Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 9, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Wednesday, June 9, 2021: National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. I decry, deplore, and denounce this pie, made as it is with a sour and stringy VEGETABLE. I know many readers are fond of this sorry excuse for a pie, but give me a straight strawberry pie any day.

It’s a very thin day for holidays, for the only other one of note is Donald Duck Day, celebrating the anniversary of the pantsless mallard’s first appearance in the cartoon “The Wise Little Hen” on this date in 1934. Well, here’s Donald. who appears at 2:06 dancing a hornpipe. 

Today’s Google Doodle is a gif (click on screenshot) celebrating the life of Shirley Temple (1928-2014). As C|Net reports, this is neither the day on which she was born or died, but rather “the anniversary of the 2015 date that the historical museum in her hometown of Santa Monica, California, opened Love, Shirley Temple, a special exhibit featuring a collection of her rare memorabilia.”

News of the Day:

The Moral Arc Bends Upward: Reader Ken sent this link, adding, “A Gallup poll released today shows that support for same-sex marriage among Americans has gone from 27% in 1996 to 70% today. That’s the most amazing 25-year public-attitude turn around of my lifetime, I think. For the first time, even a majority of Republicans (55%) support SSM. Only among evangelicals does support remain low.” Who says that morality doesn’t improve?

Why do Uber rides (and other amenities) cost so much more than they used to? For me, an Uber to Midway Airport used to cost about $20, cheaper than a cab. Now the Uber ride could be $55 and the cab fare is about what it was: $24 sans tip.  The NYT explains the rise in prices of stuff once considered a bargain.

The BBC reports on a new paper in Current Biology showing that a parthenogenic bdelloid rotifer (a species that reproduces asexually) has been carbon-dated at 24,000 years old after being defrosted from the Siberian permafrost. As far as I know, only worms, bacteria, and plant seeds can survive biological “stasis” for this long. Matthew is quoted in a Guardian article on this Lazarus rotifer.  (h/t: Jez)

Reader Ginger contributed a link to a BBC article describing a reconstruction of Noah’s Ark in England. Unfortunately, the faux-ark has been detained in Ipswich as “unseaworthy”. And that is in normal conditions, not those obtaining in the Biblical description!

Reader Laurie sent a link to this BBC video (made by Isabelle Rodd with a drone) showing a remarkably huge pod of humpback whales migrating and feeding en masse. Pods are usually only a handful of individuals, but this one has 20-90 whales. It’s also the only video of “bubble-net feeding” from Australia (It’s a mystery whether this efficient behavior is innate or must be learned from other whales.)  Click on the screenshot to go to the video and short article:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 597,906, an increase of 438 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,763,628, an increase of about 10,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 9 includes:

  • AD 53 – The Roman emperor Nero marries Claudia Octavia.
  • AD 68 – Nero commits suicide, after quoting Vergil’s Aeneid, thus ending the Julio-Claudian dynasty and starting the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
  • 1856 – Five hundred Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa for the Mormon Trail.

Here’s a map of the entire Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah:

Lingle is shown below. His murderer, caught after a $55,000 reward was offered (the equivalent of almost $900,000 today), got only 14 years in jail and served but eight. It’s Capone, Jake!

Broad Peak, 8,047 meters high (26,414 ft) lies on the border between Pakistan and China. Here’s the mountain, the 12th highest in the world:

  • 1968 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a national day of mourning following the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
  • 1973 – In horse racing, Secretariat wins the U.S. Triple Crown.

Here’s Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes victory, giving this horse the Triple Crown. Look at that victory—by 25 lengths!

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s the tomb of Peter the Great, which I photographed in St. Petersburg in July, 2011, nearly a decade ago:

Avril, a can-can dancer, was made famous by the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec; here’s a photo of her and a poster by the painter:

  • 1915 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (d. 2009)
  • 1960 – Steve Paikin, Canadian journalist and author
  • 1963 – Johnny Depp, American actor
  • 1981 – Natalie Portman, Israeli-American actress

Portman turns 40 today.

Those who croaked on June 9 include:

  • AD 68 – Nero, Roman emperor (b. 37)
  • 1870 – Charles Dickens, English novelist and critic (b. 1812)

Here’s a Daguerreotype portrait of Charles Dickens taken by Antoine Claude in 1852:

  • 2017 – Adam West, American actor and investor (b. 1928)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is having a spring kvetch:

Hili: There will be grass mowing again.
A: So what?
Hili: I don’t like the noise.
In Polish:
Hili: Znów będzie koszenie trawy.
Ja: No to co?
Hili: Nie lubię hałasu.

From Paulina: Kulka and Szaron sniff a tasty “cat sausage”:

From Bruce:

Reader Divy isn’t much on making cookies, but when she saw this unique cookie cutter she changed her mind. You can get one for only $5 on Etsy.

