Friday: Hili dialogue (and Kulka dialogue)

June 11, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Friday, June 11, 2021: National German Chocolate Cake Day (cultural appropriation?). It’s also Corn on the Cob Day, National Marriage DayKamehameha Day in Hawaii, and Cousteau Day (Jacques was born on this day in 1910).

Wine of the Day: Bummer! I don’t know when I bought the chardonnay below, nor what I paid for it (it goes for about $40 now, but stay away); I found it in the oldest section of my wine collection, which I must organize. I knew I was in for trouble when the cork crumbled as I was opening it, despite it having been stored horizontally.  That’s a sign of age, and a California chardonnay stored at 65 degrees (I have no colder storage) for 14 years or so is dubious at best.

And so it was. It was darkish gold, another sign of oxidation and overage. While it was (barely) drinkable, with the sherry-like flavors of wine dotage, I had only one glass before I poured the bottle down the drain. What a pity, as in its prime the ratings were very good. So it goes.

News of the Day:

The Biden administration continues doing good stuff, now pledging to send 500 million (half a billion!) doses of Pfizer cornavirus vaccine to the 100 poorest countries in the world. I hope my tax dollars helped finance this donation.

Meanwhile in the US, a poll described on last night’s NBC Evening News says that about 20% of healthcare workers refuse to be vaccinated. Reasons vary, but most are born of ignorance. And in Houston, 178 workers at Houston Methodist Hospital were suspended for refusing to be vaccinated. This is not for religious or medical reasons, as the WaPo reports that “285 employees received a medical or religious exemption from the vaccine, and 332 employees were granted deferrals for pregnancy or other reasons.” The other objectors show sheer bloody-mindedness—except as with other ignorant decisions, like rejecting evolution, this one puts others at risk.

Did the COVID-19 virus enter humans from animals in a wet market, or through a lab leak in Wuhan? We don’t know for sure, but a new article in Nature looks at the evidence.  Their conclusion: a natural origin is still the most plausible hypothesis, but we can’t completely rule out the lab-leak theory.  (h/t: Greg)

A group of over 200 journalists has signed a petition vowing to be more anti-Israel in the coverage of the news. The petition says that it’s time to be realistic and apply the terms like “apartheid state”, “war crimes” and “ethnic superiority” more readily to Israel. The kicker is that the petition doesn’t say that these terms, which more accurately characterize the Palestinian territories but aren’t used for them, should be applied to Palestine as well. Once again we have anti-Israel double standards in the media. (See here for a more ascerbic take than mine.)

Speaking of anti-Zionists, a group that includes representative Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Congresswoman put her foot in it once again, as she’s simply unable to hide her hatred of Israel. She issued this tweet with a video of an exchange with the Secretary of State::

She was roundly criticized by many for equating the U.S. and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban, including the Democratic leadership:

The six-person Democratic leadership team, which includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, issued a rare joint statement following Omar’s statement, writing they “welcome [Omar’s] clarification.”

“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate. And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies,” their statement read. “But drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all.”

The NYT adds this:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California cannot afford an internal rift, even with a small number of progressives. Democratic leaders had to beg Ms. Omar and other members of the progressive clique known as the squad to vote present rather than “no” last month on a $1.9 billion bill to finance Capitol security improvements, to prevent the measure’s defeat after they objected to more funding for the police. Ms. Omar seemed to allude to those pleas in her combative tweet.

Omar “clarified” what she said in a tepid press release, saying

“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel.

“I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

Of course she was. The woman is a misguided ideologue (or rather, a “hater”). HuffPo, as usual, bought Omar’s palaver, asserting that the Democratic criticism of Omar just gave fuel to the GOP (click on screenshot):

No, it’s Omar’s own bigotry and anti-Semitism that gives the GOP talking points against the Democratic Party.

Onward: I won’t vouch for the accuracy of the plot below, which is on reddit (h/t: smipowell), but if true it’s pretty amazing. Who would have thought that the election results could be tied so closely to ancient geology through a series of causal links?

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 598,770, an increase of 387 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now  3,789,644, an increase of about 11,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 11 includes a lot o’ news:

  • 1184 BC – Trojan War: Troy is sacked and burned, according to calculations by Eratosthenes.
  • 1509 – Henry VIII of England marries Catherine of Aragon.
  • 1748 – Denmark adopts the characteristic Nordic Cross flag later taken up by all other Scandinavian countries.

