Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

December 14, 2019 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Saturday, December 14, 2019, on a balmy morning in Chicago (36º F, 2° C). It’s National Biscuits and Gravy Day, and I feel sorry for those of you who haven’t had a chance to sample this wonderful Southern breakfast dish.  It’s also National Bouillaisse Day (a no-no: cultural appropriation), Roast Chestnuts Day, Gingerbread Decorating Day, and Monkey Day, an international holiday that celebrates all simians, including apes.

NEWS OF THE DAY:  As everyone expected, the House Judiciary Committee, voting strictly along party lines, recommended to the full House an impeachment of Donald Trump on two counts: abuse of power and and obstruction of Congress. This recommendation will also pass the full House, also along party lines, as the House has a majority of Democrats. And, also as expected, the Senate will refuse to remove Trump from office. What this does to his prospects for reelection is above my pay grade.

Matthew sent me a tweet from his friend Robin Ince, with a poem expressing his reaction to yesterday’s Conservative victory:

Stuff that happened on December 14 includes:

  • 1287 – St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuiderzee sea wall in the Netherlands collapses, killing over 50,000 people.
  • 1542 – Princess Mary Stuart becomes Queen of Scots at the age of one week on the death of her father, James V of Scotland.
  • 1782 – The Montgolfier brothers first test fly an unmanned hot air balloon in France; it floats nearly 2 km (1.2 mi).
  • 1900 – Quantum mechanics: Max Planck presents a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law.

This is his formula E = hγ, where E is the energy emitted, h is Planck’s constant, and γ is the frequency of the radiation. In other words, the energy emitted by a body could only occur in discrete units. And that was the birth of quantum mechanics.

  • 1903 – The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

This wasn’t too successful, but three days later the real First Airplane Flight occurred.  And there’s a picture of that first flight on December 17, 1903: Orville’s at the control while Wilbur runs alongside:

  • 1911 – Roald Amundsen’s team, comprising himself, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first to reach the South Pole.

Of course I had to note that. Here are four of the five men (one took the picture) at the Pole with a tent and the Norwegian flag. There were also 16 d*gs in the party; I’m not sure whether any cats have ever reached the South Pole, but why would they want to?

  • 1918 – The 1918 United Kingdom general election occurs, the first where women were permitted to vote.
  • 1940 – Plutonium (specifically Pu-238) is first isolated at Berkeley, California.
  • 1964 – American Civil Rights Movement: Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that Congress can use the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to fight discrimination.
  • 1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan is the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final extravehicular activity (EVA) of the Apollo 17 mission.
  • 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting: Twenty-eight people, including the gunman, are killed in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1896 – Jimmy Doolittle, American general and pilot, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1993)
  • 1911 – Spike Jones, American singer and bandleader (d. 1965)
  • 1916 – Shirley Jackson, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1965)
  • 1922 – Don Hewitt, American journalist and producer, created 60 Minutes (d. 2009)
  • 1946 – Jane Birkin, English-French actress and singer
  • 1960 – James Comey, 7th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Those who began pushing up daisies on December 14 include:

  • 1799 – George Washington, American general and politician, 1st President of the United States (b. 1732)
  • 1873 – Louis Agassiz, Swiss-American zoologist and geologist (b. 1807)
  • 1920 – George Gipp, American football player (b. 1895)
  • 1944 – Lupe Vélez, Mexican actress (b. 1908)
  • 1953 – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, American author and academic (b. 1896)
  • 1989 – Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1921)
  • 1994 – Orval Faubus, American soldier and politician, 36th Governor of Arkansas (b. 1910)
  • 2001 – W. G. Sebald, German novelist, essayist, and poet (b. 1944)
  • 2013 – Peter O’Toole, British-Irish actor (b. 1932)
  • 2014 – Bess Myerson, American model, activist, game show panelist and television personality; Miss America 1945 (b. 1924). [JAC: She was the first Jewish Miss America, a big deal at the time. Now nobody cares who wins that title.]

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is puzzled by the cutting of an onion for the staff’s dinner:

Hili: I can’t stop being surprised.
Małgorzata: By what?
Hili: What strange things humans have to eat.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie mogę przestać się dziwić.
Małgorzata: Czemu?
Hili: Jakie dziwne rzeczy ludzie muszą jeść.

And in rainy Wloclawek, little Mietek is tired:

Mietek: It’s rainy and sleepy today.

In Polish: Deszczowo,sennie coś dzisiaj.

A tee shirt from Jesus of the Day (better in black):

And a cartoon from my old college friend Stash Krod, who was a philosophy major:

Reader Kurt sent two snow-sculpture photos, one in a tweet and one I made into a tweet. If you’re a fan of the productions of Studio Ghibli, as I am, you’ll recognize these characters. There’s even the Cat Bus!

