Thursday: Hili dialogue

It’s Thursday, April 18, 2019. It’s National Animal Cracker Day (do kids still eat those?). I loved them as a kid, biting the heads off the animals first. You can read more about the history of animal crackers here.  And it’s International Day for Monuments and Sites, also known as “World Heritage Day.”

I’ll be busy with various commitments today, so posting may be light.

On this day in 1521, Martin Luther’s trial for heresy began during the Diet of Worms. Refusing to recant his criticisms of the Catholic Church, he was eventually excommunicated. Here’s Pope Leo X’s Papal Bull from 1520 listing Luther’s errors and threatening him with expulsion. You can make out most of the the Latin (I’d never seen a Papal Bull before, a name that has inspired many jokes):

Moving ahead several centuries, it was on this day in 1909 that Joan of Arc was beatified by the Vatican. That’s the first step on the road to sainthood, which Joan achieved in 1920.

On April 18, 1923, Yankee Stadium was opened, and has been called “The House the Ruth Built”, referring to star Babe Ruth, whose best years as a hitter began at that time. (His famous 60-home-run season was in 1927.) And here is a weird one that someone should check: Wikipedia says that on this day in 1930, “The British Broadcasting Corporation announced that “there is no news” in their evening report.” The link says this:

On Easter weekend in 1930 (18 April), this reliance on newspaper wire services left the radio news service with no information to report after saying “There is no news today”. Piano music was played instead.

Only the Beeb would say “there is no news today” rather than “we were not given any news today”!

Finally, it was on April 18 of 1983 that a suicide bomber in Lebanon, driving a van packed with explosives, destroyed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63. It’s considered the beginning of Islamist attacks on U.S. targets.

Notables born on this day include Lucrezia Borgia (1480), Clarence Darrow (1857), Pigmeat Markham (1904), Joy Davidman (1915), Hayley Mills (1946), James Woods (1947), Susan Faludi (1959), Conan O’Brien (1963), and Melissa Joan Hart (1976).

Hayley Mills and her faux twin (in the movie “The Parent Trap”) was one of the first love objects for boys of my generation, along with Annette Funicello. I found this short video describing what happened to her after her fame in Disney movies:

Those who died on this day include Julius Caesar (1636, yes, there was an English one), Erasmus Darwin (1802), Ernie Pyle (1945), Albert Einstein (1955), and Thor Heyerdahl (2002).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili speaks obliquely, and Malgorzata explains:

“Hili just sees too much of the interesting Spring-y world. She can’t process everything. But she thinks that it’s wonderful and she does not mind that there are so many new and interesting things about that she cannot see them all. She is overwhelmed but it’s OK, it’s “cool”.”

Hili: The world has become more interesting.
A: Do you see something?
Hili: I’m overwhelmed, but it’s cool.
In Polish:
Hili: Świat stał się ciekawszy.
Ja: Coś widzisz?
Hili: Wręcz zbyt wiele, ale to fajne.

Several readers sent me this Facebook meme on faith versus fact:

From reader Barry (I may have posted this before). The raccoon is clearly a color mutant:

Tweets from Grania. Someday this d*g will be able to handle that ball with ease:

A tweet from the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office:

A lovely flyby from the ISS. Do you recognize the areas?

That ginger and white moggie has a wicked left hook:

Cats have been used by capitalists to sell goods for a long time. . .

Tweets from Matthew, the first one showing a beautiful weevil:

. . . and some even more beautiful stick insects:

In honor of yesterday’s Bat Appreciation Day, which I forgot:

This is really informative:

Remember the joke: “Go forth and multiply?” “We can’t—we’re adders!”



  1. Grania Spingies
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Dan’s Twitter mentions are a dumpster fire today, of course.

    • EdwardM
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Ms. Crain is wrong, of course. God didn’t have anything to do with saving the gold crucifix; distance from the actual fire and the bravery and skill of the many firefighters are the reasons.

      But Broadbent used irrelevant facts (see my post below) precisely so he could be a twat. It’s how almost all discourse on social media is done – out-twatting one another.

      Twitter twats. The world is full of them, including Broadbent.

  2. David Harper
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Apropos the “miraculous” survival of the gold cross in Notre Dame cathedral, there’s also the fact that the fire was in the roof timbers, not in the body of the building, and heat rises.

    • Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Which explains why it didn’t burn although it is probably a thin gold layer over a wooden base.

    • EdwardM
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      The snarky tweet is completely false – wood fires can melt gold. They can also melt copper and iron. Entire epochs in the human saga are named after the ability to melt metals using wood fires.

