Sunday: Hili dialogue

August 27, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the sabbath for goyishe cats: Sunday, August 27, 2023, and National Burger Day, celebrating a truly American sandwich. Here’s a big ‘un from Hodad’s in California, so big it has to be enclosed in a wrapper. This is often rated as the best burger in America:

Road food: The delicious route; Jul’12; Hodad’s, Pt. Loma, San Diego

It’s also National Petroleum Day, World Rock, Paper, Scissors Day, National Pots de Crème Day (blatant cultural appropriation), Kiss Me Day, National Banana Lovers Day, and, in Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson Day (he was born on this day in 1908).

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 27 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Welcome to America. Here are yesterday’s shootings—four of them:

Three people were killed in a mass shooting at a Dollar General Store in Jacksonville Florida. The perp was white, the victims were black, and police are calling it a racially-motivated shooting.

Seven people were injured, none seriously, in a mass shooting at a Boston parade celebrating the J’ouvert Parade part of the city’s Caribbean Carnival. There is no word on whether the perp was apprehended or identified.

A 16-year old boy was killed and four people were injured in a shooting at a high-school football game in Choctaw, Oklahoma. The shooting followed an argument between two men, and there is no word on what happened to the shooter.

Two women were injured in a shooting here in Chicago during a game between the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics at the stadium, Guaranteed Rate Field (that name has to change!). Again, there’s no word on who pulled the trigger or whether the shooter is known.

As CNN reports, it’s been a violent year:

There have been at least 471 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which like CNN defines a mass shooting in which four or more people are injured and/or killed, not including the shooter.

The nation surpassed the 400 mark in July. The Gun Violence Archive said it is the earliest month such a high number has been recorded in a decade.

But of course we have to have our guns because the Second Amendment guarantees that “a well regulated Militia [is] necessary to the security of a free State. . “. Unfortunately, I see no evidence of a militia in any of the incidents above, nor in the othe other 470 mass shootings this year.

*Mo Dowd, in her latest NYT column, on the candidates in the Republican debate:

At the Republican debate, no one was big enough to shove him aside. Nikki Haley seemed the most appealing. Ron DeSantis’s inability to smile is disqualifying. It was pathetic that the best the Florida governor could muster, asked if Mike Pence acted properly when he certified the election, was to say, “I got no beef with him.”

Vivek Ramaswamy seemed smarmy. Scott Jennings, a Republican commentator on CNN, said that Ramaswamy was Scrappy-Doo to Trump’s Scooby-Doo. That comparison is not fair to Scooby or Scrappy, who are positive forces in the world, helping to unmask crooks, unlike Trump and his mini-me.

If I had to vote for one Republican candidate (I won’t, of course), it would be Haley, who does seem to be the most sensible of a bad lot.

*Obituaries on a slow news day. Game-show host and household name Bob Barker has died at the age of 99.

A publicist says popular game show host Bob Barker, a household name for a half-century as host of “Truth or Consequences” and “The Price Is Right,” has died at his home in Los Angeles. Barker was 99.

Barker — also a longtime animal rights activist — died Saturday morning, according to publicist Roger Neal.

“I am so proud of the trailblazing work Barker and I did together to expose the cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry and including working to improve the plight of abused and exploited animals in the United States and internationally,” said Nancy Burnet, his longtime friend and caretaker, in a statement.

Barker retired in June 2007, telling his studio audience: “I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home for more than 50 years.”

. . .Barker stayed with “Truth or Consequences” for 18 years [he started in 1956]— including several years in a syndicated version.

Meanwhile, he began hosting a resurrected version of “The Price Is Right” on CBS in 1972. (The original host in the 1950s and ‘60s was Bill Cullen.) It would become TV’s longest-running game show and the last on a broadcast network of what in TV’s early days had numbered dozens.

“I have grown old in your service,” the silver-haired, perennially tanned Barker joked on a prime-time television retrospective in the mid-’90s.