I didn’t realize until now that yes, all Scandinavian countries have variants of this cross. Here they be:

(From Wikipedia): Nordic flags, from left to right: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
  • 1770 – British explorer Captain James Cook runs aground on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • 1776 – The Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.
  • 1895 – Paris–Bordeaux–Paris, sometimes called the first automobile race in history or the “first motor race”, takes place.

One of the racers:

  • 1919 – Sir Barton wins the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the U.S. Triple Crown.
  • 1920 – During the U.S. Republican National Convention in Chicago, U.S. Republican Party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the U.S. presidential election, leading the Associated Press to coin the political phrase “smoke-filled room”.
  • 1937 – Great Purge: The Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin executes eight army leaders.
  • 1955 – Eighty-three spectators are killed and at least 100 are injured after an Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz collide at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the deadliest ever accident in motorsports.

Here’s a video of the accident from British Pathé, but warning: it’s pretty horrifying:

It was scenes like this that helped galvanize the public, leading to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Look at this guy!

  • 1963 – Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burns himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.

I remember it well; here’s a photo that Wikipedia labels, “Journalist Malcolm Browne‘s photograph of Quảng Đức during his self-immolation; a similar photograph won the 1963 World Press Photo of the Year.”

  • 1970 – After being appointed on May 15, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington officially receive their ranks as U.S. Army Generals, becoming the first women to do so.
  • 1987 – Diane Abbott, Paul Boateng and Bernie Grant are elected as the first black MPs in Great Britain.
  • 2001 – Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • 2010 – The first African FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa.

Here’s the lively official song of the world cup by Shakira; I believe she adapted it from a Cameroon military marching song:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1572 – Ben Jonson, English poet, playwright, and critic (d. 1637)
  • 1776 – John Constable, English painter and academic (d. 1837)
  • 1864 – Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor (d. 1949)

The great composer:

  • 1910 – Jacques Cousteau, French biologist, author, and inventor, co-developed the aqua-lung (d. 1997)
  • 1925 – William Styron, American novelist and essayist (d. 2006)
  • 1933 – Gene Wilder, American actor, director, and screenwriter (d. 2016)
  • 1956 – Joe Montana, American football player and sportscaster
  • 1959 – Hugh Laurie, English actor and screenwriter

Those who bought the farm on June 11 include:

  • 1979 – John Wayne, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1907)
  • 2001 – Timothy McVeigh, American terrorist (b. 1968)
  • 2003 – David Brinkley, American journalist and author (b. 1920)
  • 2013 – Robert Fogel, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili and Szaron hatch plans:

Hili: Are we going over there or are we staying here?
Szaron: This requires thinking through.
In Polish:
Hili: Idziemy tam, czy zostajemy tu?
Szaron: To wymaga przemyślenia.
And we have our first Kulka dialogue:
Kulka: Let me in tp Paulina immediately.
Andrzej: What for?
Kulka: So she could let me out
In Polish: Kulka: Wpuść mnie natychmiast do Pauliny! Andrzej: Po co? Kulka: Żeby mogła mnie wypuścić na dwór.

From Meanwhile in Canada:

From Su; the Creation of Ducks:

From Nicole:

A tweet from reader Ken, who notes: “Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert — still the nation’s reigning stupidest congressperson despite stiff competition from QAnon conspiracists Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert — has come up with the Republican plan for addressing climate change (nota bene: the BLM he mentions is the Bureau of Land Management not Black Lives Matter). . . .”On the bright side, he seems to have accepted, at least provisionally, the heliocentric theory of the solar system!” (tweet also sent by Barry):

Tweets from Matthew. Sound up on this thriller, and watch to the very end:

There are a number of reasons why biological mimicry might be imperfect, among them a lack of genetic variation for “better matching”. This paper in Proc. Roy. Soc. tests some of them and settles on the “predators have incomplete information” hypothesis (i.e., predators don’t visualize all the aspects that could be mimicked):

Duck of the Day. I need to get Honey on that page!

A lovely trip through a larval gut made from successive visualizations:

This is very clever, but deadly for birds and their young:

Here’s how one person who lectures on space to the average person handles flat-earthers. There are 17 tweets in all, but read them. Her technique is empathic, clever, and well-honed, and, according to her, has a high “conversion” rate.

Matthew wonders how this tactic would work with creationists. I would guess not as well because religion plays more of a role in creationism than in flat-earthism.

65 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue (and Kulka dialogue)

  1. And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies,” their statement read. “But drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all.”

    I’m not a fan of the Oxford comma, but, if ever there was a place where one is definitely needed, this is it. It should go after “Israel” not “U.S.”

