Sunday: Hili dialogue

July 4, 2021 • 6:30 am

Happy Fourth! Good morning on Sunday, July 4, 2021, the Fourth of July holiday and appropriately celebrated by National Barbecue Day. The holiday:  Independence Day, celebrates the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Great Britain in 1776 (United States and its dependencies). There’s a Google Doodle gif with a parade of eagles (click on screenshot):

It’s also National Barbecued Spareribs Day, National Caesar Salad Day (hold the anchovies!), Jackfruit Day, National Country Music Day, and Alice in Wonderland Day, celebrating the Day in 1862 when Lewis Carroll first told the story to ten-year-old Alice Liddell and her two sisters.

As it’s a holiday (and tomorrow is also a federal holiday), posting is likely to be light. PCC(E) needs a break once in a while!

News of the Day:

It’s been 165 days since Joe Biden took office, and there still is no White House Cat, despite repeated promises and even vetting the remaining family dog with a shelter cat (they got along). Is the First Family dissimulating? Say it ain’t so, Joe!

In view of impending tropical storms in Florida, authorities have agreed to bring down the rest of the condominium whose collapse killed 24 people with 124 still missing. The building is also shifting, and the search-and-rescue mission (effectively a recovery mission) will pause until demolition experts collapse the remaining structure. This will likely happen within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, a gaggle of eleven heavily armed men (with unlicensed firearms) wearing military-style uniforms was apprehended when one of their cars ran out of gas on a highway. It took 8 hours of negotiation to get them to lay down their arms and surrender. An excerpt:

In a video posted to social media Saturday morning, a man who did not give his name, but said he was from a group called Rise of the Moors, broadcast from Interstate 95 in Wakefield near exit 57.

“We are not antigovernment. We are not anti-police, we are not sovereign citizens, we’re not Black identity extremists,” said the man who appeared to be wearing military-style equipment. “As specified multiple times to the police that we are abiding by the peaceful journey laws of the United States.”

The website for the group says they are “Moorish Americans dedicated to educating new Moors and influencing our Elders.”

They also said they didn’t recognize the laws of the United States. Let them ponder that while they’re sitting in jail.

Only someone toxically woke—in this case Philip Kennicott, the art and architecture critic of the Washington Post—could write an opinion piece called, “Maybe it’s time to admit that the Statue of Liberty has never quite measured up.” It turns out, of course, that it’s not the statue that’s failed, but America:

That fragility [of liberty and freedom] is seen not just in direct attacks such as the coordinated terrorist strikes in Paris in 2015, and the 9/11 assault on New York, but the continuing efforts by populists and demagogues in both countries to leverage issues of race and immigration against liberal democracies. Indeed, if the statue has had any kind of stable meaning over its lifetime, it is not as a symbol of liberty, but as a symbol of the misuse of liberty — as a hollow promise, unequally distributed and limited in its application to certain groups.

This piece says nothing, accomplishes nothing, and is more waste of space paper increasingly circling the drain. There are no good newspapers left in America, and by that I mean papers that give you straight, unbiased news and whose editorial slant infects the news section, as well as offering little diversity of opinion.

Since 2008, the winner of every American spelling bee has been of South Asian descent (“Indian-American”). That’s a remarkable record, and the NYT explains why.  It’s a combination of cultural pressure and lots of practice.

Meanwhile, back at HuffPo:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 604,715, an increase of 224 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,988,216,, an increase of about 7,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on July 4 includes:

Here’s the Crab Nebula today; isn’t it a beaut?

(From Wikipedia): This is a mosaic image, one of the largest ever taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, of the Crab Nebula, a six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star’s supernova explosion. Japanese and Chinese astronomers recorded this violent event in 1054 CE, as did, almost certainly, Native Americans. The orange filaments are the tattered remains of the star and consist mostly of hydrogen. The rapidly spinning neutron star embedded in the center of the nebula is the dynamo powering the nebula’s eerie interior bluish glow.

It was largely written by Jefferson, and had it not been adopted, Americans would be drinking tea and eating biscuits instead of cookies. Also, there would be no free refills of coffee in restaurants. But the beer would be better, and we’d have PUBS. Here’s a painting:


  • 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.
  • 1826 – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, respectively the second and third presidents of the United States, die the same day, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence. Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives.”

I find that one of the most remarkable coincidences in American history. Sadly, when Adams spoke his last words, Jefferson was already dead.

