Thursday: Hili dialogue

June 8, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Thursday, June 8, 2023, and National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day. I could use one: it’s 5:30 a.m. and I haven’t yet had coffee:

It’s also Best Friends DayWorld Brain Tumor Day, Thomas Paine Day (he died on June 8, 1809), World Oceans Day, and Bounty Day (Norfolk Island), explained by Wikpedia:

Bounty Day is a holiday on both Pitcairn Island, destination of the Bounty mutineers, and on Norfolk Island. It is celebrated on 23 January on Pitcairn, and on 8 June on Norfolk Island, the day that the descendants of the mutineers arrived on the island. It is named for the Bounty, although the ship never saw Norfolk Island.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 8 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day: Here’s another kind of white to stimulate your taste buds if you’re tired of chardonnay or pinot gris.  This one’s a two-year old Australian Riesling, pale straw-colored and almost bone dry.  I had it with a tomato-and-egg omelet, and it was a good match. Fresh and clean, with an aroma of dried apricot, peaches, and citrus, it’s fruity and floral without being sweet. It’s not that cheap at $16, but it’s a good wint to serve guests or take to a resaturant, as it will go with almost anything.

The ratings are good; Here’s James Suckling, who gives it a 96/100:

A very fresh, piercing nose of sliced lemon with plenty of sweet perfume, too. The palate is similarly intense and vibrant with white stone-fruit and lemon flavors, delivered in an impressively intense and balanced mode., who gives it a 96/100.

It you want a treat and a change of pace for a white wine, I recommend this so long as the price is around $16.

Da Nooz:

*It’s still not clear who blew up the dam in southern Ukraine in an area occupied by Russia, but the damage is severe, and officials are starting to think that Russia may be the culprit. Remember, I said it first!

The rupture on Tuesday has added another dimension to a humanitarian crisis resulting from a war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions. It unleashed a torrent of water that inundated dozens of towns and villages along the Dnipro River separating Russian and Ukrainian-held parts of the southern Kherson region.

Neither side has released a figure of fatalities from the incident, which is likely to leave lasting scars in southern Ukraine and threatens to pollute waterways, severely damage the local habitat and force farmers out of business.

Ukraine has accused Russia of blowing up the dam, which will likely affect Kyiv’s plans for a long-awaited counteroffensive that appeared to be under way in recent days, while also washing away Russian fortifications along the Dnipro River that were meant to ward off a Ukrainian river crossing.

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said Russia had blown up the dam to hinder the advance of Ukrainian troops.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the destruction of the dam wouldn’t detain Ukrainian forces. “We will still liberate all our land,” he said.

Russia, in turn, blamed Kyiv for sabotaging the dam. Western intelligence agencies, including in the U.S., are working to determine who is responsible for the dam breach, but are leaning toward Russia, a Western official said.

A photo of Kherson from the WSJ.  The lack of fresh drinking water is going to be a serious problem, even though casualties may be low:

(From the WSJ): Streets and buildings in Kherson, Ukraine, are flooded following a dam breach. PHOTO: LIBKOS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

I haven’t seen in the press the reasons why U.S. officials are leaning towards blaming Russia, but peons like us aren’t going to get that kind of information yet.

*Jessica Grose has a NYT editorial explaining why six people moved away from organized religion, but she discusses the issue in general: the secularization of America.

When I followed up with these readers, three trends emerged. Several had switched religious affiliation more than once; I’ll call them seekers. Others had an abrupt break from church in their youth, after which they became atheists or agnostics; I’ll call them skeptics. And there were others who drifted away from religion fairly late in life; I’ll call them slow faders, because their religious evolutions took time.

. . .A common reason that people raised in religious households become nones is that they lose faith early in life. In 2016, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 62 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans who were raised religious “abandoned their childhood religion before they turned 18.” An additional 28 percent left the religion of their youth between the ages of 18 and 29.

More than one reader who responded to my call-out lost faith after realizing that Santa Claus and other revered childhood figures are make-believe. Kathleen Kalt, 68, who lives in Florida, was raised Catholic and is the oldest of six kids, said that she lost faith in the first grade. That’s when she found a bike in her family’s storage room that she knew was a Christmas gift, and realized that there was no Santa. “My brain just went: tooth fairy, Easter bunny, God. It took less than a minute, a very traumatic minute. I realized I was on my own at 6 years old,” she said. She doesn’t believe in God, but she observes Buddhist rituals and said “I will often say the rosary as a meditation because it’s second nature to me.”

