Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

January 11, 2020 • 6:32 am

Good morning on Saturday, January 11, 2020. It’s National Hot Toddy Day!  Hot Toddys (or is the plural “Hot Toddies”?) can be made from a variety of colored spirits, see here.

It’s also Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day (WHY?), Girl Hug Boy Day (be sure to get written affirmative consent),  National Milk Day, National Secret Pal Day (you know who you are!), National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day (who thought that one up?), and, on a more serious note, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

It’s going to be a sloppy day today in Chicago, with mixtures of rain and snow and high temperatures a few degrees above freezing. This evening we may get between one and three inches of snow.

News of the Day: After denying it for several days in the face of incontestable evidence, Iran finally admitted that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner near Tehran, killing 176. And in the U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced she’ll finally send the two articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate next week, so that a trial could begin as soon as mid-week. Her delay apparently accomplished little.

Stuff that happened on January 11 includes:

  • 630 – Conquest of Mecca: The prophet Muhammad and his followers conquer the city, Quraysh surrender.
  • 1759 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.
  • 1879 – The Anglo-Zulu War begins.
  • 1908 – Grand Canyon National Monument is created.
  • 1922 – First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.

The patient was 14 year old Leonard Thompson, who had an allergic reaction that nearly killed him (he was on his deathbed anyway, weighing only 65 pounds). But they quickly purified another batch of insulin, and Thompson responded favorably. He went on to live 13 more years taking insulin, dying at age 26 of pneumonia.

This is again one of the great achievements of our species. Here’s are before and after pictures of Thompson with the treatment, and then a photo of him as a young man:

  • 1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
  • 1946 – Enver Hoxha, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Albania, declares the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as head of state.

Hoxha (who ruled Albania for 41 years) and Albania itself, a reclusive Marxist-Leninist state, fascinated me when they were closed off. as a youth I once hitchhiked to the border just to look at Albania, and listened to Radio Tirane on my transistor radio. Now, I gather, it’s a nice place to visit. Heeeeere’s Enver:

  • 1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
  • 1972 – East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.
  • 1973 – Major League Baseball owners vote in approval of the American League adopting the designated hitter position.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1638 – Nicolas Steno, Danish bishop and anatomist (d. 1686)

Steno, who made notable contributions in paleontology and geology, was canonized in 1938 but still has not yet become a saint.

  • 1755 – Alexander Hamilton, Nevisian-American general, economist and politician, 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury (d. 1804)
  • 1807 – Ezra Cornell, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Western Union and Cornell University (d. 1874)
  • 1859 – George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, English politician, 35th Governor-General of India (d. 1925)
  • 1887 – Aldo Leopold, American ecologist and author (d. 1948)
  • 1889 – Calvin Bridges, American geneticist and academic (d. 1938)

Bridges was a very great geneticist who did research at the very beginning of modern Mendelian genetics, working in T. H. Morgan’s lab with fruit flies. Among other things, Bridges discovered the linkage of sex in flies to their X and Y chromosomes. He was also very handsome and a famous womanizer, frequently in trouble for dallying with the ladies. Here he is in the fly lab (he also made many innovations in fly husbandry)

  • 1903 – Alan Paton, South African author and activist (d. 1988)
  • 1923 – Carroll Shelby, American race car driver, engineer, and businessman, founded Carroll Shelby International (d. 2012)
  • 1946 – Naomi Judd, American singer-songwriter and actress

Those who bought the farm on January 11 include:

  • 1843 – Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and songwriter (b. 1779)
  • 1882 – Theodor Schwann, German physiologist and biologist (b. 1810)
  • 1941 – Emanuel Lasker, German mathematician, philosopher, and chess player (b. 1868)
  • 1988 – Isidor Isaac Rabi, Polish-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1898)
  • 2008 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer (b. 1919)
  • 2010 – Miep Gies, Austrian-Dutch humanitarian (b. 1909)

Gies was one of the Dutch people who hid Anne Frank, and also hid her papers, which she returned to Anne’s father after the war; those papers included the famous diary.