CBS said in a statement that daytime television has lost one of its “most iconic stars.”

I watched both of those shows when I was a kid, though “Truth or Consequences” was better.

*The Wall Street Journal got three analysts expert in plane crashes to examine the video of the plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin and nine other people. Click on the screenshot below to see the 3-minute video and hear the experts’s conclusion.  What was it? Well, without examination of the remains this is tentative:  probably not a missile, but a bomb or an explosion, and not any kind of structural or internal failure of the plane. In other words, the most likely explanation was “an assassination plot.”

That’s bizarre? Who would want to kill Prigozhin?

*Can you believe it?: they’re still looking for the Loch Ness Monster, and a search is going on as I write. The NYT recounts the history of “sightings” and attempts to find the creature in a new piece, “The 1,300 year search for the Loch Ness monster.”

Here’s what’s going on in “the biggest surface search in decades”:

Loch Ness Exploration, a volunteer research group, will lead the newest search, which is billed as the largest conducted from the surface since 1972. The group will scan the loch for unusual movements and will use tools including heat-detecting drones and a hydrophone, which detects acoustic signals under water.

Viewing slots have filled up, but people will still be able to eye the loch on a livestream.

There have been three purported monster sightings this year, according to the official register of sightings.

I think the search is over now, and I haven’t heard of any monster sightings. Here are two other more recent ones that also failed:

[2003] The British Broadcasting Corporation used 600 sonar beams to investigate the loch and concluded that Nessie did not exist. The BBC also tested the public by hiding a fence post beneath the surface of the loch and raising it in front of a tourist group. When members of the group were asked to show what they had seen, some drew monster-shaped heads.

[2019] Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, presented findings from 250 water samples he had taken from Loch Ness and tested for DNA. He said that he found a “significant amount of eel DNA,” but no genetic information to support a popular theory that the monster might be a Jurassic-age reptile. Professor Gemmell said that “what people see and believe is the Loch Ness monster might be a giant eel.”

Beyond the early photos, like the infamous “surgeon’s photo,” there have been sonar sweeps and several underwater visual sweeps. What they found: bupkes. I think it’s time to stop looking for a giant aquatic reptile in the Loch.

*NYT columnist Jamelle Bouie, no fan of Trump, nevertheless wrote a short column called “The Republican debate proved that Trump has what it takes.” What does he mean? Not much, really; the headline is hyperbolic and somewhat misleading:

Like far too many of you, I watched the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night, during which all of the most popular contenders in the field tried to stand out and establish themselves as a serious alternative for the Republican presidential nomination.

An alternative to whom? Donald Trump, who wasn’t on stage for the debate. And yet, despite his absence, there was no way that any of the candidates could escape his presence. The former president loomed over the proceedings, not the least because he is, so far, the uncontested leader in the race for the nomination. His nearest competitor, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, still trails him by nearly 40 points.

There’s also the fact that the candidates had no choice but to answer questions about Trump, who has been indicted on state and federal charges related to the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The pretense of the debate was that the candidates could talk about themselves and the future of the Republican Party without the former president, but that was simply impossible.

But the issue wasn’t just that Trump was unavoidable; it was that none of the other candidates had much to say for themselves. Even the most dynamic of the contenders, Vivek Ramaswamy, was doing little more than his own spin on Trump’s persona. As I argued in our post-debate recap, none of the candidates had any of the charisma or presence or vision that might mark them as something more than just another governor or legislator.

. . . It is obviously true that a major reason for Trump’s dominance in the Republican primaries is the fact that at no point since the 2020 election have Republican officeholders and other figures tried to set him aside as the leader of the party. But we can’t underestimate the extent to which Trump has it what it takes — and most of his competitors simply don’t.

DUHHH!  They cannot set him aside because too many Americans love him (a real black mark on our country). And THAT is all you have to say in a column with the headline above.

