Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 20, 2022 • 6:30 am

Greetings on the Cruelest day: Tuesday, and it’s September 20, 2022: National Rum Punch Day. This is appropriate, coming as it does on the heels of Talk Like a Pirate Day!

It’s also National Fried Rice Day, National Pepperoni Pizza Day, National String Cheese Day, and National Gibberish Day.

I bet you were wondering, “How DO they make string cheese?” (I love it.) Here’s the answer:

Today’s Google Doodle reminds Americans to register to vote (click on screenshot). I am permanently registered to vote by mail, which is quite convenient as you can take your time.

Stuff that happened on September 20 includes:

  • 1519 – Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition which ultimately culminated in the first circumnavigation the globe.
  • 1881 – U.S. President Chester A. Arthur is sworn in upon the death of James A. Garfield the previous day.
  • 1893 – Charles Duryea and his brother road-test the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.

Here are the brothers in 1894 in one of their early cars:

Here’s one of the famous (or notorious photos from that area at the time (photos of mass executions are rare, as the Nazis didn’t want to leave a record. The Wikipedia caption:

Executions of Jews by German army mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) near Ivangorod Ukraine. The photo was mailed from the Eastern Front to Germany and intercepted at a Warsaw post office by a member of the Polish resistance collecting documentation on Nazi war crimes. The original print was owned by Tadeusz Mazur and Jerzy Tomaszewski and now resides in Historical Archives in Warsaw. The original German inscription on the back of the photograph reads, “Ukraine 1942, Jewish Action [operation], Ivangorod.”

Note that a mother with her child is also about to be shot:

  • 1962 – James Meredith, an African American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.

He enrolled formally on October 2. And this is what it took to enforce it: “U.S. Army trucks loaded with steel-helmeted federal agents roll across the University of Mississippi campus on October 3, 1962.”  Despite what some say, it’s palpably true that racism has lessened since those days:

Here’s match point. Although it was the “battle of the sexes,” I was rooting for King. Riggs was a loudmouthed, porcine boor.

  • 1973 – Singer Jim Croce, songwriter and musician Maury Muehleisen and four others die when their light aircraft crashes on takeoff at Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana.

We lost Croce way too soon; he had a lot of good songs left in him. This is my favorite, “Operator,” and he’s playing it with Muelheisen.

Whatever happened to Greta? I haven’t heard much about her lately. Did you know that four animal species were named after her?

Da Nooz:

*Although I didn’t watch the entire funeral service for Queen Elizabeth, the parts I saw were more moving than I expected. As a reader emailed me, “Nobody does ceremony as well as the British.” The two moments I found most touching were when tears coursed down the King’s cheek when they sang the National Anthem (this time the “God Save the King” variant) and when the Queen’s Piper played a solo and haunting threnody as the last item on the agenda. You can hear it on this CNN tweet:

The seriousness of Elizabeth’s funeral this morning is leavened by an article in the Guardian on the quirks and humor that social-media users found in the ceremony. Here are a few tweets presented by the site (h/t Matthew):

The give a photo (the Queen received 15 Prime Ministers during her reign):

And of course there was THE SPIDER:

One more:

*If you missed the funeral and don’t have time to watch the whole thing, the Washington Post has a 4 minute, 28 second summary video of the whole shebang: click here and then start the video.

A screenshot:

*If you’re into funeral garb, the Washington Post has a long and analytical article about the meaning of the dresses and accessories worn by three women: Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and the Queen Consort, Camilla. One example—the Duchess of Windsor:

Catherine, Princess of Wales (a.k.a. Kate Middleton) and the wife of Prince William, wore a sharp-shouldered, double-breasted black blazer dress with pleats, a narrow waist and a moderately deep V-shaped neckline. The angular garment was a black version of the Alexander McQueen dress she wore earlier this year at a Platinum Jubilee event. She paired the ensemble with a wide-brimmed black hat, as well as two selections from the queen’s extensive jewelry collection: a pair of long drop pearl earrings (given to the queen by Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain in 1947) and a dramatic pearl choker (made from pearls the Japanese government gifted to the royals and worn by Princess Diana in 1982) that stood out strikingly against the dark hues of the day.

