Friday: Hili dialogue

June 4, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s Friday! Which seat can you take on this June 4, 2021? It’s National Cheese Day, which reminds me of this famous skit.  Poor cheeseless Cleese!

It’s also National Doughnut Day (now you’re talking!), National Cognac Day, International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and two great holidays in one:  Hug an Atheist Day and Hug Your Cat Day.

Wine of the Day: Lord knows what possessed me when I laid out two double sawbucks and a fiver for this wine, but I sure don’t regret it. It’s one of the finest Cabernets I’ve ever had, and, after a week or so of eating no meat, as well as eating very little in general, I defrosted a big T-bone steak and then craved something big and gutsy to wash it down.

This was just the ticket. It was HUGE: dark purple, jammy and plummy, smooth as a duck’s bottom, and even a tad sweet. I probably drank this puppy a few years too early, as it appears to have ages to go. I suspect it will be much better on the second day, but we’ll see. At any rate, after a lot of duck farming and its attendant tsouris, I deserved a treat. This is a very special wine, and if I were constrained to drink only one California cabernet for the rest of my life, this would be the one.

News of the Day:

Famed criminal attorney F. Lee Bailey, whose clients included O. J. Simpson, Patty Hearst, Sam Sheppard, Capt. Ernest Medina, and the Boston Strangler, has died at 87. Read the New York Times obituary about this colorful man. Here’s one bit:

He was a riveting courtroom performer, a stocky badger-like man with a cleft chin, intimidating blue eyes and a widow’s peak that refused to recede with the rest of his hairline. He had the ventriloquist’s trick of directing questions at the witness box but throwing his points at the jury box. He had an actor’s voice, by turns bullying, cajoling, sarcastic or sympathetic, searching for seams of doubt. Under his reductions, a prosecutor’s “fact” could be whittled down to a probability, then to a mere possibility or just a silly idea.

(From the NYT): Mr. Bailey in 1975 during the trial of the heiress Patricia Hearst. He ultimately failed to keep her out of prison for her involvement in a bank robbery. Credit: Associated Press

Do read the NYT’s story of Tomoaki Kato, an accomplished surgeon in New York who contracted Covid-19 and came close to death many times. Nobody thought he would make it, but he did, and is now back doing his good work. Read about what he learned from his experience.

According to yahoo!finance and other sources, Google’s head of “diversity strategy”, Kamau Bobb, is a rabid anti-Semite, once posting on Twitter that Jews “have an insatiable appetite for war and killing.” And that’s only part of his idiocy. Google, who fired James Damore, will of course keep Bobb on, just moving him off the diversity team.   (h/t Ben)

The Biden administration is taking flak for its failure to have yet put the portrait of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, a pledge it made a while back. (Tubman was of course a black abolitionist who rescued many from slavery.) This failure to follow through is mysterious for a “can do” administration. As the Washington Post reports,

Despite the growing national push to honor the contributions of women and people of color — and Biden’s personal promise to do so — Tubman is still not set to appear on the $20 by the end of Biden’s first term, or even a hypothetical second term. If the current timeline holds, it will have taken a full 16 years to realize the suggestion of a 9-year-old girl whose 2014 letter to then-President Barack Obama publicly launched the process.

That strikes some as an embarrassment.

“If we can put a helicopter on Mars, we ought to be able to design a $20 bill in less than 20 years,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said in an interview. “It’s all about commitment.”


A big cat kerfuffle in Scranton was reported by WPTV in Philadelphia. A tailless cat was reported as a bobcat in a Scranton high school, causing evacuation of the school. It turned out to be a regular housecat, and was chipped. Kashi, who was missing for three months, will be returned to its staff.  (h/t: Paul)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 595,935, an increase of 428 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,717,731, an increase of about 10,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 4 include:

Here’s St. Paul’s when it had a steeple:

  • 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrate their montgolfière (hot air balloon).
  • 1896 – Henry Ford completes the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile, and gives it a successful test run.

Here’s Henry Ford in his Quadricycle in 1896:

  • 1912 – Massachusetts becomes the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.
  • 1913 – Emily Davison, a suffragette, runs out in front of King George V‘s horse at The Derby. She is trampled, never regains consciousness, and dies four days later.

