Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 11, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Wednesday, September 11, 2019, a date that will live in infamy, for it was 18 years ago that the airplane terror attacks took place (see below).

All the ducks are fine. Yesterday two hens had joined Honey, Ritz, and Wounded Warrior in the pond, and all are eating fine three-course meals. We’re down to five ducks from a maximum of 31; the other 25 (one died, as you recall) left the pond healthy and happy. And Honey is, like last year, pulling her now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t stunt, but this time with Ritz instead of James Pond. She sure has an eye for good drakes!

Posting will be very light over the next few days as I am entertaining visitors until Sunday. Bear with us.

It’s National Hot Cross Buns Day (cultural appropriation if you’re not British), Make Your Bed Day (I always do), Women’s Baseball Day, and, of course, this being 9/11, it’s National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

Wallace, of course, was captured and executed in a grisly fashion (drawn and quartered) eight years later. FREEEEEEDOM!!!

  • 1609 – Henry Hudson discovers Manhattan Island and the indigenous people living there.
  • 1789 – Alexander Hamilton is appointed the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.
  • 1857 – The Mountain Meadows massacre: Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacre 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.
  • 1943 – World War II: Start of the Nazi liquidation of the Minsk and Lida ghettos.
  • 1972 – The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system begins passenger service.
  • 1973 – A coup in Chile headed by General Augusto Pinochet topples the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Pinochet exercises dictatorial power until ousted in a referendum in 1988, staying in power until 1990.
  • 1978 – Janet Parker, a British medical photographer, became the last recorded person to die from smallpox. In light of this incident, all known stocks of smallpox were destroyed or transferred to one of two Biosafety level 4, WHO reference laboratories for smallpox.

While initial conclusions were that Parker was infected by smallpox coming up from a laboratory one floor below her, the University of Birmingham Medical School was found not culpable in a formal investigation, and it’s still a mystery how she got infected. The head of the Medical school committed suicide by cutting is throat, apologizing for dereliction of duty. Here’s Parker:

  • 1985 – Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb‘s baseball record for most career hits with his 4,192nd hit.

Rose remains the all-time leader with 4,265 hits. Because he bet on baseball, however, he’s been permanently ruled ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Here’s the record-breaking hit:

  • 1997 – After a nationwide referendum, Scotland votes to establish a devolved parliament within the United Kingdom.
  • 2001 – The September 11 attacks, a series of coordinated suicide attacks killing 2,996 people using four aircraft hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda. Two aircraft crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, a third crashes into The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others, with others dying afterwards from diseases caused by smoke and other byproducts of the attack.

  • 2007 – Russia tests the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of All Bombs.
  • 2012 – The U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked, resulting in four deaths.

Notables born on September 11 include:

  • 1816 – Carl Zeiss, German lens maker, created the Optical instrument (d. 1888)
  • 1862 – O. Henry, American short story writer (d. 1910)
  • 1885 – D. H. Lawrence, English novelist, poet, playwright, and critic (d. 1930)
  • 1913 – Bear Bryant, American football player and coach (d. 1983)
  • 1917 – Jessica Mitford, English-American journalist and author (d. 1996)
  • 1943 – Mickey Hart, American drummer, percussionist and musicologist
  • 1945 – Leo Kottke, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1965 – Moby, American singer-songwriter, musician and DJ [JAC: Whatever happened to Moby?]

Here’s Leo Kottke, as a young man (age 32), with his version of “Eight Miles High”. What a talent!

Those who died on September 11 include, along with the 3,000-odd victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, these people:

  • 1948 – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistani lawyer and politician, 1st Governor-General of Pakistan (b. 1876)
  • 1950 – Jan Smuts, South African field marshal and politician, 2nd Prime Minister of South Africa (b. 1870)
  • 1971 – Nikita Khrushchev, Russian general and politician (b. 1894)
  • 1973 – Salvador Allende, Chilean physician and politician, 29th President of Chile (b. 1908)
  • 1987 – Lorne Greene, Canadian actor (b. 1915)
  • 2001 – Alice Stewart Trillin, American author and educator (b. 1938)
  • 2002 – Johnny Unitas, American football player and sportscaster (b. 1933)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili graciously accepts a compliment.

Hili: I’m afraid my tail is in the shade.
A: You are still looking great.
Hili: If you say so.
In Polish:
Hili: Obawiam się, że mój ogon jest w cieniu.
Ja: Nadal świetnie się prezentuje.
Hili: Jak tak mówisz.