    Also, I don’t know if the youtube video of the Le Mans crash is the same one as you have posted before, but like previous postings, it has the scene in which the crash happened reversed (the writing on the billboards is mirrored and the crash definitely happened on the left hand side of the track). I wonder if it was incorrect in the original news reel.

    1. I tend to feel that the Oxford/serial comma adds clarity more often than it causes ambiguity, but like most things can do both harm and good. As Lynne Truss noted in Eats, Shoots, and Leaves,

      : There are people who embrace the Oxford comma, and people who don’t, and I’ll just say this: never get between these people when drink has been taken.

    2. I think you’re correct about the placement of the comma, although I don’t it technically qualifies as “an Oxford comma,” which is used between the last two items in a series of three or more. The comma you’re proposing would be used, instead, to clarify the separation of two groupings of items.

      1. I’m a fan of the “Oxford comma” because of my simple-mindedness. Whenever I get to a list separated by commas, if there is none between the last two items, I have to catch myself and confirm whether or not they are being expressed as somehow “one entity” or if they are just the last two entries in the list. It doesn’t take MUCH effort, but I do, honestly, sometimes find myself confused.

        1. I’m a fan of the Oxford comma, too. It helps prevent confusing items in a list with phrases in apposition — as in the famous (and probably apocryphal) book dedication: “To my parents, God and Ayn Rand.” 🙂

  2. I heard there was a frikkin’ solar eclipse – how’d I miss that – am I the only one? The hell…!…. I was even outdoors…

    1. I know, I missed it too. I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere until yesterday, and by the time I got round to reading it the eclipse had been and gone. My daughter caught it at school, so she was happy…!

      1. I know what happened

        The last one was what, 2017? At that time I read all about upcoming eclipses and which regions will observe them, and I bet I saw 2021 would be the next one. “Ah, so like forever from now.”.

        Now it’s forever.

        Tempus fugit.

  3. Interesting similarities between the method for handling flat-earthers and Peter Boghossian’s question template in the Faith and the Academy chapter of “A Manual for Creating Atheists”: Question 1: Is it possible for some people to misconstrue reality?, Question 2: Do some people misconstrue reality? Questions 3, 4 and statement 5: If one wants to know reality, is one process just as good as any other? So then are some processes bad? If so, this must mean some processes are good, or better. etc.

  4. Bummer on the wine Jerry!

    Ilhan Omar: She really doesn’t think things through.

    Alabama maps: They show where the good farm land is. The rest follows. Looks like it coincided with an ancient shoreline. (Like you said, assuming the maps are accurate.)

    1. The maps are accurate, but the “shoreline” part is a little off. It was a shallow epeiric sea, the “coastline” being a little farther north. The chalk/limestone (Including the Selma Chalk) was laid down in shallow salt water, sands and gravel (and clay) was laid down on the coastline in the “Tuscaloosa” group.

    2. In regard to the Alabama maps: Yes, that is where the best farm land is, and was thousands of years ago. Another map could have been drawn, the density of Native American settlements in Alabama previous to European entry to the “New World”. Many years ago (1957) a paper appeared in The Annals of the Association of American Geographers. “The Myth of a Natural Prairie Belt in Alabama: An Interpretation of Historical Records”, by Erhard Rostlund. Rostlund argued, convincingly in my opinion, that the swath of treeless land (prairie) was an artifact of many years of clearing and burning by Native Americans for both agriculture and to increase populations of large grazing animals such as bison and elk. There is a lot more I could say, but his paper is still available for those with access to JSTOR.

  5. It was scenes like this that helped galvanize the public, leading to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    I believe that’s then-Deputy Attorney General (later the US AG under LBJ), Nicholas Katzenbach, acting as Attorney General Bobby Kennedy’s emissary and staring George Wallace down in the University of Alabama doorway.

  6. 1959 – Hugh Laurie, English actor and screenwriter

    And pretty damn good jazz & blues pianist and vocalist:

    1. Hugh Laurie is really good at a lot of things but NOT at pronouncing Los Angeles. Why oh why must so many Brits say Los Angeleese??? And Laurie has a pretty perfect American accent as “House”.

      1. I recently watched an interview with Laurie in which he claimed that doing the American accent was the hardest part of playing House. Yet he did it so well.

