Wednesday: Hili dialogue

August 4, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the first Wednesday in August—August 4, 2021: National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. These are infinitely better than oatmeal cookies, which I sometimes mistake for chocolate chip cookies at parties or buffets. Usually you can tell the odious oatmeal cookies because they have raisins in them, but sometimes they disguise them by putting in chocolate chips.  I believe people are under the impression that oatmeal cookies are a healthy snack.

It’s also National White Wine Day, Assistance Dog Day, U.S. Coast Guard Day, Single Working Women’s Day, and Barack Obama Day (he was born on August 4, and is sixty years old today; see below). Wikipedia helpfully adds this:

Twitter users unofficially celebrated Obama Day on June 14, 2020, posting pictures of the former president, with some using the hashtag #AllBirthdaysMatter in response to All Lives Matter. June 14 is also Donald Trump’s birthday.

Today’s Google Doodle is about who can get vaccinated and where, tailored for where you live (yes, they know where you live). Click on screenshot:

News of the Day:

It’s now been 196 days since the Bidens started living in the White House. Where is the First Cat they promised us?  They even had a female moggie picked out who was tested for compatibility with their remaining dog. But there is no litter box, no scratching post, in the First Residence. We were conned! Why doesn’t somebody ask Jen Psaki about this?

New York governor Andrew Cuomo is in big trouble. According to a report by the New York State attorney general, Cuomo not only acted immorally towards multiple women, but also probably broke both state and federal laws. (The 165-page report is here.) A excerpt from the NYT:

The 165-page report said that Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, and his aides cultivated a toxic work culture in his office that was rife with fear and intimidation, and helped enable “harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.”

The report included at least two previously unreported allegations of sexual harassment from women who accused Mr. Cuomo of improperly touching them, including an unnamed female state trooper and an employee of an energy company. And it highlighted at least one instance in which Mr. Cuomo and his aides retaliated against one of the women who made her allegations public.

The NY state attorney general is now investigating (read “investigating possible charges”), and it looks like Cuomo, who was a golden boy early in the pandemic, might well end up in an orange jumpsuit. Cuomo is fighting back hard, denying every serious charge and asserting that he’s just a touchy-feely kind of guy. Well, read some of the testimony from the 11 complainants and see for yourself.

. . . and I’ve just heard that Biden has said that Cuomo should resign. So has the editorial board of the New York Times. Cuomo can fight, but he can’t fight his way out of this toaster. And if he resigns or is removed from office, the state will have its first woman governor, the present Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

Giving in to the more liberal members of the Democratic Congress, President Biden is now investigating whether there would be ways to extend the pandemic-induced moratorium on evictions, put in place by the CDC, that expired at the end of July. The administration has previously claimed it didn’t have the legal authority to do this unilaterally, based on an opinion by Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, who said that further extension is the responsibility of the Congress. But an extension measure would never pass the Senate given the 60-vote requirement to end a filibuster. This opens up a breach between Biden and members of his own party, so he’s been unable not just to reach across the aisle, but to others within his own section. (UPDATE: I just learned that the CDC has imposed another 60-day freeze on evictions, though the courts may declare that invalid.)

According to the CBC, there’s now talk of changing the name of British Columbia, for, after all, its name is partly derived from Christopher Columbus.

Robert Jago, a writer and consultant from the Kwantlen First Nation and the Nooksack Tribe, says any association with the Italian explorer, who is widely associated with the beginnings of the violent colonization of the Americas, is problematic.

“I think everyone knows this by now, but Christopher Columbus had some issues. Even in his day, he was seen as incredibly violent, genocidal,” Jago told guest host Angela Sterritt on CBC’s The Early Edition.

“To name a jurisdiction after this person is, in this day and age, not something we would do.”

A possible substitute name?

Jago says one possible name for the region, which he described in detail in a recent article for Canadian Geographic, is the name S’ólh Téméxw, pronounced “soul tow-mock.” It means “our land” or “our world” in Halkomelem, the language spoken by the Kwantlen people at Fort Langley, where B.C. was declared a colony in 1858.

