Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

June 17, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, June 17, 2021: National Apple Strudel Day, a cultural appropriation from Austria.  It’s World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, World Croc[odile] Day, National Eat Your Vegetables Day (didn’t we just have that?), and Global Garbage Man Day (surely there are Garbage Women too!).

News of the Day:

We’ve finally passed the mark of 600,000 deaths in the U.S. due to Covid-19 (see below). I remember when a mark of 200,000 seemed unimaginable, but we’re now three times higher than that. According to the CDC, though,  only 44% of Americans have been fully vaccinated.  But the range among states is wide: at the top is Vermont, with about 63% of the population fully vaccinated; at the bottom is Mississippi with only 28.5%.

As I predicted (that was a no-brainer), the Putin-Biden summit did not appear to be going well, at least in terms of agreements. Putin denied that the big hacker attacks in the U.S. came from Russia, and Biden pressed an unimpressed Putin on Russia’s human rights record and Navalny’s imprisonment. All Biden could say was, “I did what I came to do.” I was nonplussed by all the news describing the summit as “historic” when, at least for now, there’s little evidence that anything was accomplished.

Trump asserts that he’s writing a memoir, “the book of all books,” he calls it, but the Guardian reports that reputable publishers are unlikely to bite, especially because Trump was only a one-term President. Trump says he’s already had two offers from publishers but turned them both down. The Guardian adds:

On Tuesday, Politico reported that senior figures at Penguin Random House, Hachette, Harper Collins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster said they would not touch a Trump book.

“It would be too hard to get a book that was factually accurate, actually,” one was quoted as saying. “That would be the problem. If he can’t even admit that he lost the election, then how do you publish that?”

(h/t Eli)

The Senate unanimously passed legislation making Juneteenth (June 19) a federal holiday, “Juneteenth National Independence Day”. As I write this on Wednesday evening, the House is expected to approve the bill as well, and of course Biden will sign it into law. Earlier on Wednesday, our own governor, J. B. Pritzker, signed a bill making Juneteenth an Illinois state holiday. By now you should know what the date commemorates, but if you don’t know, go here. It’s a celebration of emancipation from slavery, announced in Texas on this date in 1865, three years after Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Botanical News: A rare “corpse flower” has bloomed, albeit briefly, in Poland. From the Associated Press:

The endangered Sumatran Titan arum, a giant foul-smelling blossom also known as the corpse flower, went into a rare, short bloom at a botanical garden in Warsaw, drawing crowds who waited for hours to see it.

The extraordinary flower, which emits a dead-body odor to attract pollinating insects that feed on flesh, bloomed Sunday. It was already withering early Monday. Those wishing to avoid the smell and crowds could watch it on live video from the Warsaw University Botanical Gardens.

Hundreds, if not thousands, lined up long into the night Sunday and Monday morning at the conservatory just to be able to pass by the flower and take a picture.

Here’s a video of the same species blooming in Cornwall. It’s amazing!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 600,024, an increase of 332 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We’ve finally passed the 600,000 mark.  The reported world death toll is now 3,849,345, an increase of about 10,500 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 17 includes:

And the world’s most beautiful mausoleum (and building):

Photo from Wikipedia
  • 1673 – French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reach the Mississippi River and become the first Europeans to make a detailed account of its course.
  • 1767 – Samuel Wallis, a British sea captain, sights Tahiti and is considered the first European to reach the island.
  • 1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.

Here’s part of it before it was sent to the U.S.

1878 World Fair in Paris, Park of the Champ-de-Mars, (Photo by Léon et Lévy/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

Nash was being escorted by train to the penitentiary, but was killed in the assault (Pretty Boy Floyd was one of the assailants). Here’s the scene outside the station soon after the attack:

  • 1939 – Last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is executed in Versailles outside the Saint-Pierre prison.

As Wikipedia notes, “The “hysterical behaviour” by spectators was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Executions by guillotine continued out of public view until the last such execution, of Hamida Djandoubi on September 10, 1977.” You can see photos of the trial and the guillotine here.

  • 1944 – Iceland declares independence from Denmark and becomes a republic.[6]
  • 1963 – The United States Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.
  • 1967 – Nuclear weapons testing: China announces a successful test of its first thermonuclear weapon.
  • 1972 – Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee during an attempt by members of the administration of President Richard M. Nixon to illegally wiretap the political opposition as part of a broader campaign to subvert the democratic process.
  • 1987 – With the death of the last individual of the species, the dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct.

