Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 19, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Saturday, June 19, 2021: National Martini Day (I prefer the Gibson, a martini with pickled onions rather than olives). Do note that  it’s Juneteenth, since yesterday a federal holiday passed by Congress and signed into law by Joe Biden. Here are Galveston residents (some surely former slaves) celebrating the day in Texas on June 19, 1900—35 years after the news of emancipation reached their state (see below).

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates Juneteenth, specifically the artistic contributions of African Americans.

It’s also National Eat an Oreo Day, World Juggling Day, and World Sickle Cell Day. 

News of the Day:

Joe Biden is a Catholic, and that’s why he’s in trouble now. The Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. have voted by a wide margin (73% to 24%) to draft a statement that would support denying communion to Biden because he’s pro-choice. Clearly Catholics are polarized (the NYT article notes that two-thirds of American Catholics accept transubstantiation), and I wonder whether a priest who does give Biden communion could be excommunicated.

A federal judge threw out the Center for Disease Control’s phased-in restrictions for cruises, allowing cruises to proceed with a mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. I’m not quite sure why it’s okay for companies to require employees to be vaccinated, but it’s not okay for cruise ships to require passengers to be vaccinated. The first scheduled cruise will have slightly different procedures for the two groups, including different dining hours for the unvaccinated and a fee of $126 for Covid testing of the unvaccinated.

Frank Bruni’s last regular column has just appeared in the New York Times, and bears the provocative title “Ted Cruz, I’m sorry“. (Bruni is about to take up an endowed chair in journalism at Duke University). The topic is how one (including Bruni) debases journalism to take the easy route of snide, thoughtless criticism of a political opponent (Cruz in his case). It’s not that Bruni likes Cruz; he was just ashamed of phoning in a hit piece. An extract:

But I qualified “no regret” with “almost” because there is the matter of tone. Trump’s penchant for mockery gave those of us who covered him a green light to follow suit, and I was among many who seized on that permission. There wasn’t any shame in that, and it afforded us flights of verbal fancy that plenty of readers enjoyed. But there wasn’t any honor in it, either. We sank toward Trump’s level, and he cited that descent as validation of his hostility. The reciprocal ridicule went on and on.

Will the vestiges of it pollute post-Trump journalism? My wager is yes. And it’s a sorrowful bet.

Good news for those who love to travel, especially to Paris: the EU has recommended that its 27 members gradually lift restrictions on Americans traveling for nonessential reasons (i.e., FUN). Each country, though, must decide when and how to lift the restrictions.

At last—a sensible article on food in the New York Times that doesn’t engage in snack-shaming or kale-pushing. It’s “There’s no shame in kids snacking“, though it was first published two years ago. Excerpt:

Jenny McGlothlin, a feeding therapist at the University of Texas Dallas Callier Center, said she hears two common refrains from parents about snacks: “It’s either ‘I get dirty looks when I pull out the Cheetos’ or it’s ‘I don’t ever let them snack!’ ” she said. Both responses are rooted in a culture that categorizes every food — and often, the sheer act of eating itself — as unequivocally good or bad. “Snacks” are associated with treats, and “snacking” with a kind of mindless, undisciplined style of eating, both of which, we’ve been told, are unhealthy. But it’s a mistake to write off your child’s burning desire for goldfish crackers at 10 a.m.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 601,183, an increase of 301 deaths over yesterday’s figure.  The reported world death toll is now 3,867,805, an increase of about 9,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 19 includes:

Here’s a painting of that council. What a gala event!

  • 1586 – English colonists leave Roanoke Island, after failing to establish England’s first permanent settlement in North America.
  • 1846 – The first officially recorded, organized baseball game is played under Alexander Cartwright’s rules on Hoboken, New Jersey’s Elysian Fields with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23–1. Cartwright umpired.
  • 1862 – The U.S. Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying Dred Scott v. Sandford.

Scott, pictured below, was a slave who lost his case but was eventually manumitted, and the prohibition fell three years before the event celebrated as Juneteenth (today) occurred.

  • 1865 – Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are finally informed of their freedom. The anniversary is still officially celebrated in Texas and 41 other contiguous states as Juneteenth. Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in the United States in 2021.
  • 1865 – Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are finally informed of their freedom. The anniversary is still officially celebrated in Texas and 41 other contiguous states as Juneteenth. Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in the United States in 2021.
  • 1953 – Cold War: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.

The Rosenbergs on their way to jail after being found guilty of spying for the Soviet Union against the U.S.

  • 2012 – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange requested asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the US after publication of previously classified documents including footage of civilian killings by the US army.

