Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s the cruelest day: Tuesday: Tuesday, July 17, 2018, and “National Peach Ice-Cream Day“, though why they hyphenate “Ice-Cream” is beyond me. It will be a cool-ish day in Chicago at last, with lower humidity and a high of only 77° F (25°C). I have things to do downtown this morning, so posting will probably be light.

News of the day: Yesterday I posted on Trump’s shameful performance in Helsinki, siding with Putin over the U.S. intelligence service’s determination that Russia had meddled in the last Presidential election. To me this was the lowest low so far in his Presidency. Here are two statements ripping The Donald a new one, one by John Kerry, and the other by John McCain, who is dying. Click on the tweet to go to the original and read the statements.

On this day in 1762, Catherine II (Catherine the Great) became the tsar of Russia after her husband, Peter III, was overthrown and then killed. She ruled for 36 years. On July 17, 1902, the first air conditioner was created in Buffalo, New York, hardly a hot town. The inventor was Willis Carrier, and Carrier air conditioners are still the benchmark of quality for the product. On this day in 1918, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, his wife, children, and three retainers were executed by the Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg Russia. Although the bodies were buried in secret graves, they were dug up and identified between 1998 and 2007; the remains now rest in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg; you can see my post recounting the execution and showing the resting sites, made after I visited the Fortress in 2011. Here’s a photo I took of where the bodies are interred in the cathedral, with the graves of the Tsar and his wife Alexandra in the middle and those of their children around them:

On July 17, 1945, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin met in Potsdam to decide what to do with postwar Germany and Poland. Finally, in 1984, the national drinking age in the U.S. was raised from 18 to 21. Although the move probably saved some lives, it seems to me that since the age at which you can join the military and fight for your country is 18, you should also be able to get a drink at that age. And if saving lives was the main aim, why not 25 instead of 21?

Notables who were born on July 17 include Isaac Watts (1674), John Jacob Astor (1763), Lyonel Feininger (1871; one of my favorite painters), James Cagney (1899), Gale Garnett (1942), Phoebe Snow (1950), and Angela Merkel (1954). Those who died on this day include Charlotte Corday (1763; guillotined), Dorothea Dix (1887), Henri Poincaré (1912), the Romanov family (1918; see above), Billie Holiday (1959), Ty Cobb (1961), John Coltrane (1967), Dizzy Dean (1974), Katharine Graham (2001) and Walter Cronkite (2009).

Here’s one of Feininger’s paintings, Benz VI (1914):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the beasts got a visitor. As Malgorzata explains, “Elzbieta always comes with wonderful treats for Hili and Cyrus. They both know that by now and run to her as soon as they see her, each wanting to be the first.”

Hili: How nice to see you, my good woman.
Cyrus: Don’t listen to her, she is an insincere cat.
In Polish:
Hili: Miło cię widzieć, dobra kobieto.
Cyrus: Nie słuchaj jej, to fałszywa kotka.

Tweets from Grania. First, a candidate for the Darwin Award:

A baby starfish:

Another reverse Pavlov’s cat:

The cats don’t like their new toy:

Just one of many missteps by Trump in Helsinki:

An anti-Trump protest in the UK with some humor:

From Matthew; You can have tons of fun (and enlightenment) by going to this site, clicking on any species, and seeing its genealogy with respect to our own, as well as the putative common ancestor and when it lived:

Matthew notes that this second tweet gives “The suggestion is that this Psocid barklouse fly is imitating a jumping spider looking right at ya…”. That seems a pretty good hypothesis to me.


A new archaeological discovery in Ireland:

. . . some street art:

. . . and another clip from Matthew’s favorite comedian of the silent era of movies, Buster Keaton:

Finally, as lagniappe, here’s a bonus video from reader Michael Glenister, who fostered Mr. Paws, a cat with a lovely purr. His notes and then his video; turn the sound up for the purr!

The cat I was fostering got adopted today.  However I thought you might appreciate his unusual purr.


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Typo: change died to born on this day, otherwise you killed Angela Merkel.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink


    • Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Though in theory all methods to achieve political change are open for discussion, I think that a simple cap on terms of office would be preferrable.

    • Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      She’s doing a fine job all on her own wrt her political career.

  2. Posted July 17, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The Trump protester is Baldrick. If only he had a cunning plan.

    • Merilee
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      +1 for Baldrick and his cunning plans.

