Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 30, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a humpish Wednesday, June 30, 2021: National Mai Tai Day (here’s a recipe for this “tropical” cocktail) and a photo of a Mai Tai below. The drink contains white rum, orange curaçao, freshly-squeezed orange juice, orgeat syrup, and dark rum.

It’s also National Parchment Day (still used for baking, but not in the animal-skin version), National Meteor Day, and International Asteroid Day, marking the day in 1908 when the Tunguska Event occurred in Siberia, flattening 80 million trees. It’s thought to have involved the atmospheric disintegration of a celestial body like a meteor or small asteroid. Below is a famous photo, taken in 1927 (19 years after the event), of some of the fallen trees it’s not known if any people were killed, but three might have been.

Most important, it’s my sister’s birthday, exactly six months from my own birthday; we were born precisely 2.5 years apart. (See below.) Happy birthday, Sis!

News of the Day:

It’s been 161 days since Joe Biden took office, and the White House is still catless. When will this discrimination end?

The East Coast of the U.S., and much of the midwest, has faced floods, the Southeast is under tropical storm warnings, and the Pacific Northwest (including parts of Canada) have experienced record heat. Look at these temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) reached in the NW, posted by the Phoenix branch of the U.S. National Weather Service. A new high temperature for all of Canada!

Reader Ken notes that Clarence Thomas, of all the justices, has issued a statement doubting whether the federal government can legally prohibit growing or using marijuana. The case was one in which the federal government denied a tax benefit to a Colorado marijuana dispensary despite the use of the drug being legal in the state (see more here). The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, allowing the tax denial to stand, and Thomas issued a statement implying that maybe the U.S. government has no right to regulate marijuana production or use.

Ken sez:

Justice Clarence Thomas (really, no shit, Clarence Thomas) issued a statement yesterday regarding the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Standing Akimbo, LLC v. United States, in which he expressed grave doubts about the constitutionality of federal laws prohibiting the intrastate use or cultivation of marijuana.

(You may recall that SCOTUS upheld the constitutionality of such laws in Gonzles v. Raich in 2005, but the federal government has been all over the place regarding its enforcement of such laws ever since.

You can read Thomas’s statement here.

And here’s a tweet with a short excerpt of his statement:

Here’s a hugely embarrassing own goal by Spain:

It’s a major tournament moment that Spain’s national soccer team goalkeeper, Unai Simón, will definitely want to forget.

A momentary lapse in concentration saw the shot-stopper score a shocker of an own goal during Spain’s second-round European Championships game against Croatia on Monday.

Midfielder Pedri passed the ball back to Simón, but it skipped off his boot and rolled into the net to give Croatia a 1-0 lead.

Fortunately, Spain redeemed themselves, winning 5-3 in extra time.

This headline is unbelievable, and yet it’s true (click to read screenshot):

Here’s the offending anti-discrimination statement by April Powers (a woman Jew “of color”), which was considered offensive (it was issued when attacks on Jews worldwide rose following the recent conflict with Gaza:

The SCBWI unequivocally recognizes that the world’s 14.7 million Jewish people (less than 0.018% of the population) have the right to life, safety, and freedom from scapegoating and fear. No person should be at risk because of their heritage, religion, disability, or whom they love. In the last several years, antisemitism has been on the rise globally, and has fueled a 75% increase in hate speech and random violence against Jewish people in the last few weeks alone. Because antisemitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred, it has its own name. It is the example from which many forms of racism and violence are perpetrated. As writers, illustrators, and translators of children’s literature, we are responsible for promoting equity and humanizing people in our work-all children and all families.
Silence is often mistaken for acceptance and results in the perpetration of more hatred and violence against different types of people. As proof, it saddens us that for the 4th time this year we are compelled to invite you to join us in not looking away and in speaking out against all forms of hate, including antisemitism.

But why did Oliver have to resign for a statement like that? Guess, and then read here. What a world! What a world!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 604,069, an increase of 272 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,954,806, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 30 includes:

Here’s Blondin on the rope, and he has no safety line. This was his 1859 walk, but he did it several times thereafter, even putting a chair down in the middle of the rope and sitting on it.

This is, of course, the debate in which Bishop Wilberforce was put down by Thomas Henry Huxley. Wikipedia reports it this way, but there are several versions. All we know is that somehow Huxley clashed with the Bishop about human evolution:

The debate is best remembered today for a heated exchange in which Wilberforce supposedly asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey. Huxley is said to have replied that he would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth.

Guiteau killed Garfield (who took two months to die from infection) because the President failed to give Guiteau with a consulship as a reward for campaigning for the candidate. Here’s Guiteau, who looks pretty scary, and then his preserved skull with its rotten teeth:

Caption for the photo below from Wikipedia: “Skull of Charles Guiteau in the National Museum of Health and Medicine collection. Note the advanced tooth decay at age 40.”


