Thursday: Hili dialogue

July 8, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Thursday, July 8, 2021: National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day.  It’s also National Ice Cream Sundae Day, National Freezer Pop Day, and SCUD Day, explained like this:

Are you stressed out, uptight, and sick of all the drama in your life? Then, is SCUD Day ever the day for you! What is SCUD? It’s an acronym for “Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama.” And SCUD Day? It’s “a day to remind people of the benefits of spending more time in the Comic Zone and less in the Drama Zone.” A little more humor and a little less drama, who can’t get behind that?

News of the Day:

It’s been 169 days since the Inauguration, and the Bidens still have no cat in the White House.

The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in his Port-au-Prince home by commandos who falsely claimed they were DEA agents. His wife, who was seriously wounded, was flown to the U.S. for treatment. Haiti is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and has been racked by turmoil, with Moïse accused of acting as an autocrat while his country melted down, half expected to be killed. The Prime Minister is subbing in the interim, while U.S. Embassy employees have been told to “shelter in place.”

With 54 people confirmed dead and 86 still missing after the Surfside, Florida condo collapse, the “search and rescue” mission has been changed to a “recovery” mission. This appears to be a semantic change only, but reflects the fact that nobody is likely to still be alive in the rubble. Why it took two weeks to declare this baffles me, since anybody trapped would have died of thirst within a week. I suppose it is a deliberate change designed to help the friends and loved ones of the missing slowly relinquish their hope.

PEN America offers some hope after all. As reader EdwardM pointed out in a comment on my post yesterday about April Powers being fired from her job as first “Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Editors (SCBWI)—just because she issued a statement condemning violence and bigotry against Jews—PEN America condemned that Society. Here’s their statement:

(New York, NY) — PEN America voiced serious concern today over reports that April Powers, previously chief equity and inclusion officer at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), resigned under pressureas a result of a statement condemning anti-Semitism that triggered vociferous online outrage, on the basis that it failed to address other types of religious or ethnic animus.

PEN America issued the following statement:

“Issuance of a factual public statement within the scope of a professional’s job should not be grounds for discipline or resignation under pressure. Biases and bigotries take on many variations and targets—anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms each have their own distinct characteristics and are worthy of forceful denunciation in their own right. The fight for human rights and dignity must oppose such hatreds in all their forms.

“Absent any such indication, the condemnation of one form of hatefulness should not be read to imply indifference toward others. Complex and divisive issues are best addressed through reasoned dialogue, which can include heated debate. Ad hominem attacks, harassment, vitriol, and threats stifle debate, creating regrettable cycles of spiraling censoriousness that can silence important perspectives. We call on SCBWI to clarify the circumstances of Powers’s departure from the organization and to make clear its unequivocal, unapologetic denunciation of anti-Semitism, and of other forms of bigotry.”

Take that, SCBWI!

The Jerusalem Post and several other venues announced that Linda Sarsour has once again issued an anti-Israel tweet, and got such strong pushback that she decided to leave Twitter for a few days to allow things to cool down. You may recall that Israel sent over a contingent of the Israeli Defense Force personnel to help look for victims in the rubble of the Surfside, Florida, condo collapse. Sarsour promptly retweeted someone else’s criticism of this, with two fingers pointing at it in agreement (h/t Debra):

That’s a pretty hateful tweet, especially since the IDF did it on their own volition, and over 100 lives were lost in that collapse. Sarsour, soon realizing that this didn’t have good “optics”, took down her retweet, putting up this:

There’s no need to claim higher ground when the ground you occupy is so low, like Sarsour. She’s a hateful person, best ignored. Yet many love her.

One wag responded to that tweet by saying, “I believe what you meant to write was ‘I’m sorry’.” But she’s incapable of remorse.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 605,426, an increase of 182 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,018,931, an increase of about 8,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on July 8 includes:

Here’s the Liberty Bell, which might have been rung on July 8, 1776. Note that it’s now cracked, an accident from the early 19th century. It was used to summon Philadelphia lawmakers to meetings and alert citizens to other doings:

This arduous 1400 km. march was designed to bring order to western Canada after a Native American uprising, which, the Mounties feared, would draw the U.S. into a war with Canada alongside the First Nations people. It failed; when the Mounties got to their goal, a whisky trading post named Fort Whoop-Up, everyone had fled.

Here’s a 1997 reconstruction of Fort Whoop-Up:

  • 1876 – The Hamburg massacre prior to the 1876 United States presidential election results in the deaths of six African-Americans of the Republican Party, along with one white assailant.
  • 1889 – The first issue of The Wall Street Journal is published.

Here’s the first issue, which looks pretty much like it does today:

Here’s Soapy in a photo labeled “Jefferson ‘Soapy’ Smith standing at bar in saloon in Skagway, Alaska. July 1898. A bit from Wikipedia about how he got his name and his reputation:

Smith gained notoriety through his “prize soap racket,” in which he would sell bars of soap with prize money hidden in some of the bars’ packaging in order to increase sales. However, through sleight-of-hand, he would ensure that only members of his gang purchased “prize” soap. The racket led to his sobriquet of “Soapy.”

The success of his soap racket and other scams helped him finance three successive criminal empires in DenverCreede and Skagway, respectively. He was killed in the shootout on Juneau Wharf in Skagway, on July 8, 1898.

. . . and Soapy’s grave:

This morning the Dow stands at about 34,682.

It wasn’t aliens: it was a nuclear-test survey balloon that crashed.

  • 1948 – The United States Air Force accepts its first female recruits into a program called Women in the Air Force (WAF).
  • 1960 – Francis Gary Powers is charged with espionage resulting from his flight over the Soviet Union.

