Friday: Hili dialogue

August 2, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Friday, August 2, 2019, and National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. (Are these unique to the U.S. and Canada?) It’s also Dinosaurs Day. And, since it’s the first Friday in August, it’s International Beer Day.

Stuff that happened on this day in history includes:

  • 1610 – During Henry Hudson’s search for the Northwest Passage, he sails into what is now known as Hudson Bay.
  • 1776 – The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place.
  • 1790 – The first United States Census is conducted
  • 1870 – Tower Subway, the world’s first underground tube railway, opens in London, England, United Kingdom.
  • 1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes U.S. President upon the death of President Warren G. Harding.
  • 1932 – The positron (antiparticle of the electron) is discovered by Carl D. Anderson.

This particle was, of course, first predicted by Paul Dirac in 1928.  It had been observed previously, but Anderson is credited with the discovery, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936. It was the first antimatter particle to be detected.

  • 1934 – Gleichschaltung: Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.
  • 1937 – The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, the effect of which is to render marijuana and all its by-products illegal.

Well, I’m not quite sure how it worked, as what the Act involved was taxing all sales of “marihuana”, and some people even paid that tax. Here, for example, is a Marihuana Tax Stamp from 1937. At any rate, the act was repealed in 1970 and in many states (including Illinois on January 1!), weed is now legal, though still illegal on the federal level. Some reader can explain the Tax Act to us.

I bet these stamps are worth a lot.

  • 1939 – Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.

Here’s the letter: Szilard wrote it and Einstein signed it. Roosevelt, of course, did not ignore it:

  • 1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.
  • 2018 – Apple Inc. became the first U.S. company to be valued at over $1 trillion.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1820 – John Tyndall, Irish-English physicist and mountaineer (d. 1893)
  • 1865 – Irving Babbitt, American academic and critic (d. 1933)
  • 1905 – Myrna Loy, American actress (d. 1993)
  • 1924 – Carroll O’Connor, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2001)
  • 1932 – Peter O’Toole, British-Irish actor and producer (d. 2013)
  • 1937 – Garth Hudson, Canadian keyboard player, songwriter, and producer

Hudson, along with Robbie Robertson, are the only two surviving members of The Band, one of the great rock groups of all time. I’ve heard them play live twice, once in a very small theater (room, really) at The University of Maryland.

As for Myrna Loy, half of the hard-drinking couple (along with William Powell) in “The Thin Man” series, well, I always had a thing for her. Here’s a bibulous scene from one movie:

Others born on August 2 include:

  • 1942 – Isabel Allende, Chilean-American novelist, essayist, essayist
  • 1964 – Mary-Louise Parker, American actress

Those who expired on August 2 include:

  • 1788 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (b. 1727)
  • 1859 – Horace Mann, American educator and politician (b. 1796)
  • 1876 – “Wild Bill” Hickok, American sheriff (b. 1837)
  • 1921 – Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor and actor (b. 1873)
  • 1922 – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-Canadian engineer, invented the telephone (b. 1847)
  • 1923 – Warren G. Harding, American journalist and politician, 29th President of the United States (b. 1865)
  • 1934 – Paul von Hindenburg, German field marshal and politician, 2nd President of Germany (b. 1847)
  • 1955 – Wallace Stevens, American poet and educator (b. 1879)
  • 1986 – Roy Cohn, American lawyer and politician (b. 1927)
  • 1997 – William S. Burroughs, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1914).

Gainsborough, unlike many other artists of his era (Delacroix is an exception) really could draw cats. Here’s his “Six studies of a cat” (chalk on paper) drawn between 1763 and 1769:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is splitting hairs as he wonders whether to jump on the back of the sofa:

Bruce Thiel sent a photo of scary and funny peppers that appeared on Facebook:

A free-will (or rather, anti-free-will) cartoon sent by Julian, from Harry Bliss:


A tweet Grania sent me on December 3 of last year. She loved the “Bodega Cats” Twitter site:

The tweet below comes from The Friendly Atheist via reader David.  Arizona State Representative Athena Saliman delivered a secular invocation to the state House in 2017, and just did it again. Here’s what Hemant says:

On Monday, Salman delivered another invocation. This one was more tailored to her personal atheistic views, but it was hardly demeaning to anyone else. Yet watch what happens after her speech in the video below. Republican State Rep. John Kavanagh asks to speak, then proceeds to mock Salman by invoking his personal God in what can only be described as a Christian attempt at humor.

This is what we, as nonbelievers, are up against. None of us would engage in this kind of mockery in a legislature, but Christians feel entitled to do so. Kavanagh is an ass. Salman’s invocation is the second tweet, and her response to the jackass Kavanagh’s snarky response is above it:

From Nilou: I’m glad I didn’t hear Biden screw up this way, though it’s sort of funny. But he seems to be losing his train of thought a lot these days, and I wonder what’s going on. . .

