Wednesday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

May 19, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a humpish day: Wednesday, May 19, 2021: National Devils Food Cake Day. It’s also World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day, Malcolm X Day (his birthday in 1925), and Hepatitis Testing Day.

News of the Day:

The Democratic Party is slowly turning, as I thought it might, from support of Israel to support of Palestine. Although I may be wrong, I don’t think so. We’ll discuss this later today.

If this headline from the South Bend Tribune doesn’t prompt you to read the article, you are incurious! Do read it; it’s a fascinating piece of biology. (Click on screenshot to get to article; h/t Jean):

A defendant in North Dakota, convicted of trying to run over seven Native American children in his S.U.V., was convicted of one crime in court, and, before being taken into custody, cut his own throat with a plastic instrument and died in the courtroom. Fortunately, the jury had left the courtroom, but the judge and bailiffs were there.

Darwin’s Arch, a formation in the Galapagos, has collapsed. It was, of course, entropy (erosion). Here’s what it used to look like:

His arch may collapse, but his theory stands strong!

There will be no real news today, i.e. stuff about international affairs, which I find depressing. We have Alternative (but not fake) news.

Finally, what happened to Sinead O’Connor after she tore up a photo of the pope on Saturday Night Live in 1992? Already a renegade, this gesture made her career go down the toilet (it’s just the Pope, for crying out loud!). Her life has since been unsettled, as a fascinating New York Times profile reveals. She was physically abused as a child, spent six years in and out of mental-health facilities, and has now converted to Islam (her new name is Shuhada Sadaqat. And she’s written a new memoir (out June 1) called Rememberings—the excuse for the profile.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 586,824, an increase of about 1,000 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,419,984, an increase of about 15,300 over yesterday’s total.:

Stuff that happened on May 19 includes:

  • 1535 – French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and Chief Donnacona’s two sons (whom Cartier had kidnapped during his first voyage).
  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.
  • 1743 – Jean-Pierre Christin developed the centigrade temperature scale.
  • 1780 – New England’s Dark Day, an unusual darkening of the day sky, was observed over the New England states and parts of Canada.

This is attributed to smoke from forest fires.

Atatürk is sort of a hero of mine for secularizing Turkey and instituting many reforms, but I suppose they’ll one day find that he was irreparably immoral. At any rate, here he is in 1925:

Here’s that salacious rendition, with Monroe introduced by Peter Lawford:

I’d highly recommend you reading this letter by Dr. King;you can find it here.

  • 2018 – The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s Melba, one of the most renowned singers of her day, also gave the name to the dessert Peach Melba, as well as to Melba Toast. Here she is in 1907:

Notice that the Turkish War of Independence began on Atatürk’s birthday.

  • 1914 – Max Perutz, Austrian-English biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2002)
  • 1925 – Pol Pot, Cambodian general and politician, 29th Prime Minister of Cambodia (d. 1998)
  • 1925 – Malcolm X, American minister and activist (d. 1965)

Here’s Malcolm X on television in 1965, the year he was assassinated (he was only 39).

Those who became the Dearly Departed on May 19 include:

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England (1533–1536); second wife of Henry VIII of England (b. c. 1501)
  • 1795 – James Boswell, Scottish biographer (b. 1740)
  • 1935 – T. E. Lawrence, British colonel and archaeologist (b. 1888)

Another one of my heroes: a man of both thought and action, tortured though he was:

Here’s “Cloud’s Hill”, the cottage he inhabited while working for the RAF under a pseudonym. He was on the way home when he died in a motorcycle crash. I visited the place and took this photo in 2006.

  • 1971 – Ogden Nash, American poet (b. 1902)
  • 1994 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, American journalist, 37th First Lady of the United States (b. 1929)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron and Hili have their portraits taken:

Hili: They are taking our photos.
Szaron: I see it.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Hili: Fotografują nas.
Szaron: Widzę.

And we have a Mietek monologue!  Malgorzata says that Mitek is referring to a special brand of Polish woo: Sylwoterapia – therapy by trees and forest, a branch of pseudomedicine.

Mietek: A bit of tree therapy will not do any harm.

In Polish: Odrobina sylwoterapii nie zaszkodzi

Several readers sent me this very clever xkcd cartoon, which is a pretty good explanation of Muller’s ratchet, an explanation for the inevitable mutational/drift degeneration of chromosomes that can’t recombine out their bad alleles, and thus perhaps a stimulus for the evolution of recombination (sex and crossing-over of chromosomes).  Reader Rick notes that if you hover your mouse over the original cartoon, a secret message appears.

This is true; see the article by George Will here.

From Stephen: Soylent green is PEOPLE!

Titania’s comment about Shania Twain is very clever, if I get what she’s trying to say here:

A tweet from Simon showing a very clever billboard:

A tweet from Orli. The explicit politicization of scientific research is beginning.

Tweets from Matthew. Here’s an OCD cat:

A lovely Scottish rainbow:

Excellent life advice!

Here’s a tweet that puts history into perspective:

Yes, everything is terrible—except for this rodent having a feast.