Here’s the famous video of Davison being hit by the King’s horse, and after that a photo of her:

  • 1917 – The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall receive the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receives the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope receives the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.
  • 1919 – Women’s rights: The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees suffrage to women, and sends it to the U.S. states for ratification.
  • 1939 – The Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, in the United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps.

Here are some of the refugees, and many of these surely died in the camps. The note above doesn’t mention that the ship was also turned away from Canada.

  • 1975 – The Governor of California Jerry Brown signs the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act into law, the first law in the U.S. giving farmworkers collective bargaining rights.
  • 1986 – Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

Sentenced to life in prison for passing documents to Israel, Pollard served 30 years before he was freed and eventually emigrated to Israel. Here’s a photo of him stealing classified documents. Pollard is the only American ever given a life sentence for passing classified information to a U.S. ally.

Here are some highlights of that flight:

Notables born on this day were few, and include:

No longer: Hughes is only the 12th heaviest human to be recorded. You can see the record holders here; the current #1 is Jon Brower Minnoch, who weighed 1,400 lb (635 kilograms or 100 stone). He died at 41. As one expects, most of the record holders died in their thirties or forties.

  • 1937 – Freddy Fender, American singer and guitarist (d. 2006)
  • 1944 – Michelle Phillips, American singer-songwriter and actress
  • 1975 – Russell Brand, English comedian and actor

Remember when Brand was married to Katy Perry? That was a marriage doomed to dissolution:

Those who ceased respiring on June 4 were also few, and include:

  • 1922 – W. H. R. Rivers, English anthropologist, neurologist, ethnologist, and psychiatrist (b. 1864)

Rivers is famous for treating cases of “battle fatigue” (now PTSD) at Craiglockhart (near Edinburgh) during WWI. One of his patients was Siegfried Sassoon. Read Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy for a fascinating look inside Rivers’s treatments and the lives of his patients. I can’t recommend this series highly enough; one volume won a Booker Prize.  Here’s Rivers:

  • 1968 – Dorothy Gish, American actress (b. 1898)
  • 2014 – Don Zimmer, American baseball player, coach, and manager (b. 1931)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej tries to discourage Hili from hunting:

Hili: Something is there.
A: Live and let live.
In Polish:
Hili: Tam coś jest.
Ja: Żyj i daj żyć.

A meme from Nicole (likely a conservative cat):

A tautological sign (unless you’re a zombie) from Barry:

From Jesus of the Day:

A tweet from Ginger K.:

Tweets from Matthew; I may have posted this one before, or perhaps the cat was in the left box:

I would absolutely love to have this duck bracelet? Isn’t it gorgeous? And it was worn by a Pharaoh!

Naval kitteh!

Matthew calls this “an oldie but a goldie”:

I don’t agree with Itzhak here, as you’re diluting the pure meat flavor with a bunch of junk. Note the confirmation bias: he “proves” he’s right by tasting his own steak!

This is perfect:

This is what’s known in the trade as a “groaner”:

41 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. So far as I’m aware, hugging a cat is simultaneously hugging an atheist—one who does not believe in God. Interestingly, despite the symmetry of the semantics of simultaneously, hugging an atheist is not simultaneously hugging a cat.

  2. On the wine: Any well-made cabernet sauvignon should go at least 20 years in bottle (some much longer).

    Winemaker Notes
    Deep ruby in color, the 2015 Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon expresses aromas of freshly picked black currants, ripe black cherries, and blackberries, with subtle notes of violets, mocha, and dried spices. On the palate, it’s a big, powerful, modern-styled wine layered with heaps of juicy blackberry and cherry fruit, while nuances of cedar, clove, nutmeg and vanilla bean round out the long smooth finish. It’s full-bodied and rich, balanced by fresh acidity and firm, polished tannins.

    Cedar and vanilla bean indicate time in new oak. Decanter states, “oaked”. Maybe 15 months in oak? At a 2015 vintage: Bottled in roughly early 2017, so more or less 4 years in bottle. Very young for this type of wine.

    Described as “modern style” so made to appeal early, I would guess.

        1. But the pleasures of drinking aged wine are well worth it (depending on one’s age! I’ve stopped laying down wine). We are currently consuming 2007 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, which I laid down in 2009. it is drinking spectacularly, though it could go 10 more years, maybe longer. A mere 12 years’ of cellaring!

