Tuesday: Hili dialogue

February 18, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s now Tuesday, February 18 2020, and National “Drink Wine” Day. Again, what’s with the scare quotes? Are we supposed to pretend to drink wine?

Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) is staying home and resting today as he needs to get over this somewhat debilitating cold or other virus before heading to Paris. Posting will be lighter than usual today, and I ask readers to hold off on emails for a day or so unless they’re urgent. As always, I do my best.

It’s Thumb Appreciation Day (kiss your opposable thumbs), National Battery Day, celebrating the birth of Allesandro Volta, its inventor, on this day in 1745, and Pluto Day, celebrating the discovery of the controversial PLANET in on this day in 1930 (see below). Finally, it’s Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day (all will be clear below).

News of the Day: The Boy Scouts of America, faced with multiple sex-abuse claims, has filed for bankruptcy, and Michael Bloomberg has qualified for Wednesday’s Presidential debate in Las Vegas. You can be sure that the other candidates will be attacking him vigorously for being rich, for his stop-and-frisk comments, and so on

Stuff that happened on February 18 includes:

  • 1791 – Congress passes a law admitting the state of Vermont to the Union, effective 4 March, after that state had existed for 14 years as a de facto independent largely unrecognized state.

That, of course, made possible this:

  • 1861 – In Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.
  • 1885 – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published in the United States.
  • 1911 – The first official flight with airmail takes place from Allahabad, United Provinces, British India (now India), when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.
  • 1930 – While studying photographs taken in JanuaryClyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto.

Here’s one of the photographs showing the movement of the body identified as Pluto, followed by a picture of Tombaugh:

Now this is a weird story, but you can read about it at the link to her name or at this more informative site. Here she is being loaded onto the plane:

This was the speech in which Goebbels, a charismatic speaker, called for “total war” (“totaler Krieg”), as Germany was beginning to realize that it could lose the war. Here’s a short clip of the speech with some commentary by those who heard it live:

  • 1954 – The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles.
  • 1957 – Walter James Bolton becomes the last person legally executed in New Zealand.
  • 1970 – The Chicago Seven are found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Can you name all of them? Answer below the fold.

  • 1972 – The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, (6 Cal.3d 628) invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment.
  • 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes the first of hundreds of thousands of classified documents disclosed by the soldier now known as Chelsea Manning.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1626 – Francesco Redi, Italian physician (d. 1697)
  • 1745 – Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist, invented the battery (d. 1827)
  • 1838 – Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist and philosopher (d. 1916)
  • 1848 – Louis Comfort Tiffany, American stained glass artist (d. 1933)

Tiffany made what I think are the world’s prettiest stained glass windows. This one, a “snowball and wisteria window”, went for half a million dollars at Christie’s in 2016. But they should be on view to the public rather than in private hands, as they’re so stunning:

  • 1883 – Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek philosopher, author, and playwright (d. 1957)
  • 1906 – Hans Asperger, Austrian pediatrician and academic (d. 1980)
  • 1931 – Toni Morrison, American novelist and editor, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019).
  • 1933 – Yoko Ono, Japanese-American multimedia artist and musician
  • 1950 – Cybill Shepherd, American actress and singer
  • 1954 – John Travolta, American actor and producer
  • 1957 – Vanna White, American model and game show host

Those who met their maker on February 18 include (look at those early famous people!):

  • 1405 – Timur, Turco-Mongol ruler (b. 1336)
  • 1455 – Fra Angelico, Italian priest and painter (b. 1395)

Here is Fra Angelico’s “The Annunciation” from 1430:

  • 1546 – Martin Luther, German priest and theologian, leader of the Protestant Reformation (b. 1483)
  • 1564 – Michelangelo, Italian sculptor and painter (b. 1475)
  • 1973 – Frank Costello, Italian-American gangster (b. 1891)
  • 1998 – Harry Caray, American sportscaster (b. 1914)
  • 2006 – Bill Cowsill, American singer and guitarist (b. 1948)
  • 2008 – Alain Robbe-Grillet, French director, screenwriter, and novelist (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is complacent but not joyful (she is, after all, a Jewish cat):

A: People are asking how we are doing.
Hili: Tell them that we are meowing but without enthusiasm.
In Polish:
Ja: Ludzie pytają, co u nas słychać?
Hili: Powiedz im, że miauczymy, ale bez entuzjazmu.

