Thursday: Hili dialogue

May 13, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, May 13, 2021: National Apple Pie Day, and you can’t get more American than that. It’s also National Fruit Cocktail Day, World Cocktail Day, International Hummus Day, Cough Drop Day, and Tulip Day. 

News of the Day:

The violence continues to flare in Israel and Palestine, and now a sort of civil war has erupted in Israel, with Israeli Arabs attacking Israeli Jews and vice versa. Drivers are getting beat up on both sides, and it’s disgusting. From the NYT:

One of the most chilling incidents occurred in Bat Yam, a seaside suburb south of Tel Aviv, where dozens of Jewish extremists took turns beating and kicking an Arab motorcycle driver, even as his body lay motionless on the floor.

Another occurred in Acre, a northern coastal town, where an Arab mob beat a Jewish man with sticks and rocks, also leaving him in a critical condition.

Another 130 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza last night.

The New York Times more or less replaced Bari Weiss with an Israel hater, Peter Beinart, who believes in a “one-state” solution to the Israel/Palestine problem. In a new column, he pushes the ludicrous “right of return” of Palestinians, which would inundate Israelis with over a million hostile Palestinians and lead to a mass genocide. This is wht the New York Times has become these days.  Here’s a paragraph from Beinart’s latest, which just makes me laugh and sad at the same time. The man is an arrant idiot:

Perhaps American Jewish leaders fear that facing the crimes committed at Israel’s birth will leave Jews vulnerable. Once the Nakba [return] taboo is lifted, Palestinians will feel emboldened to seek revenge. But more often than not, honestly confronting the past has the opposite effect.

Yeah, right. Has Beinart seen what’s going on now in Israel between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews?

In a move that I consider boneheaded, Chicago’s tree House Animal Society has released 1,000 feral cats into Chicago’s streets to control rats. This has been since 2012, and they claim that the cats are spayed or neutered, and property owners take care of the moggies. I don’t believe them.

If you’re into mountain-climbing, you’ll want to read this NYT article on people who claim to have climbed all 14 8000-meter peaks in the world. It turns out that perhaps none of the 44 people making that claim have succeeded, mainly because a fair number of those mountains have “summits” that are virtually unattainable, so climbers often stop 5-20 meters below the high point.

Reader Jez called my attention to a pretty good Guardian column in which, celebrating their 200th anniversary, they list the best and worst typos that ever appeared in the paper.

The house in which most of James Joyce’s novelette “The Dead” takes place—a story I consider the finest piece of writing in English—is set to be renovated and become a hostel. This is a TRAVESTY!

It was in the upstairs rooms of the [15] Usher’s Island house that Joyce’s great-aunts ran, for a time, a small musical school. Their annual get-together each Jan. 6 — the Roman Catholic feast of the Epiphany, also known in Ireland as “Women’s Christmas” — was the model for “The Dead’s” haunted dinner party, which confronts Gabriel Conroy, Joyce’s fictional avatar, with the swooning mysteries of love and mortality.

The house was also a setting for John Huston’s 1987 movie adaptation of the story, his Oscar-nominated swan song.

A petition opposing this monstrous act has been signed by the likes of Edna O’Brien, Anne Enright, Sally Rooney, John Banville, Pat McCabe and Eoin McNamee. Other non-Irish signers were Richard Ford, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Salman Rushdie, Tobias Wolff and Ian McEwan.  Here is 15 Usher’s Island:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 583,210 an increase of 629 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,346,556, an increase of about 13,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 13 includes:

  • 1846 – Mexican–American War: The United States declares war on the Federal Republic of Mexico following a dispute over the American annexation of the Republic of Texas and a Mexican military incursion.
  • 1888 – With the passage of the Lei Áurea (“Golden Law”), Empire of Brazil abolishes slavery.
  • 1917 – Three children report the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima, Portugal.

Here are the three children who saw the apparition, as well as a newspaper report showing people gazing at the Sun to see the supposed Virgin:

(From Wikipedia): Lúcia dos Santos (left) with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, 1917
(From Wikipedia): Page from Ilustração Portuguesa, 29 October 1917, showing the people looking at the Sun during the Fátima apparitions attributed to the Virgin Mary
  • 1958 – Ben Carlin becomes the first (and only) person to circumnavigate the world by amphibious vehicle, having travelled over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 mi) by land during a ten-year journey.

Here’s Carlin’s vehicle, “Half Safe”, arriving in Denmark in 1951:

  • 1985 – Police bombed MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia, killing six adults and five children, and destroying the homes of 250 city residents.
  • 1995 – Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British mother, becomes the first woman to conquer Everest without oxygen or the help of sherpas.

Here’s Hargreaves, who died in a tragic fall after reaching the top of K2 at 33. Her son also died in a mountaineering accident on Nanga Parbat.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s a Braque etching, “Black Cat”:

He caused this. Religion poisons everything, including, literally, 918 people below.

  • 1940 – Bruce Chatwin, English author (d. 1989)
  • 1950 – Manning Marable, American author and academic (d. 2011)

Marable, whose work was handled by my own editor, won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Malcolm X (he died shortly thereafter of sarcodosis). Do read the book, it’s terrific.