      IOW, just because wood burns at a temperature significantly below the melting point of many metals, a wood fire can be hot enough to melt them. It’s how our ancestors did it.

      The self-righteous snark in that tweet is required because on social media it’s more important LOOK like you’re correct than to actually BE correct.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Can melt is different from will melt, the burn temperature is also a factor. Not a sufficient factor perhaps, but the point was to take issue with the entirely breathless (implied) claim of “miracle”.

        Where is the snark, it was a perfectly good answer to the original question? One of the better uses of social media, I would think.

        • EdwardM
          Posted April 18, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          His tweet does NOT address the issue of why the crucifix didn’t melt. He tweeted something he thought answered her nonsense, but it did no such thing. As another Twitterer (Twatter?) said, he was being a “bit of a twat”. He did it because that’s what people do on Twitter.

          As for the snark, Broadbent came up with some factoids he thought would put Ms Crain in her place – his intent was obvious; “Look at how stupid the religious person is. I am so smart I’ll tweet some factoids at her.” But all he did was demonstrate that he is both wrong AND a twat.

    • Posted April 20, 2019 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      That explains why the candles are also intact much better than the tweet.


  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Light posting is okay. Be too busy reading a redacted report.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s redacted…I consider it censored. Barr is a cover-up artist through and through. Always has been…

      • darrelle
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. He isn’t new to lying and other various political scumbaggery in service of covering his political masters’ asses.

  4. Roger
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    She forgot to say “Checkmate, atheists.”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      How about checkmate reality.

  5. Andy Lowry
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I am, and have always been, a fan of animal crackers. When I was young (in the sixties), there was a brand of animal crackers that came packaged in bus made of thin cardboard. After the crackers were gone, one could fold down the wheels and then have an excellent toy for scooting around on the floor.

    I just did a search to see if I could find an image of them, and it turns out that the animal-cracker bus is still a thing, though much more gaudy now than they used to be.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I had no idea stick insects had wings! I think image F. might be [link to short video >>> Achrioptera fallax ] of Madagascar, but I can see differences. The foldaway show off wings [males can’t fly it seems] are very gay for such a cryptic critter. Do they have blue sticks in Madagascar to blend with? Or perhaps deep dark forest turns everything blue anyway.

    • merilee
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I trust you mean gay in the okd sense of the word.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        “Gay” = “vivid” or “exuberant” has teetered past the border of being dated recently, but I risk it ~ let’s resist the onslaught of “awesome” & “cool” gum chewing, knuckle dragging adjectives! 🙂

        • merilee
          Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

          Outtasight! Supercalafragalisticexpualadocious(or something like that).
          The stick bugs are beautiful!

        • rickflick
          Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Can I help it if I have awesome long arms?

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I saw one flying a couple of weeks ago in Borneo. I first saw something with bright red wings flying by and I realised it was a stick insect after it landed on the handrail of a boardwalk. Once landed you could see your tipical stick insect (10 to 15 cm long) and you would not have guessed it had wings.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Why is it blue do you think? Is there blue-green vegetation? The blue end of light is favoured [less absorbed] in forest I think.

    • BJ
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      I hate bugs, but stick bugs are the worst. How dare they try to fool me. They are vile and cruel in their deceit.

      • Posted April 18, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        The bug’s response: Stick it, hooman.

      • merilee
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Awww, but BJ, stick bugs are so cute. I’ve always loved them. Praying mantises, too (despite their religiosity).

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    United States Attorney General William Barr will be holding a televised press conference (itself an unusual thing for an AG to do) this morning (9 am EDT) in advance of the release of a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report on the Special Counsel investigation.

    William Barr came into office, his second term as head of the Justice Department in thirty years, with the opportunity to cap off his career as either a statesman or a hack — as either an Eliot Richardson or a John Mitchell, to use two of Richard Nixon’s attorneys general for comparison, one the hero of the Watergate-era “Saturday Night Massacre,” the other a scoundrel who wound up in prison.

    The preliminary signs thus far are not encouraging. Barr appears to be doing Trump’s bidding, rather than upholding his oath to protect and defend the US Constitution itself — to be acting the part of the “Roy Cohn” Trump has been looking for since his election to take the reins of the Justice Department for Trump’s own protection.

