Monday: Hili dialogue

September 19, 2022 • 6:30 am

The Queen’s coffin is being drawn in a carriage by sailors (where are the horses?) towards Wellington Arch, where she’ll be transferred to a hearse for the trip to Windsor, where she’ll be buried.

Top o’ the week to you: it’s Monday, September 19, 2022, and National Butterscotch Pudding Day.

It’s also International Talk Like a Pirate Day and Meow Like A Pirate Day, but that’s pretty much it. Jimmy Kimmel advertises the holiday (37 years old now) showing hilarious clips of newscasters trying to talk like pirates:

Stuff that happened on September 19 includes:

  • 85 – Nerva, suspected of complicity of the death of Domitian, is declared emperor by Senate. The Senate then annuls laws passed by Domitian and orders his statues to be destroyed.

See? Cancel culture is ancient: Domitian’s memory was “condemned to oblivion”! Here’s a statue of Domitian that may have escaped the statue-toppling, but his penis has gone missing.

(From Wikipedia): The genius of Domitian with the aegis and a cornucopia, marble statue, Capitoline Museums, Rome

How much was it? $639,000, which wouldn’t even buy a missile today.

You can see this important document here. Curiously, though it was a letter from the President, it was largely drafted by others. From Wikipedia:

The letter was first published as The Address of Gen. Washington to the People of America on His Declining the Presidency of the United States in the American Daily Advertiser on September 19, 1796, about ten weeks before the presidential electors cast their votes in the 1796 election. It is a classic statement of republicanism, warning Americans of the political dangers which they must avoid if they are to remain true to their values. It was almost immediately reprinted in newspapers around the country, and later in pamphlet form.

The first draft was originally prepared by James Madison in June 1792, as Washington contemplated retiring at the end of his first term in office. However, he set it aside and ran for a second term because of heated disputes between Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson which convinced Washington that the growing tensions would rip apart the country without his leadership. This included the state of foreign affairs, and divisions between the newly formed Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties.

As his second term came to a close four years later, Washington prepared a revision of the original letter with the help of Hamilton to write a new farewell address to announce his intention to decline a third term in office. He reflects on the emerging issues of the American political landscape in 1796, expresses his support for the government eight years after the adoption of the Constitution, defends his administration’s record and gives valedictory advice to the American people. The letter also attempted to reunite the country, which had partly turned against Washington following the controversial 1794 Jay Treaty.

The words that the Virgin Mary supposedly said to the children are reproduced here. Why is it always Mary and not Jesus who appears in these miraculous visions?

  • 1893 – In New Zealand, the Electoral Act of 1893 is consented to by the governor, giving all women in New Zealand the right to vote.

This made the country the first one in the world in which all women had the right to vote in elections.

He got in (see his “entry photo” below, got out, having sent out a lot of information, and then joined the Polish resistance, fighting during the Warsaw Uprising. He was captured again by the Germans, put in another camp, but then liberated by the Red Army. Then the Communist government of Poland torture and murdered this hero.

  • 1957 – Plumbbob Rainier becomes the first nuclear explosion to be entirely contained underground, producing no fallout.

Here’s a video of the explosion, but it’s flying dirt. There were in fact 29 Plumbob tests:

  • 1982 – Scott Fahlman posts the first documented emoticons 🙂 and 🙁 on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system.

Those messages were recovered 20 years later, and here you go: the first smiley and frowney.  The man created a monster, and an industry of monsters.

Dating to between 3350 and 3105 BC, Ötzi was probably killed, perhaps as a sacrifice. His teeth were full of cavities, too, though he was estimated at about 45 years of age. The first photo below is his position in the glacier, then how he’s displayed now in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, and then a reconstruction of his garb. His last meals consisted of chamois meat, roots, fruits, and grains:

You can see the Manifesto here. The author,  Ted Kaczynski, was in prison for life at the ADX Florence Supermax prison, reserved for the worst baddies, but the latest entry in Wikipedia says he was transferred to a hospital late last year because he had terminal cancer. (He’s still alive at 80.) His victims: 3 killed and 23 injured.

