Thursday: Hili dialogue

August 12, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Thursday, August 12, 2021: National Julienne Fries Day! (with an exclamation mark added, but why?). It’s also Baseball Fans Day, National Sewing Machine Day (see below), IBM PC Day (see below), Baseball Fans Day, Truck Driver Day, Vinyl Record Day, and World Elephant Day.

Photo by Laurie Rubin.

News of the Day:

It’s now 204 days since the Bidens moved into the White House, promising all Americans that they’d procure a First Cat. Well, there is no First Cat. We was had!

Big kerfuffle in Texas: A Texas Supreme Court judge has lifted a legal order that prevented Democratic state representative who fled Texas—seeking to prevent the formation of a quorum necessary to pass a voting-restriction bill—.from being arrested for violating their legal duties. In other words, those representatives, many of whom hied themselves to Washington D.C., can now be either arrested or forced to go back to work, though extraditing them from D.C. (many are still there) might be difficult.  An excerpt:

The Texas House Speaker’s office confirmed Tuesday night that the Speaker has signed civil arrest warrants for 52 House Democrats who are absent without excuses. Those warrants will be delivered to the sergeant-at-arms in the morning for service.

My prediction: nobody will be arrested, but this situation cannot persist indefinitely. I suppose the Democrats must ultimately subject themselves to the rule of law, even if they object to the law that they must vote on.

Meanwhile on the left coast, California has become the nation’s first state to require that schoolteachers and school staff must be either vaccinated or face regular covid testing if they’re to work at public schools. This adds school employees to state employees and healthcare workers, also required to be vaccinated or tested. My view: good for California—roll up your sleeves or leave.

At last somebody has called out the hypocrisy of Ben & Jerry, who recently decided to not sell their ice cream to Jewish storekeepers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (Palestinian merchants, I believe, can keep selling it). The caller-outer, however, is a conservative, so many people who dismiss arguments based on who makes them will dismiss this piece. The author is Bret Stephens, who wrote a new NYT editorial called  “The cheap and easy sanctimony of Ben & Jerry“.  An excerpt (note that Unilever acquired the Ben & Jerry brand but promised to honor the social activism of the brand itself, activism promoted by Ben and Jerry):

We live in the era of “Woke, Inc.,” to borrow the title of Vivek Ramaswamy’s delightful new book on what he calls “corporate America’s social justice scam” — an era in which corporations adopt trendy causes to help shield them from criticism while pumping up their stock prices. There’s Gillette, trying to peddle razors by decrying toxic masculinity. There’s Nike, minting money off Colin Kaepernick’s protests. There’s BP, rebranding itself as Beyond Petroleum” — and then spilling 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

But Cohen and Greenfield are the godfathers of Woke Inc., pioneers of a unique marketing magic that seeks to get people to believe that buying a high-fat, high-sugar product that contributes to diabetes and obesity also makes us more virtuous. I don’t want to overstate things here, since I’m as guilty as the next guy of scarfing down a half pint (OK, sometimes more) of New York Super Fudge Chunk. But at least I don’t pretend that I’m making the world a better place in the bargain.

. . .As for Unilever, it will be hard-pressed to honor its promise to stay in Israel while keeping out of the West Bank, since Israeli law forbids companies from operating that way. It will also have to seek approval from the ticked-off Ben & Jerry’s board for a new Israeli licensee once the current contract expires next year.

So much for Cohen and Greenfield bravely honoring the principle to distinguish between the West Bank and Israel. What we really have is a feckless political gesture, a corporate fiasco, a de facto boycott of the Jewish state, an enraged Israeli government, and a handful of customers who won’t get their Chunky Monkey cravings satisfied. Just how any of this translates into peace or justice, much less ending “the occupation,” is anyone’s guess.

Just a few days after announcing, in tears, that he’ll be leaving Barcelona, soccer superstar Lionel Messi has signed with Paris Saint-Germain. Messi’s two-year contract pays him an annual salary of 35 million euros ($41 million). That’s a tad less than Neymar’s salary for the Paris club (37 million euros/$43.4 million), but all that matters at those levels is vanity. Anyway, Neymar is 29, while Messi, at 34, is getting a bit long in the tooth. Nevertheless, Messi performed very well for Barca last season. It’s a shame he left.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 618,701, an increase of 552 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,338,701, an increase of about 10,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on August 12 includes:

Here’s the working model that Singer submitted with his patent:

  • 1865 – Joseph Lister, British surgeon and scientist, performs 1st antiseptic surgery.

Here’s what the historic operation involved, according to Wikipedia:

On 12 August 1865, Lister achieved success for the first time when he used full-strength carbolic acid to disinfect a compound fracture. He applied a piece of lint dipped in carbolic acid solution onto the wound of a eleven year-old boy, James Greenlees, who had sustained a compound fracture after a cart wheel had passed over his leg. After four days, he renewed the pad and discovered that no infection had developed, and after a total of six weeks he was amazed to discover that the boy’s bones had fused back together, without suppuration. He subsequently published his results in The Lancet in a series of six articles, running from March through July 1867.

