Friday: Hili dialogue

July 2, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Friday, July 2, 2021: National Anisette Day. It’s also World UFO Day, Comic Sans Day, and Freedom from Fear of Speaking Day (see below, though the holiday isn’t really about Freedom of Speech, but about a phobia). Nevertheless, the man in the painting almost surely had to overcome his fear of speaking:

Rockwell’s “Freedom of Speech” from the Four Freedoms series. Photographed at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, October, 2012

I saw a possum crossing the street on my way to work this morning.

News of the Day:

Well. of course the big news is that criminal charges have come down on the Trump organization. The Orange Man faces no personal charges, but the Manhattan District Attorney accused the Trump organization of tax fraud, paying people without keeping records. And one of the executives, Alan Weisselberg, who was Trumps chief financial officer, is accused of grand larceny and tax fraud for evading taxes on $1.7 million in perks. Is Trump next? The NYT says this:

And while the indictment is narrowly focused on the scheme to evade taxes based on the provision of the benefits, the charges could lay the groundwork for the next steps in the investigation, which will focus on Mr. Trump.

The broader investigation into Mr. Trump and his company’s business practices is continuing. The prosecutors in the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., have been investigating whether Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization manipulated property values to obtain loans and tax benefits, among other potential financial crimes, The New York Times has reported.

Let’s have a poll!

Will Trump see prison time from the criminal investigations in New York?

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The Supreme Court handed down a decision that doesn’t look good for those of us who oppose the new Republican-led restrictions on voting enacted by  several states. The court upheld by a 6-3 vote, with the voting politically down the line, that several provisions of Arizona’s new voting-restrictions laws were legal, even if they imposed slight burdens on minority voters.  Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented. (The Court’s decision is here, with Kagan’s dissent particularly strong.)

Reader Ken sent me this note yesterday: “Today’s the last day of the Court’s term. The only remaining business is a decision in the California donor disclosure case, and whether 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer will announce his retirement, giving Uncle Joe the opportunity to nominate his successor while the Dems have the Senate votes to confirm.” It looks as if Breyer won’t resign, since that’s traditionally announced before the end of the Court’s term.

In the Surfside, Florida condo collapse, 18 people are now confirmed dead and 145 are still missing. After a week without water, it seems unlikely that anybody is still alive, but friends and relatives of the missing are still holding out hope. The search and rescue mission (it hasn’t been changed to the dreaded “recovery mission”) was paused today as workers worried that the rest of the building might come down.

On the lighter side, the San Diego Tribune reports a clutch of ten ducklings hatched in the nearby Oceanside Civic Center fountain, but had no way of getting out of the water. (You must know by now that baby ducks have to dry off on land from time to time). A kindly maintenance engineer built them a ramp to make their egress, which they haven’t yet used, but they have a ledge to stand on. That’s is NOT good enough: they should put a big platform attacked to the foundation. Most important, there’s no food there: they need to feed the ducks!! The report adds, “Wildlife rescue officials have been contacted and may come take the birds away, she said.Wildlife rescue officials have been contacted and may come take the birds away.” It will be hard to catch the entire brood AND the mother, as you want to keep the family together if you’re moving them to a more suitable location.  (h/t Susan)

Here’s a photo of the precarious ledge. I hope the ducks get proper help.

A British man has broken the Guinness world record for constructing the tallest stack of M&Ms.  Guess how tall it is? Not high; the answer is below (h/t Ginger K.)

Yep, just five. I’d think a Guinness guy would have to provide the M&Ms and be on the spot lest someone engage in chicanery with glue or other sticky substances.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 604,756, an increase of 263 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,972,356, an increase of about 8,500 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on July 2 includes:

  • 1698 – Thomas Savery patents the first steam engine.
  • 1776 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress adopts a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence is not published until July 4.
  • 1816 – The French frigate Méduse strikes the Bank of Arguin and 151 people on board have to be evacuated on an improvised raft, a case immortalised by Géricault‘s painting The Raft of the Medusa.