From reader J. J. I used to collect “world’s fattest cat” stories from the tabloids, and here’s another. The kittens don’t look so fat!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. The first one shows an extremely dumb moggie:

Heather got this one from Ann German:

Two tweets from Matthew Cobb. I would love to find a fossil like this guy did. He clearly knows what he’s doing!

And look at this lovely bouquet of snakes!


30 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Now dang it I could have swore Myrna Loy played Cary Grant’s mom in North by Northwest but nope it wasn’t. Another bubble burst.

  2. Regarding Szilard, I have just started a new book on the background to the development of nuclear weapons, & how we could have avoided having them. It seems that the Germans were far from developing a bomb but the British did not want that known… forget the title & author!

  3. [Garth] Hudson, along with Robbie Robertson, are the only two surviving members of The Band, one of the great rock groups of all time.

    Garth was the only classically trained musician in The Band. When the guys were all living together in that big pink house up Woodstock way, he used to charge the other fellas $2 a week for “music lessons,” just so he could tell his folks he was “teaching music,” such that all his training hadn’t gone completely to waste.

    1. Is she the one whose girl I wish I had? I’m pretty sure her name started with a J…Jemma? Jiggy? No I think it was Jenny.

      Why am I pining after a lesbian’s girl anyway? Is she bi? I don’t remember how all this started, but my soup has gotten cold. Could you put it in the warming box?

      1. The fact of the matter is, my website works. First, President Obama and I got Joe30330 passed into law. Second, Bob Dole and I didn’t agree on everything, but we ate lunch together. That’s how you get things done, and my track record proves it. Fourth, traffic on Joe30330 is up thirty-seven percent since the debate. Thirty. Seven. Percent. Finally, let me say all that again while I grab you by the shoulder.

        1. Hey, go easy on me kid.

          No, no I’m not a condescending misogynist! How is that condescending or misogynist? I was just being friendly! I didn’t even know it was Kamala. I didn’t have my glasses on and I just said it to the first outline of a person I saw. I thought I was talking to Pete…

          Oh gee wiz.

  4. Some God, He should need an intro by the likes of a pompous prick like John Kavanagh.

    These are the entitled sonsabitches think they’re being besieged every time anyone dare not kiss their Xtian asses in public.

    1. I’m in favor of calling out religious privilege anytime one of these entitled practitioners assert their views during public events. It can be done politely in the name of inclusivity. Or, if they insist on being pricks, they can be summarily mocked for their beliefs in sky fairies.

  5. International Beer Day is unclear: is a day for international beers, or a international day for beer (the link explains, but the title remains obscure). I’ve always loved that scene where Nora orders five more martinis. I am rooting for Joe, but, honestly, he’s too old.

  6. Biden does seem to be losing his train of thought these days, but I just don’t give a damn. I think he’s the only viable candidate in the top five right now, possibly with the exception of Kamala Harris, as she seems to be the only other one to realize that she can’t go extreme left and hope to win the general election.

    Frankly, I think if Biden gets the nomination, he’ll blunder his way to a plenty bigly win. He can lose every debate, he can make gaffes. Debates never matter; even if someone wins by a large margin, the polls change for the next week and then go back to exactly where they were.

    Point is, the Dems need a candidate who hasn’t said anything absolutely fucking bonkers on policy because, if their nominee has, then that nominee will be hammered all day, every day with it by Trump. The Warren/Bernie wing going all in on eliminating private healthcare, making illegal immigration no longer illegal (AKA “open borders,” the one thing I and every other Democrat has been telling his non-Democrat friends we and Democrats do NOT support), all social benefits for illegal immigrants, etc.? This is crazy talk and anyone who supported this in the primary will be decimated in the general election, no matter how well they speak, how well they stand up to Trump, and how well they comport themselves generally. The quotes will be used all day, every day, at every Trump rally, in every tweet, in every ad.

    Remember, Trump is Teflon with his base (just as most politician are with their bases these days), so we’re trying to appeal to that 10% or so of independents/swing voters in the swing states. A lot of those states have big factories with unions who fought hard for excellent private healthcare plans. Can’t wait to hear Warren tell them to their faces that she wants to eliminate that, or try to walk that BS back if she gets the nomination! What a shitshow that would be.

  7. Re. the world’s fattest cat headline, it does puzzle me when headline-writers(or more commonly these days, clickbait creators) write stuff like “you WON’T BELIEVE what happened to Kendall Mint-Cakes/what Kim K did with Timmy Z/what Tony from ‘Reality Bitchwives’ just said to his mother-in-law, etc.”.

    Always prefaced with “you won’t believe…”. Well why should I read the twatting article then?

    My favourite piece of clickbait that I ever saw was the title of some desperate, completely unironic Youtube video(I never clicked on it) – it was something like:

    ‘This Is What Happens If You Scream Out Of A Window In Queens At 2AM’

    1. It amazes me that people still click on headlines that are written in any such way. I’ve come to resent them so much that not only will I refuse to click on them, I’ll make a mental note of the website using them and vow never to visit it! Don’t tell me what I will and won’t believe! I’ll decide that, damn it. And get off my lawn.