As Catherine ascends in the royal lineup to queen consort-in-waiting, her profile is further rising in the public eye; her husband’s time on the throne, once a somewhat distant eventuality, now feels more concrete and imminent. Her eye-catching ensemble invoked the power suits and daring fashions of the 1980s — and indicated comfort with the blazing spotlight of national attention.

Voilà. If you’re not interested, you don’t need to tell me in the comments.

*Trumpy stuff from the NYT: “The story so far: where six investigations into Donald Trump stand.” I’ll list the and summarize the take in one or two words

  1. New York State: Violation of business practices. The Attorney General is still investigating.
  2. Manhattan: Same issues, charges of fraud and tax evasion leveled at Trump organization. Manhattan DA doubtful if enough evidence to convict but two prosecutors, disagreeing, resigned.
  3. Georgia: Conspiracy to commit election fraud (the phone call to “find 11,780 votes”). Ongoing, could lead to charges for Trump allies like Giuliani.
  4. Congress: Promoting the Jan. 6 insurrection. Investigating committing pondering whether to recommend criminal charges, though they can’t indict Trump (only the Dept. of Justice can do that).
  5. The Dept. of Justice: same as above. Attorney General Merrick Garnland has his own investigation going, but he’s holding his cards close to his chest.
  6. Also the DOJ: investigation of obstruction of justice and mishandling classified documents (the Mar-a-Lago raid). Ongoing, but assuming they get the documents to use, it’s promising.

Six investigations means Trouble with a capital “T” and that stands for Trump.

*The Russians have installed puppet authorities in parts of the eastern Ukraine they’ve taken over, and two regions have declared themselves separatist “republics”: the “Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics.” Now both of them are begging Moscow for Russia to take over these republics. That’s a sure sign that, at least in these regions, Russia is at risk of losing more territory.

The appeals from authorities in the Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics came as Ukrainian forces continued to extend their gains of recent days, having already pushed Russian troops out of most of the northeast Kharkiv region.

Access to the front line by journalists is restricted. But there were reports that Ukrainian troops had pushed into the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region, and also of fighting around the city of Slovyansk in the Donetsk region — indications that Russia was at imminent risk of losing territory it had previously controlled in the eastern Donbas region.

In a statement published on the website of the Luhansk People’s Republic’s “public chamber,” the deputy head of the chamber, Lina Vokalova, called for a public referendum to approve annexation and said the vote would “fulfill our dream of returning home — to the Russian Federation.”

A similar message came from the pro-Kremlin puppet authorities in Donetsk.

“It is time to erase the nonexistent border between our countries, as it has long been erased in our hearts, and to conduct a referendum on the question of the DPR becoming part of Russia,” the Donetsk public chamber head Aleksander Kofman said.

I’m not sure whether this bogus referendum would have any validity, especially when the Russians would be supervising it. At any rate, do you think the Ukrainian military would stop there advance even if these countries voted themselves to be part of Russia?

*As Elizabeth Holmes’s sentencing for wire fraud approaches (October 17, and she could get a long sentence), she desperately seeking to get her conviction thrown out or to secure a new trial. According to Business Insider, last week she engaged in a flurry of activity:

The Theranos founder, convicted on four fraud-related charges in January, made three requests for a new trial in the span of two days last week.

Prior to filing the three motions, Holmes had asked the judge in her case to throw out her conviction on the grounds of “insufficient evidence.” He tentatively denied her request earlier this month. Holmes’ sentencing hearing is set for October 17.

For all her efforts, Holmes’ odds of getting a new trial don’t look good, two legal experts told Insider.

“These are all Hail Marys,” said Jason Ross, a partner at law firm Dykema whose areas of focus include white-collar criminal defense. “I don’t think any of these are going to ultimately get her a new trial.”

I mentioned the first request at the time, and here are the two others:

A day after filing that motion, Holmes made two more requests for a new trial. In one, her team took issue with the prosecution’s different portrayals of Holmes’ relationship with Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and former right-hand man at Theranos, in their two separate trials.

The motion says the government played up the differences in age and experience between them in Balwani’s trial, to make the case he had a big role in what went wrong at Theranos. But in Holmes’ trial — where the defense says highlighting these differences might have led to Holmes being acquitted on more charges — the government played their cards very differently, according to Holmes’ attorneys.

As for this second request, there’s not a lot of case law that would indicate the prosecution has to stick with one interpretation of evidence across separate trials, Ross says.

