Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 25, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to CatSaturday, June 25, 2022, National Strawberry Parfait Day, a treat made from fruit, Greek Yogurt, and granola. Is it dessert or breakfast? You be the judge.

It’s also National Catfish Day, Statehood Day (in Virginia), and World Vitiligo Day.

On this day in 1947, Anne Frank’s diary was published (see below). Google has a special Doodle for that. Click on the screenshot and swipe right to get a summary of her life in hiding:

Stuff that happened on June 25 includes:

Here’s the photo, captioned by Wikipedia as “Barricades on rue Saint-Maur during the uprising, 25 June 1848”. It’s a daguerrotype:

Here’s Custer the year before he was killed by a coalition of Native American groups, including Lakota led by Crazy Horse. Here’s a photo of Custer a year before his death:

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia labeled “Paul Pelliot examining manuscripts in the Library Cave, 1908.” Most of them date between the late 4th and early 11th centuries and deal with a variety of subjects from mathematics to song and dance:

  • 1910 – The United States Congress passes the Mann Act, which prohibits interstate transport of women or girls for “immoral purposes”; the ambiguous language would be used to selectively prosecute people for years to come.
  • 1910 – Igor Stravinsky‘s ballet The Firebird is premiered in Paris, bringing him to prominence as a composer.

Here’s the Suite of The Firebird performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra:

  • 1944 – The final page of the comic Krazy Kat is published, exactly two months after its author George Herriman died.

Krazy Kat, one of my (and Matthew’s) favorite comic strips, had a magnificent run. Here’s the final strip which leaves unanswered the question of whether Krazy Kat has drowned (read more here). And yet, in the very last panel, Krazy appears to live on, back and floating in the drink. Click to enlarge:

A first edition in English in good condition can cost as much as $4,500, but in Dutch (called Het Achterhuis) could run you $12,500:

A bit of the original flag, designed by three queer artists and 30 volunteers, is still preserved in San Francisco’s GLBT Historical Society Museum. Here it is:

Campbell, shown below, ruled from only June 25 to November 4, 1993, when she lost an election to the Liberals. She was the first and still the only womb-carrying Prime Minister of Canada (at least they’ve done better than the U.S. on that count!):


*This public Facebook post from Seth Andrews gives most of the big news:

I for one am not keen to rehash the overturning of Roe v. Wade this morning: the news is full of it, with liberals predictably (and rightly) mourning while conservatives rejoice. I’ll point out just a few articles of note.

*The NYT Editorial Board has penned a powerful editorial outlining the disastrious consequences of the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v Wade. Just a short quote:

The implications of this reversal will be devastating, throwing America into a new era of struggle over abortion laws — an era that will be marked by chaos, confusion and human suffering. About half the states in the United States are expected to enact laws that restrict or make abortion illegal in all or most cases. Many women may be forced by law to carry pregnancies to term, even, in some cases, those caused by rape or incest. Some will likely die, especially those with pregnancy complications that must be treated with abortion or those who resort to unsafe means of abortion because they can’t afford to travel to states where the procedure remains legal. Even those who are able to travel to other states could face the risk of criminal prosecution. Some could go to prison, as could the doctors who care for them. Miscarriages could be investigated as murders, which has already happened in several states, and may become only more common. Without full control over their bodies, women will lose their ability to function as equal members of American society.

*An op-ed from the NYT uses Maine as one example of “How to outmanuever the Supreme Court“. (The author is Aaron Tang, professor of law at UC Davis and former clerk for Sonya Sotomayor.) The first bit involves the Supreme Court’s recent decision stipulating that taxpayer-funded school vouchers can be used to send kids to religious schools:

Let’s start with the Carson case. Anticipating this week’s decision, Maine lawmakers enacted a crucial amendment to the state’s anti-discrimination law last year in order to counteract the expected ruling. The revised law forbids discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and it applies to every private school that chooses to accept public funds, without regard to religious affiliation.

The impact was immediate: The two religious schools at issue in the Carson case, Bangor Christian Schools and Temple Academy, said that they would decline state funds if, as Maine’s new law requires, accepting such funds would require them to change how they operate or alter their “admissions standards” to admit L.G.B.T.Q. students.

The legislative fix crafted by Maine lawmakers offers a model for lawmakers elsewhere who are alarmed by the court’s aggressive swing to the right. Maine’s example shows that those on the losing end of a case can often outmaneuver the court and avoid the consequences of a ruling.

No change of policy, no vouchers. This may itself end up in the courts, but we’ll see.

What about the approval of NY’s open carry law? States can severely limit which areas (universities, public transportation, and so on), and can also force gun owners to purchase firearm liability insurance.

As for today’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, states also have options, says Tang:

Lawmakers should act vigorously to ensure that abortion providers are able to serve out-of-state patients unable to obtain care in their home states. At the national level, the Biden administration should argue that Food and Drug Administration rules permitting the use of mifepristone to terminate a pregnancy override contrary state laws. Congress should also continue working to enact the Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine a right to abortion as a matter of federal law, even though the filibuster remains an obstacle.

The problem, of course, is that none of the red states will want to act to neutralize these new laws, so things will wind up pretty much as we expect.

*But which states are likely to retain abortion provisions, and which likely to limit them severely or strike them down? Below is a map from the Washington Post that gives you an idea.

First, the key:

First, 13 states with “trigger bans,” designed to take effect as soon as Roe is overturned, will ban abortion within 30 days. Several other states where recent antiabortion legislation has been blocked by the courts are expected to act next, with lawmakers moving to activate their dormant legislation. A handful of states also have pre-Roe abortion bans that could be brought back to life.

Elsewhere in the country, the post-Roe landscape is less certain.
Below, the “trigger states” are in red, states likely to ban abortion are in orange, ones likely to retain Roe-like standards are in purple, and those that are uncertain are in off-white. Note that if you’re a woman in the South or Southeast, you’re screwed. (Click to enlarge, and the map at the Post site is interactive, telling you what the laws are or what pending laws stipulate.

*Moving on The Economist has a gloomy editorial that judges both Biden and Harris as potential Democratic candidates for President in 2024, and finds both wanting. I agree, but who can we run?  My take is that Biden is too old and befuddled, as well as too woke, and Harris is simply ineffectual, and doesn’t get handed the nomination simply because she’s been VP. The Economist says this, among other things. A quote:

No Democrat relishes the idea of [Biden} fighting another presidential campaign.

Yet his aides have described plans for one—because if Mr Trump runs again, it seems Mr Biden wants to. He rightly fears a second Trump term would be calamitous; yet the fact that he thinks he is the likeliest impediment to that points to another Democratic problem. If Mr Biden steps aside, the vice-president, Kamala Harris, is expected to be the Democratic nominee. And many fear she would lose to Mr Trump or one of his imitators, because of another combination of dire fundamentals and poor political skills. If America was not ready for a woman president in 2016, it is probably no readier for a black woman now. And Ms Harris, a Californian progressive unused to competitive elections, was exposed during her brief primary tilt in 2019 as an awkward campaigner with few fixed views. Mr Biden shone by comparison.

The question, then, is can Democrats bypass them both? “Literally every conversation I’ve had with a Democrat over the past three months has started with this,” says a veteran activist. The conventional wisdom is, no. The diversity of the Democratic coalition makes its members cling to protocols, such as the vice-president’s claim to be next in line, as a defence against schism. And bypassing a black woman would outrage the identitarian left. Yet a growing sense of panic is challenging that view. A flurry of recent reports in the New York Times and elsewhere feature quotes from unnamed Democrats calling on Mr Biden not to run and for a competitive primary, in which Ms Harris could participate (and show off the skills her supporters will say she has acquired in the West Wing) if she wished.

They suggest either Bernie Sanders (no chance) or center-left candidates like Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, or Cory Booker. Make no mistake about it: I’m voting for any Democrat, but I wouldn’t mind filling in my dot for any of those last three.

*A bloodhound named Trumpet won the big prize—Best in Show—at the 146th competition of the Westminster Kennel Club D*G show. I believe it’s the first time a bloodhound has won this competition.

Rounding the finalists’ ring with a poised and powerful stride, Trumpet beat a French bulldog, a German shepherd, a Maltese, an English setter, a Samoyed and a Lakeland terrier to take the trophy.

“I was shocked,” said handler, co-breeder and co-owner Heather Helmer, who also goes by Heather Buehner. The competition was stiff, “and sometimes I feel the bloodhound is a bit of an underdog.”

After making dog show history, does Trumpet have a sense of how special he is?

“I think he does,” his Berlin Center, Ohio-based handler said.

After his victory, Trumpet posed patiently for countless photos, eventually starting to do what bloodhounds do best — sniff around. He examined some decorative flowers that had been set up for the pictures, not appearing to find anything of note.

*Finally, I call your attention to the Official Labsite Artist® Kelly Houle, who is selling her artwork to warm up and finance her big project of creating a huge illuminated manuscript of Darwin’s Origin. She does a nature painting a day (“Daily Paintworks”) that are auctioned on eBay and they’re quite lovely. Also, even at the “buy it now” price they are terrific bargains for the quality. See the list of her available Paintworks here, and she also has an etsy store with intriguing stuff. (Note: I don’t get any financial benefit from these sales!)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is inspecting the crops:

Hili: The raspberries will be ripe soon.
A: I’m afraid they won’t for another two weeks.
Hili: You may be mistaken.
In Polish:
Hili: Te maliny będą niedługo dojrzewać.
Ja: Obawiam się, że będą dojrzałe dopiero za dwa tygodnie.
Hili: Możesz się mylić.

Kulka and Szaron on the windowsill:




From reader Malcolm, a lovely ring:

From reddit. Turtle Fail, though a few manage to stay on the log:

🔥Turtles adjusting the center of balance to stay on the trunk🔥 from NatureIsFuckingLit

From Facebook, bringing zoology up to date:

Titania hasn’t tweeted in ages, and God’s tweets have suddenly become lame; I have no idea what happened. We await their revival. In the mantime, I scrounge (send me any good tweets you have).

Would you hold it, try the restrooms, or go in the bushes?

I was going to post about this article by J. K. Rowling, but I’ll let you read it for yourself (if you’re not paywalled(, adding only that a.) it’s very good and b.) it shows that the trans activists rushing to push “affirmative therapy” or hormone blockers on young people with gender issues are going to get a lot of pushback as the data come in.  Read some Jesse Singal if you want to see how “alternative facts” form a lot of this kind of ideology, and why careful and non-tendentious therapy is a better alternative than a rush to judgement.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, honoring Anne Frank and her diary (see above). There’s an actual photo of two of the pages below:

Tweets from Matthew. What is this first insect, not identified by the poster?

And another two beetle tweet I founs in the same thread. The translation of the first one:

“Males of Apoderus jekelii fight like comparing neck lengths. I think that the potter’s wheel is an extreme example, but it is no wonder that you can fly with such a neck and eat leaves. The female head is short, and the larger the male, the longer the neck (base of the head).”

The second one below is translated thus:

“By the way, Rokurokubi is not the Apoderus jekelii but the Apoderus jekelii. I think it’s closely related to Japanese Apoderus erythra. It has the same unusual silhouette, but the members of the Apoderus jekelii have a long chest, so it feels like a crane and is somewhat functional.”
This implies that the insect above is a beetle in the genus Apoderus.. Some of these do have long heads, but I would have thought that these individuals were weevils.

I wonder whether Watson and Crick were interested in this talk.

I tried to raise these, but despite the fact that I’m not bad at growing plants, I couldn’t keep these “living rocks” alive:

Watch closely to see the rapid (but not injurious) leopard attack:


Friday: Hili dialogue

June 24, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the TCCIF Day: Friday, June 24, 2022. It’s National Praline Day, celebrating the Southern confection that is the sweetest and most cloying of all candies (I love ’em!).

Source and recipe

It’s also St John’s Day and the second day of the Midsummer celebrations (although this is not the astronomical summer solstice, see June 20).  Here are the related holidays:

Stuff that happened on June 24 include:

  • 1314 – First War of Scottish Independence: The Battle of Bannockburn concludes with a decisive victory by Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce.
  • 1497 – John Cabot lands in North America at Newfoundland leading the first European exploration of the region since the Vikings.

We’re not sure where he landed, but Canada has designated this spot in Bonavista Bay as the Official Landing Site (see caption). It’s marked with a statue of Cabot:

(From Wikipedia): A statue of John Cabot gazing across Bonavista Bay in eastern Newfoundland

She was queen for 24 years; here’s a painting from 1580:

  • 1880 – First performance of O Canada at the Congrès national des Canadiens-Français. The song would later become the national anthem of Canada.
  • 1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to sign a million-dollar contract.

Here’s Pickford in the year she signed that contract, and she has a cat!

The details: “On June 24, 1947 Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine, shiny unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier at speeds that Arnold estimated at a minimum of 1,200 miles an hour (1,932 km/hr).”  The story gets quite complicated, but seems likely it was either a fraud or a mistake.

  • 1950 – Apartheid: In South Africa, the Group Areas Act is passed, formally segregating races.

Ironically, exactly 45 years later there was a moment of reconciliation, involving (of course) the great Nelson Mandela.

