Monday: Hili dialogue

July 4, 2022 • 6:30 am

Hooray: it’s the Fourth of July (2022), marking the day we declared independence from our colonizers!

Below we have an appropriate Google Doodle today, and if you click on it (do so), you will go to a page on the holiday, but you’ll also see animated fireworks. Note the capital “G” flipping burgers on the barbecue, appropriate for the holidays (see below):

Appropriately, it’s National Barbecue Day, but I’m sure my favorite BBQ joint on 47th Street will be closed today.  Here’s a large order of rib tips (the best!) and links from my secret restaurant in Bronzeville. The “vegetable” (about 5 grams of coleslaw) is at upper right, along with the obligatory slices of white bread. The tips and links are to die for—especially the tips.

It’s also Jackfruit Day (try it!), National Caesar Salad Day (et tu, anchovy?), National Country Music Day, and the Birthday of Queen Sonja of Norway

Stuff that happened on July 4 includes:

Here’s the nebula photographed in natural light through the Hubble Space telescope. It can also be seen by amateur astronomers:

Read the caption (bolding is mine) to this facsimile of that Declaration:

(From Wikipedia) This is a high-resolution image of the United States Declaration of Independence (article – text). This image is a version of the 1823 William Stone facsimile — Stone may well have used a wet pressing process (that removed ink from the original document onto a contact sheet for the purpose of making the engraving).
  • 1802 – At West Point, New York, the United States Military Academy opens.
  • 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.

Here’s the land that was bought from the French superimposed on a modern map of the U.S. The price? $15 million, or less than three cents an acre. In 2020 currency that would be about $323 million or 61 cents per acre: a terrific bargain:

  • 1817 – In Rome, New York, construction on the Erie Canal begins.

It’s 363 miles (584 km) long. Here’s a map of the Canal from the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

  • 1826 – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, respectively the second and third presidents of the United States, die on the same day, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence. Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives,” not knowing that Jefferson had died hours earlier.

That is one of the weirdest coincidences (and saddest events) in American history.

  • 1831 – Samuel Francis Smith writes “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” for the Boston, Massachusetts July 4 festivities.
  • 1832 – John Neal delivers the first public lecture in the US to advocate the rights of women.
  • 1845 – Henry David Thoreau moves into a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau’s account of his two years there, Walden, will become a touchstone of the environmental movement.

A first edition and first printing of this classic account will run you about $25,000:

Now this puppy will cost you a lot more. A first printing of the first edition is about $125,000:

And for this one, the first edition in its second issue is about $47,000. And it has the Cheshire Cat on the back!



  • 1892 – Western Samoa changes the International Date Line, causing Monday (July 4) to occur twice, resulting in a year with 367 days.

I don’t understand that at all.

  • 1910 – The Johnson–Jeffries riots occur after African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in the 15th round. Between 11 and 26 people are killed and hundreds more injured.

The fight was filmed for distribution in movie theaters. It was silent, of course, but this one has an informative narration. The 15-round fight starts at 4:37.

The fight took place in Reno, Nevada, but ignited race riots all over the U.S. White Americans couldn’t stand their “champion” laid low by a black man. But as you’ll see, Johnson (who had a colorful life and was the subject of a short Ken Burns documentary) punished Jeffries severely, especially in the last two rounds.

Here’s a Russian dramatization of the execution (warning: violence and blood). It was brutal:

  • 1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth”, then announces his retirement from major league baseball.

Not all of what Gehrig said was recorded, but we do have these famous words below. He died on June 2, 1941 at age 37.

  • 1954 – Rationing ends in the United Kingdom.

Note that it took nine years for food distribution to get back to normal after the war.

Barbie died of cancer in prison four years later.

  • 2012 – The discovery of particles consistent with the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider is announced at CERN.

Da Nooz:

*Is there any good nooz this month, or even this year? The latest bad news is that the Ukrainian military has withdrawn from the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk subregion of the Donbas. I’ve circled  the approximate location of Lysychansk on the map below.

From the NYT:

Russia’s capture of the strategic city of Lysychansk means the front line in Ukraine’s east will shift as Russian forces regroup before pushing further south and west, military analysts and Ukrainian officers said Sunday, ensuring that the next phase of the battle will be just as bloody as the last.

Moscow’s victory in Lysychansk means its forces are in control of large parts of the Donbas, a region of mining towns and rolling fields that have become the focal point of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine since their defeat around Kyiv, the capital, in the spring.

The Donbas is made up of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces. Capturing Lysychansk effectively hands full control of Luhansk province to Moscow, meaning that its forces can now focus to the southwest into Donetsk.