“If the government’s arguments are consistent with the evidence admitted in that trial, then the fact that there’s a different argument made based on different evidence is not a strong basis for relief or for getting a new trial,” added Kramer.

In the third motion, Holmes says she was denied emails that showed prosecutors failed to take appropriate steps to preserve a Theranos database of testing and quality control data that she claims would’ve helped her during her trial. The government produced these documents for Balwani’s trial though, Holmes pointed out.

“Without being able to prove that the database reasonably could be expected to result in an acquittal, the defense would have to show prosecutorial misconduct, and it would have to be of such degree that it doesn’t seem was present here,” said Kramer.

The judge will hear arguments on these requests on October 3.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being profound:

Hili: History repeats itself.
A: How?
Hili: Yesterday there were no mice here and today there are no mice either.
In Polish:
Hili: Historia się powtarza.
Ja: Z czym?
Hili: Wczoraj nie było tu żadnej myszy i dziś też nie ma.
. . . and a photo of Szaron. Note the book that Malgorzata just read (on my recommendation!). She loved it, as will you.


God is clearly on the Left, but not the “progressive left”. He’s my kind of god, or would be if he existed!

Speaking of hijabs, here’s a tweet from Masih. The beating death of Amini by the morality police has touched off a wave of protests in Iran. Note that men are participating in the hijab burning.


From Simon. Well, it was their Queen, but it’s not their Prime Minister. Still, it’s an announcer. . .

From Ken, who notes, “One of the congresswomen we love to hate, Lauren Boebert (R – The Funny Farm), is all-in on evangelical eschatology.”  How does she know the End Times are near? They ALWAYS are!

From Malcolm. DO NOT apply that towel!

From the Auschwitz Memorial: Gassed at 3½. Westerbork was the holding camp in the Netherlands for Dutch designated to die; it’s where the Frank family was held before being taken to the camps.

Tweets from Matthew.  First, the lovely Philomena returns! Be sure to watch if you’re in the UK!

The echidna can, too!

I believe Richard referred to gannets when, discussing his book on flight, noted that these diving birds eventually damage their eyes from plunging into the sea. But it might be a different species. At any rate, this is a spectacular display:

And there’s a new Twitter account today (third tweet below):

26 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. This old atheist was surprised to find himself appreciating the funeral service for HM Queen Elizabeth. The rituals and services of my childhood still comfort, even though I regard them as empty beyond their social and psychological effects. And if that’s what inspired Her Majesty to live her life as she did, we can mark that down as a rather lonely entry on the plus side of the ‘what good does religion do?’ score card.

    1. I don’t mean to impose, but would you be able translate some of the (let’s be honest) weirdness in the names of the ushers (above). I presume they are military awards or titles of some sort.

      For example, in what way are several of them “Extraordinary”? What does that mean? I assume it’s an honorific earned by the person, but…what? I too would like to know something about the “Rouge Dragon Pursuivant”, namely; what does it signify?

      And what in the world is the “Lady of the Black Rod”?

      Any assistance with the translation would be appreciated.

      1. Wikipedia describes the various officers of arms in the UK, such as the Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary:

        In England, the authority of the thirteen officers of arms in ordinary, who form the corporation of the kings, heralds and pursuivants of arms (College of Arms), extends throughout the Commonwealth, with the exception of Scotland, Canada and South Africa.

        Officers of arms are of three ranks: kings of arms, heralds of arms, and pursuivants of arms. Officers of arms whose appointments are of a permanent nature are known as officers of arms in ordinary; those whose appointments are of a temporary or occasional nature are known as officers of arms extraordinary. The officers of arms in ordinary who form the College of Arms are members of the royal household and receive a nominal salary.


  2. In the video on making string cheese, all the workers were wearing gloves, but the narrator kept touching the cheese with his bare hands. I don’t want to eat cheese he’s been touching.

  3. At any rate, do you think the Ukrainian military would stop there advance even if these countries voted themselves to be part of Russia?
    Absolutely not, the referendums have no validity and Ukraine will rightly ignore them.

      1. What are you saying exactly?
        1/ That climate ‘doomists’ are the new denialists & stop people thinking we can change course, a la Michael Mann?
        2/ That climate change is not happening?
        3/ That climate change is a matter of faith not science?