      • Merilee
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        And ✅✅

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I was realizing this orange mistake has only been in office 18 months so really it did not take long for most to see what others have known all along. Just in this short period I read, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump and also, Russian Roulette and I am sure there are other good books on this. These people took the time to provide us with information and evidence of what many just found out about this past weeks. Rachael Maddow has been covering and reporting on the Russian investigation since day one. Those who say they are really surprised about this or they are shocked, must be kidding.

  4. Harrison
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Elon Musk is in some very hot water over some very stupid statements.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      I see Elon Musk slowly becoming a picture of Donald Trump. He would do well to get the hell off of Twitter and shut up. His supposed intelligence is evaporating.

    • Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Several weeks ago, someone commented on this site that Elon Musk is crazy, and was chastised by other commenters. I stood by, because this was the first time I read about Musk. Now, I know all I need to know about him, and wish to remember who that commenter was and to praise his good judgement.

      • nicky
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Although those twitters were silly, and obnoxious, I still think Mr Musk is one of the great extant visionaries.
        There is no doubt that solar energy is the best solution of our energy problems by far. I think he has done more than anyone to make that a serious proposition (electric cars, lean batteries, solar tiles that look like real tiles, etc.). Moreover he resurrected the genius of Nicola Tesla, a feat in itself.
        I think his Martian adventures focus too much on payload, and not enough on living conditions -or even possibilities on Mars, But sooner or later we actually will have to leave our planet.
        He has many other projects, some better than others. But still, I’m willing to forgive him some silly and bad tweets because he’s so outstanding on other things. It is clear he’s human after all.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted July 17, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Actually, it is more than just the tweets. He has this habit of doing question/answer events with financial and stockholders. His actions during these events are pathetic at best. He warns everyone that bad questions and stupid questions will not be tolerated. He then proceeds to make fun of and refuses to answer any questions that are asked. This is the definition of an ass, I do not care how many rockets he sends into space.

  5. freiner
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I suspected it all along! The sources of the Nile are down near Uruguay! The Amazon drains the Sahara! Take that Rand McNally!

    • freiner
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      I just realized I’m being too sarcastic, too insensitive. This is the geographical equivalent of 2 + 2 = 22. I apologize. And let’s open that Panama-Morocco border.

    • nicky
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      I also note that Africa is depicted on a smaller scale than North America. Who made this idiotic map?
      I also note that, according to that map, in South africa there are only one or two perching birds. I have a dozen or so in my backyard.

      • nicky
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Maybe Mr Trump drew that map? 🙂

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Actually, that’s kind of a weird projection for North America. Alaska is disproportionately large and further north even than Mercator

        And Africa has been shrunk somewhat to fit the general size of South America


  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    “We don’t need no obfuscation
    We don’t need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the pressroom
    Putin, leave that dupe alone!”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Audition for Pink Floyd?

    • darrelle
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the pics and stories of the wonderful welcome Trump received in the UK. Really warmed my heart.

      In the same vein I just, a few minutes ago, happened across some pictures of anti-Trump . . ., uhhh, “art”(?) . . . that had me laughing out loud. The following two links are to articles with pics from German parades in 2017 and 2018. Wonderful stuff.

      Diclaimer: may not be safe for work, especially coworkers or bosses are sensitive to criticism of Trump.

      IN PICS: German Carnival floats show Trump no mercy

      A giant float at this German carnival didn’t hold back in mocking Trump’s Russia problem

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Those are all absolutely classic. Loved the Theresa May / Brexit one. “Good luck, Great Britain”. Sardonic. I like that.
        But of course tRump stole the show, how could he not.


  7. Mike Cracraft
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    My favorite sign seen in the London demonstrations: “Trump is a C*nt” !

  8. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    That weird geographical map is in a real textbook it would seem. I FOUND THIS PDF OF THE CHAPTER
    Perching Birds
    *Data obtained from: Pimm, S.L. and Brown J.H Domains of diversity. Science 304: Section 3 Conserving Biodiversity 131

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      This is clearly a postmodern text “Based on Real Data*,” written by postmodern data analysts to inculcate postmodern modes of data analysis in a postmodern world of diversity. And I see hues not accounted for in the color key; but, so what, I’ll just generalize and infer. No matter what I did, I would flunk that test question.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      It’s a bit difficult to answer questions on South America with a map of Africa.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        It’s postmodern geography.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      AAAARRRGGHH! That map!

