Wednesday: Hili dialogue

January 22, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Wednesday, January 22, 2020, and today I’ll be flying back to a Chicago just as cold as Boston (right now it’s 21° F or -6° C in Boston). It’s National Southern Food Day (America’s finest regional cuisine), National Blonde Brownie Day (another word for a square, soft, chocolate-chip cookie), National Hot Sauce Day, National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day (most pressing: “When do I get fed?”), and Roe v. Wade Day, celebrating the day in 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court declared that women have a Constitutionally protected right to abortion. (This ruling is, of course, precarious, in danger of being overturned by Trump’s Supreme Court).

It’s Grandfather’s Day in Poland, and, in the UK, #LibraryShelfieDay, celebrating book collections (check out the tweets at the hashtag site (h/t: Dom).

Posting will be light today and tomorrow but, as ever, I do my best, and I ain’t done bad while I’m in Cambridge.

News of the Day: I haven’t watched much news, but the squabbling is underway about the rules that will obtain in the Senate during Trump’s impeachment. His own fate is not at stake, for, barring some huge revelation, he’ll be acquitted given that it takes 67 Senators to convict him. What’s at stake is which, if any, Republicans will vote for conviction, as that may reduce their chances of re-election. (Such is the insane America we inhabit today.) Hillary Clinton continues her bitterness, now saying that she won’t commit to supporting Bernie Sanders if he becomes the Democratic candidate.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) is a series of seven drawings recounting the life of Anna May Wong (1905-1961), the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood, who featured in both silent and “talkie” films.  It wasn’t clear to me why Wong (whose story I knew a bit about) was featured today, as she was born on January 3 and died on February 3. But C|Net explains:

Ninety-seven years ago Wednesday, a silent movie called The Toll of the Sea went into general release in movie theaters, giving movie audiences their first good look at Anna May Wong. It was the first leading role for Wong, an actress considered to be Hollywood’s first Chinese-American movie star.

Here’s that silent movie apparently filmed in two-tone Technicolor and thus not colorized. Wong shows up at 01:24:

And here’s a 5-minute video biography of Wong (note the cat at 4:34).

Stuff that happened on January 22 include:

  • 1901 – Edward VII is proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
  • 1905 – Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.
  • 1924 – Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • 1946 – Creation of the Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • 1957 – Israel withdraws from the Sinai Peninsula.
  • 1973 – The Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.

Let’s hope that stare decisis rules if this decision is reconsidered by the Supreme Court, which is entirely possible.

  • 1984 – The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during a Super Bowl XVIII television commercial.

Heres that first Mac: the 128K from 1984. For a long time I used something very like this, and it seems so primitive now! I still have one sitting around somewhere, as I hoped it would become an antique. I guess that didn’t happen.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1552 – Walter Raleigh, English poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer (d. 1618)
  • 1561 – Francis Bacon, English philosopher and politician, Attorney General for England and Wales (d. 1626)
  • 1645 – William Kidd, Scottish sailor and pirate hunter (probable; d. 1701)

Captain Kidd was accused of piracy, and hanged for that in 1701. His body remained suspended (gibbeted) over the Thames River for three years as a deterrent.

  • 1788 – Lord Byron, English poet and playwright (d. 1824)
  • 1840 – Ernest Wilberforce, English bishop (d. 1907)
  • 1849 – August Strindberg, Swedish novelist, poet, and playwright (d. 1912)
  • 1898 – Sergei Eisenstein, Russian director and screenwriter (d. 1948)
  • 1908 – Lev Landau, Azerbaijani-Russian physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
  • 1931 – Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter (d. 1964)
  • 1938 – Peter Beard, Australian photographer and author
  • 1959 – Linda Blair, American actress

Here’s Beard’s “Elephants and baboons under Kilamanjaro“:

Those who succumbed on January 22 include:

  • 1666 – Shah Jahan, Mughal emperor (b. 1592) [JAC: He built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his wife; he is buried there as well.]
  • 1901 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (b. 1819)
  • 1968 – Duke Kahanamoku, American swimmer and water polo player (b. 1890)
  • 1994 – Telly Savalas, American actor (b. 1924)
  • 2008 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor and director (b. 1979)
  • 2012 – Joe Paterno, American football player and coach (b. 1926)
  • 2018 – Ursula K. Le Guin, American sci-fi and fantasy novelist (b. 1929)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili sees a bug:

Hili: What is it?
A: I don’t know, get a magnifying glass and take a look.
In Polish:
Hili: Co to jest?
Ja: Nie wiem, weź szkło powiększające i zobacz.

From Jinx the Squirrel: pulling up an owl’s pants:

A cat gif:


From reader Beth:

All tweets save the last are from Matthew. The first is Yosemite’s famous “firefall”:

Into a dust storm:

The hotline to God:

What a gentle pachyderm!

Matthew’s comment on the following tweet: “Can’t blame ‘em! That’s the point, surely!”  And the paper in Forensic Sciences reporting this phenomenon is here.

Be sure you listen to this “butt music” at the YouTube link.  It’s nice:

The big sum of money in the grant below comes, of course, from Templeton (the Templeton Religious Trust). Matthew’s comment: “In fact its just science outreach for the church ffs. Let them read Nature!”