  • 1832 – John Neal delivers the first public lecture in the US to advocate the rights of women.
  • 1845 – Henry David Thoreau moves into a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau’s account of his two years there, Walden, will become a touchstone of the environmental movement.
  • 1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

A first edition (second printing) of the 1866 book will run you over $53,000:

  • 1910 – The Johnson–Jeffries riots occur after African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in the 15th round. Between 11 and 26 people are killed and hundreds more injured.

Here’s a brief account of Johnson’s victory, which led to race riots because black people favored the winner and disaffected whites were angry when Jeffries lost:

Here are the recovered remains of the Tsar and his family interred in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. Photographed by me on August 1, 2011. Tsar center left, Tsarina center right, and the children to their sides.

Here’s the family before they were butchered:

  • 1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth”, then announces his retirement from major league baseball.

Here’s the existing footage from Gehrig’s farewell speech. He died on June 2, 1941.

  • 1943 – World War II: The Battle of Kursk, the largest full-scale battle in history and the world’s largest tank battle, begins in the village of Prokhorovka.
  • 1951 – William Shockley announces the invention of the junction transistor.
  • 1954 – Rationing ends in the United Kingdom.

Note that it took nine years for the culinary effects of the war to wear off in the UK.  In the U.S., all rationing ended right after the war save that of sugar, whose rationing ended in 1947.

  • 1976 – Israeli commandos raid Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by Palestinian terrorists.
  • 2009 – The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopens to the public after eight years of closure due to security concerns following the September 11 attacks.

Notables born on this day include:

Everest didn’t ever see the mountain that bears his name, but he did hire the guy who discovered it.

Here’s Hawthorne in 1848:

Foster’s more than 200 songs include “Oh! Susanna”, “Hard Times Come Again No More”, “Camptown Races”, “Old Folks at Home” (“Swanee River”), “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”, “Old Black Joe”, and “Beautiful Dreamer”. He died at only 38, perhaps via suicide. Here he is:

  • 1872 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (d. 1933)
  • 1883 – Rube Goldberg, American sculptor, cartoonist, and engineer (d. 1970)

Here’s a “Goldberg machine” that reminds you to mail a letter (click on screenshot to enlarge). His British equivalent was Heath Robinson.

Eppie Lederer, first photo below, wrote as the advice columnist Ann Landers. Yet she had a twin sister, Pauline Phillips, who did the same thing but wrote as “Dear Abby” (second photo below). Both prospered, but their relationship was always acrimonious.

Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer)
Dear Abby (Pauline Phillips)
  • 1937 – Thomas Nagel, American philosopher and academic
  • 1938 – Bill Withers, American singer-songwriter and producer (d. 2020)

Here’s Withers’s great song “Use Me,” one of the most underrated soul songs of our era. It was written by Withers as well and was released in 1972. The released version is here.

Those who died on July 4 include three U.S. Presidents, two on the exact same day (see above):

See above.  This was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

  • 1831 – James Monroe, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 5th President of the United States (b. 1758)
  • 1934 – Marie Curie, French-Polish physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1867)
  • 2003 – Barry White, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer (b. 1944)

The silken voice Barry White was featured in this episode of the t.v. show Ally McBeal; his presence was a surprise birthday present from Jane Krakowski to her boyfriend, Richard Fish.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is trying to be useful as a gardener:

A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I’m guarding the roses to keep aphids from eating them.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Pilnuję, żeby mszyce nie zjadały róż.

From Pet Jokes and Puns:

From Meriee:

From Divy:

Andrew Sullivan is angry at an article from the Brookings Institution, though, to be fair, I don’t think the piece claims says that Stonewall was  “led” by trans women of color.

From Luana. The figure shown, which accompanied a school lesson, is unbelievable:

Tweets from Matthew. The first one, on termination of copulation, elicited this comment from him: “Amazing species-specific behaviours. The last one is rather sad.”

Matthew says I need one of these shirts, but with ducks on it. Indeed I do.

This is true; the story is here, though the fire is out now.

A cat will either love this or hate it:

Could this horse have a career like Nora the cat?


37 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

    1. My experience is that if you guess an old song was written by either Stephen Foster or Irving Berlin, the odds are in your favor.

  1. The funniest ‘Dear Abby…’ letter, 40 years ago, went something like this….

    ‘Dear Abby, I am a Southern girl with no education, and i am going to marry my childhood sweetheart when he is home from leave in three weeks. We both know nothing about sex, and I am sure he won’t know what to do when we have to share a bed’

    Abby’s reply….

    Don’t worry, honey. I’m sure he will think of something …!’