      I think they’ve superimposed the bird-distribution of South America on the silhouette of Africa. (Because I’m sure there aren’t a huge number of perching species in the Sahara…)

      That is, they haven’t used the African bird distribution on the African map.

      I do love the bolded line in the textbook, ‘Think critically’. Yeah.


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Actually, I’m not sure I even believe the ‘North American’ portion of that map. There is only one species of perching birds in e.g. Florida? Now I know nothing of Florida but that’s gotta be wrong.


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      That really is South America folks & not Africa
      Pimm, S.L. & Brown J.H are using an Albers equal area projection. I will put up the original Pimm/Brown map in a minute to illustrate

      The apparently strangely low numbers of different species for passerine [perching] birds is because it’s numbers of species per 1 degree latitude/longitude grid

      There are 10 colours numbered as follows in original:

      1 to 33 light purple
      34 to 66 light blue
      67 to 99 darker blue
      …. light green
      …. darker green
      …. buff
      …. yellow
      …. orange
      …. red
      301 to 333 black

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      And here is the proper Pimm/Brown map:
      bird diversity

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      What the authors/editors/illustrators of the school textbook have done is they’ve taken the Pimm/Brown map & data “Based on Real Data”

      ** Then they’ve reduced the numbers by a factor of 10 for the sake of making a simple [& now inaccurate] textbook example of biodiversity for the kifs
      ** They’ve failed to notice the numbers are per area
      ** They’ve assumed it’s a Mercator projection even though the original map clearly states it’s Albers projection
      ** They’ve assumed the bottom shape is Africa & drawn Africa rather than an Albers version of South America

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 18, 2018 at 2:17 am | Permalink

        Well the authors were talking about South America so ‘they’ certainly knew – or should have known – it shouldn’t show Africa. So who made the cock-up we don’t know but somebody should have spotted it.

        And reducing the numbers by a factor of ten (or more) – without mentioning that fact – is not only inexcusable IMO but also makes their example patently ridiculous on the face of it.

        I’d assumed the numbers were ‘per [some unstated] area but even so, show me any sensible area of e.g. Florida that has only ONE species of perching birds.

        0/10 for competence and accuracy.


  9. Posted July 17, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    If my cat were to see, and learn about the bell, as shown in this video, there’d be hell to pay. But it’s really cute. I wonder how cute it’d be at 5:30 in the morning on a Saturday after a night of tearing up the town.

  10. Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    FYI, Carrier moved its factory to Mexico not long ago.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      But not before obtaining all those million$$ in Indiana tax concessions from Trump’s lickspittle VP-elect Mike Pence.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 17, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Also, Trump put enough tariff on imports from Mexico so the American consumer can pay more for the machine anyway. So it all works out good….

  11. Wonderer
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Yeah, my first thought on glimpsing the barklouse fly was “jumping spider”. If I were similar in size I would be backing away slowly.

  12. nicky
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    This ‘performance’ by Mr Trump should convince even the most skeptical conservative that he is in the pocket of Mr Putin. One would think….
    But no, on sites Like ‘The Hill’ about half the comments show a strong support for Mr Trump.
    Of course they use classical ‘Trump tactics’:
    – Accusing your opponent of that what you are guilty of yourself (eg. Hillary or Obama colluding with the Russians) and closely related
    – Whataboutism (Yes , my client murdered the victim, but what about Jeffrey Dahmer? I rest my case. Or: emails! Bengaaziii! Uranium One!!).
    – Trolling (Mr Trump boasted of being the greatest -of course!- troll)
    – Delegitimising mainstream media (Fake News!)
    Now I don’t know if they are really Trump cultists or just Russian trolls, but it is somehow scary.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      You’d think his disgusting performance at that press conference would convince his supporters that at least in the area of international diplomacy he has a lot to learn. But no. Nothing can dent their faith. It’s embarrassing.

  13. Blue
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Please W A T C H your step !

    A heroine of mine, Ms Katharine Graham, stepped
    wrongly off of a curb, full – tilt slammed her brain and skull
    at age 84, upon the concrete
    and was dead within three days’ time.

    Within weeks of her finishing one of the
    most gripping autobiographical texts,
    Personal History, that I have ever read:
    the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, her life.


  14. Ruthann L. Richards
    Posted July 17, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the Feininger painting–he is also one of my favorites.

  15. Posted July 19, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Wow! continental drift!

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