Saturday: Hili dialogue

May 15, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Cat Sabbath: Saturday, May 15, 2021: National Chocolate Chip Day. It’s also World Whisky Day, International Day of Families, Peace Officers Memorial Day, Astronomy Day, Bring Flowers to Someone Day, Straw Hat Day, Plant a Lemon Tree Day, and, best of all, International Conscientious Objectors Day. Remember, the Sabbath was made for cats, not cats for the Sabbath.

News of the Day:

The trouble in Israel continues, and has been strongly exacerbated by the internecine violence between Israeli Jews and Arabs, as well as threats from Jordan and Lebanon:

By Friday evening, Israel faced furious demonstrations in at least 60 places across the West Bank and new protests just across the borders with Jordan and Lebanon, all atop the vigilante violence between Arabs and Jews within Israel, and the continuing battle with Gaza militants.

From Salon via reader Charles. The indictment they’re preparing from would come from Manhattan. but how many of you think Trump will really be indicted? (One can hope.)

BUT, there’s this:

But the report also noted an “obscure clause” in Florida law regarding interstate extradition that gives Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Republican ally of the former president who is reportedly considering his own 2024 presidential bid, to intervene or investigate “the situation and circumstances of the person” in question “and whether the person ought to be surrendered” to law enforcement in a different state.

No thank you article of the day. (This is connected with religion, of course.) The best way to deal with death, for me at least, is to know you’re gonna die but then don’t dwell on it. Don’t do what  Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble tells you to do—ponder it constantly, keeping skull mementos around!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 584,725, an increase of 610 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,372,845, an increase of about 13,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 15 include:

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, stands trial in London on charges of treason, adultery and incest; she is condemned to death by a specially-selected jury.

Boleyn was executed by beheading four days later.

Do you know Kepler’s Third Law? Neither did I—you can read about it here.

  • 1817 – Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends HospitalPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania).

Here’s the hospital, still in use as a hospital and clinic.

  • 1911 – In Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, the United States Supreme Court declares Standard Oil to be an “unreasonable” monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and orders the company to be broken up.
  • 1940 – World War II: After fierce fighting, the poorly trained and equipped Dutch troops surrender to Germany, marking the beginning of five years of occupation.
  • 1940 – Richard and Maurice McDonald open the first McDonald’s restaurant.

Here’s that first McDonald’s no longer operating. But I still remember when a burger, fries, and a shake were each 15¢. Buy ’em by the bag!

This streak is still unbroken and probably will remain so. In second place is Wee Willie Keeler, who hit safely in 45 consecutive games in 1896-1897. Pete Rose, with 44, is in third place.

It’s still going on!

Cresson, still the only female PM France has ever had:

  • 2004 – Arsenal F.C. go an entire league campaign unbeaten in the English Premier League, joining Preston North End F.C with the right to claim the title “The Invincibles“.

Notables born on this day include:

Among the 14 kids of this polymath was his most famous offspring, Rabindranath Tagore.

Author of the Oz books:

  • 1859 – Pierre Curie, French physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1906)
  • 1891 – Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian novelist and playwright (d. 1940)

Do read his The Master and Margarita, one of the great novels of our time. A satire of Soviet society, it was published by his wife—26 years after his death. And the greatness of this novel is one thing that Adam Gopnik and I do agree on! Bulgakov:

  • 1902 – Richard J. Daley, American lawyer and politician, 48th Mayor of Chicago (d. 1976)
  • 1915 – Paul Samuelson, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2009)
  • 1923 – Richard Avedon, American sailor and photographer (d. 2004).

He was a great fashion photographer but I like his portraits like this one:

  • 1930 – Jasper Johns, American painter and sculptor
  • 1981 – Jamie-Lynn Sigler, American actress and singer
  • 1987 – Andy Murray, Scottish tennis player

Those who passed away on May 15 include

The only authenticated portrait of Dickinson, taken in 1846 or 1847, when she was but 16 or 17.  But there’s another one likely to be her as well.