And here’s a video of the moment of victory and the presentation of the trophy. As Wikipedia says, “During the remarkable post-match presentation ceremony Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok jersey bearing Pienaar’s number, presented him with the Webb Ellis Cup. During his acceptance speech, Pienaar made it clear that the team had won the trophy not just for the 60,000 fans at Ellis Park, but also for all 43,000,000 South Africans.”

How long was it? Over 11 hours! From Wikipedia (my emphasis):

The match began at 6:13 pm (British Summer Time, or 17:13 UTC) on Tuesday, 22 June 2010, on Court 18 at Wimbledon. At 9:07 pm, due to the fading daylight, play was suspended before the start of the fifth set. After resuming on Wednesday, 23 June, at 2:05 pm, the record for longest match was broken at 5:45 pm. Play continued until the final set was tied at 59 games all, at which point the daylight faded again, and so play was suspended once more at 9:09 pm. Play resumed again at 3:40 pm on Thursday, 24 June, and eventually Isner won the match at 4:47 pm, the final set having lasted for 8 hours, 11 minutes.

In total, the match took 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days, with a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68 for a total of 183 games. It remains, by far, the longest match in tennis history, measured both by time duration and also by number of games. The final set alone was longer than the previous record for longest match.

Here’s a 9-minute summary of the match (the end is at 2:55):

Because this is a subspecies (all Galápagos tortoises are considered members of the same species, C. nigra), it may be possible to resurrect this genetically differentiated population because individuals highly related to George’s population (perhaps discards from sailors over a century ago) have been found on Wolf Island.

Here’s a photo of Lonesome George at Galápagos National Park headquarters in 2006. He was probably 101 or 102 years old.

Here’s a photo clearly showing the partial collapse. It doesn’t seem like this happened a year ago, does it?

Da Nooz:

*The Senate passed the bipartisan gun bill, assuring it will become law. The vote was 65-33, and even Mitch “666” McConnell voted with the Dems. The stipulations:

It would enhance background checks for prospective gun buyers ages 18 to 21, requiring for the first time that juvenile records, including mental health records beginning at age 16, be vetted for potentially disqualifying material. The bill would provide incentives for states to pass “red flag” laws that allow guns to be temporarily confiscated from people deemed by a judge to be too dangerous to possess them. And it would tighten a federal ban on domestic abusers buying firearms, and strengthen laws against straw purchasing and trafficking of guns.

It also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for mental health programs and to beef up security in schools.

Don’t expect the Republicans to allow tighter regulations to be passed in the future.

*I haven’t seen the January 6 hearings in Congress today, but I’ve been reading about them. And the noose is tightening around Trump’s neck. Today’s hearing apparently centered on the way Trump tried to manipulate the Department of Justice into overturning the election. This may be the straw that brings the indictment, as he apparently pressured several officials. Here’s a bad one:

Shortly before the attack on Congress, senior Justice Department officials resisted Trump’s attempt to oust the acting head of the department, Jeffrey Rosen, if Rosen didn’t agree to have the agency publicly suggest that the election results were invalid.

“The president didn’t care about actually investigating the facts,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who helped lead the hearing, said Thursday. “He just wanted the Department of Justice to put its stamp of approval on the lies.”

Rosen testified Thursday that the Justice Department “held firm” against political pressure to take sides over the 2020 election results. Rosen said he told Trump that the department could not seize voting machines from the states because there was nothing wrong with the machines; Trump grew agitated.

Rosen wasn’t the only DoJ official pressured by Trump.

The GOP was dead wrong that nobody would pay attention to the hearings. It’s revelations like this one that are turning the public against Trump.

*But wait! It gets worse! The feds searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a DoJ official whom Trump decided to designate as “acting Attorney General” in hopes that Clark would help overturn Biden’s election. Searches imply warrants and warrants could lead to charges.

Federal investigators searched the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark this week, according to a person familiar with the matter, in an escalation of an inquiry into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Investigators searched Mr. Clark’s suburban Virginia home on Wednesday, said the person, who declined to say what specific items investigators were trying to obtain. The search came in advance of Thursday’s hearing by the House Jan. 6 select committee focusing on Mr. Trump’s efforts to enlist senior Justice Department officials, including the acting attorney general, into a wide-ranging effort to stop Joe Biden from becoming president.

The Justice Department is conducting its own parallel investigation of Jan. 6 separate from the House committee. The raid of Mr. Clark’s house is the clearest indication yet that prosecutors have moved beyond the violence at the Capitol itself and are examining the actions of senior officials involved in Mr. Trump’s efforts to stay in office.

I swear: Merrick Garland is going to hand down some indictments.

*In another 6-3 ruling (get used to that vote), the Supreme Court has struck down New York State’s law that a citizen who wishes to carry a concealed handgun in public must show a special need to do so. (The opinion, written by Clarence Thomas, is here. Guess who dissented!)

The 6-3 ruling, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, is the court’s first significant decision on gun rights in over a decade. In a far-reaching ruling, the court made clear that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right “to keep and bear arms” protects a broad right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. Going forward, Thomas explained, courts should uphold gun restrictions only if there is a tradition of such regulation in U.S. history.

The state law at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. New York courts interpreted that phrase to require applicants to show more than a general desire to protect themselves or their property. Instead, applicants must demonstrate a special need for self-defense – for example, a pattern of physical threats. Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, impose similar restrictions, as do many cities.

The lower courts upheld the New York law against a challenge from two men whose applications for concealed-carry licenses were denied. But on Thursday, the Supreme Court tossed out the law in an ideologically divided 63-page opinion.

*The NYT reports an explanation by Thomas that appears buy the widest possible interpretation of the Second Amendment:

Justice Thomas wrote that citizens may not be required to explain to the government why they sought to exercise a constitutional right.

“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” he wrote.

*From Ken:

The federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc has reversed an earlier 2-1 panel decision holding that an Arkansas law requiring that state contractors pledge not to participate in the BDS boycott of Israel violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. The en banc court’s rationale is that such boycotts constitute mere “economic activity” rather than “speech.”
The decision runs contrary to a long national tradition of treating political boycotts as speech. It also seems inconsistent with the US Supreme Court’s holding in Citizens United v. FEC (2010) that spending money on political causes constitutes protected free speech.
I expect this issue may require resolution by SCOTUS.
Stay tuned.

*You know of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, the state’s premier college (“The Buckeyes”). Well, did you know that its official name is really “The Ohio State University”, and the school just patented the word “The”? (Even the schools the Wikipedia entry is under “Ohio State University” without the article.) They need to protect their brand!

The Ohio State University has successfully trademarked the word “THE,” in a victory for the college and its branding that is sure to produce eye rolls from Michigan fans and other rivals.

Stating the full name of the school has become a point of pride for Ohio State’s athletes when introducing themselves on television during games. The three-letter article “THE” has also become an important part of the school’s merchandise and apparel.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Ohio State’s application Tuesday. The trademark applies to T-shirts, baseball caps and hats.

. . .For Ohio State, the university doesn’t have an absolute right to use the word “THE” on apparel, Mr. Gerben said. There are numerous other trademark registrations that include the word “THE” in clothing as part of a phrase.

The trademark, however, could stop another party from using just the word “THE” as the name of a brand, he said.

LOL!!!  The wags immediately emerged on Twitter:

Reactions from a patent attorney:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili apparently foraged for her own wild dinner:

A: Breakfast?
Hili: I already had my breakfast on the grass, now I will have a nap.
In Polish:
Ja: Śniadanie?
Hili: Już jadłam śniadanie na trawie, teraz się prześpię.
And a photo of Szaron:


A groaner from Bruce:

From Merilee. And yes, you can buy one for your d*g:

From Gregory.  I’d ask what the Mormons had been drinking when they made this code, but they don’t drink. “BYU” is, of course, Brigham Young University.

New Israeli fighter pilots:

Irrefutable proof that rock and pop music have gone way downhill!


Really cool animal living in the skin of another. Phronima (note spelling) is a genus of deep-sea amphipod. Watch the video!

From Simon: Raptors are really good at this:

Do I have to say again that cats are smart? Remember the tweet the other day when a cat feigned a leg injury so he could get inside?

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a sad tale of escapees:

Tweets from Matthew. Sound up to hear the baby sloth:

RIP Mr./Ms. Clam! How did they now it was dead, and, most important, how do they know it died of “natural causes”?

An invasive species. How did it get here?

Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 22, 2022 • 6:30 am

Its Wednesday, June 22, 2022, or, in German, “Mittwoch” (middle of the week), and National Chocolate Eclair Day. You know you want one. . .

Source and recipe here.

It’s also National Onion Rings Day (I prefer them to fries, but you never get enough rings), and World Rainforest Day.

Stuff that happened on June 22 includes:

  • 1633 – The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.
  • 1870 – The United States Department of Justice is created by the U.S. Congress.
  • 1898 – Spanish–American War: In a chaotic operation, 6,000 men of the U.S. Fifth Army Corps begins landing at DaiquiríCuba, about 16 miles (26 km) east of Santiago de Cuba. Lt. Gen. Arsenio Linares y Pombo of the Spanish Army outnumbers them two-to-one, but does not oppose the landings.

Here are the America troops landing at Daiquirí (yes, the cocktail is supposedly named after the village):

  • 1911 – George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

George was the cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who of course was executed along with his family by the Bolsheviks. Here they are in German uniforms before WWI, with George on the right. The resemblance is remarkable, and when I saw my first photo of George this morning, I thought it was the Tsar:

Inbred royals
  • 1940 – World War II: France is forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany, in the same railroad car in which the Germans signed the Armistice in 1918.

A deliberate humiliation!  Here’s a video of the signing. At 1:40 Hitler, obviously ebullient, raises and stamps his leg down once in joy. This gesture was manipulated on film so that on some videos it looks as if he did the gesture several times, giving rise to the legend that Hitler “danced a jig” after the signing.

The words “under God” were added in 1954 during the Cold War.  They’re wrong, as we are neither one nation nor “under God”. But it’s too late to change it!

This group of immigrants is said to have started the modern generation of British immigrants, for a group of over a thousand West Indian immigrants to England, anticipating a later bill that would give all residents of UK colonies permission to immigrate. Here’s the ship.

Below: The ship, which was bringing home UK servicemen from Jamaica, wasn’t full, so they advertised for passengers, spurring the spate of immigration:

(From Wikipedia): Advert for passage on Empire Windrush from Kingston, Jamaica to the UK, The Daily Gleaner, 15 April 1948
  • 1948 – King George VI formally gives up the title “Emperor of India”, half a year after Britain actually gave up its rule of India.
  • 1986 – The famous Hand of God goal, scored by Diego Maradona in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and England, ignites controversy. This was later followed by the Goal of the Century. Argentina wins 2–1 and later goes on to win the World Cup.

Both goals are below. The first goal was certainly an illegal handball, but the referee didn’t call it as a violation. The second goal was a great one (and legal): Maradona worked his way past five British defenders to score magnificently. Still, given the illegal goal, Argentina shouldn’t have won.


*The NYT, in its update of the January 6 hearings, reports a new slew of Republican officials from various states recounting how Trump tried to pressure them to overturn the election results. If he gets indicted for anything, it’s got to be something like this:

Former President Donald J. Trump was directly involved in a scheme to put forward slates of false pro-Trump electors in states won by Joseph R Biden Jr., the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol revealed Tuesday during a hearing delving into his pressure campaign on state officials to help him invalidate his defeat.

The committee played deposition video from Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, who testified that Mr. Trump had personally called her about helping further the scheme. Mr. Trump put conservative lawyer John Eastman on the phone with Ms. McDaniel “to talk about the importance of the R.N.C. helping the campaign gather these contingent electors,” she testified.

[Tuesday’s] accounts have brought home how Trump and his allies unleashed severe harassment upon election workers and their families. Giuliani used charged language likening Shaye Moss, an election worker in Georgia and a Black woman, to a low-level drug dealer. That language was followed by a wave of online threats and harassment against Moss and her mother, as well as an attempt to break into her grandmother’s house. Raffensperger testified that Trump’s allies broke into his widowed daughter-in-law’s house and that his wife received threats.

. . .Lawmakers repeatedly emphasized that the claims by Mr. Trump and his supporters were already having a detrimental effect on the conduct of elections and could have dire consequences in the years ahead if allowed to take hold.

“The president’s lie was and is a dangerous cancer on this body politic,” said Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who was leading the questioning by the panel at its fourth hearing. “If you could convince Americans they cannot trust their own elections, anytime they lose is somehow illegitimate, then what is left but violence to determine who should govern?”

*In an op-ed at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin argues that despite the GOP’s poo-pooing the hearings, the public is paying more attention to them than anticipated. This has, she thinks, increased the possibility that Trump may indeed be indicted for his shenanigans around January 6.

Other polls confirm these findings. A new ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Sunday found that 58 percent of Americans think Trump should be charged criminally, up about six points from a similar poll in April.

There is also some anecdotal evidence that the hearings are getting through even among some Republicans. . .

the amount and value of evidence that Trump was at the center of the coup plot will only continue to build. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), another committee member, recently suggested there is evidence that Trump was directly involved in the scheme to come up with alternative slates of electors.