  • 1950 – Stevie Wonder, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer
  • 1961 – Dennis Rodman, American basketball player, wrestler, and actor
  • 1986 – Lena Dunham, American actress, director, and screenwriter

Those who were potted like plants on this day include:

  • 1884 – Cyrus McCormick, American businessman, co-founded the International Harvester Company (b. 1809)
  • 1916 – Sholem Aleichem, Ukrainian-American author and playwright (b. 1859)

Aleichem, whose stories about Tevye the Dairyman, led to the famous musical Fiddler on the Roof:

Now THIS (Nansen) is a Viking! He won the Nobel for peace for helping create the “stateless passport” to allow displaced people to cross borders:

  • 1961 – Gary Cooper, American actor (b. 1901)
  • 1977 – Mickey Spillane, American mobster (b. 1934)
  • 2018 – Margot Kidder, Canadian-American actress (b. 1948)
  • 2019 – Doris Day, American singer and actress (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili sets out on a journey whose destination and purpose are unclear.

Hili: We are going southwest.
Szaron: But what for?
Hili: To secure our sphere of influence.
In Polish:
Hili: Idziemy na południowy zachód.
Szaron: Ale po co?
Hili: Żeby zabezpieczyć naszą strefę wpływów.

Here’s a photo of Szaron:

From Bruce:

A wedding invitation from Nicole. Is a child served like veal?

From Jesus of the Day:

Anita Sarkeesian is back with more stupid. I don’t think she has the slightest idea what she’s talking about, but wants to take the ideologically popular position.

Tweets from Matthew. There are lots of videos of this diligent and agile red squirrel. Note that in the third tweet below, it’s got nesting material in its mouth.

Here’s a biological difference between the sexes. Lesson: have similar rather than disparate sex chromosomes:

This should freak you out good and proper.

A very dreadful statue of Darwin:

I agree with Matthew here. Living wage! (Matthew notes, “I am a Brit and I endorse this message.”


38 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Mickey Spillane was a novelist, not a mobster, as you indicated in today’s posting. And he was born in 1918, died in 2006. Perhaps you meant someone else?

    1. Mickey Spillane, the author, was the pen name of Frank Morrison Spillane. Mickey Spillane, the mobster, ran the Irish mob on the west side of manhattan through the 1960’s and was assasinated in the 1970’s

      1. Well, I thought I’d refreshed the page before posting but I see that enl has already beaten me to it. The edit function seems to have disappeared?

    2. Different Mickey Spillane. The one who died on this date was an Irish-American hoodlum, the boss of NY’s Hell’s Kitchen before the notorious Westies took over that turf.

      Not the “Mike Hammer” pulp novelist.

  2. “Then the business should not exist” – absolutely! It’s only very recently in the UK that restaurants, and especially chains, have been shamed into passing on in full tips left by customers via bank card. Previously, the business owners either kept gratuities that were paid by card or else kept a hefty percentage saying it was an “administration charge”.

    1. Yeah we really need to do away with the minimum wage exception for waitstaff, and go back to very minor tipping.

      IIRC from a long-ago trip to Germany, the tradition there was just to round up to the nearest Deutchmark.

      1. It’s truly unconscionable – the federal tipped minimum wage is currently $2.13 per hour. It’s been left unchanged since the early 1990s. In states, including California, where the local law mandates alignment with the local minimum wage – with tips as a “bonus” – there has not been the loss of jobs that the National Restaurant Association has been predicting for many decades. Restaurants in the limited number of states with local protections have done marginally better than nationally. Suggesting, big surprise, that the claims of the industry are…..disingenuous…

    2. I’ve known many people who worked as waiters in the US. Every one of them loved tips. They could often make 100s of dollars per night in tips. (An 8-hour shift at $15/hour is $120, before taxes. Not many restaurants do 8-hour shifts.)

      In France, a 15% service fee is typically baked in. I guess one doesn’t have a “moral dilemma” then.

      Of course the restaurant keeping the tips is unconscionable. It’s theft, IMO.

      One reason we always tip in cash.

      1. I’m pretty sure that making big money on tips is not the norm though. I’ve never been a server myself but I’ve known a few, particularly during my college years. One of those made big money, as much as $300 a night (in the late 80s) on Friday & Saturday nights, working at a very popular lounge at a prime location frequented by well off business travelers. A she, as you might have guessed, that was very attractive, perfectly willing to use her looks and very good at doing so.

        All the others I’ve known made no better than any other low paying service job, often less, and did not love it at all. I’m pretty sure that as with most things those that make it big are the exceptions, not the rule.

      2. The tipping thing is not simple. I know of cases where it was a very good thing, income-wise. My youngest son for example could make $200 or more a night on tips alone. But its also a very contingent situation since there are jobs and shifts where you don’t get much in tips.

    3. In most European countries a 15 to 19% ‘gratuity ‘ is included in the bill. Of course you may tip in excess of that but it is not frowned upon if you don’t.
      In other words, I agree, businesses that force waiters to rely on tips for their income should not exist.

