Monday: Hili dialogue

June 14, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Monday, June 14, 2021: National Strawberry Shortcake Day (sure beats strawberry-rhubarb pie, the favorite dessert of Satan).  It’s also National Bourbon Day (make mine Woodford Reserve), International Bath Day (I have not taken a bath in ages; I much prefer showers), and Army’s Birthday, celebrating the formation of the Continental Army on this day in 1775 (see below).

Finally, it’s Flag Day in the U.S. (see below), and World Blood Donor Day.

News of the Day:

The decision of federal Judge Lynn Hughes that workers at a Houston Hospital can be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine seems to me eminently sensible. 178 workers at the hospital were suspended after refusing to get the vaccination, and brought a suit against the hospital. Judge Hughes ruled

“This is not coercion. . . . Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer.”

The objections raised by the plaintiffs seem even more off base given that many healtcare workers are already required to get various vaccinations, including MMR and an annual flu shot.

How readily even the New York Times gets duped! Read the article (click on the screenshot), ponder the NYT’s “solutions,” to the problem of Iran getting nuclear weapons and then guffaw at the credulous assumption that Iran doesn’t really want nuclear weapons. (No, the NYT’s solutions don’t involve getting Israel to give up its nukes anor involve the only possible thing that could work: ironclad sanctions.)

The fat lady has sung, and Benjamin Netanyahu is history. The Israeli parliament narrowly approved a coalition government (one of the eight “coalescing” parties is an Arab one, consigning Bibi to the pages of history books as Israel’s longest-ruling prime minister. He remains, however, a member of Parliament.

Astro Sam is going back to the ISS, this time as commander! Yes, Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space and one of the astronauts who stayed on the ISS the longest, will be returning to the ISS in 2022, this time as commander. I was smitten by her when I watched her “how to” videos from her first jaunt. (“Astro Sam” is how she posted on Twitter.)

(From Wikipedia): Samantha Cristoforetti in a special sleep bag that stops the person from drifting around in the micro-g environment of ISS.

In line with Andrew Sullivan’s theory that the George Floyd murder and its sequelae, which include widespread disdain for police and calls for defunding them, has led to widespread resignations of police officers. As the NYT reports, “Retirements nationwide were up by 45 percent and resignations by 18 percent in the 12-month period ending in April.” The paper attributes this, as did Sullivan, to a decline in police morale, and adds this:

There is widespread consensus that another reason retention has suffered is that police officers are asked to do too much. In addition to confronting crime, they also deal with mental health problems, addiction and homelessness, as well as the occasional lost dog. Body cameras and bystanders’ cellphones, which increase the likelihood that officers will be held responsible for misconduct, put them under high levels of scrutiny.

“We have asked too much from police, and it has caught up with us nationally,” Chief Zack in Asheville said.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 599,781,, an increase of 363 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We will probably pass 600,000 deaths by tomorrow.   The reported world death toll is now 3,820,195, an increase of about 8,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 14 includes:

  • 1158 – The city of Munich is founded by Henry the Lion on the banks of the river Isar.
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army is established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.
  • 1777 – The Second Continental Congress passes the Flag Act of 1777 adopting the Stars and Stripes as the Flag of the United States.

Here’s the first flag; the 13 stripes and 13 stars represent the 13 original states:

  • 1789 – Mutiny on the Bounty: HMS Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,600 mi) journey in an open boat.
  • 1822 – Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society.

And here’s the first “difference engine” built to Babbage’s design. The caption from Wikipedia is “The London Science Museum‘s difference engine, the first one actually built from Babbage’s design. The design has the same precision on all columns, but in calculating polynomials, the precision on the higher-order columns could be lower.”

They landed in County Galway, Ireland. Remember that Lindbergh’s flight was more famous because he did it alone. Here’s Alcock and Brown’s plane, with an open cockpit. Their electrically heated suits failed, so they were very cold most of the way.

