Sunday: Hili dialogue

August 20, 2017 • 6:45 am

It’s Sunday, August 20, and that means I have a wedding to attend this afternoon. And that means that posting will be light today as I break out the coat, tie, fancy boots, and hie myself downtown. It’s National Bacon Lovers Day, and the site offers five fun (and some dubious) facts about bacon:

  1. Bacon is one of the oldest processed meats in history. The Chinese began salting pork bellies as early as 1500 B.C.
  2. More than half of all homes (53%) keep bacon on hand at all times
  3. Pregnant women should eat bacon. Choline, which is found in bacon, helps fetal brain development
  4. Each year in the US more than 1.7 billion lbs. of bacon are consumed
  5. Bacon is said to cure hangovers

Facts 3 and 5 are the dubious ones. #3 might be right (as they say, “ask your doctor”), but I know from experience that #5 doesn’t work in everyone. It’s also World Mosquito Day, so take a mosquito to dinner. (If you’re offering a blood meal, it’ll have to be a female.)

It’s a big day for evolution aficionados, as it was on this day in 1858 that Darwin and Wallace published their joint papers on evolution by natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. This joint publication was the solution Darwin’s friends brokered when Wallace sent him, a few months earlier, a manuscript in which Wallace outlined a theory very similar to the one Darwin had been working on for decades. Of course Darwin published The Origin the next year, thereby gaining credit as “Mr. Evolution.” This page marks the formal beginning of evolutionary biology, though the papers didn’t excite much attention (that had to wait over a year until Darwin’s Origin):

On this day in 1882, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuted in Moscow, Russia. On April 20, 1920, the first commercial radio station in the world, then called “8MK” (now WWJ, and still on the air) started broadcasting in Detroit.

There were two events on this day in 1940. First, Leon Trotsky was attacked in Mexico City, getting a ice axe blow in the head. He died the next day. The murderer was Ramón Mercader, a communist born in Spain. Mercader served twenty years for the murder, and then was released to Cuba and then went to Russia, where he died in 1978. Here’s a picture I took when visiting Mexico City in 2011; it shows the desk Trotsky was sitting at when he was assaulted; I was told that the books and papers on the desk are unchanged from that moment:

And across the Atlantic, on the same day, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made one of his most famous wartime speeches, honoring the brave lads of the RAF during the Battle of Britain, which had begun on July 10, 1940. Churchill’s speech contained the famous line “Never was so much owed by so many to so few“. The source of that line is a bit unclear, but here’s an interesting take from Wikipedia:

However, in 1954 “Pug” Ismay related an anecdote to publisher Rupert Hart-Davis; when Churchill and Ismay were

“. . . travelling together in a car, in which Winston rehearsed the speech he was to give in the House of Commons on 20 August 1940 after the Battle of Britain. When he came to the famous sentence, ‘Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few’, Ismay said ‘What about Jesus and his disciples?’ ‘Good old Pug,’ said Winston’ who immediately changed the wording to ‘Never in the field of human conflict….”

Wikipedia notes the other three famous and eloquent speeches Churchill gave to buck up the Brits:

This speech was a great inspiration to the embattled United Kingdom during what was probably its most dangerous phase of the entire war. Together with the three famous speeches that he gave during the period of the Battle of France (the “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech of 13 May, the “We shall fight on the beaches” speech of 4 June and the “This was their finest hour” speech of 18 June), they form his most stirring rhetoric.

Fortunately the August 20 speech was recorded, and here it is. The description of the RAF’s exploits, containing the famous line, starts at 2:42:

Finally, on this day in 1998 Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that Quebec was not legally allowed to secede from Canada without the approval of the federal government. I suspect Canada will remain united forever.

Notables born on August 20 include Benjamin Harrison (1833), Paul Tillich (1886), H. P. Lovecraft (1890), Jack Teagarden (1905), Eero Saarinen (1910), Rajiv Gandhi (1944), Connie Chung (1946; I once lived across the hall from her and husband Maury Povich in a multi-unit condo), Robert Plant (1948), and Amy Adams (1974). Those who died on this day include the medical researcher and Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich (1915), Fred Hoyle (2001), and Elmore Leonard (2013).

Today’s Hili dialogue needed a bit of explanation, which Malgorzata provided: “Oh, yes, for Listy [Hili is the website’s editor]. She is lying on Andrzej’s desk chair, where most of Listy is produced. They are always fighting about this chair. Hili thinks that as an Editor-in-Chief she is absolutely entitled to it and that Andrzej should find some other place to sit.”

Hili: Are you aware what responsibility lies with me?
A: Of course.
In Polish:
Hili: Zdajesz sobie sprawę z tego, jaka odpowiedzialność na mnie ciąży?
Ja: Oczywiście.

