Friday: Hili dialogue

May 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Bottom o’ the week to you: it’s Friday, May 21, 2021: National Strawberries and Cream Days. But it’s only one day, not “days”! It’s also International Tea Day, Endangered Species Day (the photo shows a dinosaur skeleton!), National Bike to Work Day, National Waiters and Waitresses Day, National Pizza Party DaySaint Helena Day (celebrating the discovery of Saint Helena in 1502), and World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Posting will be light today as I have a dentist’s appointment AND we have a horrible situation in the duck pond with drake attacks and a shunned duckling. Please bear with me—and have pity on me.

News of the day:

There’s finally been a cease-fire in the fight between Gaza and Israel. It began at 7 pm yesterday Eastern US time (2 a.m. Israeli time). The peace was apparently brokered by Egypt, Qatar, and the U.N., with pressure from the U.S. But the old grievances remain, and now there’s internecine hatred between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. One errant Hamas rocket, and the fighting starts all over gain (also true for Israeli airstrikes, but I have more trust in Israeli restraint. But let’s just hope that, for the nonce, the fighting stops. One thing is for sure: it will resume again. I worry that all the aid to Palestine that will start flowing from the West will be used, as it has been before, to buy rockets.

Here’s HuffPost’s invidious headline, blaming the lack of a cease fire on Israel, when in fact both sides had to agree, and the cease-fire was brokered. This HuffPost rag is beneath contempt.

Over at the Washington Post, columnist Joe Waldman says that Biden isn’t really more radical than he has been: perhaps just a few ticks to the left:

Even now, Biden would argue that he’s basically sticking to this approach. The key difference is that as president he has the ability to push further on those same ideals. You can even make the case that he is not pushing much further than before but his movements are more visible because he can set the agenda.

After all, the truth is that the current agenda he’s setting isn’t all that radical. It’s a few steps to the left of where Obama was, and more ambitious than what Biden advocated for as a senator, but nothing in it expresses any different values from the ones Democrats have long held. He doesn’t want to seize the means of production and throw every billionaire into a reeducation camp; he just wants to beef up union protections and bump up the top tax rate by a few points.

The GOP claim that Biden is a secret leftist tells us only that Republicans, too, have the same basic ideals they’ve long had. They’ll surely be passionately opposed to the administration’s new plan to invigorate IRS enforcement, for instance, which could bring in hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue.

The BBC reports on “the unluckiest swan” that has now become lucky. It’s a swan in Cambridgeshire that was watched by Rob Adamson, a lovely guy who saw that its nest was about to be flooded. (The pair’s nesting attempts had failed for ten years.) He built a predator-proof floating platform, put the nest and its eggs on it and, mirabile dictu, all eight eggs hatched! A few photos are below (h/t Jez; photos by Rob Adamson and Jones boatyard).

The floating nest platform,

Adamson had previously hand-reared an abandoned cygnet named Sid:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 588,153, an increase of about 650 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,446,039, an increase of about 13,100 over yesterday’s total.:

Stuff that happened on May 21 includes:

  • 1703 – Daniel Defoe is imprisoned on charges of seditious libel.
  • 1856 – Lawrence, Kansas is captured and burned by pro-slavery forces.

Darwin kvetched on this day (h/t Matthew)

The scandal of the decade, and at the U of C! Here are Leopold and Loeb’s mug shots (Leopold is at the top). Loeb was murdered in prison in 1936, while Leopold was released in 1958 and died in Puerto Rico in 1971.

You can still see Lindbergh’s plane, “The Spirit of St. Louis”, at the National Air and Space Museum in northern Virginia. I highly recommend a visit:

  • 1936 – Sada Abe is arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover’s severed genitals in her handbag. Her story soon becomes one of Japan’s most notorious scandals.