And from my own conversations with de-converts (and I’ve talked to many), this route is quite common:

Toni Rachal Smith, 34, who lives in Brooklyn, lost her faith after college. She said she was home-schooled by “fundamentalist Christians,” in Florida, where her mom still runs a specialty bookstore for home-schooling families. Her small church was her life growing up, and then she attended Oral Roberts University, a conservative Christian college. She started questioning her faith when she was 22 and a close friend renounced his Christianity. At first, Smith said, she and others were worried for him, but in retrospect, for her, it was the first domino to fall.

She started questioning things like creationism. “When it became clear to me (thanks to the internet) that the world was not created in seven days, it began to unravel,” Smith said. Moving to Los Angeles, reading Reddit, and being exposed to lots of different kinds of people both digitally and in person made her realize what she had been raised with wasn’t what she believed any longer.

The “domino effect” of accepting evolution is common, and that’s why fundamentalists Christians are determined to kill the idea. They will never succeed because evolution is true. You can read my own deconversion story here (scroll down a bit).

*It looks as if Donald Trump may be indicted in either Washington D.C. or Florida on federal charges of mishandling classified documents or obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them.  One of his aides appeared before a grand jury investigating the matter in Miami, while Trump’s lawyers appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. investigating the same issue. UPDATE: This morning we hear that Trump’s lawyers were told that he is a target in this investigation.

Taylor Budowich, a former Trump spokesman who now leads a pro-Trump super PAC, was seen arriving at the federal courthouse in Miami early Wednesday morning, CNN reported. At 11:31 a.m., Budowich tweeted that he had “fulfilled a legal obligation to testify in front [of] a federal grand jury.”

“I answered every question honestly,” the tweet said.

At least one other witness appeared before the Miami grand jury last month, as well, said two people familiar with the situation, who like others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door grand jury proceedings.

The Miami grand jury appearances come after at least one federal grand jury panel in Washington has heard months of testimony in the Trump documents probe, which involves the question of whether the former president improperly kept classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida home and private club, or obstructed government efforts to retrieve them.

The reason for launching a parallel grand jury in Florida is not publicly known, though it could mean federal prosecutors are considering bringing charges there, instead of or in addition to Washington.

. . .Trump’s lawyers met with Smith and a senior Justice Department official at Justice Department headquarters in Washington on Monday to make the case that their client should not be charged, people familiar with the matter said. Such meetings often happen as federal investigations get close to finishing.

Trump advisers briefed after the meeting said they believe Smith will finalize a charging decision in coming weeks and that they are preparing for a potential indictment of the former president, who has denied any wrongdoing.

“Indictment” and “Trump” in the same sentence: music to my ears.

*Here’s a tweet I just emitted. Don’t believe the NYT for a second. I’ll try to show why these speculations about dinosaur reproduction are dumb in a post tomorrow.  I don’t understand why everything I put out is sensitive content. It’s a crocodile picture, for crying out loud!

*The NYT has one of its rare but educational jazz columns, complete with music and links to the music: “5 minutes that will make you love New Orleans jazz“.

Over the past few months, The New York Times has asked experts to answer the question, What would you play a friend to make them fall in love with jazz? We’ve covered lots of artistsinstruments and musical styles — but this time we’re tackling a whole city.

While brass bands and traditional jazz lie at the core of this city’s traditions — and no conversation about them can ever go on too long without a mention (or three) of Louis Armstrong — New Orleans has also fostered greatness across the musical spectrum: from Black classical composers to post-bop royalty to avant-garde experimentalists. The songs below are just the tip of the iceberg. Find a playlist at the bottom of the article, and be sure to leave your own favorites in the comments.

There are ten songs in total, with three Louis Armstrong songs, but they left out his best: “Potato Head Blues.” It was really the beginning of the jazz solo, and I present it for your approval. The solo goes from 1:51 to 2:37. played over the group’s stop time.  Many people remember Armstrong as a genial clownlike man with a handkerchief, but he was one of the best jazzmen ever, and could be said to have lit the fuse on the genre.  And this song was the fuse.

They also left out his second best: “Struttin’ with some barbecue”:

And his third best: “St. James’s Infirmary”.  They may know their jazz, but they don’t know their Armstrong:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron suspects the Chinese are spying on Poland:

Hili: What are you looking at?
Szaron: I think I can see a Chinese spy balloon.
In Polish:
Hili: Na co tak patrzysz?
Szaron: Chyba widzę chiński balon szpiegowski.