          (Our cellar conditions are not ideal. We opened a bottle of 1996 Haut Brion (my last one! 🙁 ) earlier this year and it was just very slightly past-prime, though still divine. 23 years in my cellar.)

  3. According to John Cleese’s autobiography “So, Anyway”, his family surname originally was “Cheese”, but it got changed somewhere along the way!

    1. His father changed it when he served in WWI because he didn’t want to get teased. Son John regretted this, because he could have been known as Jack Cheese.

  4. The fact that Tubman is not yet on the 20 dollar bill should not be a knock against Biden. Let’s not forget that the idea was proposed toward the end of the Obama administration. Once Trump was President, I knew it would not happen. This is Trump’s fault. He had 4 years to get it done. We all know why it didn’t happen. Don’t criticize Biden for not having it done in little more than 100 days.

    1. Exactly: Pandemic relief, filling cabinet posts, promoting vaccination, getting the economy rolling again, restoring our international connections, war in the middle east, pulling out of our longest war in history (Afghanistan). What are these compared to who’s on the $20 bill?

      C’mon, Joe! Get your priorities straight! 😀

  5. Something I meant to put in my first post but forgot.

    The decision not to rebuild the spire of Saint Paul’s turned out to be a good one because the entire building was razed to the ground in the Great Fire of London only 105 years later. The building that now stands on the site is not the one in the picture above, but Christoper Wren’s domed masterpiece (as opposed to that one, which was a doomed masterpiece).

  6. I think the article on the $20 bill would have been more useful with a focus on the problems of rolling out new currency, rather than implying that people are dragging their feet. This is a terrible set of partial quotes: “Lew said the process was ‘mind-numbingly slow,’ but said some of the technical challenges are ‘real’ and cannot be rushed.” Did he really say or imply that some of the challenges weren’t real?

  7. Since I made it late to the morning thread the other day, I hope you won’t mind me bringing up the controversy over Naomi Osaka’s decision to not speak with media, and her subsequent fine by the WTA.

    I say the following of someone who has been a huge fan of Osaka since before she turned pro and I have suffered from significant mental health issues over the years. (Side note: I will never, ever forgive Serena Williams for what she did to Osaka when she lost to her at the US Open, ruining the moment a young girl must have dreamed of all her life by allowing the crowd to continuously boo her rather than trying to quell them at any point and leaving Osaka crying from emotional pain instead of joy. I will continue to root against Serena in every match she plays until the day she retires).

    At first, I wasn’t sure about my feelings regarding this kerfuffle, but I eventually ended up agreeing with the WTA the more I thought about it. I completely agree with the WTA’s position. First and most importantly, if they allow one player to refuse media appearances, then they must allow all players this right of refusal. This could potentially have a devastating impact on the sport. One of the biggest reasons a sport like tennis continues to grow in popularity is because of its players. Too many players opting out of post-match interviews (which usually only take place when they win and are only a few minutes long), press conferences, and general interviews would not be good for the sport. It would result not only in less exposure for popular players, but also for the sport in general, as there would be far fewer articles written about it and media coverage of it. Players’ words create stories and other content like video that can be disseminated throughout the world. Furthermore, it’s by far the best way for people to get to know them, and Osaka’s media appearances are a large part of what endeared her to me and to fans in general.

    Second, the popularity of women’s tennis helped make Osaka a multi-millionaire by the age of 20. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for short media appearances to be part of the contract for participating in a professional sport and making so much money doing it. Osaka signed a contract that contains a clause requiring her to do something that is rather easy and that helps the sport make the money it pays her, and she has an obligation to fulfill that contract.

    Third, I don’t think the fine is unreasonable. There must be some kind of punishment for the breach of contract; otherwise, the WTA would be tacitly granting players the right to refuse media appearances. The actual amount of the fine might as well be pennies to someone who makes as much as Osaka, but it should continue to go up if she repeatedly breaches her contract.

