Monday: Hili dialogue

June 7, 2021 • 6:30 am

Another damn week is here, but summer is approaching: it’s June 7, 2021: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. It’s also Daniel Boone Day, celebrating the day when he supposedly first saw the land that would become part of Kentucky, and National “Thank God It’s Monday” Day, a holiday with no rationale at all.  That’s it for holidays:a very poor day for celebrating.

Wine of the Day: First, notice the match between the wine label and my countertop. Second, this is a superb wine. I’ve lately been on a winning streak drinking the fancier wines I bought, and I think I need treats.  This wonderful syrah is redolent of black pepper, black olive (like a good Rhone), and, of all things, beef jerky.

I have no record of when I bought it (the cork was crumbly and required careful extraction) or what i paid for it, but it appears to go now for about $45.  I needed a treat, a good red to drink with good Tilamook Aged Sharp Cheddar, homegrown tomatoes drenched in great Italian olive oil, and all accompanied by a crispy baguette. As Hemingway would have written: “I took a bite of the cheese and then the bread, and washed it down with the red wine. It was good.” The wine showed no sign of being over the hill despite being 13 years old.

News of the Day:

As of Sunday evening at 6 p.m. Chicago time, our town has had 47 shootings since Friday evening and 5 deaths. None of those killings were in self-defense. How many more people have to die before the gun madness stops? (Death toll update Monday morning should the violence continue.) UPDATE: 55 shot as of 5 a.m. Monday, with no more deaths.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of two Democratic supporters of the 60-vote filibuster law, has announced that he’s not budging, despite strong Democratic arm-twisting to do so. Without his and Sen. Sinema’s vote, the Democrats will get precious little done in the next year and a half.

An AP story details promising new methods of gene therapy for rare diseases based on mutations in single genes. By injecting the fixed, engineered gene into an affected organ, or into the body as a whole, a panoply of diseases can be cured or ameliorated. One issue is how to use viral vectors to carry the “good” gene into cells; curiously one such vector is the HIV virus, which has been used to give 48 babies born without a working immune system one that functions.

United Airlines has purchased 15 supersonic jets from Boom Technology that promise to revive the days of the Concorde. And like the Concorde, they can fly from New York to London in about 3½ hours. But don’t think for a minute that tickets will be cheap; the planes are small and fuel consumption is high: a transatlantic trip could cost $5000 or so. To see a Wall Street Journal video summarizing this new (or rather revived) means of travel, click on the screenshot below.

The debate about ditching the “common” names of birds that are “eponyms,” honoring a real person, continues. Some birders think that all such names should be ditched, others only “problematic” names like Audubon’s Warbler or Wallace’s Owlet (named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who “frequently used the n word.” The Washington Post describes the debate. A quote:

But overcoming those barriers will be daunting. As with the wider field of conservation, racism and colonialism are in ornithology’s DNA, indelibly linked to its origin story. The challenge of how to move forward is roiling White ornithologists as they debate whether to change as many as 150 eponyms, names of birds that honor people with connections to slavery and supremacy.

The Bachman’s sparrow, Wallace’s fruit dove and other winged creatures bear the names of men who fought for the Southern cause, stole skulls from Indian graves for pseudoscientific studies that were later debunked, and bought and sold Black people. Some of these men stoked violence and participated in it without consequence.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 597,219, an increase of 436 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,744,513, an increase of about 7,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 7 includes:

A painting, which could have been called “Hallelujah! Jesus helped us kill thousands of Muslims and Jews!”

(From Wikipedia): “Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, 15th July 1099” / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library

This ruling stood until it was overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education. There are no known photos of Homer Plessy.

The woman who axed a thousand barrels of booze.  Wikipedia says this about her: “She described herself as “a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn’t like”, and claimed a divine ordination to promote temperance by destroying bars.” But if Jesus doesn’t like booze, why did he turn water into wine?

  • 1917 – World War I: Battle of Messines: Allied soldiers detonate a series of mines underneath German trenches at Messines Ridge, killing 10,000 German troops.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Midway ends in American victory.
  • 1946 – The United Kingdom’s BBC returns to broadcasting its television service, which has been off air for seven years because of the Second World War.
  • 1965 – The Supreme Court of the United States hands down its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, prohibiting the states from criminalizing the use of contraception by married couples.

The decision was 7-2, with William O. Douglas writing the majority opinion.

