Monday: Hili dialogue

July 26, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings at the start of a new work week: July 26, 2021. It’s National Bagelfest, so have a good bagel, some lox, and a schmear.  Avoid the donut-shaped Wonder Bread that passes for “bagels” in most of America. It’s also National Coffee Milkshake Day, World Tofu Day, Aunt and Uncles Day (only one aunt celebrated?), and Esperanto Day (see 1887 below).

Read this to learn how to choose and eat a bagel properly. You want to avoid junk like the “bagel” below, or the dreaded “everything” bagel, almost as bad as the blueberry bagel.


News of the Day:

The latest news is thin. We have two deaths, civil rights leader Bob Moses (86), instrumental in pushing forward voter registration of blacks in the South, and comedian Jackie Mason (93), born Yacov Moshe Hakohen Maza, ordained as a rabbi but gave it up after three years for standup comedy and later for movie roles.

From CNN: an Algerian judo competitor won’t face an Israeli, so he withdrew from the Olympics. So much for international solidarity in athletics! I know of no Israeli athlete who ever withdrew from competition to avoid competing with an Arab, but this isn’t the first time an Arab athlete has withdrawn rather than contest an Israeli. Who’s the apartheid state now?

Algerian judo athlete Fethi Nourine says he has chosen to withdraw from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics rather than face an Israeli competitor.

Nourine told Algeria’s Echourouk TV that he “decided to withdraw out of conviction, because this is the very least we can offer the Palestinian cause.”
“This is my duty,” he said, adding that he wanted to “send a message to the whole world that Israel is an occupation, a lawless country, a country without a flag.”
Algeria does not officially recognize Israel.
After announcing his withdrawal, the International Judo Federation (IJF) said on Saturday it was temporarily suspending Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef.

In a statement, the IJF said that the judoka’s actions were “in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation.”

The International Judo Federation suspended Nourine and he faces further disciplinary action.

Speaking of the Olympics, the German women’s gymnastics team, tired of being “sexualized” by wearing skimpy outfits during competition, has exchewed the traditional bikini-cut leotard for unitards that cover most of the body. Here’s the new garment. And more power to them.  You’re supposed to be watching the performance, not ogling women’s bodies.

And speaking of gymnastics at the Olympics, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, undoubtedly the best in the world, slipped up on Sunday, with even Simone Biles off her form. America finished second to Russia, but that won’t count in the finals, in which the competition is restarted with fewer teams. Nevertheless, if the U.S. is to take gold, they have to get their act in order An excerpt:

Perhaps what’s most concerning is that the United States wasn’t undermined by a single disastrous routine. Instead, persistent miscues culminated in an underwhelming outing. And the result is just as much a product of the Russians’ fantastic showing. The Russian Olympic Committee has a deep team that showcased its progress since it last faced the Americans at a major competition.

And another screwup: the U.S. men’s basketball team, which hasn’t lost a game at the Olympics since 2004, lost to France 83-76 on Sunday, blowing an eight-point lead in the game’s last four minutes. That doesn’t bother me as much as the women’s gymnastics, as I like the latter competition far more than basketball. Besides, now with their stupid three-on-three basketball competitions, who cares about the sport at the Olympics at all?

And now one more “disappointment”: swimmer Katie Ledecky finished second in the 400-meter freestyle swim, a race she’d never lost. Well, a silver medal is pretty damn good, but you know they all want gold.

For the first time, researchers have reported lethal attacks on gorillas by chimpanzees! If you wonder how chimpanzees can kill gorillas, read the link: there was an altercation between two groups, one of each species, but two gorilla infants were killed while the adults escaped.  Gorillas are way stronger than chimps. (h/t cesar)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 610,463, an increase of 269 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,176,208, an increase of about 6,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on July 26 includes:

  • 1745 – The first recorded women’s cricket match takes place near Guildford, England.
  • 1803 – The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opens in south London, United Kingdom.
  • 1882 – Premiere of Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal at Bayreuth.
  • 1887 – Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

Here’s the Unua Libro by by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof, who invented the language. I wanted to learn it when I was a kid, but gave up quickly when I learned that it would be useless, though it was envisaged as a universal language (it’s much like Spanish):

Here’s Naoroii, an imposing looking chap, who besides serving in Parliament until 1895, was also elected President of the Indian National Congress three times and was one of the first vigorous exponents of independence from Britain.