*The WaPo describes America’s most endangered bird, a Hawaiian endemic honeycreeper called the ‘akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi), or the “Kauai creeper”.  The estimates of numbers in the wild vary; Wikipedia says this:

Of the Hawaiian birds known to be extant, it is thought to be the most endangered, with only 454 wild individuals known as of 2018. A survey report in 2021 estimated the population at 45 with a 5 percent annual decrease, and in July 2023 the remaining number of wild birds was estimated to be just 5 individuals. This species is predicted to be extinct in the wild in 2023.

And a photo:

The paper says that only five are left in the wild, and there’s a pair of them that scientists are desperately trying to breed. The thing is, that pair was kept on Maui, the site of recent fires. The paper tells about the birds’ fate:

This little, silver bird holds the unenviable title of being the most endangered bird in the United States. A grim census earlier this year found only five left in the wild on the neighboring island of Kauai, its native home.

So here at the Maui Bird Conservation Center, their human caretakers have brought the pair of potential lovebirds everything they need to weave a nest and save their kind: fern hair, forest moss, cocoa fibers, even spiderwebs. Plants sprouting from high shelves simulate the rainforest canopy. An overhead water system mists to mimic the wet weather of Kauai’s forests.

“It’s the last effort to save the species,” said Jennifer Pribble, who oversees operations at the bird sanctuary.

But this landlocked Noah’s ark was almost struck by the wildfires that raged across Maui earlier this month. The fires are first a human disaster, destroying the coastal town of Lahaina and killing more than 100. Yet as fire approached the sanctuary, Pribble and others fought the flames and kept the birds safe.

. . .In recent years, rising temperatures have expanded the range of avian malaria-carrying mosquitoes high up the hills, decimating the ʻakikiki and the islands’ other native songbirds.

In one of the most ambitious species conservation projects ever undertaken, a coalition of federal and state officials and nonprofit groups is preparing to release insects with a special strain of bacteria [Wolbachia] into Hawaii’s forests to suppress the pest.

I’m not sure the Wolbachia project will work, and at any rate, there are so few of these birds left, and the ones being bred in captivity will create a pretty inbred populations, that I fear this species will go extinct in the wild. This is one of the ones that has to be saved only by being kept and bred in captivity.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has taken a sudden interest in physics:

Hili: I see a black hole.
A: And so?
Hili: I wonder whether it can hide a mouse.
In Polish:
Hili: Widzę czarną dziurę.
Ja: I co?
Hili: Zastanawiam się, czy może ukrywać mysz?


From reader David:

From Stash Krod, the product of a waggish barista:

From The Absurd Sign Project 2.0:

From Masih, an Afghan girl who is fighting to go to school, which is now impossible under the Taliban:

From Simon. This tweet from Stormy Daniels is hilarious.  “Tiny”!

From Malcolm, a night with a cat:

From Luana, squabbling about indigenous knowledge. This is only the beginning.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boy who was about 18 when he died at Auschwitz:

Tweets from Professor Cobb. The first one is sort of gross, but every creature’s gotta eat!:

A rescued duckling, raised and somewhat bonded to the guy who saved him. Cheerio! (Matthew says, “It could be you, man!”)

A lovely free-swimming shrimp with long antennae:

27 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Stormy Daniels might not be the first one to know it, yet she may be the first to express the fact that tRUMP is the Incherectionist in Chief.

  2. On this day:
    410 – The sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ends after three days.

    1859 – Petroleum is discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania, leading to the world’s first commercially successful oil well.

    1883 – Eruption of Krakatoa: Four enormous explosions almost completely destroy the island of Krakatoa and cause years of climate change.

    1896 – Anglo-Zanzibar War: The shortest war in world history (09:02 to 09:40), between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar.

    1927 – Five Canadian women file a petition to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking: “Does the word ‘Persons’ in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?”

    1928 – The Kellogg–Briand Pact outlawing war is signed by fifteen nations. Ultimately sixty-one nations will sign it.

    1939 – First flight of the turbojet-powered Heinkel He 178, the world’s first jet aircraft.