This was Einstein’s “miracle year”, when he published on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, and special relativity. Here’s the relativity paper:

  • 1908 – The Tunguska Event, the largest impact event on Earth in human recorded history, resulting in a massive explosion over Eastern Siberia. [See above.]
  • 1921 – U.S. President Warren G. Harding appoints former President William Howard Taft as Chief Justice of the United States.
  • 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals in Germany, takes place.
  • 1937 – The world’s first emergency telephone number, 999, is introduced in London.
  • 1953 – The first Chevrolet Corvette rolls off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.

Here is the first model of ‘Vette rolling off that assembly line:

  • 1966 – The National Organization for Women, the United States’ largest feminist organization, is founded.
  • 1972 – The first leap second is added to the UTC time system.
  • 1990 – East Germany and West Germany merge their economies.
  • 2019 – Donald Trump becomes the first sitting US President to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Mission not accomplished! (Whatever the mission was. . . ):

Two autocrats/loons

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1911 – Czesław Miłosz, Polish novelist, essayist, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
  • 1917 – Lena Horne, American actress, singer, and activist (d. 2010)

Here’s Horne’s great classic from the eponymous movie in 1943:

  • 1926 – Paul Berg, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1942 – Robert Ballard, American lieutenant and oceanographer
  • 1952 – Susan Jane Coyne, sister of your host. Here’s a photo of the two of us with our mom; this was our passport picture when we traveled to Greece in the mid-Fifties:


Those who took their last breath on June 30 include:

  • 1882 – Charles J. Guiteau, American preacher and lawyer, assassin of James A. Garfield (b. 1841) [See above]
  • 1961 – Lee de Forest, American inventor, invented the audion tube (b. 1873)
  • 1973 – Nancy Mitford, English journalist and author (b. 1904)
  • 1984 – Lillian Hellman, American author and playwright (b. 1905)
  • 2001 – Chet Atkins, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1924)
  • 2003 – Buddy Hackett, American actor and comedian (b. 1924)

Buddy Hackett was born to a Jewish family, and his real name was Leonard Hacker. Here he is telling a gypsy joke (now “Roma joke’) on Johnny Carson’s show (you’ll have to watch on YouTube).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili waxes philosophical

Hili: The world is full of illusions.
A: Is this the first time you’ve noticed it?
Hili: The first time today.
In Polish:
Hili: Świat jest pełen złudzeń.
Ja: Pierwszy raz to zauważyłaś?
Hili: Dzisiaj pierwszy.

From Beth:

A famous Gary Larson cartoon posted on Facebook. In contrast, I’m afflicted with Anatidaephilia:

From Beth, a Doug Savage cartoon:

A tweet from Ginger K. Don’t chuckle: he may be right!

Tweets from Matthew. First, stag beetles in flight—afternoon delight! Two videos! Sound up:

I think the cranes are checking out the gator.

The Wimbledon court goes wild applauding Dr. Gilbert, and well she deserves it!

The answer is probably “yes,” but it’s not certain:

Read more about this original color photo and how they tracked down its subject here.

A cloned “worker” bee whose clones do not work is a danger to the ecosystem. Read the article linked below:

45 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

    1. It’s not often you see a car going down the road with a propeller on the back. It sure seems to have a small wing for the size of the car. I’m guessing the stall speed is over 100 mph. Cannot drive this wagon without a pilot’s license.

      1. That would make for one hell of a landing.

        The Cessna 172 that I flew had a flaps down stall speed of 47 knots and that was fast enough for me.

  1. Happy birthday, Susan Coyne! We met several times through brother Jerry at W&M so many years ago.

  2. That SCBWI apology shows that for some people there is no distinction between anti-antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Why else would a statement that doesn’t mention Israel be deemed to require an inclusive statement about Palestinians?

    1. As Sam Harris noted recently, if you are Jewish you are NOT white, according to the far right and you are Ultra-white according to the leftists. And of course, only the woke/elect/leftistas are as morally pure as the new-driven snow, even in their anti-semitisim.

    2. Meanwhile, The Grauniad managed to get through an entire article on the trauma experienced by young mothers in northern Gaza during the recent conflict without mentioning the source of the rockets that exploded outside their homes. (I seem to recall only one side firing rockets, but I’m happy to be corrected.).

      1. Of course only POCs can experience trauma, while only whites can inflict it, right? Sometimes I wonder, is wokeism a religion or a neurological pathology?

        It is also worth mentioning that the Miami Herald reports that the Israeli National Rescue Unit is helping with the Surfside collapse.

        1. If it is anti-Palestinian to condemn anti-Semitism without mentioning Palestine, then it is anti-Semitic to condemn the mistreatment of Palestinians without mentioning violence against Jews.

  3. Here’s [Lena] Horne’s great classic from the eponymous movie [Stormy Weather] in 1943 …

    If I’m not mistaken, that’s Cab Calloway conducting, and the echt “Mr. Bojangles,” Bill Robinson, seated at the front-row table.

  4. “It’s been 161 days since Joe Biden took office, and the White House is still catless. When will this discrimination end?”

