Saturday: Hili dialogue

July 16, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to cat shabbos, when all good moggies are studying the LOLCat Talmud and eating food kept warm in an oven turned off last night. But there’s chicken for dinner! It’s Saturday, July 16, 2022, and National Corn Fritters Day. I love these, with or without syrup, but I haven’t had one in decades. I don’t want to make them, as that involves deep frying, and where can you buy them?

it’s also National Fresh Spinach Day, National Personal Chef Day, World Snake Day, and Guinea Pig Appreciation Day. As for the latter, here’s the relevance of the date:

It’s time to show a little appreciation for one of the most popular pocket-sized pets: the guinea pig! Guinea Pig Appreciation Day was founded by Piggles Guinea Pig Rescue, a “foster-home based rescue, rehoming and advice service in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada.” July 16 was chosen as the holiday’s date because “G” is the 7th letter of the alphabet and “P’ is the 16th.

Stuff that happened on July 16 includes:

Why the beginning then? Wikipedia explains:

This calendar enumerates the Hijri era, whose epoch was established as the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina and established the first Muslim community (ummah), an event commemorated as the Hijrah. In the West, dates in this era are usually denoted AH (Latin: Anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hijrah”). In Muslim countries, it is also sometimes denoted as H from its Arabic form (سَنَة هِجْرِيَّة, abbreviated ھ). In English, years prior to the Hijra are denoted as BH (“Before the Hijra”).

As for the significance of the day, don’t ask me.

  • 1054 – Three Roman legates break relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an Papal bull (of doubtful validity) of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. Historians frequently describe the event as the start of the East–West Schism.
  • 1228 – The canonization of Saint Francis of Assisi

Here’s the famous painting “St. Francis in Ecstasy” (or “St. Francis in the Desert”) painted by Giovanni Bellini about 1480. It’s now in the Frick Collection in NYC. The painting is full of symbols; I like the donkey best:

Here’s an illustration, but Wikipedia labels it “The first paper money in Europe, issued by the Stockholms Banco in 1666.” Does this mean this is a later striking of a design first issued in 1661, or is one of those dates an error? Stay tuned for Greg’s article, “What’s the matter with Wikipedia?”, hopefully to appear before I die. 

Here’s the Mission, looking much as it did but this is a restoration from the 1880s:

  • 1790 – The District of Columbia is established as the capital of the United States after signature of the Residence Act.
  • 1858 – The last apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France. 

Soubirous was 14 then, but lived on, apparitionless, as a nun, dying of TB at age 35. Here’s a photo from 1866, when she was 22 and had taken on ‘nunship’, or whatever you call it:

  • 1935 – The world’s first parking meter is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The photo below implies that these are the first parking meters, but a reader should find out if any of those cars are substantially younger than 1935:

This streak, seen in the short video below, has still never been beaten. The second place is held by Willie Keeler, Baltimore Orioles (NL), with 45 games in the early era of 1896-97; and the modern second place is held by the Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose, who hit safely in 44 consecutive games in 1978.

Here’s a short video about the project that shows the detonation (this is the “Trinity” test):

This is a pricey one: a first edition and first printing of this influential book will run you about $65,000:


  • 1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11, the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Florida.

Here’s a brief documentary of the landing day: July 20:

  • 1999 – John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, die when the Piper Saratoga PA-32R aircraft he is piloting crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

Da Nooz:

*As I reported yesterday morning, Senator Joe Manchin the Third has been busy scuppering the Democats’ endeavors in the Senate, but, as he so often does, gives tantalizing hints (never fulfilled) that he might change his mind and join his fellow 49 Democrats. He’s doing it again:

Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, on Friday defended his decision to pull the plug on his party’s efforts to pass a major climate, energy and tax package this summer, hinting that he might still be open to supporting such action later in the year.

Mr. Manchin’s comments, in an interview with a West Virginia radio host, were the latest instance in which the conservative-leaning senator has dangled the possibility that he might eventually support key pieces of President Biden’s agenda even as he positions himself as the chief Democratic impediment to enacting them.

His remarks came the day after he indicated in a private conversation with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, that if Democrats moved forward as planned with a legislative package this summer, he would not accept any climate or energy measures or tax increases on wealthy Americans or corporations.

In the interview with the radio host, Hoppy Kercheval, Mr. Manchin said he had told Mr. Schumer that he wanted to wait to act on climate and tax proposals until inflation figures for the month of July were public.

“Let’s wait until that comes out, so we know that we’re going down the path it won’t be inflammatory, to add more to inflation,” Mr. Manchin said he had told Mr. Schumer.