She winds up suggesting that one effect of the hearings will be pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland, if he doesn’t indict trump, to explain why. My own view coincides with my wish: indict him!

*The bipartisan gun bill, in a preliminary vote, passed the Senate by a vote of 64-34. which is enough to overcome any filibuster.  Here are the stipulations:

The 80-page bill, called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, would enhance background checks, giving authorities up to 10 business days to review the juvenile and mental health records of gun purchasers younger than 21, and direct millions toward helping states implement so-called red-flag laws, which allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous, as well as other intervention programs.

The measure would also, for the first time, ensure that serious dating partners are included in a federal law that bars domestic abusers from purchasing firearms, a longtime priority that has eluded gun safety advocates for years.

Senators agreed to provide millions of dollars for expanding mental health resources in communities and schools in addition to funds devoted to boosting school safety. In addition, the legislation would toughen penalties for those evading licensing requirements or making illegal “straw” purchases, buying and then selling weapons to people barred from purchasing handguns.

It may actually pass the Senate by the weekend. It’s a decent first step, but I think this is as far as the Republicans will go.

*The Biden administration is moving forward with a plan to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. SInce nicotine is the addictive substance, this is a move to cut cigarette consumption, a worthy aim:

The plan, unveiled Tuesday as part of the administration’s agenda of regulatory actions, likely wouldn’t take effect for several years. The FDA plans to publish a proposed rule in May 2023. Then it would invite public comments before publishing a final rule. Tobacco companies could then sue, which could further delay the policy’s implementation. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the FDA planned to pursue a nicotine-reduction mandate.

The move would be the biggest step by the U.S. government to curb smoking since a landmark legal settlement in 1998, when tobacco companies agreed to pay more than $200 billion to help states pay for healthcare. As part of the settlement, the companies also agreed to various marketing restrictions, including a ban on free product samples and advertising on billboards.

I’m not a libertarian, and I am opposed to smoking and don’t smoke, even my once-beloved cigars, but I do think this may be going too far. It’s like the government decreeing that the amount of alcohol in whiskey or other liquors be reduced because it’s the alcohol that turns people into alcoholics. I’m happy with bans on public smoking and gruesome ads about the dangers of smoking, but not so much with trying to change cigarettes themselves. . .

*Another from the NYT: “How bad are the germs in public restrooms, really?” The answer is that a number of pathogenic viruses and bacteria are associated with restrooms, and can be aerosolized after flushing, staying in the air for up to an hour. But no worries: there are tips to minimize your risk. First, you don’t need toilet seat covers unless you have open gashes or wounds on your bum. Second, and most important, wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve finished (I try to dry my hands with a paper towel if available, and then use that towel to open the restroom door).

For hand washing to be effective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wetting your hands with clean water, scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds, rinsing and then drying them.

Then sanitize your hands if you can. I skip that if I can open the door with a paper towel, which I then discard.

Learn how to wash your hands properly: my own version involves washing palms, then both sides of the wrists, putting the palm of one hand on the back of the other and interlace your fingers, scrubbing them, bunching your fingers and rubbin them into each palm, and washing your thumb by inserting it into the clenched fist of the other hand and twisting the thumb hand like a screwdriver. I’m big on this because I do this frequently, and I haven’t had a cold since the pandemic started.

Finally, if you bring a bag or purse into a public restroom, don’t put it on the floor. Oh, and close the toilet lid before you flush as a boon to others.

*Biology news: A Cambodian has caught the world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray, in the Mekong river.  It’s huge (photo below):

The stingray, captured on June 13, measured almost 4 meters (13 feet) from snout to tail and weighed slightly under 300 kilograms (660 pounds), according to a statement Monday by Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-U.S. research project.

The previous record for a freshwater fish was a 293-kilogram (646-pound) Mekong giant catfish, discovered in Thailand in 2005, the group said.

The stingray was snagged by a local fisherman south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. The fisherman alerted a nearby team of scientists from the Wonders of the Mekong project, which has publicized its conservation work in communities along the river.

Here it is. I’m sad, though, that such a magnificent animal has to be caught and killed. It belongs in the river:  I didn’t read closely enough; they let the fish go after weighing and measuring it.

(From the AP) In this photo provided by Wonders of the Mekong taken on June 14, 2022, a man touches a giant freshwater stingray before being released back into the Mekong River in the northeastern province of Stung Treng, Cambodia. A local fisherman caught the 661-pound (300-kilogram) stingray, which set the record for the world’s largest known freshwater fish and earned him a $600 reward. (Chhut Chheana/Wonders of the Mekong via AP)

*The Daily Mail has a piece about a cunning fox (is that redundant?) stealing  boxes of eggs (h/t Malcolm)

The fox was discovered after Helen Greenwood, from Leeds, set up a camera in an attempt to catch the thief who had stolen three lots of eggs.

In the video, the animal is seen approaching the box of 12 eggs, which was nearly the length of its body, before whisking it away.

Mrs Greenwood, a mother of two, said: ‘We got a clip of the milkman delivering the milk and eggs, carefully placing them in the box on our step.

‘It’s slightly annoying to have lost our eggs, but it’s satisfying to have solved the mystery and it gives us something to laugh about in the current climate.

‘Maybe it’s an example of how wildlife is reclaiming the city during the lockdown.’

The video. You go, fox!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being opaque:

Hili: Do you have a new paradigm?
A: Why do you ask?
Hili: One of mine needs exchanging.
In Polish:
Hili: Masz jakiś nowy paradygmat?
Ja: Dlaczego pytasz?
Hili Jeden z moich jest do wymiany.

And a photo of Szaron, the rare gray tabby:


A groaner from Merilee:

Sent in by David: a cartoon in New Scientist by Tom Gauld:

From Laurie Ann. I don’t think it’s true, but even if it is it’s a good joke. A couple of readers should try it, but these days nobody would understand:

It’s always worth paying attention to the Tweet of God:

A tweet from Simon, who says, “I hope there isn’t a bug in the code controlling this.”

And another from Simon. I wonder if you can buy cups and saucers like this. But you’d slop your coffee all over the place!

From reader Ken, who adds a quote from George Orwell: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Professor Cobb.  I’m not sure the “saved” monkey really turned out okay. . .

Read the short piece at the link. The secret? An anti caking agent:

This elephant either knows where it is and has no fear, or it’s completely ignorant of the consequences of slipping:

Matthew is writing a detailed biography of Francis Crick, and, checking up on details, found that Watson’s memoir “The Double Helix” appears to contain a lot of stuff that’s just made up. Here he found Watson reporting the times of trains that didn’t exist:


Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 15, 2022 • 6:30 am

A Note on Our Weather: The weather has been strange here. Two days ago we had the first tornado warning in my area since I arrived here in 1986. We didn’t have a funnel cloud, but had very high winds, thunderstorms, and lightning.  Every siren in Chicago was blaring a warning. But the storm passed quickly, but did do damage in the Chicago suburbs. I was worried about the ducks and ducklings, especially because with a tornado like this there can be severe hail that’s fatal to birds. But they all came through it, and we had no hail.  Here’s a tweet Matthew sent showing the cell that produced it:

And it’s gotten very HOT: the high yesterday was 98° F (37° C, and it felt hotter as it was humid), and it’s predicted to be about the same today 95° F  or 37° C). Then we’ll cool off.  Oy! The ducks!



Good morning on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, a Hump Day, or “Usuku lokubetha nje”, as they say in Xhosa. It’s also Global Wind Day and, in the UK, National Beer Day.  I’m celebrating the latter as I think that, of all sovereign nations, the UK has the best beer in the world. I haven’t of course, been everywhere, and the UK has some bad beer (notably the lagers), but its cask ales cannot be equaled anywhere. Thank Ceiling Cat for the organization that kept real ale going in the UK: CAMRA—the Campaign for Real Ale.

Here’s one of my faves, which I believe won CAMRA’s “Beer of the Year” award twice. It’s a delicious session pint, not overly hopped like Americans think “craft beers” have to be.  Burton Ale by Ind Coope used to be my second favorite, but they stopped producing it in 2014. Brits: band together to save one of the glories of your culture!

Wine of the Day:  I had this Barolo with a lovely rare strip steak and my usual accompaniments: rice and ripe tomatoes.  It’s an old bottle from my stash and I have no record of the price, but it seems to go for about $50 now. I’m sure I paid much less than that.

It’s a gutsy Barolo, and though not world class was eminently drinkable, with a nose of berries and roses, but also a lot of tannin.  Although it’s 12 years old, I could see it improving for the next five years. (There was almost no sediment.) The second day, after being held under vacuum at room temperature, it was even better than on the first. I wouldn’t pay $50 for it now, but to my ruination I’m starting to develop a taste for this pricey King of Italian Reds.  For a good review of this bottle, go here.

It’s a nice, hearty wine for steak.

Stuff that happened on June 15 include:

  • 763 BC – Assyrians record a solar eclipse that is later used to fix the chronology of Mesopotamian history.
  • 1215 – King John of England puts his seal to Magna Carta.

Here’s the Magna Carta with the King’s seal on it:

These were animal-to-human transfusions, which makes it remarkable that anybody survived!:

The first blood transfusion from animal to human was administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys, eminent physician to King Louis XIV of France, on June 15, 1667. He transfused the blood of a sheep into a 15-year-old boy, who survived the transfusion. Denys performed another transfusion into a labourer, who also survived. Both instances were likely due to the small amount of blood that was actually transfused into these people. This allowed them to withstand the allergic reaction.

Denys’s third patient to undergo a blood transfusion was Swedish Baron Gustaf Bonde. He received two transfusions. After the second transfusion Bonde died. In the winter of 1667, Denys performed several transfusions on Antoine Mauroy with calf’s blood. On the third account Mauroy died.

  • 1752 – Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity (traditional date, the exact date is unknown).
  • 1844 – Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber.

It was serendipity! Here’s the account from Wikipedia:

One day in 1839, when trying to mix rubber with sulfur, Goodyear accidentally dropped the mixture in a hot frying pan. To his astonishment, instead of melting further or vaporizing, the rubber remained firm and, as he increased the heat, the rubber became harder. Goodyear quickly worked out a consistent system for this hardening, which he called vulcanization because of the heat involved. He obtained a patent in the same year, and by 1844 was producing the rubber on an industrial scale.

. . . and the patent:

Here are the pictures that resolved a longstanding controversy. I’ve highlighted the two frames showing that all four feet of the horse are off the ground (click to enlarge):

Here they are loading up supplies on July 14 when they started:

(From Wikipedia) Captain John Alcock stowing provisions aboard Vickers Vimy aircraft before trans-Atlantic flight 14 Jun 1919

Here’s Charlie being led away after the guilty verdict (photo by Alarmy):

  • 1977 – After the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, the first democratic elections took place in Spain.

And this just in. . . Franco is still dead!

  • 1992 – The United States Supreme Court rules in United States v. Álvarez-Machaín that it is permissible for the United States to forcibly extradite suspects in foreign countries and bring them to the United States for trial, without approval from those other countries.
  • 2012 – Nik Wallenda becomes the first person to successfully tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls.

Here’s a precis of his frightening walk:

Da Nooz:

*Other news has pushed the fighting in Ukraine out of the headlines, but things look grim as Ukraine continues to cede territory to the Russsians in the Donbas region.

Russian forces and their separatist allies control an estimated 80 to 90 percent of the Donbas, according to Ukrainian officials. Donbas, which comprises the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, makes up about nine percent of Ukraine’s land, but is an important industrial and cultural region for the country. Sievierodonetsk is the biggest city in Luhansk not yet under Moscow’s control.

With hundreds of civilians trapped in the city under unrelenting bombardment, the destruction of the bridge could also create an intensifying humanitarian crisis, since Ukrainian forces are now hobbled in their ability to retreat or evacuate civilians and the wounded. Ukrainian officials said Russian forces have also been making targeted attacks on the city’s Azot chemical plant, where local officials say about 500 civilians have been sheltering.

And the U.S., which supplies arms and a lot of money to Ukraine, proclaimed something that seems magnanimous, but to me sounds like we’ve given up on Ukraine:

But a day before 40 Western allies are scheduled to meet in Brussels to discuss Ukraine’s increasingly desperate plea for more heavy weaponry, a top Pentagon official insisted that the United States would not press Ukraine into negotiating a cease-fire.

“We’re not going to tell the Ukrainians how to negotiate, what to negotiate and when to negotiate,” Colin H. Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, said on Tuesday. “They’re going to set those terms for themselves.”

*Today’s session of the January 6 Congressional hearing has been postponed, but testimony will resume on Thursday. Still, the latest revelations are pretty sordid. On January 3, a low-level Department of Justice employee named Jeffrey Clark went rogue and scuttled over to the White House with a plan for a Trump victory. But he wanted something in return:

Clark, an environmental lawyer by trade, had outlined a plan in a letter he wanted to send to the leaders of key states Joe Biden won. It said that the Justice Department had “identified significant concerns” about the vote and that the states should consider sending “a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump” for Congress to approve.

