Tuesday: Hili dialogue

July 20, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Tuesday, July 20, 2021: National Lollipop Day (Americans also call them “suckers”).  It’s also National Anisette Day, World UFO Day, International Chess Day, and National Fortune Cookie Day:

The tweet is now two days old but I’m putting it up because it shows what a breath of fresh air Biden is after the horrors of the last four years. Joe has always loved his cones! (Sadly, he had two scoops of vanilla with chocolate chips on top.)

And, of course, the Pecksniffs tore into Biden for his “tone deaf tweet.” Even I got some pushback just for retweeting it.

I’m going downtown to get my six-month tooth (teeth?) cleaning today, so posting will be light. It takes a long time to get down there and back, and the cleaning takes an hour. Bear with me.

News of the Day:

This is a first in what I hope are many similar rulings. A federal judge of the U.S. District Court of Northern Indiana has ruled that Indiana University in Bloomington can indeed require that all students, faculty, and staff be vaccinated before going back to campus. (Presumably, those with legitimate medical issues would be exempted.) However, it’s an honor code pledge; you just attest that you’re vaccinated and needn’t provide proof. But I approve of the ruling.  If children must be vaccinated to attend public schools, why shouldn’t students be vaccinated to attend public univerities?

I have once again acquired swimmer’s itch (also known as cercarial dermatitis) from rescuing those six ducklings a week ago. Just like last year, the eruptions seem to take a week to come on, and then they itch like hell. I swear I have not scratched any of these lesions so I haven’t made them worse, but they are driving me mad. I’m using 2.5% hydrocortisone cream.

The condition is supposed to develop within a couple of days after exposure, but, just like last year, it took about a week. It’s caused by being infected by a stage of a flatworm whose primary hosts are snails and, of course, waterfowl. The lesions are allergic reactions to the parasites which, I guess, bore into my skin.

This is what I get for rescuing ducklings (as well as a scalp laceration that’s almost healed), but you know I’d do it again to save the lives of those little guys.

Here are the results of yesterday’s poll on whether the Manchester Museum (a science museum affiliated with Manchester University) should construct a “multifaith space” for prayer (and also for meditation). The “no”s outnumbered the “yes”s by nearly 17 to 1, though the comments were not quite that lopsided.

According to CNN, and in line with the Zeitgeist, Apple is introducing pregnant man emojis. They come in several colors, and with or without facial hair. But how can you tell they’re pregnant rather than fat?

Is Wikipedia “at war with the Jews”? So maintains David Collier on his website, where he claims that there’s an editing war on the site about all Jewish issues, with those who hate Jews vastly outnumbering those who are either pro-Jewish or want a more balanced presentation:

But Sanger [the co-founder of Wikipedia] only gets part of the picture. He assesses a Wikipedia environment in which two sides – both powerful are battling – with one having the upper hand. This leads to an inevitable and clear bias and editorial domination – which is what Sanger references. But Sanger fails to comprehend the true scale of the problem. For example – in a situation in which one side is vastly numerically superior to the other.

The Jews are the quintessential minority group. The enemies of the Jews far outnumber them. Islamists. far-left activists and neo-Nazis are all out there writing Wikipedia edits. The pages on Wikipedia that relate to the Jews or Israel are often the target.

. . . Every Wikipedia page that deals with the history of Jews or Israel – is tainted. The website spreads ‘fake news’ and provides legitimacy to antisemitic arguments. Toxic academics like David Miller provide written source material, extremist websites such as Electronic Intifada produce conspiracy theories and an army of Islamist / hard-left Wikipedia editors spend all their time reworking history.

A few examples he cites:

Just a few examples. Take the ‘massacre at Balad al Shaykh’ in 1948. It is an event that source documents prove never happened – but despite numerous protests – Wikipedia is still telling everyone that it did. Or the events during the 1920 Nebi Musa festival. It was an anti-Jewish riot, fuelled by anti-Jewish rhetoric of religious Islamic leaders. Yet Wikipedia’s page – which originally told a version much closer to the truth – has been edited by Israel’s enemies until the truth can no longer be seen.