This is known as “temporizing.” The NYT adds that Biden’s ambitious “Build Back Better” bill has been pruned back to only two provisions in an effort to placate both Manchin and Sinema:

President Biden and Democrats in Congress had hoped to pass a broad domestic policy package that would expand the social safety net, raise taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and tighten regulation of climate-changing pollutants. But the decision by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to withdraw his support from other aspects of an already-shrunken package this week leaves nothing but health care on the table.

But even if what was once a sidecar of sorts to the so-called Build Back Better Act is now the only vehicle left on the road, it would still have a substantial impact on the lives of many Americans. And unlike other provisions that faced a mixed political reception, the central health care proposal that remains is enormously popular with the public — including Republicans.

That piece is prescription drug price reform, which Democrats have been promising for years and many Americans tell pollsters they want. The bill would take several whacks at the price of drugs — directly regulating prices for a group of expensive medications purchased by Medicare and punishing drug companies that raise prices too fast on existing medicines for all Americans.

The legislation under discussion would also expand Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, increasing financial help for poorer seniors and eliminating the program’s current unlimited cost sharing,

Still, this is better than nothing. Exorbitant prices for prescription drugs (and drugs used in hospitals) is a huge contributor to America’s bloated healthcare budget. Plus Manchin also said he’ll support the extension of the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies to those who want to buy health insurance. With his support and Sinemas, that provision will remain.

*From Ken:

Senate Republicans blocked a bill — the ‘‘Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022’’ — that would have guaranteed women the right to travel between states to obtain an abortion.

Red states don’ wanna know nuthin’ ’bout ‘bortin’ no babies.
From Common Dreams, referring to Oklahoma’s Republican Senator James Lankford:

The GOP senator from Oklahoma—which banned nearly all abortions this year even before the Roe v. Wade reversal—objected to Democrats’ effort to pass by unanimous consent the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022.

Introduced this week by Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Patty Murray (Wash.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), the bill would make clear that patients can cross state lines for abortion care and empower the U.S. attorney general and affected individuals to take legal action against those who attempt to restrict that right.

This must have been done by invoking the filibuster, because surely they could get all 50 Democratic Senators to support the bill, and Harris’s vote would ensure its passage under a simple majority. But this cannot be allowed to stand. First, it may be illegal, but it’s certainly immoral and inhumane. How can they forbid a state resident to go to another state for reproductive healthcare?

*This is unbelievable. According to the Washington Post and other sources, the U.S. Secret Service, responsible for the security of government officials like Trump (for Presidents, even after they leave the Presidency), stands accused of erasing text messages on January 5 and 6. The Secret Service has an excuse, but it’s a stupid one:

A government watchdog accused the U.S. Secret Service of erasing texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, after his office requested them as part of an inquiry into the U.S. Capitol attack, according to a letter sent to lawmakers this week.

Joseph V. Cuffari, head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate Homeland Security committees indicating that the text messages have vanished and that efforts to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack were being hindered.

“The Department notified us that many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased as part of a device-replacement program,” he wrote in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by The Washington Post. The letter was earlier reported on by the Intercept and CNN.

Cuffari emphasized that the erasures came “after the Office of Inspector General requested copies of the text messages for its own investigation, and signaled that they were part of a pattern of DHS resistance to his inquiries. Staff members are required by law to surrender records so that he can audit the sprawling national security agency, but he said they have “repeatedly” refused to provide them until an attorney reviews them.

The Secret Service’s text messages could provide insight into the agency’s actions on the day of the insurrection and possibly those of President Donald Trump. A former White House aide last month told the House select committee investigating the assault on the Capitol that Trump knew his supporters were armed, wanted to lead the mob to the Capitol and said she was told that he physically assailed the senior Secret Service agent who told him he could not.

The Secret Service denies deliberately deleting message; they say they were “replacing phones”. But since the replacement started after the messages wer requested, that doesn’t wash. And, for crying out loud, they knew those dates were important.  I reserve judgment about the Secret Service’s motivations.

*The Washington Post has a lovely duckling-rescue story that will show you that all cops are not bastards, defying the current acronym “ACAB”. A brood of eight newborn ducklings were following their mom to water, and all fell through the bars of a storm drain, something that happens quite a lot. But the cops in Olney, Maryland were up to the challenge:

Officer H. Chen was at the station doing paperwork when he heard the report about the duck. Chen, who asked The Washington Post to withhold his first name because he was concerned about possible harassment, decided to see if he could help. His mind quickly went to one of his most fulfilling moments as an officer, when he reunited parents with their 3-year-old child who had run out of their house unsupervised.

A duck is obviously not a child, he thought, but he wanted to see if he could reunite this animal family.

When he arrived at the scene in the 3200 block of Spartan Road, less than a half-mile from the station, he heard the sound of ducks calling from inside the drain. The mother duck was still there standing vigil.

Chen peered inside the drain and saw a circle of eight yellow-and-brown feathered ducklings looking confused. The babies, he believed, had slipped through the drain cover’s cracks.