    I’m hopeful William Barr will rise to the occasion today and act in the best interests of the people of the United States. But I fear we may be in for a performance this morning worthy of a “Baghdad Bob.”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Barr was already a Hack from his own actions and history. He put out a false report on a legal document he had written regarding Panama and it’s leader back in 1989 while attorney general in the Bush white house. Very similar to the PR scam he is doing now. He also was behind the pardoning of other in the Contra scandal back then to save Bush’s ass from that investigation. So all he is doing now is simply the same. He is a joke as we could expect from anyone working for Trump.

      His report back then was a real winning – the FBI could arrest people in foreign governments and bring them back to the U.S. for trial.

    • Harrison
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      The good news is that more Americans than not are distrustful of Barr so whatever performance he gives won’t convince anyone who wasn’t already on his boss’s side. Nobody still attached to the Trump apparatus at this point is ever going to discover their integrity because they never had it. All our hope rests with the public seeing through the facade.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      I just watched most of his remarks. He basically described the process whereby he received and dealt with the report. Not much in the way of news that I could see.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        I watched it as well and it was the same old stuff. He said and did everything possible to make Trump look good, look innocent. He even brought out the crying towel saying that trump’s actions were because he was upset. Just sickening. He also claimed in front of all of us that the white house fully cooperated in this Mueller investigation. So he also knows how to lie with the best of them. So anyway, this is the whole game by this justice department, they are pathetic. As a last message, he admitted they gave this report already, to the white house many days ago. How often do you give a report about someone to the guy you are reporting on before anyone else gets to see it. If this is not a full blown cover up of guilt, I do not know what else to call it.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          I’ve represented quite a few defendants on federal obstruction-of-justice charges. Those defendants were ALL sincerely frustrated with the investigation being conducted by the government against them.

          That frustration is no defense to an obstruction charge, and I’ve never before seen a government attorney entertain that frustration as any type of mitigating factor regarding the investigation of a suspect’s actions endeavoring to obstruct justice.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            Yes, what do you think of the highest level of the justice department now? And what to think of this Rosenstein now?

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted April 18, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

              Rosenstein is a guy who really, really needs to testify before congress.

              He provided the memo that gave Trump the excuse to cover-up the cover-up of firing FBI director James Comey. Then, Rosenstein (who reportedly felt himself so abused by that incident that he offered to wear a wire in meetings with the US president) appointed special counsel Mueller, and let him conduct an unfettered investigation. Now, Barr is saying Rosenstein supports his conclusions on the obstruction-of-justice investigation.

              Rosenstein is on schedule to leave the Justice Department shortly, which will free him to speak his mind on what happened. I’m withholding judgment on his role until I hear what he has to say for himself.

              • darrelle
                Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

                I hope it’s nothing more than my ignorance of the rules and precedents or some other misinterpretation on my part but there have been a few things Mueller has (allegedly) done that have me wondering if he is as unbiased as we all hope he is. The latest is that according to Barr, . . .

                “The special counsel defined ‘coordination’ as an ‘agreement-tacit or express-between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference.'”

                . . . as explained in this article, The footnote in Barr’s Mueller report letter we need to pay attention to .

                Are you by chance familiar enough with precedent regarding the standards to be deemed “coordination” in the context of campaign finance law to offer an opinion on this article? It wouldn’t completely surprise me if Barr is lying, though that seems stupid since Mueller is alive and well to readily call Barr on such a lie. But if Barr is accurate, and the article is accurate, then it seems to me that Mueller used a standard for “coordination” that is pretty much dead wrong and that he would surely know that it is. If so, why would he do that? I can only think of bad reasons.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      What I find ‘peculiar’ is how the Mueller investigation ‘closed’.
      Mr Mueller was on full steam, just had indicted Mr Stone, just had obtained a six month extension, we were expecting much more to come. I mean why an extension if you’re going to close your investigations soon?
      Mr Barr -a dyed whitewasher- becomes his boss, and within a week or so the investigation reaches it’s conclusion, is closed, no further indictments, no further nothing.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        If you have been paying close attention you would know the Mueller special council was created specifically for certain things. Not all things. After 22 months or so he finished his duty to investigate the Russian interference and into the Trump campaign to this Russian attack. Many other things have come up and they have either been handled or passed off to other districts for continued work. Even the Roger Stone business, not done yet but will be handled elsewhere. So other federal districts and congress will continue but Mueller’s part is done other than testifying before Congress which will surely happen.

  8. Dave
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Let’s assume god miracle’d the cross and alter safe because they were so important (more so than the roof, apparently…). Why did he make the church burn at all? He could’ve just made the fire go out, or not allowed the circumstances to develop that caused it. In the case of the latter, we’d not even know a miracle happened; perhaps god likes to make sure he gets credit?

