Friday: Hili dialogue

We’ve again reached the end of another week: it’s Friday, June 22, 2018, the second day of summer. Now the days will slowly begin getting shorter. It’s National Chocolate Eclair Day, and not much else.

On the duck front, it’s been raining continuously here, impeding my ability to get photos. The duck islands are now covered with water, as the drainage system of the pond, which keeps the water level constant, can’t keep up with the rain. The brood has thus been hanging out on the shallow edges of the pond or in the reeds. I don’t like this, as it makes them vulnerable to predators. However, there are still eight ravenous ducklings, and the rain should stop sometime today, giving us a sunny and dry weekend. In the meantime, I get drenched several times a day doing the feedings, as it’s impossible to feed ducks, which requires two hands, and hold an umbrella at the same time. So it goes.

Not much happened in this day in history. On June 22, 1633, the Catholic Church forced Galileo to recant his view that the Sun rather than the Earth was the center of the Universe. But of course all soft-on-religion scholars of science will argue that this was not a clash between faith and science: it was something else, like a battle of personalities (read Ronald Numbers if you want to see this brand of weaselly historical apologetics).  On this day in 1942, the U.S. Congress adopted the Pledge of Allegiance; this is its present form:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The words “under God,” to which all rational secularists object, were added in 1954 in a bill signed by President Eisenhower. This is what Ike said:

From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty…. In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.

Finally, it was on this day in 1986, during the World Cup in Mexico, that Diego Maradona helped lead Argentina to victory over England (2-1) by scoring two goals (Argentina went on to win the World Cup). One, the “hand of God” goal, was clearly a handball and should have been disallowed. The other, a marvel of dribbling, is often regarded as the greatest goal of all time. Here again are both:

Notables born on June 22 include chess champion Paul Morphy (1837), Julian Huxley (1887), John Dillinger (1903), Billy Wilder (1906), Meryl Streep (1949; the year I was born: I judge how well I’m aging by looking at her. She looks great but I think this comparison is irrational), and Cyndi Lauper (1953).

Also born on this day was Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006), a well known science fiction writer, though not known to me. Google has celebrated her birth with a Doodle:

Notables who died on this day include poet Walter de la Mare (1956), David O. Selznick (1965), Judy Garland (1969), Fred Astaire (1987), Dennis Day (1988), Pat Nixon (1993), and George Carlin (2008). On the anniversary of George Carlin’s death, here’s his famous riff on religion:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Hili dialogue is again a bit enigamtic, so I asked Malgorzata to explain:  “Isn’t there a saying in English “Silence before storm”? There is one in Polish. So that’s what Hili is talking about: it’s eery quiet and she is afraid that this may suddenly end.”

Hili: Unsettling silence.
A: Why?
Hili: Because something may go boom.
In Polish:
Hili: Niepokojąca cisza.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Bo coś może huknąć.

Some tweets from Matthew: including this lovely fossil of a swift:

The foot of a nightjar has a comb, shown below, presumably used to clean the rictal bristles, which project from the edge of its bill (“whiskers”):

Here’s Matthew exactly sharing my sentiments about the power of selection. He even gets a bit Hallelujah-ish at the end!

A vertical take-off via Ziya Tong (click anyway if you don’t see the video):

Plants can show mimicry too, presumably to avoid consumption by predators:

Now this is an excited cat!

And the underrated Buster Keaton reads a newspaper in one of his silent movies:

We cat owners have all had this experience:

And a real Ceiling Cat! I’m worried, though, about why it’s living in the ceiling in an animal shelter. That’s not good!

And a Ceiling Raccoon:

Fun but (according to Matthew), useless imaging:

Finally, reader Mark Sturtevant sent us a “fallacious ice machine”:



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink


    By PCC(E) may they go slowly

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    George Carlin, simply the best.

    • Historian
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Beyond any doubt.

    • Randy Bessinger
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I miss him!

  3. ChrisS
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Buster Keaton in The High Sign:

    That’s a great sight gag, which has been repeated down through the ages, but I wonder if he was the first to do it?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Many of the gags from the early silent comedies were variations on old vaudeville bits.

    • revelator60
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Buster also repeated the newspaper gag in one of his late films, The Railrodder (1965). But this time he was reading the paper while traveling over a high railroad bridge in a handcar!

      • David Coxill
        Posted June 22, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        I remember seeing a doc about the making of that film ,i think the film crew .director didn’t want him to do that scene because they thought it was too dangerous .

        And the gag where he is enjoying a cup of tea and a loco goes past is a hoot .