He called the local fire and rescue responders, who held onto his belt while Chen reached down into the drain and scooped up all the ducklings:

One by one, Chen raised the tiny birds to the surface. As each one resurfaced, its mother, who had stopped quacking, greeted it.

When they were all together again, the duck family trekked as a pack toward Spartan Road.

“Of course I’m glad that they can be together back on their journey,” said Chen, 39.

Now there is a lovely and caring man (see below). “All cops are bastards” indeed!

Part of the rescue scene:

(From the Post): Montgomery County Police officer H. Chen reached down a storm drain to save ducklings. (Montgomery County Police Department)

Of course I have a soft spot for duckling rescue. “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire,” goes the old Jewish saying.

*According to Business Insider, Representative Lauren Boebert’s “Shooters Grill”, in which all the waitresses, clad in shorts, also packed heat, has shut down. The reason: its lease expired and was not renewed. Boebert is contemplating opening a “Shooters coffee shop with pastries”.  (h/t Bill)

The staff (note the Trump cutout in the background:

*Finally, I recommend to you Nellie Bowles’s weekly and snarky “TGIF” news summary on Bari Weiss’s Substack site. This is the one thing on Weiss’s site I never miss. (It’s free, but consider subscribing, as I do.) This week’s version is called “Taco night with the First Lady,” referring to Jill Biden’s much-criticized mention of San Antonio’s breakfast tacos when praising Latinos. I give you three items:

Meanwhile, high profile pro-choice advocates remain unconvincing. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the viral video of UC Berkeley School of Law professor Khiara Bridges sparring with Senator Josh Hawley. She insisted on using the phrase “people with the capacity for pregnancy,” rather than the verboten word women. When Hawley said, well then, “this isn’t really a women’s rights issue,” the Berkeley professor balked. Yes, of course it is!

Here’s a smart argument: One clever Texas woman is arguing that she ought to be able to use the carpool lane even as a solo driver. Why? She’s pregnant. And if Texas is going to consider a fetus a living child, then she ought to be able to as well. I support this.

 Leave Anne Frank out of your fights, please: For the blissfully unaware, I have something terrible to tell you: Among a certain set of internet-addled activists, it’s become important to argue that Anne Frank, in particular, had white privilege. Yes, that Anne Frank. The child killed in the Holocaust. This argument has been going for a few years now, kicked up again recently. “How is calling Anne Frank white antisemitic?” asked one prominent New York Times writer (she deleted the message and said, no, Anne Frank did not have white privilege). The whole conversation went on for a few strange days. How could anyone suggest that the Jews murdered by the Nazis were, in fact, privileged in any way? This is your brain on modern American race theory.

Bowles knows how to do The Nooz!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili discusses bad times then and now. Malgorzata, who translates Andrzej’s Polish dialogues, explains the metaphor: “I thought it’s an English expression for the awfulness of the Middle Ages. We have a Polish expression which Andrzej used “Mroki Średniowiecza” and literally it means “darkness”, “blackness”, with a suggestion of “horror”.

Mists of the MIddle Ages is a metaphor.
A: Indeed.
Hili: And mists of the present as well?
In Polish:
Hili: Mroki Średniowiecza to metafora?
Ja: Istotnie.
Hili: A mroki współczesności też?
Shhhh! Baby Kulka is sleeping:


From Facebook:

Speaking of black Labs, this is from a great site, “America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy.” You should subscribe.  (This supports a sex difference in humans in terms of eagerness to mate.)

A great snow globe from Merilee:

The Tweet of God; a good one today:

From Luana (the story is from The Babylon Bee)

From Tom. The clever cats flee, leaving the d*g to take the blame:

From Barry. Why is a chicken sleeping upside down in a tub of water??

Duckling coach!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, we have two today:

Tweets from Professor Cobb.  Another great thousand-year-old English oak, but I think this is the Pedunculate Oak in Kent. And yes, I’d probably be in awe if I saw it, just as when I saw the Giant Sequoias in California. If you visit America, the latter are a must-see, and fortunately they appear to be saved from raging wildfires in that part of California.




23 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. 1935 – The world’s first parking meter is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

    Ol’ Cool hand Luke was a fella knew a thing about parking meters:

  2. This is a pricey one: a first edition and first printing of this influential book [Catcher in the Rye]will run you about $65,000 …

    At that price, you’d think you’d at least get to know all about where Holden Caulfield was born, and what his lousy childhood was like, and how his parents were occupied and all before they had him, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but he didn’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

  3. Apropos Apollo 11, the BBC produced a series of podcasts in 2019 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first Moon landing. The series was called “Thirteen Minutes to the Moon”, referring to the time that it took the Lunar Module to reach the surface of the Moon after began its powered descent. The episodes cover several fascinating aspects of Apollo 11, including the flight control computer, and the series culminates by examining the 13-minute descent of the LM in detail. It’s available online and I cannot recommend it highly enough to fellow space geeks:

  4. … the U.S. Secret Service, responsible for the security of government officials like Trump (for Presidents, even after they leave the Presidency), stands accused of erasing text messages on January 5 and 6.