Some facts from Wikipedia behind the Cohen case: “On April 26, 1968, 19-year-old Paul Robert Cohen was arrested for wearing a jacket bearing the words “Fuck the Draft” in a corridor of the Los Angeles Courthouse. Cohen was reportedly at court to testify as a defense witness in an unrelated hearing, and had removed his jacket on entering the courtroom. An officer who had noticed his jacket in the corridor requested that the judge hold Cohen in contempt of court, but the judge did not take any action. The officer then waited until Cohen exited the courtroom and arrested him for disturbing the peace.

  • 1977 – Five hundred million people watch the high day of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II begin on television.
  • 1982 – Priscilla Presley opens Graceland to the public; the bathroom where Elvis Presley died five years earlier is kept off-limits.

I’ve never been to Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee, but it’s on my bucket list. Here’s the outside:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1778 – Beau Brummell, English cricketer and fashion designer (d. 1840)
  • 1848 – Paul Gauguin, French painter and sculptor (d. 1903)

Here’s “Flow and Cats” by Gaugin:

  • 1917 – Dean Martin, American singer, actor, and producer (d. 1995)

One of my favorite songs by Deano: “Inamorata”, performed here with Dorothy Malone and Shirley MacLaine from the movie “Artists and Models” (1955).

  • 1952 – Liam Neeson, Irish-American actor
  • 1959 – Mike Pence, 48th Vice President of the United States, 50th Governor of Indiana
  • 1981 – Anna Kournikova, Russian tennis player
  • 1990 – Iggy Azalea, Australian rapper, singer, songwriter, and model.

Those who left the land of the living on June 7 include:

  • 1329 – Robert the Bruce, Scottish king (b. 1274)
  • 1937 – Jean Harlow, American actress and singer (b. 1911)
  • 1967 – Anatoly Maltsev, Russian mathematician and academic (b. 1909)
  • 1967 – Dorothy Parker, American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist (b. 1893)

Parker, famed for her wit, was a member of the Algonquin Hotel Round Table group; here’s a photo of some of them:

(from Wikipedia): Parker, with Algonquin Round Table members and guests (l–r) Art Samuels (editor of Harper’s and, briefly, The New Yorker), Charles MacArthur, Harpo Marx, and Alexander Woollcott, circa 1919
  • 1980 – Henry Miller, American novelist and essayist (b. 1891)

Miller in 1940:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s impressed by Kulka! The story from Malgorzata: “Kulka (not visible in the picture) was in the process of climbing down from the veranda’s roof and was poised to jump on the window sill just next to Hili.”

Hili: I’m astonished by Kulka’s bravery.
A: Why?
Hili: She may have stopped respecting me.
In Polish:
Hili: Zdumiewa mnie odwaga Kulki.
Ja: Czemu?
Hili: Chyba przestała mnie szanować.
And little Kulka herself (photos by Paulina):


A cartoon from Divy:

From Bruce, a difference between natural selection (well, selection in urban areas) versus artificial selection:

From Stash Krod (this looks like a Bansky mural):


From Barry. I didn’t know starlings could mimic this well:

A tweet from Ken. Milo is even loonier than we thought. He’s no longer gay, but says that his abnegation of homosexuality made dogs stop barking at him. Still, he’s barking mad.

Tweets from Matthew. Apparently Mr. Lumpy doesn’t like olives. But I do!

A peaceful lakeside tweet with geese and DUCKS!

This is the culmination of years of studying the Talmud:

Look at the male of the world’s most beautiful wild duck, and notice that the female is lovely as well:

It looks as if Trump does have his pants on backwards. No fly! If this is a fake video I’ll be mad.

. . . and, I’m wrong again! Snopes reports that other photos show that at the same event show the pants with the zipper in front. Duped by the Internet again!

36 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Is Trump’s belly is now bigger than his famously photographed enormous behind? (Backswing in white golf shorts.) He wouldn’t be ableable to put them on backwards.

  2. Wine of the day: A good Syrah-based wine should go a long time. Cote Rotie and Hermitage will go decades. Why not for a USA example?

    One of my favorite flavors from a good, aged Syrah is grilled meat, which I have tasted in several Cote Roties. Not surprised by the jerky aroma/flavor.

    On supersonic flight: Good luck to United. Wasn’t economical in the past. I highly doubt it will be now. I sure hope the designers have learned to deal with tire burst events.

  3. United Airlines has purchased 15 supersonic jets from Boom Technology that promise to revive the days of the Concorde. And like the Concorde, they can fly from New York to London in about 3½ hours.

    When they say they’ve purchased the jets, they’ve really said they’ve purchased the hope that the jets will be built one day and can be made to be profitable.