From Jesus of the Day:

From David:

From Flowers and Nature with the caption, “Many people do not realize the struggle of the Tally Man in tallying bananas.” (If you don’t understand, go here.)

From Masih, a canny move by an Iranian protestor:

From gravelinspector. Yes, we all get it, but I’d rather eat it!

From Malcolm, an adorable moonwalking kitten:

March for Science retweeted this tweet, which shows a shutting down of free speech. I’m not for fracked gas, but nor am I for shutting down speakers. (h/t Bryan)

From Luana, yet another violation of the First Amendment:

A typical inmate meal from the Auschwitz Memorial. At the site they display what it looks like, and believe me, I don’t understand how people could not only live on it, but do work after eating it.

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, rescue ducklings (sound up):

An unconformity is a break in the geological record in one place; when cross-matched to other localities, it gives a time order for the strata (and shows that sedimentation is a long process):

A waggish tweet from Matthew himself:

32 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    452 – Attila leads a Hun army in the invasion of Italy, devastating the northern provinces as he heads for Rome.

    793 – Vikings raid the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, commonly accepted as the beginning of Norse activity in the British Isles.

    1191 – Richard I arrives in Acre, beginning the Third Crusade.

    1663 – Portuguese Restoration War: Portuguese victory at the Battle of Ameixial ensures Portugal’s independence from Spain.

    1783 – Laki, a volcano in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which kills over 9,000 people and starts a seven-year famine.

    1789 – James Madison introduces twelve proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in Congress.

    1794 – Maximilien Robespierre inaugurates the French Revolution’s new state religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being, with large organized festivals all across France.

    1887 – Herman Hollerith applies for US patent #395,781 for the ‘Art of Compiling Statistics’, which was his punched card calculator.

    1912 – Carl Laemmle incorporates Universal Pictures.

    1929 – Margaret Bondfield is appointed Minister of Labour. She is the first woman appointed to the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.

    1949 – Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.

    1949 – George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.

    1953 – The United States Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. that restaurants in Washington, D.C., cannot refuse to serve black patrons.

    1968 – James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested at London Heathrow Airport.

    1972 – Vietnam War: Nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc is burned by napalm, an event captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut moments later while the young girl is seen running naked down a road, in what would become an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.

    1982 – Bluff Cove Air Attacks during the Falklands War: Fifty-six British servicemen are killed by an Argentine air attack on two landing ships, RFA Sir Galahad and RFA Sir Tristram.

    1987 – New Zealand’s Labour government establishes a national nuclear-free zone under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987.

    1992 – The first World Oceans Day is celebrated, coinciding with the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    2008 – At least 37 miners go missing after an explosion in a Ukrainian coal mine causes it to collapse.

    1625 – Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Italian-French mathematician and astronomer (d. 1712).

    1810 – Robert Schumann, German composer and critic (d. 1856).

    1829 – John Everett Millais, English painter and illustrator (d. 1896).

    1858 – Charlotte Scott, English mathematician (d. 1931).

    1860 – Alicia Boole Stott, Irish-English mathematician and theorist (d. 1940).

    1867 – Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, designed the Price Tower and Fallingwater (d. 1959).

    1900 – Lena Baker, African-American maid executed for capital murder, later pardoned posthumously (d. 1945).

    1916 – Francis Crick, English biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004).

    1933 – Joan Rivers, American comedian, actress, and television host (d. 2014).

    1934 – Millicent Martin, English actress and singer.

    1944 – Boz Scaggs, American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1951 – Bonnie Tyler, Welsh singer-songwriter.

    1955 – Tim Berners-Lee, English computer scientist, invented the World Wide Web.

    Give a man a fire and he’s warm for a day, but set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life:
    632 – Muhammad, the central figure of Islam. (b. 570/571).

    1809 – Thomas Paine, English-American theorist and author (b. 1737).

    1831 – Sarah Siddons, Welsh actress (b. 1755).

    1913 – Emily Wilding Davison, English suffragette (b.1872). [A member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and a militant fighter for her cause, she was arrested on nine occasions, went on hunger strike seven times and was force-fed on forty-nine occasions. She died four days after being hit by King George V’s horse Anmer at the 1913 Derby when she walked onto the track during the race.]

    1924 – Andrew Irvine, English mountaineer and explorer (b. 1902).