Here’s the young Lister:

Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

This was not a species, but a subspecies of the Plains Zebra (Equus quagga quagga). Hunted to extinction; it was unique in having zebra-liked striped forequarters and a brown horselike rear end. It appears to have been photographed only once in life—at the London Zoo in 1870. Here’s the photo:

  • 1914 – World War I: The United Kingdom declares war on Austria-Hungary; the countries of the British Empire follow suit.
  • 1944 – Nazi German troops end the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people are killed indiscriminately or in mass executions.
  • 1950 – Korean War: Bloody Gulch massacre: 75 American POWs are massacred by North Korean Army.
  • 1952 – The Night of the Murdered Poets: Thirteen prominent Jewish intellectuals are murdered in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union.
  • 1964 – South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies.
  • 1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.

Here’s that first model released for sale. I’m sure some readers had this one:

Here’s Sue’s skeleton (the largest specimen yet uncovered) in Chicago’s Field Museum. It was auctioned for $8.3 million, and the head below is a cast rather than the original, which resides in its own case . If you visit our town, you can see her. Look at those tiny arms!

Here’s Sue’s head (the real fossil):

Photo by John Weinstein
  • 1994 – Major League Baseball players go on strike, forcing the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1831 – Helena Blavatsky, Russian theosophist and scholar (d. 1891)
  • 1860 – Klara Hitler, Austrian mother of Adolf Hitler (d. 1907)

What we all want to know is whether she looked like Adolf. Here, in a photo taken about 1875, she seems to—more than does her husband Alois Hitler. Judge for yourself:

  • 1880 – Christy Mathewson, American baseball player and manager (d. 1925)
  • 1925 – Norris McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 2004)
  • 1925 – Ross McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist, co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 1975)

I couldn’t find out easily whether Norris and Ross were identical or fraternal twins, but this photo makes me suspect that they were fraternal twins. Ross was assassinated by the IRA at fifty.

  • 1949 – Mark Knopfler, Scottish-English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

I was a fan of Knopfler’s guitar work, but to me he never made the grade as a songwriter. He had one great song with Dire Straits, though: “Sultans of Swing” (recorded 1978). Here he talks about how he played it:

Those who relinquished the ghost on August 12 include:

  • 1295 – Charles Martel, king of Hungary (b. 1271)
  • 1827 – William Blake, English poet and painter (b. 1757)
Tyger (Blake)
  • 1891 – James Russell Lowell, American poet and critic (b. 1819)
  • 1955 – Thomas Mann, German author and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1875)
  • 1964 – Ian Fleming, English spy, journalist, and author (b. 1908)

Fleming wrote all the James Bond stories in a lovely house in Jamaica called “Goldeneye”. Here it is:

  • 1982 – Henry Fonda, American actor (b. 1905)
  • 1989 – William Shockley, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
  • 1992 – John Cage, American composer and theorist (b. 1912)
  • 2000 – Loretta Young, American actress (b. 1913)
  • 2007 – Merv Griffin, American actor, singer, and producer, created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (b. 1925)
  • 2009 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1915)

And another guitar piece: Les Paul live on the Letterman show in 1986, when he was 71:

  • 2014 – Lauren Bacall, American model, actress, and singer (b. 1924)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili wants a nosh:

Hili: What time is it?
A: It’s late.
Hili: I thought so because my stomach is rumbling.
In Polish
Hili: Która godzina?
Ja: Już późno.
Hili: Tak myślałam, bo mi w brzuchu burczy.
And here is baby Kulka eating some of Malgorzata’s yogurt. As Malgorzata said, “She is the first cat I know who likes yogurt.”

The Far Side has its own Facebook page now, so I don’t feel so bad about posting Gary Larson cartoons (earlier he asked people to refrain from reproducing them). I still hesitate a bit, but couldn’t resist this one:

Vaccine resister!


♬ original sound – Dr. Glaucomflecken

From Jesus of the Day:

Those who think that the “Iran deal” favored by Biden will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, well, you’re sorely deluded. Maybe it will delay it for a couple of years, but that’s it. Then what? Here’s one possibility:

A tweet from Luana with an antiwoke cat:

And a gentler tweet; what could be more soothing than a young girl with ducklings?

From Simon, who says “Defunding is not popular!” Click on the tweet to hear the sound.

Tweets from Matthew, who might look good in these pants (or, as the Brits say, “trousers”):

What is a serow? A goat; there are four species.

