Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 3, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s back to work for Americans, since it’s September 3, 2019 and the three-day weekend has expired.

It’s National Welsh Rarebit Day, which I’m not sure is even Welsh. It’s basically cheese on toast, and the consumption of it inspired many weird dreams in Windsor Mackay’s avant-garde cartoon “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend“. Here’s one strip, with the rarebit mentioned in the last panel (click to enlarge). As in all the strips, the world turns weird and it all turns out to be a dream caused by the consumption of rarebit:

It’s also National Skyscraper Day, and National Flag Day in Australia.

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 1189 – Richard I of England (a.k.a. Richard “the Lionheart”) is crowned at Westminster.
  • 1658 – The death of Oliver Cromwell; Richard Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England.
  • 1802 – William Wordsworth composes the sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802.
  • 1838 – Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.

Douglas was a great orator, and even his photographs had an abolitionist purpose. As Wikipedia notes:

Douglass considered photography very important in ending slavery and racism, and believed that the camera would not lie, even in the hands of a racist white, as photographs were an excellent counter to the many racist caricatures, particularly in blackface minstrelsy. He was the most photographed American of the 19th Century, self-consciously using photography to advance his political views. He never smiled, specifically so as not to play into the racist caricature of a happy slave. He tended to look directly into the camera to confront the viewer, with a stern look.

Here’s one example: a photo of Douglass taken in 1856, when he was about 38:

You can see more stern pictures here, though in this one I swear there’s a trace of a smile, or at least a twinkle in his eye:

  • 1875 – The first official game of polo is played in Argentina after being introduced by British ranchers.
  • 1933 – Yevgeniy Abalakov is the first man to reach the highest point in the Soviet Union, Communism Peak (now called Ismoil Somoni Peak and situated in Tajikistan) (7495 m).

Here’s the peak (left), formerly the highest in the Soviet Union when the country was still united:


  • 1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.

And here’s that record run.

  • 1939 – World War II: The United Kingdom and France begin a naval blockade of Germany that lasts until the end of the war. This also marks the beginning of the Battle of the Atlantic.
  • 1941 – The Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experiments with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.
  • 1944 – Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to the Auschwitz concentration camp, arriving three days later.
  • 1976 – Viking program: The American Viking 2 spacecraft lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars.

Notables born on September 3 include:

  • 1856 – Louis Sullivan, American architect and educator, designed the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building (d. 1924)

I can’t resist showing a picture of the fancy Art Nouveau cast-iron entrance of the building, which I see frequently as it’s in Chicago:

  • 1869 – Fritz Pregl, Slovenian chemist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1930)
  • 1907 – Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist, philosopher, and author (d. 1977)
  • 1926 – Alison Lurie, American author and academic
  • 1942 – Al Jardine, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1963 – Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, essayist, and critic

Those who joined the choir invisible on September 3 include:

  • 1658 – Oliver Cromwell, English general and politician (b. 1599)
  • 1883 – Ivan Turgenev, Russian author and playwright (b. 1818)
  • 1962 – E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright (b. 1894)
  • 1981 – Alec Waugh, English soldier and author (b. 1898)
  • 1986 – Beryl Markham, English-Kenyan pilot, horse trainer, and author (b. 1902)
  • 1991 – Frank Capra, Italian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1897)
  • 2001 – Pauline Kael, American film critic and author (b. 1919)
  • 2005 – William Rehnquist, American lawyer and jurist, 16th Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1924)
  • 2012 – Sun Myung Moon, Korean religious leader and businessman, founded the Unification Church (b. 1920)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is beefing at Andrzej:

Hili: I knew it would end like that.
A: Like what?
Hili: You would stick your nose into a book and stop petting me.
In Polish:
Hili: Wiedziałam, że to się tak skończy.
Ja: Jak?
Hili: Wsadzisz nos w książkę i przestaniesz mnie głaskać.

From Amazing Things:

From reader Smith T. Powell:

Grania sent me this tweet on April 25 of this year:


A tweet of a government plane, monitoring Hurricane Dorian, flying inside its eye. What I wonder is this: how do they get in there?

From Nilou: what every housecat aspires to be. I’ve probably posted this before, but I’m still astounded that a jaguar would—or could—capture an alligator.