    1924 – George Mallory, English mountaineer (b. 1886).

    1998 – Maria Reiche, German mathematician and archaeologist (b. 1903). [Known as the “Lady of the Lines”, Reiche made the documentation, preservation and public dissemination of the Nazca Lines her life’s work.]

    2018 – Anthony Bourdain, American chef and travel documentarian (b. 1956).

    1. “Give a man a fire, he’s warm for a day…”. Thanks Jez. This brought a smile and an audible chuckle to my face this morning.

      1. I’m currently mining quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels – today’s is from Jingo (according to Wikiquote, I haven’t read the book myself).

        1. That’s your loss. Discworld books are typically a one-sitting experience – howling with laughter at frequent intervals. They’re pretty much all good, and Jingo is a very good one.
          Not long after Gulf War 1, wasn’t it? Hmmm.

        1. I’ve always heard that attributed to comedian Paula Poundstone (it suits her style). Her version is:

          “Build a man a fire and you keep him warm for a few hours. Set a man on fire and you keep him warm for the rest of his life.”

    2. 1953 – The United States Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. that restaurants in Washington, D.C., cannot refuse to serve black patrons.

      The Supremes could reach this result because it had jurisdiction to hear appeals regarding the federal laws used to administer the District of Columbia. SCOTUS had no such jurisdiction regarding private discrimination in the several states, which is why it took an act of congress, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation across the nation.

  2. In other news, Pat Roberson is dead. Christopher Hitchens’ comments on the death of Jerry Falwell apply.

    1. “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

      — Pat Robertson, 1992 fundraising letter

      My momma taught be never to speak ill of the dead, only good. Pat Robertson is dead. Good.

  3. A Jewish family had a profound influence on Louis Armstrong in his pre-teen years, so much so that he apparently wore a Star of David for the rest of his life. You can read about that on his Wikipedia page.

    And then early in his musical career he was with King Oliver, ca. 1923. I particularly like Sobbin’ Blues, not least for the slide whistle.

    1. I’ve heard it argued, almost persuasively, that collaborative jazz was at its peak when Pops was playing second cornet in King Oliver’s band (as opposed to the concentration on soloing in, say, Louie’s Hot Five and Hot Seven recording sessions).

      As I say, almost persuasively.

  4. It’s Thursday, June 8, 2023, and National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day.

    It’s also……World Brain Tumor Day,

    If it’s a choice, I’d like to select the Jelly Donut, please and thank you.

  5. I don’t understand why everything I put out is sensitive content. It’s a crocodile picture, for crying out loud!

    Probably if you’ve been flagged before, you’ll just automatically be flagged in the future. That’s the level of programming subtlety that the deer’s anal exudate has left at Twitter.

  6. “Potato Head Blues” is probably my favorite Armstrong recording, and thus in the running for my favorite jazz recording. (But not my all-time favorite. That would be “If I loved You” with Jan Clayton and John Raitt from the original Broadway cast of Carousel.) I recognized a long time ago, though, as I tried to turn friends on to jazz, that hot jazz was a minority taste. Even in the 20s and 30s most jazz was performed by dance bands. The later Big Bands were more in that tradition than in Louis’s. Louis was in the avant garde of jazz and most people aren’t interested in the avant garde.

  7. “Ecocidal millionaire”? Surely the extremism here is represented by the Climillerites. Just a reminder that in thirteen days humanity will reach the point where our extinction is certain. At least according to Saint Greta, who predicted on June 21, 2018, that we have just five years.

    1. As Jerry says, Senator Manchin’s freedom of speech was abridged when demonstrators shut down his address. They clearly don’t side with the view that I might disagree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. But this is not really a problem. We all know that Voltaire was bull-shitting: no one will actually get themselves shot or even seriously inconvenienced defending speech they find repugnant. Indeed, that’s what the right to bear arms or to use violence for self-protection means: unpopular speakers have to look to their own defence against people who would cheerfully kill them..

      Sen. Manchin was speaking on private property hosted by Semafor. No government agency was involved, so there is no First Amendment issue. What then is his recourse? And indeed where does his right to speak without intimidation by a mob of private actors even come from? The demonstrators could have been removed by the venue owners, forcibly if necessary, but only at the discretion of the venue, not of Sen. Manchin himself.