I think they should choose another replacement name, for I’m pretty sure Canada will have to change the name of B.C. The article describes other Canadian names that have recently been changed for similar “problematic” reasons, including Dundas street in Toronto. (h/t Rick)

How many times have you bought a ticket online only to be slapped with hidden fees—not just the Ticketmaster fees but “service fees” and “order processing fees” and god knows what else. And that’s not just for tickets: it applies to phone bills and many other items with “hidden charges.” These are known as “drip fees”, and are the topic of a NYT op-ed called “Stop the Hidden Fee Rip-Off” by NYU attorney Max Sarinsky. It turns out that the Federal Trade Commission could stop this rip-off (most consumers just go ahead and pay the feed, assuming that if they’re in for a nickel, they’re in for a dime), but haven’t done squat. Now, however, the FTC is in the hands of Democrats, and agency chair Lina Khan might be ready to demand that full prices be shown upfront, before you begin paying. One can hope. . .

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 614,104, an increase of 371 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,260,635, an increase of about 10,300 over yesterday’s total.

News on this day is a bit thin, and that includes birthdays and deathdays. Stuff that happened on August 4 includes:

  • 1693 – Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon‘s invention of champagne; it is not clear whether he actually invented champagne, however he has been credited as an innovator who developed the techniques used to perfect sparkling wine. Here’s Peignon’s gravestone in the church of Hautvillers, région Champagne.

It’s pretty clear that, in fact, Dom Perignon did not invent champagne, but rather a way to blend grapes before making it (champagne was originally an accident, a byproduct of incomplete fermentation). I once had a bottle of 15 year old Dom; it was very good, but not as good as I’d hoped.

  • 1873 – American Indian Wars: While protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, the United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer clashes for the first time with the Cheyenne and Lakota people near the Tongue River; only one man on each side is killed.
  • 1892 – The father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden are found murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. She was tried and acquitted for the crimes a year later.

There’s little doubt that Borden did the deed, though she was acquitted. She continued to live in Fall River, though she was ostracized, for the rest of her life. Here’s a photo:

  • 1914 – In response to the German invasion of Belgium, Belgium and the British Empire declare war on Germany. The United States declares its neutrality.
  • 1944 – The Holocaust: A tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse, where they find and arrest Jewish diarist Anne Frank, her family, and four others.

Here is the entrance to the “Secret Annexe” where Frank and her family lived for two years (1942-1944) before they were caught. It was up a flight of stairs hidden behind a bookshelf, and you can visit it in Amsterdam (be sure to reserve tickets well in advance; it’s become immensely popular place to visit). The only survivor of the war was the father, Otto Frank, who preserved the diary; Anne and her sister Margot almost certainly died of typhus or typhoid.

Here’s the FBI poster reporting them missing. They were killed by two carloads of Klan members, eight of whom were eventually convicted (one not until 2005).

A missing persons poster displays the photographs of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner after they disappeared in Mississippi in June 1964. It was later discovered that they were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.
  • 1984 – The Republic of Upper Volta changes its name to Burkina Faso.
  • 2020 – At least 220 people are killed and over 5,000 are wounded when 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate explodes in Beirut, Lebanon.

I’m sure you saw the explosion, which produced a visible shock wave and a mushroom-shaped cloud of gas, on television. They still haven’t held anyone responsible, but here’s a video of the explosion that concentrates on the science of ammonium nitrate and why access to it is restricted.

Notables born on this day include:

Died in a boating accident at age 29. “Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

  • 1834 – John Venn, English mathematician and philosopher (d. 1923)

Yes, inventor of the Venn diagram, like this one:

Here’s one of my favorite early Armstrong songs, “Struttin’ with some barbecue” (great title), recorded in Chicago by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five on December 9, 1927. The song was written by Lil Hardin, shown below, a member of the group, the pianist, and Armstrong’s wife at the time. I love his laid back trumpet solos.

Obama is sixty today!

  • 1962 – Roger Clemens, American baseball player and actor
  • 1981 – Meghan Markle, American actress and humanitarian, and member of British Royal Family

Those who expired on August 4 include:

Here’s Andersen photographed in 1869, looking exactly as I imagined he would (I hadn’t seen a photo of him before). Lest you forget how prolific this man was, he wrote novels, plays, travelogues, and poems—and of course great fairy tales. Remember these?: “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Nightingale,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier“, “The Red Shoes“, “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Snow Queen,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Little Match Girl,” and “Thumbelina.”

  • 1962 – Marilyn Monroe, American model and actress (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is acting like a cat:

Hili: These roses are not fresh anymore.
Andrjez: They need to be thrown away.
Hili: I can throw them on the floor.