“Cat Studies” by Edward Hopper:

  • 2007 – Jerry Falwell, American pastor, founded Liberty University (b. 1933)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron enjoy the sun and engage in some persiflage:

Hili: I’m worried about the information from the stock exchange.
Szaron: Which one?
Hili: In Shanghai.
In Polish:
Hili: Niepokoją mnie informacje z giełdy.
Szaron: Z której?
Hili: W Szanghaju.

Kulka and Szaron, photos by Paulina:

From Divy:

From Nicole (NSFW?):

Two tweets from Barry. Look at this frog!

Barry says, “I just love the nod. Sound up.”  I don’t understand where Bucky is going to be brought if he doesn’t snore.  I can’t make out the words. The “beefs”?

Tweets from Matthew. For sure this woman hasn’t bathed a cat!

Is that a serious question? If it fits, he sits!

A gorgeous Flower Hat Jellyfish:

First swim for the ducklings. Given their peeping, I think they’re a bit distressed. (Sound up.)

I don’t think I like the image of the Emeritus Professor:

29 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. A happy conscientious objectors’ (should have an apostrophe?) day to you sir. I think that I shall observe chocolate chip and world whiskey day by enjoying a chips ahoy cookie with my five o’clock Saturday scotch this evening.

  2. Trump will be indicted and most likely by Vance. Weisselberg will be rolling or flipping, however you want to call it. He probably has no choice unless he plans to spend the rest of his days in prison. Last bit on him was that most of the grandkids went to a very expensive private school in NY, Columbia prep, I think is the name. $500,000 from Trump went to the school for this besides a gift of another $150,000 from Trump’s defunct charity. Not likely that Weisselberg paid taxes on all this gifting.

    1. In the words of the late Mayor Richard Daley, in honor of his birthday: “Indicted ain’t convicted”. He was referring to one of His aldermen when asked by a reporter as quoted in “Boss” by Mike Royko if i recall correctly.

      1. But you do agree that one must come before the other. That is kind of the way it works. You must first get thrown out of office before you get indicted, eh?

        1. Certainly. I believe that Daley was referring to the great unlikelihood of finding twelve honest men in Cook County during hizzonor’s reign.

    2. As described in the media regarding Trump’s $500,000 payment for Weisselberg’s grandson’s education, whether or not Trump and/or Weisselberg has any tax liability is simply unclear. We do not know exactly how the money was transferred. Until, we have more details we can only speculate for the following reasons.

      1. If the funds were paid directly to the school for tuition, there would be no gift tax or income tax liability for Trump or Weisselberg. The federal gift law has an exemption for tuition payments: It states in the gift tax instructions:

      Educational exclusion.

      The gift tax does not apply to an amount you paid on behalf of an individual to a qualifying domestic or foreign educational organization as tuition for the education or training of the individual. A qualifying educational organization is one that normally maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and normally has a regularly enrolled body of pupils or students in attendance at the place where its educational activities are regularly carried on. See section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) and its regulations.
      The payment must be made directly to the qualifying educational organization and it must be for tuition. No educational exclusion is allowed for amounts paid for books, supplies, room and board, or other similar expenses that are not direct tuition costs. To the extent that the payment to the educational organization was for something other than tuition, it is a gift to the individual for whose benefit it was made, and may be offset by the annual exclusion if it is otherwise available.

      2. If the payment or payments were genuine gifts, not subject to the education exclusion, Trump would be legally required to file a gift tax return (form 709), but for reasons too complicated to go into, he may not have been required to actually write a check to the IRS. Also, any gift tax that needs to be paid is the responsibility of the donor, not the donee. Thus, I don’t think the government would have any leverage against Weisselberg.

