Monday: Hili dialogue

May 17, 2021 • 6:30 am

Top o’ the week to you, as it’s Monday, May 17, 2021: National Cherry Cobbler Day. It’s also National Walnut Day, Income Tax Day (pay up!), International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, National Mushroom Hunting Day, Pinot Grigio Day, World Hypertension Day, and World Information Society Day.

News of the Day:

Well cut off my legs and call me Shorty! China has just landed its own rover on Mars; I had no idea they were trying to do this. The Rover, named Zhurong, is said to resemble Perseverance, and here’s a photo:

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel shared intelligence information with the U.S. about Hamas activities in the building that also housed Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press in Gaza. The building was bombed with sufficient warning to enable all to evacuate, so there were no casualties. An excerpt:

Israel shared intelligence with the US showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza, officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday.

Officials in more than one government office confirmed that US President Joe Biden’s phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday was, in part, about the bombing of the building, and that Israel showed Biden and American officials the intelligence behind the action.

“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”

The Hamas operations in the building are said to have involved military intelligence and weapons manufacturing as well as an Islamic Jihad office. Now how did the AP and Al-Jazeera not know about that? And now that they do, why are they still arguing (as Jen Psaki implied) that Israel was trying to destroy journalism? It’s ridiculous to think that Israel would bomb the building with that end.

Oy! In case you thought Bill Gates was a paragon of philanthropy and rectitude, think again, or at least read the accusations against him in a NYT article about his divorce from his wife Melinda. He was apparently a wannabee philanderer, a close buddy of Jeffrey Epstein who met Epstein repeatedly (this is apparently  what precipitated Melinda’s divorce proceedings), and deficient in how Gates handled a sexual harassment claim against his money manager. I guess this is tabloid stuff, but it shows that nobody is perfect and that people are complex and multidimensional.

Dick Van Dyke is now 95 years old (can you believe it?), but he’s still active and eager to get back on the stage. Here’s a photo:
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 585,572, an increase of 610 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,394,311, an increase of about 9,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 17 includes:

    • 1536 – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s marriage is annulled.

I can’t seem to find a picture of this horse.

A first edition of this book will cost between 30,000 and $100,000:

This mechanism, shown as found and in a reconstruction, was used to predict astronomical phenomena like eclipses decades in advance. It dates roughly to 70 BC.  Here’s the original as found:

And a reconstruction:

    • 1915 – The last British Liberal Party government (led by H. H. Asquith) falls.
    • 1939 – The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers play in the United States’ first televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game in New York City.

Here’s a report of that first televised game with a few scenes:

    • 1954 – The United States Supreme Court hands down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, outlawing racial segregation in public schools.

Here’s the beginning of the hearings. Remember this?

    • 1984 – Prince Charles calls a proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”, sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture.

And here’s that first same-sex marriage (see caption):

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1749 – Edward Jenner, English physician and microbiologist (d. 1823)
    • 1866 – Erik Satie, French pianist and composer (d. 1925)

Here’s Satie, who was born in Normandy:

    • 1903 – Cool Papa Bell, American baseball player and manager (d. 1991)
    • 1918 – Birgit Nilsson, Swedish operatic soprano (d. 2005)
    • 1936 – Dennis Hopper, American actor and director (d. 2010)

Those who cashed in their chips on May 17 include:

Here’s a fine Botticelli (“The Birth of Fluffy,” I believe) that I found on the Internet:

    • 2012 – Donna Summer, American singer-songwriter (b. 1948)

As a student at Rockefeller University, where Edelman won his Prize, I used to play touch football with my fellow first-year grad students against the Edelman Lab (we called them “The Edelman Boys”). They played rough and, as I recall, a bit dirty!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes the rounds of the property:

Hili: We have a guest.
A: Where?
Hili: There is a lizard on the rock over there, but I don’t know whether it’s male or female.
In Polish:
Hili: Mamy gościa.
Ja: Gdzie?
Hili: Tam siedzi na kamieniu jaszczurka, ale nie wiem, czy to samiec, czy samica.

Little Kulka is having a whale of a time climbing:

From Facebook:

I lost the email from the person who sent me this, who said it was a judgment call if I used it, but I decided to:

No need to police our culture, for that’s Titania’s job. To wit:

A tweet from Frank. Kitten wrestling, and not a fake sport like human professional wrestling.