From Cats in Art, which purports to be a painting from 14th Century India. Well, I’m not sure that’s true, but I like it anyway:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Amazing Things, an amazing photo (update: Diana MacPherson notes that there has been extensive retouching of the girl):

Tweets! First, the Queen speaks out about another MAGA hat episode:

And Ali Rizvi speaks truth to the Woke:

Reader Barry shows us a cat with a wicked right. And look how it gets the d*g’s attention!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. The first one is especially funny:

How low the mighty have fallen! Jim Bakker sells snake oil:

Three tweets from Matthew. Maybe Sabisky is the real Donald Trump of the UK:

This is incredibly beautiful (and heartening):

And some science (well, sort of) to finish:

Click on “read more” to learn who the Chicago Seven were:

The Chicago Seven:

Jerry Rubin
Abbie Hoffman
Dave Dellinger
Tom Hayden
John Froines
Rennie Davis
Lee Weiner

42 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. You want a vibrant immune system so that, once you’ve killed the host so the virus has no place to live, the body is reabsorbed efficiently.

  2. For any readers who find themselves visiting the southeastern part of virginia, there is large permanent exhibit of tiffany glass at the chrysler museum of art in norfolk, va. Admission is free.

  3. “If I had asked them to jump from the roof of a tall building, they would have done it.”

    —- Joseph Goebbels

    “I could stand in the middle Of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters”

    —- Donald Trump

    I found the Goebbels video fascinating and frightening. Cult leaders such as Goebbels, who was way up in the Nazi hierarchy, and Trump have the power to make its members believe or do anything. When cult leaders gain control of a government, they are empowered to do anything they want. The end result is not good for the nation involved. Trump isn’t calling for genocide and doesn’t seem to have the inclination to go as far as the Nazis, but his techniques are similar to those used by the Nazis and other cults. His goal seems to be to destroy democracy. All too many people are susceptible to their lies and false promises.

    I am currently reading “The Cult of Trump” by Steven Hassan. He is a former Moonie that escaped the cult and now writes about how cults operate and how they ensnare their victims. This book talks about cults in general and how the Trump cult works in particular. I recommend it highly.

    One takeaway from this book is that many people, if not most, are highly susceptible to the false promise of cults, even if they are totally ludicrous, such as scientology. In other words, these people cannot think rationally because cults and religion (which overlap greatly) provide people with a sense that their lives have meaning; they fill the void of emptiness. Because of this, I fear that religion and cults will never disappear. The best we can hope for is to control them and minimize their damage.

    1. Tnx for the book rec historian. It is confusing for me to discern the wheat from the chaff in the tr**p book tsunami these days. I may not be able to read much of it before frustation and anger overcome me but will look for it this afternoon.

    2. Donald Trump has fostered a cult of personality, as did other autocrats across the ages. But what Trump lacks that the others had is an overarching vision for remaking the world — no plans for Lebensborn or a Thousand-Year Reich, fir example — as did Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Mussolini or any of the lesser despots of the 20th century. All pf them had spent their entire adult lives thinking and plotting about little else.

      Trump? At heart he’s naught but a reality tv “star” whose ultimate goals are limited to personal fortune and fame. He never really wanted or planned to be president of the US; his running for the office was a publicity lark. He’s entirely ill-equipped — by intellect and experience — to handle the free world’s most powerful position. The only parts of the job he really seems to enjoy are being at the center of all the pomp and circumstance and the ass-kissing by his betters, plus the adoration of the hardcore deplorables at his rallies.