Here’s that painting, from 1818-1819, which you can see in the Louvre. Of the 151 passengers, only 15 were alive when the raft was rescued 13 days later.

The mutineers were freed by the Supreme Court on the grounds that they were rightfully revolting against the slave trade, which had been declared illegal.

Here’s a photo of that first Zeppelin flight:

  • 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives ends with the death of Ernst Röhm.
  • 1937 – Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.

Here’s Earhart just before leaving on her last flight. The plane is a Lockheed Model 10-E Electra.

  • 1964 – Civil rights movement: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 meant to prohibit segregation in public places.
  • 1976 – End of South Vietnam; Communist North Vietnam annexes the former South Vietnam to form the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
  • 1990 – In the 1990 Mecca tunnel tragedy, 1,400 Muslim pilgrims are suffocated to death and trampled upon in a pedestrian tunnel leading to the holy city of Mecca.
  • 2002 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.

Here’s the gondola of his balloon, the Spirit of Freedom; the flight, leaving from and landing in Australia, lasted 13 days and 8 hours.

Steve Fossett’s Bud Light Spirit of Freedom Balloon Capsule (A20030128000) on display in the “Pioneers of Flight” exhibit (Gallery 208), Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., April 19, 2006. Photo by Eric Long. [SI-2006-5549]
Notables born on this day include:

When I was a teenager, I read several books by Hesse but didn’t like them. I didn’t know what he looked like, so I just looked him up, and he looks pretty much like I imagined.

That’s the shirt with the alligator on it.

Marshall was the first black Supreme Court Justice, appointed by LBJ in 1967. Here he is in the Oval Office, presumably after a chat with the President:

  • 1925 – Medgar Evers, American soldier and activist (d. 1963)
  • 1937 – Richard Petty, American race car driver and sportscaster
  • 1947 – Larry David, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1956 – Jerry Hall, American model and actress

When I was researching my children’s book about cats in Bangalore, the hero, Mr. Das, acquired a new stray female kitten. I proposed to call her Jerry, but Mr. Das said that women weren’t named Jerry. I then googled Jerry Hall and showed her to him, and he agreed to name the cat after me.

  • 1990 – Margot Robbie, Australian actress and producer

Those who perished from this Earth on July 2 include:

  • 1566 – Nostradamus, French astrologer and author (b. 1503)
  • 1961 – Ernest Hemingway, American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899)

Here’s a photo of Hemingway from the Daily Beast accompanying a misguided article called “Why the hell are we still reading Ernest Hemingway?” Perhaps because he wrote some really terrific stuff.

  • 1973 – Betty Grable, American actress, singer, and dancer (b. 1916)

Here’s Grable in what was undoubtedly the most popular “pin up girl” affixed to walls by soldiers in World War II. The caption: “Grable’s iconic over-the-shoulder pose from 1943 (due to the fact she was visibly pregnant) was a World War II bestseller, showing off her ‘Million Dollar Legs'”. The photo was by Frank Powolny.

  • 1977 – Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-born novelist and critic (b. 1899)
  • 1991 – Lee Remick, American actress (b. 1935)
  • 1997 – James Stewart, American actor (b. 1908)
  • 2007 – Beverly Sills, American operatic soprano and television personality (b. 1929)
  • 2016 – Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, activist, and author (b. 1928)

Here’s Wiesel photographed in the concentration camp of Buchenwald on April 16, 1945, four days after the camp was liberated. I’ve circled him:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron have a chinwag about a snack:

Hili: Did you see something tasty?
Szaron: I did but it flew away.
In Polish:
Hili: Widziałeś gdzieś coś smacznego?
Szaron: Widziałem, ale odfrunęło.

And we have Mietek and Leon together! Malgorzata explains:

“This is an old saying which means that two heads are better than one, or two people can solve problems better than just one. I don’t know whether you have something like that in English.”