In fact, Clark’s bosses had warned there was not evidence to overturn the election and had rejected his letter days earlier. Now they learned Clark was about to meet with Trump. Acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen tracked down his deputy, Richard Donoghue, who had been walking on the Mall in muddy jeans and an Army T-shirt. There was no time to change. They raced to the Oval Office.

As Rosen and Donoghue listened, Clark told Trump that he would send the letter if the president named him attorney general.

“History is calling,” Clark told the president, according to a deposition from Donoghue excerpted in a recent court filing. “This is our opportunity. We can get this done.”

They didn’t, but Trump liked the idea:

Clark was “somewhat apologetic” and promised he wouldn’t do it again without permission, according to Rosen. But Clark had already made an impression on the president. The next day, Trump told Rosen in a phone call that “people are very mad with the Justice Department” not investigating voter fraud and referred to having met with Clark.

Rosen told Trump that the Justice Department could not “flip a switch and change the election,” according to notes of the conversation cited by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I don’t expect you to do that,” Trump responded, according to the notes. “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.” The president urged Rosen to “just have a press conference.”

So we have the President leaning on the Attorney General to say the election was “corrupt”. Crikey, this is more convoluted than the Watergate crisis.

*Stocks continued to fall as we enter even deeper into the latest bear market, and the Federal Reserve Bank is predicted to levy a huge hike in interest rate: rumors of 0.75%, which sounds small but isn’t, as it could plunge the U.S. into a recession.  It would be the biggest raise in interest rates in three decades. Biden is blaming this on Putin, but he’s only partly right.

A recession could damage company profits and tip weaker companies into failure. One closely watched indicator flashed a warning sign that a recession could be ahead: The yield curve difference between two-year and 10-year government debt was inverted at times on Monday and Tuesday. The spread between the two yields widened to as much as 0.0522 percentage point late Monday, before flattening out on Tuesday morning. The U.S. yield curve last inverted in April.

I don’t understand all that, but I’ll leave the predictions to those who do.  And there ay be more economic trouble ahead:

Not only is Wall Street convinced that the Fed will take more severe action against inflation Wednesday, it also believes that it will raise rates by another three-quarters of a point in July. Nearly 90% of investors believe the Fed will hike rates by that same amount next month, following similar expectations from Goldman, Jefferies and Barclays.
Such strong medicine for inflation could pose a threat to the US economy, however. In a note to clients Tuesday, Goldman analysts warned tightening financial conditions could further drag growth “somewhat beyond” what the Fed “should be targeting to have the best chance of bringing down inflation without a recession.”

*In February, women’s basketball star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia when she went there to play. She is accused of carrying an e-cigarette apparatus holding cannabis oil. She’s incarcerated, and the Russians have just extended her detention for the third time: she’ll be in stir until at least July 3. Although the State Department says Griner was “wrongfully detained”, it’s possible that the Russians are holding her as punishment for the U.S. siding with Ukraine, hoping to swap her for some Russian prisoner in either U.S. r Ukrainian hand.

*The Wall Street Journal reports that stores are starting to receive shipments of stuff they ordered way back at the beginning of the pandemic, and people aren’t so keen on that stuff any more. Ergo, there are going to be some bargains out there. What do you look for?

Target, Walmart and Macy’s announced recently that they are starting to receive large shipments of outdoor furniture, loungewear and electronics everyone wanted, but couldn’t find, during the pandemic.

The problem for retailers—that these goods are delayed by almost two years—could be a windfall for those in the market for sweatpants or couches. Look for prices to start dropping around July 4, analysts say.

“There are going to be discounts like you’ve never seen before,” says Mickey Chadha, a Moody’s Investors Service analyst who tracks the retail industry.

Retailer discounts are part of an effort to get shoppers interested in buying things again as Americans shift their spending to concertseating out, and travel they missed out on. Deep discounts are expected on oversize couches, appliances and patio furniture that are more expensive for companies to store in their warehouses, analysts say.

. . . And if your drawers aren’t already bursting with work-from-home loungewear, stores will try hard to get you to take it off their shelves. “It might be a good time to buy sweatpants. They’re certainly going to be on sale this summer,” says Dan Wallace-Brewster, who directs marketing at e-commerce software company Scalefast. Office wear might not be discounted, he says.

Well, I do need a new leather couch, as mine is starting to show cracks, but the rest, well, I got enough stuff.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sleeping very oddly:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m entertaining the idea of changing the position of my body.
In Polish:
Ja: Co ty robisz?
Hili: Rozważam możliwość zmiany pozycji ciała.

And a picture of Szaron:


From I Have Cat:

A Stephan Pastis cartoon from Stash Krod. I never use those pompous words in Starbuck’s; I always ask for a “large”:

Cat art sent in by Su:

Two tweets from reader Ken. His first reference to Ingraham actually refers to a caption I put on a 2009 photo of me taken with Dinesh D’Souza at the Ciudad de las Ideas in Puebla Mexico. I caption it, in disgust, “I shook the hand that fondled Ann Coulter.” (D’Souza and Coulter were an item.) I didn’t know until today that D’Souza also dated Laura Ingraham, too! Oy!

Ken’s captions:

Your fondled-Laura-Ingraham-by-proxy buddy Dinesh D’Souza isn’t happy that Bill Barr and the Jan. 6th committee laughed as his debunked “documentary,” 2,000 Mules:

Wikipedia’s summary of D’Souza’s movie:

2000 Mules is a 2022 American political film by Dinesh D’Souza that falselyclaims unnamed nonprofit organizations paid Democrat-aligned “mules” to illegally collect and deposit ballots into drop boxes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin during the 2020 presidential election. D’Souza has a history of creating and spreading conspiracy theories.

Also, as a complete rebuttal, D’Souza made the keen observation that Barr is overweight:

Here’s Barr’s derisive comment about the movie:

Reader Barry says that this is only a few blocks from where he lives:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

And one who survived:

Tweets from Matthew. Here he’s referring to Erwin Chargaff, who discovered that the ratio of As to Ts in DNA is 1, as is the ratio of Gs to Cs. That gave rise to the pairing rule that, in the double helix, Gs pair with Cs and As with Ts. Chargaff didn’t get a Nobel Prize for that (he didn’t realize its significance), and was bitter about it. That shows in the tweet below, when he didn’t even cite Watson and Crick’s paper!

A larval cicada:

Best video of the month so far. Sound up, and be sure you watch until the end.

A bellwether cat!

Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 11, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the Cat Sabbath: Saturday, June 11, 2022. It’s National German Chocolate Cake Day, but not a case of cultural appropriation. The name “German” comes from the recipe on the German’s Chocolate Cake Box, a company now owned by Better Crocker. It’s GOOD! The recipe for the cake is here, but you’ll also need the filling and frosting recipe, which you can find here.


It’s also King Kamehameha Day in Hawaii.

Stuff that happened on June 11 includes:

  • 1509 – Henry VIII of England marries Catherine of Aragon.
  • 1748 – Denmark adopts the characteristic Nordic Cross flag later taken up by all other Scandinavian countries.

Here are all the Nordic flags with the Wikipedia caption:

Nordic flags, from left to right: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark

Here are all the Nordic flags

  • 1770 – British explorer Captain James Cook runs aground on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • 1837 – The Broad Street Riot occurs in Boston, fueled by ethnic tensions between Yankees and Irish.
  • 1895 – Paris–Bordeaux–Paris, sometimes called the first automobile race in history or the “first motor race”, takes place.

This is a bit misleading, at least where the term “race” is involved. Wikipedia notes:

The Paris–Bordeaux–Paris Trail race of June 1895 is sometimes called the “first motor race”, although it did not fit modern competition where the fastest is the winner. It was a win for Émile Levassor, who came first after completing the 1,178km race in 48 hours, almost six hours before second place. However, the official winner was Paul Koechlin, who finished third in his Peugeot, exactly 11 hours slower than Levassor, but the official race regulations had been established for four-seater cars, while Levassor and runner-up Louis Rigoulot were driving two-seater cars

Here’s Sir Barton, who lived to be 21 (the jockey is Johnny Loftus, the venue is the Preakness:

  • 1920 – During the U.S. Republican National Convention in Chicago, U.S. Republican Party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the U.S. presidential election, leading the Associated Press to coin the political phrase “smoke-filled room”.

The Blackstone is still operating as a hotel, and is downtown on Michigan Avenue. Here’s a photo (from Wikipedia):

You can still visit the USS MIssouri in Pearl Harbor. Here’s a photo of the original surrender and my own photo from 2018 of the spot where the war officially ended:

  • 1955 – Eighty-three spectators are killed and at least 100 are injured after an Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz collide at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the deadliest ever accident in motorsports.

Here’s a video account of the accident, which you may not want to watch, as it’s grim (accident footage begins at 3:27):

Here’s Wallace standing in the door, a door that you can still see. It was a symbolic segregationist gesture, as the Feds shortly thereafter forced him to move. Here he’s encountering Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach:

  • 1963 – Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burns himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.

The story of the burning monk, and again, bits are disturbing, so be warned:

  • 1963 – John F. Kennedy addresses Americans from the Oval Office proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which would revolutionize American society by guaranteeing equal access to public facilities, ending segregation in education, and guaranteeing federal protection for voting rights.

Here’s JFK’s speech committing his government to a civil right act, which begins with a reference to the black students who, on that same day, finally registered at the University of Alabama:

Hayes is first, then Hoisington

  • 2001 – Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • 2010 – The first African FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa.

Here’s the official song of the 2010 World Cup, which I show because I love Shakira and, especially, this catchy song, even though though it’s taken from a Cameroon marching song, “Zamina Waka Waka” (below):

Note that the group, Zangalewa, is partly in whiteface:

Da Nooz:

*Fasten your seat belts; it’s gonna be a bumpy economic ride. The Washington Post reports (along with many other venues) that inflation has risen again this month, giving us a yearly rate of 8.6%: a 42-year high.

Compared to April, May prices rose 1 percent, according to the latest snapshot issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and known as the consumer price index. The brutal report surprised economists and brings into sharp relief just how inescapable inflation has become for millions of American households, dealing with higher rent, bigger gas bills, and rising grocery costs.

“Whatever Washington has done to try to fix the cost of living crisis in America, it isn’t working,” Chris Rupkey, the chief economist at the research firm FWDBONDS LLC, said in an analyst note. “This isn’t just Russia and Ukraine anymore.”

. . .Gas and other energy prices were not the sole drivers of May’s bleak inflation report. Categories for shelter, airfare, used cars and trucks and new vehicles were among the largest contributors. The cost of medical care, household furnishings and clothing also rose.

The food index increased 10.1 percent for the 12 months ending in May, the first double-digit increase since 1981.

Here’s a timeline of yearly inflation rate, showing that the most recent year that outstripped this one was 1981:

*Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head in Boston, but I’ll let Nellie Bowles describe it infrom Bari Weiss’s Substack column). This has been reported in several other places, like the Jerusalem Post, but I haven’t found a mention of this in the liberal mainstream media like the Washington Post, New York Times. or even The Boston Globe.

 Anti-Zionists are now just mapping Boston’s Jewish population: The Boston Boycott Divest and Sanction movement is circulating a map of Zionist “entities.” The elaborate map —which looks like something a crazy person makes in a movie—has pins with lines drawn between places like . . . a brewery, the JewishBoston publication, county jails, and the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston. All of whom are somehow “responsible for the colonization of Palestine.”

Here’s what the “Mapping Project” creators have to say: “Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that enact devastation, so we can dismantle them. Every entity has an address, every network can be disrupted.”

Nothing antisemitic to see here.

*AOC, in one of her less sapient moments, has gone on what she called a “mini-rant” about the use of the term “Latinx” to refer to Hispanics. (She favors the term, though most Hispanics ignore and abhor it). Her words as reported at The Hill:

“I also have a mini-rant about this because there are some politicians, including Democratic politicians, that rail against the term ‘Latinx.’ And they’re like, ‘This is so bad, this is so bad for the party,’ like blah blah blah.

“And like it’s almost like it hasn’t struck some of these folks that another person’s identity is not about your re-election prospects,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a video message posted to her Instagram account.

“Gender is fluid, language is fluid, and I think people right now are using the ‘e’ term as gender-neutral [JAC: I assume she means “Latine”] in order to be as inclusive as possible. Don’t have to make drama over it.”

As NBC News reported last December:

. . . a new survey of 800 registered voters of Latin American descent showed that only 2 percent described themselves as Latinx. The poll, conducted in November by Bendixen and Amandi International, a Miami-based Democratic firm, also showed that 68 percent prefer Hispanic and 21 percent favor Latino. A whopping 40 percent found the word Latinx offensive.

In fact, AOC is using a term spurned by Hispanics precisely to flaunt her virtue to white people and thereby increase her reelection prospects.

*But good news: be aware that as Sunday morning, you will no longer need a negative covid test to board a flight to the U.S.

On Friday, a senior official for the Biden administration said that it had decided to lift the requirement on Sunday at 12:01 a.m., after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials determined that the widespread adoption of vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 no longer make it necessary.

The decision was met with joy in the travel industry, which for months has been lobbying the administration hard to get rid of the testing rule.