Heather Hastie, who sent this, said “he looks like he time-traveled from one of the Egyptian dynasties.” But I think Egyptian cats looked more like Abyssinians than Maine Coons.


Four tweets from Matthew Cobb. First, “Lord of the Benighted”:

Young chimps discover a tortoise:

Mattew says this about the tweet below: “Cold War Steve is the unofficial artist of Brexit. His montages are savage, full of UK injokes.”

These are some big kittens.  Good luck, bobcats!

30 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. How do they get in there you ask. They fly in there with all their instruments taking readings. It would not be for those who easily get air sick. But think of it this way – the plane easily flies 250-300 mph. So it can survive a hurricane. I heard one of the pilots say he felt much safer flying through one than being down on the ground in a hurricane.

    1. I think that’s a Lockheed Hercules C-130. Tough as nails.

      Also, being a turboprop, I think its handling characteristics are probably much more forgiving in the event of sudden major variations in airspeed (such as might occur near the eye of a hurricane) than a jet.


        1. Yes. Going into a hurricane with a true jet would probably not be good. Too much chance of debris going into the intake. Also high speed is not required, just a good bit more than the wind in the storm. I would not want people to think this is the same as a thunderstorm. Never fly into a thunderstorm regardless of air plane type.

          1. Agreed thunderstorms are probably different, they may have extreme updrafts and downdrafts which I think hurricanes are less likely to have.

            Re jets vs turpboprops in turbulence, I think there are several factors involved. A swept-wing jet has a higher stall speed, it can take many thousands of feet to recover from an ‘upset’ such as a stall, and it can take 8 seconds for the engines to go from flight idle to full thrust. And its ‘clean’ design means it’s not good at slowing down or flying slowly (poor speed stability). All these things are very bad if trying to fly cautiously in turbulence.

            Jet airliners are optimised for efficient flight at high speed and altitude, they really are poor at rapid manouvreing.

            By contrast the Allison T56 turboprops on the Hercules and Orion are single-shaft turboprops driving constant-speed variable-pitch propellers, which means they are always running at high rpm’s and can go from ‘idle’ to full thrust very quickly; in conjunction with relatively high aerodynamic drag they provide good speed stability; also, those big propellers blasting airflow over the wings has a powerful anti-stall effect at low speeds; and the trim changes associated with airspeed are much less significant than in a jet with a greater speed range.

            In other words, if about to do a crazy thing like flying through hurricanes, I couldn’t think of a better aircraft to do it in.


  2. “1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.”

    Interesting that this was essentially a jet engine on wheels and just yesterday, 84 years later, a Bugatti Chiron with an internal combustion engine bested it at 304.77 mph:

    1. “Heavily modified” apparently, so the ‘first production roadcar to hit 300mph’ title still hasn’t technically been claimed. Koenigsegg are making the most promising noises in that direction…

      I do like the Chiron though; unlike most hypercars it’s rather aesthetically pleasing. It’d be a mad experience to own one.

    2. Also, I’m not sure but I think this actually took place back in August and Bugatti kept it under wraps until now.

      It’s a great PR manoeuvre by Bugatti – it pretty much came out of nowhere. People were looking more towards Koenigsegg’s Jesko and the SSC Tuatara as contenders to break the 300 barrier, but since Bugatti put in a limiter in the original Chiron that set its max speed at 261mph there was always a question mark about just how fast it could go if it wanted to(and was given a boost here and there). I guess we’ve seen the answer. Really fast.

      It still won’t satisfy the purists, and Koenigsegg will say it’s not a production road car because it was extensively modified, but it’s deeply cool nevertheless, and if Koenigsegg or someone else breaks the 300 barrier in a proper production car they’ll do so knowing that Bugatti stole a lot of their thunder.

    3. “this was essentially a jet engine on wheels”

      Not in 1935 it wasn’t. The jet engine wasn’t developed until near the end of World War 2.
      Malcolm Campbell’s 1935 ‘Bluebird’ had a Rolls-Royce “R” aero engine, a predecessor of the Merlin.

      After the war, his son Donald Campbell continued record-breaking attempts, still using the name ‘Bluebird’, with jet engine power BUT – in order to conform with the record regulations – his cars were still driven through the wheels. So not really a ‘jet engine on wheels’.