The last aged male, between 9 and 13 years old, died at the Walt Disney World resort. Here’s a photo:

Here’s the classification (with numbers) in a South African Identity document during apartheid:

Remember watching that ride on television? Here’s a news report with video:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1882 – Igor Stravinsky, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1971)
  • 1898 – M. C. Escher, Dutch illustrator (d. 1972)

Here’s a self-portrait of Escher followed by a photograph:

  • 1920 – François Jacob, French biologist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)
  • 1943 – Newt Gingrich, American historian and politician, 58th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
  • 1943 – Barry Manilow, American singer-songwriter and producer
  • 1980 – Venus Williams, American tennis player

Those who reaped their heavenly reward on June 17 include:

There is one picture of a cat and kitten by Edward Burne-Jones (below), but I can’t establish that he really painted it. I doubt it!

  • 1986 – Kate Smith, American singer (b. 1907)
  • 2008 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (b. 1922)
  • 2012 – Rodney King, American victim of police brutality (b. 1965)

This was captured on video (below, note that it’s distressing), something that is more common these days, for video is powerful evidence:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is once again supervising the gardening:

A: Are you asleep?
Hili: No, I’m waiting for you to start weeding the vegetable patch.
In Polish:
Ja: Śpisz?
Hili: Nie, czekam aż się zabierzesz za pielenie warzywnika.

And a rare Mietek monologue; he queries Elzbieta as if he was an impatient child:

Mietek: Is it far yet?

In Polish: Daleko jeszcze?

From Bruce:

From Nicole:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Titania, who must have read the bird article I discussed yesterday:

From reader Ken (via the GOP Twitter feed), who describes this as “Republican self parody”:

Another urban duck-saving story from Jean. I can’t get enough of these, but only when they have a happy ending:

A 45-year-old rock photo sent by Ginger K.

Tweets from Matthew. This is not likely to be evolved mimicry, but who knows? Predators could avoid the whole concatenation of eggs since it resembles a snake, and laying in such a pattern might then be adaptive.

A double treat: science combined with a clever parody of a Dean Martin song:

In honor of Stan Laurel, even though his birthday was yesterday:

One of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions. I’m sure I’ve posted it before, but it’s well worth seeing again. Be sure to turn the sound up and watch the whole thing.

32 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. If I remember anything from 6th grade, in Iowa history Marquette and Jolliet are credited with discovering Iowa. Both events were a long time ago.

  2. When comparing the self-portrait of Escher with his photograph, it appears that he is in denial about his eyebrows.


    1. That reminded me of my daughter, when about 14 months old and beginning to speak actual English. She misheard or whatever, and thought the word was ‘eyebrowns’, though we never figured out what she thought it meant, if that wasn’t what ‘eyebrows’ does mean.

    2. I find Escher such a weird genius. The idea of that self portrait is brilliant , but then this sad, petty-bourgeois interior, one row of books, some ugly furniture and some pictures on the wall: Eleanor Rigby’s home.

  3. It’s National Eat Your Vegetables Day every day until you clean your plate young man. Then, and only then, will it be National Dessert Day.

  4. The Senate unanimously passed legislation making Juneteenth (June 19) a federal holiday, “Juneteenth National Independence Day”.

    The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent agreement after the nation’s dumbest US senator, Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), withdrew his objections. In the House. 14 representatives, all Republicans, voted against the measure — a who’s who of halfwits, including Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

    1. I cringe every time the senator from my state is mentioned.

      As for the house, it’s interesting to read some of the excuses for voting no–my favorite: People may confuse it with the ‘real’ independence day.

      1. And for the most part they don’t even know what independence day was. Oh yea, it was a day in the summer when they shoot fireworks, made in china.

    2. “..the nation’s dumbest US senator..”

      That is a competition with a very large number of serious topnotch competitors. Maybe they should run it like tennis, with 1-on-1 matches, televised. Much entertainment, and money from TV ads for useless shit.

  5. If I were a publisher, I would ABSOLUTELY publish 45’s book.

    And label it, promote it and make sure bookstores filed it under: fiction.

    Specifically, fantasy.

      1. And the word “hysteresis” has an interesting etymology in this regard – I’d have to look it up. Might be counter intuitive.

  6. If I remember correctly, Veritasium did a video of the window illusion in which he made a life-sized version and filmed it with his own body protruding through it while it rotated. It’s a great illusion.