These tests were the bane of many trips, including my two recent ones, for the test had to be read within 24 hours of boarding your first flight to the U.S. Returning from Santiago, Chile after having taken a PCR test, we all got very nervous until the results came when we were about to walk two blocks to the departure airport. The same late results made us equally anxious in Lisbon. This is a great mitzvah!

*Andrew Sullivan’s column of yesterday, “The vibes they are a-shiftin’“, not only details some missteps of the Woke Left, but suggests that maybe the pushback is beginning—even in the liberal media.

And many people have now experienced firsthand what happens to a workplace when crusades for “social justice” trump every other value. The Washington Post this week was convulsed by public infighting — initiated by a reporter, Felicia Sonmez, whose crusade to dismantle the “oppressive systems” she endures at the WaPo went on for a week of public name-calling, vitriol, and victim-mongering. As a professed victim of sexism, Sonmez felt fully justified in destroying any shred of civility or decorum — because she assumed she couldn’t be punished. The same applies to the unethical journalism of Taylor Lorenz, another social justice warrior at the WaPo.

And yet even in this wokest of woke newspapers, the editor finally had enough. Sonmez was fired yesterday for “misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.” Today, Erik Wemple casts a skeptical eye at the countless corrections required to sustain the career of Lorenz. That strikes me as another vibe shift. Not so long ago, a brilliant young editor, Bari Weiss, was forced out of the NYT by a relentless campaign of bullying, Twitter-mobbing and Slack vileness. Now, a purveyor of exactly those kinds of tactics is the one who had to go.

Sullivan sounds as if he wants the Democrats to win, and I’m sure he does, so long as they’re not “progressive” (i.e., woke) ones:

Can the Democrats de-toxify and regroup? I’m not sure they have time before November; but even if they did, I doubt at this point that Biden can do it. He doesn’t seem to understand the legitimate criticisms of the cultural left he has yoked himself to during his first two years. And in a very rare interview this week — Jimmy Kimmel’s — he seemed to blame the press for his inability to get his voice above the din. This is not the kind of thing a successful president says.

There’s an opening here for a future Democratic presidential candidate. Be your generation’s Bill Clinton. Be the person who finally takes on woke intolerance and leftist delusion. Focus on crime, income inequality, affordable healthcare, getting inflation under control, and beefing up the border. These issues should not be conceded to the GOP — as Clinton and Obama showed. The consequences of staying on the current course are more fatal now than they were when Clinton and Obama dragged the Dems to the center, and won over conservatives like me. The result could be the re-election of Donald Trump. If that doesn’t merit a shake-up, what would?

But who’s our candidate? Where is an electable Democrat?

*And there’s more good news tonight, or there was in 2017, when this was reported in the New Zealand Herald. There’s a nice movie at the site, too, where you can see the Star the Duck quaffing a good pint. Click to read; this headline is clickbait if ever there was such a thing:

The whole story (note that the d*g started it!):

A duck wearing a bow tie suffered injuries following a brawl with a dog in a pub in Chulmleigh, Devon, UK.

The dapper duck, named Star, was enjoying a pint with his owner Barrie Hayman when Hayman’s dog Meggie reportedly started the fight.

Star’s beak was injured in the brawl, which took place at The Old Courthouse Inn.

“Star pushed his luck too far and Meggie snapped – splitting Star’s bottom beak right down the middle,” Hayman told the Cheddar Valley Gazette.

“He gave her a stare, then promptly stood on her back. It was not pretty and not nice. We were so scared we would lose Star.

“He had to be rushed to the vets and go under anaesthetic, which is always risky and could go either way with ducks and other small animals.

“Thankfully our Star is a tough cookie and it looks like he came out okay.”

Here’s the indomitable Star and his staff:

Star the duck and his owner Barry Hayman with a pint of ale at The Old Courthouse Inn in Chulmleigh, North Devon. Star has developed a taste for Ale and he is often seen drinking at the pub. Photo / SWNS/Mega

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron and Hili have displaces Andrzej from the couch:

A: Is there a place for me?
Hili: Yes, but you have to chase Szaron away.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy jest tu miejsce dla mnie?
Hili: Tak, ale musisz wygonić Szarona.

And Paulina’s photo of Baby Kulka:


From Facebook:

From The Cat House on the Kings:

. . . and a True Fact from Amazing Things:

A tweet from Titania about her latest article.

A quote from that article:

At a recent “comedy” show in Los Angeles, a brave audience member peacefully attacked comedian Dave Chappelle in self-defence against his violent jokes. Some reports have suggested that the assailant wasn’t a social justice activist at all, but a victim of mental illness. But the two are by no means mutually exclusive. Many of my best friends are clinically insane. 

I probably posted this before, but it’s worth seeing again. There’s even a Wikipeda article on Tombili, a name often given to a chubby pet. The Turks do love their kitties!

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. This photo is from Chicago, and notice the even spacing!

A lovely transit of Greenland:

If you don’t know what this doctor is talking about, go here.

A wonderful dive:

There is nothing, no matter how bizarre, that you cannot find on the Internet:

Monday: Hili dialogue

June 6, 2022 • 6:30 am

Yes, it’s Monday again, June 6, 2022, and summer vacation has started at the University of Chicago. It’s also National GingerBread Day (why the capital “B”?), and also the D-Day Invasion Anniversary (also my late parents’ anniversary), as well as National Huntington’s Disease Awareness Day in the USA and Queensland Day in Australia (see below). 

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot below) honors the life and caffeine-related accomplishments of Angelo Moriondo (June 6, 1851-1914), who invented the first patented espresso machine. (He never made them commercially.)

As Wikipedia says,

Angelo Moriondo, from Turin, is often erroneously credited for inventing the beverage, since he patented a steam-driven coffee beverage making device in 1884 (No. 33/256), probably the first Italian coffee machine similar to other French and English 1800s steam-driven coffee machines. The device is “almost certainly the first Italian bar machine that controlled the supply of steam and water separately through the coffee” and Moriondo is “certainly one of the earliest discoverers of the expresso [sic] machine, if not the earliest”.

60 ml (measured) of espresso and heated milk (later steamed to create a bit of froth):

The final product (I’m drinking it as I type):

Here’s Morindo and my own espresso machine having produced 30 ml of coffee for my morning latte. I find this machine the best quality for value, though you can spend a lot more for incremental improvements in quality:

Stuff that happened on June 6 includes:

St. Martin, a fur trader accidentally shot with a musket, was left with a permanent hole into his stomach (a “gastric fistula”) when the edges of the skin wound healed to the edges of the stomach wound.  The “science”:

When the wound healed itself, the edge of the hole in the stomach had attached itself to the edge of the hole in the skin, creating a permanent gastric fistula. There was very little scientific understanding of digestion at the time and Beaumont recognized the opportunity he had in St-Martin – he could literally watch the processes of digestion by dangling food on a string into St-Martin’s stomach, then later pulling it out to observe to what extent it had been digested. Beaumont continued to experiment on St-Martin off and on until 1833, performing an estimated 200 experiments in 10 years.

St-Martin allowed the experiments to be conducted, not as an act to repay Beaumont for keeping him alive, but rather because Beaumont had the illiterate St-Martin sign a contract to work as a servant. Beaumont recalls the chores St-Martin did: “During this time, in the intervals of experimenting, he performed all the duties of a common servant, chopping wood, carrying burthens, etc. with little or no suffering or inconvenience from his wound.”[1] Although these chores were not bothersome, some of the experiments were painful to St-Martin, for example when Beaumont had placed sacks of food in the stomach, Beaumont noted: “the boy complained of some pain and uneasiness at the breast.” Other symptoms St-Martin felt during experiments were a sense of weight and distress at the epigastric fossa and slight vertigo and dimness of vision.

Here’s a drawing with the hole. St. Martin lived to be 78:

  • 1859 – Queensland is established as a separate colony from New South Wales. The date is still celebrated as Queensland Day.
  • 1892 – The Chicago “L” elevated rail system begins operation.
  • 1912 – The eruption of Novarupta in Alaska begins. It is the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.

From NASA:

For many years, the June 1912 eruption was mistakenly attributed to Katmai, which is 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. But in fact, the event at Novarupta—the name means “new eruption”—stole its contents from beneath the neighboring volcano. Most of the magma had been stored beneath Katmai, so when the new hole in the Earth opened to the northwest, the magma drained away and actually caused Katmai to collapse dramatically. The resulting caldera is now filled with a 200-meter-deep lake.

In the aftermath, a nearby river valley was filled with up to 600 feet of ash, pumice, and other volcanic debris. The debris around Novarupta seethed with heat and steam emissions from fumarole vents for more than a decade, leading scientist Robert Griggs to call it the “Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.”

Here’s the location (my arrow) and a photo of Novarupta’s lava dome in 1987:


Here it is, and there are a few of these left:

  • 1942 – The United States Navy’s victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway is a major turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II. All four Japanese fleet carriers taking part—AkagiKagaSōryū and Hiryū—are sunk, as is the heavy cruiser Mikuma. The American carrier Yorktown and the destroyer Hammann are also sunk.
  • 1944 – Commencement of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, with the execution of Operation Neptune—commonly referred to as D-Day—the largest seaborne invasion in history. Nearly 160,000 Allied troops cross the English Channel with about 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participating. By the end of the day, the Allies have landed on five invasion beaches and are pushing inland.

Perhaps the best idea of what it was like to be on the beaches that day (researched by interviewing survivors) was portrayed in Spielberg’s movie “Saving Private Ryan”. Here’s part of the D-Day invasion scene from both Allied and German points of view. Warning: it’s gory:

  • 1985 – The grave of “Wolfgang Gerhard” is opened in Embu, Brazil; the exhumed remains are later proven to be those of Josef MengeleAuschwitz‘s “Angel of Death”; Mengele is thought to have drowned while swimming in February 1979.

Here’s Mengele’s skull, admitted as such by his son and later confirmed by DNA testing:


*From the Washington Post: “How the White House lost Joe Manchin, and its plan to transform America.” As you know, Manchin’s failure to support the Build Back Better bill largely killed Biden’s biggest initiative since he was elected. The cause?  Crossed wires about a White House statement:

The statement drafted by White House aides two days later named Manchin as the focus of negotiations. White House aides sent a draft of the statement to Manchin’s office ahead of its release. Manchin’s chief of staff responded by asking the White House legislative director either to remove the senator’s name, or to add Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

The White House issued the statement anyway. The president had personally signed off on it. ButManchin exploded, texting a senior Biden aide that the decision was “unconscionable and extremely dangerous” at a time when liberal activists were targeting Manchin’s family with protests.

Three days later, Manchin declared his opposition to the legislation on Fox News. The negotiations never recovered, and Build Back Better — encompassing years of Democratic policy aspirations to reduce child poverty, transform the nation’s housing system, enact new early education programs, tax the rich, and more — was effectively dead.

Sure, Biden should have paid attention, but Manchin seems to have acted like a petulant child, and in so doing killed a chance for the Biden administration to have done immense good.

*It’s already the 50th anniversary of the Watergate breakin and the 48th of the book All the President’s Men by Woodward and Bernstein. Steve Pinker called our attention to their new preface of the anniversary edition of the book, though it came out in 1974, not 1972, so it’s not really a 50th anniversary. The link to their article is below (also here), and it’s well worth reading.

A great book and a great movie. A snippet from W&B’s new essay:

As reporters, we had studied Nixon and written about him for nearly half a century, during which we believed with great conviction that never again would America have a president who would trample the national interest and undermine democracy through the audacious pursuit of personal and political self-interest.

And then along came Trump.

. . . By legal definition this is clearly sedition — conduct, speech or organizing that incites people to rebel against the governing authority of the state. Thus, Trump became the first seditious president in our history.

. . .Both Nixon and Trump have been willing prisoners of their compulsions to dominate, and to gain and hold political power through virtually any means. In leaning so heavily on these dark impulses, they defined two of the most dangerous and troubling eras in American history.

As Washington warned in his Farewell Address more than 225 years ago, unprincipled leaders could create “permanent despotism,” “the ruins of public liberty,” and “riot and insurrection.”

*From several sources, including ABC News 4 from Charleston, we hear that things are dire in Norway. A feminist named Christina Ellingsen and a representative of the global feminist organization Women’s Declaration International (WDI), has been questioned by police, and faces jail for committing gender heresy. It’s one thing to be uncivil and rude, another to suppress one’s speech by government threats of jail.

From ABC:

[Ellingtsen] criticized the Norwegian trans activist group Foreningen FRI in October for teaching children that males can be lesbians.

Ellingsen also called out one the group’s advisers, who is a biological male identifying as a lesbian woman.

That adviser, Christine Marie Jentoft, filed a police complaint that prompted law enforcement to question Ellingsen, according to news outlet Reduxx.

. . . In January 2021, Norway introduced “gender identity” into the bounds of its current hate crime laws. Around that time, WDI Norway (formerly WHRC) warned the adjustment of hate crime laws could lead to persecution for stating biological facts.

If Ellingsen is charged with a hate crime for her comments, she could face up to three years behind bars.

.  . .In another tweet, Ellingsen blasted FRI’s advisor Christine Jentoft for identifying as a lesbian despite being a biological male.