  4. Fool me once. . . . After the Russian Collusion hoax, I am disinclined to believe anything about these cases against Trump until one of them puts him the the defendant’s chair. The first two investigations have been going on for years. At the moment they all seem like acts of desperation to keep Trump out of the White House, and, by association, smear conservatives. Is there really not enough YET to indict him? For something? One really has to wonder if this all isn’t just more lies and innuendo. It’s frankly made me sympathetic to Trump, and I don’t want him to be President.

    1. You seem detached from reality. This is way beyond differences in opinion, it’s about denial of facts. Nearly all of the investigations into Trump have already indicted many of his cronies and underlings, more than any other administration, even Nixon. I’m sure if you think just for a second about why Trump himself hasn’t been indicted for anything yet that you might come up with a few plausible reasons.

      If you truly think that the Mueller investigation was a hoax, or based on a hoax, you are seriously detached from reality. Have you read the Mueller Report? Semantics regarding the term “collusion” aside, Trump was and likely still is a tool of the Russian oligarchy and the evidence is clear. My how conservatism has changed so quickly. Even as recent as 20 years ago “I kill commies for my mommy” was the tenor of good conservatives everywhere and these days conservatives have nothing but praise for the KGB thug Putin and could care less that their president was his dog. And they claim they are patriots. It’s like it’s opposite day or something.

  5. Well I never knew :

    Steve Carell
    Emma Stone
    Movie : Battle of the Sexes (2017)

    … that ought to be good – Steve Carell should be perfect for that role.

    1. I should try to watch that. Billie Jean King came out with an autobiography, and there were many fascinating details about the match.

      1. At TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) which we attended Sept 8-18, those in the know yell AAAARRRHHH! when the anti-piracy notice comes on🤓

  6. I think I can answer the question about what Rouge Dragon Pursuivant does when he’s not dressed up to the nines for a ceremonial occasion. He is one of the Heralds of the College of Arms, and one of the principal roles of that body is to grant coats of arms to people or organisations who are entitled to be armigerous. (Yes, it’s a real word. Go look it up.)

    When I was on the faculty of Queen Mary and Westfield College (one of the colleges of the University of London) in the early 1990s, the college merged with the medical colleges of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the London Hospital. The newly-formed organisation needed a new coat of arms, and the faculty received regular email updates from the Principal on his meetings with Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, who had been assigned the task. The end result was a coat of arms which combined aspects of the coats of arms of the three original organisations, whilst remaining true to the rules of heraldry. Rouge Dragon Pursuivant also devised a new motto, Coniunctis Viribus, which means “a joining of forces”, demonstrating that he’s also rather good with Latin.

    1. Interesting – Google Translate is getting better, but as I forgot all the O Level Latin (i did pass) I cannot say if their version of the same phrase translated – “coniunctio virium” is grammatically rubbish…

      1. Funny you should say that. The college’s Principal was a law professor, and he didn’t provide an English translation of the Latin motto. That led one of the professors to email the all-faculty mailing list, saying that he though it translated to “Men coming together”, and asking if this was an entirely appropriate sentiment. There followed another email, from one of the professors of pure mathematics, whose classical education was rather better. He pointed out that “Viribus” derives from “vis”, meaning force or strength, and not from “vir”, meaning man.

        This is an anecdote which I always enjoy telling. Thank you for giving me the excuse.

  7. What the Einsatzgruppen image symbolizes is visceral and shocking. It is harder to tell what it actually depicts.
    The image is frequently presented in cropped form, with the standing rifleman and the woman holding the child. But it appears that he is farther away from the camera than she is, and is aiming at something to the right of the image. The other two rifles, partially shown, are also aimed above the heads of the civilians in the image.
    That is not to say that there is not a group of victims out of frame to the right.
    There was certainly a massacre of Jews in Ivangorod in March, 1942. Yad Vashem has a detailed page on the tragedy, including the written confession of one of the perpetrators.
    However, what is described there does not seem very much like the image, although the image is published alongside the article.
    My suspicion is that the action pictured was one of many perpetrated on the Jewish Ukrainian population at the time, somewhere in the general area of Ivangorod, but not the specific incident described by Yad Vashem. I suspect the photographer was German, due to the caption and circumstances of the interception of the print. The soldiers are probably Ukrainian police or volunteers, as they wield rifles from WW1.

    Of course, none of that would matter to the victims, their families, or the communities that are just no longer there.

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