    That’s all. I’m still a huge fan of Osaka’s. I think she seems like a lovely person and I really enjoy watching her play. But would I think so highly of her if I never heard her speak publicly? Would she be as popular as she is if that were the case? Absolutely not. She has helped the sport grow by showing her seemingly good nature through media appearances. I would have absolutely zero notion of who she is beyond her play without her speaking to media. Her personality is part of what endeared her to me, though it was her play as a junior that first brought her to my attention. But the people who pay attention to junior tennis is a very small number.

    1. It’s clear that Osaka broke the rules as they stand and should bear the consequences, but I don’t agree that the media appearances should be mandatory. It’s the tennis that people watch not the carefully manufactured press conferences in which nobody really says anything. I want to watch Osaka play tennis. I don’t care about any interviews she might do before or after the matches.

      1. “It’s the tennis that people watch not the carefully manufactured press conferences in which nobody really says anything. I want to watch Osaka play tennis. I don’t care about any interviews she might do before or after the matches.”

        The first statement isn’t necessarily true and you surely know that interviews create viral moments, help people become fans of players (thus boosting their popularity and getting more people to view their matches), etc. The second statement might be true for you, but, again, you surely know that there are people who weren’t tennis fans, or were only casual fans, and then become bigger fans because they like a certain player based on that player’s media, again boosting viewership and thus revenue and popularity for the sport.

        Allowing any and all players to refuse media appearances would without question have an impact on the sport’s popularity and ability to grow further. This is just a fact.

        1. Your first statement: Very true. It is his interviews that have made me really like Novak Djokovic: He is really charming and unassuming. He is so severe and grave on court, you can’t see that side of him at all (his tennis is great, of course!).

          Personalities do matter.

          1. Yup, I wasn’t a big fan of his until I started seeing his interviews. We absolutely know this is true. And when you like a player, you’re far more likely to seek out and ensure you watch their matches so you can root for them.

            Allowing players to opt out of media engagement would be like sports team not marketing themselves. Marketing is very, very obviously important.

          2. Oh, I just remembered when he used to do his impressions of other players. Absolutely hilarious. There are others, but his Nadal one below is just the best.


            Djokovic and Sharapova have had many funny encounters and joint interviews/activities over the years, so it’s clearly all in good fun. People can look them up if they’re interested, and, judging by view numbers on Youtube of those and many other tennis player moments that took place during interviews, people are very interested! There’s no question that player interaction with the media is a vital part of any sport’s popularity and growth. That’s why it’s in their contracts.

              1. I’ve always admired Rafa’s complete lack of self-consciousness when he pulls out his wedgie before every point 🙂

              2. Ha! Yeah, isn’t that the truth. Every time I see him do that, I think, dude, try a different underwear model!!!

    2. What this topic needs is a good ‘ol Monty Python sketch. Something like :

      The Athletes Who Do Not Say Anything And Are Fined For It

      Cleese : [playing cricket]
      Palin : Hey you! What game is this?!
      Cleese : [ignoring Palin, keeps playing]
      Palin : “Hey – you didn’t say anything!”
      Cleese : “Sorry? I’m not sure what you mean, I just [ some technical thing in cricket ]”
      Palin : “But the rules state that when we ask you to say something, you must reply or we fine you.”
      Cleese : “Is that so?”
      Palin :”Sorry sah – right ‘ere in the book.”
      Cleese : “OK then, how much you want?”
      Palin : Oh about 5 quid ought to do it.
      Cleese : Right then – there you are! [hands him money – resumes playing]
      Palin ; Hey you! What’s the score?!
      Cleese : [ignoring Palin, keeps playing]
      Palin : Ah – sir – sorry, but you didn’t say anything again. That’ll be another five quid.

      [ and so on – apologies for ignorance of British-isms ]

      1. But this isn’t in any way reflective of the actual situation. If Osaka made it to the finals of the French Open, her total interview time over the course of the entire tournament would amount to a few hours at the very most. Post-match interviews (again, given only when you win, unless it’s the finals) take about two or three minutes. Press conferences aren’t particularly long. Interviews given on off days aren’t done on a daily basis every time a player has the day off. Maybe she’d give one or two interviews that aren’t part of the post-match press over the course of the tournament.

  8. This is very well said.

    I just listened to the award ceremony US Open 2018. I think SW did a decent job telling the crowd to stop booing. (I did not see the match, why were they booing? Because Serena lost? Good grief. The US Open crowd can certainly asshole-ish sometimes.)