In Polish:

Hili: Te róże tracą świeżość.
Ja: Trzeba je już wyrzucić.
Hili: Mogę je zrzucić na podłogę.

And here’s a photo by Paulina of Szaron and his BFF, little Kulka, snoozing together:

From Divy:

From Jean: A monkey playing with ducklings. Be sure to click on the arrow to watch the video. The ducklings are clearly imprinted on the primate, though. Where is their mom?

From Jesus of the Day:

Two from Titania:

Tweets from Simon (I found the second one):

From reader Tom, who says this: “I’m guessing you’ve already seen this, but as a lifelong Yankee fan from north Jersey this was definitely the best part of last night’s game, a brutal loss to the basement-dwelling Orioles.”

No, I hadn’t seen it, but it’s a nice cat and I hope these loose stadium cats find good homes. I always wonder what becomes of them when they’re caught.

Some “home truths” (what does that mean, anyway?) from reader Barry:

Tweets from Matthew, who’s now on “hols”.  First, Kangaroo Words!

Twain, of course, was an atheist:

At last some good news about Wally the Walrus, who lost his way badly and needs to get back to the Arctic. He seems to be heading that way. As the BBC notes in the link below:

Dan Jarvis from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), which has been monitoring the walrus, said a sighting was confirmed on Monday afternoon.

“We are really pleased it has worked out for the best,” he said.

The walrus, thought to be about four years old, has travelled about 2,500 miles (4,000km) along the coast of western Europe, including Spain, Wales and Cornwall since March.

Mr Jarvis said: “The best news would be that he continues to travel north under his own steam.

Where is Wally? Read the tweet:

Wally needs to be with other walruses. I’m glad he survived the heat.

36 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Nice tan suit indeed. How can it remain so nicely pressed without any apparent mustard, ketchup, or oil and vinegar stains on it? Obviously had not yet been to lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl that day.

  2. Changing the name of British Columbia to something in any one aboriginal language of the province would raise a lot of hell… from speakers of the other languages! There are something like seven completely unrelated linguistic phyla among B.C.’s Native population, totally unrelated—no closer in their genetic relationship than Indo-European, proto-Sino-Tibetan and proto-Bantu. And the northern coastal groups regularly raided villages spoken by speakers of Salishan languages for slaves; I can’t see speakers of Tlingit or the linguistic isolate Haida wanting the province named with vocabulary from what they regarded as enslavable populations. The Tsimshian wouldn’t accept anything but a Tsimshian name, and so on. The Halkomelem word itself contains phonetic segments that no one but a field linguist who’d worked with it or other languages in the area that share sound features with it could competently pronounce… any agency that decides to impose a Coast Salishan name on the elite warrior groups of the northern coast is asking for trouble! To say nothing of the Athapaskans, or speakers of Kutenai or… no, bad idea—better go back to the drawing board on that one, probably!

    1. Maybe avoid the mess and go with a geographic name. Like the Western Territory. Or maybe North Washington. 🙂

    2. Yes there’s lots of Indigenous language diversity in BC. The CBC story quoting Jago does note there is also a pidgin language derived from Chinook that includes lots of words from other Indigenous languages plus French and English. It developed as a trading language among Indigenous groups after European contact. Pidgin seems like a good source for naming a mongrel/mashup political unit like BC. One suggested name is Illaheechuk. I especially like this because it’s Indigenous but sounds vaguely Ukrainian.

      1. Forgot to add: the joke about my hometown was that it should have been the capital of Yukon because there was a Uke on every corner.

    3. I would imagine that most people in BC would be happy enough to rename the province. ‘British Columbia’ has obvious unhappy connotations, it is too long – plus it is time to unload the word ‘British’ as well. Note that Aboriginals presently make up ~6% of the BC population of approximately 4.9 million (2021 figures). Would a large number of citizens agree with or accept a name like ‘S’ólh Téméxw’? I’m certain that would NOT fly well with most of us. Not at all.

      ‘Monashee’, the name of one chain of BC mountains, is a replacement I think many could get behind. First BC is very mountainous. Then, the word is from the Gaelic monadh, meaning mountain, and sith, pronouced shee, meaning peace. So, mountain of peace. (Lovely, isn’t that?) Gaelic is also from an earlier people – thus respectful. So no Aboriginal infighting for the naming honour. Huge advantage – Monashee is a word that is shorter, easy to pronounce and spell – and would likely be acceptable to 90% of the population.