Matthew calls his own tweet “The ignorance of a poor Brit!”, but it’s excusable. How many Americans even know that the “Harlem Globetrotters” (an exhibition basketball team), whom I saw when I was a kid, really started on the South Side of Chicago. The name is just to give it an air of authentic blackness (nearly all the players were black):

How many times have you sighed when you had to click on “CAPTCHA” pictures like “click on the squares with boats”? They’re always boring, and this author explains why:

28 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. … to me he never made the grade as a songwriter. He had one great song with Dire Straits, though: “Sultans of Swing”

    I beg to differ! Better were Brothers in Arms (as good as anything the Beatles wrote), Romeo and Juliet, Telegraph Road, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Private Investigations. “Alchemy” has to be one of the great live albums.

  2. was a fan of Knopfler’s guitar work, but to me he never made the grade as a songwriter. He had one great song with Dire Straits, though: “Sultans of Swing” (recorded 1978).

    I reckon you’re crediting the department store employees for writing “Money for Nothing”?

    1. A song now censored on the radio. They just strip out the entire second verse. Though I have no idea whether the band agreed to or was consulted on that decision, maybe they were.

  3. California has become the nation’s first state to require that schoolteachers and school staff must be either vaccinated or face regular covid testing if they’re to work at public schools.

    Seems more than reasonable, given the option provided.

    I predict that conservative evangelical Christians in California will soon discover a bible passage that makes it against their religion to be tested for Covid.

  4. “How many Americans even know that the “Harlem Globetrotters” […] really started on the South Side of Chicago” – similarly, I wonder how many Americans know what Oprah Winfrey’s real first name is? Weirdly, it’s “Orpah” but people kept mispronouncing it when she was a kid and the mispronounced version stuck:

    Incidentally, the Biblical character Orpah seems an odd choice to name your daughter after given that “her other name Harafa is cognate of the word for threshing; that she allowed herself to be “threshed” by many men as one would thresh wheat (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 42b)” – but I guess that’s another issue altogether…

    1. I did eventually from an Oprah in the Bible. Should have written it down.

      I made myself read the whole thing mainly so I would know it well but also so I could tell Xians that I had done so, had they?!

    1. I have resolved that, if forced to provide pronouns, I will say my pronouns are “I” and “We”, and let any subsequent conversations be even more meaningless. I still contend that expecting to control how one is talked about is ridiculous.

    2. Hey! Tired of being asked, now at several meeting, and just politely declining, I did decide to use “we.” But I like your full list better.

      Because for better or worse, “we” are all in this together on the same planet getting hotter by the hour.

  5. ” . . .the Democrats must ultimately subject themselves to the rule of law, even if they object to the law that they must vote on.”

    On pg. A16 of of the 8/12/21 NY Times, the fatuous headline: “At the Texas Capitol, a Day for Issuing Arrest Warrants, Rather Than Legislating,” even as (a locution the Times is wont to insert when trying to sneak an opinion into reporting) the article states that the legislature was and is ” . . . well-short of the quorum needed to pass legislation . . . absentee Democrats who bolted the chamber during the final hours of the legislative session in May to rob the House of a quorum.”

    Perhaps that headline arguably can be taken more than one way. In any event, since May it has been many days of doing something other than legislating.

    I look forward to the Times and the renegade Dems stating for the record their world view on the concept of “Rule of Law.” (Only when things are going their way and it’s convenient?)

  6. The great Dem reaction to Hawley was only part of the fun. GOP Senator Tommy Tuberville suggested a non-binding amendment to the Dem’s budget resolution that would cut federal aid to municipalities that defund the police. Dem Corey Booker stood up and thanked Tuberville for the “gift” and suggested that his fellow Dems vote for the amendment. They did so unanimously. Of course, it was non-binding and it won’t stop Republicans of accusing Dems of wanting to defund the police. Still, Black Lives Matter folks are livid.

    Senate Democrats unfazed by GOP police funding proposal

  7. D J Enright wrote a poem The Quagga, It is too long to quote here.

    There also seems to be a project to retrieve the animal from extinction, if one is to believe anything on the internet.

  8. The dr glaukomflecken (a weird nom de plume, even for an ophthalmologist) sketch is so real, I encounter it on a daily (almost) basis.
    Here in my area it is compounded by the love of Ivermectin, a dangerous drug if taken chronically.
    Is Ivermectin a ‘thing’ in other countries too? Or is it a typical South-African delusion?

      1. I can’t understand: there is vaccines proven to be effective and shown to have negligeable side effects (after hundreds of millions of jabs). Basically only an extremely rare blood cloth, that is 8 to 10 times more common in Covid itself.
        On the other hand there is Ivermecton, safety for chronic use never formally tested and turning out to be highly hepatotoxic, and masking symptoms of Covid resulting in (too) late presentatio,. Yet, it is embraced by those that shun the vaccines.

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