An Ohio woman, with her daughter in the car, and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, let go of the steering wheel because she “wanted God to take the wheel” as a test of faith. God failed: her car ran a red light and then crashed into another car, a utility pole and then a house.

The woman told police that she intentionally drove at that high rate of speed and through the red light to “test her faith with God,” according to the report.

She told police she’s been going through some “trials and tribulations” and was recently fired from her job.

The woman said she “let go and let God take the wheel,” according to the police report.

Neither the woman nor her daughter were injured, but she was charged with felony assault, endangering a child, and driving under suspension.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 608,811, an increase of 324 deaths over yesterday’s figure. Remember when 200,000 deaths was an unimaginable figure? With the high proportion of unvaccinated people and the new variants, we may get to a million. The reported world death toll is now 4,113,943, an increase of about 7,300 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on July 20 includes:

Here’s a diagram by Niépce and his brother of the Pyrélophore:

  • 1848 – The first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, a two-day event, concludes.
  • 1903 – The Ford Motor Company ships its first automobile.

The first car shipped was imaginatively called the “Model A”; here’s one of them. Unlike the Model T, it came in colors other than black.

  • 1938 – The United States Department of Justice files suit in New York City against the motion picture industry charging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in regards to the studio system. The case would eventually result in a break-up of the industry in 1948.
  • 1940 – California opens its first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway.
  • 1941 – Soviet leader Joseph Stalin consolidates the Commissariats of Home Affairs and National Security to form the NKVD and names Lavrentiy Beria its chief.

Beria was an extremely nasty piece of work, not only ordering the killing of prisoners of war, but orchestrating purges and kidnapping and raping many women. He met his own end when, begging and pleading, he was executed with a shot through the head.  He had been “convicted” (if that’s the word) of treason and terrorism. Here he is with Stalin and Svetlana (Stalin’s daughter) on his lap.

From Wikipedia: Beria with Stalin (in background), Stalin’s daughter Svetlana, and Nestor Lakoba (obscured)

Here’s Stauffenberg’s death certificate. He was shot, but there’s no indication of “cause of death”:

  • 1960 – Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) elects Sirimavo Bandaranaike Prime Minister, the world’s first elected female head of government.

She served three terms: 1960–1965, 1970–1977 and 1994–2000. Here’s Bandaranaike around 1981:

  • 1968 – The first International Special Olympics Summer Games are held at Soldier Field in Chicago, with about 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

The Wikipedia entry says “intellectual and physical disabilities”, though perhaps this first event concentrated on the intellectual ones (it’s not clear from the entry)

I well remember watching this live at a friend’s house. If you’re old enough to remember that, you’ll remember what a thrill it was. All Americans were glued to their television sets:

  • 1989 – Burma’s ruling junta puts opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

She was once a hero of mine; now I disdain her because of her silence over the persecution (indeed, genocide) of the Rohingya Muslim minority. I don’t know what happened.

  • 1997 – The fully restored USS Constitution (a.k.a. Old Ironsides) celebrates its 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years.

You can still see the ship in Boston Harbor. Here she is firing her cannons:

  • 2005 – The Civil Marriage Act legalizes same-sex marriage in Canada.
  • 2015 – The United States and Cuba resume full diplomatic relations after five decades.
  • 2017 – O. J. Simpson is granted parole to be released from prison after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence after being convicted of armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1804 – Richard Owen, English biologist, anatomist, and paleontologist (d. 1892)
  • 1822 – Gregor Mendel, Austro-German monk, geneticist and botanist (d. 1884)

Mendel is 199 today! Peas be upon him

  • 1919 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer (d. 2008)

Here’s Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to step on the highest spot on Earth. Here they are after returning from the summit of Everest:

Here’s the ice axe Hillary used when making his climb; I photograped it in the Te Papa Museum in Wellington in 2017:

  • 1933 – Cormac McCarthy, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter

Read him; he’s a fabulous writer.

