Monday: Hili dialogue

September 9, 2019 • 6:30 am

As one of my friends used to say each morning, “Grease the new day!” It’s a new week, too: Monday, September 9, 2019, and National “I Love Food” Day. But of course Americans love food too much, and we had a post on that issue yesterday.  It’s also National Wiener Schnitzel Day (cultural appropriation), National Steak Au Poivre Day (more cultural appropriation), Remembrance for Herman the Cheruscan, and National Teddy Bear Day. Here’s my Teddy, which I’ve had since I’ve been born. His name is Toasty. My mother covered his nudity by giving him a pair of overalls. Most of his fur is rubbed off and his eyes have been replaced several times. Toasty still resides in my office.

Offer: a reader has a free ticket to a tour of the Thornton Quarry in Thornton Illinois, just south of Chicago. The tickets were ordered all of five years ago, and the tour is on October 5 at 9 a.m. At the end there will be a half hour for fossil hunting (I don’t know which geological period). If you’re interested in this freebie, contact me.

Stuff that happened on September 9 includes:

  • 1543 – Mary Stuart, at nine months old, is crowned “Queen of Scots” in the central Scottish town of Stirling.
  • 1839 – John Herschel takes the first glass plate photograph.

Herschel was a polymath, two of his “maths” being astronomy and photography. Here’s that photo, with the Wikipedia description, “Herschel’s first glass-plate photograph, dated 9 September 1839, showing the 40-foot telescope.

  • 1850 – California is admitted as the thirty-first U.S. state.
  • 1940 – George Stibitz pioneers the first remote operation of a computer.

The remote operation involved sending a message to a computer in New York from a conference at Dartmouth.

The floatplane was launched from a submarine equipped with an on-deck aircraft hanger, and the bombing guy was Nobuo Fujita, flying a Yokosuka E14Y “Glen” seaplane. No damage was done; this was one of only a handful of times that the mainland U.S. was attacked by an enemy in World War II. Here’s Fujita and his bombing plane:

  • 1947 – First case of a computer bug being found: A moth lodges in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.
  • 1948 – Kim Il-sung declares the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
  • 1956 – Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

Here’s Elvis on that show. Note that they show his salacious swiveling hips, though they weren’t shown in a subsequent appearance on the show:

  • 1969 – In Canada, the Official Languages Act comes into force, making French equal to English throughout the Federal government.
  • 1971 – The four-day Attica Prison riot begins, eventually resulting in 39 dead, most killed by state troopers retaking the prison.
  • 2015 – Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. [JAC: she’s still going four years later]

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1754 – William Bligh, English admiral and politician, 4th Governor of New South Wales (d. 1817)

Yes, this was the Bligh who was captain of HMS Bounty and was set adrift after a mutiny. He made it to safety, and had a distinguished career.

  • 1828 – Leo Tolstoy, Russian author and playwright (d. 1910)
  • 1890 – Colonel Sanders, American businessman, founded KFC (d. 1980)
  • 1922 – Warwick Estevam Kerr, Brazilian geneticist, entomologist, and engineer

Kerr created the Africanized honey bee, which became the killer bee after one of his assistants accidentally set it loose in 1957.

  • 1927 – Elvin Jones, American drummer and bandleader (d. 2004)
  • 1960 – Hugh Grant, English actor and producer
  • 1980 – Michelle Williams, American actress

Those who died on this day include:

  • 1569 – Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Dutch painter (b. 1525)
  • 1815 – John Singleton Copley, American-English colonial and painter (b. 1738)
  • 1834 – James Weddell, Belgian-English sailor and navigator (b. 1787)
  • 1901 – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French painter and illustrator (b. 1864)
  • 1907 – Ernest Wilberforce, English bishop (b. 1840)
  • 1941 – Hans Spemann, German embryologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1869)
  • 1976 – Mao Zedong, Chinese philosopher, academic, and politician, 1st Chairman of the Communist Party of China (b. 1893)
  • 1981 – Jacques Lacan, French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist (b. 1901)
  • 1999 – Catfish Hunter, American baseball player (b. 1946)

I couldn’t find any cat paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, one of my favorite artists, but here’s a d*g he painted in 1881, “Margot”:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it looks as if Hili is off to Evergreen State:

Hili: I’m outraged.
A: What about?
Hili: I’m just trying to figure that out.
In Polish:
Hili: Jestem oburzona.
Ja: Czym?
Hili: Właśnie nad tym się zastanawiam.

From reader Merilee (I’m a Carpenters fan):

The first millisecond after I saw this, I thought it was a flock of hummingbirds feeding. From Amazing Things, with the caption, “Crotalaria cunninghamii, also known as green birdflower or regal birdflower, a plant of the legume family Fabaceae native to inland northern Australia. Photo: @Beth_Kin”:

Found by Diana MacPherson:

Grania sent me this tweet on April 7. I had no idea horseshoe crabs swam this way:

From Orli: a hoax with a poet writing Titania McGrath poems to scam a woke poetry journal. Read the thread, too.

Several tweets on gun control from Heather Hastie via Ann German. This “prayers” solution is really making me mad.

Four tweets from Matthew Cobb. First, a complex flow diagram about the Brexit mess. Matthew adds “other options are available.”

Knowing this way to write the first three digits of pi might be of some use, but I’m not sure how:

Sea level rise: 3.37 cm (close to 1.5 inches) every decade . . .




35 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. I’m sure that must be Scotty Moore doing the guitar work for Presley. They were so young then, hard to recognize. Scotty lived to 84 years old, dying in 2016.