    1942 – First day of the Sarny Massacre, perpetrated by Germans and Ukrainians.

    1955 – The first edition of the Guinness Book of Records is published in Great Britain

    1956 – The nuclear power station at Calder Hall in the United Kingdom was connected to the national power grid becoming the world’s first commercial nuclear power station to generate electricity on an industrial scale.

    1962 – The Mariner 2 unmanned space mission is launched to Venus by NASA.

    1979 – The Troubles: Eighteen British soldiers are killed in an ambush by the Provisional Irish Republican Army near Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland, in the deadliest attack on British forces during Operation Banner. An IRA bomb also kills British royal family member Lord Mountbatten and three others on his boat at Mullaghmore, Republic of Ireland.

    1991 – The European Community recognizes the independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

    1991 – Moldova declares independence from the USSR.

    2003 – Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

    2003 – The first six-party talks, involving South and North Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, convene to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns of the North Korean nuclear weapons program. [Spoiler: They didn’t find one.]

    865 – Rhazes, Persian polymath (d. 925).

    1770 – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher and academic (d. 1831).

    1874 – Carl Bosch, German chemist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1940).

    1875 – Katharine McCormick, American biologist, philanthropist, and activist (d. 1967).

    1877 – Charles Rolls, English engineer and businessman, co-founded Rolls-Royce Limited (d. 1910).

    1884 – Denis G. Lillie, British biologist, member of the 1910–1913 Terra Nova Expedition (d. 1963).

    1886 – Rebecca Clarke, English viola player and composer (d. 1979).

    1890 – Man Ray, American-French photographer and painter (d. 1976).

    1899 – C. S. Forester, English novelist (d. 1966).

    1906 – Ed Gein, American murderer and body snatcher, The Butcher of Plainfield (d. 1982).

    1908 – Don Bradman, Australian cricketer and manager (d. 2001).

    1908 – Lyndon B. Johnson, American commander and politician, 36th President of the United States (d. 1973).

    1916 – Gordon Bashford, English engineer, co-designed the Range Rover (d. 1991).

    1925 – Carter Stanley, American bluegrass singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1966).

    1926 – George Brecht, American-German chemist and composer (d. 2008).

    1926 – Kristen Nygaard, Norwegian computer scientist and academic (d. 2002).

    1929 – Ira Levin, American novelist, playwright, and songwriter (d. 2007).

    1935 – Michael Holroyd, English author.

    1937 – Alice Coltrane, American pianist and composer (d. 2007).

    1943 – Tuesday Weld, American model and actress.

    1947 – Barbara Bach, American actress and model.

    1950 – Neil Murray, Scottish bass player and songwriter.

    1953 – Alex Lifeson, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

    1953 – Joan Smith, English journalist and author.

    1956 – Glen Matlock, English singer-songwriter and bass player.

    1959 – Jeanette Winterson, English journalist and novelist.

    1969 – Reece Shearsmith, English actor, comedian and writer.

    1972 – Denise Lewis, English heptathlete.

    You live and learn. And then you die and forget it all…
    1576 – Titian, Italian painter and educator (b. 1488).

    1635 – Lope de Vega, Spanish poet and playwright (b. 1562).

    1782 – John Laurens, American Revolutionary and abolitionist (b.1754)

    1828 – Eise Eisinga, Dutch astronomer and academic, built the Eisinga Planetarium (b. 1744). [Frisian amateur astronomer who built the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in his house in Franeker, Dutch Republic. The orrery still exists and is the oldest functioning planetarium in the world.]

    1958 – Ernest Lawrence, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901).

    1963 – W. E. B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, and activist (b. 1868).

    1963 – Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi, Pakistani mathematician and scholar (b. 1888).

    1965 – Le Corbusier, Swiss-French architect and urban planner, designed the Philips Pavilion (b. 1887).

    1967 – Brian Epstein, English businessman and manager (b. 1934).

    1969 – Ivy Compton-Burnett, English author (b. 1884).