      That description more accurately fits jet-thrust-propelled cars like Craig Breedlove’s Spirit of America, and Richard Noble’s Thrust and Thrust SST.

      And so far as internal-combustion (piston) power goes, I should point out that JCB Dieselmax already did 350mph in 2006, powered by a pair of massively supercharged tractor engines.


        1. ‘Ford vs Ferrari’?

          I just *know* what that’s got to be about. 🙂

          Although, the blurb for the movie makes me suspicious: “based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles, who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company”

          Which doesn’t mention that the GT40 was originally designed and built in UK under contract to Ford, before the project was handed over to Carroll Shelby, or that after Shelby’s two Le Mans wins (1966-7) and after a rule change, John Wyer Automotive won again in 1968 and 1969 with the old smaller-engined Mark 1 GT40.

          I’m not trying to deprive Shelby of the credit, just the blurb makes it sound like he designed the whole thing, which was certainly not the case. And the ‘revolutionary’ car was surely the original Lola GT on which the GT40 was based.

          Maybe the movie is more nuanced than the blurb on Youtube. Hope so.


          1. Probably not going to be that nuanced, and yes it sounds typically US-centric(although it can’t be as bad as that submarine film where the Americans won the war despite being English). …But it’s by James Mangold who’s directed some terrific films. Christian Bale looks fun as Ken Miles. Rehabilitating his cockernee accent from The Prestige.

            And the Lola GT…is that the Penske one? I’m trying to make the connections in my head. You clearly know more about this than I do…

            1. I know some background, but much of this comes from the Wikipedia page on the Ford GT40.

              The Lola Mk6 (Lola GT) was Lola’s own design, with a mid-mounted Ford V8 engine – this was apparently the innovative feature in question. And it was why Eric Broadley of Lola, along with John Wyer (ex Aston Martin) and Ford’s Roy Lunn (who had earlier designed a mid-engined concept car) were chosen as the initial design team. Ford also bought two Lola GT’s.


  3. Both the cat Vivo and Frederick Douglass looks similarly regal in their photos.

    Excellent collection of stuff as always. I really enjoy these posts.

  4. Sullivan’s facade gives me the feeling he was reluctant to leave the organic, bucolic, age behind and accept the age of steel. A very poignant design.

  5. Although I am cognizant of the old maxim that if you explain a joke you ruin it, would any of you Limeys care to explain a few of the “in jokes” from Cold War Steve? Which one(s) do you find most incisive or biting?. FTR, though I recognize many of the folks in the image, I am a (mostly) clueless-about-UK-politics American.


  6. There are a lot of pro-Brexit celebs in it, particularly eating in the cafe in the bottom left. Morrissey, the Wetherspoons git, Jim Davidson, etc.
    There’s a famously simple-minded football manager called Neil Warnock giving it large in the middle, just to the right of a slumped…Toby Young?
    There’s David Cameron overlooking the whole mess on the right, Trump watching people fight in a trench and a ghostly, David Lynch-esque visage in the top left that might be Dominic Cummings, I’m not sure.
    Quintessentially xenophobic football manager Sam Allardyce is eating a quintessentially British(?) Fray Bentos pie in the bottom right.

    And there are pro-Tommy Robinson far-right types emerging from a cave at the bottom right.

    I’m not sure there are ‘jokes’ in it as such. It’s more that the people being referenced are the jokes.

    It’s a collection of all the most annoying Brexiteers(loads of them are former footballers or football managers) lounging about as the world burns. So it’s quite accurate.
    All it needs is for the Chapman brothers to come out with a 3D Sculpture of it.

    1. I noted Allardyce munching on something. No way anyone could mistake his mug; a unique visage.

      I wonder why so many English footballers want to leave the EU. Could it be because they can’t beat the Continental clubs*?

      Thanks, Saul

      *I kid, I kid.

    1. I notice how the chimp that whacked the tortoise shell with the back of its hand kind of nursed his hand afterwards. That must have hurt! I love the way that same chimp made freaked-out movements when the other chimp dared to touch the tortoise with its finger. Most interesting.

  7. 1939 – World War II: The United Kingdom and France begin a naval blockade of Germany that lasts until the end of the war. This also marks the beginning of the Battle of the Atlantic.</blockquote.

    The 3rd of September was actually the date on which Britain declared war on Germany. This is the 80th anniversary.


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