24 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. “Notice that the Turkish War of Independence began on Atatürk’s birthday.” – his actual date of birth is unknown, and I suspect his “official” birthday was deliberately chosen to match the start of the war.

    1. Hmmm, Maybe.
      But since he was an army officer for years before his heroic fighting at Gallipolli, I suspect that such a manipulation would have also required an awful lot of “retconning” of paperwork.
      I struggle to believe that there was a major dip in Turkey’s love of Byzantine paperwork between being the Byzantine capital and my days working on Byzantine Customs paperwork in the harbour on the Asian side.

  2. There’s the APA gone down the tube. The same thing is happening to the Linguistic Society of America and probably will happen with the professional journals in history, sociology, anthropology and the like. Philosophers are ornery enough that I have some hope that it won’t happen with them. But all of the politicization of academic research fields going on is very reminiscent of Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1930s.

  3. The kids have been fascinated with the cicadas to the point of examining lots of them up close. Haven’t seen any “salt shaker” types yet, but if we do, I’ll explain it to the 10-year-old.

    We have been able to see several go through molt right before our eyes. That was cool. They’re completely white when they come out of their old skin!

    1. What a weird time it was, what with Marilyn et al., the Kennedy brothers, J. Edgar, the Rat Pack, the Mob, Cuba (Cuber). Did JFK know that she was going to be there?

      1. I assume Jackie knew, since she skipped the festivities at the old MSG.

        The best fictionalized version of that era is the first novel in James Ellroy’s Underworld USA trilogy, American Tabloid.

  4. The “People Meat” is proud to state that it is “FREERANGE”. Which raises slightly disturbing questions about which of their competitors are selling factory-farmed “People Meat”.
    But it might not be so bad. There are illegible qualifications to “FREERANGE” which probably mean that it’s not very free range, regardless of which brand you buy.
    Oh.
    I almost forgot. Prey silence for the imitable (but not beatable) Flanders & Swann (who used to be a regular anthropophagi) and the Reluctant Cannibal. (Lyrics).

  5. Since we like to use these morning threads as a place to discuss topics that are outside the scope of other posts, I have one that literally just popped up. I opened a new tab in Firefox to access the website, only to be greeted by this message from Mozilla (the company that runs Firefox) at the bottom of the new tab: “Talking to kids about big issues like gentrification and social activism is tough. This collection of articles, books, podcasts and more can help spark the conversation.”

    Those little messages used to be about things like internet security and similarly relevant topics. Now they’re about social justice. Why should children be learning about gentrification? What kind of parent teaches their eight-year-old about social activism?

    Remember when kids were supposed to be allowed a few years to, you know, be kids? The idea that we should be teaching children to be ideologically perfect drones so they don’t become — horrors! — something other than “social activists” or not properly “anti-racist” or whatever is insane. They should be playing, riding their bikes, and learning multiplication tables and whatnot (oh, i forgot for a moment that we no longer teach multiplication tables). And maybe they should even be given the chance to find their own voices and perspectives. But no, now they need to be good little activists with all the “correct” opinions. Makes my blood boil…

  6. “Here’s a tweet that puts history into perspective:”

    As far as I know by and large the mammoths died out some 10000 years ago from most of their former habitat. Some remnant populations remained, but even those were gone by 4000 years ago. So this happens to be an incorrect perspective.

    1. The last of the Wrangel Island mammoths supposedly became Ex-mammoths around 3,700 years ago. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the dates, never having delved deeper than the pop-sci articles but perhaps a more paleontological reader of Pliocene-Holocene megafaunal expertise could verify that.

        1. No worries. I’ve been having my comments pop up in all sorts of weird places. Must be Gremlins. And I agree with your comment, it is stretching it a bit. If mammoths had been stomping around where the carving was made it would be more meaningful.

  7. Well, it is possible. (I googled it before writing my comment and the source I found said some 1000 years older date. But I see that there are younger dates for them.)
    Nevertheless, even if their last withering inbred group barely made it, I’d still regard the statement of the tweet as technically correct but misleading. 4000 years ago the age of mammoths had long passed and the tweet implies a contemporality with that.

    1. I also do not get it, unless it is to point out how irrelevant any of them would be by invoking a fairly (at least today) irrelevant entertainment professional?.

      1. I see. One would have to be something of a Shania Twain enthusiast to get it (if I’m getting it). Regarding her and me, “never the Twain shall meet.”

        1. I’m hardly a huge fan of hers, but I’ve always gotten a kick out of this song. Sort of a segue to Carly’s You’re So Vain.

  8. In happy news – I was able to take kiddo to get his first jab today! He’s 12 and was so excited. They were pretty sticky about folks having proof of identity and age for the kids, I saw several turned away. Luckily, we brought along student ID and (which was just issued) and my login to the school district portal (that shows his age). He’s running around all chipper now, no side effects so far. He said he had been worried it would hurt (I got J&J and was a big baby about it) and he told the nurse that she had restored his faith in shots.

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