    1971 – Margaret Bourke-White, American photographer and journalist (b. 1906).

    1975 – Haile Selassie, Ethiopian emperor (b. 1892).

    1990 – Stevie Ray Vaughan, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1954).

    2016 – Cookie, Australian Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, oldest recorded parrot (h. 1933). [I love the “h.” for hatched!]

  3. There are several obsolete and harmful things in our Constitution that should no longer be there and the second amendment is one of them. The idea of a militia is certainly one of them. There is no such thing today and has not been for a very long time. Even when we had such a thing it one generally not very good or useful and George Washington would be the first to state this. The very idea about the militia and it’s performance lead the country to believe it was much better than it actually was and Washington had a endless problem of trying to raise a real army to fight the British. Thank goodness for the French.

    1. How about we just have guns for self-defense? I agree for clarity we should take out the reference to militia.

      1. You miss the point and the history of it at the same time. Very good form. The purpose of the amendment was not to give all people guns. It was to appease the anti-federalist who were wildly afraid of a standing army. Reading some history can actually help.

        1. “The purpose of the amendment was not to give all people guns.”

          That is quite true. Because all the people already had guns. The right of the people to have guns has never been questioned under law.

          If the purpose of the amendment was to protect the rights of militias to have guns, the amendment would have said so. Instead, the amendment did something very different – it specified clearly, in its second clause, that it gave the right to own guns to the people. Not the militias, not the states – to the people.

          Both clauses have been used in the past to elucidate the gun rights of individuals. The last three SC gun cases have made the judgment that the second clause is dominant. Like it or not, that is now legal precedent.

            1. Following the overruling of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey by Dobbs the term before last, we heard much (especially from those on the Right) about the advantages of having issues regarding abortion decided on a state-by-state basis under our system of federalism.

              It seems to me that, strictly from a policy perspective, there would be much greater benefit in having issues regarding firearm availability and control decided on a state-by-state basis instead of one-size-fits-all. For one thing, the burden of restrictive abortion laws falls disproportionately on one group of people — women of childbearing age.

              The burden and benefits of gun laws fall much more broadly — both on those who wish to own and possess firearms and on those who wish to avoid being the victims of firearm violence. Accordingly. it makes sense to have citizens vote (either directly, or through their elected representatives) on what gun laws their state should adopt.

              This would have at least two advantages. First, people would be free to vote with their feet by moving to a state with laws that comport with their views of what appropriate gun laws should be.

              Second, the fifty states could serve as laboratories to experiment what kind of gun laws work best. Some states might allow essentially unlimited gun ownership and possession, up to and including, say, fully automatic assault rifles with high-capacity magazines. Other states might well adopted highly restrictive laws, prohibiting all handguns, say, or any firearms except those used for hunting. This would give us broad data bases for determining the efficacy of different sets of firearm laws — which laws, that is, that result in reduced gun violence and which laws promote effective self-defense — so that states could make better informed decisions based on what works and what policies comport with the goals a state’s citizens deem important.

              1. But do we need data from states to determine the efficacy of different firearm laws? I think there’s plenty of data from other countries to make reasonable assumptions. Either way, your approach does seem a lot easier than trying to repeal the 2A.

              2. Food for thought, Ken, thanks! Sad to say, though, I’m contemplating much death and grief from some of these state experiments.

              3. Mark & Stephen,

                Let me clarify: I did not mean to suggest that any state should adopt firearms’ laws allowing fully automatic assault rifles with huge-capacity magazines. What I meant to suggest is that, as between firearms laws and abortion laws, given the nature of the interests at stake, it would make much more sense to adopt a national standard for abortion and a state-by-state standard for firearms (which was the status quo ante SCOTUS’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)).