“Jentoft, who is male and an advisor in FRI, presents himself as a lesbian – that’s how bonkers the organization which supposedly works to protect young lesbians’ interests is. How does it help young lesbians when males claim to be lesbian, too?” Ellingsen reportedly said.

Jailing of others has already happened. According to one site:

In 2021, a Norwegian man was jailed for three weeks and a substantial fine for being found guilty of misgendering and insulting a person who identifies as trans on Facebook.

Amnesty International, which has become irreversibly woke, is also accusing Ellingsen of “harassment.” This is ridiculous. Yes, it’s offensive to misgender someone, but a hate crime? No way? What crime has been committed? Free speech that some people find offensive!  Norway, buck up and adopt the U.S.’s interpretation of the First Amendment! (h/t Anna)

*I reported yesterday that the original Gerber baby model had just died at 96. But now they have a new one, the result of a long search. Meet Isa Slish, 8 months old.

From the NYT: Isa Slish of Oklahoma is the latest winner of the Gerber Photo Search contest.Credit…Gerber

The little one has a medical problem:

On the “Today” show, Isa, who was born without a femur or a fibula in her right leg, a condition known as congenital limb difference, delighted the hosts while her mother, Melissa, said that the money would be “set aside” for her daughter’s surgeries.

Of course social media is grousing, as the NYT reports, and for no good reason except people like to kvetch. Best of luck to Isa!

*Finally, though I’m not an action-movie fan, I think I may see the new sequel to 1986’s movie “Top Gun”. It’s cleaning up like gangbusters, and the fans are not from the usual demographic.

The sequel to the 1986 classic featuring Tom Cruise as a veteran fighter pilot raked in an estimated $86 million in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, following a record-breaking debut over the Memorial Day weekend of $156 million. The figure is unusually strong for the second weekend of a high-grossing film, suggesting that a swath of moviegoers is returning to the theaters following a two-year drought caused by the pandemic.

Other Covid-era theater releases have shown that younger audiences will return to cinemas in droves. The blockbuster superhero film “Spider-Man: No Way Home” set records in December.

But Top Gun’s good showing is noteworthy because it has been driven by older viewers—a group distribution executives say has been one of the trickiest to lure back to cinemas during the pandemic, and one that is key to getting the industry back to pre-Covid levels. More than half of Top Gun’s ticket buyers were over the age of 35 years for the second weekend in a row, according to Paramount Pictures.

One reader emailed me this:

Go see Top Gun, especially in IMAX….fantastic movie and emotionally resonant in addition to being visually spectacular.  Tom Cruise is arguably a movie star on the order of Clark Gable or Humphrey Bogart or Joan Crawford or Bette Davis

If you’ve seen it, weigh in below.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, there’s an argument about indigenous possession. Hili needs to make a “sofa claim”:

Hili: Szaron is occupying my sofa.
A: He has the same right to it as you have.
Hili: No, he is not an indigenous cat in this house.
In Polish:
Hili: Szaron okupuje moją sofę.
Ja: Ma do niej takie samo prawo jak ty.
Hili: Nie, on w tym domu nie jest rdzennym kotem.
Here the cats are separated on the windowsill, with Kulka inside and Szaron outside:


From Donna: Helpful advice from Republicans:

From Divy:

From Malcolm:

A tweet from Earthling (Ziya Tong):

And one from God:

From Ginger K., a Stuart Smalley Cat giving his daily affirmation:

From Barry: Look at these newborn cheetahs!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, the only Scot recognized as Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem in Israel (these are non-Jews who saved or helped Jews during the Holocaust). She died in Auschwitz.

Tweets from Matthew Cobb, deep in writing his new biography of Francis Crick. I don’t think Matthew likes Elon, as he spells his last name M*sk:

There are a gazillion languages prison guards don’t know! What about Esperanto?

Matthew had to deal with a Bad Cat Accident:

And tweet of the year!

Sunday: Hili dialogue

June 5, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Sunday, June 5, 2022: National Ketchup Day (remember, according to the Reagan administration, ketchup is a vegetable!) It’s also World Day Against Speciesism and World Environment Day. 

Things that happened on June 5 include:

A first edition and first printing of this book (two volumes) will run you about $15,000:

  • 1883 – The first regularly scheduled Orient Express departs Paris.

  • 1893 – The trial of Lizzie Borden for the murder of her father and step-mother begins in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

She was acquitted, though she almost certainly did the crime with an axe. After the trial, she lived in the family home in Fall River, Massachusetts for the rest of her life, though she was ostracized:

  • 1916 – Louis Brandeis is sworn in as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court; he is the first American Jew to hold such a position.
  • 1956 – Elvis Presley introduces his new single, “Hound Dog“, on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his suggestive hip movements.

And here’s that performance, followed by some banter between Uncle Miltie and the King:

  • 1963 – The British Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, resigns in a sex scandal known as the “Profumo affair”.
  • 1968 – Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.

A video of the last moments of Kennedy’s life:

Sirhan Sirhan, now 78, remains iv prison, with his parole appeals regularly turned down. Here’s a photo of him from January’s NYT after Governor Gavin Newsom denied him parole again.

(from NYT): California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, via Associated Press
  • 1981 – The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that five people in Los Angeles, California, have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what turns out to be the first recognized cases of AIDS.
  • 1989 – The Tank Man halts the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

We still don’t know who Tank Man was, but here’s the Pulitzer-Prize-winning photo of him taken by Jeff Widener:

This is a weird form of matter predicted by both Einstein and S. N. Bose around 1924. Here’s how it was done (Einstein should have won at least two Nobel Prizes):

The first “pure” Bose–Einstein condensate was created by Eric Cornell, Carl Wieman, and co-workers at JILA on 5 June 1995.. They cooled a dilute vapor of approximately two thousand rubidium-87 atoms to below 170 nK using a combination of laser cooling (a technique that won its inventors Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, and William D. Phillips the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics) and magnetic evaporative cooling.


*I’m a sucker for articles with titles like this (from the WaPo), though when you click on it, the title changes. Click anyway to see how we can win:

Just follow the agenda below!

Democrats should level with voters. Instead of trying to convince us that Biden’s first two years were great, they should just admit that they have fallen short and be frank about the problem: There was never really a Democratic “trifecta,” because Manchin and Sinema are more independents than they are Democrats.

They should be clear, too, about the solution: a Senate with at least 52 Democrats and a House with at least 218 Democrats. If they get that, they can say, they will pass a specific agenda, something like this.
My take in caps:
  1. Eliminate the filibuster. WON’T HAPPEN
  2. A national law guaranteeing a right to an abortion in the first trimester and in all cases of rape and incest. WOULD BE OVERTURNED BY THE SUPREME COURT.
  3. A democracy reform law mandating independent commissions to draw state and congressional districts lines free of gerrymandering; vote-by-mail and two weeks of early voting; proportional representation through multi-member congressional districts; and measures to prevent election subversion. TOO HARD TO PASS.
  4. ban on the sale of military-style weapons such as AR-15 rifles and high-capacity magazines, along with universal background checks for gun sales. POSSIBLE BUT UNLIKELY
  5. A minimum income tax of at least 20 percent on billionaires. VERY UNLIKELY
  6. A ban on members of Congress buying individual stocks. SHOULD BE DONE AND SEEMS FEASIBLE
  8. A climate change plan that puts the United States on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. NO WAY
  9. A required civics and life-skills course for high school seniors, with the same curriculum throughout the country. AND WHO, EXACTLY, WILL DESIGN THIS CURRICULUM? IF EVERY THERE WAS A PLEDGE DESIGNED TO ALIENATE DEMOCRATIC AND INDEPENDENT VOTERS, THIS IS ONE.
  10. Voluntary term limits of 12 years in Congress for all Democrats (six terms in the House, two in the Senate). DREAM ON

Well, even if these were feasible, they’d be impossible to implement within two years, and, at any rate, author Perry Bacon Jr. says that we’d also need the present Democratic leadership to step down. (Presumably he wants to put the Squad in charge.):

A Democratic agenda like this won’t be credible, particularly to voters who aren’t hardcore Democrats, if implementation relies on the same people who have long been in charge. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (S.C.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) have been in party leadership almost my entire adult life. As people who seem desperate to hang on to power even as they decline in effectiveness, they epitomize the problems with Washington. They should all pledge to step down and make room for new congressional leadership if the Democrats retain majorities, as Pelosi has already implied that she will.

A lovely dream (depending on who the “new leaders” are!).

*Five years ago I reported with sorrow that Chicago’s “Dyke March” had banned lesbians carrying the “Jewish Pride” flag: a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the middle. It was said to be “triggering,” but of course it’s only triggering if you’re anti-Semitic. The anti-Semitism is still going on, as reported by Nellie Bowles (who is gay) at Bari Weiss’s Substack site but now Gay Pride parades are increasingly banning police marching in uniform. It’s a sign of hatred of cops, but seems to me deeply unproductive, as what would dispel suspicion of cops, at least in gay people, than uniformed officers proclaiming publicly and proudly that they’re gay. Here’s Nellie’s paragraph with links.

My favorite banner for a “dyke” march in Chicago included a woman dancing on top of a cop car, the words ACAB (all cops are bastards), and a burning Israeli flag (very pro-gay culture in Gaza, I’ve heard). Uniformed gay cops aren’t allowed to march in most of our big city parades (cops are bastards). Jewish stars can’t be flown in some of the marches (Judaism is about Israel, and Zionism is racism, so no Jewish stuff allowed). It’s all very inclusive, you see.

*From The National in Scotland: the BBC has apologized for what it said was a “misleading characterization” of J. K. Rowling’s views on transgender people. The misleading statement was made by an interviewer:

The BBC has said it “misleadingly” described JK Rowling as holding “very unpopular opinions” on gender identity.

. . . The journalist [Tom Sutclife] was interviewing the philosopher Professor Erich Hatala Matthes about his new book Drawing the Line which explores whether it is possible to separate art from the artist.

Sutcliffe brought up the Harry Potter author, who has been outspoken over her views on gender.

He asked: “And do you think there’s a major philosophical distinction between artists who have committed crimes, have been found guilty of crimes, and artists who simply have unpopular opinions?

“You bring up the case of JK Rowling who clearly has a very unpopular opinion regarding gender identity and has, as a consequence of that, faced severe and serious criticism. Are those the same things?”

The BBC said it was fair to discuss Rowling in this context as she appeared in Matthes’s book and the reporter distinguished her from the likes of Hitler and R Kelly.

The broadcaster said that part of the interview was neither “harmful nor offensive”.

But the BBC admitted calling Rowling’s views unpopular was “potentially misleading”.

It said: “The ECU agreed … that Mr Sutcliffe’s reference to a ‘very unpopular opinion’ was potentially misleading because, while it had clearly proved objectionable to some, there was no conclusive evidence that the objectors represented a majority.”

Well I’ll be!  Not much of an apology, but at least they’re using empirical grounds to correct themselves!

*Trans-speciesism is here! The Torygraph reports that a man is fulfilling his dream to become a dog by spending £12,000 on a costume that makes him look like Lassie! (see below):

A man has fulfilled his life-long dream of becoming a dog after spending £12,500 on an ultra-realistic collie costume.

It might sound barking mad but Japanese animal fanatic Toko couldn’t be happier in his new life as a Lassie-lookalike.

The amazing tail of transformation has catapulted the Youtuber, known only as Toko, to online fame and made international headlines.

“I was able to fulfil my dream of becoming an animal,” he declared in a celebratory post on Twitter, complete with video of him in his dog suit rolling on the floor.

. . . The canine costume, which allows Toko to achieve his ambition of walking on four legs, was made over 40 days by TV and film costume agency Zeppet.

. . .One fan said, “I think it’s awesome that you are a Border collie. Never change unless you want to.”

But others reacted with howls of derision and suggested he was doggone crazy. One wrote: “You spent money on that?”

As for the dog himself, Toko said on Thursday he had been swamped by the media pack’s interest in his metamorphosis.

“I have received many media inquiries. Sorry, but I am working during the day and will be slow to reply,” he said on Twitter.

Here are pics and a video. Pretty amazing!  But what are his pronouns? “Good boy”?

*Want to see a really good example of anti-Israel bias in the New York Times? Read the editorial board’s op-ed “Who killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh?” They all but answer: “Israeli soldiers”, when in fact the weight of the evidence is that she was shot by a Palestinian by mistake. But of course the NYT barely mentions that evidence.

*Finally, the person behind one of the world’s most widely-seen visages has died. Remember this image?

If you’re my age, you probably saw that face every day, for it’s the face emblazoned on every jar of Gerber Baby Food. And the little girl who posed for it, Ann Turner Cook, died Friday in Florida at age 95:

Ms. Cook was the bona fide Gerber baby, the winner of a nationwide contest in 1928 that has since seen her portrait reproduced on billions of jars of baby food and other items sold round the world.

In 1990, The New York Times described the sketch, by the artist Dorothy Hope Smith, as being “among the world’s most recognizable corporate logos.”

As a baby, Ms. Cook was in very much the right place at the right time. As an adult, however, fearing ridicule for her long-running role as a princess of puréed peas, she did not disclose her identity for decades.

