Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Wednesday, May 17, 2017: exactly one week till I engage Le Dawkins in conversation in Washington, D.C. Be there or be square! Also, today the Certified Hand Therapist will inspect my finger to see if the tendon has healed enough that I can discard the damn plastic cast I’ve been wearing for six week. It’s been a real pain, and typing while splinted has produced many errors on this site.

And it’s National Cherry Cobbler Day, a dessert not to be sniffed at. It’s also International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.

On this day in 1536, Henry VIII has his marriage with Anne Boleyn’s annulled. She was beheaded two days later. On May 17, 1875, the horse Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby. In 1954, a landmark case was decided on this day: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that it was unconstitutional to have separate schools for black and white children. On this day in 1973, the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings of the Watergate affair; if you watched you’ll remember them well. Finally, on May 17, 2004, the first legal same-sex marriages were performed in the U.S.—in Massachusetts.

Notables born on this day include Edward Jenner (1749), Erik Satie (1866), Dennis Hopper (1936), and Andrea Corr (1974). Here are the Corrs performing their best-known song, “Breathless”:

Those who died on this day include John Jay (1829), Lawrence Welk (1992), baseball great Harmon Killebrew (I have his autograph on a copy of the journal Genetics, surely a unique item), Donna Summer (2012), and Gerald Edelman (2014). Here is my Killebrew-autographed copy of Genetics; this post describes how I got it:

I met both Killebrew and Edelman when they were in their prime; they are both gone now and I realize that I am soon to follow. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is not quite ready for her closeup:

Hili: I suspect that you will have to take this picture again.
A: Now?
Hili: No, when wisteria is in bloom.
In Polish:
Hili: Podejrzewam, że to zdjęcie będziesz musiał powtórzyć.
Ja: Teraz?
Hili: Nie, jak zakwitnie wisteria
Here is Ali, the beautiful cat belonging to a friend of reader Anne-Marie in Montreal:
Lagniappe: A tw**t featuring illusions, spotted and sent to me by Matthew Cobb:

And one found by Grania:


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I remember those fine Minnesota Twins teams from the ’60s & ’70s that Harmon Killebrew played on with Tony Oliva and Rod Carew — and the great World Series they played against the Dodgers in ’65 (the one where Sandy Koufax refused to pitch on Yom Kippur).

    • Martin Levin
      Posted May 17, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Killebrew was nicknamed, unimaginatively, “Killer.” But if ever there was a mismatch … he was widely known as one of the nicest, gentlest men in baseball.

  2. Posted May 17, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Lawrence Welk? – so he finally came out of his shell…

    17th of May – Norway’s National day!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 17, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      The day LW broke the bubble machine.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Washington DC seems to be quite the spectator’s sport these days so hopefully you will have lots of spectators at the event.

    Very nice looking Ali there in Montreal.

  4. W.Benson
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    There’s a typo just above the Corr video: “Erik Satie”.

  5. Posted May 17, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    An atheist (and former Christian) Englishman writes: Maybe one to get a Dawkins line on. It is surely a matter of patriotic pride that the established Church of England, which still has the monarch (rather than, say, Jesus) as its supreme governor, was founded by a serial adulterer and uxoricide. By specialising in what must have been two Bible-inspired Protestant pastimes, Henry VIII clearly knew how to show the Pope where to shove it.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Ali is spectacular

    Certified Hand Therapist is new to me. I had to look that up to make sure…

    Do CHTs grow weary of guffaws at parties? 🙂

  7. rickflick
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I’d go to a Corrs/Staves concert.

  8. Posted May 17, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Since this day is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
    it gives me the opportunity of helping our gay friends with a bit of serious ammunition for their cause – specifically those who wish to show that gayness can be natural.

    In one of his lectures, Richard Dawkins replied to a query as to whether nature uses homosexuality as a means of population control. He replied that evolution doesn’t work that way. “Natural selection,” he said, “works at the level of the individual gene. So in order for natural selection to favor population control, [it] would have to favor a gene or genes within an individual that limited that individual’s reproduction.”
    “Homosexuality would do that, but of course, it wouldn’t actually be naturally selected because the individual [who] doesn’t have children doesn’t pass on the genes for not having children.”
    “In order for natural selection to favor population control,” Dawkins said, “it would have to be the case that an individual who has too many children ends up rearing fewer” successfully.
    He noted that this is exactly what ornithologist David Lack found when he studied avian clutch size — those birds that laid too many eggs were not able to care for all their hatchlings, whereas as those who laid too few were not selected for the obvious reason — they didn’t produce enough progeny.

    As far as I was able to discover, this is where the conversation ended. It did, however, make me wonder what could follow from the David Lack study. I proffer the following for comment.

    From the study of math and logic I now give one truism. Proving the non-existence of something is a bitch! Just remember the story of Fermat’s last equation – it took three hundred years to solve. Homophobes, therefore, don’t get let off by stating that they can’t see any way for homosexuality to be natural because gays don’t have as many children. Not being able to see something is not a proof that that something cannot exist, or put more succinctly in the old aphorism “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.

    Logically, this should be sufficient to shut the homophobes up with their “I can’t see how” argument, but since it doesn’t it is necessary to show them something more concrete, so here we go.

    Gays certainly do have children but only as many as they wish, or could get with a little help from their friends. If only two children needed to survive in order to maintain population numbers, would this not be a more successful strategy than raising fifteen or more to produce only two? (to maintain a stable population).

    Evolution has not provided any mechanism for human population control, and this is no surprise – it just wouldn’t work. Man is not monogamous and is always vulnerable to being cuckolded which would be deadly for his genes’ success. Therefore any man not keeping his wife perpetually barefoot and pregnant was, and is, in serious danger from the ever vigilant Lothario or rapist. We are talking here of ancient societies specifically, though sadly, not exclusively. Consequently, it follows that men have no chance of having any inbuilt restraint to their reproductive desires as far as their sex drive is concerned. Their only curb is within their own intelligence, conscience or culture. Thus gays, who have no desire for sexual gratification from the opposite sex, avoid the “bloated family” syndrome which has forever entrapped male heterosexuals in a state of privation. Alpha males and their inner circle excepted.

    Thus, to sum up, men are caught in an evolutionary trap where every man who has not sown his full quota of wild oats will see his genes sucked into evolution’s trash can. Gays and lesbians, by following a more sophisticated lifestyle system, can survive very well indeed. Their intellectual abilities and other lifestyle choices give them more options than is open to the heterosexual alternative. There are, of course, contrary forces opposing a more successful emergence of gay lifestyles. Homophobia being just one.

    Just as a final note, there are many more game theory strategies than the one mentioned above in which gays and lesbians can use to increase their survival chances. Just for amusement look at the “Sneaky Fucker” theory by John Maynard Smith.


  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    PCC(E) Make sure to check your post where you ask the WEIT readers to submit a question before the Dawkins event.

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