Others who died on this day include:

  • 2010 – Éric Rohmer, French director, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1920)
  • 2011 – David Nelson, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1936)
  • 2014 – Ariel Sharon, Israeli general and politician, 11th Prime Minister of Israel (b. 1928)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is visiting the upstairs lodgers in a Biblical way, even quoting Jesus! (the photo is by Paulina).

Hili: Do not think that I have come to bring peace.
Paulina: So why have you come?
Hili: To see how our neighbours are.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie sądź, że przyszłam głosić pokój.
Paulina: A po co przyszłaś?
Hili: Dowiedzieć się co słychać u sąsiadów.

And in nearby Wloclawek, Leon gets some respite from his rambunctious brother Mietek:

Leon: A moment of rest until this little ginger-haired kitten climbs up here.
In Polish: Chwila wytchnienia,tu ten mały rudy nie wlezie.

A gif from Facebook (h/t: Beth). What an awesome cat!

A true fact:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Bad Cat Clothing on Facebook. This one really cracks me up:

One of Titania’s latest (the original tweet, about a teacher musing about burning books, has disappeared, along with the account!)

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a dolphin tries to mate with woman.

The lovely fox Snowdrop, one of Mr. Lumpy’s friends:

Tweets from Matthew. In this first one, Trump’s spiritual advisor speaks in tongues. This stuff really freaks me out, but I can’t look away:

This 99 year old Holocaust survivor Agnest Keleti is the most decorated Jewish woman athlete, having nabbed five gold medals for Hungary in gymnastics in the 1952 Olympic games. I’ve put a video of her performances below the tweet:

I really need to get some of these bat quarters! You can buy them now in proof sets, and I hear they’ll be released to banks at the beginning of February. But I wouldn’t want to spend them!

Another goose parade (we can’t see too many of these!). This appears to be in Germany, and the geese appear to be imprinted on the woman. Or else they’re just really well trained.

Sound up!


52 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

    1. I apologize – I got the date wrong:

      September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020

      … the news came out yesterday, so I naturally thought it happened yesterday.

    2. I can’t remember ever being this upset about the death of a musician. Rush is one of my two favorite bands and Neil Peart was an absolute genius, both with his music and his lyrics.

      1. it is particularly terrible in my view, not only because he was so young (67 – yes I call that young now), but I’m pretty sure he lost his first daughter a while ago.

        it’s strange to know personal details of people like this, but as a story like any story, it still stands.

        I note that Peart had interesting, if auto-didactic, intellecutual travels, including being strongly into Ayn Rand, but then, seemingly, growing out of some of it. “I am no one’s disciple” is the quote I read.

        Sure, I don’t listen to much new Rush, and am more inclined to the old recorded material. but it doesn’t matter – I sort of liked knowing Peart was still out there doing his thing. He broke ground in music – he was an innovator, together with his group.

        1. Peart definitely grew out of his love for Rand. You can see that reflected in his lyrics as early as Closer to the Heart. I’m a lot like he was: I believe in personal freedom and truth at all costs, but also in compassion and caring for your fellow travelers on this marble and in working together for the betterment of us all. But Peart was far smarter and more philosophical than I’ll ever be, despite the fact that I’ve been through far more formal education.

          Peart lost both his daughter and first wife, the former in a car accident and the latter ten months later to cancer.

  1. The note about Leonard Thompson, the first patient to take insulin, was very moving for me.

    My husband of six years (we’ve been together for 32 years) began taking insulin in the 70s when he was diagnosed with Type 1 at just nineteen years old. He is now pushing 67 and going strong in spite of stroke (possibly related to diabetes) and acinic cell carcinoma (unrelated).

    Poor Leonard never had use of a continuous glucose monitor, which is what we use here to monitor my husband’s blood sugar.

    All these beautiful advances . . . and we still vote for stupid effers to run the country.

  2. Not to ruin the joke, but . . .

    “In English, a double negative forms a positive.”