  • 1971 – Sandra Oh, Canadian actress

Those who knocked on Heaven’s door on July 20 include:

Villa on horseback. Do not wear this costume on Halloween:

  • 1945 – Paul Valéry, French author and poet (b. 1871)
  • 1973 – Bruce Lee, American actor and martial artist (b. 1940)
  • 2007 – Tammy Faye Messner, American Christian evangelist and talk show host (b. 1942)

Yes, that’s Tammy Fay Bakker, who remarried after her husband’s disgrace. Here they are in “better” times.

  • 2011 – Lucian Freud, German-English painter and illustrator (b. 1922)

Here’s Freud’s “Girl with a Kitten” (1947) from the Tate. It apparently depicts his first wife, who looks as if she’s strangling the poor beast.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, all the cats are convening in the orchard, but little Kulka (whom Hili still doesn’t much like) is worried she won’t fit in:

Hili: The orchard is huge; we can share it.
Kulka: With me as well?
Photo: Paulina R.
In Polish:
Hili: Sad jest wielki, możemy się nim podzielić.
Kulka: Ze mną też?
(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)

Reader David sent a series of superfluous signs. Here’s the first:

From Facebook:

From Jesus of the Day, with the caption, “It is shark week and they are often vilified. Let’s set the record straight.”

A tweet from reader Ken, who asks, “Aren’t these the same people who called others ‘snowflakes’ and shout facts don’t care about your feelings’?”

Tweets from Matthew. First, a cat faked out with a drawing that’s analogous to the red laser dot:

It’s amazing that this guy caught the photo given the speed of the transit and the narrowness of the path. Note that this is from last year. Do watch the video below to show how clever the photographer was to get this shot.

. . . and here’s the video:

Two coincidences (or were they miracles?)

A scuba dolphin. But Matthew says, and he’s surely right, “It’s cute but it’s either been trained or, more likely, it is just utterly bored.” No marine mammals or penguins in captivity! Close the zoos and most of the aquariums!

Two of Matthew’s three cats are occupying his chairs:

And what was this all about?

93 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. To be fair to Biden about the ice cream tweet, it’s not like he actually gets to choose what he talks about. 😛

      1. I was puzzled about that too! I thought maybe it was that he said “folks” instead of “folx” in the tweet. But it was variations on a theme: How can you talk about ice cream when [big unsolved problem] is going on somewhere in the world.

      2. You are not allowed to be happy until there are no problems in the world. You must flagellate your self daily to be in touch with the suffering of all people (except heterosexual, white males who are responsible for all the evil in the world.)

        I wish I were kidding but Biden eating ice cream was “pathetic. People are dying, about to be evicted, jobless for months. How dare you!?”

          1. D’oh – “their hero”! Tried editing using Chrome and Edge earlier today, but no edit function anymore…!

  2. Speaking of the July 20 moon landing anniversary: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin first crewed mission is scheduled for 0900 edt (0800 cdt at the west Texas launchsite) with live coverage beginning at 0730 edt (0630 cdt) at https://www.blueorigin.com
    There will be four people onboard: jeff Bezos, his younger brother, an 82 year old famous female aviator, and an 18 year old paying passenger selected in an earlier lottery.

    The entire mission takes about 8-10 minutes and is a standard one stage booster rocket with crew capsule that separates from booster when booster engines cut out a couple of minutes into flight. The capsule continues on in a parabolic trajectory to just above the 100km high Karman altitude giving 4-5 minutes of weightlessness to crew. Both vehicles continue trajectories back to Earth with the booster landing upright for re-use and the capsule hitting down on the desert floor close-by under parachutes. All is done autonomously. Did not see a heads up in the Hili dialogue?

    1. Yes Bezos will go up and down in about one and a half hours. Doing what Alan Sheppard did about 60 years ago. I would like to see him pay some taxes.

      1. I’d like to see him documented on the record justifying why he should not have to so pay. (If memory serves me, in 2010 General Electric, with its 975 human resource-strong tax avoidance department, similarly avoided taxes.) Same with Mitt “Carried Interest” Romney. The U.S. lectures other countries about “rule of law” yet this situation exists in the U.S. One of the “values” on behalf of the preservation of which the flower of our youth are importuned to join the military to go in harm’s way.

