Saturday: Hili dialogue

July 20, 2019 • 6:30 am

We’re at the weekend now—and a steamy one in Chicago, with a predicted high of 95°F (35ºC), which will take us well into the 100s when you factor in the high humidity. Yes, It’s Saturday, July 20, 2019, and for many only about a month till school starts in most of America  (the U of C starts at the beginning of October). It’s a trifecta of a food holiday: National Ice Cream Sundae Day, National Lollipop Day, and Fortune Cookie Day. It’s also International Chess Day, celebrating the day that the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded in 1924.

The big news is that its the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Moon landing. There’s a really cool real-time livestream of the Apollo 11 mission on YouTube, and I’d recommend watching this to see how it went down. The time of the Moonwalk itself—when feet touched the lunar surface—was 0256 GMT on July 21, or, in the U.S. (July 20) 9:56 pm Houston time and Time and 10:56 Eastern time.

I was back home from college, working a summer job as a chemistry lab assistant in my old high school, and went over to a friend’s house to watch the landing. I walked through the door just as Neil Armstrong descended the ladder, and saw that first step live. I’ve never forgotten it, nor gotten over the magnitude of this achievement.

And here are some highlights of the first Moonwalk:


And a lovely photo with the Wikipedia caption:

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, stands on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module, Eagle, during the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, mission commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. While Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the lunar module to explore the Sea of Tranquility, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained in lunar orbit with the Command and Service Module, Columbia. This is the actual photograph as exposed on the moon by Armstrong. He held the camera slightly rotated so that the camera frame did not include the top of Aldrin’s portable life support system (“backpack”). A communications antenna mounted on top of the backpack is also cut off in this picture. When the image was released to the public, it was rotated clockwise to restore the astronaut to vertical for a more harmonious composition, and a black area was added above his head to recreate the missing black lunar “sky”. The edited version is the one most commonly reproduced and known to the public, but the original version, [below], is the authentic exposure. A full explanation with illustrations can be seen at the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.

One more note about this: in case the mission went awry and all the astronauts died, Nixon’s speechwriter had a speech ready mourning the tragedy. Fortunately, it was never given, but you can read the contingency speech here (h/t: Ginger K).

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 1807 – Nicéphore Niépce is awarded a patent by Napoleon for the Pyréolophore, the world’s first internal combustion engine, after it successfully powered a boat upstream on the river Saône in France.
  • 1848 – The first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, a two-day event, concludes.

Reader Blue sent this appropriate tweet that came from the FFRF:

More on this day in history:

  • 1871 – British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada.
  • 1903 – The Ford Motor Company ships its first automobile.
  • 1944 – World War II: Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.
  • 1960 – Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) elects Sirimavo Bandaranaike Prime Minister, the world’s first elected female head of government.
  • 1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11’s crew successfully makes the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the Moon six and a half hours later.
  • 1976 – The American Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars.
  • 1989 – Burma’s ruling junta puts opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.
  • 2005 – The Civil Marriage Act legalizes same-sex marriage in Canada.
  • 2017 – O. J. Simpson is granted parole to be released from prison after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence after being convicted of armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1804 – Richard Owen, English biologist, anatomist, and paleontologist (d. 1892)
  • 1822 – Gregor Mendel, Austro-German monk, geneticist and botanist (d. 1884)
  • 1919 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer (d. 2008)
  • 1920 – Elliot Richardson, American lieutenant and politician, 11th United States Secretary of Defense (d. 1999)
  • 1938 – Natalie Wood, American actress (d. 1981)
  • 1947 – Carlos Santana, Mexican-American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1953 – Thomas Friedman, American journalist and author
  • 1971 – Sandra Oh, Canadian actress
  • 1980 – Gisele Bündchen, Brazilian model, fashionista, and businesswoman

Those who expired on July 20 include:

  • 1923 – Pancho Villa, Mexican general and politician, Governor of Chihuahua (b. 1878)
  • 1945 – Paul Valéry, French author and poet (b. 1871)
  • 2011 – Lucian Freud, German-English painter and illustrator (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being fat-shamed!

Hili: You are picking raspberries and I have to wait for manna from heaven.
A: Don’t exaggerate, you’ve gained weight again.
In Polish:
Hili: Ty zbierasz maliny, a ja muszę czekać na mannę z nieba.
Ja: Nie przesadzaj, znowu przybrałaś na wadze.

A cartoon sent by Mark Sturtevant. If you understand it, you’re at least 60 (or a maven of old television comedy):

Religionists won’t like this one. . .

Sometimes I think that “grinning cat” memes are Photoshopped, but I have a feeling that this one’s for real:

A tweet from Grania, sent to me on October 28 of last year, with the simple header “Black cat.”

I found this one, except that I AM this guy at the buffet:

Three tweets from Heather Hastie. The first one shows a futile act: if the cat did fit in, he’d get too fat to get in on later occasions!

Drive-by cat zoomies:

These aren’t ducks, but I wish my ducks would eat their greens like this:


Three tweets from Matthew:

Those wiener dogs are lucky the lion wasn’t hungry for frankfurters!

I can barely discern a word! Sound up, of course.