    When have you ever used the expression “I can’t get no satisfaction” to say you can get satisfaction?

    1. The “yeah, right” joke is attributed to Sidney Morganbesser, in response to linguistic philosopher J L Austin

    2. Pinker points out (in _The Language Instinct_) two-part negations are routine in many langauges, and hence also in some dialects of English. I *think* “can’t get no” is a recognized form in some of them, prior to the song.

  3. The Middle Ages, when everyone could draw anything you could throw at them all day long, except for cats. And whales for some reason.

  4. “This is again one of the great achievements of our species.”

    My cousin was diagnosed with diabetes when she was very young, she was failing to thrive, very under weight even though she had a good diet. If not for insulin she would have died as a teenager, starving to death no matter how much she ate. She is now in her late fifties, healthy and happy. One of millions.

    Unfortunately her mother died of Rheumatoid arthritis, a decade before the first biologic, Humira, came on the market. Humira (and now many other similar medications) can control or moderate the disease.
    Countless others have been saved from her hellish fate and been given their lives back.

    There are just so many people around me who’s lives were quite literally saved by modern medicine, myself included.

    Few things annoy me more than people who outright dismiss all of modern medicine and modern pharmaceuticals and perpetuate dangerous, life destroying misinformation. Even flat Earthers don’t deserve as much ire and derision, although they run a close second on my list of fools.

  5. Paula White’s “tongues” sideshow is amusing. It occurs to me, though, that if any of her followers wanted to understand what she was really doing, they could probably consult a linguist who would tell them that these utterances are made-up sounds lacking the structure of language. Of course there has hardly been a more incurious bunch of dust swallowers (I mean that in the kindest way possible).

    1. I googled the Wikis “Glossolalia” and “Interpreting speaking in tongues” and learn that interpretation is also a “gift of the Holy Spirit” sourced from One Corinthians (as Trump would have it), so for believers, there’s no need to consult a linguist. Videos show that even little children can “interpret” holy gibberish.

      It is pointed out that Christians of the Pentecostal variety aren’t the only ones to practice glossolalia — it isn’t limited to Christianity. I learned this when I was in Tunisia in 1974-1975 and hooked up with a group of Stambeli practitioners (most of black African descent) who invited me to their ceremonies. “Stambeli” – similar to Moroccan Gnaoua, an ecstatic/therapeutic offshoot of Islam in No. Africa,or the Zar in Egypt and adjacent areas. Similar ecstatic/therapeutic ceremonies are practiced elsewhere in the Muslim world, such as Pakistan.

      It was a ceremony to induce trance through music and dance and fire and clouds of incense and some head-conking with what looked like bowling pins or Indian clubs (that alone ought to have the person reeling and speaking in tongues). I had no idea what to expect and sure didn’t expect to hear anybody speaking in tongues. I was blown away when I heard it. It was not at all like English-derived glossolalia. During the ceremony, one of the troupe went into a trance and began speaking in tongues. She went around to some of the guests and spoke to them individually, while an ‘interpreter’ explained in Arabic. She came to me and said something. The interpreter told me that she said “You will stay here with us, eat couscous and get fat.” (I’m thin and Tunisians prefer the zaftig.)

      As it happened, I did stay with them for several days and ate some mighty good couscous, but didn’t stay long enough to put on any weight.

      – “Therapeutic” in that these and similar practices are regarded by cultural anthropologists as a kind of cathartic group therapy.

        1. Indeed! But most others don’t entail dancing with fire and conking yourself on the head with bowling pins to induce a trance.

  6. Now, I gather, it [Albania]’s a nice place to visit.

    Maybe so, but it’s still a corrupt, mobbed-up, dangerous place to do business. I represented a client — one of three young stoners from Miami Beach who branched out into the arms-dealing business — who got indicted for trying to fulfill a US contract to provide ammunition to pro-American militias in Afghanistan. (The AK-47 ammo they obtained in Albania was manufactured in China, which is verboten under US law.)