Tweets from Matthew. For this one he wrote me, “This would be you if you had a cat.” Well, I wouldn’t quite be that extreme. . .

Wally the Walrus got lost and is tootling around Wales. I was afraid for him, but at least he seems to be getting plenty of noms:

Vonnegut couldn’t have been righter! So it goes.

Beautiful turtle and tortoise shells, and the second tweet gives a key:

I do worry that this sculpture will be interpreted as “Sieg Heiling Cats” and get canceled:

27 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. The Gates story on Tee Vee this morning is that Gates had an affair with an employee at work for some time and that is why he stepped down from head of the company back whenever. This claim by an employee was investigated although I did not hear if it did anything. His wife knew about this and that was the reason for the divorce. Anyway – Gates was always thought to be a jerk and I guess he was.

    1. According to The Times piece, “Mr. Gates was known for making clumsy approaches to women in and out of the office.”

      Despite his predatory business practices, in his personal appearances Gates always struck me as something of a mensch — though the first words that come to mind in describing him are hardly “suave” and “debonair.” Porfirio Rubirosa, he ain’t. 🙂

      1. From reading other articles on this issue it seems that Gates was the poster boy for sexual harassment at Microsoft. He certainly is not in the same league with a Jeff Gaetz down Florida way but his speaking invitations will likely go down. I bet his wife cleans his clock.

    1. I have a some doubts about that picture. There appears to be a motor car or truck in the background. It could be a wagon of some sort, but it looks like a vehicle with pneumatic tires. I don’t think there were any such vehicles around in Louisville in 1875. The jockey in the picture may indeed be Oliver Lewis, who was African American and now has a street named here in Lexington, KY in his honor. We also have an Aristides Blvd named in honor of the horse.

      There is another picture here:

      The caption says, “Jockey Oliver Lewis riding Aristides to victory in inaugural Kentucky Derby, May 17, 1875.” I have some doubts about the validity of that too. It looks more like a photo of a horse in a workout not a race. There are no other horses in the frame. The jockey has no riding crop visible and is wearing heavy clothes not racing silks.

  2. Typo, for info
    Notables born on this day include: Unchanged: Notables born on this day include:

  3. I have to say I was confused by the picture in Titania’s tweet. At least, I was until I clicked on it and found it is actually three pictures and the heading “Vagina” had been cropped out of the last one.

    Also there are two glitches in the Matrix:

    “Notables born on this day include: Unchanged: Notables born on this day include:”


    “Those who cashed in their chips on May 17 include: Unchanged: Those who cashed in their chips on May 17 include:”

    Edit: ninja’d on the first one.

  4. I haven’t seen any photos from the Chinese Mars lander. Are there any? it’s been a few days…

  5. 1954 – The United States Supreme Court hands down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, outlawing racial segregation in public schools.

    That the Brown decision was unanimous is a testament to the political skills of the then recently confirmed chief justice, Earl Warren (the former governor of California and the 1948 Republican vice-presidential candidate). These days, SCOTUS justices no longer come to the Court from the political branches, but are carefully field-tested on the federal appellate bench before being nominated. The last justice with any experience in elective office was Sandra Day O’Connor (who served in the Arizona state legislature in the 1970s).

    When Brown was decided, William Rehnquist (later an associate justice and then chief justice on SCOTUS) was a law clerk for Justice Robert Jackson. Rehnquist wrote a memorandum urging that the separate-but-equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson be upheld, but CJ Warren, understanding how controversial the Brown opinion would be, prevailed upon all eight of his fellow justices to maintain a united front by joining his landmark opinion ordering that public schools in the United States be desegregated.

    1. An interesting book on Warren is “Eisenhower vs. Warren: the battle for civil rights and liberties” by James F. Simon (2018). It covers both the Brown decision by the Warren court, a decision, as Ken points out, that was really led by Warren and the later requirements/opportunities for enforcement by Ike’s executive branch. A fairly short and easy 375 page read aimed the general reader.