Here’s Noether’s and below that the first page of her paper, which was extremely important in showing that if a physical system is symmetrical (“if the Lagrangian function for a physical system is not affected by a continuous change [transformation] in the coordinate system used to describe it”), then there will be a corresponding conservation law.

  • 1936 – Spanish Civil War: Germany and Italy decide to intervene in the war in support for Francisco Franco and the Nationalist faction.
  • 1945 – The Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

Perhaps someone will explain to me why Churchill, who had led Britain to victory in the war, was unceremoniously dumped as PM right afterwards.

  • 1948 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981, desegregating the military of the United States.
  • 1953 – Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle orders an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek, Arizona, which becomes known as the Short Creek raid.

About 400 Mormon fundamentalists were taken into custody, including children. Wikipedia notes that “The Short Creek raid was the largest mass arrest of polygamists in American history. At the time, it was described as “the largest mass arrest of men and women in modern American history.”  I don’t know of any larger mass arrest in America, but perhaps readers are aware of some. The Utah Supreme Court ruled that the children could indeed be taken from their parents and put in state custody. But of course polygamy quickly revived, and it’s still out there in Utah.

Here’s a photo taken during the raid:

A group of children and women sit and wait under a tree while state policemen guard them in a schoolyard at a Mormon settlement during the Short Creek Polygamy Raid, Short Creek (now Colorado City), Arizona, July 26, 1953. State officials arrested over 100 men on polygamy charges but photos of the raid, especially crying children, caused a backlash against the secular authorities. (Photo by Loomis Dean/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
  • 1956 – Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal, sparking international condemnation.
  • 1971 – Apollo program: Launch of Apollo 15 on the first Apollo “J-Mission“, and first use of a Lunar Roving Vehicle.

Here’s that vehicle in its final resting place on the Moon. The Wikipedia caption calls attention to “the red Bible atop the hand controller in the middle of the vehicle, placed there by [Commander Dave] Scott.” Oy vey! There’s a Bible on the Moon!

  • 1990 – The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
  • 2016 – Hillary Clinton becomes the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1875 – Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist (d. 1961)
  • 1894 – Aldous Huxley, English novelist and philosopher (d. 1963)
  • 1928 – Elliott Erwitt, French-American photographer and director

Erwitt, a superb street photographer, is still alive at 92. Here are two of his pictures (he liked to photograph d*gs)

USA,New York city. New York, 1974. Felix, Gladys and Rover.

. . . and a cat

USA. New York City. 1953.
  • 1938 – Bobby Hebb, American singer-songwriter (d. 2010)

Here’s a live performance of Hebb’s most famous song, “Sunny“, in 1972. It’s never been clear what the song, written in 1963, was about.

  • 1943 – Mick Jagger, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor
  • 1945 – Helen Mirren, English actress 
  • 1959 – Kevin Spacey, American actor and director
  • 1964 – Sandra Bullock, American actress and producer.

Who doesn’t love Sandra, the Girl Next Door? Here she is rapping to “Rapper’s Delight“, the first popular hip-hop song, on the Jonathan Ross show.

  • 1973 – Kate Beckinsale, English actress

Those who found their final repose on July 26 include:

  • 1863 – Sam Houston, American general and politician, 7th Governor of Texas (b. 1793)
  • 1934 – Winsor McCay, American cartoonist, animator, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1871)

I’m a big fan of McCay, who was way ahead of his time in both cartoons and animation, using weird perspectives and angles. Here’s Nemo’s bed taking a stroll in Little Nemo in Slumberland, a cartoon from 1908.

Evita and Juan:

  • 1971 – Diane Arbus, American photographer and academic (b. 1923)

Here’s Arbus at work; you can see a selection of her photos here.

