Tuesday: Hili dialogue

June 7, 2022 • 7:00 am

Good morning on The Cruelest Day: June 7, 2022: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. The best version I’ve had of this treat is the “rich chocolate” flavor at Dr. Mike’s in Bethel, Connecticut: one of the best ice cream shops in America. (Years ago, I once made a long detour to get there; it was worth it.) There’s a new owner now with new flavors, so report back to me if you’re near Bethel. (The chocolate lace flavor is also terrific.)

From Michael Stern at The Daily Beast:

The one flavor you can always count on. . . is rich chocolate, the most chocolaty food imaginable. It is a devastating concoction with an explosive Dutch cocoa taste carried in custard that is as smooth as iced velvet and as rich as clotted cream. Chocolate Lace and Cream, another daily flavor, is made of sweet cream (not vanilla) and chunks of brittle sugar candy sheathed in bittersweet chocolate.

Stuff that happened on June 7 include:

  • 1099 – First Crusade: The Siege of Jerusalem begins.
  • 1494 – Spain and Portugal sign the Treaty of Tordesillas which divides the New World between the two countries.

Here’s an original page of the treaty, which is written in Spanish:

  • 1654 – Louis XIV is crowned King of France.
  • 1862 – The United States and the United Kingdom agree in the Lyons–Seward Treaty to suppress the African slave trade.
  • 1892 – Homer Plessy is arrested for refusing to leave his seat in the “whites-only” car of a train; he lost the resulting court case, Plessy v. Ferguson.

There are no authentic photos of Homer Plessy, but, sadly, he lost his case. The Supreme Court ruled that segregation was not unconstitutional so long as “separate but equal” facilities were maintained for different races. Of course, they were separate but never equal.

  • 1899 – American Temperance crusader Carrie Nation begins her campaign of vandalizing alcohol-serving establishments by destroying the inventory in a saloon in Kiowa, Kansas.

Her real name was Carrie Moore but she used “Carrie Nation” as she wanted to “Carry the Nation” towards temperance. Here she is with her symbolic axe used to destroy booze:

The U.S. won, but it was a tough battle (and gave its name to Chicago’s smaller airport.  Below is the ship Hiryū sinking, one of three Japanese carriers lost in the battle, and a severe blow to the Japanese navy.

Hiryū, shortly before sinking, photo taken by a Yokosuka B4Y off the carrier Hōshō[134]
  • 1946 – The United Kingdom’s BBC returns to broadcasting its television service, which has been off air for seven years because of World War II.
  • 1965 – The Supreme Court of the United States hands down its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, prohibiting the states from criminalizing the use of contraception by married couples.

Black and Stewart dissented. Griswold was a member Planned Parenthood who started a birth-control clinic in Connecticut to directly challenge the law. The court rendered a 7-2 decision, with the majority opinion written by William O. Douglas (below).

  • 1977 – Five hundred million people watch the high day of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II begin on television.
  • 1982 – Priscilla Presley opens Graceland to the public; the bathroom where Elvis Presley died five years earlier is kept off-limits.

Here’s the most famous room at Graceland, Elvis’s “Jungle Room,” which served as his “mancave.”  The Atlas Obscura says this:

The Jungle Room also became the King’s final recording studio, where he recorded much of his last two albums.

Graceland could be considered the mecca of American mid-century kitsch, but the Jungle Room is truly its best signifier. Its tropical trimmings are reminders of a bygone trend in luxury, now largely considered silly and over-the-top. It was allegedly a favorite place of Elvis’ and his family’s, and the room’s tiki vibe is said to have reminded him of his time spent in Hawaii.


*The head of the violence-prone and right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, was indicted, along with four of his associates, for seditious conspiracy.

The charges expand the Justice Department’s allegations of an organized plot to unleash political violence to prevent the confirmation of President Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Tarrio, 38, was not in Washington that day, but allegedly guided the group’s activities from nearby Maryland as Proud Boys members engaged in the earliest and most aggressive attacks to confront and overwhelm police at several critical points on restricted Capitol grounds. One co-defendant, Dominic Pezzola, of Rochester, N.Y., broke through the first window of the building at 2:13 p.m. with a stolen police riot shield, authorities said.

*The results of our poll the other day on the future of Ukraine is below. As you see, most people think that after the dust settles, Ukraine will be partitioned into a smaller country, with (probably) a fair chunk going to Russia:

*The NYT has a funny video of Jonathan Pie trying to explain to Americans why the Brits consider PM Boris Johnson a wanker. (h/t David). Meanwhile, Johnson will face a no-confidence vote from his own party (I’m writing this Monday evening and may have results Tuesday), all stemming from his hosting a bunch of booze parties during the covid lockdown—a time when those parties were forbidden.

*As of 5 p.m., yesterday Boris survived the vote.

Johnson won the backing of 211 out of 359 Conservative lawmakers, more than the simple majority needed to remain in power, but still a significant rebellion of 148 MPs. With no clear front-runner to succeed him, most political observers had predicted he would defeat the challenge.