    I’m highly sceptical of the latter. The competition for supersonic transport s not subsonic transport but Teams and Zoom. There’s simply no reason for anybody to be able to get across the Atlantic in 3.5 hours (actually more like six hours once you factor in getting through the airports) that can’t be satisfied by telecommunications.

    1. Indeed, they have probably purchased a place in the future, possible assembly line with some kind of down payment. The entire plan seems highly speculative (to say the least) at this point.

      As you noted, who will really be willing to pay that much to shave 3-4 hours off a trans-Atlantic flight? Business types can save more time by using private jets out of small airports (that’s what the exec.s at the company I work for do).

      and, like you said, do people really need to show up physically? I know that the COVID experience has dramatically altered the travel outlook for the company I work for. And we build stuff and it’s often important to actually see product being built to understand design impacts and other effects.

    2. It seems to simply be a way for the rich to avoid two things while flying overseas. They avoid flying with any of us and avoid taking the private jet out of the hangar. After all, flying regular class today is kind of a dangerous boxing match with the middle class.

    3. The Concorde had a 30 year run of carrying passengers across the Atlantic. It may not have been profitable but there were apparently enough passengers willing to shave 3 or so hours off the trip to keep it flying for those three decades.
      Whether that will happen again remains to be seen, of course.

  4. But if Jesus doesn’t like booze, why did he turn water into wine?

    He was doing a solid for his mother’s pals. Jesus of the Gospels seems to have performed miracles with the same capriciousness with which Elvis used to give away the keys to brand new Cadillacs — sometimes to make his mama happy (turning water into wine at the Wedding of Canaan), sometimes as a favor for the chicks backstage (raising Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead), sometimes as a surprise for the crowds at his concerts (the Loaves & the Fishes), and sometimes just to see the shocked looks it caused on the faces of his posse (walking on water across the stormy Sea of Galilee).

    1. Teetotalers argue that Jesus turned water into non-alcoholic wine (i.e. grape juice). This is the position of Methodists, according to my father, who used to be one.

      1. Too bad Lot didn’t drink the non-alcoholic stuff. That way his daughters wouldn’t’ve been able to do incest on him.

        That one must make a bitter cup for Methodists to swallow.

  5. The decision [Griswold v. Connecticut] was 7-2, with William O. Douglas writing the majority opinion.

    Griswold is the case in which Justice Douglas famously said that “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.”

    Griswold laid the groundwork for the non-textual “right of privacy” that guarantees women access to abortion, and to reproductive autonomy more generally, in Roe v. Wade. If Roe goes, Griswold goes with it.

  6. Maybe the gun sales of the Chicago area will increase, think?

    Until its a bona fide grass roots effort not much gun control will be done. That, I think will happen when something more visually exceptional than a schoolhouse full of kids. Obviously more visual than the country’s political environment.

    Although not mentioned it was nice to see Szaron in the window behind Hili. He has such exceptional coloring.

  7. Susanna Hoffs recently recalled how the Bangles’ song “Eternal Flame” was inspired by a visit to Graceland:

    I went over to Billy’s house and was telling him about a Bangles trip to Graceland, in Memphis. When we got to Elvis’s grave, we started recreating Spinal Tap singing Heartbreak Hotel there when we noticed that the eternal flame by the grave was out because it was raining. Billy said: “Wait, eternal flame? That is a great name for a song.” Within about an hour we had the lyrics.

    She was pranked into recording her vocals in the nude, but that’s another story…

  8. [Henry] Miller in 1940 …

    Looks like he’s still wondering how his buddy Boris could catch a case of lice at a clean, beautiful place like the Villa Borghese.

  9. I found out over the winter that ol’ Daniel Boone is a relative, thought I’ve forgotten how exactly. I think either a brother of his leads to my family or his uncle. The reused so many names in the family, like Daniel, and Squire and Maugridge, it’s all rather confusing but either way, I guess I ought to be canceled for having the audacity to have been related to such a famous white man…I suppose I would not have had the time to follow this particular rabbit down the genealogy hole without the extended Covid vacation. I should probably learn something about my famous family, since the line I’m a part of didn’t amount to diddley-squat.

  10. That starling is remarkable. They are frequent visitors to our feeder and bath, yet all I can make out from them is kind of an annoying and non-musical squeak. And they’re forever splashing out all the water in the bath!

    1. I agree, they are messy bathers. And I had to stop putting out suet because they’ll eat two entire blocks in a day! Though the tweet gave me new found respect for the birds; I had no idea of their vocal ability.

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