptitiously slipped them below a car or in a trash can – probably watching the girls arrive at school. He was probably thinking “This is God’s will” b/c that’s what religion does.

    (For the record, I think it was probably ISIS “making a splash” rather than the Taliban as the latter usually announce their horrors. Doesn’t really matter at that level, though, does it?)

    ——————————————–space-the final junkyard—————————
    And when you’re a superpower it doesn’t matter where your used rocket bits fall. I doubt the Politburo in Beijing is having an emergency meeting anticipating the Maldives’ military response. I’m glad it didn’t fall on Manhattan though! 😉

  10. CNN: “NASA has lambasted China for its failure to ‘meet responsible standards’ after debris from its out-of-control rocket likely plunged into the Indian Ocean Saturday night.”

    Not that I have ever lived, ate and breathed NASA to the exclusion of every other activity of daily living, but, I don’t recall NASA previously lambasting another nation’s space agency. Till now I’ve figured that NASA would prudently leave that to some bloviating politician. Well, in a sense it has, inasmuch as I read in today’s hard-copy NY Times of newly-minted NASA Administrator Bill Nelson’s chin music directed at the Chinese.

    The Times says the debris landed “near” the Maldives. I look forward to the Times giving a specific numerical figure.

    What percent of the considerable launch and launch-related debris in orbit around the Earth is attributable to the Chinese, as compared to the U.S.? What “responsible standards” have been met there?

    When eventually one or more Chinese astronauts lose their lives – has that thus far happened? – in launch-related accidents, I suppose one can look forward to more righteous U.S. chin music about Chinese failure to “meet responsible standards,” the debris of the shuttle Columbia scattered over East Texas notwithstanding, as well as the politics- and “optics”-driven NASA management decision to ignore engineers’ concern about the SRB O-ring problem of Challenger, as well as the 1/67 launch pad deaths of Guss Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee due to a 100% oxygen atmosphere and shabby electrical wiring installation. (And, too, one of the factors contributing to the Apollo service module liquid oxygen tank explosion, if memory serves me, a too-low rated 28V breaker – instead of the correct 65V – which melted and fused.)

    I reasonably take it that astronaut-politician Bill Nelson occasionally, gratefully, reflects on his good fortune not to have been aboard the last flights of Challenger and Columbia.

    1. I took “responsible standards” to mean that you don’t purposefully launch something as big as this Chinese booster without worrying at all where it comes down. Accidents like Challenger and Columbia are a different thing entirely though even then it makes sense to worry about where debris may fall if something goes wrong.

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