  3. Also forgot to recommend on the skin condition — Use a soap that is sensitive to the skin, such as Basic.

    1. Jerry: I had used hydrocortisone cream in response to my various bouts of poison ivy over the years, but it seemed to be absolutely useless and I would invariably end up having to get steroid pills from my doctor. However, I finally discovered that the secret is to apply the hydrocortisone cream as many times as you can throughout the day — even as often as once an hour. The last few times I had poison ivy this regimen worked amazingly well, and no more steroid pills. Just a suggestion.

      (OK, I’m guessing someone is probably going to respond that using hydrocortisone that often is dangerous . . . .)

      1. (OK, I’m guessing someone is probably going to respond that using hydrocortisone that often is dangerous . . . .)

        As long as it’s a cream desgned for topical application, it’s probably going to be very difficult to OD on. Does the packaging or in-box leaflet indicate a maximum frequency, and do you adhere to that? Shouldn’t be a problem otherwise.

        Are you maybe thinking of the frequently-reported overuse of “skin lightening” creams, in which I think the active ingredient is hydroquinone? The photographic developers have been being moderately careful about that and it’s relatives for a century and a half. That definitely does have a level at which you can cause significant damage by overdosing.

        1. No, I wasn’t really thinking of any other skin product. I was just anticipating someone claiming that too much hydrocortisone would kill you instantly. I concur that it doesn’t seem likely that you could OD on topical hydrocortisone (as long as you’re not eating it).

          1. If you could OD on topical hydrocortisone, I would have done so years ago. Perhaps I did and just didn’t know it. I use it quite a lot since I have itchy skin. I often mix it with topical antibiotic cream and use it on cuts and other skin breaks.

          1. Sounds like investigating “waders” would be a good investment of time for next season.

    2. Streroid cream an anti histsminics work well. Epsom salt or Na bicarbonate baths are also recommended. Note, the worm larvae die quickly, should be about a week before their physical remains are ‘peeled off’ with your superficial skin.

      1. I once had a roommate with a bottle of lidocaine, it did wonders for a particularly pesky mosquito bit.

  4. If you’re old enough to remember that [the moon landing], you’ll remember what a thrill it was. All Americans were glued to their television sets …

    Well, maybe not precisely ALL Americans; I suppose it depended upon one’s personal social and economic circumstances at the time.

    I remember I was thrilled. I was 16 at the time and had just got home from two weeks of wilderness camping with my cousin. My tail was dragging after all that time sleeping outdoors. I lay on the couch, fighting to keep my peepers open, so I could watch Neil Armstrong take that first giant leap for mankind.

    1. One of my earliest memories is of being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night (so it seemed, I was three at the time) and being sat in from of the telly to watch some hazy pictures of the man landing on the Moon.

      1. I watched it on a television in the barracks at RAF Lakenheath. It must have been one or two am.

        1. I was 12. My primary school stopped its usual lessons, and each class watched the broadcast through the school’s CCTV set-up. Middle of the day in NZ.

          I well remember my father earlier saying, darkly “Well they might get there, but there’s no way they’ll get back…”

  5. In other news:

    The Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended on Monday over tweets that violated the social media company’s Covid-19 misinformation policy.

    Greene posted that the coronavirus was not dangerous for non-obese people and those under 65, and that organisations should not force “non-FDA” approved vaccines or masks on people. These tweets have been labelled as “misleading”.


    Not sure what has taken so long, given her many unfactual tweets in the past.

    1. The mother of a friend of my daughter died a couple of days ago from Covid-19. Not obese, much younger than 65.

    2. Hasn’t the FDA approved the several vaccines being distributed in the USA in any case?
      Sounds like a typical Republitard liar.

      1. MTG is way beyond Republitard. The only other Republican batting in her league is Matt Gaetz. I don’t know if stupid is their most obvious trait. It’s a toss up between that and hyperbolic nastiness. Both are unfit for decent society, let alone being representatives in the highest legislature of any society with aspirations of decency.