Indeed we do! So let the caption be “two cat heads are better than one.”

In Polish: Co dwie głowy to nie jedna

From Nicole:

From Jesus of the Day. If you don’t understand this, you’re too young.

A clever ad from reader David:

A tweet from Barry, whose email says, “Aliens have visited Earth. . . . I just had no idea that they’d be so cute!

Here’s a tweet sent by Luana and issued by Democratic Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts; it shows the the inequity of heat distribution:

Tweets from Matthew. The Hebrew translation is “Summer school.” That is one happy hog!

This is like a calving iceberg. It’s geology, Jake!

A tweet from Matthew.  What I want to know is how Matthew knew that Harry was dreaming about drinking tea!

The higher-flying individual is almost as high as the summit of Mount Everest (8849 meters). There’s not much oxygen that high, and one wonders if that’s a problem for the snipes.

Cat encounters Honorary Cat®:

It’s only July 2, so I can pronounce this as Tweet of the Month:

39 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. The critical detail of the Rockwell painting is :


    Observe how prominently they are depicted. When I learned that I felt like my stomach fell out, my gaze always having always been drawn, naturally, to the speaker.

    Fun fact : the guy’s actual jacket is displayed in the Norman Rockwell museum.

    1. if I may, I replace the visceral “my stomach fell out” with “it was exhilarating”.

      Hemingway never said to write tired and edit after your first coffee. Because that is what just happened there ^^^.

  2. For the Jim Crow supreme court and the republicans, elections are just something that needs to go.

    For Trump the future looks like a crowbar hotel.

    1. In his opinion for the Court yesterday in Brnovitch v. Arizona, Justice Alito declined to strike down, under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, facially neutral voting restrictions merely because they had a disparate impact on minority voting.

      The 15th Amendment to the US constitution, prohibiting the abridgement of the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” was ratified in 1870. Yet how many black folk got to vote in the Jim Crow south over the next 95 years (until congress finally enacted the VRA ’65 pursuant to the authority granted it by Section 2 of the 15th Amendment to enforce the amendment through “appropriate legislation”)?

      Exactly. The primary means by which black voters were denied the franchise during the Jim Crow era — poll taxes and literacy tests — were “facially neutral,” too.

      The nation desperately needs new voting-rights legislation to preserve majority-rule democracy.

  3. That last joke is a derivative of this one:

    How do you get down off an elephant?
    You don’t. You get down off a duck.

  4. It’s only August 2

    I find it interesting that the thought “OMG July has gone” beat the rational “it’s just a misprint” to my awareness by just enough to induce panic.

  5. Because of ThyroidPlanet’s observation anent the Rockwell, I’m already noticing everyone’s ears, and thinking, “Humans sure have silly ears, don’t they.?” Thanks for scrambling my Second of July, Silly Ear Day now forever.

  6. 1990 – In the 1990 Mecca tunnel tragedy, 1,400 Muslim pilgrims are suffocated to death and trampled upon in a pedestrian tunnel leading to the holy city of Mecca.

    One of the best of the so-called “New New Journalists,” William Langewiesche, wrote a really good longform piece about the long line of disasters that have occurred at Mecca during the haj, including the 2015 stampede that killed 2,400. That piece is available on the Vanity Fair website here.

    1. Thank you counsellor, I’ll read that today. They have those stampedes still (MANY in the past), esp in the 80s.
      Last year they cut it back due to covid but the Hindus had their (huge, bigger than Hajj) Krumb Mella (maskless) and the list of Christian b/s mass gatherings during covid is long.
      Religion – always a help to humanity!

      D.A., J.D.

  7. “[…] Within the same city, some neighborhoods can be up to 20°F hotter than others. […]”

    How much of this can be explained by air conditioning systems?