      1. Yeah, that is early rock & roll. How many bands drag out a piano, a bass player and three guys clapping. I think Scotty was all he needed.

  2. Cute teddy!

    Surely the horseshoe crab swims upside down only if it was accidentally oriented upside down in the first place?

    1. I suspect a swimming horseshoe crab would likely be stable in only one orientation, and therefore if observed to swim ‘upside down’, that would be the way it always swims.

      (The other hypothesis would be that it’s stable in two positions, of course, but I think that less likely).

      There’s a page on horseshoe crabs swimming here:


      1. Thanks, interesting article – they wrote that the adults are not frequently observed swimming upside down in the open ocean – but where are they swimming to? Don’t they walk on the sea floor? I’ll have to read more about this!

        1. Apparently (according to the article) adults rarely swim. I guess, given the inefficiency of the swimming method shown in the video, walking on the sea floor would be much more efficient.


  3. Sharpiegate took a turn from farce to serious danger with Trump now leaning on NOAA to discredit the National Weather Service for providing accurate information contradicting Trump’s idle brain farts.

    1. Yes and not the half of it. Military cargo aircraft now flying from the U.S. to Afghanistan are discovered stopping in Scotland at an airport close to Trump’s golf course. Refueling there and spending much more than if they stopped at Air Force bases.

      Same place that Pence stayed when visiting Scotland last week. This is all highest of crimes and among other impeachable offenses.

        1. And we tax payers have taken a huge hit paying for fuel at Preswick. There is no way any of it makes sense. Hell, it is over 50 miles from the airport to Tump’s dump so the crew does a 100 mile drive to stay at his place. The air force doing all this without Trump even knowing….sure.

  4. For Elvis’ appearance on the Steve Allen Show, also in 1956, the producers had thought up a way to keep Presley’s ‘oh-so decadent’ hip-swinging to a minimum. It was almost painful seeing a visibly embarrassed Elvis sing Hound Dog to a top-hatted Basset hound that had been sat atop a large box.

  5. Got a good laugh out of that ‘poetry’ hoax.

    Not least that the ‘poet’ wrote ‘loins’ and the editors changed it to ‘cunt’. Some sort of anti-censorship going there, no? On reflection, that makes absolutely no anatomical sense in the context of the ‘poem’.

    But then none of the poems make any sense (I expect the editors would produce some sort of convoluted reasoning to claim that that’s the point. Something about the reader participating in the interpretation. I expect ‘lived experience’ would make an appearance somewhere in the argument).


    1. I guess that is because you haven’t known it earlier, with some fur and different eyes.
      Some children go for the smell. My youngest sister slept until puberty just with the remaining leg.

      1. I suppose there is that ,don’t remember having a teddy .Did get an Action Man one xmas ,well the box .When i opened it it was empty ,my parents said he must have deserted .

  6. I read an interesting and disturbing thing on horseshoe crabs recently. Apparently their (blue) blood is very valuable for medical research. As a result they are being caught in large quantities, bled, and released. But many are dying from the process.

    1. Yes their blue blood (due to the copper) is used to detect bacterial endotoxins in medical applications. Already in the eighties Japanese researchers found you don’t actually need the blood, but just an enzyme (rFC) found in their blood. Singapore scientists develooed way to make that enzyme artificially, so the harvest for medical purposes is obsolete, or should be.
      The greatest threats to the horseshoe crab ( more closely related to scorpions and spiders than to crabs/crustaceans) is the same old habitat destruction, and over’harvesting’ for bait and even fertiliser (how come the latter has a familiar ring?).
      Although the mortality rate of drawing blood from limulus has a mortality rate of less than 10% (estimates vary though) it is also thought that this bloodsucking reduces fertility of females.
      With a good alternative avaikable, I think that the medical use of horseshoe crabs I’d unconscionable, the same way it is unconscionable to use spermaceti oil for fine machinery when we have jojoba oil.

        1. Though that would be useful for simple typos, it means whatever one reads in the moment might be different the next – if there’s a way to *show* the edits, …

      1. It’s a relief to know there are now substitutes for crabs and sperm whales. Pinker was right.

        There is an edit function. In your favorite word processor. If you have the patience to move back and forth. I’m proofreading this before I…

      2. I saw a photograph of long lines of them being bled in a lab. It triggered a strong sense of moral revulsion in me, even though I know humans do worse things to animals. I am glad there is an alternative. It should be used ASAP, imho.

  7. Why is the poetry hoaxer and others of that ilk so proud of having fooled a publisher? Nothing better to do with their time? Unable to create something authentically publishable? I enjoy a good satire, but this isn’t it. This making someone look foolish, then publishing it, I consider to be a form of bullying. Get over yourselves and do something useful. (End Rant.)

    1. It is a problematical hoax, like you say, since any publisher, legitimate or otherwise, would be vulnerable to such things.
      All I can say in defense is that in this case the reviewers are most likely more concerned about where the author fits on the oppressed scale than about the quality of the work itself. And I think that is the point here.
      A “painting” made by a monkey throwing feces onto a canvas would be celebrated IF they were told that the artist was a person who pushed various buttons on the oppression scale.

      1. Yes, I think that’s kinda the point.

        Much modern ‘poetry’ is so dire, it’s like a poe* – impossible to tell whether something dreadful is seriously intended or satire.
        (*As in Poe’s Law, not as in Edgar Allan)

        Of course this is not new, as the Great McGonagall’s unimaginably awful output attests.


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