        1. “The only other Republican batting in her league is Matt Gaetz.”

          Louie Gohmert. He’s not swinging for the fences like MTG, but his average is higher and he’s been in the league far longer. Hall of Famer.

  6. I for one am very grateful that god smashed the car of the nitwit, and saw to it that she was arrested. People like that always push it. Who knows what “test” she might have come up with?

    (I suspect she’s bipolar.)

  7. For years I’ve used “Sting-Kill First Aid Anesthetic Swabs” (via Amazon) for all manner of bites, which dampen the itch almost immediately. They would likely work in your case as well, Professor. Hydrocortisone has always been so-so.

  8. The first Jan. 6th insurrectionist to be sentenced caught eight months in the slam yesterday. Seems a bit light to me for deterrence purposes, although I can’t say I was surprised.

    I wouldn’t’ve been surprised, either, had the defendant received the 18 months the prosecution was seeking. I’d made the over/under betting line at the office a year-and-a-day. (In federal cases, any sentence over a year, an offender serves at a federal correctional institution — to wit, a “prison,” even if it’s merely a minimum-security Club Fed. Anything less than a year gets served at a community detention facility — in common parlance, a “jail.”)

    1. Is there a significant difference between, in your terms, a “jail” and a “prison”? That you can explain in terms East-Ponders would understand.

      1. Isn’t jail the local, temporary holding place for people who have yet to be convicted? The prison is for long-term storage and serving out sentences. I am interested to know if that nomenclature is correct and, if so, is it really consistently used that way everywhere?

        1. Pretty close, Paul. Generally speaking, “jails” are local facilities where detainees (either those who can’t make bail, or those who are denied bail and ordered detained pending trial) are housed, as are convicted offenders doing bids under 365 days. “Prisons” are where offenders sentenced to longer terms are designated.

          This terminology is used widely in state correctional systems across the country. In the federal system, “jails” are generally referred to as “detention facilities” (although, in less populous areas without a federal detention facility, the US Marshals Service generally contracts with local county jails to house pretrial detainees).

          1. Glad I got it right. Colloquially, the two terms are often blurred. At least that’s my impression. Monopoly has a “Get out of jail free” card, and not a “Get out of prison free” card.

    2. Suppose he’d done exactly the same, but entirely on his own. I’d expect he’d have gotten something much closer to 20 years in jail for that.

      1. The statutory max for obstructing congressional proceedings, 18 USC section 1505 — the most serious crime charged against him, and the crime he pleaded guilty to — is five years’ imprisonment.

        1. But other charges? Non-charges here, I realize. But it’s amazing prosecutors think a USian jury might free the asshole, so they make a deal. Bloody guy’s right there on TV and publicly bragging about his treasonous criminality.

          Phoney phreedom, yah! Democracy, neh!

          So too many criminals to handle?? That’s more serious than a small group I’d have thought. USians are turned into clueless patriots by their elementary schools and parents, it seems to me in much larger numbers than I ever would have suspected. And the “clueless” relates to what they think their country’s previous excellences, not in everything, actually were.

          1. “USians are turned into clueless patriots by their elementary schools . . . .”

            From my direct significant experience, some don’t want to learn anything. It’s like pulling teeth. Then later as an adult they whaah, “My teacher should have MADE me . . . ” and society excuses them on account of their “youth.”

  9. I apologize if this is impertinent, but :

    It sounds like a pair of “waders” and a simple hat will allow greater confidence and control when caring for the ducks. Some leg sanitizer – aka hand sanitizer – and an immediate shower too will decrease risk. I suppose long arm gloves too – Harbor Freight should have some on the shelf.

    I could go on but it won’t help the ducks if the duck helpers are in the hospital.

    1. Dick’s Sporting Goods has chest and hip waders for $80 – a Dick’s is on Clybourn ave and one is on Canal St. in Chicago

      There’s a Harbor Freight in Chicago on Fullerton Ave. They also have helmets and stuff like that.