    When the Roman Republic transitioned to the Roman Empire in the third decade BCE, one of the first things the first emperor, Caesar Augustus, did was to designate the Praetorian Guard — which had theretofore served as bodyguards for senators and procurators — to serve as his personal security escorts. The Praetorian Guard’s involvement in palace intrigue soon followed.

    In the third year of his presidency, Donald Trump had Anthony Ornato, the Deputy Assistant Director of the Secret Service who had headed Trump’s security detail, take a leave of absence from the Secret Service so that he could become Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the White House and a Trump political advisor (resulting in Ornato’s answering to Trump personally rather than to the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the Secret Service).

    Plus ça change

    1. I can’t believe the Orange One had the intelligence to plan that. Must have been someone like Stephen Miller (who must have known some Machiavelli and Roman History).

      1. Trump has a base instinct for sussing out the weakness in others. And he’s known for extracting oaths of personal loyalty from those close enough to him to know of his misdeeds — a loyalty Trump plainly does not return in kind. (There’s reporting that he’s already planning to let others, including his last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and the hapless lawyer John Eastman, take the fall for his post-election coup-plotting.)

        I don’t think it’s necessary for Trump actually to know anything of Roman history (or the writings of an Italian Renaissance philosopher) for the parallels to hold.

  5. Always amazes me that a huge oak like that survived the Napoleonic wars when oaks were used in huge numbers to build the Royal Navy.

    1. That oak would have been several centuries old when the Napoleonic Wars began, and quite possible already hollow within. I doubt that a shipwright could have found much timber in the tree that would have been suitable for building one of His Majesty’s ships.

  6. Re the passing of “the wrong Trump”: Did it strike anyone else as rather odd that she died of “blunt impact injuries to the torso,” apparently as a result of falling down the stairs? I suppose I can imagine falling down the stairs so awkwardly that internal injuries to the torso might be fatal, but it’s a bit of a stretch for me. To the head, sure, but to the torso?
    I also didn’t quite understand what was meant by “aided individual” that I saw in several news reports, e.g. CNN: “According to a statement, police received a 911 call about an “aided individual” at about 12:40 p.m.” Anyone know?

      1. Ha! Right! Well, no, I haven’t learned anything new, but I haven’t really tried, to be honest. I’m not really assuming foul play, by the way, I was just surprised by some things in the reporting that I didn’t immediately understand. I don’t really tend to fill in gaps in my knowledge with gods, ghosts, goblins, ghouls or conspiracy theories. 🙂

  7. Come on. The answer to why did the chicken sleep upside down in a tub of water is, Because it can!

    Merilee that snow-globe is awesome!

  8. There are different recipes for corn fritters, including some that are cooked much like potato pancakes. Pan-fried in shallow oil, I believe.

  9. “God” is getting more tediously partisan this election year in one square of a blue dot in one obscure corner of His universe. And, like all aristocrats, he doesn’t have much use for ordinary people who don’t behave according to instruction by their betters.

  10. [Khiara Bridges] insisted on using the phrase “people with the capacity for pregnancy,” rather than the verboten word women.

    For PCC(E)’s sake, fight one battle at a time.

    1. Rather than focus on how ‘pregnant people’ includes trans & nonbinary folks, I wish they would just say it also includes children. Girl children – who are not yet women.

    2. Before I was banned from Twitter, I saved this quote:

      “If we say ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘pregnant women,’ abortion becomes a people’s rights issue instead of a woman’s rights issue. And then you can’t complain if men decide.” — Helen Saxby, Resisters

  11. The 30 January date also suggests the 1666 note was not issued on today’s date in 1661. I don’t see where the 16 July for first issue even comes from. The illustration is of a 1666 note. .There are no known surviving examples from 1661. Here is an image of a copper 10 daler piece from 1644 or 1645 (weight about 43 pounds) [Weights were reduced to 83% (sounds like a good thing?) under profligate birthing-person ruler Christina. Sweden had lots of copper, not much silver.
    Banker Palmstruch was born in on 15th July 1611, similar to 16 July 1661 (?). When the bank collapsed, he was sentenced to death (commuted by king). [Maybe we need to take financial shenangigans more seriously in this country.]

  12. Lauren Boebert’s shop re-brand has a chance at greatness: a shop where patrons will be encouraged— or challenged— to shoot their own holes into jelly donuts. Think of the bragging rights.

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