    Hot air blows out into the environment, leaving the indoor space cool. The spacecraft presumably used to measure heat, as widely reported by NOAA, NASA, and so on, cannot measure the interior living spaces of housing. As such, it is expected that temperatures measured in areas with more air conditioning – and with heat sinks, like in the city – would be _high_ – it doesn’t mean it would be higher, necessarily.

    The word “neighborhoods” neglects the significant effect of industrial facilities that border residential areas. The energy consumption in such facilities – including but not limited to air conditioning – would be expected to be significant.

    That affordable housing would border such areas is not surprising.

    1. I think the point is that nothing is too ridiculous that it cannot be twisted to fit the “everything is racist” ideology of the woke. I mean, even the weather is racist!

      1. If the word limit as configured on Tw1773r is too short, such that more detail as to how precisely the heat is linked to the origin of an individuals’ genes, perhaps Tw177er is racist.

      2. I think you’re having a knee-jerk reaction by woke-phobia thinking that the tweet is saying “weather is racist”. What Senator Markey is referring to is “urban heat island effect”. Urban areas get much hotter on hot days because of asphalt, lack of trees, and more rooftops. As ThyroidPlanet points out, lack of air-conditioning also adds to the heat sink problem. And yes, this effect affects poor communities disproportionately and climate change exacerbates the problem.

        1. Yes, but the reason “Extreme heat” is _not_ “a justice issue” is that it is not good for _anyone_ with _any_ genes living in such conditions – exposed to “extreme heat”, perhaps living in unlivable conditions, possibly exposed to industrial or municipal “neighbors” with attendant waste, including heat. This can occur outside the city as well and nobody knows how bad it can be comparatively.

          Unless Senator Markey means, by “justice issue” is something else beyond what we are all conditioned to interpret as – something to do not with _every_ voting citizen living in the United States, but _only_certain_people_.

          I admit, tagging “justice” produced a reaction in me that assumed it meant “social justice”, which I have concluded is something meant to be distinct from the extant justice system or the constitutional republic as we know it, but more akin to a religious justice, where individuals outside the justice system or who do not get what they want from the elections or otherwise >decide for themselves what to do about things and how< is not what I am criticizing, as such things have made progress. But there is some tension between the notion of "social justice" and the courts or elections. For instance, if we all simply protested in order to get the changes we want instead of holding elections – that would be "social justice", but it is confusing to me.

          sorry for the lengthy dive.

  8. When I was a teenager, I read several books by Hesse but didn’t like them.

    When I was in college I read Steppenwolf and Siddhartha and rather liked them. In those days, it seemed everyone in that age cohort was reading Hesse, though I don’t hear him mentioned much anymore.

    1. I kinda liked Steppenwolf back in college,but found Siddhartha too wooish. Magister Ludi was kinda interesting, iirc. It’s been a while…

    2. I was assigned to read Siddhartha in middle school, but my parents objected and had me pulled from that portion of the class. Of course, the first thing I did was go to the library and check it out. I did enjoy it, but who is to say how much of that comes from the fact that it had been made illicit?

      1. Wow, middle school seems awfully young for Siddhartha. My excellent but slightly prudish 11th grade English teacher at the American International School in Vienna read Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying to us (she could not get enough copies of the book). She would occasionally pause and go “Ummm” so we figured something was up, Somebody found a copy of the book and it turned out that Dewey Dell had had an abortion🙀 and the news spread like wildfire. I remember that bit more than anything else in the book,

        1. It was 7th grade at the American Embassy School in New Delhi – which was a pretty great place to be a student when I was there. I don’t imagine it is taught like that in the US.

          1. I got an excellent education at the two American/international high schools I attended, except alas in science. To a one my science teachers were miserable and I didn’t develop my love of science till post-university.

        2. Lucky thing teach didn’t try to read you middle-schoolers Bad Bill’s novel Sanctuary, with its infamous corn-cob scene. 🙂

          1. According to my “records”, I read Sanctuary in 1976. I, probably fortunately, do not remember the corn-cob scene, but I can imagine. Love ol’ Bad Bill!