Assange is still in prison in England, still fighting extradition to the U.S.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1623 – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (d. 1662)
  • 1896 – Wallis Simpson, American wife of Edward VIII (d. 1986)
  • 1897 – Moe Howard, American comedian (d. 1975)

His real name was Moses Harry Horowitz (changed for obvious reasons), and here he is with his famous haircut:


  • 1903 – Lou Gehrig, American baseball player (d. 1941)
  • 1906 – Ernst Boris Chain, German-Irish biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1979)
  • 1910 – Paul Flory, American chemist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1985)
  • 1914 – Lester Flatt, American bluegrass singer-songwriter, guitarist, and mandolin player (d. 1979). Here are flat and Scruggs playing “Fireball Mail”:
  • 1919 – Pauline Kael, American film critic (d. 2001)
  • 1947 – Salman Rushdie, Indian-English novelist and essayist
  • 1964 – Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and former Mayor of London

Those who exhaled for the final time on June 19 include:

Barrie was, of course, the creator of Peter Pan, named after the son of family friends. He told the stories to the children in Kensington Park, where a statue of Peter Pan now sits. Barrie and the statue are shown below:

(From Wikipedia): Peter Pan statue (1912) by Sir George Frampton in Kensington Gardens, London
  • 1953 – Ethel Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1915)
  • 1953 – Julius Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1918)
  • 1966 – Ed Wynn, American actor and comedian (b. 1886)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pursuing her usual activities:

Hili: I’m very tired after the long day.
A: You have to have a nap.
Hili: That’s what I intend to do.
In Polish:
Hili: Po długim dniu jestem strasznie zmęczona.
Ja: Musisz się przespać.
Hili: Właśnie zamierzam.

A bonus photo of little Kulka:

From Nicole:

From Bruce:

From Jesus of the Day:

Titania presents a black man who isn’t a fan of CRT:

From Simon; look at the size of that spider web! Given that every critter in Australia is venomous, I wouldn’t go near the thing:

Tweets from Matthew. He says this about the first one, part of a thread from which I’ve extracted four tweets:

Amazing thread of a mayfly moulting. They are the only insects to moult when they have wings. First vid is sped up, subsequent vids show it in real time. Even the wings moult!

The molting wings can be seen in the fourth tweet below, and it’s a fantastic sight!

Wally the Wandering Walrus, way off course, is apparently back in the UK after a jaunt to Spain. I hope he finds his buddies!

I didn’t get this in time to post yesterday, but it’s only a day late:

Clearly there are adaptive costs in other fly species that would prevent the eye from evolving to this size, but we have no idea what they are. For I’m sure it’s not for a lack of genetic variation, which is ubiquitous:

39 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

    1. Could be worse. Someone could tell PCC(E) that Floralys is a brand of bog roll cheap enough to get even cats bored.

  1. You could not get me on one of those large cruise ships, vaccine or not. It would be like going for an airplane ride with 350 other people on a 747.

    1. What, you don’t consider being trapped on a floating petri dish, catching norovirus and forcefully ejecting vomit and feces out both ends to be relaxing?

  2. Assange is still in prison in England, still fighting extradition to the U.S.

    In 2012, when he ran away, Assange was not fighting extradition to the US, he was fighting extradition to Sweden to answer charges of rape. He lost that fight and did a runner the same day. Draw your own conclusions from that.

    At the time he bravely ran away from facing rape charges, Assange had been living in England under bail conditions for more than a year. The Americans knew where he was and so could have started extradition proceedings against him at any time. They did not. The USA was not interested in Assange in 2011/2012.

    I certainly hope he is not extradited this time, because I believe his mental health is too fragile to survive the US justice system, but I do think there is a good chance he is guilty of rape under Swedish law.

    1. I draw my conclusions from the overall facts of the case, not from a trite sentence “he bravely ran away from rape charges”.
      I would say, given the totality of information, that he sensibly ran away from bogus rape charges, that may have have US involvement.

      1. The overall facts of the case are that he was about to be extradited to face rape charges and he decided to escape justice instead. Your assertions that they were bogus or that they had anything to do with the USA are without evidence.

  3. burning desire for goldfish crackers

    Is that an American version of the infamous “Hedgehog Flavoured Crisps” of the mid-80s?

  4. Titania presents a black man who isn’t a fan of CRT:

    This re-use of the acronym for Cathode Ray Tube is really going to confuse historians of the 23rd century.
    If there are any 23rd century historians. A significant “if” in both directions.

  5. Looking at the photo of the Galveston residents I had two thoughts; first, even though I like how dapper regular people always seemed to be way back when, how miserably hot they must have been in those clothes in that part or any part of Texas in June, and second, if they survived the Great Storm that was to hit their city just over two months later in August of 1900.

      1. Indeed. Horrible to read about the hard time the poor kids had a) first, after their parents were arrested, and b) second, after they were made orphans by the state. Kudos to the Meeropols for taking them in and raising them so well when even their own extended family wouldn’t.

        The imagery of one of the kids playing hangman with Julius on death row oblivious of the irony until much later in life will stay with me.I

        I wonder what will happen with the sons’ appeal to Biden on behalf of their mother?

        1. After posting my comment, I opened the link your provided and read The Guardian article. It’s a pretty good and thorough piece.

  6. That is excellent footage of mayfly molting. Mayflies are similar to early winged insects in many respects (one could informally say they are “primitive” winged insects). It is hypothesized that early insects continued to molt while they were adults, like their crustacean relatives, and that the final molt that mayflies do is a vestige of that bye-gone age.

  7. Does anyone know whether the bishops will also deny communion to Catholics who support the death penalty and/or do not favor stricter gun control?