      1. “Monashee” is a lovely word for sure.

        “Acceptable to 90% of the population.” At 6% of British Columbians, that’s almost 300,000 Indigenous people, which is a lot (it’s in the range of the estimated total population size in “Canada” in the 16th century). Their opinions matter more than others I think.

        Definitely not Gaelic (although I love the sound of that language). It’s not really respectful, it’s the language of the colonial settlers who wiped out the east-coast Indigenous people. At least, that would be the woke argument against it.

        So I’m hoping for “Ilaheechuk” but I’m afraid we will get something like “S’ólh Téméxw”. Then in addition to brushing up on our pronouns, we’re all going to need a checklist of diacritical marks, and some software updates

  3. The eviction moratorium has been one of the most outrageous things about the pandemic. It is truly an act of arbitrary government. The Federal government has no Constitutional authority to establish such a ban, and there is a mandate against interference in contracts. (To those who would argue that this falls under Interstate Commerce, you could as justly say that the Federal government could restrict abortions based on Interstate Commerce. The Clause is not a catch-all for powers not enumerated.) The moratorium is also typical demagogic politics in that it thinks only about one side in the equation. What about the landlord’s right to get paid? My last landlord was a retired Chicago teacher who owned a multi-unit building. The rent went tied to his mortgage payments and building upkeep. Assuming he has the money, is it fair to ask him to go into his retirement saving to subsidize his residents? This is no different than saying that stores could no longer charge for food. All the government has done is generate a bigger problem. Being panicked is no excuse for allowing arbitrary government.

    1. Yes, the government has no constitutional basis to keep thousands of people from being thrown into the streets. I would think you would also be against the government giving out free vaccines. Probably a real fan of FDR. Part of the money allocated for this is also for the landlords, if you did not know. You may not be the only republican visiting this site but you are close to the most. By the way, did you get your free vaccine?

      1. Please leave out the snark; this comment borders on rudeness. Free vaccine is not the equivalent of depriving landlords of rent. And where is the Constitutional provision that allows the government to prevent evictions? Did you just make one up?

        1. “Did you just make one up?” I did not think it necessary to look for a constitutional provision for such action. The government has long since shown the ability to give out money for all kinds of things and reasons. Putting out millions to produce the vaccine is one as well as providing the vaccine for free. Paying unemployment benefits would be another. Paying people after hurricanes and fires and tornado damage. Paying poor people for health care insurance. And as stated in this discussion – the landlords were getting most of the money in the form of direct and indirect payment. Sorry if i offended anyone.

          1. I am trying without a lot of success to understand the eviction ban issue. I understand the basic reasoning behind the desire to see fewer people on the streets, the CDC’s authority to unilaterally impose this rule seems sketchy to me.
            Part of it is the fact that a person violating the CDC order faces years in jail and hundreds of thousands in fines, and of course the basic issue is that landlords have essentially had their property seized, at least for the duration of the order.

            I get that paying rental assistance is within the government’s discretion, although I am unsure if the CDC has that authority. Additionally, the rent relief program does not seem to be specifically tied to the eviction ban. Some percentage of small landlords are not receiving relief, yet face severe criminal penalties if they try to get rid of non-paying tenants. Also, some tenants see this as an opportunity to just stop paying, because they see no incentive to do so. Also, at least in some states, the landlord’s ability to be compensated relies on the active participation of the tenant through the application process.

            My understanding of the details of this issue is pretty incomplete, but it seems like an issue of the fundamental authority and responsibility of government. It has always been a function of governments to quarantine the sick, but this seems to go a long way beyond this. It cannot be that declaring an epidemic conveys unlimited power to the appointed director of the CDC.

    2. “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

      “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

      “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

      “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

      “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

      “Both very busy, sir.”

      “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

    3. What about the landlord’s right to get paid?

      They are getting paid. The extension is because in many states and regions the money Congress set aside for landlords to cover rent hasn’t yet been distributed to them. Just like the income-dependent checks took months after authorization to get distributed, the property-based checks take months after authorization to get distributed.

      This is no different than saying that stores could no longer charge for food.

      It’s completely different. It’s more like telling the landlord not to evict the renter because the check is in the mail, but not yet arrived.