30 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. I’ve always welcomed the fact that ‘The Man On The Moon’ is Buzz Aldrin. Thanks to the first man on the moon.

  2. I see Hasselblad are celebrating the fact that their camera, which was left behind on the moon, took such glorious photos. Sadly the 50 year special edition involves a different body and a digital back, and is completely unlike the body, film back and battery winder taken to the moon. Perhaps this comment is less about the moon photo and more about milking sheep!

  3. To the Moon Alice.

    I would recommend watching the hour long show on the Apollo 11, including the landing they showed about a week ago. I’m sure they will run it again. It is all old film, much of it never seen before and I thought the landing stuff was better than what we actually saw at the time. It is a good show.

    We should also remember three astronauts were lost on Apollo 1, right here are on the ground, due to a mistake, using pure oxygen in the training capsule.

  4. I’ve heard and/or read that if something had gone wrong and the astronauts were stranded, that NASA had a protocol that they would drop communication and allow the astronauts to slowly expire on their own. Seems like a terribly lonely and sad way to go, though I guess it would have spared the world to be in thrall to the deaths of the astronauts. I’m not certain they had suicide pills, but I hope they did. Asphyxiation would have been a terrible way to go.

    We forget that it was, as are all the missions to this day, extremely dangerous. Armstrong estimated that their chances to get there and back safely was 50/50. Just think about that for a moment. Embarking on a challenging mission where you know the chance of something going seriously wrong is 50%. It just adds to my awe of these extraordinary men. They truly had wills and nerves of steel, and enough motivation of curiosity and sense adventure to overcome the inherent fear.

    1. I think he probably over estimated the odds of not getting back safely. They sent six missions to the moon and only one had a fault serious enough to cause an abort and even then the astronauts came home.

    2. I remember a preclinical pharmacology practical in which we wore a rebreather and tried to copy simple designs with a pencil. It was over for me when I fell off my stool. I couldn’t remember a thing and had noticed nothing. On looking at my notebook it was obvious I had been suffering from hypoxia for some time as my copied designs were complete rubbish. I guess the point was to ram home that hypoxia is painless and hard to recognise.

  5. CNN is showing their documentary,Apollo 11, tonight at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. EDT. The documentary includes archival 70 mm color film footage never seen before. You can see the difference between what we saw on television in 1969 and what the 70 mm archival footage looks like during an interview with Todd Douglas Miller, the director of the documentary. The clip on the linked page is called, “See video from Apollo 11 like you’ve never seen it before.”

    1. Most of the astronauts back then were still picked from the military, mostly all jet pilots and many of them test pilots. Apollo 13 was a near miss.

      1. Mostly Navy too?
        Due to the added difficulty of landing a jet on a moving pitching aircraft carrier deck.

  6. I never thought “To the moon, Alice” was a funny line. Even as a young girl, I recognized it as a threat of spousal abuse. Why does anyone think that is funny?

    1. I have fond memories of that programme. It was possibly the very first ‘bloopers’ ever aired, so it was fresh and new, long before American TV siezed on the concept and ran it into the ground.

      I’d forgotten that was where I saw the clip, which I’ve fondly remembered ever since, of the swimsuit lady with the pink hair valiantly struggling with a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at 27:30. Her happy triumphant grin at 28:45 is pure gold.


  7. I liked the “How to Milk Sheep” tweet. Another appropriate caption could be “How to Fleece Sheep”.

    Reminds me of a line from Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree): “When the church is full it means you’ve just been had.”

  8. Had von Stauffenberg succeeded, I think it’s safe to say that most who died in the European theater after July 20, 1944 would likely have survived the war, and the course of history would have been greatly changed. Germany could have had a greater role in charting its own course, too, and if Germany itself could have repudiated Nazism, we might not have as many neo-Nazis.

    But thinking further of how things in the US might have been different, I came across this – that very day was the middle of the Democratic convention, and Henry Wallace’s re-nomination for VP was hanging in the balance. He missed re-nomination by a matter of inches and seconds when the convention was hastily gavelled closed for the day, as detailed here. Do read it! Had von Stauffenberg succeeded, and the news reached the Convention, Wallace might have been re-nominated in the jubilation, and we might have had a President Wallace by April ’45. How would that have affected the outcome of the Potsdam Conference? Would Wallace have been able to defeat Dewey in ’48? How would Eisenhower have emerged, and so forth.

  9. That was indeed a mostly incomprehensible Irish accent, not helped by the fact that he appears to be missing a lot of his teeth.

    1. My friend who grew up in Belfast said it didn’t sound very Irish to him. Could be the lack of teeth😬

  10. See Armstrong step back up the ladder because it hadn’t extended quite properly and the surface was a smidge further away, just to test that he could.
    How about the banter about the dust layer and footprints.
    This and countless other minutiae of the reality of this simply could not and would not have been replicable.
    Not at that time and not even now I suspect.

    I dare any moon hoaxer to even try and replicate any part of it such that it fools anyone.

    Like a Turing test.

    This is so real and so amazing.

  11. One of my favourite reminders to myself (and sometimes to my loved ones) about how awesome humans can really be is to point to the moon and say, “We have been *there*.”

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