          1. Laurie was excellent as House, but why can’t some people hear the difference between Los Angeles and Los Angeleese? I’m looking at you, Trevor Noah🤓

            1. Is it “a-MY-noh” acid, as Richard Dawkings and other Brits pronounce it, or “a-ME-noh” as Americans pronounce it?

              Is it “suave and debonair” as Europeans (and non-Southern USers pronounce it), or is it “SWAAAVE and DEE-BONER as Appalachian USers (of which I am one) pronounce it? 😉

              1. You must say swave and deeboner tongue in cheek? I only fairly recently learned that Appalaachia instead of Appalaychia is the name of the trail.

    2. He’s one of my favorite actors and comedians. I own the entire DVD set of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. One of the greatest comedy skit shows ever made! Sheer brilliance all the way through. Even Monty Python didn’t have the same density of great skits per episode that Fry and Laurie did.

      1. Sounds like a tune Robbie Robertson and Bob Dylan might’ve worked on together during the Basement Tapes era. 🙂

        1. Almost exactly what I think when I watch it. Also check out some of his other ballads and political songs from the show, like America, Mystery, Kick Ass, and I’m in love with Steffi Graf .

  7. “Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert — still the nation’s reigning stupidest congressperson despite stiff competition from QAnon conspiracists Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert — has come up with the Republican plan for addressing climate change” – Words fail me.

    1. I think the stiff competition is not limited to TaylorGreene and Boebert. What about ‘Snowball’ Inhofe? Or ‘Revolutionary Airfield ‘n Sharpie’ Trump himself?

    2. I watched the exchange, and Gohmert was pretty clearly engaging in sarcasm. But he should have known that republicans are not allowed to engage in sarcasm or irony, because their remarks will always be reported as literalisms.

        1. Moreover, let’s assume Gohmert was being sarcastic. What was his point? That climate change is a hoax? THAT’s almost as dumb as changing the earth’s orbit.

          Plus, why waste the time of a hardworking, honest public servant from the Forrest Service appearing before congress with such a lame wise-guy routine? She’s got nothing better to do? She certainly seemed to miss his sarcasm — as, apparently, did everyone else in the congressional hearing room.

            1. You know Forrest; he showed up everywhere, maybe even at the Forest Service. 🙂

              (I’ll blame it on the disappearing edit function.)

    1. My favorite part is the calling of the roll of members:

      “Rhode Island.”

      “Rhode Island has gone to the privy.”

      “Very well then, Rhode Island passes.”


  8. “I didn’t realize until now that yes, all Scandinavian countries have variants of this cross. Here they be…”

    Finland and Iceland are not considered part of Scandinavia, though the term has come to be seen as encompassing them in many places like the US. The term that includes Finland and Iceland is the “Nordic countries,” though someone can correct me if I’m wrong about this being a definitive difference. Finland and Iceland aren’t considered part of Scandinavia because they’re not as dominated by Scandinavian people. Finland, for example, is dominated by, well, Finns…

    1. As once explained to me, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are on the Scan peninsula while Finland and of course Iceland are not. Seems to me that Denmark is on the other end of that peninsula, but what do I know.

      Iceland gets in as Nordic from being colonzied by Danes/Norwegians and speaking a close equivalent of Old Norse, while Finland presumably gets in from climate and having once been part of Sweden, I guess, despite the striking difference in language. (Long ago I reached my goal of being able to count to ten in Finnish, and except for kiitos never tried to expand out beyond that.)

      I guess Greenland is dealt with as being a Danish possession and not having a population large enough to worry about.

      1. Very true, although Swedish speakers in Finland constitute only 5-6% of the population, Swedish is, next to Finnish (not an indo-european language), an official language in Finland. Maybe because of the culture, ‘relaxed’ kind of democracy and -of course- the flag, Finland slots in nicely as a Scandinavian country.
        Finland used to be part of Sweden, but as far as I could see there is no resentment towards the Swedes. Finns always strike me as nearly naively mature in their takes on basically any subject.
        Need I add I’m a kind of Finnophile?

      2. “I guess Greenland is dealt with as being a Danish possession and not having a population large enough to worry about.”

        Or apparently to count for much. Hence Trump’s interest in “buying” Greenland, a “commodity.”

  9. There is more about Ilhan Omar. She not only rebuffed the criticism of her peers but accused them of “islamophobia” in another tweet.

    This politician is unacceptable.

    Unfortunately, many German media from the liberal or left-wing spectrum rarely comment critically on her anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments. Her apparent benevolence toward conservative Islam and political Islamism is equally rarely addressed. Rather, the media praise her for being the first Muslim U.S. Representative to break barriers, and they point to her (alleged) progressive stance (alongside AOC, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib).