      The rule of law may be dangling by a thread, and our system of checks-and-balances has been all but obliterated. But Donald Trump himself is only an accidental autocrat.

      1. I think you just did a good job of proving my point. There are however, many examples, too numerous to mention.

      2. “He never really wanted or planned to be president of the US; his running for the office was a publicity lark.”
        I suspect he was more or less forced, or talked into it, by his Russian mafia handlers, headed by Mr Putin, who was -let us not forget- a KGB officer specialized in recruiting foreigners into working for the KGB.

        1. At the very least he wants to excuse Putin for meddling in the election that resulted in his presidency. The news from the Assange trial – as published in our local news – is that Assange was offered a pardon 2017 if he denied Russian involvement in the hacker attack against the Democrats 2016.

      3. Trump may very well be an accidental autocrat with no overarching vision. But, does it really matter how he got where he is? He still is a cult leader, who, if unchecked, will destroy democracy. Besides, he has advisors such as Stephen Miller and Bill Barr, who seem to have a vision and will guide Trump to it, whether he knows it or not.

          1. I see no reason for this, other than to stick his thumb in the eye of people who care about these things. People who despise Blagojevich also despise tRump. The only thing they have in common is bad hair. He wants to stick it to the classier people he was despised by during his rise in Manhattan real estate. He was seen as a moneyed fool by a better class of business people and wants them and us to see he’ll do what ever he has the power to do. He’s the classic spoiled child.

        1. I by no means mean to minimize the threat Donald Trump poses to our democracy. Our system (as is made ever more clear) depends upon un-codified norms and traditions and our mutual consent to be bound by them — things Donald Trump holds in utter contempt, if, indeed, he comprehends them at all.

          My point is merely that Trump lacks the will and the ambition, lacks the keenness of mind and keenness of purpose, to take this nation over the brink into mass murders or purges or a disastrous world war, as the great dictators of the 20th century did.

          On the other hand, none of them could rain down such utter destruction upon large portions of the globe with the mere push of a button, as Donald Trump may yet stumble his way into doing, as likely by inadvertence as by purpose, a result of rapidly spiraling events driven by his own insecurities (as he may have come close to doing recently with his adventurism against Iran in advance of his impeachment trial).

      4. Some people are born great. Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Others achieve greatness. Trump has only 4 billion years until the sun explodes.

      5. “an overarching vision for remaking the world”

        That can be a blessing or a curse. We’ve been lucky so far.

  4. Jim Bakker was in my older sisters class at Muskegon High School in Michigan. Whenever I see him in the news (which is far too often), I think about how you never know about the people in your cohort. They could turn out to live ordinary lives, become a great contributor, or, like this smarmy little bastard, a hideous waste of human potential.

    1. Many years ago I had a client who served time in prison with Jim Bakker. Can’t recall if he was a cell-mate or in a cell next door. Anyway, his comment was: I’ve met a lot of con men in my time, but Bakker was the best. He taught all us convicts a lot.”

      1. Interesting. What ever happened to Tammy Faye and all her mascara? Jim was in jail for “interfering with” young boys, was he not?

          1. Think I’ll give it a miss. Can’t believe they got Kevin Spacey and Bernadette Peters!
            Speaking of movies, just saw a good doc tonight: Marianne and Leonard.

      2. Interesting. What ever happened to Tammy Faye and all her mascara? Jim was in jail for “interfering with” young boys, was he not?

  5. For some reason, I always forget Froines and Weaver from the Chicago Seven.

    I do recall that Bobby Seale was part of the original “Chicago Eight,” until Judge Julius Hoffman severed his trial from that of the others after having Seale bound and gagged and imprisoned for contempt of court due to his outbursts during the trial’s early goings.

  6. From Wiki:
    Tombaugh died on January 17, 1997, when he was in Las Cruces, New Mexico, at the age of 90. He was cremated. A small portion of his ashes was placed aboard the New Horizons spacecraft.”