  • 2011 – Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees surpasses Trevor Hoffman to become Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 602. His Won/Loss record was 82-60. 

Rivera had 652 saves when he retired, and of course is now in the Hall of Fame. Here’s him setting the record of 602:


Da Nooz:

*This is a bad one: Hurricane Fiona has struck Puerto Rico very hard, and in fact there is NO electric power on the island, which has an area of 3,500 square miles and a population of about 3.3 million. It’s a total blackout, and you can imagine what that means. My first through was a hope that the hospitals have generators. From the WaPo:

As the wind and rain escalated Sunday, more than 1.4 million people experienced power outages, which is 100 percent of the customers tracked on the island, according to Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, said in a tweet on Sunday afternoon that the power was out on the entire island.

In its early afternoon update, the National Hurricane Center warned both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic should expect “catastrophic flooding” from the slow-moving storm.

. . .Luma, the private consortium contracted by Puerto Rico to manage its electrical transmission and distribution system, said the deteriorating weather conditions and strong winds were “extremely dangerous and impeding our ability to evaluate the entire situation.” Luma said it could take several days to restore power and asked customers for “patience.”

Puerto Rico has a long history of power grid crises and attempts to fix its system. Since Hurricane Maria left the country without power for months in 2017, residents have called on local and federal governments to improve natural disaster response and recovery efforts.
This tweet, with a gif, went up yesterday:


*A BIG headline in yesterday’s NYT (click to read story)

As you may know, after 2017 the Women’s March more or less imploded, dissolving under accusations of anti-Semitism, bullying, financial improprieties, and fragmentation along ethnic lines, as well as the chafing of local groups under the leadership of the New York “bosses.” Now, according to the NYT, a lot of that fragmentation and dissent was seeded by Russian trolls assigned to the task:

. . . organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March. At desks in bland offices in St. Petersburg, using models derived from advertising and public relations, copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans.

They posted as Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners. But one message performed better with audiences than any other.

It singled out an element of the Women’s March that might, at first, have seemed like a detail: Among its four co-chairs was Ms. Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist whose hijab marked her as an observant Muslim.

. . .Over the 18 months that followed, Russia’s troll factories and its military intelligence service put a sustained effort into discrediting the movement by circulating damning, often fabricated narratives around Ms. Sarsour, whose activism made her a lightning rod for Mr. Trump’s base and also for some of his most ardent opposition.

One hundred and fifty-two different Russian accounts produced material about her. Public archives of Twitter accounts known to be Russian contain 2,642 tweets about Ms. Sarsour, many of which found large audiences, according to an analysis by Advance Democracy Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts public-interest research and investigations.

Many people know the story about how the Women’s March movement fractured, leaving lasting scars on the American left.

fragile coalition to begin with, it headed into crisis over its co-chairs’ association with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, who is widely condemned for his antisemitic statements. When this surfaced, progressive groups distanced themselves from Ms. Sarsour and her fellow march co-chairs, Carmen Perez, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland, and some called for them to step down.

Wanting to deepen rifts in American society, the Russians concentrated on feminism, and the Women’s March was the obvious target, with Sarsour the most vulnerable to social-media criticism. And so the posts began calling her “a radical Islamist, ;a pro-ISIS Anti USA Jew Hating Muslim; who ‘was seen flashing the ISIS sign.’”

. . . By the spring, the backlash against Ms. Sarsour had developed into a divisive political sideshow, one that easily drowned out the ideas behind the Women’s March. “It was like an avalanche,” she said. “Like I was swimming in it every day. It was like I never got out of it.”

Well, I’d add that Sarsour is, in my view, an anti-Semite and somewhat of an Islamist, fiercely ambitious but not very diplomatic, and making her one of the bosses of the March, along with two women who sympathized with the vicious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, wasn’t a great idea. The NYT piece seems to blame Islamophobia for the breakup, but having followed Sarsour for years and heard her own speeches, I can’t find her a sympathetic figure. She’s also a whiner, and I’m sure is delighted that the NYT is blaming her downfall on the Russians:

She is seldom invited to national platforms these days, and when she is, protests often follow. Whatever buzz there was around her as a future political candidate has quieted. She knows how she is seen, as a polarizing figure. She has adjusted to this reality, and sees herself more as an activist, in the mold of Angela Davis.