(From Wikipedia): Captain John Alcock stowing provisions aboard Vickers Vimy aircraft before trans-Atlantic flight 14 Jun 1919
  • 1937 – U.S. House of Representatives passes the Marihuana Tax Act. There were taxes on medical cannabis, and you had to buy a stamp to pay the tax. Here are two such stamps:

It was ruled unconstitutional since to buy the stamps for non-medical use, you’d incriminate yourself. The first convictions were not for possessing marijuana, but for failing to pay the tax.

  • 1940 – World War II: The German occupation of Paris begins.
  • 1940 – Seven hundred twenty-eight Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
  • 1951 – UNIVAC I is dedicated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • 1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States Pledge of Allegiance.

I just read the other day that ours is a Christian nation because the Pledge of Allegiance included the words “under God.” But the writer didn’t realize that those words were added only in 1954, and as a wy to distinguish the U.S. from the godless Communist nations during the Cold War.

Here’s the title page of the index, printed in Venice in 1564:

  • 1982 – Falklands War: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley conditionally surrender to British forces.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the best selling book of the 19th century—after the Bible.

  • 1864 – Alois Alzheimer, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist (d. 1915)
  • 1904 – Margaret Bourke-White, American photographer and journalist (d. 1971)

Here’s Bourke-White’s famous picture of Gandhi, taken in 1946:

  • 1909 – Burl Ives, American actor and singer (d. 1995)
  • 1946 – Donald Trump, American businessman, television personality and 45th President of the United States
  • 1961 – Boy George, English singer-songwriter and producer

He’s Old Man George now!

  • 1969 – Steffi Graf, German tennis player

Those who encountered the Grim Reaper on June 14 include:

  • 1801 – Benedict Arnold, American general during the American Revolution later turned British spy (b. 1741)
  • 1883 – Edward FitzGerald, English poet and author (b. 1809)
  • 1926 – Mary Cassatt, American-French painter (b. 1843)

Here’s Cassatt’s “Children playing with a cat” (1908):

  • 1936 – G. K. Chesterton, English essayist, poet, playwright, and novelist (b. 1874)
  • 1986 – Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator (b. 1899)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili asks Paulina for a formal glamor portrait: Did Paulina do a good job?

Hili: Please, Paulina, use your talent to reflect all my beauty.
Paulina: I will try.
In Polish:
Hili: Proszę Paulino, użyj swojego talentu, żeby oddać całe moje piękno.
Paulina: Spróbuję.

A cartoon from reader John:

From Bruce:

From Jesus of the Day:

From reader Barry. Sound up and watch the bird on the left at the end:

Two tweets from Ginger K. First, a chicken-eating lynx gets a stern lecture from the chickens’ owner. (I wonder how he caught the lynx!) Listen to that lynx growl!

And a very unusual observation:

Tweets from Matthew. First an advocate and a detractor of the stupid “Covid shot magnet effect”. Sadly, I just noticed that the linked tweet had vanished, but I put the tweet below:

Now this is a LOUD call. The tymbal is a very complicated adaptation; read more about it here.

A herd of tumbleweed:

Marjorie Taylor Greene: the gift that keeps on giving!

Oh man, would I like to have seen this. I don’t know if this is one brood of stoats, but it’s a lot of them!

38 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Remember that Lindbergh’s flight was more famous because he did it alone.

    I don’t think Lindbergh’s flight is more famous. From the perspective of this side of the pond, Alcock and Brown are definitely more famous.

    Also, it’s quite pleasing to find out that the Catholic Church decided that books aren’t to be feared on the very day I was born.

    1. That’s a new one on me – Alcock and Brown more famous over there.

      Look at those wood props on that plane. Wood propellers continue to this day but they are expensive and you really do not want to fly much in rain. It eats the finish off the prop. Also, notice the fabric cover on the wings. You can see the ribs right through the fabric. So no paint job on that Vickers Vimy. They most likely were reducing weight.