      1. “It takes time to put those on, and one can’t expect to have the time.”

        The time would need to be made then – because otherwise, it potentially transforms into down time – unable to aid ducks, which is the important thing here. Can one put themselves back in the pond with the immune system under load like that? Is this parasite the only risk? What would an MD advise? As someone who has thought themselves made of steel, and found out the hard way I am not, such thoughts naturally arise, especially if simple measures could have sidestepped serious problems.

        It seems dangerous to me – to invite such risk at regular intervals – without precautionary measures brought in. I know people like the snake guy – Bill something – essentially immunized themselves to poison over long periods of time, but that was different.

        Thus, I argue : don’t panic and put on the PPE.

        1. It’s not about “panic” — it’s about acting immediately because you that animal probably won’t get that second chance; it may be the only chance. It’s always a judgment call.

        2. Sorry, but you don’t know how quickly a stray duckling can be attacked and killed by another mother. It can be just a minute or two. Please don’t tell me how I should be rescuing ducks; I’ve been around the pond a LONG time.

          And I’m fine; just a bit of itch.

          1. I apologize – I know about not telling people what to do – it was my attempt to clarify – as if we are learning how to do it on the shore of the pond. I did nit intend to lecture anybody. Or writing an instruction manual.

            I learned a lot from this! I can understand about the haste!

      2. There are times when you can justify not taking the time to don appropriate and reasonable PPE. I don’t think this is one of them.

      3. … plus the leg sanitizer I mentioned.

        If the number of infection sites is very low, that’d be good too.

        … errmmm … having never used waders that I can recall, how ling exactly does it take?

        Wouldn’t it be better to have them and skip them than be able to put them on in time but not have them?

      4. Absolutely; I run upstairs, throw on a pair of old jeans, grab two nets, a box, and paper towels, and I’m back at the pond. Takes about three minutes. No time for any further preparation lest the little ones be attacked or killed.

    2. There’s also a decent chance that the groundskeepers have the appropriate kit.
      Getting access to it, OTOH …

    3. I never plan to go into the pond, and it was a rare and sporadic event. I don’t think I want to spring for waders to do that, nor am I sure that they would allow me to crouch down low, which I have to do when going underneath a duckling.

  10. Read him [Cormac McCarthy]; he’s a fabulous writer.

    I’d say he’s pretty much at the top of the pyramid now, what with his coevals, Philip Roth and John Updike, dead. His main remaining rivals for the heavyweight title “greatest living American novelist” are Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo, and the two of them till the fields to cultivate quite dissimilar crops.

  11. I had a lot of experience with swimmer’s itch when I was a kid and used to go dinghy sailing at a large gravel pit in Gloucestershire. If you capsized or swam you’d be in for trouble. The fix was to wash down your skin immediately with a disinfectant (we used dilute Dettol) on getting out of the water, and this worked well.

    1. Billy Connolly had a cure for that. Fortunately (?) I can’t find a recording of the “wire brush and dettol” joke.

    2. My problem when I took up windsurfing for awhile was huge amounts of goose shit all around the only convenient little lake.

  12. I have once again acquired swimmer’s itch (also known as cercarial dermatitis) from rescuing those six ducklings a week ago.

    I’d give serious consideration to trying to get a pair of fisherman’s waders (I’m not sure if American’s call them differently – all-in-one “rubber” boots, leggings and a sort of apron arrangement up to mid-chest height, held up by braces/ suspenders). While their design is for the fisherperson’s warmth and comfort in mid-river, they are as good for keeping a worker out of contact with the water – and whatever the water contains, such as these parasites. We’d use them regularly at work for cleaning out tanks filled with skin-rotting muds, be they pH 11+, or formulated with industrial hydrocarbons. (Your lesions remind me of several unpleasant brushes with hexadec-1-ene before we got it regulated out of Europe – it is still TTBOMK legal to use in the USA ; after one slip, I had about 50% of my body covered in lesions like that.), and they’re used in sewage treatment works too – anywhere that there is a fluid you need to keep away from contact with skin.
    When I did volunteer work on nature reserves, we had 3 or 4 sets for clearing debris (wood, leaves, cars) out of ponds, and had similar concerns about waterfowl-related parasites, since a lot of the point of the ponds was to accommodate waterfowl. They’re not exactly precision-fitting equipment.
    I’ve no idea what they cost these days. If I needed a pair myself (or for next season), I’d start with the local Gumtree/ Craigslist or whatever. If you don’t know any fisher-people who might have a line on a pair. Examine the built-in boots for perishing.
    Repairs/ maintenance: puncture repairs from a bike kit, and/ or wetsuit glue and patches.
    Is there a groundskeeper’s equipment locker or cleaner’s closet where you could keep such, once dried off after use? Somewhere close to hand.