“I’m never going to get a real job,” at a major nonprofit or a corporation, she said. “That’s the kind of impact that these things have on our lives.”

Well, if I were a woman interested in women’s unity, I wouldn’t have picked the team that they did. Read the Tablet story on the issue (my take is here) and see if you think the Russians were behind it.

*There are a few NYT letters commenting on Chelsea Conoboy’s execrable NYT piece, “The Pernicious Myth of Maternal Instinct,” perhaps one of the most ignorant pieces of science I’ve seen in the NYT. (I wrote about it here.) Here’s one, and except for the gratuitous “thank God for the maternal instinct” (it should have read “Thank natural selection. . . ), Mr. Palmer correctly points out that socialization cannot explain the ubiquity of maternal care and attention throughout the animal kingdom.  Conoboy and her followers inundated me with emails and comments after I wrote about it, claiming that I misunderstood her. I commented exactly on what she wrote in her piece, and reject that claim.

To the Editor:

Chelsea Conaboy seems to dismiss the “myth” of maternal instinct because it has been misused by some to limit the role of women in society. Nonsense! Because it has been misused is no reason to reject the importance of this most wondrous of emotions.

Who cannot be awed and deeply respectful of the mother elephant, tenderly using her trunk to help her newborn stand, or of the mother dog or cat as she tends to her newborn pups after birth, licking off the birth membranes and carefully positioning them for nursing. Has anyone seen a father do that? And yet, I doubt that there has been a cabal of animal fathers scheming to assign this task to the mothers. Why should humans be any different?

Thank God for maternal instinct.

Robert H. Palmer
New York

*I don’t usually highlight Wall Street Journal op=eds, which are predictably conservative. But this one, “A Sanctuary City Spectacle,” excoriates both right and left for using migrants to enact political theater. Of course the Dems get it harder, but remember that they promised immigration reform.  Kamala Harris was in charge. What we got is effectively open borders with Joe Biden putting up a bit “welcome” sign. That gets forgotten in all the tut-tutting of the Left. From the op-ed:

It’s hard to imagine a bigger spectacle of American political failure than this week’s histrionics over migrants. GOP Governors used political stunts to draw attention to the burden of handling runaway migration at the border, while Democrats pretended to be horrified and change the subject from their own border failures. Migrants have become political props for both parties.

. . .All of this underscores the bipartisan failure that is U.S. immigration policy. The U.S. needs willing workers and some of the migrants are genuinely fleeing persecution. But the porous U.S. asylum policy lets too many economic migrants enter the country and claim asylum, and so they continue to come by the hundreds of thousands from around the world.

President Biden has sent every signal that they should keep coming. In his first week in office he revoked President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which had allowed migrants to be removed from the U.S. temporarily. This April he moved to end a policy known as Title 42, a pandemic-emergency power that also allowed more migrant expulsions (and remains in place for now under court order).

A functioning political system would find some way to reform asylum rules, buttress border security, and allow more pathways for legal immigration so workers could go back and forth as the economy requires.

But that would take presidential leadership that Mr. Biden won’t provide. Given his own presidential ambitions, Mr. DeSantis would also be wise to offer better solutions than dropping migrants on Barack Obama’s vacation island. But this is America in 2022, where political performance art rules the day.

Actually, this was the Vice-President’s job, but she’s proven herself woefully inept, and has blown off her one big job.

*Under the “leadership” of President Erdogan, Turkey continues its backsliding into a Muslim theocracy, a reversal of secularism nearly bad as anything that happened in Iran. The latest news is a huge anti-LGBTQ march, with thousands demonstrating for an end to any groups that promote or support non-cis sexuality:

Several thousand people joined the demonstration dubbed “The Big Family Gathering.” Kursat Mican, a speaker for the organizers, said they had gathered more than 150,000 signatures to demand a new law from Turkey’s parliament that would ban what they called LGBTQ propaganda, which they say pervades Netflix, social media, arts and sports.