Reader Bill from Oz sent a picture of himself with what I suspect is the same Talkeetna airport cat I showed in yesterday’s Hili dialogue. His comment:

In 2014, my wife and I, along with friends of ours from Minnesota, took the same trip to the top of Denali. We also encountered a lovely, smoochy cat (photos attached). I wonder if he is the same cat?
Here’s the Talkeeta airport cat I photographed in 2006. Same moggie or not? I’m pretty sure it is based on the smudging on the left cheek. So it was at least eight years older in the photo above.
There’s no Leon today, but the intrepid, Twitter-obsessed Matthew Cobb sends three tw**ts:

And I’m not sure of the language, but it looks as if moggies stepped in the dumplings. I don’t know the language. Translation, anyone?

And a reply!


17 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

    1. Google Translate app informs me the language is Malay also, and the translation is:

      Case of foodstuff 3 suspect arrested remand. A try to escape.

        1. The first tweet may be rendered as “case of food trampling, 3 suspects held in remand. 1 attempted to escape”
          The second states “How now, our “cucur badak” are ruined”.
          The language is indeed Malay, and “cucur badak” is the name of the pastry

      1. My Malay sucks these days, but the first bit says something like: “The case of the stepped on supper, 3 suspects arrested. One tries to run away.” Diri translates as self, so possibly “One tries to run away from me”. No idea what “reman” means, might mean remand.

        I can’t help any more than Google with the reply, except that it does have something to do with our (kita) rhino(badak) and a trick(cucur).

        Shaky memory from a subject I’ve neglected for decades. May contain nuts, and a pinch of salt.

  1. The papers : I’ve grown to really love those old fonts. Not easy to get them.

    Robert Plant : Commander of the British Empire (CBE). I don’t think though, as with Paul, they can go around brandishing a “sir” nominative, but if the fans say it, what can the queen do?

  2. Many in the U.S. are unaware of the importance of the Battle of Britain and do not give it much thought. However, it was a huge turning point in history that allowed the rest to follow. Had Britain not held, where would we be today? During the next four years Britain became the aircraft carrier, the staging area and everything else for the war against Nazi Germany. Churchill’s speech was exactly on point.

    1. +1. At the time most in the US considered the war “not our problem” and there was even a lot of support for Germany.

      Whenever I write the phrase “not our problem” I’m reminded of the Douglas Adams book (one of the HHGTTG series) in which a space ship is parked at Lords and rendered invisible with a Somebody Else’s Problem field. His books were a brilliant commentary on humanity.

      1. I use the “Class One, Class Two or Class Three Problem” assessment with mind-numbing regularity.
        On which point, I guess I’d better get on with Class One problems.

    2. My mother, who was born in Ramsgate on the English Channel, witnessed the Battle of Britain as a young girl. She had been evacuated to London. Earlier while still in Ramsgate, she also witnessed soldiers being rescued from Dunkirk.
      She later served in the British Army in London, searching for survivors after bombing raids.

    1. In times past there have been a lot of chemical abuses in pork processing, and bacon has been involved in no small number of them. Water injected into the meat remains a problem – if I had a packet in the fridge, I wouldn’t be surprised to find it’s 10 or 15% by weight added water. But one of the tricks that has definitely been common in the past, with noticeable problems for human health, has been soaking various pork joints in nitrate- or nitrite-rich solutions. In part this is to osmotically impel water into the meat, increasing the sale weight as above. But also the nitrite ions (IIRC) interact with the myoglobin in the meat to produce a nitroso-myoglobin compound which is a very attractive pink. Looks good. Looks healthy.
      In moderation, this isn’t a problem. But if your main source of dietary protein is meat treated so (you’re already on a diet restricted in this respect, and probably in other respects too), the high nitrite in your stomach and bloodstream mucks [something] up. And you’re now reaching the limit of my food-chemistry from decades ago. If I recall, one of the nitroso- ions is isoelectronic with both dioxygen and carbon monoxide, and does similarly horrible things to blood oxygen chemistry.

      something the vegan propaganda

      Such has certainly been written, and I remember being quite pissed off at seeing bad chemistry, badly misunderstood and hysterically presented in such claims in the past. Most of the time, the writers are “not even wrong”, but IME, that’s because they don’t understand what they’re talking about. There is often something at the root of what they’re saying – and the food industry is big enough that bad practice is to be expected at all times, not as an exception (see Jerry’s “Ice Cream” post of yesterday).
      Don’t worry – as Trump’s “bonfire of the regulations” bites further, you (America) are going to see this sort of thing more and more.

  3. Churchill was great, if flawed, human being of great importance. It is encouraging to think, during these times of rarity, that such leaders do come along from time to time. But, when no leaders are here to save us, it’s up to the people to get themselves through the tough times.

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