But the rebellion represents a watershed moment for him — and is a sign of deep Conservative divisions, less than three years after Johnson led the party to its biggest election victory in decades.

*I don’t know if this is an excuse for Elon Musk to back out of buying twitter, but he is kvetching about the secretiveness of the organization as a possible reason for him to give up. According to the Wall Street Journal,

Elon Musk threatened to terminate his deal to buy Twitter Inc.  in a letter accusing the company of not complying with his request for data on the number of spam and fake accounts on the social-media platform.

Mr. Musk said Twitter has refused to provide the data necessary for Mr. Musk to facilitate his own evaluation of the number of spam and fake accounts. In April, Twitter accepted Mr. Musk’s $44 billion bid to take over the company and go private.

In a letter to Twitter Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde that was disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday, Mr. Musk’s lawyer Mike Ringler said Mr. Musk is entitled to the requested data, in part so that he can facilitate the financing of the deal.

It sounds to me that he’s had second thoughts about saying he was going to buy the entire company. Or perhaps Twitter is holding out, as they made the deal with Musk reluctantly.

*Remember this optical illusion that I posted the other day?

The New York Times has an article about it that reveal, among other things, the following:

  • The image is actually static, and has much to teach us about how our brains and eyes see the world. In a study published last week in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, psychologists tested this illusion on 50 men and women with normal vision, and, using an infrared eye tracker, found that the greater a participant’s response to the illusion, the stronger the pupil dilation response.
  • They also discovered some people — perhaps even you — can’t see it.
  • When you look at this illusion, the hole is not darkening. But the perception that it darkened was enough to make your pupils respond.

“There is no reason per se that the pupil should change in this situation, because nothing is changing in the world,” said Bruno Laeng, a psychology professor at the University of Oslo and an author of the study. “But something clearly has changed inside the mind.”

The researchers hypothesize that the illusion works because the gradient on the central hole makes it look as if the viewer is entering a dark hole or tunnel, prompting the participants’ pupils to dilate. They also found the illusion’s effect varied against different colors and was strongest when the black hole was atop a magenta background.

There’s more, including a bit about the evolutionary adaptations that foster such illusions.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has chosen her spot:

Hili: There are borders.
A: Between what?
Hili: Between the grass and gravel, on which it’s not comfortable to lie.
In Polish:
Hili: Są granice.
Ja: Między czym a czym?
Hili: Między zielenią, a kamykami, na których źle się leży.
. . . and a cute picture of Kulka by Paulina:


From Divy:  A cartoon by Sarah Anderson:

Bathtime for baby elephants! (h/t) Malcolm)

From Stash Krod:

A tweet of God:

Two tweets from Barry: A real hero performs CPR on a goat!  I’d do it, too, if I knew that CPR was needed.

Bathtime for birds! A chicken getting blow dried after it had a bath along with a raptor in a birdbath!

From the Auschwitz Memorial. She lived but a month after arrival:

Tweets from Matthew.  Queen Elizabeth does have a sense of humor, though it’s not often on display. Here’s one case where it was. I believe the first part of the anecdote is true, but not the big where she starts cursing.

Adam Rutherford is taking over the reins from Alice Roberts as President of the British Humanists. His “platform” doesn’t sound overly woke. . .

A wryneck is one of a group of Old World woodpeckers, so named because they can turn their heads almost completely backwards. Sound up; the song is faint.

Just to be clear: the hologram of the queen was inside a real carriage:

24 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Never actually bought a company myself, but Musk is probably concerned about the valuation (price) of Twitter. If the number of bot accounts is higher than they’ve reported, the revenue potential is lowers, since bots don’t look at ads.

    I actually heard a story the other day about Elvis’s jungle room. All the decor in there is from a company called Witco, who were the ne plus ultra of exotic decor in the 60s. Apparently, Elvis left a catalog laying around, and his dad found it and remarked on how terrible the stuff was. Elvis has just bought the show room, and all that stuff became his Jungle Room. Witco’s story is an interesting one, and their products are highly collectable.

  2. one of three Japanese carriers lost in the battle,

    The Japanese lost all four of their carriers at Midway.

    It sounds to me that he’s had second thoughts about saying he was going to buy the entire company. Or perhaps Twitter is holding out, as they made the deal with Musk reluctantly.

    The problem is that, following recent falls in stock prices, Musk’s offer for Twitter looks very attractive to the sellers and simultaneously, the fall in Tesla’s price has put pressure on Musk’s financing because he’s used the stock as collateral in a loan to finance the deal. So yes, I think Musk is trying to get out of it.

    My prediction is that Musk will welch on the deal and will be sued by Twitter for doing so. The suit will be settled out of court.

    Oh yes, and the Jungle Room is not the most famous room in Graceland. Until today I’d never heard of it, but I had heard of the bathroom in which Elvis pegged out.

    1. … but I had heard of the bathroom in which Elvis pegged out.

      The King died on the throne.

      Sic transit gloria mundi when it comes to American royalty.