*There was a police shooting in Akron, Ohio on Sunday. The man killed by the cops, 25 year old Jayland Walker, was fleeing from police after a traffic stop. Walker, 25, was black, and so police racism has become a big deal in Arkron. But worse: Walker was hit sixty times after cops fired 90 rounds at him.  They claimed that they tried to use a taser but it failed.

The reason given for the carnage was that Walker fired a shot from the car as he fled. The evidence for that is a flash of light from a nearby streetcam.  And they did find a gun in his car, but he was unarmed when he was shot, for he was shot after he left the car and ran. It baffles me why cops would fire sixty rounds at someone who was not shooting at them at the time and, in fact, running away from them. Perhaps the claimed firing of a gun from the car is sufficient reason to riddle the man. And we’re not sure he fired from the car.

Of course there’s an investigation underway, so we must simply wait to see what the bodycam videos show. But it still seems that too many people are being killed after traffic stops, too many people are being shot at when they are fleeing, and, in this case, sixty shots must have turned Walker into the human equivalent of hamburger.

*More bad news: Biden is slipping even more in the approval polls, as the Associated Press reports.

The latest poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that his approval rating remains at 39%, the lowest since taking office and a steep slide from 59% one year ago. Only 14% of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction, down from 44%.

Douglas Brinkley, another historian, said Biden suffered from a case of presidential hubris after a largely successful run in his first five months in office, which included an overseas trip to meet with allies excited about welcoming a friendly face back to the international scene. He compared Biden’s Fourth of July speech last year to President George W. Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” moment during the second Iraq War.

“He was trying to deliver good news but it didn’t pan out for him,” Brinkley said. “Suddenly, Biden lost a lot of goodwill.”

White House officials reject the comparison, noting that Biden warned about the “powerful” delta variant in his 2021 speech. Chris Meagher, a spokesman, said deaths from the virus are at a record low now, reducing disruptions in workplaces and classrooms.

“Fighting inflation and lowering prices is the president’s number one economic priority, and he’s laser focused on doing everything he can to make sure the economy is working for the American people,” he said. “And we’re in a strong position to transition from our historic jobs recovery to stable and steady growth. Because of the work we’ve done to bring the pandemic under control, COVID is not the disruptive factor it has been for so long.”

Of course the White House will never admit that Biden is becoming less popular, even though he is. What we should worry about is finding some Democratic candidates in 2024 who can beat either Donald Trump (who is making “I’ll be back” noises) or Ron DeSantis.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants to avoid her nemesis:

Hili: Kulka is under the stairs.
A: So what?
Hili: Nothing, I’m on my guard against her seeing me.
In Polish:
Hili: Pod schodami jest Kulka.
Ja: I co?
Hili: Nic, pilnuję, żeby na mnie nie patrzyła.
And here’s The Nemesis:


From Doc Bill:

Yesterday’s Far Side by Gary Larson, sent in by Tom:

This is today’s world; a cartoon by Bill Bramhall sent by reader Bruce:

Here’s the photo that Jango, the cat staffed by reader Divy, is going to use to attract females in his online dating profile. Isn’t he a beaut? But perhaps that gaze is too intense for the lady cats?

The Tweet of God:

A tweet from Barry; the ending is inevitable:

From SImon: a CSPAN statement by Liz Cheney during an election debate. SImon adds, “I disagree with her on most things, but this is worth listening to, especially the end.”

Will she be re-elected?

From the Auschwitz Memorial. Died at age 12:

Tweets from Matthew. First, from wonderful Dodoland, a real cat maven. Be sure to see his Instagram page, The Catluminati. 

A lovely cartoon strip:

Okay, what kind of bird is this?

Why not? Cats love butter:

This is a stunning (and adaptive) simulation of death. Be sure to watch the end!

26 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

    1. I thought it was two pieces of rebar stuck in the ground. Who thought evolution would produce protective camouflage for birds on building sites? 🙂

  1. I just looked it up and — wow! — what are the chances that Lou Gehrig would eventually be diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

    1. I remember an old Chicago DJ commenting on how ironic it was the Lou Gehrig would have a disease named after him, and then catch it.

    1. Not exactly as if the French sold something they owned, a bit like me selling Sydney Opera House… oh well, might is right I suppose. Perhaps we in the rest of the world should have armed the resistance!

      1. I heard someone say the other day that the US and Canada are siblings born of the same mother (Britain) — with the US being the wild child who runs off to raise hell, while Canada is the quiet one who decides to maintain its relationship with mum. 🙂

  2. The Hubble image of the Crab Nebula is pretty, but it’s actually a false-colour image, with blue, green and red channels signifying neutral oxygen, sulphur (S+) and doubly-ionised oxygen (O++) respectively.