You can see this portrayed in the movie “In the Realm of the Senses.” Here’s a portrait of Abe:

Here’s a re-creation of that incident; the Wikipedia caption is this: “A re-creation of the Slotin incident. The inside hemisphere with the thumb-hole next to the demonstrator’s hand is beryllium (replacing the uranium tamper of the same size in a Fat Man bomb). There is an external larger metal sphere of aluminium under it (replacing the pusher sphere in this bomb’s design). The plutonium “demon core” was inside the spheres at the time of the accident and is not visible, but its dimensions are comparable with the two small half-spheres shown resting nearby.”

Here’s the damage below. Toth was in a psychiatric hospital for two years and then was deported to Australia, where he died in 2012:

Here’s Johnny Carson’s final farewell in his very last show (sans guests):

  • 2011 – Radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on this date.
  • 2017 – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed their final show at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1799 – Mary Anning, English paleontologist (d. 1847)

Here’s Anning and her dog Tray, painted five years before her death:

A wonderful painting, “Cat“, by Rousseau:

  • 1904 – Fats Waller, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 1943)
  • 1936 – Günter Blobel, Polish-American biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2018)
  • 1951 – Al Franken, American actor, screenwriter, and politician

Those who were no more on May 21 include:

Once again I urge you to read the best cat poem ever, “For I will consider my cat Jeoffry“, by Smart, written while he was incarcerated for lunacy. It’s part of a longer poem, “Jubilate Agno.”

Addams in 1914; you can still visit her social-work “settlement house”, Hull House, in Chicago:

  • 1935 – Hugo de Vries, Dutch botanist and geneticist (b. 1848)
  • 1991 – Rajiv Gandhi, Indian politician, 6th Prime Minister of India (b. 1944)
  • 2000 – John Gielgud, English actor (b. 1904)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili knows that Paulina often buys cat treats for Hili.

Paulina: What are you thinking about?
Hili: About your yesterday’s shopping.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Paulina: O czym myślisz?
Hili: O twoich wczorajszych zakupach.

Here’s little Kulka up in a tree:

From Bruce:

A meme from Jesus of the Day:

And another from the same source:

From Simon: I haven’t read this paper yet, but here you go!

Seriously? Flying a Nazi flag at the border of Israel? Don’t forget the mayhem caused by putting a cartoon of Muhammad on the cover of Charlie Hebdo!

One more gem from London:

From Ziya Tong; no translation needed!

Tweets from Matthew: a NYT obituary of the accomplished and much-beloved biologist Dave Wake of Berkeley.  See Greg’s obituary of Wake here.

I concur completely!

I’ve been to Wales only once, to see Dylan Thomas’s roost in Laugharne. I need to get there more often, especially to see stuff like this:

Has anybody read the “Duck Tales” bandit?

Yesterday was World Bee Day—a UN holiday! If you’re not a fan of bees, you should bee:

34 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. part of the so-called Celtic Rainforest- in Wales recently. Blown away by its atmospheric beauty.

    “Washed away”, shurley? – Lord Gnome

      1. Well, with a haircut like that, you’ll get bored of being called “pollard”.

  2. National Waiters and Waitresses Day

    Best song I can think of to dedicate to my friends in the restaurant waiting game is by that trio of sisters, The Roches:

  3. “[T]he National Air and Space Museum in northern Virginia” – it was in Washington DC when I visited in the ’70s on a memorably torrential day. Has it moved?

    1. I am not sure of current status of the museums…there are two: the main/original on the Mall in downtown Washington, DC and a huge annex (the Uber-Hazi Center) at Dulles Airport in Reston (northern Virginia) in which numerous large aircraft and aerospace craft are on display. Of course things were closed for the pandemic but are now starting to reopen with limited, timed admissions. Also i believe that the museum on the Mall is undergoing a multi-year renovation so access was limited there as the pandemic hit. I do not know which museum the Spirit is in.