  3. Israel did not exist until 73 years ago

    Yes, and the Republic of Turkey didn’t exist until 98 years ago (a founding event also accompanied by large population displacements)
    East Timor didn’t exist until 19 years ago.
    Montenegro and Serbia didn’t exist until 15 years ago.
    Kosovo didn’t exist until 13 years ago.

    There is this process called “political change.” It happens.

    Often but not always accompanied with violence and disagreement, less commonly but sometimes with population displacements. But still, it happens.

    1. Pakistan, too. 1947, as well.

      Israel today is a liberal, progressive country, albeit, led by a succession of right-wing governments.

      Pakistan is a failed state led by a succession of far right and Islamist regimes.

      Interesting to see which country some regard as more problematic.

    2. I accept the validity of your underlying point, Eric, but as a technical matter, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo have all existed for much longer than 13-15 years, just not as independent states. For most of the 20th century, as part of Yugoslavia, and before that … well … forget it, Jake; it’s the Balkans.

      1. Such Balkanisation, it’s positively Byzantine.
        And before them, the situation was positively German, in a rather fragmented sense. Or was it Italy that was the previous example of Balkanisation – I forget – and Germany before that.

    3. Yes, as has been pointed out, countries’ origins are part of a zero sum game, and there are always losers. As to Israel’s right to exist, they held on against all comers. That’s their right to exist. Interesting article on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions.

  4. So Chicago is trying to control the rats? Odd for a place that cannot control the people.

    Notice how easy it is to be cancelled in the republican party.

    1. House Republicans to Dear Leader Trump after the ouster of Liz Cheney: “Defenestration accomplished, sir!”

      Maybe Cheney will find out what clean air smells like again out there, the way Justin Amash did. Now that they’ve both gone splat, they can come collect their consolation “Profile in Courage” Award.

      The congresswoman who bids fair to replace Cheney as House GOP conference chair — NY Rep. Elise Stefanik (who ran for reelection in 2016 as a non-Trump moderate) — is the most cynical, unprincipled opportunist to come along since .. since … well, since the last Republican pulled such a stunt. (It’s hard to keep track; the bar for the congressional Republicans could hardly get any lower.)

      1. I heard some in the media talking about Cheney as she said something about going back or recovering the “old” republican party. This is basically a joke as there is nothing to go back to. Her only chance to have any influence is gathering others who have been tossed out before her and starting an alternative party. Recovering the old cannot be done and who would want it anyway.

      2. Stefanik is the harbinger of fascism. Way to go GOP! We only have one legitimate party now…I hope the Dems realize this…you can’t negotiate with people yearning for an authoritarian.

        1. I messed up the ‘only’, I miss you edit! Especially since I like to indulge my drinking pleasures on the weekend.

  5. The story behind the reconstruction of “Noah’s Ark” from a Sumerian design is told eloquently and entertainingly by Irving Finkel, a cuneiform expert at the British Museum, in this excellent talk which he gave in 2016 at The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago:

    (For readers with an interest in the history of the Middle East, the Oriental Institute’s YouTube channel is a treasure trove of wonderful talks!)

    1. That professor (?, Doctor certainly) Finkel is an great example of the British Academic Eccentric – A Patrick Moore with a Darwinian beard.

  6. “Another 130 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza last night.”

    PZ Myers, 2009 Humanist of the Year (he he), suggested Hamas’s rockets are just “glorified fireworks”, although he also said they are also “nasty little things”. One of those “nasty little things” just killed a 5yo Israeli kid.

    Naturally, PZ comes from the school of thought that “words are violence”, but rockets that kill 5yo kids are just “glorified fireworks”.

    And it doesn’t matter if they are primitive compared to Israeli weapons. Nobody downplays the capability of Israeli weapons or strikes.

    Oh, and don’t read the comments over at Pharyngula. Lots of antisemitism and hate going on.

  7. I’m not sure about the James Joyce house. If you convert it into a museum, it is dead. If it’s used by people to live in, it’s alive and the experiences that people have in it may provide inspiration for future masterpieces.

  8. It seems Hili and Sharon are in sync. Their tails crook in the same direction. Seems Kukla is doing something else. Perhaps resting as she is a very busy young cat.

  9. Feral TNR (trap, neuter and release programs have been going on for some time because there are simple too many cats. The cats are spayed/ neutered, and property owners do take care of them.

    I worked with three different TNR programs in three entirely different areas. One was started by a woman who lives next to an abandoned suburban abandoned house, which became the go-to place for abandoned or feral cats in the area. The kittens were rescued, and adopted out, the older ones were released back. They have outdoor houses for them too, and now they have stable, manageable populations.

    There are way more cats than homes; he other “option” used to be poisoning, trapping and killing.

  10. Take a look at this reply on the Twitter thread about the bizarre but fascinating Tim Lewis artwork:

    I wonder what could be critically said about this to the extent that it might draw from visual cues we typically associate with “disability.” Makes me wonder if there could be issues of appropriation involved, but I don’t know the answer offhand.

    This boils down to “there’s some offence to be had here, if only I could find it!”

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