    1. Yes, almost all the nebula pictures we see are in false colors that are intended to give scientists information about the distribution of particular elements in the nebula The actual Crab Nebula looks nothing like this. Here is a page with some versions of the nebula:
      Almost everything from Hubble is false color, constructed from multiple narrow-bandwidth images whose strengths are arbitrarily mapped onto the red, green, and blue channels of our monitors. Even most “natural color” images, captured in visible red, green, and blue light, are skewed to the red because of the use of red filters with sharp cut-offs in the red/infrared boundary, where in reality our eyes are not very sensitive to long-wavelength red light. This results in a redder cast in the photo than in reality (where “reality” is the colors our eyes would see if we looked through a telescope with enormous light-gathering ability so our cone vision would be used). And even if someone is using a straightforward ordinary digital camera, it is common practice to color-balance the image by equalizing the relative strengths of the red, green, and blue channels, which moves the image away from its true colors.

      A good (though controversial) discussion of this issue is at the clarkvision website.

      In a few weeks I’ll be doing a project to capture real natural-light images of nebula. I’ll send some to Jerry if they turn out alright.

  3. If you’ve read Whitman’s stuff, and are looking for fresh material, I suggest check out John Burroughs.

    Walt Whitman was friends with John Burroughs, who wrote some striking literature for the early 19th century – example :

    “For my part, the longer I live the less I feel the need of any sort of theological belief, and the more I am content to let unseen powers go on their way with me and mine without question or distrust.”

    Other writings suggest a disdain for “theology”, an embrace of Nature, but still an Einsteinian sort of Nature as Religion – that is, reverence of Nature without the funny fashion show and brainwashing.

    More quotes with sources (I think):

    Bio in Wiki form :

  4. I just saw this one in the news again…

    For the readers who are not familiar, over the past 20 years, over 60 people in the United States have been charged with terminating pregnancies illegally. Cell phone records (calls, texts, and now apps history) are being used in these charges. Readers have replied ‘Well, don’t bring your phone to an abortion clinic, then’, not realizing how addicted/dependent many people are on their phones. Many people literally don’t know how to leave their house, get a ride, or make an appointment, or find a clinic without using their phones. Sure, the tech savvy of us can, but most other people don’t even consider the issue.

    1. Over time, there should develop a kind of countersurveillence system. Google has recently announced it will not keep location data regarding visits to abortion clinics.

      1. Even if Google doesn’t retain that info, others will. LEOs already have a history of installing Stingray devices that behave like a normal cell antenna but clone cellular traffic and report back personally identifiable information (IMEI, etc.). I expect to see stingrays installed close to clinics, which will then triangulate and report back PII of anyone entering the clinic. ISPs/cell providers can be subpoenaed for incriminating texts and phone records; clinic workers will probably have all of their communications subpoenaed. To top it off, most people have insecure apps installed that have access to basic records (location, contacts, call history!) – and many of those apps sell that information to insurance providers, to law enforcement agencies, etc.

        Even though there are technical solutions to protect people, I do not think that most people using those clinics will be aware of them.

    1. If you drive down I-75 in Florida, the sign as you pass the Swanee River has the music for the first two bars of the song on it.

      1. What’d be really cool is the bridge as a singing bridge with the melody!

        The U.S. needs that!

  5. Food wasn’t the only commodity that continued to be rationed in the UK after the war. Clothing and soap were also rationed until 1952, and fuel until 1958.

    I recall my late mother telling me that, during the terrible winter of 1947, she would go to bed during the day to keep warm, so that when my father was studying for his quantity surveyor’s exams in the evening, they still had their coal ration to build a fire.

    1. NYT headline:
      Liz Cheney Encourages Wyoming Democrats to Change Parties to Vote for Her

      Ms. Cheney, who faces a Trump-backed challenger, has begun mailing Wyoming Democrats instructions on how to change their party affiliation.

      Good luck with that; it’s obvious an act of desperation. Has something like this EVER worked? Plus, I doubt there are enough Democrats in WY to make much of a difference.

  6. “Is there any good nooz this month, or even this year?”

    Not good nooz perhaps, but if this clip from “Yankee Doodle Dandy” doesn’t make you smile in spite of all the bad news, then I don’t now what will. I watch the whole movie every Fourth of July, but the great Jimmy Cagney hoofing to the title song is something no one should miss on the Fourth.

  7. “or 61 cents per acre: a terrific bargain:” Unfortunately, thught, we ended up with the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming ant the panhandle of Texas. That’s at least 20 horrid US Senators in these times.

  8. Nice copy of Alice: I quite possibly have the same copy! I bought mine about 40 years ago in Lausanne, Switzerland, of all places. IIRC I paid about $35 for it, including the original box it came in.

  9. The Erie canal allowed the sea lamprey to reach Lake Ontario. The Welland Canal allowed the lamprey to enter Lake Erie, and from there, the upper Great Lakes.

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