      3. Of course, if the payments were not genuine gifts, then we have a very different story. The government may try to show that the so-called gifts (based on the large amounts) were fraudulent. In this case, both Trump and Weisselberg may be in legal jeopardy. Here the government would have leverage against Weisselberg. I suspect this will be the case.

      All this means that at the moment we don’t know what is going on.

      Note: please don’t take my interpretation of gift tax laws as necessarily correct. I think it is so, but I could be wrong.

      1. I think the operative theory is that Trump gave his CFO Allen Weisselberg’s failson, Barry, a flunky job managing an ice rink. The tuition for Barry’s kids constituted compensation Trump paid to Barry, for which Barry may not have paid income taxes. His son Barry’s potential tax fraud liability is being used by prosecutors to pressure Allen W. to flip on Trump.

        At least that’s the way I’m reading the tea leaves, since these types of scenarios are a fairly common prosecutorial tactic in criminal investigations.

        1. I believe there was a subpoena to the school to get the documents or transactions on this as well. Of course this is only one of who knows how many things they may be looking at regarding Allen W. According to Cohen, nothing happened in Trump world that did not go through Weisselberg.

  3. Ah, yes, The Master and Margarita—with some of the most insanely funny episodes in literature (Koroviev and Behemoth at the Torgsin store?) Woland is an absolute masterpiece of the literary imagination, possibly the most interesting interpretation of the Devil since Paradise Lost. And there are many lingering mysteries that never get resolved, though I’ve read a fair amount of speculation. What was the ‘unfortunate pun’ that that grim knight had to expiate by playing the bizarre Koroviev? Why had the Master only earned rest, not light? Incredibly poignant in many places, as with poor tormented Ivan Ponyrev, the poet turned academician who cannot get the vision of that path of light, and his final, heaing blessing by Margarita, out of his mind. It’s a haunting story—fifty years after I first read it, it still can distract me from other things I should be doing with its fundamental mystery…

    1. … possibly the most interesting interpretation of the Devil since Paradise Lost.

      That’s a bold statement given that the Devil, in the form of Mephistopheles, is a key character in Goethe’s Faust (and even before Milton, in the Faust story by Christopher Marlowe).

      Also, I’m not a big fan of C.S. Lewis, but Screwtape is an interesting interpretation, too.

      1. Well, I think Woland is a far more nuanced personality than Mephistofeles, and a hell of lot wittier. His sarcky hectoring of poor old earnest Matthew the Levite—particularly in the passage where he drives it into the latter’s thick skull that without the darkness that he brings to the table, the light that so captivates Matthew wouldn’t be visible, leaving instead a flat, dull world—and his banter with Behemoth have a kind of whimsical peevishness that makes him much more three dimensional than I ever found Mephisto. I’d far rather spend an evening with Woland over a glass or two of the brandy that Behemoth was so fond of than with Mephistopheles, or any of the various other incarnations of the Evil One I’ve run across in literature….

    2. It is unfortunate that the author hated atheists so much though. Luckily the novel does not obsess on that part. (Just think about it, Woland kills maybe two person in the entire story for their crimes. One for being an agent provocateur and traitorous spy and the other for denying the existence of Jesus.)

      1. Yes, there’s that. And there’s an unpleasantly anti-Jewish tinge to much of the Jerusalem storyline, which seems to have reflected something about Bulgokov’s own attitudes, and revealed more explicitly in some of his letters. In other places however he seems to be sympathetic to Jewish victimization in Russia, particularly by the Cossacks. So it’s a little hard to know exactly how to balance these assessments. I’ve read opinions by a number of different critics who have the same problem reconciling the magical quality of the book with the sub rosa bigotry that seems to be at least strongly suggested toward Jews and atheists.

  4. Per the dog video, the owner is promising to bring him to the *beach.* I just love the dog’s sheepish, I-don’t-believe-you look that comes with the paw/handshake.

