Tuesday: Hili dialogue

May 1, 2018 • 7:15 am

It’s May! It’s May! The lusty month of May! (Tuesday, May 1, 2018). And here’s an appropriate song that you’ll know if you’re “of a certain age.” If you’re not, you should know it.

It’s also National Chocolate Parfait Day, as well as International Worker’s Day, celebrating the laboring folk. It was and is a huge holiday in the Soviet Union, but this tweet, from Grania, shows that not everyone was enthused:

But in 1886 in the U.S., it began a tradition:

On May 1, 301, Diocletian and Maximian retired for their office of co-Roman Emperor. On this day in 1169, Norman mercenaries landed in Leinster, which, according to Wikipedia, marks the beginning of the Norman Invasion of Ireland.  On May 1, 1328, the Wars of Scottish Independence ended as the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton recognized the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state. But then, on the same day in 1707, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland joined to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

On this day in 1753, Linnaeus published his catalogue Species Plantarum, marking the start of plant taxonomy as well as the Latin binomials which has become the modern convention of how to denote a species. Exactly 33 years later, Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro had its debut in Vienna. On this day in 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville began.  On May 1, 1930, Pluto was officially named as a planet. It still is one, and shut up if you disagree!  In 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was established under the tyrannical rule of Kim Il-Sung, who is still considered “The Eternal President of North Korea”. Exactly 8 years later, after successful field trials, Jonas Salk made his polio vaccine available to the public. What a hero! Today they’d try to patent it.  On this day in 1960, in the famous U-2 incident, Francis Gary Powers of the U.S. was shot down in his U-2 spy plane, creating a huge fracas. He spent two years in a Russian prison and then was returned to the U.S. in a prisoner exchange, dying in a helicopter crash in 1977.  On May 1, 1999, the body of British Climber George Mallory was found on Mount Everest, 75 years after he and his co-climber Andrew Irvine disappeared on Mount Everest. There’s still debate about whether they reached the summit.  On this day 7 years ago, there were two incidents: Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals, and Pope John Paul II was beatified in a rush job by his successor Benedict XVI.

Notable born on this day include Calamity Jane (1852), Theo van Gogh (1857), Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881), eviscerated by Peter Medawar, Glenn Ford (1916), Jack Paar (1918), Joseph Heller (1923), Judy Collins (1939), Rita Coolidge (1945), and photographer Sally Mann (1951). Those who died on May 1 include David Livingston (1873), Antonín Dvořák (1904), Joseph and Magda Goebells (1945, suicide in the Führerbunker), Spike Jones (1965), Eldridge Cleaver (1998) and Steve “Superman” Reeves (2000).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is using woo to prevent a failure of cherry maturation as happened last year. It’s a wonderful picture of Hili, too.

Leon: well, I’m setting of in search for May adventures.

In Polish: No to wyruszam na poszukiwanie majówkowych przygód.

Reader Dean sent a tweet (enlarge sign by going to the tweet and clicking on the right side) that shows a postmodernist message from a landlord about the absence of a fire extinguisher.

And from Ann German via Heather Hastie, an ancient cat is reassured by a modern one:


From Grania, a splendid aerial view of Central Park:

The hyprocrisy of the rich:

Wonderful high-res photos of Andromeda:


And another inappropriate use of cats in advertising (are the cats being bathed in cocoa?)

From Matthew; learn from Feynman how trains stay on tracks:

Nature red in tooth and claw—on two levels:

27 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Steve Reeves was best known as Hercules. George Reeves was Superman as was Christopher Reeve.

  2. Nice photo of Hili today. Perfect setting.

    We did something when I was a kid, many years ago, however, not sure if it is still done. We made these little May baskets and delivered candy to people we knew.

  3. So just when did the Soviet Union develop the technology for colored balloons? I would have thought that by 1968 with their nuclear capability fully established they could have devoted more resources and expertise to the balloon industry.

  4. Speaking of May Day 1886 in Chicago, wasn’t that where the Haymarket Affair got its start?

    1. An important aspect not mentioned by the great Feynman is the speed of the train. On a curved track one must not travel too slow or there’s insufficient centripetal force to slide the train wheels sideways.

      If the train is too slow the wheels screech like hell & in extreme cases they lock up while the train keeps moving – that flattens the wheel cone where it contacts the track. New wheels needed. Smart operators use flange or rail grease to ease the passage of wheels on curves.

      Quality train driving is hard.

      1. That is absolutely not correct. Railways (particularly in urban areas) are full of curves, with trains travelling at all speeds, and they do not usually result in unusual or extreme wheel wear. The wheels (sans slipping) do not need to move outwards under centripetal force, but quite simply for geometrical reasons – when the wheel is in mid-position (i.e. both tyres have equal circumferences at the contact points) the wheel will tend to run ‘straight ahead’ – which will naturally cause it to track towards the outside of the curve.

        The screeching of flanges on curves generally only occurs on the very sharpest curves – for example the Bernina line in Switzerland which has 2-chain radius curves. Automatic flange lubricators are sometimes fitted but they can cause problems with slipping of the locomotive wheels on heavy trains.

        There is no reason why, even on a sharp curve, a wheel would lock up while the train is moving. Generally the only way to get flats on a wheel is for the brakes to be applied too strongly so they lock it up.

        Wheel-rail dynamics, however, do become more critical as speeds rise (e.g. high speed trains), with ‘shimmy’ or sideways oscillation of the bogies (trucks) a possibility. Some derailments are believed to have been cased by this.