And my response:



26 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Unfortunately you can add Terry Jones of the Pythons to the list of those who shuffled off this mortal coil today, didn’t go to meet their maker, fell off their perch and found room for one final, wafer-thin mint.

    Today or last night isn’t clear from the reports I’ve heard.

  2. Heres that first Mac: the 128K from 1984. For a long time I used something very like this, and it seems so primitive now! I still have one sitting around somewhere, as I hoped it would become an antique. I guess that didn’t happen.

    There’s a (weak) rule of thumb that it’s not an antique until it’s 50 years old. So you’ve got 14 years to wait.
    Power it up once a year or so, to keep the electronics dry – HT capacitors in the CRT drive circuitry in particular.
    We had one die in the union office once – dead insect short circuit when we got it open. Opening it was a struggle – I never did see how Charlie did it. Obviously takes practice.

    1. My wife and I bought the 13th 128k Mac sold here in Milwaukee at North Shore Computers. I proceeded to unsolder the memory chips and replace them getting a huge increase to 512k! We still have it in the basement although the mother board was later replaced with an upgrade to a whole megabyte!

      1. I can’t quite remember the year (80 something) but one winter I did a sizable project on a Fat Mac (512k), my first experience with a Macintosh and a GUI. Those were the days. Had to routinely juggle half a dozen floppies. It was a presentation on the design of a timing system for telemetry tagging being designed by TRW for USAF AFSPC. A poor college student put to work by my father while visiting for the winter.

        Interesting thing, I found a flaw in the timing circuit design, but it turned out to merely be a “typo” in the diagram I was given to work with.

      2. I thought the whole point of Apple products (at least Jobs-inspired ones) was that the user *could not* get inside and touch anything.

        (Which is why I’ll probably never have an Apple. I regard ‘Do not open. No user-serviceable parts inside’ as an invitation 😉


        1. No, the point is to be friendly and pleasurable to use. It takes a special level of geekiness to be willing to mess around with hardware, whether it involves a soldering iron or not. Most people don’t need (or want) to fart around with hardware and bizarro OS configuration. It’s why Apple has become what it has become.

          Do you open your cell phone up and mess with it? Why not?

          1. Yet you yourself did exactly that to your Mac!

            I’ll certainly buy a phone that can be repaired by any competent technician (and that means *not* an iPhone). But at the least I want one with a replaceable battery.

            I’d say Apple has become what it has become by selling hugely overpriced ‘cool’ gimmick-laden un-serviceable junk to the technically ignorant *and* discouraging those same users from ever wanting to acquire any technical knowledge of what they’re using. A bit like religion, really. Unfortunately they vastly outnumber anyone with a clue.



            1. Your rant is a very olde trope and one that is most common with folk who haven’t had much experience with Apple products.

              Full disclosure… While I’ve been an Apple user since the Apple II+ days, I’ve also used other systems a lot. My desktop has both an iMac on it and a souped-up Windows 10 box that I built myself. There’s no comparison, though, when it comes to which environment is more human-oriented, which one demands more tech support, and which one integrates a variety of devices more smoothly.

              But if swapping batteries is your thing… 😉

  3. Since this is Something-About-Cats Day (like most days here), readers may be interested in “Claws out! Why cats are causing chaos and controversy across Britain”. Turns out there is an epidemic of pusses being seduced or purloined.

    Amongst others we meet pet detective Colin Butcher: “There’s a crazy cat lady on every street,” Butcher says seriously. “They are always women.”

    1. That’s a good article, amusing and infuriating. Once a big, scruffy unaltered male cat started hanging out in the back yard of the duplex where I lived, not bullying the other cats, males and females, all fixed but he treated them as if they were part of his pride, though he really did want some action. He hung out for weeks, my downstairs neighbor and I would put food out for him and we gave him a name. My neighbor figured he was a stray, probably abandoned, since he was so dirty and moth-eaten, so she took him to the vet and had him altered. A couple of weeks later, there were flyers in the neighborhood — had anybody seen a lost cat; the picture was you-know-who. My neighbor dutifully called the number on the flyer and told them what had happened. Two Russian women came to get him. They were extremely irate and kept crying in heavily accented English that she had “stolen his manhood!”

  4. Clinton, of course, originally didn’t commit to Sanders (although she didn’t say she wouldn’t,) but a few hours later said, “the number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee.”

      1. He recorded an early version of ‘They Call The Wind Mariah’ in E-flatulance major.

        The great Leo Kottke compared his own singing voice to the sound of a goose-fart in fog.

  5. It’s tax season now, so as a tax accountant I’ve fallen behind on my reading. Including this site.

    Like PCCE, I do my best.

    I perused my Twitter account and the lawyers I follow say the Dems, especially Schiff, are doing a good job.

    I suppose it wont matter. As the experts have said, the hand writing is on the wall that Senate Rs will not convict.

    The polls haven’t moved much in the last, has it been three months? Roughly 50% agree with removal and 45% do not. Same as it’s been.

    But I don’t think this has hurt the Dems and may well help with the few fence sitting voters.

    There is still an off chance of removal if Trump screws up royally in a way that moves the polls.

    November is going to be a brutal election. The gloves are already off, the fighting will be bitter.

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