      1. Another reason to favour Alcock and Brown over Lindbergh:

        Several teams had entered the competition and, when Alcock and Brown arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Handley Page team were in the final stages of testing their aircraft for the flight, but their leader, Admiral Mark Kerr, was determined not to take off until the plane was in perfect condition. The Vickers team quickly assembled their plane and, at around 1:45 p.m. on 14 June, whilst the Handley Page team were conducting yet another test, the Vickers plane took off from Lester’s Field.[11] Alcock and Brown flew the modified Vickers Vimy, powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle 360 hp engines which were supported by an on-site Rolls Royce team led by engineer Eric Platford.[12] The pair brought toy cat mascots with them for the flight – Alcock had ‘Lucky Jim’ while Brown had ‘Twinkletoes’.

        1. It probably also doesn’t hurt, at least in retrospect, that Lindbergh was heartily sympathetic to the Nazi regime (despite Anna Morrow Lindbergh’s efforts to obscure the fact) whereas Brown fought for Britain in the RAF during WWII (Alcock died in a crash in 1919).

        2. Yeah, mebbe so. But Alcock and Brown never had any babies snatched out of their homes. And neither became US president in Philip Roth’s imagination.

      2. That’s a new one on me – Alcock and Brown more famous over there.

        Definitely – I was in my mid-twenties before I heard of Lindbergh, and then it was from the forensics of the baby case, not the aviation. It’s amazing the things you find in ship libraries.

      3. You can see the ribs right through the fabric. So no paint job on that Vickers Vimy.

        That’s standard for fabric and wood planes. Stiffen the fabric with a “dope” (typically an organic “plastic” composition dissolved in an organic solvent – and this makes them less flammable!?) which also reduces their permeability to air. There’s no need for additional weight. This thing of opaque bodywork came in with much higher power engines in the 1930s.

      1. D’oh – I meant to add that I agree that Alcock and Brown are more famous on this side of the Atlantic. I wonder if it has anything to do with their Rolls-Royce engines?

    2. “I don’t think Lindbergh’s flight is more famous. From the perspective of this side of the pond, Alcock and Brown are definitely more famous.”

      You mean from the perspective of the British Isles. I think on the European continent everybody knows about Lindbergh but nobody has ever heard about Alcock and Brown, save maybe some aviation historian. I heard their names for the first time during a vacation in Galway a couple of years ago when I did a short hike in the place they landed. Americans are by far the world’s champions in telling the world what they do.

      1. I think you are correct about that last sentence, however, Lindy was instantly the most famous person on the planet and remained so for some time. He also was not good at being famous and really had problems with the celebrity. The fact that we later learned what a bastard Lindbergh was did not help. He was a Jew hater, although he had no reason to be and got really friendly with the Germans. He also screwed around on his wife for years and had several kids with other women. He should have had his nuts removed.

  2. 1954…words “under god” added to U.S. pledge of allegiance. Yes i remember that i was in the first grade of elementary school at the time and we had to practice saying the new pledge with the added words several times AND , for some reason they had to be appended to the words “one nation” without pause, so that the phrase would read smoothly as “one nation under god”, not “one nation (pause) under god”. This close and continuous connection between nation and god seemed to be very important to our teacher. After all i remember it almost 70 years later.

    1. Linda Greenhouse, who usually writes for the New York Times, has an article in the New York Review of Books in which she discusses the situation in which while the country is becoming more secular, white Christian nationalists are becoming more militant. This should not be surprising because conservatives of all stripes are fearful of the consequences of an ever more diverse America. Greenhouse notes that the Trump presidency reeked of religiosity, but Biden has largely fumigated the White House. However, the real danger lies in the Supreme Court, now dominated by religious Catholics. Greenhouse states: “The Court’s majority, reshaped by three Trump-appointed justices—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—is reflexively choosing religious over secular interests…” The makeup of the Court along with the Republican Party as the vehicle for white Christian nationalism has resulted in another fracture in the body politic. The question I am musing is whether the country has reached a tipping point where reconciliation may be impossible.

    2. That’s interesting. When I learned it as a kid, we always put a big pause in…and we also often secretly said, “…one nation, Underdog, indivisible…” because the Underdog cartoons were in syndication around that time.

    1. My how country music has changed. Nobody sings harmonies like Roy Rogers and (the probably canceled) Sons of the Pioneers anymore.