      Manchin concluded his remarks to the movers and shakers who were the actual audience in a back room, leaving the demonstrators to perform for the TV cameras. He said that the actions of the demonstrators actually helped him politically: the more they talk the better for him. And the pipeline is a done deal.

      But the story does raise the question: Is there really a deal anymore between the two camps on every question that neither will try to censor the other, as preferential to each side crushing the other when it comes to be its turn in power? Or do we just reflect that disruptive demonstrations like this alienate more people than they engage and we should follow the maxim of not interrupting the enemy while he’s making a mistake.

    2. I suppose there are people who advocate pollution, or actually want the climate to be destroyed, and the earth left a burnt-out ruin. Perhaps members of some strange cult.
      Manchin represents a substantial constituency involved in fossil fuel production.
      I don’t think you need to go very far to find people who fervently believe that all production and use of fossil fuels should stop immediately. They have been convinced that carbon is evil, and are quickly adding nitrogen to the list of disfavored elements.
      Many of those same people are very much against deforestation, mining, and nuclear energy.
      I read an essay recently by a very intelligent person who suggested that Hydrogen might be the future for motor vehicles. The article did not explore how hydrogen is produced.
      Probably the green evangelists do not spend a lot of their time thinking about how materials like steel, plastic, glass,fertilizer, or aluminum are made or transported. Nor do they sit down and do the math to calculate how much copper is needed to make the wind generators and electric cars they say they want.
      Or how any of that figures into a plan st shut it down now.

      I also have noticed that the folks stopping traffic tend to do so in clean, western cities, and not in Xian or Xinxiang. My personal suspicions are that part of that is because their movement is encouraged or even funded by the CCP, as a form of irregular economic warfare. Not that the people standing in the road in London have that motivation.

      Hysterical predictions that do not come to pass is an issue as well. 3mm per year of sea level rise does not inspire much panic, especially when geologic changes such as subsidence or isostatic rebound are often larger factors on whether a coastal area sees a local rise in water levels. People in NYC, even with the knowledge of their area’s post-glacial subsidence, they surely notice that Bledsoe’s or Liberty Island still looks pretty much like it did in 1886.

      Levels of panic or hysteria do not need to be based on reality. When we camp in the mountains, the kid’s inability to sleep is not really due to the number of ghosts haunting the campsite, but rather the effectiveness of the ghost stories grandpa told beside the fire.

      My humble suggestion, as a person who hates pollution, is that someone convert a medium sized city to run on clean renewables, including perhaps some light industry. Once any issue have been worked out, start scaling up.

      1. I’m puzzled by this reasonable post. It prompts some considerations. Perhaps a leader might:

        Maintain one’s composure under adversity? Lead, not fearmonger? Advance “solutions” that are not worse than the problems? Understand the details behind both the problems and the potential solutions? Acknowledge what he doesn’t know? Know that “wanting to do something effective” is not the same as “being able to do something effective”? Realize that exaggeration of a problem can lead to loss of credibility? And exaggeration of one’s effectiveness can cause loss of credibility? Ignore the hysterics? Be skeptical of moral crusades? Be more skeptical when serious technical problems are portrayed as battles between good and evil? Distrust anyone who launches ad hominems and embraces euphemisms? Not encourage the worst in people? Plan, implement, assess, adjust? Realize that “somebody, do something” is not a plan? Trust nobody who fails to either know or admit the potential downsides of a plan? (What?! Downsides?) Admit when one is wrong? Be humble?

        Might realize when he is dreaming.

  8. The midges of northern britain are a special summer punishment. Solutions?
    1) Rain.Not uncommon. I have never seen the top of Ben Nevis, because it was either raining or there was cloud cover.
    2) Stay on horseback, or stand/walk near my mother. The nasty biting insects prefer ponies and my mother to me.
    Lovely photo though

    1. I’ve had similar insect encounters in Alaska. It’s not very enjoyable experiencing the great outdoors behind a head-net and drenched in mosquito repellent. It also put an entirely new spin on taking a dump. No thanks, never again…

  9. The dancing midges are in the Fisherfield Forest of Wester Ross, Scotland – making up most of Landranger (1:50k) sheet 19. I did 6 weeks of mapping there when I was a student. That’s a fairly significant swarm, but they’re survivable, if maddening. It’s the clegs that raise a welt on me.
    I remember driving up to a rigsite within spitting distance of the Arctic circle in Russia, and an unspecified мощке was keeping pace with the truck at almost 30km/hr, trying to get in to eat me. Midges are more survivable.

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