  8. The CRT video reminded me that two days ago I got a text from Sierra Club in which they stated their support for reparations for black people. On the news I also see KC Mo mayor supporting reparations as well. I cannot think of anything that would be so sure to inflame the already miserable race relations as well as play right into the hands of tRumpers and Qtipers. Recognizing Juneteenth is a great thing, but it’s 156 years since slavery ended and those that deserved reparations are long dead. I truly worry this new push to give money to black people can only end in disaster. Will reparations actually accomplish anything or just make things worse? Am I wrong? Am I just catastrophizing? Are we really that committed to perpetuating this racialist notion of two Americas? And why is an environmental group spending time (and I assume money) on non-environmental causes?

  9. 1953 – Cold War: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.

    Dwight Eisenhower, inaugurated as the nation’s 34th president in January 1953, could have stopped those executions and commuted the Rosenbergs’ sentences — just as, as commander of the Allied Forces in Europe in 1945, Ike could have stopped the execution of Pvt. Eddie Slovik (the only US GI, of 21,000 convicted of desertion during WW2, to be put to death), but he refused to do so, apparently pour encourager les autres during the tough going of the Battle of the Bulge.

    For me, his allowing those executions to proceed will always be indelible stains on Eisenhower’s reputation.

    1. [A]pparently pour encourager les autres – the same reason in the Rosenbergs ‘ case too, I suspect. I see that it was that old charmer Roy Cohn who claimed credit for securing the death penalties for Julius and Ethel.

      1. For the rest of his life, Cohn relished in bragging about the unethical ex parte communications he’d had with the trial judge, Irving Kaufman (mainly over pay phones), wherein he connived to ensure that both Rosenbergs would be sentenced to the electric chair.

        Words cannot capture that man’s treachery.

  10. “I’m not quite sure why it’s okay for companies to require employees to be vaccinated, but it’s not okay for cruise ships to require passengers to be vaccinated.”

    I guess it’s because FL is a “Right to Cruise” state. 😉

  11. > I wonder whether a priest who does give Biden communion could be excommunicated.

    Actually, it would be more likely the other way around, since the Pope has explicitly told the American bishops not to deny communion to Biden.


    1. I share no ecclesiastical identification with him, obvs, but I think Frankie the First is a genuinely decent person, and a vast improvement over his immediate predecessor.

      Good for him for setting these blowhard bishops straight.

    2. My very limited understanding of this (i.e. what I’ve read and heard) is that whatever the conference of bishops agree to, they agree to – and so they may indeed put out some nonsense about denying communion to people who don’t kowtow enough to their warped ideas; but that each bishop is independently responsible for his own diocese directly to the Pope and not in any way to the conference. And I have heard that the Archbishop of Washington (DC) has said that he will not listen to calls to deny communion to Biden.

    3. Oh for goodness’ sake – I’LL buy the president his crackers.
      I can order them online and have them sent to the White House: “Here’s your crackers, Mr. Prez, they’re MAGICAL! Now run the country and forget about the Bronze Age fairy tales and all the dangerous nonsense that comes with them.”
      Damn. Sick of this religious bs.

  12. Slavery continued to be the legal in the US for another 6 months after June 19, 1865 — Juneteenth — and only ended when Delaware freed its almost 2000 enslaved black people on Dec. 6, 1865. However, Would Joe Biden have signed into law a national holiday commemorating/condemning Delaware’s tardiness?
    That said, establishing a holiday specifically to commemorate the end of slavery is a very good idea and, if you are going to have a holiday, late June couldn’t be a better time.

    1. December 6, 1865, was the date on which the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in the US, was ratified. The Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abe on September 22, 1862, by its terms applied only to the states that had joined the Confederacy, not boarder states such as Delaware.

  13. The spider webs in parts of Victoria are due to floods that have forced a lot of fairly little spiders to escape by kiting. They will go back underground when the waters subside.

    We had a big storm all over Victoria with thousands of trees down, roads blocked and power out. My town was blocked off completely for a day and a half and partially for 3 days. Power was off for three days and some people still don’t have it back due to the extensive damage.

    We have never seen anything like it.

  14. “..walrus …. an immense and intimidating creature…”

    They were bigger dangers to Nansen and Johannsen in their struggled return from the famous North Pole attempt than were the polar bears. Walruses (Walri?) were very aggressive and difficult to deal with from their double kayak rig. Polar bears never bothered them in the water and were food on land or ice..

    But the last run-in with a walrus may have saved their lives. They likely otherwise would have missed their rescue by British scientists up there, and at least would have needed to live in some kind of snow cave for a 2nd winter.

    But eating polar bears both ended up weighing more than when they started the 2-man attempt 15 months, IIRC, earlier from the deliberately frozen-in ship (same one Amundsen used at the South Pole later).

    Norwegians could cope–few others could.

    1. Not “walri”. Some words ending in “us” derived from Latin have the plural in English “i” if that is the plural in Latin (which is not always the case). However, “walrus” is a Germanic word.

  15. For Nansen, maybe Walrussians.

    ‘Rescued’ after overwintering in what was (is?) Franz Josef Land, bunch of Russian Islands.

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