    1. “The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”

      Harassment? This is politics, child. But, of course, claiming “harassment” is just another tool of people like her to get away with not having to say or do anything substantive. Just shout “I’m being persecuted!” This “harassment” is “unbearable”? Maybe you shouldn’t have become a politician if you consider a letter asking for clarification “harassment.” But, of course, she doesn’t really mean that. What she means is that being called out on her stances and words in any way is unacceptable.

      I’d say the lack of self-awareness is astounding, but so many people support her and her disgusting politics that she can say these things and have all of her useful idiots yell, “you go, girl!” And that number of useful idiots seems to be growing every day, aided by an increasingly activist media and academia.

      I’m waiting for the day when she loses a pair of undies and blames Mossad, like this guy:

      1. “You go, girl!”


        “No, I mean really go.”

        Unfortunately, she just won reelection and, unless she quits, is in office at least until 2023.

        1. Hey, if the school board member who blamed Jews for the mass shooting of them in Jersey City in 2019 and asked if people were “ready to listen to the message” of the gunmen/woman can not only make it out of that scandal, but be reelected to her position a year later, then Ilhan Omar has absolutely nothing to worry about. I imagine her popularity will only continue to grow.

          Meanwhile, AOC tweets about how crazy it is that the Dems don’t have a majority in the Senate. Maybe fewer Ilhan Omars and more opprobrium for them would help. But why learn the lessons of the last election when you can just tweet and gain support for yourself? I don’t know what’s scarier: thinking that these people don’t really want to get anything done beyond furthering their own political careers, or actually achieving what they say they want. (OK, it’s the latter. The latter is definitely scarier)

          1. Although Omar has an audience nationally, it is still hard to believe that people in her district think she’s doing a good job of representing them. I believe her district is solidly blue but, presumably, they aren’t all Far Lefters. Perhaps someone will primary her next time.

            1. Her district has a ton of people Muslim people, many from Somalia. It’s the perfect district for her to hold her seat in perpetuity, unless she suddenly converts to Judaism and becomes part of the military-industrial-Zionist-media-Rothschild-Epstein-Hollywood-colonial conspiracy.

              1. I didn’t say that all the people (or even half of the people) who voted for her were Muslim and/or Somali, and I definitely didn’t say that there was some conspiracy that they were put there by Obama to help Omar get elected. All I said was that the district has a large number of Somalis. In conjunction with how Democratic that district leans, it’s difficult to see Omar being unseated by a Republican or even another Democrat.

  10. Gotta admire your spirit for keeping a Chardonnay for 13 years. I’d never keep any white that long. In general I only buy them ‘with intent to drink’ and never intentionally age them, so even a white 4-5 years old would probably mean I shoved it in a rack and accidentally forgot to drink it.

  11. I agree with our host that Richard Strauss was a great composer. I like Strauss’s self-deprecating humor in this contrary assessment of his place in history: “I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer.”

    1. I’m reminded of the first time I heard his “Di rigori armato il seno” in “Der Rosenkavalier.” I gather that it was meant as an over-the-top musical mini-satire of overwrought Italian musical sentimentality, however true that may be. But I was absolutely stunned by its melodious, unhesitating, uninhibited, never-count-the-cost, heart-on-the-sleeve, fools-rush-in-where-angels-fear-to-tread declaration of love.

      1. 😻Not to mention his Four Last Songs🥰
        Thanks for the reminder. I’m going through opera withdrawal.

  12. Ilhan Omar: Methinks she also erred in equating Israel with the US. Israel is a small country defending itself against neighbors intent on destroying it, and despite of that life-and-death-situation, it commits few war crimes. and it takes more care than most warring parties (certainly more than Hamas) to protect civilians. US administrations, in contrast, for the decades that I have consciously watched, tend to start wars against far-off countries that are not a threat to the US and that most Americans know so little about that a complex situation that will only be made worse by US meddling can be presented as a good-guys-bad guys scenario. US military campaigns tend to be very dirty and Geneva-convention flouting on the ground, with indiscriminate bombing of whole cities, use of murderous local militias (e g Shiite militias in Iraq, UCK in Kosovo…) who wouldn’t know a human right if they saw one, and not-too-rare wholesale killings of people who should be taken prisoner or even be left alone (civilians) according to the Geneva convention. If Israel did to Gaza what the US-led coalition did to Mosul or Raqqa, all hell would break lose in the media.

Leave a Reply