          2. This same teacher, when one of the boys leaned forward and you could see the top of his undies and another boy said “Charlie wears BVDs”, shot out her finger and said SHAME.Of course the class completely broke up (all 17 of us.)
            She was an excellent English teacher though. She got really embarassed by the sexual symbolism in The Turn of the Screw, which we 16-yr.-olds might not even have gotten had she not acted so weird.

    3. I read The Glass Bead Game in about 1970 and thought it was great. I tried to read it again around 20 years ago and couldn’t be doing with it. I think Hesse’s time has come and gone.

      1. Believe it or not, I read someone citing The Glass Bead Game – also known as Magister Ludi – in a sort of criticism of science research funding, and was taken aback, so I read it when I was younger (of course). I found the allegory of the Glass Bead Game as described in the book quite singular, and to me, captured something about the academic enterprise – something elusive, yet fascinating – far out of reach, but clearly with meaning, as the participants obviously do it in a way that baseball might appear to aliens.

        So, this might be a single-serving novel – impressive to impressionable youth (perhaps), but of course, the second serving is simply warmed up leftovers, as the reader has “matured” – the novel has served its purpose.

        Doesn’t mean the Nobel Prize was off – maybe it was right on.

  9. When I was a child, I had a stuffed alligator wearing a shirt with a little man on it.

    And as for Hemingway, we read him because he wrote many fantastic books and some wonderful short stories (even better when consumed in audiobook form read by Stacy Keach. The real question is why the hell is anybody still reading the Daily Beast?

  10. So why the hell is it that people still read Hem? Hmm . . . here’s a quote that I think goes to the heart of the matter: “What difference does it make if you live in a picturesque little outhouse surrounded by 300 feeble minded goats and your faithful dog…? The question is: Can you write?”
    I think we know the answer.

    1. clearly we are to believe that weather is no respecter of persons of color. I mean, it’s not like the very pale and pasty Northwest was hit by a two week long severe weather “heat dome” or anything…oh wait…

  11. ““Today’s the last day of the Court’s term. The only remaining business is a decision in the California donor disclosure case, . . .”

    The SC decision in this case is perhaps an even clearer indication than the Arizona voting laws case that the Conservative SCJ stacking so ruthlessly led by McConnell is going to be a serious problem, perhaps for decades.

    The ruling in this case has exposed, at least for any who care to see, the Conservative SCJs and their political supporters for the liars that they truly are. During the Citizens United case they said, “Don’t worry, the Federal Government has all sorts of disclosure laws.” Now with this current ruling we see what many knew from the get go was the longer term game plan.

    The game has long been afoot and now Conservative political leaders and their moneyed supporters, or masters rather, have managed to build the capability to undermine protections that have been in place for decades and that will give them even greater ability to maintain political power against the will of the majority of voters. Protections against voter suppression and protections to prevent the wealthiest .001% from being the ones who decide who our leaders are.

    Conservative constituents will of course continue to swallow what they are fed and deny that these 2 most recent rulings are anything but fair.

    1. The SCOTUS is now a court for the oligarchs, so now it’s up to Congress to reinstate voting rights. Time to ditch the filibuster and pass HR1…or modify the filibuster so it can’t be used in civil rights legislation; just like Moscow Mitch modified the filibuster for SCOTUS nominations. If not, minority rule (i.e. the oligarchs) will rule the land in perpetuity.

  12. When reviewing laws the Supreme Court must apply the strictest scrutiny to laws that effect groups disproportionately. Looks like they fell down on the job here.

    Why can’t Breyer retire already? Are we into another RBG type disaster where tell the President (as she did in 2014-ish) near the end of a presidential term: “Oh I know I’m 120 years old but I can’t retire so young!” Disaster follows.
    And I LOVE Breyer so this is disappointing.
    D.A., J.D.

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