  • 2009 – Merce Cunningham, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1919)
  • 2020 – Olivia de Havilland, American actress (b. 1916)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili detects the scent of deer, but doesn’t understand why she can’t see them.

Hili: Deer were here yesterday.
A: And?
Hili: They must’ve gone somewhere.
In Polish:
Hili: Wczoraj tu były sarny.
Ja: I co?
Hili: Musiały gdzieś pójść.

From Facebook:

Anne-Marie sent another caricature from Serge Chapleu at the French-Canadian paper La Presse. Remember when Bezos thanked all the Amazon employees for making his space flight possible? The header says “Return to the Earth for Bezos,” and I think you can read what he’s saying:

Another superfluous sign from reader David. If you’re old enough to read, you’re old enough to not want to swallow a hanger:

Tweets from Barry, who says, “It’s not just the United States—it’s a whole thread.”. And so it is. Here are but two demonstrations against the Covid vaccination.

From Luana—a d*g who can’t paint! Is this for real? There’s also a cynical comment:

Tweets from Matthew. Read more about Chusovitana here.

Ducklings at the University of Nottingham. I hope they found a pond or lake!

Do you get this one? I got half but Matthew explained the last name to me.

These are honeypot ants, whose workers spend their lives filling their abdomen with liquid food and then regurgitating it to others on demand. They’re a living larder! Translation from Twitter: “Myrmecocystus nest. The queen of this nest is five years old, a colony that has been bred for many years and is often exhibited at events.”

38 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Perhaps someone will explain to me why Churchill, who had led Britain to victory in the war, was unceremoniously dumped as PM right afterwards.

    Because, while Churchill was the right person to “never surrender” as war-time leader, he was also an old-fashioned Tory who wasn’t a good choice as a peace-time leader. The nation, particularly the returning working-class soliders, wanted the policies that Attlee’s Labour Party had campaigned on, a “welfare state” such that everyone would have access to health care, unemployment benefit, sickness benefit if they fell ill, pensions in their old age.

    1. I think it was a particularly perceptive move on the part of the electorate. They recognised that the war was almost over and that there soon would be different priorities.

      The achievements of the Attlee government probably outrank any other British government’s achievements in the 20th century excepting surviving the Second World War.

  2. Bob Moses also started the “Algebra Project” in the Mississippi delta area. This addressed what he realized was, in general, a miserable education in math provided to black children in particular and to poor children in general. He saw this as providing a pathway to economic success just as voter registration provided a pathway to political success. I think that he was named a MacArthur Fellow, which in part supported this project early on in the 80’s.

    1. Marcus du Sautoy was on the most recent Numberphile podcast and in talking about his education notes that his school had made a decent attempt at exposing children to higher maths but he saw the flaw in that attempt being that the educators were not mathematicians and didn’t understand that level of maths themselves (topology, set theory for example). My experience in the US school system suggests it is far worse than that. Even lower levels of maths are not very well taught here, especially with fast-paced, unresponsive, and highly proscribed curricula. A child must be lucky, especially a public school child, no matter their race or income (below a certain level) to find really good maths education and educators. I was not one of those lucky children, fell into the “I hate math” mentality, and regret it but I got to hear plenty about my high school algebra teacher’s bible study and Younglife.

  3. Forgive me, but as a non American, seeing US competitors and teams lose often improves my enjoyment of a sport. If you’re the top d*g, it’s predictable when you win and exciting when you lose.

  4. … comedian Jackie Mason (93) …

    Ain’t sayin’ I’m old, but I’m so old I can remember when Jackie Mason got blackballed from Ed Sullivan’s “really big shew” (and from television more generally) because, in response to Ed’s signaling him from the wings to cut his routine short due to a time crunch (the Sullivan show was broadcast live), Jackie made a hand gesture of some sort that was mistaken for his giving Ed Sullivan “the finger” — something one could never get away with doing on national tv in those days, and certainly not when directed at the variety-show king of Sunday night.