  6. Here’s a fine Botticelli (“The Birth of Fluffy,

    Fluffy seems to have been born at about 10 days old (eyes open – I’m not terribly up with feline development). While Aphrodite, being a goddess, could modestly (?) avoid the horror of baby pictures.

  7. 1903 – Cool Papa Bell, American baseball player and manager (d. 1991)

    Legend has it Cool Papa Bell was so fast afoot he could hit a single up the middle and get hit by the ball sliding into second base with a double.

  8. 1902 – Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer.

    By coincidence, the new channel for reporting assignment of names to asteroids includes one of the people who worked on the Mechanism :

    (214863) Seiradakis = 2006 YB55
    Discovery: 2006-12-27 / Mt. Lemmon Survey / Mount Lemmon / G96
    John H. Seiradakis (b. 1948) is a Greek radio astronomer, emeritus professor at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and former Director of the Observatory of Thessaloniki. He has contributed significantly to our knowledge of pulsars, archaoastronomy, and of the Antikythera Mechanism, the earliest known astronomical computer.

    “Small-world syndrome.” As that lizard is going to discover if it remains under Hili’s consideration for much longer.

    Little Kulka is having a whale of a time climbing:

    But not yet a dolphin of a time swimming?

    Wally the Walrus got lost and is tootling around Wales. […]
    – a beautiful animal but sadly far from home

    There is a kayak and set of arctic sea-equipment in the Anthropological Museum at Aberdeen’s Marischal College, which is reputed to have come from an Eskimo blown by storms from (where? not recorded) to beach near Aberdeen harbour. Now, there have always been suspicions that the Eskimo did most of the journey on an Edinburgh whaler, and was dropped off on the Neuk coast as a sort of joke. But a walrus deviating from East Greenland via Iceland and the Faroes to the UK doesn’t astonish me. They’re shallow-water feeders IIRC, so the Atlantic would pose a “migratory hazard”, but such barriers are rarely completely impermeable.
    Is the Marischal Museum still open? The college was taken over by the Council a while ago, but I think the leins and covenants around the building required them to maintain public access to parts of the building.
    Kayak :
    Museum: seems to have been moved to “the other place”. News may be old.

  9. “2004 – The first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S. are performed in the state of Massachusetts.” I expect that this came from the list foe 17 May on Wikipedia. In fact, of course (also according to Wikipedia):

    Jack Baker and Michael McConnell apply and are granted a marriage licence in Blue Earth County, Minnesota after discovering the county has no laws prohibiting same sex marriage. Therefore on 3, Sept, 1971 both men became the first legally married same sex couple in US and modern recorded history.

  10. Those Watergate highlights brought back a lot of memories. I was a high school student, glued to the TV during them. What an education on American politics! Every day brought new and surprising revelations.

    One of the strangest events of my life was being Haldeman’s guide for a week in the Amazon rainforest in 1990.

    1. The summer of 1973 was my first summer in the US as a grad student (I’d arrived at UVa in fall ’72), and I remember a bunch of us hanging out at someone’s apartment watching Senator Sam at work.

      1. It was truly riveting and dramatic, and many of the participants showed great courage and integrity in spite of their party, something that is very rare today.

  11. One thing I appreciate about Van Dyke is his being out-and-about in Malibu, from the Farmers Market to pop-up car enthusiast gatherings to Ralphs. One time he simply asked to join our table at the Farmers Market, and we chatted for about half an hour.

      1. It was! And it was interesting to see who among the “famous” crowd would be out-and-about like normal people and who would spend their days cloistered behind their gated walls. Played basketball with David Duchovny, Taye Diggs, Flea and Zuma Jay. Also got to know Christopher Parkening as a fellow faculty member and friend. Never invited him over for a jam 🙂

  12. I play Parkening’s arrangement of Gymnopedie No.1 by Satie. Sounds simple. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever learned on guitar. Parkening plays it about 1.5X to 2X too fast.

  13. Science Girl’s Tortoise shell gallery is great. People seem to think all turtles look alike, in this country they are either box turtles or snapping turtles. It’s a shame people don’t appreciate the full beauty and variety of our shelled friends. However, if one is so inclined, go over to The Turtle Room (connected to the Turtle Survival Alliance) and grab a calendar. I get one every year for 12 months of beautiful diversity!

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