    I wonder if someone in the Biden household or staff is allergic to cats. I love cats (they make much more sense to me than humans do) and only discovered my rather significant cat allergy after getting a cat as an adult. I spent 17 years taking Sudafed and various antihistamines, otherwise I couldn’t sleep at night. It never seemed to get any less severe, and it persists to this day, for I have a housemate who keeps cats…and I wouldn’t want to try to convince him to send them away. However, if someone in the White House isn’t as find of cats and is allergic, it might take some wrangling to convince them to live with one. I’m probably projecting.

    1. The residence of the well known ailurophile Prof J.A. Coyne is devoid of felines. We are waiting for years now.
      Maybe we should crowd-source for a little Bengal?
      Or a rooikat (Caracal), they are still (and sadly) considered vermin here, and often shot at sight. PCC to the rescue?
      And maybe we should offer Mr Biden one too.

  5. The ONLY Mai Tai worth drinking is the scratch Mai Tai from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel bar in Oahu. That is pure heaven. Otherwise, I generally avoid this cocktail.

  6. Poor Unai Simon. I think he was preferred over David de Gea, who was the premier Spain goalkeeper for a while before this tournament. Simon went on to make a good save later in the game — from a Croatian shot, not a Spanish one.

    1. Yes,fortunately for Simón he managed to redeem himself. It was a brilliant match, as was the France v Switzerland one the same day.

      1. Right. The France versus Switzerland match was terrific! Two thrillers in one day followed by a more sedate England win over Germany (no dodgy goal this time 🙂 ). Now I am favouring England for the final. But I have no idea how the other bracket is going to resolve itself.

              1. Yes, De Bruyne (that means the brown one) and Hazard are about their top players. I rate De Bruyne in the top five (at least) of extant football players. I think Belgium’s chances are seriously reduced if they are not 100% fit.

        1. “followed by a more sedate England win over Germany (no dodgy goal this time 🙂 )” – much more sedate and I’m less convinced about England’s chances, Chetiya. But credit where it’s due, I was only four years old the last time that we beat Germany in the knockout stage of a major football competition.

    2. Slightly off topic, but only slightly, since we mentioned the Euro Cup. Until now 5 Red Cards were awarded, 2 to Wales, which was losing anyway.
      All the 3 others were given when the score was equal: Poland vs Slovakia, Netherlands vs Czech Republic and Sweden vs Ukraine. In all cases the team at the receiving end of the Red Card lost. (Poland, Netherlands and Sweden), despite probably being the better team (certainly in the latter two cases). I do not contend that the winning teams are undeserving, just that a Red Card skews the results enormously at this level.
      I think that a Rugby type of Yellow Card (10 minutes in the bin) would be more appropriate in many cases where a Red Card is given now, Since there is already a Yellow Card, I’d propose an Orange Card for the proposed 10 minutes ban in football.

    1. Still completely ridiculous and wrong. She didn’t mention Israel so why should she mention Palestine?
      There are only a few possibilities (not mutually exclusive) why Oliver fired April:
      – Rabiatic anti-semitism
      – Smooching with Islamists
      – Palestinian propaganda
      – Fear for the woke.
      In all cases profoundly unconscionable.

  7. I survived the Heat Dome! I understand it didn’t get too much press back east, but I’m here to report this is a really big deal. Sunday we shattered records, and Monday we shattered those. In my area (South Puget Sound, WA) – we are normally high 60s and rain. Maybe a day or two in the eighties, maybe hitting 90. We hit 109 on Monday. That is too hot. We aren’t set up for that kind of heat. Folks don’t have AC (in fact, Seattle & Portland are the least air conditioned metropolitan areas in the US). Our roads were literally buckling, and house siding was failing, trolley cables snapping. It was miserable, and I don’t look forward to this being an annual event.

    1. Indeed. My sister lives near Hillsboro OR but happened to be staying at the coast for a prearranged family break – as they drove back yesterday the rate at which the car’s outside air temperature reading was visibly going up was very alarming apparently.

  8. Oh crikey. Just checked the thermometer and it is 111.1 in the shade for about the fourth day. I live in Kelowna, British Columbia. Forecast – no relief in sight for days. I suddenly wish I believed in prayer. My air conditioner is 20 years old now. I recently thought that next winter a choice between a new hot water tank or an a/c was a no brainer. Now I’m not so sure. 🥵

    State of Emergency here over tomoro. No masks necessary. (At least for now.) Let the recovery begin.

    Now to survive the wildfire season.

  9. I’m reading Robert Ballard’s memoir Into The Deep. The man has a fascinating bio. This long interview with Shermer serves as a good overview :

    He was diagnosed with dyslexia – not a superficial disorder – ~70 years old and his daughter (I think) genetically carries it. It has significant consequences for the educational process especially in one-size-fits-all scenarios. Ballard claims the disorder played a role in his pursuits.

    The Shermer interview contains a smashing debunking of Loch Ness monster and biblical myths all readily explainable by plate tectonics.

    The interview contains a brutal section on his loss of his son I couldn’t listen to.

    Never knew of him until that interview, nor did I know the location of the Titanic was just but one of his accomplishments in that area, some only declassified late.

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