    The case was the subject of a (highly fictionalized) movie by Todd Phillips, War Dogs, based on the non-fiction book Arms and the Dudes by Guy Lawson.

      1. Who’ll play Ken Kukec in the biopic of Ken Kukec snd his clients? From John Gotti to stoner arms dealers and surely beyond.

      2. I’m afraid my only IMDb screen credit is for playing myself in the documentary Thunder Man, now available on youtube. I was interviewed for another documentary on the same story — regarding the murder of powerboat racing legend Don Aronow — entitled Collision Course, that played as part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series.

        True story: there was another case in which I got a guy wrongfully convicted of murder out of prison after he’d served over a decade. We had a Hollywood agent shopping around the movie rights to the story. One day, my mom asked me who was gonna play me in the movie. (It would have been a minor role near the end of the film.) This was the mid-Nineties when ER first hit it big on teevee. Jokingly, I told her, “They’re thinking of getting that guy who plays the doctor on that hospital show, George Clooney. Ever heard of him?”

        She said — I shit you not — “Oh, honey, can’t they find someone more handsome to play you?”

        Moms, ya gotta love ’em (even if they’re mostly blind). 🙂

        1. Too funny! I was going to jokingly say George C. before I thought of Johnny Depp, who can be good at playing scruffy.

        2. Too funny! I was going to jokingly say George C. before I thought of Johnny Depp, who can be good at playing scruffy.

          1. One problem with Johnny Depp is that he’d probably insist on festooning himself with all sorts of crazy geegaws and makeup, dead birds, beads, black paint streaking his face, a faux piebald streak in his hair, etc. This would detract from the amazing story.

            Pace, to Ken’s mom but I’ll go for George Clooney.

              1. He’d also undoubtedly throw monumental tantrums on the set, get drunk and loaded during shooting, etc., and throw the production into turmoil, not to mention causing it to go way over budget. Ken would end up having to serve as his defense lawyer, and another chapter could be added to an already wild and crazy life (KC’s that is).

                Now that I think about it, I’d love to see the two most tempestuous contemporary actors I can think of, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway, in a movie, but I’d love even more to see the outtakes.

    1. You represented one of those guys as well? Fucking hell, Ken, your life really is something. You’re kind of like a celebrity, only people don’t know your name and you’re not on the cover of magazines.

  7. It was the philosopher, Sidney Morgenbesser, who “piped-up” from the back of the room with, “Yeah, right”. This is an anecdote from Steven Pinker.

  8. “[Pelosi’s] delay apparently accomplished

    One could wish it had accomplished more but it did give a few weeks for the Republican’s promise of a sham trial in the Senate to sink in. The pollsters also had time to find that a majority of Americans want a fair trial with documents and witnesses. It also allowed many pundits and experts to weigh in on the risks associated with Mitch McConnell setting the rules for a sham trial. There is some applicable legal precedent that the Supreme Court can rule against a sham trial. Also, it gave time for the Chief Justice to signal that he may not play only a ceremonial role in the trial. This gives additional pressure on the Republicans not to go too far.

    There are many articles that outline these issues. Here’s one:

    1. This article by two respected lawyers mentions an interesting option Pelosi may choose to take:

      “The first article of impeachment effectively charges the president with shaking down Ukraine; the second impeaches him for his unprecedented obstruction of Congress. That gives the speaker room to maneuver. She could choose to tweak her announcement and send only the second article, on obstruction, for trial. Or she could transmit them both — along with a House-approved provision advising the Senate that if it fails to obtain adequate witnesses and documents, the House will reopen the investigation into Article I and subpoena that material itself.”

      George Conway and Neal Katyal: How Pelosi should play her impeachment cards

  9. 1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health:

    1950 – Doll’s first report in the BMJ about the epidemiological links between smoking and lung cancer.
    1954 – the follow up study of 40,000 UK doctors over 20 years confirms the 1950 report.
    Oh, the power of lobbying!
    Steno was – still is – a big wheel in the history of geology too. Busy boy!