    1. Mason also made the mistake of angering Frank Sinatra. When Ol’ Blue Eyes married Mia Farrow, who was young enough to be his daughter, Mason came up with a routine on Frank and Mia getting ready for bed: First, Mia takes off her roller skates, Frank takes off his orthopedic shoes; Mia takes off her training bra, Frank takes off his corset; Mia takes out her retainer, Frank takes out his dentures; Mia takes off her hair ribbon, Frank takes off his toupee.

      Mason dropped the routine after someone punched him in the face, breaking both eye sockets, and yelling “No more Sinatra jokes!”

  5. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the inspiration for the song “Sunny”:

    “Hebb wrote the song after his older brother, Harold, was stabbed to death outside a Nashville nightclub. Hebb was devastated by the event and many critics say it inspired the lyrics and tune. According to Hebb, he merely wrote the song as an expression of a preference for a “sunny” disposition over a “lousy” disposition following the murder of his brother.”

    1. …and I always thought the song was addressed to a new girlfriend called ‘Sunny’ who turned the view of his life around.

  6. … the U.S. men’s basketball team, which hasn’t lost a game at the Olympics since 2004 …

    Feelin’ Old Dept., Part II: I recall when the US Olympic men’s basketball team lost for the first time ever, to the USSR (breaking its streak of having won every gold medal since basketball became on Olympic sport in 1936) in the 1972 games’ finals, following a hotly disputed decision by the referees to put three seconds back on the clock after the game was apparently over.

    For the Soviet roundballers, beating the US team was roughly equivalent to the US hockey team winning the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 winter games.

  7. “Perhaps someone will explain to me why Churchill, who had led Britain to victory in the war, was unceremoniously dumped as PM right afterwards.” – Churchill’s record as wartime leader was undoubted, but his track record on domestic political issues was less popular (e.g. his role in crushing the 1928 general strike). The Conservative Party had presided over periods of severe mass unemployment, which only came to an end as Britain geared up for the oncoming WWII, and the working class were fearful of unemployment and austerity returning once the war was over. The Labour Party ran their campaign promising a welfare state programme and better housing – the Conservative Party rejected both on the grounds of cost.

    1. D’oh – once again I forgot to refresh before posting and see that Coel had already replied on this issue. Apologies!

      1. That is good. It is best we hear it from the locals vs American view. History shows that Churchill had his best days early in the war and not too much later after the Americans joined in. It is fortunate that we did not follow his plans regarding how and when to attack Germany because he was dead wrong. He down plays this in his writings but it still happened. Had we stayed with Churchill on these things we might all be speaking German today.

    2. Yes. One word: Beveridge. The Labour Party promised to implement Beveridge’s recommendations for National Insurance and the NHS in full, whereas the Tories were still hung up on private sector options. Plus Labour offered a policy of full employment, especially for ex-servicemen, which resonated with those who remembered what happened in 1919.

      The 1945 election was known as ‘the khaki election’ because the results were delayed so that the votes of the service personnel still overseas could be counted. A large majority of them voted Labour.

  8. The German women’s gymnastics team aren’t the only ones taking a stance on Olympic clothing requirements. The Norwegian women’s handball team were fined for competing in shorts (like the men) rather than the bikini bottoms that the IOC insists on. The singer Pink has offered to pay the fines on their behalf:

    1. I particularly liked the South African team’s outfit, with a vaguely zebra-like motive and vellies (‘veldskoene’). It received quite a bit of criticism (some of it ridiculous), but I like it.

  9. Not supposed to be ogling women’s bodies? Most of those women, seem like children or teenagers, in gymnastics anyways. Always seemed a bit creepy. I welcome the change. Of course there’s plenty of ogling to be had in the men’s swim portion of the games.

    1. Not ogling the athletes bodies? I think that ogling is traditionally a great part of it, since ancient Greece. 🙂

  10. 1943 – Mick Jagger, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor

    Hey, that’s Sir Mick to a commoner like you, fella. For some strange reason, discernable only to herself, HRM hasn’t seen her way clear to bestowing an OBE upon Keith. 🙂

    1. Maybe Keef turned an honour down? I see that the Stones are on tour next month – back in the ’60s, who’d have thought that they’d still be touring and recording as septegenarians?!