Hatice Muge, who works as a nanny, came to the gathering from Bursa province.

“People are here despite the rain for their children, for future generations,” she said, urging the Turkish government to take action. “They should save the family, they should save the children from this filth.”

The group held banners that read: “Protecting the family is a national security issue.”

LGBTQ parades have not been allowed in Turkey since 2015.

Ahead of Sunday’s demonstration, the organizers circulated a video using images from past LGBTQ Pride marches in Turkey. The video was included in the public service announcement list of Turkey’s media watchdog.

The video and the demonstration prompted an outcry from LGBTQ associations and other rights groups. The organizers of Istanbul Pride called on the governor’s office to ban the event and authorities to take down the video, arguing both were hateful.

This is of course based on religion, Islam in particular. For the same reason in 2017 the government banned the teaching of evolution in high schools. If you want to learn anything about the topic in Turkey, you’ll have to teach yourself or go to college.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili speaks like Holmes at the end of “His Last Bow”:

“Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”

The dialogue:

A: What do you see over there?
Hili: The beginning of a new era.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam widzisz?
Hili: Początek nowej epoki.

And here’s a photo labeled by Malgorzata:  “Andrzej, me and one of Elzbieta’s cats with a caption: ‘We exchange apples for peaches with Elzbieta as well as our opinions about the four legged creatures and not only about them.'” (Picture by Elzbieta).

I will be in Dobrzyn before too long!

Da Fruit!


From Oskar the Blind Cat and Klaus:

From reader Laurie Ann, who corrected a BBCheadline:

From D. J. Grothe:

God is outraged over what’s going on in Iran:



And a five-minute video report of the murder and subsequent protests in Iran, as people call for an end to mandatory hijab, to the dictatorship, and women doff their headscarves:

Here’s a nefarious experiment!

From Barry. What is that cat doing in there, really?

From Malcolm: some nice soccer tricks:

From the Auschwitz Memorial

One who survived:

. . . and one who didn’t:

Tweets from Matthew:

LOOK AT THIS BIRD! (Click on tweet to see whole map.) Fair winds to New Zealand, 4BBRW! The species has the longest known migration, as Wikipedia notes:

The migration of the subspecies Limosa lapponica baueri across the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to New Zealand is the longest known non-stop flight of any bird, and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal. The round-trip migration for this subspecies is over 29,000 km (18,020 mi).

Here’s a bar-tailed godwit in breedling plumage (they breed in Alaska).

Here’s an interview with one:

Finally, speaking of amazing birds, watch this video to the end. I call it “bioseismology”:

28 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. The naming of the plumbob tests is rather … strange, shall we say : Newton, Laplace, Galileo – I’m not sure they were so keen on explosions and blowing stuff up, even if it was physics.

  2. “Why is it always Mary and not Jesus…”

    There’s a story that Michelangelo was painting the Sistene Chapel ceiling when he looked down and saw a woman praying at the altar.

    Deciding to have some fun, he called out “Hello down there!”

    The woman looked around and said “Who is that?”

    “This is Jesus!”

    “Well, you keep quiet, I’m talking to your mama.”

      1. I think that Mary, a maternal figure, is less intimidating than Jesus. If Jesus gets mad, he tosses you into Hell. You can’t picture Mary doing that.

        “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, amen.”. She’ll even put in a good word for you.

  3. The Queen’s coffin is being drawn in a carriage by sailors (where are the horses?)

    According to the BBC:

    Sailors have been involved in every state funeral since 1901, as the senior service pull the State Gun Carriage.

    The tradition was inherited after horses pulling Queen Victoria’s coffin were spooked during the procession, nearly toppling the coffin.

  4. “The Queen’s coffin is being drawn in a carriage by sailors (where are the horses?)”

    This is a tradition which goes back to the state funeral of Queen Victoria, when it was a mark of the special connection that she felt to the Navy. The same honour was conferred on Winston Churchill at his state funeral, because he had been First Lord of the Admiralty.