    OK, I just saw some of the low-lights of the match. Very bad behavior by SW! She’s lecturing the umpire? She was lucky she didn’t get DQed! She just needed to shut the F up. And she blames it on sexism! Why not because the umpire was white? SW seems to not think the rules apply to her (e.g. her center-court outfits).

    And her coach saying “everyone coaches in every match”? Not that I’ve seen.

    Osaka is very charming. 🙂 And, first Japanese GS win!

    1. Yes, when Williams complained after the match, she got things completely wrong. She was penalized because she continued to argue with the referee in between every point after. Usually, when a player starts going off at the umpire the way she did the first time, they’re penalized a point or something, and that’s the end of it. But she wouldn’t stop, so the ref had to stop it somehow. It was one of the worst display of unsporting conduct I’ve ever seen.

      During the ceremony, all she had to do was put her hands up and make a calming motion to the crowd, and then point to Osaka and start clapping. The crowd would have listened to her immediately. But she chose to let them boo Osaka for what must have seemed like an eternity for poor Naomi. Williams waited until she had the microphone to finally tell people that they could stop booing. Osaka, who had been dreaming of that day for almost her entire existence, ended up crying and being abused by the crowd during what should have been the greatest moment of her life to that point.

  9. Rivers is famous for treating cases of “battle fatigue” (now PTSD) at Craiglockhart (near Edinburgh) during WWI.

    I think the term du jour during WWI was “shell shock.” “Battle fatigue” was the common term during WWII (when two GIs suffering from it were the recipients of Gen. George Patton’s infamous “slapping incidents” at hospitals in Sicily. Ike temporarily relieved Patton of his command over the incidents and made him apologize to the soldiers.)

    1. I had a very strict English instructor in high school who spent a year teaching us WWI poetry – we did a whole unit on ‘neurasthenia’ – or shell shock. We learned about how those who were diagnosed were jailed (along with those that lost their boots). What a brutal and terrible war.

  10. $20 bill, what’s that? Is that like a special credit on PayPal or something?

    Seriously, we are moving so swiftly away from hard currency that I would not be surprised to hear a kid ask that today. Cash? Coins? What, like from the olden days when the world was all in black and white, back in like 1968 B.C. (Before Computers) when Jesus and the dinosaurs died?

    1. I rarely have cash on my person anymore – pretty much the only time I do is when kiddo pays me (with his cash allowance) back for his online purchases (made with my card). So, there I am, with that twenty burning a hole in my pocket and I invariable run into some person asking for money and I give it to them. I’m a sucker like that. Most recently, a lady in line in front of me was buying a charger at the gas station. She hadn’t accounted for sales tax and so was a dollar or so short. Wanting to get on my way I offered to cover the tax. She tried to hug me (no thanks!) and then ran outside. As I was almost done ringing up, she ran back in, said her fiancé (the scary dude with two pitbulls on ropes, smoking a cig outside) had found the charger and could she exchange it for as many Arizona Ice Teas as it would buy. It was weird, I wanted to go, and ended up just giving her five dollars cash.

      Kiddo, as it turns out, is tiring of this paying me back process. As he is too young for a debit card, we set up a paypal account linked to his savings. I even made him call the bank to get the two small deposit amounts to confirm the link. As he sat on hold (on the landline) he asked “Why do they play this music over and over??”. Welcome to hold, kiddo.

      1. I don’t fully miss the days of cash only but as a kid it was such fun getting a few bills in a birthday card, a quarter under the pillow from the tooth fairy, or the best thing ever: finding cash on the ground!
        When my son was young he collected the Sacajawea coins, being golden he thought they made great pirate’s gold, which he stored in a plastic pirate skull piggy bank. I don’t know if kids even bother with coins anymore and I suppose today’s tooth fairy probably Venmo’s the $ to the kid’s account.

        Nice story about the kid being on hold, and on a landline! Makes me wish I still had my family’s 1970’s burnt umber-colored rotary dial telephone. I’m sure they’re on eBay. You can buy old pay phones as well, from back when we all needed coins!

  11. Oscar Wilde said that the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it, which suggests that the best way to get rid of kleptomania is to take something for it.

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