      • freiner
        Posted June 22, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Buster is to trains as, well, uh … I have no idea how to fill out this proportion. There is nothing quite like Buster and trains. “The General,” of course. But I especially recommend the last few minutes of “One Week.”

  4. freiner
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Any appreciation of Buster Keaton is greatly appreciated. Damfino better work.

    • freiner
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the Carlin, too.

  5. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    National Chocolate Eclair Day?

    Blatant cultural appropriation, but every day should be Chocolate Eclair Day.



    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Mmmmm Yeah!

  6. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Mr. Numbers,
    “clash between faith and science:” and “battle of personalities” are not mutually exclusive, any more than clash of ideologies and battle or personalities are mutually exclusive in the Clinton vs. Trump race.

    The church of that day was deeply entrenched in the neo-Platonic “Great Chain of Being” cosmology and Aristotelian physics and Galileo threatened that.

    The Galileo affair is partly offset by Isaac Newton who was not only religious but religiously motivated to work out his theory of gravitation, as he was understanding the divine creation. But Newton had his religious resisters as well.

    Numbers is an agnostic son of a fundamentalist family. His history of creationism is supposed to be fairly good.

    The Galileo affair is tangentially mentioned in C.S. Lewis’ “English Literature in the 17th Century Excluding Drama” and he more or less admits a real church-science conflict.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I think Galileo’s well-publicised stoush with the Pope tends to make people over-rate his importance in comparison with other astronomers of the period, and also to concentrate on the heliocentric theory to the exclusion of his other achievements.

      It would seem that his enthusiasm led him to ignore obvious problems with his celestial theories. For example, Copernicus’ heliocentric theory suffered from the fact that the presumed circular orbits didn’t predict the planetary motions any better than the complicated old Ptolemaic system did.
      Kepler eventually worked out the correct theory (elliptical orbits) but Galileo ignored it.

      Galileo also claimed that the Sun caused the tides (which is obviously incorrect if you consider that the tides change by ~45 minutes a day) – another thing Kepler got right (in believing the Moon caused them).

      His contributions to mechanics on the other hand are very considerable. He was better at terrestrial mechanics than celestial ones.


      • Posted June 22, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        True, re: celestial mechanics. But also true that he was a more sober scientist in spite of not seeing what Kepler had done. Part of that is likely Kepler’s own fault, I *think*. I cannot tell if Galileo was sent Kepler’s stuff that we read now: it is full of *other* numerological and Pythogorean bullcrap that is not well argued for, never mind true.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted June 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Galileo had the telescope that discovered the moons (notably Ganymede) orbiting Jupiter, which played a key role in Newton developing the theory of gravitation.

        No one had observed one heavenly body orbiting another one before.

        Same telescope saw irregular topography on the moon, assumed previously to be as smooth as a billiard ball.

        Here is Huens’ famous painting of Galileo explaining lunar topography to some cardinals.

        • JonLynnHarvey
          Posted June 22, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          Let’s try that again.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “Good weather for ducks,” eh, Jerry. You should get yourself a slicker and some wellingtons. I gave up on umbrellas in Chicago ages ago.

  8. Roger
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    If we’re under God then shouldn’t we all be wearing safety helmets? Because what if the LORD likes skittles? We’ve all dropped skittles before. The LORD’s skittles would be freaking huge man.

    • Roger
      Posted June 22, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      More evidence God does not exist by the way. No huge freaking skittles everywhere.

  9. Roger
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Paul Morphy games are fun because chess theory was in its infancy and Paul would sacrifice pieces left and right. Pawns, rooks, queens, he really didn’t give a hoot haha.

  10. Posted June 22, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    But that isn’t a Scotsman in the other sense, so indeed, no true Scotsman … 🙂 (in the sloppy sense of true).

    Also, why does that swift remind me of a pteranodon?

  11. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Forgot to mention

    Koko the gorilla died yesterday

    You’ll have to google for the news.

  12. David Coxill
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    On June 22 1941 Germany invaded Soviet Russia .

  13. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    The last picture made me LOL!

  14. Posted June 22, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday was a sad day – like Argentinians, we there here discovered our god had feet of clay. 😦

    I share Hili’s unease. I’ve learned not to trust the lull and camaraderie when epic sports events are taking place, such as the winter and summer Olympics, and now World Cup soccer hosted by Russia. I suspect they’ll be up to more shenanigans really soon.

  15. Earl Scott Nicholson
    Posted June 22, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Hili is a fan of Babylon 5?

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