    4. I heard a lot of concern for the landlords, but many businesses lose money during a pandemic. Income property is just one such business. The landlord will still have the value of the property they own. A few may go bankrupt if they were living on the edge but that’s going to be a small fraction. On the other hand, many renters have little or no savings. If they are thrown out on the street, they’ll be homeless and may lose their jobs for various reasons. In short, they are much, much more likely to have their lives destroyed than landlords.

    5. In the ‘western’ world (e.g. including Japan) there are maybe 600 to 700 million people plus the 330 million or so in U.S.A. Is there a single other of these countries with this same problem? If not, or if few, what proportion of USians is aware of how crappy a social system producing such problems is but need not be? Is DrBrydon among those so aware?

    1. Thanks. From what I’ve read, Biden is aware the courts will likely not support him, but since they take weeks or more to move, this gives him some time to come up with a better solution…or I guess get those checks delivered? Not sure what the ultimate resolution is going to look like, but I’m guessing a hump of evictions is eventually unavoidable. The government can mitigate it, but probably not stop it entirely.

      1. What’s the delay with the cheques/checks? Presumably it isn’t down to Joe insisting on signing them personally like his predecessor did with the original CARES Act payments…!

      2. From what I’ve read, Biden is aware the courts will likely not support him …

        Justice Kavanaugh’s opinion concurring in SCOTUS’s June 29th denial of a request to lift the stay of a lower court order abolishing the eviction moratorium makes it clear there are now the requisite five votes to reverse the moratorium. At this point It’s a fait accompli.

  4. Armstrong is being celebrated w movies he appeared performed in on TCM today, with a biography at 7 my time (Central Ceiling Cat Time).

  5. “…Cuomo, who was a golden boy early in the pandemic…”

    This is sad, but true. It’s one of those narratives wholly manufactured by the media. They molded a story of a fearless leader in the face of COVID, when the reality is that he caused an enormous number of deaths with his executive order forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-positive people:

    There are numbers out there that purport to calculate how many deaths they resulted in, all in the many thousands, but I’m not sure how reliable they are. Then there are the deaths resulting from his inaction at the beginning of the outbreak:

    All I know is that (1) Cuomo’s nursing home order killed a lot of people, and (2) Cuomo’s refusal of de Blasio’s request to enact a quarantine at the beginning of the outbreak resulted in likely tens of thousands more deaths.

    I guess it’s good to have friends in high places, like CNN…

  6. “I’m sure you saw the explosion, which produced a visible shock wave and a mushroom-shaped cloud of gas, on television.”

    Technically, I believe it was not a shock wave but a visible pressure wave which is much less destructive. A shock wave can kill all by itself whereas the deaths from a pressure wave are more likely due to walls, etc. falling on people. The explosive in this case explodes with relatively low velocity compared to some other explosives. The pressure wave becomes visible sometimes when the atmospheric conditions are just right. Still spectacular though.

    We probably have explosives experts here that will add more and possibly correct me. 😉

  7. Hans Christian Anderson resembles Danny Kaye, who portrayed him in the movie, which is probably why PCC thinks HCA looks just like “I imagined he would” even though he has never seen a picture of him before.

  8. A bit late and perhaps unrelated, but this news on a Cormocephalus coynei [ ] Scolopendra circulates now [for example ].

    It has no truck with duck wellbeing.

    Giant bird-eating centipedes may sound like something out of a science-fiction film—but they’re not. On tiny Phillip Island, part of the South Pacific’s Norfolk Island group, the Phillip Island centipede (Cormocephalus coynei) population can kill and eat up to 3,700 seabird chicks each year.

    1. Oh, and I serached for similar articles in vain before posting this, so it may be legit news here.

  9. -I can see why people would go to the camps and memorials, but Anne Frank’s house museum always strikes me as pointless and maudelin.

    – I spent some time in Lebanon some years back and they were nice enough to put on a small war with Israel to welcome me. I’d always followed thigs there and was visiting (that time) for personal reasons.
    It is a wonderful place and an object lesson on why religion really poisons everything (see their “confessional” – religious parties/mafias) set up… WHICH THE CITIZENRY VOTE FOR! : “We need OUR guy, who believes in OUR iron age fairy tale, to win…or we’re fucked.” Religion has fucked Lebanon.

    The “bomb” was just a small part of the horror that is Lebanon today. Even Covid is an afterthought.
    The catastrophe of their economy is the big story. A Big Mac is $2 if you have foreign currency, $18 if you don’t. Most Lebanese don’t.

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