      1. I do something similar with flash cars. I turn away and look at anything else so they don’t get the satisfaction of me looking at their ridiculous willy-mobile. Especially if they have MR8IGKNO8 or something as a personalised number plate, which a surprisingly large number of them do around here.

        1. Ah, see, I love a beautiful car, so I’ll stare. I’ve even complimented a couple of people at the gas station if it was something really special (special as in old and rare, not just expensive like a new Ferrari or something). Even with new cars, I’m a big fan of Aston Martins.

          MR8IGKNO8? Wow, I’m surprised that got through the censors. Although, you live in the UK, right? In the US, they’d never let a plate like that through, unless they didn’t understand it. It took me a little under a minute to get it.

          1. Funnily enough I saw two brand new Aston Martin DB11s last Monday, as the nearby nouveau riche descended on our local area, one in that orange that Aston use and the other a kind of ash grey. I couldn’t help myself, I gawped out of the car window like a kid and even pointed it out to my fellow passenger.

            We get a few supercars in the area. There’s a BMW i8 parked around the corner that looks very cool plugged into its socket outside the garage, and there are the occasional Lambos and Ferraris.

            It’s not a rich area but it’s…rich-adjacent.

            1. Yeah, the mid-2000’s (I can’t remember which year) Aston Martin convertible (again, can’t remember if it was the Vanquish or the DB11, but the more subtly designed one) with sea foam green paint and white leather with sea foam accents interior has always been my dream car. I’ve searched and searched for one, but it’s impossible to find now. I saw it many, many years ago when I was a kid and my dad took me to the Auto Show at the Javits Center in NYC. I’ve never forgotten that car.

            2. BTW, you can get even a 2010 or ’11 Aston Martin for pretty darn cheap (a hell of a lot cheaper than a Lexus LS430). So, if you’re only “rich-adjacent” but you’ve always dreamed of driving that or a similar car, you can often get them for very little money, so long as you’re not talking about something like a Lambo. The only thing to worry about after purchase is the cost of parts/repairs if things break down, but some places even lease older models and/or have good service packages.

    2. I’m going to guess that is a reference to an infamous case in the mid-1960s where a woman was screaming for an hour or so in a New York suburb (“Queens” is an NY suburb, no?) as someone (boyfriend, date, husband? cut her up – and despite dozens of people hearing her screams, nobody phoned the police.
      My braincell is pushing “Kitty Genovese” out as a name. Wiki-ing …
      Oh, well done, brain cell :

      In the early hours of March 13, 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed outside the apartment building across the street from where she lived in an apartment above a row of shops on Austin street in Kew Gardens, Queens, a borough of New York City. Two weeks after the murder, The New York Times published an article claiming that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, but none of them called the police or came to her aid.

      It seems there are real problems with the NYT’s reporting of the crime and the subsequent expectation of the “bystander effect” in people’s fear of crime. A potent force for populist politics.

        1. Could have done. That would explain why it was in the rapid-access part of my memory. Though I’m pretty sure (and my laptop’s browser agrees) that I’d never been to the Wiki page before.

    3. ‘This Is What Happens If You Scream Out Of A Window In Queens At 2AM’

      I’m going to guess – some residents bombarded the screamer with tin cans?

      There must be a dual-purpose tin-can/ hand grenade launcher attachment for shot guns available in USia.

      1. Okay – that makes a little more sense now.

        Without the context it just struck me as one of the most random, mental video titles ever.

        I’m slightly disappointed that there was a rationale behind it 🙂

        1. I’m slightly surprised that my brain cell supplied the background in only a couple of minutes (the name took longest). The brain is about to receive a bowl of home-made fruit salad and yoghurt as it’s just dessert.

          1. I’m jealous. My memory is frighteningly bad – massively deteriorated from ten-fifteen years ago. I was genuinely worried for a while that I had some kind of progressive neurological thing.

            1. That would be scary indeed.
              There’s not a lot to the “brain training” craze of a few years ago – in the sense of it’s hard to quantify their benefits over just exercising the brain cell in general. But digging into a variety of subjects on a regular basis does seem to at least give you a higher base level to fall from. I recall looking at Terry Pratchett’s last few books and thinking that he’d lost his edge but was still producing books worth the dead trees.
              The sledgehammer was probably the right thing to do though.

  8. Loy and Powell, screen magic! The “Thin Man” movies were cleverly written and wonderfully portrayed. They are personal favorites.

  9. I love Gainsborough’s cats. He must have fully understood their underlying anatomy by examining them carefully. Perhaps he even had access to dead specimens for dissection. Artists such as Leonardo, of course, did exactly that with human cadavers. Art and science.

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