Here she is, young and older:

(From the NYT): Ann Turner Cook in 2004, with a copy of a charcoal drawing of her as an infant used on Gerber baby food products.Credit…Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

She became a schoolteacher, and only revealed that she was the Gerber baby in the 1970s. She made only $5000 for the use of her image. Pikers!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is plumping for a treat

Hili: Is this chicken breast for me?
Małgorzata: No, it’s our dinner but you will get a piece.
Hili: Social justice demands that I get all of it.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy ten filet z kurczaka jest dla mnie?
Małgorzata: Nie, to jest nasz obiad, ale dostaniesz kawałek.
Hili: Społeczna sprawiedliwość wymaga, żeby był cały dla mnie.
And a photo of Szaron:

From Stephen:

From Meanwhile in Canada:

From Catspotting Society:

The Tweet of God:

From Andrée:

From Emma Hilton’s Twitter site:

From Barry. Is this the dumbest person in Congress? (I bet the top ten contenders are all Republicans!) Note the reference to a “peach tree dish.”

From Ginger K. Lock up the owners! #MeowToo

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. First, unrequited lovers (can anybody read the script?):

Damn; they are drunk!

Duckling getting a ride. Google translation: “Naminori spot-billed duck parent and child  Yawning on top and standing up.”  The YouTube video is largely about ducks as well. 

“Erection” indeed!

Sunday: Hili dialogue

May 22, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the Sabbath for goyische cats: Sunday, May 22, 2022: National Vanilla Pudding Day. I can’t think of either that or chocolate pudding without remembering Bill Cosby’s ads for them, so we’ll pass along.  It’s also Harvey Milk Day (California), International Day for Biological DiversityUnited States National Maritime Day, and World Goth Day. 

Here are some Irish goths. Does this subculture even exist any more?

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life and victories of Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt (1878-1960),known as “The Great Gama”. The Doodle and then a photo are below, and Wikipedia says this:

[Gama] was a pehlwani wrestler in British India and a strongman. In the early 20th century, he was an undefeated wrestling champion of the world

Born in village Jabbowal, Amritsar District in the Punjab Province of British India in 1878, Baksh was awarded a version of the World Heavyweight Championship on 15 October 1910. Undefeated in a career spanning more than 52 years, he is considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. After the partition of British India, into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan in August 1947, Gama opted for Pakistan, where he died in Lahore on May 23, 1960.

Undefeated! He did 5,000 pushups and 3,000 squats per day, often wearing 100 kilos of weights.

And here’s the Asian sport of pehlwani wrestling, in which Butt was undefeated:

Stuff that happened on May 22 include:

  • 1455 – Start of the Wars of the Roses: At the First Battle of St Albans, Richard, Duke of York, defeats and captures King Henry VI of England.
  • 1804 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially begins as the Corps of Discovery departs from St. Charles, Missouri.v
  • 1826 – HMS Beagle departs on its first voyage.
  • 1849 – Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is issued a patent for an invention to lift boats, making him the only U.S. president to ever hold a patent.

As far as I now, the “buoyancy device” was never put into use.

Here’s one diagram from the ten-page patent, which you can see in its entirety here.

  • 1964 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson launches the Great Society.
  • 2002 – Civil rights movement: A jury in Birmingham, Alabama, convicts former Ku Klux Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry of the 1963 murder of four girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.
  • 2015 – The Republic of Ireland becomes the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage in a public referendum.

Who was the first couple to marry legally in the world. Wikipedia says this:

While Glenn Cunningham and Adriano Vilar are often cited as the first same-sex couple to have their civil partnership formally recognised in Ireland, in fact several hundred couples were recognised together at the exactly the same time. The couple formed a civil partnership at a ceremony in Northern Ireland in 2010.

But here are Cunningham and Vilar:


*Monkeypox! It’s now in 14 countries. It’s not as deadly as smallpox, but smallpox vaccine seems to prevent it about 85% of the time. But why is there monkeypox in places with no monkeys?

*The Washington Post has made a list of “The top 10 GOP presidential candidates for 2024, ranked.” The ranking is done this way: “As usual, this list takes into account both how likely they are to run in the first place and how likely they are to win.”

And the list in order (#1 most likely to run and win; reasons are given):

  1. Donald Trump (shoot me now!)
  2. Ron DeSantis
  3. Mike Pence
  4. Nikki Haley
  5. Tim Scott
  6. Ted Cruz
  7. Donald Trump, Jr.
  8. Glenn Youngkin
  9. Chris Sununu
  10. Asa Hutchinson

Any of these excite you? I didn’t think so.

*In response to American sanctions, Russia has just permanently banned 963 Americans from entering Russia, presumably forever (or until Russia changes its mind). Those banned include President Biden, Vice-President Harris, and “a wide-ranging collection of Biden administration members, Republicans, tech executives, journalists, lawmakers who have died, regular U.S. citizens and even actor Morgan Freeman.”

Ex-President Trump is not on the banned list.

*Here’s an almost self-contained news item penned by reader Ken:

Here’s a piece from The Miami Herald about how the “Don’t Say Gay” bill pushed through the Florida legislature by the dumpy demagogue in the Tallahassee governor’s mansion who has his eye on the US presidency — the law that offers rewards to vigilante parents who rat out gay teachers — is working out so far, even though the law doesn’t officially take effect until July 1st.

The demagogue is Republican governor Gov. Ron DeSantis, the law takes effect July 1, and is ambiguous. From the Herald:

The new law was both broad and vague, outlawing “classroom instruction … on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3” and stipulating these lessons must be “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate” for all older students. But it was specific when it came to punishment: Parents could sue school districts for violating the law. It would inspire a wave of copycat legislation — Alabama’s governor signed a near-identical measure into law in April, and similar bills are pending in at least 19 other states.

The paper tells of Nicolette Solomon, a fourth-grade Florida teacher who by all accounts was beloved by her students. But they figured out she was married to another woman, and that, though ok by the students, wasn’t okay with parents or her fellow teachers. After suffering harassment for being gay, she quit teaching and says she’ll never teach again in Florida.

*The National Health Service has removed the word “woman” from three pages about ovarian, womb and cervix cancers, cancers that occur only in biological women. From The Daily Fail, which reproduces both the original and changed pages:

The original version of the ovarian NHS cancer page featured the line: ‘Ovarian cancer, or cancer of the ovaries, is one of the most common types of cancer in women.’

It also highlights the women who may be particularly at risk, saying: ‘Ovarian cancer mainly affects women who have been through the menopause (usually over the age of 50), but it can sometimes affect younger women.’

However, in an update sneaked out in January — which campaigners only uncovered this week — both lines were removed.

Instead, another line was added: ‘Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer, but it mostly affects those over 50.’

. . .The same has happened to the NHS cervical cancer page with the previous version stating: ‘Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45.’

While the new version does feature a diagram of vagina, womb and cervix, no mention of women or woman is made.

. . . But the NHS has defended the update, stating it seeks to make the pages ‘as helpful as possible to everyone who needs them’.

Other quoted maintain that this obfuscation of language could actually harm women’s health by not directing vital information to the relevant audience (h/t: Ginger K.)

*I discovered that Harper’s has a “Harper’s Index” of interesting and fun facts. Here’s from the latest (sources given at the site):

Portion of female students asked to sit alone for fifteen minutes who will self-administer an electric shock out of curiosity: 1/4

Of male students : 2/3

That one mystifies me. Are males more masochistic, or more curious?

*As reported by the Algemeiner, the law faculty of the City University of New York has endorsed the pro-BDS resolution passed last December by the Law School’s student government.

At the time, the original measure was denounced by Jewish groups and rejected by CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez, who said its call for an academic boycott was “contrary to a university’s core mission to expose students personally and academically to a world that can be vastly different to their own, particularly through international exchange programs.”

The CUNY Law spokesperson said the faculty endorsement took place on May 12, and did not disclose further details of the vote.

The cowards won’t even reveal the vote tally much less, who voted for or against this resolution. BDS is of course anti-Semitic, since its aim is the elimination of the state of Israel, and so now we seem to have have an official university statement to that effect. As we at the University of Chicago have realized, it chills speech for official units within a University to make official statements on politics, ideology, or morality. I wonder what the Jewish law faculty think of this resolution. (h/t Malgorzata). What with these statements proliferating, is it in the future of American Jews to have to seek refuge in Israel, just as European refugees did a generation ago?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron take their walkies down to the river

Hili: We have to see how long it takes to get to the river.
Szaron: But we’ve been there so many times.
Hili: Yes, but sometimes we go fast and sometimes slow.
In Polish:
Hili: Trzeba sprawdzić ile czasu zabiera droga nad rzekę.
Szaron: Przecież byliśmy tam tyle razy.
Hili: Tak, ale czasem idziemy szybciej, a czasem wolniej.

From Su:

From Not Another Science Cat Page:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Barry: Land mammal greets sea mammal:

Bill Maher dilates on LGBQ+ issues:

From Malcolm. You’ll have to be a Brit to get this one, but I’m sure a British reader can explain it for us:

Good old Patrick Stewart! A tweet found by Ginger K:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. Lovely visitors!

Cats will be cats:

As I was just saying. . . .

Enlarge the separate pix to get a better look at this gorgeous longicorn:

Friday: Hili dialogue

May 20, 2022 • 6:30 am

It’s the end of the week and, at sundown, the start of the one-day Cat Sabbath.  Yes, it’s Friday, May 20, 2022, National Quiche Lorraine Day, which may not be kosher if it includes meat.

It’s also World Bee Day, World Metrology Day, and Josephine Baker Day, an NAACP holiday celebrating the celebrated dancer, actress, and activist. She was neither born nor died on this day, but it’s still her holiday:

Baker also worked with the NAACP. Her reputation as a crusader grew to such an extent that the NAACP had Sunday 20 May 1951 declared “Josephine Baker Day”. She was presented with life membership with the NAACP by Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche.

She also helped the French resistance when she was in Paris during the war, and had a colorful life, including owning a pet cheetah:

 In later shows in Paris, she was often accompanied on stage by her pet cheetah “Chiquita,” who was adorned with a diamond collar. The cheetah frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians, adding another element of excitement to the show.

After a while, Baker was the most successful American entertainer working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw”. The author spent hours talking with her in Paris bars. Picasso drew paintings depicting her alluring beauty. Jean Cocteau became friendly with her and helped vault her to international stardom. Baker endorsed a “Bakerfix” hair gel, bananas, shoes, and cosmetics amongst other products.

I can’t seem to find a Picasso rendition of Baker, so if you have a link, please put it in the comments.

(From Wikipedia): Depiction, drawn by Louis Gaudin, of Baker being presented a flower bouquet by a cheetah

Stuff that happened on May 20 includes:

  • 325 – The First Council of Nicaea is formally opened, starting the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church.
  • 1498 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India when he arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.
  • 1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas.

Here’s the world from that Atlas. Not bad for 1570, is it? (click to enlarge):

Here’s the famous first publication:

Here’s the oldest known pair of Levis, dating from the 1870s and found in a mine. Worth over $100,000, they’re locked in a safe at the Levi Strauss company:

Everyone should visit Auschwitz (a short bus ride from Krakow, Poland) once in their lives. Here’s a photo I took of one of the many rooms of belongings confiscated from Jews who were gassed. These people thought they were going to get their luggage back:

The pair won the Nobel Prize for detecting the electromagnetic radiation associated with the big bang. They used this telescope (caption from Wikipedia):

The Holmdel Horn Antenna on which Penzias and Wilson discovered the cosmic microwave background. The antenna was constructed in 1959 to support Project Echo—the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s passive communications satellites, which used large earth orbiting aluminized plastic balloons as reflectors to bounce radio signals from one point on the Earth to another.
  • 1980 – In a referendum in Quebec, the population rejects, by 60% of the vote, a government proposal to move towards independence from Canada.
  • 1983 – First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by a team of French scientists including Françoise Barré-SinoussiJean-Claude Chermann, and Luc Montagnier. You can read about the priority fight in a free paper here

Montagnier won the Nobel Prize for this along with  Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Harald zur Hausen. Robert Gallo did not get a prize. 

*I’m not a huge fan of the NYT, but this kind of investigative reporting, backed by their financial resources, is what they’re good at. A combination of film, photography, and drone footage strongly suggests that a group of Russian paratroopers executed eight Ukrainian unarmed civilians (probably involved in defense forces) in cold blood. If this is the case, those men are guilty of a war crime.

To uncover what happened to these men, The Times spent weeks in Bucha interviewing a survivor, witnesses, coroners, and police and military officials. Reporters collected previously unpublished videos from the day of the execution — some of the only evidence thus far to trace the victims’ final movements. The Times scoured social media for missing persons reports, spoke to the victims’ family members and, for the first time, identified all of the executed men and why most of them were targeted.

They were husbands and fathers, grocery store and factory workers who lived ordinary civilian lives before the war. But with restrictions on men leaving the country, coupled with a resolve to protect their communities, most of the men joined various defense forces in the days before they were killed. Nearly all of them lived within walking distance of the courtyard in which their bodies would later lie.