  7. Re combating drought: We are in a severe drought here in northeastern Illinois. It’s forecast to be very hot today with thunderstorms through the night. Still, those storms, though welcome, will not be enough to combat the drought. My property abuts a wetlands, and in the decades I’ve lived in this area, I remember only one summer when the marsh in back of my house dried up, and that happened in August of that season. I’m looking at the marsh as I’m writing this, and unless we get a good period of soaking rains, it’s on track to be parched in a few weeks. The ducks and geese have just about abandoned the wetlands. Right now I’m observing some huge dinosaurs (egrets and blue herons) feasting on frogs, which are abundant. I remember noting last time the marsh was dry that the ecology changed. After the egrets, herons, and cranes left, new birds appeared, what looked like plovers, dipping into the mud of the former pond to feed on grubs, I presume. If these birds reappear this summer, I plan to observe them more closely and attempt to make a correct identification. If a birder/ ornithologist reading this can point me in the right direction concerning this new bird, I’d appreciate it.🙂

    1. Interesting—that sounds like a good future contribution for Readers’ Wildlife Photos. I live in that vicinity, and I have been noticing the low water levels in the forest preserves, especially in the shallower wetlands. I will have to pay more attention to who is (or isn’t) living there as the summer goes on.

      1. As far as any photos from me, I’m not a particularly good photographer. But thanks to your vote of confidence, I’ll do my best to get good shots.🤞

  8. Re the corpse flower: Here in northeastern Illinois we have a wonderful treasure of a resource, the Chicago Botanic Garden. The Garden has hosted a couple of corpse flowers recently. I’ve taken my family to see and smell them as they blossom. I can attest that they reek to high heaven.👃

    1. I always thought that the Rafflesias were the biggest flowers, but this Sumatran titan arum beats them. Curiously they also smell of rotten meat, and are also found in SE Asia.

  9. 2008 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (b. 1922)

    In the late Seventies, I was giving a buddy of mine and his girlfriend a car ride from Key West to Miami. In those days, in the upper Keys, you couldn’t raise a radio signal, at least not on the AM radio in a Volkswagen Beetle. So we shut the radio off and, to kill time, we started playing the game where someone gives a celebrity’s initials, sex, and occupation, and the other people had to guess the name. After we’d gone through several obvious people like, say, Frank Sinatra, the girlfriend gave the clue “S.S., male, singer.”

    The three of us worked together at a restaurant. She was a sweet kid, though far from the sharpest tack in the drawer. But after several months of struggling through her drink orders at the service bar, I knew just how her mind worked and, right off the bat, guessed “Cyd Charisse” (or, as I guess she had it in her mind, “Sid Sharrise,” the famous old crooner). 🙂

      1. I spent a couple years down here between undergraduate and law school, James. Then, after law school and a federal clerkship, I practiced in Miami for 30 years. During the last half-dozen or so, I kept a second office in Key West. Now I’m back down here, more-or-less fulltime.

  10. I thought the Biden-Putin meeting went well, or at least as well as could be expected. I didn’t think for a moment that there would be any agreements or admissions of guilt by Putin. At least Putin wasn’t given a national televised platform, at least we didn’t have a President praising Putin and believing his word above the U.S. Intelligence agencies. Putin played Trump like a tune, and none of that happened with Biden. It was a sober event and Putin came out complementing Biden on his experience, seriousness and moral stance. It was important for Putin to know Biden isn’t a pushover and they aren’t friends. That is a complete reversal from what Putin enjoyed the last 4 years. Trump was a gift to Putin, and now Putin knows that time is over…at least for 4 years. Unfortunately, he’s playing the long game, and since he’s a dictator, he can outlast a lot of 4-year Presidential terms. He also enjoys the continued support of Trump and many in the GOP. The real scary news is there are many traitors in the GOP who put Putin above Biden ( I said “many” but it’s probably the vast majority at this point).

  11. With reference to the optical illusion from the Australian children’s TV show The Curiosity Show I feel really lucky to have grow up at the exact time that this show was right in my target demographic. Shows this good are rare

  12. LOL. “The book of all books”. He gets more ridiculous as he ages. As Hitchens would say, “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”

  13. I’d LOVE one of those huge, stinky Indonesian flowers. I’d probably have to keep it on the balcony though – but hell, I hate my neighbor so two birds with one stone!
    And a good gift for a girlfriend one is not really happy with. Like a triffid, say.

    Terimah Kasih (Indonesian for thank you!).

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