    Example on ebay/US, probably a bit on the expensive side. https://www.ebay.com/itm/324466378995?hash=item4b8bb408f3:g:uLcAAOSw5KZgppRs

  13. There was a press conference in which it was suggested that refusal to take any coronavirus vaccine was a tool to make the current administration acknowledge the previous president in some significant, personal way – such that once the acknowledgement was acceptable, the vaccination program can continue.

    1. a tool to make the current administration acknowledge the previous president in some significant, personal way

      What – like jailing him before or after bankrupting him (again) over unpaid tax?

    1. I rarely think this way but with emojis I’m a bit of a purist. Why do they need races/genders AT ALL?
      I much prefer the old days (emojis were invented in Japan) there where they were symbolic – a generic humans with half a dozen expressions, one step above : + – + ) and not today’s stupid, endless, infinite universe of photo-realistic D.I.E. “portraits”.

  14. On the alleged anti-Semitic bias of Wikipedia, Collier writes of the events during the 1920 Nebi Musa festival:

    It was an anti-Jewish riot, fuelled by anti-Jewish rhetoric of religious Islamic leaders. Yet Wikipedia’s page – which originally told a version much closer to the truth – has been edited by Israel’s enemies until the truth can no longer be seen.

    As far as I can see, the Wikipedia 1920 Nebi Musa riots article’s 4–7 April 1920, Old City section [ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920_Nebi_Musa_riots#4–7_April_1920,_Old_City ] reproduces the contemporary report from The Times about the origins of the riot and separately quotes an eyewitness who said

    [A] riot broke out, the people began to run about and stones were thrown at the Jews. The shops were closed and there were screams. … I saw a Zionist soldier covered in dust and blood. … Afterwards, I saw one Hebronite approach a Jewish shoeshine boy, who hid behind a sack in one of the wall’s comers next to Jaffa Gate, and take his box and beat him over the head. He screamed and began to run, his head bleeding and the Hebronite left him and returned to the procession. … The riot reached its zenith. All shouted, “Muhammad’s religion was born with the sword”. … I immediately walked to the municipal garden. … my soul is nauseated and depressed by the madness of humankind.

    The article itself says (in Wikipedia’s voice)

    The crowd reportedly shouted “Independence! Independence!” and “Palestine is our land, the Jews are our dogs!” Arab police joined in applause, and violence started. The local Arab population ransacked the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. The Torath Chaim Yeshiva was raided, and Torah scrolls were torn and thrown on the floor, and the building then set alight. During the next three hours, 160 Jews were injured.

    The Wikipedia article also directly quotes the 1945-6 “Survey of Palestine”; the extract both states that

    Savage attacks were made by Arab rioters in Jerusalem on Jewish lives and property. Five Jews were killed and 211 injured. Order was restored by the intervention of British troops; four Arabs were killed and 21 injured

    and also sets out the findings of the causes of the riot as reported by a military commission of inquiry [the apparently unpublished Palin Commission’s 1920 report] which itself pinned most of the blame on the Arabs, but also criticised the activities of the Zionist Commission.

    Many Wikipedia articles are hotly contested, and I don’t doubt that those relating to Israel and Palestine are at the upper end of the scale. But I remain sceptical about claims that Wikipedia is systematically biased or anti-Semitic.

