Wednesday: Hili dialogue

January 15, 2020 • 6:30 am

As you’re reading this, on the morning of Wednesday January 15, 2020 (unless you’re on the other side of the International Dateline), I’ll be winging my way to Boston and Cambridge for some R&R. It’s a double food holiday, too: National Bagel Day and National Strawberry Ice Cream Day.

Beyond that, it’s National Pothole Day in the UK, National Hat Day, and Wikipedia Day, celebrating the day that online resource (some would say travesty) went online in 2001. Finally, it’s Korean Alphabet Day, but only in North Korea (in the South it’s on September 9). That day celebrates the creation of the Korean alphabet, Hangul.

The temperature in Chicago is precisely at the freezing point of water this morning, and will rise only a few degrees above that, with little precipitation predicted. It looks as if all systems are go for my flight to Boston. Remember, posting may be light for the next week. As always, I do my best.

News of the Day: Despite good intentions, I didn’t watch the Democratic debate last night. I’ll read the news later, but CNN has a collection of commentators’ Twitter takes here.  And I gather from a quick scan of the New York Times that Sanders and Warren continued clashing onstage about whether he told her in 2018 that a woman couldn’t be elected as President. I don’t know who’s right, but it’s time to drop this topic and move on to the issues; such squabbling only makes the Dems look divided and weak.

Today’s Quiz: Who are the people below? Answer below the fold at bottom.

Stuff that happened on January 15 include:

  • 1559 – Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, London.
  • 1759 – The British Museum opens to the public.
  • 1870 – A political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the Democratic Party with a donkey (“A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly

Here’s that cartoon:

  • 1889 – The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, is incorporated in Atlanta.
  • 1892 – James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball.
  • 1919 – Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of the most prominent socialists in Germany, are tortured and murdered by the Freikorps at the end of the Spartacist uprising.
  • 1919 – Great Molasses Flood: A wave of molasses released from an exploding storage tank sweeps through Boston, Massachusetts, killing 21 and injuring 150.

I remember writing about that last year. Here are before and after photos. Here’s “before”, with the molasses tank that ruptured:

And after (Wikipedia caption): “Twenty one people were killed on Commercial Street in the North End when a tank of molasses ruptured and exploded. An eight foot wave of the syrupy brown liquid moved down Commercial Street at a speed of 35mph. Wreckage of the collapsed tank visible in background, center, next to light colored warehouse. Elevated railway structure visible at far left and the North End Park bathing beach to the far right.”

The ruptured tank released 2.3 million gallons of the stuff (8.7 million liters). Imagine drowning in molasses! It would be a sad end, but a sweet one.

Here’s a short video with more information about the Great Molasses Flood:

  • 1936 – The first building to be completely covered in glass, built for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, is completed in Toledo, Ohio.

Here it is (it’s still there):

  • 1967 – The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35–10.
  • 2001 – Wikipedia, a free wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.

And just one year ago today:

  • 2019 – Theresa May’s UK government suffers the biggest government defeat in modern times, when 432 MPs voting against the proposed European Union withdrawal agreement, giving her opponents a majority of 230.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1622 – Molière, French actor and playwright (d. 1673)
  • 1623 – Algernon Sidney, British philosopher (d. 1683)
  • 1842 – Josef Breuer, Austrian physician and psychiatrist (d. 1925)
  • 1850 – Leonard Darwin, English soldier, eugenicist, and politician (d. 1943)
  • 1908 – Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist and academic (d. 2003)
  • 1909 – Gene Krupa, American drummer, composer, and actor (d. 1973)
  • 1913 – Lloyd Bridges, American actor (d. 1998)
  • 1919 – Maurice Herzog, French mountaineer and politician, French Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports (d. 2012)
  • 1929 – Martin Luther King, Jr., American minister and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
  • 1984 – Ben Shapiro, American author and commentator

And a special birthday tweet sent by Matthew:

Those who went belly-up on January 15 include:

  • 1896 – Mathew Brady, American photographer and journalist (b. 1822)
  • 1919 – Rosa Luxemburg, German economist, theorist, and philosopher (b. 1871)
  • 1964 – Jack Teagarden, American singer-songwriter and trombonist (b. 1905)
  • 1994 – Harry Nilsson, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
  • 2019 – Carol Channing, American actress (b. 1921)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili went upstairs to cadge a treat (I don’t know if she got it). She’s become quite rotund this winter!

Paulina: Oh, Hili, did you come to visit?
Hili: Yes, I could hear that you are pounding tenderloin steak
In Polish:
Paulina: O, Hili, przyszłaś z wizytą?
Hili: Tak, słyszałam, że rozbijasz kotlety.