  3. I suppose that MTG figures that the Black Death in the 14th century was also a bioweapon, along with the Great Plague of London in 1665-1666 (obviously concocted by the Spanish to avenge the destruction of the Spanish Armada a century earlier) and so on… or maybe she doesn’t think anyone died in those epidemics… or maybe, possibly most likely, she never heard of them….

  4. I just read the other day that ours is a Christian nation because the Pledge of Allegiance included the words “under God.” But the writer didn’t realize that those words were added only in 1954, and as a wy to distinguish the U.S. from the godless Communist nations during the Cold War.

    That may have been in connection with the meltdown a panel from Newsmax — the far right-wing network owned by Trump crony Joe Ruddy, and one of the outlets vying to out-Fox-News Fox News — had over a high-school student’s saying “under Allah” instead of “under God” while reciting The Pledge at a school function. One of the panelists claimed that “under God” had been added to The Pledge in 1942 (which was actually the year SCOTUS granted cert to hear West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the case in which the high court determined that, under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause, students belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses could not be compelled to say The Pledge of Allegiance in school.

    Goes to show what fair-weather free-speech fans rightwingers actually are.

  5. 1966 – The Vatican announces the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“index of prohibited books”), which was originally instituted in 1557.

    I dunno, I kinda miss not having the Vatican provide a list of books (or The Legion of Decency, a list of “condemned” movies) that I could dedicate myself to one day reading and watching.

  6. … a chicken-eating lynx gets a stern lecture …

    Thank the humble hyphen that we didn’t instead have the bizarre phenomenon of “a chicken eating lynx.” 🙂

    1. Indeed! In the chapter “A Little Used Punctuation Mark” in her masterpiece Eats, Shoots, & Leaves, Lynne Truss observes,

      One of the most profound things ever said about punctuation came in an old style guide of the Oxford University Press in New York. “If you take hyphens seriously,” it said, “you will surely go mad.” And it’s true. […] It’s a funny old mark, the hyphen. Always has been. Woodrow Wilson said the hyphen was “the most un-American thing in the world” (note the hyphen required in “un-American”); Churchill said hyphens were “a blemish, to be avoided wherever possible”. Yet there will always be a problem about getting rid of the hyphen: if it’s not extra-marital sex (with a hyphen), it is perhaps extra marital sex, which is quite another bunch of coconuts. Phrases abound that cry out for hyphens. Those much-invoked examples of the little used car, the superfluous hair remover, the pickled herring merchant, the slow moving traffic and the two hundred odd members of the Conservative Party would all be lost without it.

  7. One nation, under threat, easily divisible, with liberty and justice for some.

    Funny how far the right have fallen. They used to foam at the mouth at the very idea that some school kid somewhere wasn’t being forced to pledge allegiance to gawd and country, now they use American flags to beat cops so they can invade out nation’s Capitol, overturn am election and undo a democratically elected government. They put the Riot in the word patriot.

  8. A herd of tumbleweed …

    A common sight in the Old West, until the humble tumbleweed was hunted to near-extinction in the 19th century. Now one is fortunate indeed to see a lone tumbleweed in situ on the streets of downtown Los Angeles or on the beach at Malibu:

    1. I guess I missed that one, but then I missed several movies. I recall tumbleweeds were numerous in Arizona, when I lived there many, many years ago.

    2. … until the humble tumbleweed was hunted to near-extinction in the 19th century.

      It’s terrible they didn’t succeed – tumbleweed is a serious agricultural plague and major fire hazard.

      CGP Grey has a video on how it spread, was fought, and yet persists:
      The Trouble With Tumbleweed.

  9. I find the Covid magnet myth hilarious. Ninety nine percent of keys are made of brass. The last time I tried, I couldn’t get any brass object to stick onto a magnet. That Covid stuff must be some kind of special magnet.

  10. Thank you for the photo of the Mary Cassatt painting. I’m preparing a presentation on her for my ‘Art Appreciation for Photographers’ course, and have included it since it features a cat. She was a most interesting woman, and in her later years a campaigner for women’s right to vote.

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