  10. Regarding that video of the dolphin, which was funny but made me rather uncomfortable, several months ago I was watching some of those funny animals videos and what did I see but a cat with a duck friend but the duck friend was trying to hump the cat! NOT the other way around. I must say that was hilarious. The duck had climbed onto the back of the recumbent cat and was doing its best (like Maru), but it wasn’t even close to the right anatomical place for such hi-jinx. The poor cat looked resigned.

    I’ve been trying to find that clip again to send the link to PCCE but it was part of a longer video and there are scads of them out there so I doubt I’ll ever find it again, but here’s a story about a kangaroo-pig romance

    But I’m still worried about those seals sexually attacking and suffocating king penguins, then eating them. Horrible! That’s nature.

  11. The Titania tweet was in reference to something much worse than just a mere “teacher” musing about burning books: she was pointing to a tweet from one of those diversity/equity “consultants” who was bragging that she was meeting something like 18 principals and vice principals in the coming week, and was going to tell them that they need to burn books written by white men. I went to the consultant’s account, and she apparently regularly advocated the deletion of all books written by white men (in math, science, literature, etc.) in order to “decolonize” education.

    Tax money is actually paying for these people to advocate this bullshit to our educators…

    1. I think an attempt at a book purge is only a matter of time. On a related note, I am looking forward to watching the new “Fahrenheit 451”.

  12. I thought at first that Titania’s twitter account had been vaporized. Glad that wasn’t the case. Can you give a link to the account of the “consultant”? All I’ve been able to learn is from attenuated bits on the google list of her both twitter accounts of Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis have now been suspended. Book burning! She sounds like a real piece of work.

      1. Thanks. Not that I didn’t believe it (Titania would NEVER jest). I just wanted to see her actual words in context.

        Meantime, before I got yours, I googled the cache for her deleted twitter account, then hit the search button on that page and came up with this thread of apt and interesting responses

        1. “Thanks. Not that I didn’t believe it…”

          Hey, we should all question things that seem impossibly stupid 🙂

      1. Love it!!! Be sure to report back if you find the movie. These just crack me up. I must have the sense of humor of a pre-teen🤓

        And Jenny, on another note, you might get a kick out of Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland (1990). Got the vibe of 60s and 70s Berkeley.

        1. I think it’s obvious that I have an exceedingly puerile sense of humor — I love those episodes, too.

          When I learn that the movie will be released, I’ll let you know. I’d say that to remember, I’d note it as(or in?) rubrics in my vademecum but for some reason it’s imprinted (in mental rubrics) in my mind that Merilee detests the word “rubrics” so I’ll write it in with a black pen.

          But certainly you don’t object to the word when used in discussions of liturgical texts and in discussions of print and printing?

          1. I’d heard of Vineland but I’ve resisted reading Pynchon. However, on your recommendation, I’ll give it a whirl, as soon as I finish reading “The Pyramid Texts,” in translation, a short impressionistic Egyptian novel that a pal o’ mine translated. But it might have to wait until I also finish several books about Trumplestiltskin that I’m deep into and must finish straightaway.

            Certainly I dig anything with the “vibe of 60s and 70s Berkeley.” A couple of my running buddies who were in the Linguistics Dept. when I was at UC loved Pynchon, which scared me off because I suffer from linguistic anxiety. With that affliction I don’t know why my pals were students of linguistics — “Blub, blub, blub” is how I felt around them – an approximation of the embodiment of my linguistic anxiety — the sound of repeatedly flapping my lower lip with my forefinger, while vocalizing a “b” to make a voiced bilabial flap or something like that. I’m making up my own phonetics, can’t even find an audio example of a bilabial flap, voiced or unvoiced.

      2. Love it!!! Be sure to report back if you find the movie. These just crack me up. I must have the sense of humor of a pre-teen🤓

        And Jenny, on another note, you might get a kick out of Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland (1990). Got the vibe of 60s and 70s Berkeley.

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