A groaner from Jesus of the Day. And yes, Chiron was said to be a skilled practitioner of medicine:

From Cole & Marmalade (a pair of cats):

A clever panhandler from Jesus of the Day. I wonder if this would really work?

In case you’ve never looked at the feet of a coot, have a gander at these clown shoes? Why are they like that? Look here.

Is this a message from God: “Do not hurt my serpents; they mean no harm.”?

Tweets from Matthew. He says this about the first one: “This has gone a bit viral over here. The “joke” is the guy in the front of the picture who just keeps on eating his chips through it all.” The kebab shop is in Portsmouth.

I guessed correctly, but I had to look carefully (click on the tweet as there are three fish). This shows you the selection pressure to be an accurate mimic:

This takes considerable skill to move the marionettes, and a lot of talent to build the set:

Doesn’t this woman know what a koala looks like? “Drop bears”, indeed!

Epic battle between a parasitic wasp and a predatory tiger-beetle larva:

Turn the sound up to get soothed by birdsong:

Click to see who was in the first picture:

Elvis and his parents: Gladys and Vernon

23 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Here it is (it’s still there):”

    Reading this sentence is a good test to see if I need coffee. It came up positive.

    I love the cartoon with a mirror because the artist really captured the perceived depth and view angle, to add to the impact. It really looks like I am viewing the scene, unlike a flat cartoon.

      1. I was thinking similarly. The article says that the day was both unusually warm, and warmed rapidly through the day. But that does strain my credibility somewhat. There’s a lot of thermal inertia in a couple of million gallons of molasses. The article also mentions that the tank had just been pumped to fullness – that pumping would have provided a little viscosity heating, but not a huge amount.
        If the plan was to have fermented the molasses to alcohol, they’d probably have needed a way of bringing the molasses to a workable temperature – particularly in a New England winter. (The first time the factory manager said “we can’t produce today – the molasses is too cold”, someone would have been working on a heating system.)
        The description of “rivets popping” sounds like overpressure in the tank. Over-pumping fluid into a tank with inadequate venting is, sadly, not a unique event. The first rivet to go would quite likely have been at the base of the tank (or maybe an under-engineered entry point for the posulated reto-fitted heating system – a tediously familiar class of lethal errors which goes under the name of “failure to manage change”) ; once one rivet goes, the next one is loaded more … and the seam unzips.
        You’d like to think that such errors happen once and then people remember them and avoid repeating the same errors. But that would be ludicrously optimistic. The forces of deregulation and cost-cutting win, always (I believe it is a Biblical injunction).
        I bet the “Purity Distilling Company” saved a lot less than they spent on fines. The pro-business branch of politics really dropped the ball there – gotta protect the forces of capital!

  2. As I’m reading this, I hear on the radio that the Russian government has resigned after Putin made a power grab. What does this portend?

    1. A quick glance shows Putin wants to change the constitution so he can stay in office beyond his allotted 4 terms already served. Typical dictator.

        1. I have been predicting that for well over a year. Things like “constitutional restraints” are not words in his vocabulary. Nor is “vocabulary” – too many letters.
          The only significant question is how his speech-writers dress it up. That he’ll get it passed by at least (whichever chamber he controls) seems pretty much a foregone conclusion.

    2. While his cabinet has resigned, it appears it is to clear the way for Putin’s reforms rather than to stop them. In other words, “If you are going to do that, I’m outta here.” Russia’s pseudo-democracy has become quite a bit more fake. Trump is watching carefully and taking pointers.

      1. Is it possible that Putin is emboldened and sees the time is ripe to do the ultimate power-grab, now that he sees that drumpf is safely ensconced in his pocket? It looks to me that he does hold something over el naranjo.

  3. Great pun on “centaur”.

    It has been observed in the twittersphere that Donald Tump’s posture curiously resembles that of a centaur. This is attributed to the heel lifts in his shoes but I think he got stuck in mid metamorphosis. Trevor Noah invited a posture expert to his show to explain Trump’s curious way of standing

    Chiron being an exception, most centaurs were seen as barbarous and concupiscent, adjectives that aren’t inapt when applied to our current president.

  4. Interesting that history may repeat the first Super Bowl this year. All things being equal, there’s a 25% chance the Packers will meet the Chiefs. Of course, all things are not equal. I suspect the Chiefs will be there but not so sure about the Packers. I will be watching Sunday.

    1. Greenbay already got their asses kicked by the Niners early in the season; I doubt they’ll be able to handle them in the Championship (though I’ll be rooting for them). I’m thinking the SB will be Chiefs vs. 49ers, but the Titans and that Henry are on a roll.

        1. Yeah, after the Patriots lost, I gave a sigh of relief- they’re the only NFL team that I don’t like. I must admit to a bit of schadenfreude when Brady’s last play of the year (and as a Patriot?) was a pick six. 🙂

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