From Fat Cat Art via On the Prowl cat cartoons:

It’s time to remind ourselves of the plight of women in Iran. Be sure to watch the video with Masih:

Two tweets from Ginger K. Turn the sound up on this first one to hear the blissed-out cheetah:

This isn’t the famous “pale blue dot” photo, but it’s even better. And yep, that’s Earth at the tip of the arrow:

Tweets by Matthew. His assertion is right, but he still doesn’t comprehend America:

Here I am touting Dr. Cobb’s writing (the book is excellent, by the way):

I love the captions on these old paintings. That moggie is BAKED!


This tweet even explains leucism:

23 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Well, there’s the true divide in today’s strife-ridden society. Give me rhubarb tart or give me death!

    1. I love strawberry-rhubarb pie — the tanginess of the rhubarb is a nice complement to the otherwise overly sweet pie.

    2. +1…though I don’t like the oxalic acid teeth effect. Mixing strawberry with the rhubarb ameliorates this “chalky feeling” to some extent.

    3. Just to redress the balance – rhubarb is the spawn of Satan, which is why it prospers in the dark. Just saying….!

    4. I’ve loved rhubarb since I was a wee lad, but I fear that if we continue to sing it’s praises we may find a new addendum to da roolz banning such seditious speech and be banned from future commenting, so I shall stay silent on the issue.

  2. The reason your cab journey to the airport in an Uber used to be so cheap is because it was subsidised partly by Uber’s investors and partly by exploitation of the drivers. It’s a public company now, so they have to make some effort to get profitable. I don’t know if it’s still true, but at the end of last year they were losing $1 billion a quarter.

    The secret is that Uber never had any special edge that made them cheaper than other taxis. Amazon got ahead by not needing physical book stores which is a major cost for other book sellers. There’s no equivalent to this in the taxi business – well Uber doesn’t need a dispatcher, but it does need a fairly large software development team. Uber’s low prices were never sustainable.

  3. I loved Matthew’s book Life’s Greatest Secret. I loved it so much I gave a HB copy to a friend as a gift: This friend is a professor/geneticist/zoologist.

  4. Re: The Mormon Trail: I can highly recommend Wallace Stegner’s books:
    The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail
    Mormon Country

    He grew up in Utah and gives a pretty straight picture of the “saints” though he fairly sympathetic towards them, since he grew up among them. Stegner was a wonderful writer. One of my favorites is his collection of essays, The Sound of Mountain Water.

    1. Best book I’ve read on the Mormons is Joh Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven which covers the founding of the LDS, the breakaway fundamentalist sects that still practice polygamy, and the infamous double murder of their sister-in-law and baby niece committed by the fundamentalist Lafferty brothers.

      1. Under the Banner of Heaven is also excellent (as are all of Krakauer’s books). It looks into a particularly dark corner of the LDS church and does it well. The FLDS church is a nasty piece of work all the way around. And the Jeffs family, don’t get me started. To the main LDS church, the FLDSers are like the crazy uncle in the attic.

        I have little sympathy for religion (and I don’t answer the door when the two young men in ties come up to the door) but I also have some Mormon relatives (fairly close ones by marriage). They are fine people.

        I also know quite a few ex-Mormons. They had no trouble leaving the church (some had family issues afterwards of course; but this is common across religions). I know quite a few (non-religious) people who tried to settle in LDS country (Salt Lake area, Idaho) and were cold-shouldered out of town, eventually. The LDS church has power in those parts like the RCC does in Ireland.

  5. Apropos the unseaworthy reconstruction of Noah’s Ark, I’d recommend the talk given by Irving Finkel, the British Museum’s leading expert on cuneiform, at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in 2016. In “The Ark Before Noah”, Dr Finkel describes the discovery and decoding of a remarkable 4000-year-old clay tablet which led to a new understanding of the myth of a global flood.

  6. The hijab demo is brilliant.

    Sadly, the term “compulsory” is there – in “free” societies, this is weaseled out of by claiming women are “given a choice” to wear head coverings. I would want to see what makes it different from “compulsory” other than all of it is designed and dictated exclusively by containers of Y chromosomes.

    And it is always neglected that this “choice” is from age 13 FOR THE REST OF THE WOMAN’S LIFE.

  7. Thanks for the gar post! They are fascinating critters. I love ’em!

    Find out more about gar and Dr. Solomon David at



    1. Question raised by the BBC Ark article is not why Adam has nipples by why Eve doesn’t? As i recall, the Ark was built in the Netherlands on a foundation of barges so it did do at least one sea ‘voyage’.

          1. I’m reminded (very vaguely) of a Sci-fi short story in which the androids were so realistic that the only way to tell them apart from actual humans was to examine their belly buttons, which were stamped “Made in the USA”. (So the author didn’t see the off-shoring of manufacturing coming, then…)

          2. To take that question seriously is a form of omphaloskepsis, which is to say, gazing at one’s own. 🙂

  8. My great, great grandfather, Nathaniel Edmunds, traveled to Utah in the third handcart company. They arrived in Salt Lake City on Oct. 2, 1856 after pulling their handcarts for 65 days. The following two handcart companies were caught in a winter storm in central Wyoming. The captain of my great, great grandfather’s company was Edward Bunker who founded Bunkerville, NV, home of Cliven Bundy and family.

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