      1. It didn’t really move. There are two buildings. There is still the main museum building on the mall but it remains covid-closed plus it is in the midst of a huge multi-year renovation with lots of exhibits being moved out during the renovations of various sections of this huge building. There is also a second building, the modern Steven Udvar-Hazy Center, located at the Dulles Airport in Chantilly,( northern) Virginia twenty miles or so from the original Mall building. It contains lots of iron: aircraft and aerospace craft large and small. I think that the Enola Gay B-29, a Space Shuttle, a Concord, and many others. Entry is free but must be reserved with timed-passes due to covid restrictions. Regarding the Spirit of St Louis, it was in the main building when i was last there a few years ago, but I have no idea where it is billeted right now.

  4. In the tweet about the protest in London, the “hook nosed horned Jew” is (I think) Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed caricatured to look like the Devil (notice the Arab headdress, red eyes, red fingers, and black nails).

    1. I thought it had an Arabic style headdress…

      I would say aquiline nose anyway. I have a friend who had her beautiful aquiline nose ‘done’… 😭

  5. I share Darwin’s kvetch, though as I age, it is not so much that I haven’t read what is on the shelf as it is that I cannot recall what I read years ago or in many cases as of late, even a year or so ago…and I not just read many of these books but studied them for courses. “ I grow old, I grow old and shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”

    1. Speaking of books . . . and Lazlo Toth, I recommend “The Lazlo Letters,” by Don Novello. Where else can you read adoring fan letters to President Nixon and Earl Butz? Are they still dead? Those are classics, but even so, the letter to Mr. Bubble is my favorite: how the heck CAN you use it if you have to keep it dry?
      And Father Guido Sarducci was not a one-trick pony, as he is also responsible for “The Blade,” which is the best high school yearbook ever. What a great senior class field trip!

      1. “The Blade” was absolutely brilliant! I hope I run across my copy of it someday in a box somewhere. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. That straight up is what I expected corvid art to look like tbh.

    Merely this and nothing more.

  7. According to Wikipedia,

    For six years, the extortionist who had started calling himself Dagobert after the German name for Scrooge McDuck, baffled police and entertained the general public. Due to his careful precision and effort to eliminate any chance of anybody being hurt in his attacks, he was seen as a harmless prankster by many, and “I am Dagobert” T-shirt sales were brisk at kiosks throughout the city. When police released a tape of his voice in an attempt to trace him, a music group mixed it into a rap song dedicated to “Dagobert”, during his later trial he would explain that he wanted to be like the Disney character and “swim in money”.

    1. Dagobert the Merovingian king is the only one I know. Gregory of Tours is very entertaining. I read him when I was 17 instead of revising for A Levels…

  8. That Welsh rain forest looks like it should be a setting for a King Arthur story. I can easily see him passing that way to get to the Lady of the Lake. I would like to visit there, too. Maybe next time I am in England, I can talk my friends from Yorkshire into going.

  9. That London march reminds me of the ‘running of the Jew’ scene in Borat. Pretty crazy when Cohen’s over-the-top aping of bigots is topped by what they actually do.

  10. I think there is an error concerning the fate of the two U of C murderers. You have Loeb being murdered in prison in 1936 and then released from prison in 1958

  11. The scandal of the decade, and at the U of C! Here are Leopold and Loeb’s mug shots (Leopold is at the top). Loeb was murdered in prison in 1936, Loeb was released in 1958 and died in Puerto Rico in 1971.

    There’s a typo here.

  12. Bees! The other day was also the anniversary of Mt. St. Helens going off. One of my bee farmer clients had been driving bee truck that day, and as the ash blew east it swept through truck and those tiny, glass-sharp shards killed all the bees. It was a consequence of volcanic activity I would have never imagined.

  13. Any update on the poor duckling? It must be exhausting trying to keep the nasty drake away from Honey and the duckings.

  14. “For I will consider my cat Jeoffrey” – I think it was Samuel Barber who set this to music (a truncated version I now realize.) I played soprano sax on this piece in a church – really loved it. And I think that was the last time I played in a church without getting paid to do so (as this was around the time I became an atheist.) For I was not blessed in the variety of my movements. Nice memory though…

    1. Nope – it was Benjamin Britten. Should have looked that up before I commented I guess…

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