  3. Boris Johnson survived yesterday’s confidence vote, although did worse than Theresa May when she survived her own. Six months later, May was gone….

    1. We’ve got some by-elections coming up. If they go as badly as everybody is predicting, Johnson is history. Nothing concentrates the mind of an MP like the prospect of losing their job in a general election.

      1. Not to mention the inquiry by the HoC Privileges Committee into whether Johnson lied to the House. If they conclude that he did, it should be another nail in his political coffin. Knowing him, he would still try to brazen it out; but it would surely be too much for even his more slavish supporters.

        1. I thought that he’d changed the Ministerial Code so that “little lies” didn’t require resignation – not that Boris has only told little lies, he’s frequently told some howling great ones; but if he gets to decide what constitutes a “little lie”, maybe he can save his worthless neck again.

      2. Yup, the by-elections will be interesting. For the uninitiated, both are being held after the sitting Conservative MP resigned in disgrace; one after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage boy some years ago and the other for watching pornography in parliament twice (the first time by accident whilst looking for tractors online – you couldn’t make it up…).

  4. 1892 – Homer Plessy is arrested for refusing to leave his seat in the “whites-only” car of a train; he lost the resulting court case, Plessy v. Ferguson.

    Plessy v. Ferguson, upholding “separate but equal.” was a 7-1 decision (one justice had recused himself), with only Justice John Marshall Harlan dissenting. Harlan’s grandson (named after his grandfather and known as “John Marshall Harlan II”) — appointed by Dwight Eisenhower and many people’s beau idéal of what a principled conservative should be — was a member of the unanimous Court that overruled Plessy in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

  5. The version I heard was slightly different:

    Tourist: I heard that the Queen lives somewhere around here. Have you seen her?
    Her Majesty: No. But he has (pointing to her bodyguard).

    I don’t know how the constitution defines privacy, but criminalizing contraception seems a bit much 🙂 Does prayer work as a method of contraception? I’m sure plenty of people try it, so the data must be out there somewhere.

    1. Not even the Roman Catholic Church recommends prayer as an efficacious method of contraception. The only two methods approved by the Church involve keeping a calendar to monitor when a woman is fertile (so as to avoid sexual congress during those times) and complete abstention from coitus non-interruptus — or, as the two were known in the Catholic neighborhood where I grew up, “Rhythm & Blues.” 🙂

  6. What’s the deal with the illusion? It has a “*” – Am I am missing the punchline?

  7. It’s not the most graceful bath I’ve ever seen a hawk take, but then it’s the only one I’ve ever seen.

  8. Any help on commenting appreciated :

    I’m having comments show up, then edit, then disappear. I have http and YouTube links conspiring against the effort. It is bad because they are useful to back up statements with sources. I write out a long, careful, honestly thoughtful comment and it disappears. If I should simply stop doing that, I’ll gladly do it, for it will save me the time and thought, instead of it internally getting deleted somehow.

    But if a more technical explanation is out there, I can use that. I’m using :

    Latest iOS, Brave browser. Tried Safari a bit. Seems not to matter.

  9. I wouldn’t be surprised if Musk is trying to negotiate a better deal. He might even get one. Still, we are only hearing part of the conversation. Who knows what representations Twitter made? It’s like hearing only one side of a lover’s fight — something to be taken with a grain of salt.

    1. Matt Levine, lawyer and former investment banker, writes a fascinating and often very funny column about the latest goings-on in the money world: crypto, NFTs, GameStop, Robinhood, and, of course, Elon Musk and Twitter. His online newsletter is free, and an entertaining few minutes each day even if you are the kind of person who keeps their money under the mattress.
      His take is that Musk has breached his side of the deal so many times so far that his bluster is just more BS; but that there is a little bit to the lawyers’ letter about Twitter failing to comply with disclosure obligations. Still, as Levine says, how could Twitter trust that Musk would comply with his obligations of confidentiality in what he says he now wants – which is information that is (a) proprietary, and (b) likely to contain personally identifiable info about Twitter users – when he has broken those obligations already with respect to other things.

  10. “A hologram of the queen drove through London in a golden carriage today. And people waved at it. They waved at a hologram.”
    This is not from a Monty Python remake, though you can be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

  11. In other news, the BBC’s Springwatch 2022 has started this week. In today’s programme alone, we’ve had close-up films of nests of hatchlings, from oystercatchers to buzzards; an explanation of how squirrels can climb head-first down vertical tree trunks; a stunning film of common cuttlefish courting, fighting, mating and being born; and the discovery of a new species of parasitic fungus (which they are inviting viewers to name).

    Well worth watching, if you can, in real time, or on BBC iPlayer if you can get it.

  12. When my wife and I were still dating, we took a lot of road trips, one of which was a pilgrimage to Graceland. I expected it to be a campy sort of experience, even though I always liked his music. My Mom saw him numerous times, starting in 1955, when he opened for Hank Snow. In 1975, I bugged my folks to take me along when they saw him again.
    Anyway, Graceland was really pretty touching, which I did not expect.

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