        1. Squeal noise has nowt to do with the flanges. It is due to lateral slip of the ‘tire’ on the rail running surface of the low rail [flange is not involved]. The wheels begin to vibrate & the squeal begins.

          Obviously it is implicit that the ‘narrower’ the curve radius the greater the problem [500m on ‘heavy’ or metro trains & 100m on light rail/tram are typical figures.

          The normal operational noise of 65 dB to 80 dB can shoot up to 120 dB due to squeal & squeal is greater if the train is travelling too slow for the radius curve. There is a ‘happy’ speed for any given load of train.

  5. Jonas Salk made his polio vaccine available to the public. What a hero! Today they’d try to patent it.

    In Scotland we have not forgotten that Alexander Fleming et al did not patent penicillin, because he believed that the world should benefit. Then some mercenary US company patented a method for its manufacture, and the UK’s NHS ended up paying extra for a largely British development.

  6. Great Camelot song.

    That poor little girl in Russia is sad because of what her parents made her wear.

    And Feynman makes me understand I am always an infant, with so much more to learn.

    1. I just heard on the radio that it’s National Hug Your Cat Day! Perfect for the first day of May https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/fun/hug-your-cat-day. And if you don’t know how to hug your cat (though nobody who reads WEIT would be so ignorant) the link tells you how to celebrate. However, perhaps I should put celebrate in scare quotes since certain cats operate like angle fish, rolling over on their backs, pretending to be defenseless and exposing their undersides to lure unsuspecting ailurophiles who just want to rub the cute moogie’s belly, only to snag the approaching hand with their sharp claws, then biting and kicking the captive hand.

  7. Back when I was studying to become a Unitarian minister (I am no longer Unitarian at all), a fellow classmate of mine and I stood up in the cafe during lunch on May 1st and belted out “The Lusty Month of May”. Although we are both accomplished and skilled singers, we did not rehearse at all, and while we might have done well individually, the joint effort was a disaster. Nonetheless, a third classmate videoed us and put it up for a short time on YouTube. It may be the worst musical performance in the history of YouTube and was mercifully taken down after 2 weeks.


    Teilhard de Chardin’s “Phenomenon of Man” is an attempt to restore a sense of teleology to creation on decidedly non-Aristotelian / non-Thomistic lines, as the classic notion of teleology (purpose-driven nature) is decidedly defunct.
    However, he seems to assume that evolution violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and there is a very powerful argument that it does not (because the earth is an open system, continuously receiving an influx of new energy in the form of sunlight!!) His beliefs presuppose a vitalism or “elan vital” permeating creation, a kind of pan-psychism (though he does not use that word.)
    Whether he is equally obscurantist in French as he is in English is something I cannot speak to. (Some German writers are far far clearer in German than in English!)
    Like Jeremy Sherman, Teilhard is kinda/sorta proposing his own speculations on the “Arrow of Time” paradox in physics. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow_of_time ).
    Chardin has influenced some very good creative artists, notably the sculptor Frederick Hart, and the writer Flannery O’Connor

  8. I don’t know if it’s anecdotal or real, but the story is that Alfred the Great (d. 899) split his days into three eight hour parts – one for sleeping, one for working, and one for everything else. While working, he used hour candles so he knew how much time had passed.

    The ad with the kitties. My assumption is that they have been drinking chocolate milk, and so mum has to wash their faces to get it off.

    1. As a gullible Catholic lad I was taught many a tale about Saint Alfred the Great by nuns & school teachers. He was elevated to a ridiculous level of virtue in the retelling & it doesn’t surprise me that he’s an object lesson in good time keeping! I do wonder what percent of his good character is accurate rather than conveniently concocted lessons in proper behaviour for kidz.

      1. Not sure of we’re talking about the same dude. I’m talking about King Alfred the Great, King of Wessex (England). There are a lot of apocryphal tales about him because he was the saved England from the Vikings at the time, but I don’t think he’s been sanctified.

        1. We are talking about the same King Alfred the Great

          He was confirmed by Pope Leo IV at the age of four when he travelled to Rome. Catholic saint books sources list him as a saint, my priests/nuns/teachers called him “Saint Alfred the Great” – like many saints listed he’s not been beatified [or canonized is it?] yet by the RCC & probably never will be.

          The Anglican Communion has his feast day as October 26th.

          1. Got it thanks. I forgot about Anglican saints.

            When they’re being considered for sainthood they’re beatified. They have to have two confirmed miracles associated with them. Someone officially speaks against them too. (As you probably know, Hitchens officially spoke against Mother Teresa at the Vatican hearing for her canonization. Despite all he said, politics were more important.) When they make it through the process they’re canonized and become a saint..

    2. Why need cats to be somehow appropriate in ads? Let us just enjoy them.
      Van Houten, I do not think it still exists, had pretty good chocolates (for mass produced chocolates that is).

  9. While looking for something else today I found my Poliomyelitis Vaccination Record, 1955 vaccine program. According to the card I received vaccine inoculations on 4/25/54, 5/5/54, and 6/2/54. That made me one of a little over a million guinea pigs. I remember not everyone received the vaccine, some received the placebo. We received our cards later. The most immediate benefit was that I could go to the community swimming pool but that probably happened in 1955. One uncle and one aunt suffered from polio. I remember seeing an iron lung but cannot remember the circumstances.

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