  5. I think the reason that it is always Mary is that these things mostly happened in Catholic countries, and Catholic’s put a lot more emphasis on Mary as an intercessor than on Jesus (“Hail Mary, full of grace…”). The centrality of Jesus to devotions seems to be a Protestant, especially Evangelical, thing. Besides, Jesus is too busy appearing on toast.

  6. Here’s a statue of Domitian that may have escaped the statue-toppling, but his penis has gone missing.

    As Dr. Johnson rejoined to the proper ladies who congratulated him on omitting indecent words from his dictionary, so you checked out the statue looking for it? 🙂

  7. $639,000 in 1778 would be worth $13,000,000 today just adjusting for inflation. But of course the cost of goods is also much lower. The cost of lighting has fallen 1000 times measured as a share of a worker’s wage since then.

  8. 1796 – George Washington’s Farewell Address is printed across America as an open letter to the public.

    It was that letter that’s largely responsible for Washington’s reputation as the American Cincinnatus.

  9. As a number of people above have commented, the RN has pulled the gun carriage at state funerals since Victoria died. In fact it is the give away that it is a full state funeral rather than the slightly lesser ceremonial. At the latter (Queen Mother, Mountbatten, Thatcher) the gun carriage is fulled by horses. Only at the former are sailors involved.

    1. I find Ötzi fascinating.

      As I recall, the evidence did not suggest so much that he was killed as a human sacrifice, as that he was fleeing from an enemy who hunted him down.

  10. The Romans called cancelling, damnatio memoriae and my favourite instance of it is Geta by Caracalla in this image. Something about it just cracks me up because it is so petty and I remember seeing the image in a class and the class chuckling so that even the professor chuckled at it.

  11. When God talks of ‘teeny, tiny men’, we know he has issues dealing with his own impotence. He can’t even get the people who do what He tells them to do to do what He wants them to do. Wasn’t there a time when He sent people down here to change things? The last messenger was Gabriel and that seems to have worked out remarkably well.

    I’m pretty sure Domitian didn’t feel a thing.

  12. This is very late in the day, but just got to the Dialogues: Very glad you are heading out to visit Hili and her staff in, apparently, the fairly near future. Maybe that return to normalcy will help kill offyour insomnia.

  13. “The little mermaid can’t be Black”

    This is one of those issues that drives me up the wall and makes me mad at “both sides” (that is, at EVERYBODY).

    So, on the one hand, a solid bit of snark from D.J. Grothe, amiright? But then consider: Casting John Wayne as Genghis Khan is RIGHTLY considered to be one of the most absurd casting decisions in the history of the movies. “Blackface” (the Othello picture) is now condemned by all decent people. I know less about the “woke” reaction to the two bottom pictures, but I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts there is a LARGE overlap between people who celebrate the Little Mermaid being played by a black woman, and people who snark at or outright condemn those casting decisions from The Last Temptation of Christ and Prince of Persia.

    So…is D.J. Grothe saying that casting Halle Berry as the Little Mermaid is a bad thing? A stupid thing? Maybe even a racist thing?

    OR is D.J. Grothe saying that Halley Berry playing the Little Mermaid is fine and should be celebrated, just like Willem Dafoe playing Jesus is fine, and John Wayne playing Genghis Khan was fine, and Laurence Olivier playing Othello is perfectly fine–after all, Olivier was one of the most celebrated Shakespearean actors of the day, so why WOULDN’T he play one of Shakespeare’s most well-known roles?

    What IS he saying here?

  14. Also, regarding bad casting, the worst in films that I’ve seen are Mickey Rooney as a Japanese man in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (he was just awful,) Alec Guinness as a Japanese man in A Majority of One, and William Shatner (!) as a Burmese man in an episode of Naked City (he too was awful, though the extensive makeup didn’t help.)

  15. Per the mermaid meme, it should be pointed out that Wayne was portraying Khan *as* Mongolian, Olivier was portraying Othelo *as* black, etc…

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