  5. Do you know Kepler’s Third Law? Neither did I—you can read about it here.

    Well, I knew of Kepler’s Third Law. We covered them in school (high school to Americans). The ellipse one and the equal areas one I remember but the third one is a bit complicated.

    Kepler’s First Law was absolutely revolutionary (if you’ll excuse the pun) and he doesn’t get enough credit for it IMO. Even Copernicus was unable to see past the prevailing view that planetary motion had to be based on perfect circles. That’s why his model didn’t really work and was less successful at predicting planetary motion than the Ptolemaic model.

    Back in 2004, Arsenal played Chelsea three times in three weeks. They won the league match (or possibly drew, I don’t remember) but lost the matches in the FA Cup and Champions League, getting knocked out of both competitions as a result. At the time, I said I would have traded victory in those two matches for the result in the league so that they could go on to win a double or treble. Now, from the perspective of history, I’m glad it went the way it did. Only Arsenal supporters would remember a double, but the Invincibles are etched in history.

    1. Yes we had that in school too. From memory: The first just says planets have elliptical orbits, the second that the surface of a plane traveled in a particular time remains identical, hence planets travel faster when closer to the sun. The third was indeed more difficult, comparing different planets: the square of their periods divided by the cube of their average distance is constant.
      IIRC these laws are kinda universal and would apply to satellites ‘ellipsing’ a planet too.

  6. … the report also noted an “obscure clause” in Florida law regarding interstate extradition that gives Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Republican ally of the former president who is reportedly considering his own 2024 presidential bid, to intervene or investigate “the situation and circumstances of the person” in question “and whether the person ought to be surrendered” to law enforcement in a different state.

    Florida is a signatory to the Uniform Interstate Extradition compact. Under that statute, state governors have the ministerial power to ensure that a person arrested on an extradition warrant is actually the person sought by the warrant and that the charges for which the person is sought are actually pending in the requesting state. This power is routinely delegated by a state’s governor to an official within the governor’s office.

    As the events since the last election have demonstrated, Republicans have already given up on majority-rule democracy. For Ron DeSantis to interfere in the extradition of Donald Trump, were Trump to be charged by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, would be a knife in the heart of the rule of law. It would make Florida a rogue state (by which I mean even more of a rogue state than it is now), and make Ron DeSantis a pariah among the National Governors Association. Aside from the hardest of hardcore, dead-end Trump supporters, the people of this state, and of this nation, would not stand for it.

    1. Maybe that would be the limit to the asinine state power in this country. When Madison left the Convention back in 1787 he knew the state sovereignty and the one vote per state vote in the Senate were the killers in this Constitution. He changed his mind later but he was right the first time.

    2. Re: ” . . . that gives Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Republican ally of the former president who is reportedly considering his own 2024 presidential bid . . . .”

      (As opposed to, ” . . . that gives the governor . . . .”)

      Would Salon have mentioned the above were the governor not an ally, or was neutral regarding Trump, or seeking national office? Perhaps there would have been a speculative NY Timesesque “It is ‘unclear’ . . . .”

      1. ” . . . or NOT seeking public office . . . .” Two cups of coffee are not sufficient this morning.

      2. For no United States governor save an arrant Trump sycophant like Ron DeSantis would the denial of a New York request for the extradition of a charged felon be even a remote possibility.

  7. He [Richard Avedon] was a great fashion photographer but I like his portraits like this one …

    I’ve always been partial to the album covers and portraits Avedon did of Chet Baker, late in Baker’s career, after a life a dissipation (and a beatdown that knocked out several teeth and forced Baker to alter his embouchure) had robbed the jazz trumpeter of his early, matinee-idol good looks:–swing-jazz-chet-baker.jpg

  8. 1981 – Jamie-Lynn Sigler, American actress and singer

    Wait, Meadow turned 40? I’m pretty sure that’s the same age Carmela was during Season 4.

  9. “For sure this woman hasn’t bathed a cat!” It is significant the illustrations are drawings, not photographs.

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