          1. Apparently you want to read into it what you want, not what is correct or the true history of it. StephenB was going to the trouble of giving you a reference but that does no good either. If you choose to follow South Carolina judgements you have no argument. They kind of screwed up pretty good back around 1860 and have been doing so since. And that business about needing a gun for self-defense is just as lame. In my 73 years I have never needed or heard of needing a gun for self-defense. Chances are the same is true for you. You are far more likely to be killed by an 18 year old idiot with an AR-15. Owning a gun yourself will not help you. Just look at all the dead people in the past year from guns. I bet lots of them owned guns.

            1. I have read the magazine article by StephenB. There is another side to the story, one which draws upon the actual legal history of the 2nd Amendment all the way from state cases to Federal cases, to the Supreme Court and state Constitutions.

              Contrary to the premise of the StephenB article, there IS a history in case law that the 2nd Amendment refers to individual rights of ownership. This history involves more than two dozen cases.

              I am not reading into it “what I want” – I am reading into it from what is there.

          2. When the jails and the courts are overloaded with gun cases and
            can take no more, murder will be de facto “legal” and we can forget
            all of this chatterboxing about gun control or the 2nd amendment.
            To get control of the situation we could have a murder for all Saturday
            followed by a “bring your AR15 to church” Sunday where we can
            pray to our deity of choice for forgiveness.

  4. If Ms. Hernandez thinks “Indigenious knowledge is science”, then why did she take a Western colonialist degree? Training with a tribal shaman would have been much more logical, more indigenious.

      1. After thinking more about this, I’m sure DeSantis would welcome such a complaint. Perhaps he could put his thumb on the scale. 🙂

  5. … and, in Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson Day (he was born on this day in 1908).

    Which reminds me: Mr. Caro, dude, where is the fifth (and presumably final) volume of your towering LBJ biography? The biography was originally projected to be three volumes, but kept growing … and growing … and growing.

    Volume Four — The Passage to Power — was published thirteen years ago. And when last we left off, it was still just the summer of ’64, with the election against Barry Goldwater, the Gulf of Tonkin incident and concomitant escalation in Vietnam, the passage of the Voting Rights and Fair Housing Acts and the Great Society legislation (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), the turmoil of the late Sixties, the decision not to seek reelection, the assassinations of Martin and Bobby, the riots at the ’68 DNC in Chicago, Humphrey’s loss to Nixon, and the denouement of Lyndon’s relatively brief post-presidency all still lying ahead of us.

    Bob, you’re not getting any younger and, for that matter, neither am I. (Hell, I was still in my 20s when you published Volume One.) Let’s see this project through! Please!

    1. This came out after Caro’s longtime editor died last June. And the last paragraph seems to be wildly ambitious- still wanting to visit Vietnam and a village that was attacked by the U.S.? He should have done that years ago if he wanted to. Anyway, for what it’s worth…

      NEW YORK (AP) — Robert Caro’s fifth volume on Lyndon Johnson, one of the book world’s most long-awaited publications, is unlikely to be delayed by the death of his longtime editor, publishing luminary Robert Gottlieb.

      “Mr. Caro is continuing his work on Volume 5 with limited interruption,” Caro spokesperson Paul Bogaards said Thursday, a day after Gottlieb’s death at 92.

      No release date has been set for what’s supposed to be the final book in “The Years of Lyndon Johnson” series, the first of which was published in 1982. Late last year, Caro told The Associated Press he had no sense when the fifth volume would be done, saying then that he still hoped to visit Vietnam and spend time in a village subjected to U.S. attacks during the Vietnam War.

  6. Really sad to hear about the akikiki. And what a cute little bird. Extinctions are so damn depressing, and probably the worst consequence of human world-dominance. This will be a century of many anthropomorphic extinctions…and for each species, whether an insect, bird or mammal, millions of years of evolution extinguished forever: an ineffable tragedy. Though this isn’t a universal truth for me, as I’m OK with parasites like the Guinea worm being eradicated.

    Before seeing it here, I read that some new group was wasting money looking for Nessie. But maybe the publicity somehow makes it an economic wash. Nowadays, I think most Nessie or Bigfoot searchers aren’t true believers, they just want to make a buck off of human credulity.

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