From The Purrfect Feline page:

Found by Laurie, who says that this is the best thing she’s seen all year:

One of reader Merilee’s favorite Gary Larson Cartoons: the “smite button”:

Here’s a tweet that Grania sent me on April 7, with her note “Angry bird!”

From Nilou; chimps recognize butts (but not faces) in the way humans recognize faces (but not butts):

Tweets from Matthew. Is this a meal or a funeral? Since the attendees are snails, probably the former.

The world’s bravest cat:

When life imitates art:

Climate change from Brian Cox via Matthew. Have a look at the thread:

OMG: Big Brother in action. Is this what we’re all in for?

It’s remarkable to contemplate that the production of this gall is coded in the parasitic wasp’s genes, which take over the plant’s growth:



38 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Eighteen years ago I was still working for a living in California, more than three thousand miles from New York. Therefore the impact it all had on me personally was not as much as for others who were there. The impact of Pearl Harbor is much clearer to me. What I do try to remember are all the mistake our country has made since this day 18 years ago and that is many. They are too many to count and still counting.

  2. Moby is doing fine – making a lot more money than he spends & churning out studio albums that feel like they’re disposable. Not interesting stuff & I sense no passion.

    I thought this was interesting: MOBY according to WIKI

    Spirituality and faith

    Moby has adopted different faiths throughout his life. He identified himself as an atheist when he was growing up, followed by agnostic, then “a good eight or ten years of being quite a serious Christian”, during which time he taught Bible studies.

    Around 1985, he read the teachings of Christ, including the New Testament and the Gospels and “was instantly struck by the idea that Christ was somehow divine. When I say I love Christ and love the teachings of Christ, I mean that in the most simple and naïve and subjective way. I’m not saying I’m right, and I certainly wouldn’t criticize anyone else’s beliefs.”

    In the liner notes of Animal Rights (1996), Moby wrote: “I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a Christian in the conventional sense of the word, where I go to church or believe in cultural Christianity, but I really do love Christ and recognize him in whatever capacity as I can understand it as God. One of my problems with the church and conventional Christianity is it seems like their focus doesn’t have much to do with the teachings of Christ, but rather with their own social agenda”. In 2014, Moby pointed out that if needed to label himself, it would be as a “Taoist–Christian–agnostic quantum mechanic.”

    In 2019, Moby said that he is not a Christian, “but my life is geared towards God […] I have no idea who or what God might be.”

    Spirituality™ [a useless ill-defined term] as a fluid & disposable concept. Whenever I bump into anything to do with celebs I see the above sort of vacuous thinking more often than not.

    More Alan Alda types in the arts please.

    1. Spirituality™ [a useless ill-defined term] as a fluid & disposable concept.

      Drain cleaner is a fluid and disposable concept, and much more useful.

  3. Steve Stewart-Williams. Twitter @SteveStuWill:-

    Human brains are specialized for face recognition; chimp brains are specialized for butt recognition (!)

    That looks like nonsense to me & a 10 second speed read scan of the paper’s abstract confirms Stewart-Williams’ synopsis is tripe.

  4. BBC news page shows that the Scottish courts have ruled that it was illegal to prorogue the Westminster Parliament. I have no idea what happens now.

    1. I know practically nothing about British politics but seems to me they will need to hold another election. The result of that will determine what comes next. I do not think England can just walk away anymore than we can reelect this idiot we have again. Could be wrong.

      1. What makes you think that? I’m not questioning your statement, just interested about why you appear so sure.

        1. Because the government has done nothing illegal. If you look at the Scottish ruling, it’s all about suggesting that the advice to the Queen was “improper”. We all know that the advice was given to try to stop Parliament doing anything about Brexit but does that make it improper? More to the point, does that make it unlawful? I think not.

          Not that it really matters. Parliament was due to shut down anyway for three weeks for the party conferences (which will make compelling viewing for once). By the time the supreme court has ruled, we’ll be into the conference season.

          1. That’s right. The right to prorogue is delegated to the ‘Queen in Parliament’, ie the Government. Much as I deplore Boris’s tactics, what he is doing is not illegal, and I expect the Supreme Court to say so next week.

            But a three or four week hiatus to allow the parties to hold their conferences is also not in any constitution, written or not. There is no reason why the parties could not hold their conferences simultaneously, over a single weekend, and get back to work the following Monday. Giving them even three weeks off is over-indulgent; five weeks even more so.