After the Soviets shot Powers down, he spent 17 months in prison before being exchanged in a prisoner swap for a Russian spy. His life wasn’t all that happy after that, and he finally died in a helicopter accident in 1977. Here’s a picture of him in Soviet custody:

The Glienicker Bridge, or “Bridge of Spies”, spanning the former East and West Berlins, and over which spies were exchanged:

  • 1994 – Kim Jong-il begins to assume supreme leadership of North Korea upon the death of his father, Kim Il-sung.

Propaganda for the Dear Leader:

That was indeed a major defeat; here are two minutes of highlights that you can see by clicking on “Watch on YouTube”. Germany scored some nice goals.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1838 – Eli Lilly, American soldier, chemist, and businessman, founded Eli Lilly and Company (d. 1898)
  • 1839 – John D. Rockefeller, American businessman and philanthropist, founded the Standard Oil Company (d. 1937)
  • 1882 – Percy Grainger, Australian-American pianist and composer (d. 1961)
  • 1895 – Igor Tamm, Russian physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1971)
  • 1914 – Billy Eckstine, American singer and trumpet player (d. 1993)

Eckstine’s work is underappreciated. Here’s his version of one of my favorite standards, “Without a Song“, written by Vincent Youmans, Billy Rose, and Edward Eliscu,

  • 1926 – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Swiss-American psychiatrist and author (d. 2004)
  • 1949 – Wolfgang Puck, Austrian-American chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur
  • 1951 – Anjelica Huston, American actress and director
  • 1962 – Joan Osborne, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Here’s Osborne singing the Motown standard “Heat Wave” (a hit for Martha and the Vandellas, and written by Holland-Dozier-Holland); the backup band is the Funk Brothers, the standard group of studio musicians during Motown’s height. (Don’t miss their rendition of “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”.)

Those who “passed” on July 8 include:

A bit about Ellis from Wikipedia:

Henry Havelock Ellis (2 February 1859 – 8 July 1939) was an English physician, eugenicist, writer, progressive intellectual and social reformer who studied human sexuality. He co-wrote the first medical textbook in English on homosexuality in 1897, and also published works on a variety of sexual practices and inclinations, as well as on transgender psychology. He is credited with introducing the notions of narcissism and autoeroticism, later adopted by psychoanalysis.

Ellis was among the pioneering investigators of psychedelic drugs and the author of one of the first written reports to the public about an experience with mescaline, which he conducted on himself in 1896. He supported eugenics and served as one of 16 Vice-Presidents of the Eugenics Society from 1909 to 1912.

And a photo:

  • 1994 – Kim Il-sung, North Korean commander and politician, President of North Korea (b. 1912)
  • 2008 – John Templeton, American-born British businessman and philanthropist (b. 1912) [JAC: also accommodationist and tax refugee in the Bahamas]
  • 2011 – Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States (b. 1918)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili finds a naturalistic explanation for an old proverb.

Hili: The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
A: Maybe it was raining over there.
In Polish:
Hili: Za płotem trawa jest zieleńsza.
Ja: Może tam padał deszcz.

A picture of Szaron from Paulina:

A cat meme from Divy:

A sign from reader David:

A cartoon from Beth:

A tweet from Gethyn, who assures us that “no cat was harmed in the making of this video”:

Tweets from Matthew:

Does anyone know who wrote this? I don’t.

I’ve posted this before but this giant siphonophore is stunning (it’s actually a huge colony of individual animals):

Matthew’s dabbling in conspiracy theories:

I can understand why a fly would have a big head; in this case surely to accommodate the big eyes needed for especially good vision, but I have no idea why a pinhead fly would evolve!

A very spiffy train photographed the year i was born:

Apparently this statue was designed to have a beehive for a head. They likely placed the comb there and then introduced a queen and some workers.

11 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. I think that Linda Sarsour tweet is a work of genius. It’s like one of those 3D illusions where a picture of an object can be seen to be either convex or concave. Sarsour can be seen either to have a complete lack of self awareness or to have finally become self aware. Many of the replies work for either interpretation too.

  2. A calicot cat is listed as “material” of Pierre Huyghe’s installation but I don’t see it on the photographs. I didn’t see the koi fish or the axolotl either 🙂

  3. I snerked at the “Art of the Deal,” but I have a friend who once pointed out, regarding the idea of throwing bodies at a problem, that the problem with the infinite number of monkeys, is that you need an infinite number of quality assurance people to follow along after them.

  4. Even the astute Prof. Coyne may have missed a couple of historical features of anti-Semitism that show up in the April Powers case. One, Jews have often been accused of ethnocentrism, or caring only about themselves (this was part of Congressional objections to relaxing immigration quotas before WWII on behalf of threatened people in Europe because it was understood that Jewish advocates mostly meant Jewish victims). Two, and I say this as someone who saw this first-hand growing up in my early years in Memphis, Tenn., no one wanted to be seen as a “Jew lover” any more than being seen as a “N—– lover.” Hence, Powers was accused of caring more about Jews than other people; note that this this kind of criticism never happens in the media when the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and robberies is condemned, as a way of contrast.

  5. When I visited Soapy Smith’s town of Skagway, Alaska some years ago, I was struck by some of the ivory carvings in the local general store/museum, which contained unmistakable Hebrew characters. Could this reflect, I wondered, something akin to Mordecai Richler’s very funny history of Solomon Gursky? The novel recounts the exploits of a Jewish survivor of the Franklin expedition rescued by the Inuit, and of his Jewish-Inuit descendents in the far North. I couldn’t purchase any of the Hebraic scrimshaw, but I was able to acquire a heavy woolen sweater with a University of Alaska logo and the words: אוניברסיטת אלסקה, פיירבנקס.

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