    1. Sounds like it could’ve served as the basis for one more verse in the tune by the late, great John Prine:

    2. I’m sure those naughty Parisian women would have given him a few ideas. Though maybe not the women of a Lancashire town who (If I remember the story correctly) instituted a colour bar against GIs from a nearby American base, banning white GIs from being allowed to take leave in the town. (Sorry, I didn’t note the town’s name, but 1943-early ’44 would be the date, if it’s true.)

  2. “Meanwhile in Massachusetts, a gaggle of eleven heavily armed men (with unlicensed firearms) wearing military-style uniforms was apprehended when one of their cars ran out of gas on a highway.” – I wouldn’t want to be the guy who failed to check the fuel before they set off!

    1. Dredging the barrel of military efficiency.
      Mind you – the odds of at least one ship/ submarine/ nuclear bomber having to do a “diversion, fuel emergency” in mid-operation … pretty high.

  3. Three of the first five US presidents died on July 4 – what was going on? Weak hearts and overly loud fireworks?

    1. Or politically astute doctors? No, there’s no particular reason to believe that there was a doctor present at a random death in 1800-odd.
      What – if any – reporting requirements surrounded a death of a private citizen in those fin-du-siecle decadent days? Were some of them in office when they died? (I would have to think long and hard to even name the first five USian presidents. Ditto five UKian politicians of the same era.)

  4. It was absolutely true for much of US history that the beer would have been better (especially post-Prohibition in the US), but British beer critics, from the late, much-missed Michael Jackson on, have been praising American IPA styles as far more authentic, flavorful, and satisfying for the CAMRA crowd than almost any of the much-attenuated versions of the style produced in the UK. I’ve had triple-hopped IPAs conditioned in firkins in American pubs that were indescribably good, and far richer in flavor, with greater subtlety in the hop-forward flavor, than anything I’ve had in thirty years or so of sampling real ales in Britain. The last time I was in York, five years or so ago, the hottest brews (and the most expensive) in the pubs there were promoted as ‘American style IPAs’.

    And exhibit A on behalf of my claim here is a book, Hops and Glory, written by an English beer critic who, dissatisfied with the quality of British ales in comparison to the American versions, eventually was able to persuade a UK brewer to make a special batch of beer according to a19th century IPA recipe for him to take on a voyage by sea faithfully following the route of the British clippers that supply the administrators of the Raj with their cherished taste of home. The goal was to see how well that beer held its quality over the three or so months of the voyage. It’s a very enjoyable read, one that beer aficionados will almost certainly love, but the thing is, the author wanted to make a point: the Brits had lost the plot on beer, even mostly the real ale specialists, and that this was clear when you compared those beers to the US versions.

    What we don’t have, and alas never will, are pubs, and yes, here we are definitely missing something. British pubs are like nothing else on earth. They’re sheer magic. I’ve rarely spent any time in one without feeling as though I were in some kind of state of grace… or maybe that was just the ale talking? 😉

    1. I’m not sure Jackson would have kind words for the excessively hopped IPAs churned out by most brewers in the US today. What started out as a good idea was quickly ruined by the more is better, way too damn much is best American mentality. Palate-wrecking, stomach-churning IPA has been all the rage for far too long, especially in higher-alcohol form. I do love a good IPA, but a good IPA is getting hard to find, while bad ones blanket the store cooler shelves. Mikkeller (not American, thank St. Arnold) Hop Terroir and Single Hop projects are much more my style, but Schlafly’s (now-defunct?) Special Release Export IPA was probably my favorite regional brew.

      Sadly I live in a brewpub-free zone. Rural ‘Murca is the opposite end of the spectrum, where too much corn and rice in your overly-carbonated watery lite beer is never enough and don’t their cans look good as they fly out the window of your ‘murican-made pickup truck?

      And I cannot let it pass without urging people to look up Jackson’s old Beer Hunter programs or his books. Wonderful!

      1. ‘What started out as a good idea was quickly ruined by the more is better, way too damn much is best American mentality.’

        This is alas true. My own favorites are beers like Bodhi and Hop Juju, but too many brewers have been turning out characterless stamped-out-of-the-template versions of the genuinely great beers. I was glad to see that the York pubs drawing the ‘American Style IPAs’ on their handpumps were usually providing brews between 5.5% and 6%—the mania for 9% and higher triple IPAs is now about as out of control in the US as the proliferation of > 15% Pinot Noirs from Oregon. But that’s always the way, eh? As you say, way too much seems to be where we always end up.