  15. “..reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 608,811…. Remember when 200,000 deaths was an unimaginable figure? … we may get to a million.”

    To essentially repeat myself for a 3rd or 4th time, I’d be ready to bet even odds that the actual deaths that would not have happened without Covid, as measured in future by means of actual deaths from March 2020 till now in excess of statistically expected deaths, will be closer to a million than to that 609K figure.

    Most of this discrepancy is not dishonest reporting, though I’d bet that has been substantial in at least Florida. And I’d judge that the mass murderer Drumpf is directly responsible for well over 1/4 million of those deaths–cf. tapes of Woodward interview.

  16. “…first people to step on the highest spot on Earth…”

    No, though joking a bit, but the summit of Chimborazo in Ecuador is further from the centre of mass, or centre of volume, of the Earth–further than the summit of Everest. And any time Chimborazo erupts again, the difference might become even greater, though Everest is still rising a bit, IIRC.

    The Earth ain’t quite exactly a sphere, and by more than just accidental surface features–more like an aspiring pancake,

      1. As you probably know, Humboldt and his companion (Planendon IIRC, too lazy to look) had achieved the highest altitude known by humans at the time, though they didn’t summit.

        For me, the earlier discovery of the Casaquary Canal, connecting the Orinoco’s waters to the Amazon’s, ugly heat and humidity, just about killed by electric eels, quite apart from big cats and reptiles, sounds a lot harder!

        But those guys were a big part of Darwin’s motivations and ideas on the Beagle trip several decades later.

  17. Hang on. Bezos chooses to take his flight on

    World UFO Day,

    Hasn’t the guy’s PR department heard of, like, “PR disasters and How to Avoid Them”?

  18. Seeing Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reminded me that a PhD thesis I recently proofread cited “George & Mallery (2003)” – a very close miss for the name of the man who possibly (?!) made the first ascent of Everest.

    1. According to the book about those early British expeditions, it’s extremely unlikely that either of them reached the summit, as they could not have surmounted the dangerous Second Step on the way to the summit.

  19. 1923 – Pancho Villa, Mexican general and politician, Governor of Chihuahua (b. 1878)

    According to family lore, I had an ancestor named Carlos Murphy who allegedly rode with Villa and robbed the Pecos Bank 3 times. I’m pretty sure that is up there with ‘Cherokee Princess’ stories and probably won’t age well.

  20. Great Mexican standoff (no appropriation or slur intended) between the cats in Dobrzyn. ( “[L]ittle Kulka” isn’t so little either – and no fat-shaming is to be implied!)

  21. On the subject of Beria…despite its title, the excellent film “The Death of Stalin” is really about the downfall of Beria during the scramble for power after Stalin’s demise. Highly recommended, along with anything else scripted or directed by Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In the Loop, The Day Today).

    Regarding zoos and aquariums, cetaceans should not be in captivity, but seals and penguins do not seem to suffer in well-run institutions.

  22. July 20, 1969 I was at the local Peyton Place golf course. I had just completed 18 holes as a caddy, my first “official” employment. I went in the clubhouse locker room to listen to the local radio broadcast of the lunar module descent. I didn’t need any particular training to gather the import of “60 seconds” and “30 seconds” (uttered by the “CAPCOM,” the Houston capsule communicator who I later learned was Charles Duke). I was a bit miffed that some of the local business owners, getting ready to leave after their ritual daily rounds of golf, were so self-absorbed in their creature-comfort concerns that they could not be bothered to stop their vacuous chit-chat and to listen and take in the historical significance of the unfolding event. As befits a rising 9th grader, I waited impatiently with monumental anticipation to watch the first video images from the moon. To use Hitch’s word, it was most numinous. I thought how wonderful it was to have the good fortune to be alive to witness it.

      1. I clearly remember our head teacher impressing the importance of the Moon landing on us, but the time difference meant that watching it in the UK was pretty much impossible. I don’t recall overnight TV broadcasting being available, but it is entirely possible that my parents lied to me in order to get me to bed!

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