And. . . . here’s Charlie!

Tweets from Matthew. First, the quotidian egress of the fowl from the Marsh Farm Barn:

A hairless cat’s first encounter with snow—with the expected result.

Sexual selection in action, with the male showing off both his resplendent tail and his vigor:

Heather Hastie found a tweet showing a possessive moggie:


You simply must read the thread following this tweet as it explains everything. Such a heartwarmer, and so bittersweet.

Want another heartwarmer? Have a look at this tweet sent by reader Barry (sound up). You will tear up for sure.



24 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. The one with the monkeys is a real killer.

    George Washington goes down as one of our greatest presidents with only Lincoln held at this level. Without Washington it is very hard to imagine how much different our story might be. The character and leadership were from his own development and he was the true 18th century man.

  2. Quote:

    1918 – The 1918 United Kingdom general election occurs, the first where women were permitted to vote.

    True, but min voting age:
    Men 21 & women 30, it would not be until 1928 that 21 became universal.

    1 + 2 + 3 + … + 34 + 35 + 36 = 666

    Mind the gap by Oswald Lawrence:

  3. Sandy Hook thought of the day:

    I think it would be nice for all gun owners in the United States to send Thank You cards to all the school personnel, police, emergency services, and fire departments for all the extra, careful work they do in service of the the gun owners’ second amendment rights.

    There have been new approaches to protect defenseless children, new levels of coordination between law enforcement, schools, and emergency services. Children have learned new ways to protect themselves without firearms.

    The least an individual who enjoys second amendment rights with all their soul would be to say thank you to those who don’t.

  4. Not sure why I never got curious about the specs of what powered the Wright Bros plane until now, but here it is. NB: cylinders closest to the pilot glowed red during operation. No carburetor, no spark plugs, but – hard to imagine – it ran!

    1. “The 1903 Wight engine had no carburetor to vaporize the fuel. Instead, gasoline dripped onto the hot engine block through this opening. As the gasoline evaporated, it was sucked into the combustion chambers.”

      Seems a tad dangerous .

  5. Robin Ince’s poem is a very fine one. The mood is similar to having to live under a tRump administration.

    It struck me that the discovery of the black-body radiation law deals with an extremely esoteric aspect of reality, hard to appreciate except for those literate math and physics, whereas, occurring just a few years later, the construction of the Wright Flyer is so tangible and to most people comprehensible. The first is known to a very tiny minority of Earth’s inhabitants. The second, to almost everybody on the planet.

  6. I am sure it is above my pay grade as well so maybe we will leave it to Putin to decide. That would be the preference of the republican party, the administration, the justice department and Fox who have already been bought and paid for by the Russians. The democrats have a choice – do they wish to give up and forget this U.S. or do they want to vote and take it all back. It is really a pretty simply choice and does not require lots of thought. How far left or in the middle does not make a damn, just your vote, and not just for president.

    1. “leave it to Putin to decide”

      Rachelle Maddow reported that a White House insider has revealed that tRump called Putin to ask what he would like the U.S. to do re North Korea. Unbelievable in any other president, yet totally within tRump’s compass.

      1. I was struck by this, I think from Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos by Peter Bergen:

        Agent Orange: “Why is Seoul so close to North Korea”
        blah blah blah
        Agent Orange: “They have to move”
        blah blah blah re 25,000,000 million people etc
        Agent Orange: “They have to move!”

  7. I hope you also honor the Shirase expedition, Imperial Japans attempt to beat both Admundsen and Scott to the South Pole.

    They made their departure too late to do that, but did manage to raise the Rising Sun at 88 degrees south…

  8. I’ve been thinking about a radical twist to the impeachment voting process when it reaches the Senate. How about a secret ballot? Well, surprise, surprise, there’s already been a Politico article about this:

    It won’t happen but indubitably the results would be damning were a secret ballot held.

    Oh, and talking about two-faced, Hah! Just about all the Repugnicans are two-faced, as they are scared of Agent Orange’s irrational wrath. The ones who have not come out explicitly saying that d’Rumpf did nothing wrong are most probably thinking he *did* do something gravely wrong. Even the ones who’ve overtly defended him/spun things in his favour are probably lying to the public or to themselves.

    1. McConnell is in charge. Look for the opposite in any fairness and objectivity. He’s got his thumb on the scales already and is asking tRump for his input (coordinating) on how the Senate trial should go down. I would actually hope that tRump gets his way and achieves a dramatic confrontation in the Senate. He could even appear personally and further destroy his reputation as a legitimate human being.

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