        And my sincere sympathy on your no-brewpub situation (and hearty agreement about all of the great MJ’s work on beer—especially his absolutely magnificent book-length photoessay The English Pub).

        1. I’m about an hour’s drive away from some decent breweries and about an hour away from a decent beer selection, but yeah. I have been reduced to buying at Wal-shart. At least COVID seemed to have a positive effect on them and they actually expanded the beer selection, but mostly to include those run of the mill IPAs. But I can get nothing from Belgium except the occasional Stella and nothing from England or Germany. No French cidre either. I subsist mostly upon the modest selection of the more mundane products from regional breweries like Free State, Boulevard, Mother’s, and Schlafly.

  5. Barry White: He died much too early. I love his appearance in one of the early Simpson episodes.

  6. I had to look up Mounds and Almond Joy to get the “I am not impressed by your sense of humor, Dad” joke. For other similarly uninitiated Brits:

    The two products share common packaging and logo design, but Mounds uses a red color scheme while Almond Joy uses a blue one. […] The candy’s 1970s ad campaign used a jingle, “Sometimes you feel like a nut / sometimes you don’t / Almond Joy’s got nuts / Mounds don’t”.

      1. I remember the “a hazel nut in every bite” being met by the rejoinder that the same claim could be made about squirrel shit.

        1. After a brief reflection, I’m not sure how high up a squirrel’s arse I should be for using “rejoinder”. Possibly high enough for stomach acid to be a problem…? :o(

    1. Judging by the cone on the dog in the second pic, I’m thinking the joke is that he was neutered and went from nuts to mounds (where they used to be).

  7. The holiday: Independence Day, celebrates the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Great Britain in 1776 (United States and its dependencies).

    There are moves afoot in Borisovan Britain to make the day a national holiday too. The proposed holiday name is “Thanksgiving Day” and roasting a politician after stuffing a pig into it’s cloaca would be part of the rituals.

  8. Thomas Hampson did a great album of Stephen Foster songs, including several comic songs, which he did well. I’d recommend it.

  9. There seems to be about one of these “Fight of the Century” organised-battery events about every decade. So, when is this decade’s Fight of the Century, given that the decade is almost 5% over?
    (I’m not going to be surprised if the fight is being touted already. I do hope that any doctor who participates loses his (much less likely : “her”) license.)

    1. I thinks fights on the century happen on reality shows these days, usually involving things like real housewives, fake breasts, and lots of Chardonnay. Do people even watch professional pugilists anymore? I can recall my father (and me in the days of only one tv) watching people like Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, or an older George Foreman (pre-eponymous grill) but I can’t recall the last time I heard anyone talk about boxing but lots of people talking about the Wrinkled Ramsay yelling at people or some such staged nonsense. Sweaty men in brightly colored satin shorts pummeling each other have been replaced by oily-butted Kardashians bitching at each other.

      1. There are reasons that I don’t bother even reading the contents list on most advertising-funded channels.

  10. I don’t see the crab in the Crab Nebula. What I see is a disappointed pottery apprentice holding in his hands a deformed vase.

  11. I get why Sullivan is pissed. Transactivists and their allies have been trying to rewrite the history of Stonewall for the last decade or so, and have mostly succeeded in gay orgs and on gay blogs. In fact there were organized boycotts of a major movie about Stonewall with a gay director, because the movie had a white protagonist. Supposedly Marsha Johnson (a black transwoman)told people she was there and was like first to throw something, starting the riots. But Johnson was an unreliable narrator. She was mentally ill, and a drug addict. There are no corroborating accounts of this, and the bar had a mostly white clientele. Sylvia Rivera is also said to have been there from the beginning, but she has said that she didn’t get there until the second night. If you point out any of this on gay blogs you’ll be labeled a transphobe and risk being banned.

    1. Indeed – according to Wikipedia

      A scuffle broke out when a woman in handcuffs was escorted from the door of the bar to the waiting police wagon several times. She escaped repeatedly and fought with four of the police, swearing and shouting, for about ten minutes. Described as “a typical New York butch” and “a dyke–stone butch”, she had been hit on the head by an officer with a baton for, as one witness claimed, complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. Bystanders recalled that the woman, whose identity remains unknown (Stormé DeLarverie has been identified by some, including herself, as the woman, but accounts vary.

      Biological women seem to be being written out of the account by men – patriarchy much?

  12. That whole ‘white people are demons’ thing is straight out of a 1960s RAND Corporation politico-military wargame scenario.

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