      1. Keith will be knighted just as soon as they start awarding it for meritorious service to needles and spoons. 🙂

        1. Yes, apparently he’ll snort anything.

          In an April 2007 interview for NME magazine, music journalist Mark Beaumont asked Richards what the strangest thing he ever snorted was, and quoted him as replying: “My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared … It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.” In the media uproar that followed, Richards’s manager said that the anecdote had been meant as a joke.

  11. I think the IOC is being ridiculous about the German women’s gymnastic team’s outfits and the Norwegian women’s handball team’s shorts.

    Although, I don’t think the gymnastic team’s outfits are all that much more modest than the traditional outfits. They cover more skin true, but they are thin and skin tight and don’t conceal the shape of the body at all.

    1. The original Olympics adopted fully nude competition – but for men only. Unmarried women had their own Heraean games and wore a chiton.

    2. I struggle to understand on what grounds the IOC are objecting to this. If a team starts wearing an outfit that gives a competitive advantage over other teams then its fair enough to insist that it breaches the rules. Likewise if a competitor tries to wear something with, say, an offensive slogan or image. But in this case what the Norwegian and German teams are choosing to wear does neither of these things. The only possible argument I can imagine the IOC could have for its insistence on wearing the bikinis and leotards is that the sexy outfits are good for viewer ratings and hence for the coffers. I can’t quite imagine them openly coming out and saying this but what other reason do they have?

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were at least part of the reason. My more charitable guess is that bureaucratic inertia. They’ve got very specific written rules, the new outfits don’t comply with the written rules and, in the immediate term, that is that. The outfits may inspire a change to the rules, but that will take time, reviews, committees and so on until finally a ruling is made and the rules are changed.

        In many ways such rigidity makes sense in order to be fair to a whole bunch of different interests in circumstances in which some of those interests will test the limits of the rules seeking any possible advantage. But it would be nice if there enough flexibility to make quick rulings on things that are innocuous and straightforward like this.

        But then, it isn’t always evident that something that seems innocuous and straightforward actually is. One example, full(er) body swim suits actually give an advantage when made correctly. And another, there’s a reason why in powerlifting, and Olympic weightlifting I’m sure, contestants are required to wear skimpy clothing. It’s because tight fitting clothing made of strong fabric provides a significant advantage in lifting weights. It can make the difference between being able to get out of the hole on a squat, snatch or clean & jerk, or not. A squat suit can easily add 200 lbs to a lifter’s max and even just tightly wrapping the knees makes a difference. There are strict rules about everything on the body, including any taping or wrapping of ankles, knees, wrists, elbows and hands because these things can give a noticeable advantage.

    1. I had to think about it a bit, too.

      They are poking fun at former president Jacques Chirac — which is pronounced something like “Zshock – Sherrock” in French, but supposedly sounds like “Jack Shoerack” when pronounced by us dumb English speakers.

      1. Thanks,John. I couldn’t even recognize that thing as a jack. Looked like some kind of sprinkler to me🙀

  12. Re the honey ants. When all the honey is gone do they refill or die?

    Thanks for the Churchill q&a. I’ve often wondered.

  13. Nourine’s withdrawal is not just in opposition to the aims of the international Judo Federation, but against the whole idea of the Olympics.
    I’m pleased to see his move does not garner a lot of approval or sympathy.

      1. Fethi Nourine took part in the World Masters organized in Qingdao (China 2019) and was eliminated durinf the first round. It seems that he did not care much for the Uyghurs. Or is it because the Chinese are not Jewish ?

        Best wishes from France,

  14. Comparing the actions of one Arab athlete to the actions of the government of a nation-state is some kind of category mistake. The Arab athlete can be dumb, and the Israeli settlement policy can be misguided, wrong, cruel and — yes — an example of apartheid. One does not rule out the other. It would be nice if Israeli politicians — most recently the foreign minister Lapid — would stop defaming Jewish-Americans as “anti-Semitic” when Ben and Jerry’s stop selling ice cream to the settlements.

Leave a Reply