            1. You are right but the break has always happened. Also the conferences have never been more important than this year. Labour, for example, seriously needs to get its story straight and be seen to do so.

            2. One more thing, you may think a three week break is indulgent, but we are just back off the summer recess. I can’t fathom why that wasn’t cancelled given that Brexit was still up in the air.

          2. If you look at the Scottish ruling, it’s all about suggesting that the advice to the Queen was “improper

            Actually, that the Government’s grounds given for proroguing Parliament were not their real grounds, and that they therefore lied when the presented the act to the Queen was a statement of fact by the Scottish Court. Which in their opinion, renders the prorogation itself illegal and void.
            The UK Supreme Court normally decides on the law, not on matters of fact which it accepts from the lower levels of the court system. Which leaves the court and the government in a right pickle.
            I’m moderately surprised that this wasn’t predicted a decade or so ago when the UK Supreme Court was invented. It could potentially lead to the voiding of the UK Supreme Court – as legislated – at least as far as matters in Scotland count. Which will be viewed as a success for the independence movement. So, you can add that to the short list of benefits to come out of the Brexit débacle, regardless of which way the rest of the cookies crumble.

            1. Is there anything in the relevant law that says the prime minister has to give the correct reason, or any reason at all, for proroguing parliament? The Scottish court has ruled he was not acting in good faith (well, duh) but does that mean anything?

              In earlier times, the effect of the prime minister lying to the Queen would be to have him forced to resign or be booted out by a no confidence vote, or have the monarch sack him. These are not earlier times though.

              1. Well, some constitutional people here are suggesting that since the ruling, the Court of Session can claim jurisprudence to send the letter revoking Article 50 to the EU themselves, having shown that Johnson is a liar who can’t be trusted in office.
                Different country – different laws. As Johnson probably doesn’t understand yet.

  5. Carl Zha @CarlZha

    The dystopian Chinese surveillance state!!!

    Traffic drone informing rider to put on his helmet. Yes, You there in Dark Green!

    The drone issuing the instructions to the scooter rider is built by Chinese company DJI who control approx 70% of the GLOBAL commercial & consumer drone market [sales of $3.6 billion in 2017. one of their big customers is the USA who use these things for inspecting power lines, pipelines, nuclear plants etc.

    Employing Chinese software, routers, drones & other kit is not wise…

    1. I bet that in the RSA, only mildly less gun-crazy than the US, these drones will fall victim to target practice. Outside the cities, on the long country roads, there are few roadsigns not riddled with bullet holes, and some in cities too.
      What a much more exciting target than a road sign!
      Although I have no gun, I would be eager to practice if I had one! Irresistible!

      1. I suspect the drones will, for the most part, be flying fast and at enough altitude so that the average gun nut won’t notice them. I know drones have put some pilots out of business, so they must be effective.

      2. I bet that in the RSA, only mildly less gun-crazy than the US, these drones will fall victim to target practice.

        How common are people good enough a shot to hit a drone at – say – 100 m range? Even if the drone wasn’t moving at all. The recent difficulties of Gatwick Airport, even when they can draw on the combined marksmanship of the London Police and the UK military, rather suggests it’s not going an easy shot.
        I bet the drones don’t operate singly either – so the one that gets shot down is likely to be accompanied by another looking for the gunman. And that’ll bring the wrath of the state down on private gun ownership.

    2. The big lesson I take is that the idiot on the bike had a helmet but (for whatever reason) wasn’t wearing it. Regardless of the surveillance issues, the guy is an idiot.
      I don’t wear a helmet when I cycle. I don’t have a cycling helmet. And this idiot is on a motorised cycle.

  6. WRT the Mountain Meadow Massacre, I am nearly finished my reading of “Blood of the Prophets” by Will Bagley. I highly recommend it. As an aside but related, I am also a former Mormon (excommunicated for apostasy), now atheist.

    1. Congratulations for the brave step you took. I hope it did not create much psychic pain or problems with friends and relatives.

    2. That is an excellent book and is well researched. I have met Will on a number of occasions and he is an excellent historian and a very interesting guy.

  7. Here is a 4-part podcast from 2018 on the events surrounding the death of Janet Parker, the last victim of smallpox, here in my hometown of Birmingham, U.K.. It’s pretty much all by Lucy Ryan whose Irish Midland accent was not up to narrating it, so she asked me instead.

    An awful sequence of events, so sad and perplexing, palliated only by the brilliant narration of yours truly. (ahem)

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