  9. GregZ
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The true Notre Dame miracle is that the candles in the photo with the cross did not melt!

  10. Posted April 18, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Surely that cross isn’t made of solid gold — surely it’s just pot metal with some gold leaf on the outside. So it would take a lot of heat to melt it!

    And likewise the “candles” — big candles in churches are metal tubes painted white, with a reservoir of oil and a wick at the top. Much cheaper in the long run than burning wax candles, probably less soot to mar the frescoes, and they don’t get shorter as the day wears on.

    If there really were a god who could do goddy things, and really wanted to show us his power, he’d restore the cathedral. Unfortunately, as usual, it’s up to us mere mortals to do that.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I took a look at the six Notre Dame de Paris altar candles – there’s plenty of photos – and they are as you say. Just a cream coloured tube, material unknown, that has a silvery band at the top. Some sort of real swappable, wicked tea candle arrangement sits in there made of wax or oil I suppose.

      There’s candelabras hanging each side of the length of the nave at a great height & the candles fitted in the holders are a bit wonky – leaning this way & that, but they’re all equal length & thus must be bulbs or LEDs

      The unornamented, large ‘gold’ cross behind the altar almost certainly isn’t even gold leaf. Below is an interesting photo of it & it’s obviously a one-off commissioned modern work of art that I’m guessing is very recent – as in decades old at the most. The upright & the beam are of a rectangular cross section with greatly rounded corners & the finish has a rough ‘grain’ like one sees in items made of gold anodised aluminium. I’m going for hollow aluminium anodised with micro thin gold – it’s as tough as old boots & doesn’t need cleaning – in fact it shouldn’t be cleaned. It has a peculiar silver halo thing hanging above it that seems to be part of the same work – looks like a nun’s hat.

      gold cross

      • merilee
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Who’s that in front of the cross? JC?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          Picture below. Note the altar candles ain’t. Its the Pietà featuring a temporarily dead JC, his virgin mum, a chubby cherub & an older winged angel. She looks like she’s just received her electricity bill & she’s recoiling in horror at the injustice of it all.

          By Nicolas Coustou (French, 1658-1733). It’s division 2 in footballing terms – not a patch on Michelangelo Buonarroti’s much earlier masterpiece.


          • merilee
            Posted April 18, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            If it were the high electricity bill she’d have the back of her palm on her forehead moaning “oy, veh”. She was Jewish after all. And there’s the mini-JC below to her left.
            The main JC looks as though his back is broken.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted April 18, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

              Very good! Applause. Yes he looks rather awkward.

          • Steve Pollard
            Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            Yes, that thing seems to have survived. There were earlier reports that the huge pictures that are screwed to the walls in the side-chapels had been badly damaged. That now seems not to be the case. They are pietistic 17th/18th century daubs of little artistic merit. No doubt millions will now be spent to restore them.

            I see that Macron has invited architects world-wide to put forward options to replace the spire (actually, I think it was technically a fleche). Here’s one possible option:


            • merilee
              Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink


            • Michael Fisher
              Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              LOL – Disney somehow seems appropriate, to go with the plaster saints sold in their millions to Catlicks [I’m ex-RCC]

              • rickflick
                Posted April 18, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

                ex-RCC! Ooooh. How does it feel bro?

  11. Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    That raccoon is left handed! Yeah, lefties!

    • Mobius
      Posted April 19, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I noticed that. Either that, or the video got reversed.

  12. Caldwell
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I’m *pretty sure* the Papal Bull only had a Diet of Worms when they briefly ran out of hay.

    Raccoon video – “Because everything sucks”

    What’s up with that slogan I keep seeing? Some form of twitterverse virtue signaling, since nothing really sucks? Funny video, though.

    • merilee
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Remember the Gary Larson cartoon with the mama dog telling her kids to eat with their mouths open?

  13. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I never understood those adder jokes, today for the first time, epiphany. I got it, my, am I slow, a square root, as it were.

  14. Ron DeBry
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    The BBC itself confirms ‘no news’ day.

  15. Posted April 18, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Sad World Heritage Day this year, with Notre Dame so badly damaged. But every small recovered thing brings joy. They have just found a rooster that used to be on top, in good condition (I had no idea that it existed in the first place).

  16. Mobius
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    In the ISS vid, I didn’t make out where it was until Sicily crossed the screen, then it all came into focus.

  17. Dragon
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    This is also the anniversary of Dolittle’s Raid, April 18, 1942 and the shooting down of Yamamoto one year later.

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