*A recent Pew survey reveals which issues Americans think are the top problems facing our country. Here’s the chart, showing that “it’s the economy, stupid!”:

*From reader Ken, who says, “Now that they’re confident they have the demolition of Roe v. Wade under their belts, The Federalist has set its sights on contraception.” I should have seen this coming. From the piece:

In all of the furor surrounding the (likely) imminent demise of Roe v. Wade, it has become clear to me that women have been made to fear and resent their biology for far too long. Too many women have bought the lie that they have no options but to rely on hormonal contraceptives and, if that fails, abortion. But the broad dependence on these methods — making women responsible to manage their own and men’s fertility — is actually patriarchal and anti-women.

I truly believe that the more women come to understand and love their bodies and their cycles (instead of being taught to hate, fear, and suppress them), the more they will realize we’ve been sold a bill of goods on contraception and abortion — two things we’re told “liberate” us, while suppressing the very thing that makes us women.

*The magazine Science is kvetching because far more parasites are named for men than women (I would expect they’d applaud that tendency!)

When it comes to naming species they’ve discovered, scientists often like to have a little fun. There’s Ba humbugi, a Fiji snail referencing one of literature’s crankiest men. Or Spongiforma squarepantsii, a mushroom named after everyone’s favorite cartoon sponge. And for decades, researchers have named species after their colleagues or iconic researchers as a way to honor them, which is why some 300 species of animals are named after Charles Darwin.

But that tradition may perpetuate societal biases, according to a new study of parasite names. The scientific names of nearly 3000 recently identified bloodsuckers, hijackers, and other banes of the biological world mostly honor men.

Perplexed by some of the stranger parasite monikers that occasionally grace the headlines, Robert Poulin, a parasitologist at the University of Otago, Dunedin, and his colleagues combed through studies published in eight prominent parasitology journals between 2000 and 2020. Although discoveries of new species of mammals or birds are relatively rare, parasites represent the frontier of taxonomic research, with prodigious amounts of new species described each year. The year 2007 alone saw nearly 200 new parasites worm their way into the scientific record.

Of the 596 parasite species honoring an eminent scientist, only 18% immortalized women researchers, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The gender gap has remained consistent for the past 20 years. And 89% of researchers lucky enough to have two or more parasites named after them were men.

There’s one obvious alternative to the implicit accusation of ongoing “structural sexism”: not only were most famous parasitologists men, but they tend to be those who get animals named after them. This is one of those examples where the Pecksniffs feel good but accomplish exactly nothing. Do they really believe that a higher proportion of parasites named after men (the same, I suspect, would be true for nearly all animals) “perpetuates societal bias”? Eventually, of course, the disparity will disappear with time if women achieve equity in parasitology.

*Live Science reports that 5,200 Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) paraded ashore on a New Zealand beach in a single night (h/t Ginger K.):

As dusk fell over Australia’s Phillip Island last week, thousands of tiny black-and-white birds participated in the largest “penguin parade” seen on the island since record-keeping began in the 1960s, with more than 5,200 little penguins (Eudyptula minor) crossing the beach in a single night.

Phillip Island — known as Millowl to the Indigenous Bunurong people — hosts Australia’s largest colony of little penguins, which is currently about 40,000 birds strong, according to the Penguin Foundation, a group that funds research and conservation efforts on the island. This is the world’s smallest penguin species; the birds grow to be no bigger than about 15.7 inches (40 centimeters) tall, or about the height of a bowling pin, according to The Australian Museum.

Every day at dusk, a subset of the Philip Island penguin population swims back to shore after hunting for fish, squid, krill and small crustaceans in the ocean, and then heads inland toward their nesting grounds. This event, locally known as the “Penguin Parade,” draws large numbers of tourists to Phillip Island Nature Parks, where visitors can “sit and watch the penguins emerge from the water for 50 minutes” each night, Paula Wasiak, a Phillip Island Nature Parks field researcher, told Live Science in an email.

Here’s a video of the event:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t like seeing litter on her beat:

In Polish:
Hili: Byłam na końcu świata.
Ja: I co tam widziałaś?
Hili: Znowu jacyś ludzie naśmiecili.
Shhhhh . . . Szaron is still sleeping (he must be recovering from Karolina):

From Ken, who sent me the whole issue (available by judicious inquiry). He notes, “This is from the January 1974 ‘Animals’ issue of National Lampoon. It’s a pitch-perfect Popular Mechanics parody. Click to enlarge.

From Stash Krod: sad but true:

From Beth. After spending years trying to keep people from feeding bread to ducks, it’s time that the animals turned the tables:

Reader Barry sends us an aggressive fish:

This was suggested to me in my Mystery Twitter Feed. I never watched “Mad Men,” but I like this scene:

Also from Barry, an elephant pulls a prank. Note how he gives the hat back. (Sound up.)

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. First, some lovely music. Don’t miss this one!

This is bizarre but apparently true. Try it at home! And it even has medical applications. There are 8 tweets in the thread

I used to do this with toothpicks.

Thursday: Hili dialogue

May 19, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Thursday, May 19, 2022: National Devil’s Food Cake Day. In the U.S. it’s also Malcolm X Day (he was born on this day in 1925) and Hepatitis Testing Day.  This gives me a chance to show my favorite scene from Spike Lee’s eponymous 1992 movie about Malcolm, when, with his family, he heads to the auditorium where he was killed, and so do the shooters.  The mesmerizing bits are the song (“A Change Is Gonna Come”, by Sam Cooke, my favorite soul song), and Lee’s patented scenario in which a character appears to roll instead of walk. This  is a great scene.  Malcolm is played by Denzel Washington.

When somebody asks me the rare question, “Are you happy?”, I nearly always answer, “I’m a Jew: the best we can do is ‘complacent’.”  But today I’m actually happy because Sammy the Stalwart Duckling was saved yesterday from a horrible life in Botany Pond. It still puts a smile on my face. I will push aside thoughts that this won’t be the last rescue of orphan ducklings we have to effect. Kudos again to Brandon, who saved Sammy, and I hope he gets in touch with me.

Gratuitous note: I had one of those academic dreams last night in which I had to take an exam but hadn’t cracked a book all semester. The school was Yale, and the subject was Assyrian.

* All of a sudden Ukraine has disappeared from the headlines, but the fact remains that Russia is still engaged in a war for the country. The good news is that Ukrainian soldiers appeared to have forced the Russians out of the country’s second most populous city, Kharkiv. The bad news is that the country is severely short staffed with medical personnel, with limbs that could be saved routinely amputated; and there’s a severe shortage of all things medical and medicinal. Finally, Mariupol is a lost cause, with the last Ukrainian soldiers evacuated to be used elsewhere. A WaPo estimate puts the civilian death toll in that city at around 20,000!

* The NBC Evening News reported last night on growing evidence that Hunter Biden committed crimes by taking money from Russia, with one expert saying “You don’t get off scot-free by robbing a bank and then returning the money.” I can’t find any story in the MSM backing up NBC’s allegations, which included massive spending by Hunter Biden on luxury items, but if the emails (the hard drive’s contents are now disseminated by Giuliani) prove genuine, it’s trouble not only for Hunter, but for his dad. Stay tuned. What NBC New reports as a big story (once denigrated by everyone) should not be ignored.

Thursday morning updateThe NBC site now has an article that gives more detail and leaves it unresolved whether Biden’s behavior was criminal. Here’s one excerpt:

From 2013 through 2018 Hunter Biden and his company brought in about $11 million via his roles as an attorney and a board member with a Ukrainian firm accused of bribery and his work with a Chinese businessman now accused of fraud, according to an NBC News analysis of a copy of Biden’s hard drive and iCloud account and documents released by Republicans on two Senate committees.

The documents and the analysis, which don’t show what he did to earn millions from his Chinese partners, raise questions about national security, business ethics and potential legal exposure. In December 2020, Biden acknowledged in a statement that he was the subject of a federal investigation into his taxes. NBC News was first to report that an ex-business partner had warned Biden he should amend his tax returns to disclose $400,000 in income from the Ukrainian firm, Burisma. GOP congressional sources also say that if Republicans take back the House this fall, they’ll demand more documents and probe whether any of Biden’s income went to his father, President Joe Biden.

Remember that most of the liberal media dismissed this as foreign propaganda; perhaps that accounts for their reluctance to report on the updates.

*Michelle Goldberg has an op-ed piece in yesterday’s NYT dissecting the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp defamation trial, a trial that I haven’t followed at all. Goldberg takes Heard’s side, and although experts have said that the couple engaged in “mutual abuse”, Goldberg sees Depp as the principal abuser, which may be true. But she exaggerates when she titled her column “Amber Heard and the Death of #MeToo” and by saying that this case presages the rise of a new misogny. Despite the Supreme Court, I’m confident that the #MeToo genie is out of the bottle.  Apropos, the NYT also has a column about the clothes that the accused and accuser are wearing on the stand, and what message they’re trying to convey both sartorially and in words.

*Although both Sweden and Finland have now formally applied for NATO membership, Turkey continues to try to slow down or block the applications.  From the Washington Post:

Turkey blocked the start of Finland’s and Sweden’s accession talks to NATO on Wednesday shortly after the Nordic nations submitted their applications, a signal of what could be a bumpy process to expand the alliance and reshape Europe’s post-Cold War security architecture.

Turkey’s resistance deprived Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of the consensus he needed to move forward with the membership process. It also put a damper on a historic moment for two countries that held fast to military nonalignment until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended their thinking about security.

At a meeting of NATO ambassadors, Turkey said it still needed to work through some issues related to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, according to two officials familiar with the discussion, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive closed-door talks.

Damn Erdogan! Atatürk will be rolling in his grave.

*As Slate reports, a footnote in Alito’s draft decision in the undoing of Roe v. Wade highlights a repugnant attitude: we should not allow abortion because forced birth assures a good supply of babies for others to adopt. (h/t Richard)

One of the most arresting lines in Justice Samuel Alito’s 98-page draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade is a footnote that didn’t really surface until the weekend. A throwaway footnote on Page 34 of the draft cites data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that in 2002, nearly 1 million women were seeking to adopt children, “whereas the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life and available to be adopted has become virtually nonexistent.” In response to the outrage and some misinformation, the conservative legal industrial complex went to great lengths to downplay it as a trivial footnote in a draft opinion, and to insist that Alito was citing the CDC and not himself and that the note appears in a roundup of “people are saying”–type arguments against abortion.

True. But the footnote reflects something profoundly wrong with the new “ethos of care” arguments advanced by Republicans who want to emphasize compassion instead of cruelty after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health fallout. Footnote 46, quantifying the supply/demand mismatch of babies, follows directly on another footnote in the opinion approvingly citing the “logic” raised at oral argument in December by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who mused that there is no meaningful hardship in conscripting women to remain pregnant and deliver babies in 2022 because “safe haven” laws allow them to drop those unwanted babies off at the fire station for other parents to adopt.

This is, in effect, an argument for using women, against their will, as incubators to keep America supplied with infants.

*Finally, last night there was an NBC Evening News headline: “Taylor Swift graduates”. I was surprised because I didn’t know she was getting a degree. Well, she sort of did: she got a  Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, from New York University, so it’s an honorary degree that doesn’t involve graduation.  (She left school at 17 to pursue music.)  Do we call her “Dr. Swift” now?  At any rate, she gave a 22-minute commencement address, which happened to be held at Yankee Stadium!  The speech is not bad for a singer, though it’s loaded with the customary commencement bromides.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is making more allusions to politics:

Hili: I’m going to the West.
A: Why?
Hili: East is more and more dangerous.
In Polish:
Hili: Idę na zachód.
Ja: Czemu?
Hili: Wschód jest coraz bardziej niebezpieczny.
Shhhhh…. Szaron is sleeping:

From Reese:

A friend is on a tour of The Cotswolds admiring thatched roofs today. She says the animals are the thatchers’ signatures. This one has ducks.

I try to avoid posting Far Side cartoons (Larson isn’t keen on reproducing them), but reader Thomas sent in this old gem (newly colorized) and I couldn’t resist:

From “Ducks in Public”, a photo labeled “Ducks with Jobs”:

The Tweet of God:

This came from Barry, but I retweeted it:

A book recommendation from Sam:

J. K. Rowling properly refuses to apologize, but I love the way she trolls the trolls:

Tweets from Matthew. You’re definitely going to want to look at some of the papers cited in the article these tweets refer to:

This has to be true because it’s on Wikipedia. The famous stoic philosopher’s death is actually given in two different versions:

He died during the 143rd Olympiad (208–204 BC) at the age of 73. Diogenes Laërtius gives two different accounts of his death. In the first account, Chrysippus was seized with dizziness having drunk undiluted wine at a feast, and died soon after. In the second account, he was watching a donkey eat some figs and cried out: “Now give the donkey a drink of pure wine to wash down the figs”, whereupon he died in a fit of laughter.

Such is Wikipedia. However, this entry it referred me to a positive gem of a Wikipedia article: “List of unusual deaths.” Don’t miss the 1988 deaths of Cachy the Poodle, Marta Espina, Edith Solá, and an unidentified man, all in one incident:

A happy story of a newborn lame found frozen and apparently lifeless. I show only animal stories with happy endings. Sound up:

Matthew loves swifts, swallows, and martens, and here’s one about to snarf an insect in mid-flight: