Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s Sunday, June 16, 2019. As you read this, I’ll be heading to O’Hare airport for three weeks in Hawaii. Poi, snorkeling, kalua pig, beaches, cats, ducks, malasadas, and sunshine. I think I deserve it. It’s National Fudge Day, and, of course Bloomsday: the day in 1904 that Leopold Bloom wandered around Dublin in Ulysses. Mrkgnao! To see why Joyce chose this day, look below.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Father’s Day with an animated DUCK CARTOON! Click on the screenshot below to go there (note that the duck is a drake, not a hen). As explains,

The Google Doodle consists of a family of ducks playing together with their dad. There are three slides depicting the adorable bond between a grey father duck and his six ducklings. In the first animation, the ducklings are seen playing and quacking around their father. The father duck is looking for his ducklings in the second one where all of them are lined up on one side. Whenever he turns his head, they keep disappearing underwater and reappearing on the other side. Finally, in the third one, the father blows water towards all the lined-up ducklings and they are caught in bubbles, rising up instantly. Then the father duck blows air towards them, causing the bubbles to pop and all of them falling back into the water.

It’s very cute, and I love ducks, but of course male mallards don’t really do much parental care nor tend the brood. Gregory Peck, for instance, seems to have disappeared. Some ducks, like black-bellied whistling ducks, do show extensive male parental care, and Google, to be biologically correct, should have celebrated the day with such a duck. But nobody would recognize a whistling duck, as monogamous birds tend to be sexually monomorphic: males and females look pretty much alike. So it goes.

On this day in 1858, Abraham Lincoln, then a Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat, delivered his famous House Divided speech in Springfield, Illinois. Calling attention to the problems that slavery would cause in the future, the speech included these famous words:

A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

On June 16, 1871, the University Tests Act finally allowed students to enter the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham without having to pass a religious test (theology students, of course, were excepted). In 1903, it was on this day that the Ford Motor Company was incorporated.

On June 16, 1904, James Joyce began a relationship with Nora Barnacle. He had met her on June 10, but apparently did the deed six days later. And so it was on June 16, 1904, that the entire novel Ulysses is set. After many tries, I finally finished it, though I think that the novella The Dead is more accessible and more lyrical. Here’s a photo of Joyce, Barnacle, and their two children:

(From Wikipedia) Paris 1924: Clockwise from top left – James Joyce, Giorgio Joyce, Nora Barnacle, Lucia Joyce

On June 16, 1911, IBM was founded in Endicott, New York under the name “Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company”. And on this day in 1944, George Junius Stinney, Jr became the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century. The state was South Carolina, and Stinney was black, of course, His conviction was vacated in 2014—way too late—on the grounds that he’d received an unfair trial. Here’s his mug shot:

The entire trial took one day, including jury selection, and a verdict was reached in ten minutes. Such was the South in those days. And oh, how he was killed!:

George Stinney was executed at the Central Correctional Institution in Columbia on June 16, 1944, at 7:30 p.m. Standing 5 feet 1 inch (155 cm) tall and weighing just over 90 pounds (40 kg), Stinney was so small compared to the usual adult prisoners that law officers had difficulty securing him to the frame holding the electrodes. Stinney was made to sit on a Bible in order to fit properly into the chair. The state’s adult-sized face-mask did not fit him; as he was hit with the first 2,400-volt surge of electricity, the mask covering his face slipped off. Stinney was declared dead within four minutes of the initial electrocution. From the time of the murders until Stinney’s execution, 83 days had passed.

On June 16, 1961, Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union, and in 2010 Bhutan became the world’s first country to institute a total ban on tobacco. But it isn’t really a total ban, as Wikipedia implies in the aforementioned statement, for its own article on the Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan 2010 says this:

The consumption of tobacco is not altogether prohibited in Bhutan, though it is largely banned in places of public accommodation. The act largely targets smoking in particular, though any form of tobacco is subject to the act. The Tobacco Control Act establishes non-smoking areas: commercial centers including markets, hotel lobbies, restaurants, and bars; recreation centers such as discothèques, cinemas, and playing fields; institutions and offices, both public and private; public gatherings and public spaces such as festivals, taxi stands, and the airport; all public transportation; and any other places declared by the Tobacco Control Board. The board also has the authority to designate smoking areas in public. Smoking areas are permitted in non-public areas of hotels (i.e., smoking floors or smoking rooms) at the discretion of the patron.

The act imposes a duty on persons in charge of these areas of public accommodation to display signs prohibiting smoking, demand smokers cease, report offenders who refuse to the police, and comply with inspections.

Notables born on this day include Adam Smith (1723), Geronimo (1829), Stan Laurel (1890), Barbara McClintock (1902, Nobel Laureate), George Gaylor Simpson (also 1902), Archie Carr (1909), Irving Penn (1917), Joyce Carol Oates (1938), and Tupac Shakur (1971).

Those who died on June 16 include Chick Webb (1939), Wernher von Braun (1977), and Helmut Kohl (2017).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is hunting:

Hili: I’m going to satisfy my hunger for knowledge.
A: What about?
Hili: Whether something edible hides there.
In Polish:
Hili: Idę zaspokoić głód wiedzy.
Ja: O czym?
Hili: Czy tam dalej nie ukrywa się coś do zjedzenia.

A paperback book meme, which appears to be an altered version of the one mentioned below:

The putative original:

Those of a certain age will recognize this:

I don’t know how they did this; you tell me:

Three tweets from Heather Hastie:

These kittens remind me of Katie’s brood of ducks:

Bed thief!

Tweets from Grania. The first is an accurate description of Trump’s behavior lately:

This whole thread is pretty funny (and yes, the dog was found):

This is a good one:

Tweets from Matthew. Look at this cat law!

Here’s some genetics for you:

And another one of Matthew’s beloved illusions:



  1. Daniaq
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I think on andrew’s video there is someone holding the end o the pen out of screen on the left

    • Posted June 16, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      I like to think that the someone is another crayfish.

      • DrBrydon
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink


    • Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Yes. A lobster on it’s own would probably use cursive.

      • Posted June 17, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Where’s a nice educated one, like Dr. Zoidberg, when you need him?

    • RPGNo1
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      That was my idea, too.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Catlick priests in sensible hats for once. No young boys were harmed in the making of this Notre-Dame de Paris video.

    • grasshopper
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Nothing says how much you trust god by wearing a hard-hat to protect yourself from masonry falling from a building dedicated to his glory.
      And the priests are courting further disaster by not having a lightning rod on their head-wear.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        I doubt it’s for falling masonry. A hard hat wouldn’t be much use. If there was any significant possibility of anything substantial falling, they’d never be allowed in there.

        More likely just little bits of debris, like odd nails or gravel-sized bits of mortar etc.

        Or quite possibly, nothing left to fall and it’s just a mandatory sacrament of the great 21st-century religion ‘Health & Safety’.


        • rickflick
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

          But they look so cute in those little hats. It reduces the sense that they are mystical beings in close contact with the creator of the Universe. They look more like goofy kids playing solder in dad’s baggy cloths.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    re Twitter Wokeback Mountain bolting doggie someone posted this old delightful video of Fenton the maniac dog rustling up a Speilbergian menagerie of panicked beasts:

    • merilee
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      FenTOOOOOOON! Love, it!

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Did you spot the really big beastie near the end?

        • rickflick
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

          T-Rex is an anachronism. I say the film is fake. It never happened.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            Yeah – that dino is wearing wristwatch which ruined it for me – continuity should have insisted he remove it.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

              Sadly I missed the wrist watch. Nevertheless it is fake news. A T rex would not be chased by a little d*g. For that reason we may definitely conclude it is ‘fake news’, was it on Fox or Breitbart?

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted June 16, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

                The original real video of Fenton the Labrador chasing red deer in Richmond park, London, went up on YouTube in 2011 & became a media hit in the UK. It’s not great resolution because it’s a 2011 Android phone, but it is rather funny & it’s entirely accidental. Here it is & it’s worth a look:

                Immediately afterwards spoof versions of Fenton’s adventure popped up all over the ‘net including a rather good re-edit of The Lion King to include Fenton – see here:

                This became a money spinner for Fenton – there’s a book, there was talk of a Hollywood deal. Then the new 4G mobile network EE jumped on the bandwagon a year later & recreated the original incident, but with actors & a few quirks such as the dino. Helped them move a few thousand mobile phone contracts I suppose.

              • merilee
                Posted June 16, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

                Someone should’ve made a version with JESUS CHRIST appearing out of the woods.

        • merilee
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          Oh, I had missed ol’ T. Yeah, tge Apple Watch makes it REALLY anachronistic.

  4. Barry
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    The crayfish writing with a pen: time-lapse photography with a dead crayfish. The most salient clue is the limp rearmost legs.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Your solution is unnecessarily complicated Barry & very difficult to do. A 15 second stop-motion photographic animation at 24 photographs a second is 360 individual pictures which would take at least six hours to do [allowing one minute between snaps to adjust the pen position minutely each time].

      If you watch the camera frame edges the view wobbles in a natural real-time way & also drifts to the left, whereas with stop-motion the camera is always locked down solid on a tripod – no wobbles allowed.

      The crayfish is alive. All four pairs of walking legs are moving & the free [without pen] pincer is waving as one would expect for a live crayfish. If that’s stop-motion you’d have to minutely adjust the position of that pincer AS WELL as the pen – I take back six hours to record & revise it upwards to nine hours for S-M.

      The crayfish is gripping the pen instinctively – there are a few YouTube videos of crustaceans gripping a knife in ‘fun’ videos where they’re portrayed as gangsta. Daniaq, comment #1 has it right – someone off to the left is moving the pen in real time & the way you can tell is on some of the down strokes Mr. Crayfish is being slid back on all eights by the force of the pen motion. The pen is wagging the crayfish if you will.

      • merilee
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        “On all eights”😂

    • Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I want to see who is holding the other end of the pen.

  5. David Harper
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    “On June 16, 1871, the University Tests Act finally allowed students to enter the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham without having to pass a religious test”

    The religious test for admission to Oxford and Cambridge was the reason why my alma mater University College London was founded in 1826. It was open to those of all faiths and none, earning it the nickname “The Godless Institution of Gower Street” by its critics. Before 1826, anyone not professing the Anglican faith could not get a university education in England.

  6. W.Benson
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Have a good vacation! Aloha!

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Honest Abe’s “House Divided” line was, of course, an allusion to Matthew 12:25, where Jesus, upon being accused of doing Beelzebub’s work by healing the blind and mute man, turned to the Pharisees and said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

    Goes to show, even a secular president can quote scripture for his purpose.

    • Historian
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Abraham Lincoln made many religious allusions in his career. This site lists some of them.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Yeah, you know which other former member of the Illinois congressional delegation who got elected president also quoted scripture on occasion?

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          Why would a Kenyan Muslim quote from the Bible? To cover his tracks, of course (you can’t convince a Trump cultist, ever).
          I must say, I always have difficulty to accept that someone as intelligent as Mr Obama still is a believer. But that is just me.

    • Posted June 16, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Lincoln secular? I don’t think so, at least not the later Lincoln. Would a secular president write his Second Inaugural Address? Practically a sermon.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 17, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        That’s my point: Lincoln made great use of religious language and scriptural quotation. But there’s no evidence that he himself was a believer. I don’t think there’s any record of Abe’s having seen the inside of a church while holding office.

        • Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          I read a biography of Lincoln written by some member of the religious right trying to claim him sort of for them. The best *they* could do is *one* quotation about Jesus or Christ. There were some references to the NT, but that’s (cue Northrop Frye) like referencing Shakespeare or Milton.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    “Nobody puts gator in the corner!”

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Wondering how Hili has been doing? Back in 2016, in a post about a piece Barbara J. King wrote about atheism for the NYT,PCC(E)mentioned that she’d written a book titled “How Animals Grieve”, which, of course, includes cats. I think its something we all should read.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I finally finished it [Ulysses], though I think that the novella The Dead is more accessible and more lyrical.

    True dat, but Ulysses is as child’s play compared to Finnegans Wake. And I didn’t find A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to be a stroll through St. Stephen’s Green either.

  11. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    A couple of other observations re “Hili Dialogue”:

    1) That medieval image of a cat is a fair rendering of a cross-eyed cat; many photos online

    2) For Nureyev fans I highly recommend the new documentary, “Nureyev” This is NOT the recently released biopic. It’s marvelous but for the intrusive and completely unnecessary staged ballet pieces meant to illustrate or dramatize (or whatever) aspects of his life, IMO. Why not just a straight documentary? Why do people these days find the need to gussy up perfectly respectable documentaries or other factual narratives with their own attempts at original creativity?

  12. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    George Stinney was only 14! A child!
    And, even more importantly, almost certainly innocent of the crime he was executed for.
    [If the Jury and Judge were not dead (I guess all of them are by now (75y ago)) we should go after them.]
    I’m sometimes wavering in my opposition to the death penalty in view of the horror and gratuitousness of some crimes, but George Stinney puts me on the right path again. I cannot keep it dry when going over his case.
    The death penalty has no place in civilized societies.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I know it provides some psychic release to see a truly evil criminal terminated, but that’s not really helpful and it allows for extraordinary injustice such as Stinney.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      My incorrigible sense of irony notes that, in order to fit the electric chair, they made him sit on a Bible. How bizarrely appropriate.


      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Fitting rather than ironic, I’d say, appropriate indeed.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Quite possibly the only book they had in the prison death row.

        Given that it’s highly likely that the victim soiled himself before, during or after execution, someone may have been making a subtle joke.

    • Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. Poor children, all three of them. (Who was the real culprit?)

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted June 17, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        Yes, a good question: who murdered those 7 and 11 year old girls?
        It is close to certain that George Stinney was innocent, hence the real perpetrator walked free.

  13. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Just to veer off – or on – topic for a change, what is the big similarity between James Joyce and Charles Darwin?

  14. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 16, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    That coloured-cubes illusion is curious. Is the colour tint ‘bleeding’ from the coloured stripes that cross the cubes? (That would imply that our colour receptors are quite low acuity).

    Is it that the brain sees the red-green-blue striped background and reacts to the absence of two of the stripes within each cube by assigning the opposite colour?

    (I would have expected the cubes to be tinted opposite to the stripes actually crossing them by contrast, but obviously that doesn’t happen).


    • rickflick
      Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      There is then a mechanism that enhances the contrast of the outline of an object relatively to its background: it is called lateral inhibition, because each group of photo-receptors tends to inhibit the response of the one next to it. The result is that which appears to be clear appears even to be more so and vice versa. The same mechanism works for colors: when a photo-receptor from one area of the retina becomes stimulated by a color, those next to it become less sensitive to that color.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted June 16, 2019 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        Lateral inhibition? Gimme the horizontal kind.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 17, 2019 at 12:13 am | Permalink

          Lateral inhibition at the first synapse in the retina is important for visual perception, enhancing image contrast, color discrimination, and light adaptation. Despite decades of research, the feedback signal from horizontal cells to photoreceptors that generates lateral inhibition remains uncertain.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted June 17, 2019 at 12:25 am | Permalink

            I wuz making a missionary position jest

            • rickflick
              Posted June 17, 2019 at 1:04 am | Permalink

              I should have guessed. Brits are known for their horizontal inhibition.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted June 17, 2019 at 5:07 am | Permalink

        Yes, that is the mechanism with near certainty.

  15. Posted June 16, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Have a lovely trip, Jerry!

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