    1. I met him when he came to Montreal for whatever reason, when I was a teenager. A quiet old man (this would have been 1989) and I got him to sign the Pluto section of my _Atlas of the Solar System_ and got a poster as well. At the time it was quite a special thing – the only living discoverer of a planet!

      Now we know he found something even more special, in a way – the first of many of a heretofore unknown class of objects.

    1. You have no idea how febrile the atmosphere over here is. This guy Sabisky, who lest anyone forget wanted to enforce mandatory sterilisation of the poor and who believes that black people are intellectually inferior to whites, almost kept his job. In fact, in the following hubbub the PM refused to condemn the remarks. This is Charlottesville-lite.

      It is very, very scary here, and it’s getting worse, because there is no tangible opposition of any kind, the government is quietly censoring media outlets it doesn’t like and a single unelected fruitcake-svengali called Dominic Cummings is trying to destroy the civil service and replace it with far-right psychopaths like this Sabisky scumbag. Liberals are completely unmoored after three years of that moron Corbyn playing make-a-wish with the Labour leadership role. We have no-one speaking for us. No-one to rally around.

      You think America is scary? Imagine an America which is just as divided as it is now…but without an opposition party to rein in the GOP. That is Britain at the moment.

  7. “That, of course, made this possible.”
    What does that mean exactly? It’s a young Bernie Sanders. So what.
    Yes, he’s no young Robert Redford, it’s just bespectacled Bernie with his usual disheveled hair. He hasn’t changed much over the years and that includes his politics. I usually dislike and distrust politicians, and many these days, I absolutely despise. I don’t agree with all of Sanders’ policies, and I’m certainly no, “Bernie Bro”, easily “triggered “, quick to go to social media and vilify people who don’t like Sanders. I don’t even have Twitter or Facebook accounts. I think social media divides people as much as it brings them together. Kinda’ like religion. I can honestly say that Sanders is one politician I trust a whole hell of lot more than all of the others. He’s not my political savior, or idol. It doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes or solve the troubles of this divided country and I’m not a fan-boy to any human being on the face of this earth. We’re all fallible humans trying to survive in this world. Sanders is always being, though not completely ignored, definitely dismissed with vague, eye rolling comments, despite being, if not at the top of most polls, near the top. And he’s won two primaries, (the most votes, though at the moment, Pete Buttigieg has one more delegate than Sanders). Any other candidate but Sanders would have nonstop coverage in a similar position. There’s many reasons, I think. His age, the hair, he’s a bit gruff and direct to the point. But more than anything, he makes people very nervous about the changes in this country he could be the catalyst for. He openly says he wants to raise taxes. What other politician says that? Elizabeth Warren back pedaled on that. And he absolutely scares the shit out of the powerful in this country,- bought and paid-for politicians, lobbyists, Wall Street, hedge fund managers, giant, multinational corporations, Corporate Media, obscenely wealth-hoarding billionaires and multimillionaires, all of which never stop trying to avoid paying their share of taxes, despite underpaid teachers, crumbling infrastructure, ballooning deficits, you name it. Hey, if Sanders raises our taxes it’s, gasp!, SOCIALISM!. No, it’s Democratic Socialism, you know, like all the developed countries of the world that have universal healthcare for all of its citizens. All of those powerful people would be so deprived only being able to buy five multimillion dollar mansions and yachts instead of six. I voted for Sanders in my state’s primary,( Michigan), in 2016. He won it. It was one of the states that Clinton lost in the electoral college.
    Sander is most definitely electable over that Tangerine Malignancy that currently occupies and accidentally got into The White House by a hundred different historical contingencies.

    1. ^ Sorry about the spelling and grammar. When I’m in a hurry I don’t double check my thread comments.

      At least I’m aware of them.

  8. Indeed, great stained-glass windows should at least be in places where living people have some likelihood of seeing them. In the last couple years some of the best pix of SGW’s that I’ve seen – spectacular nature scenes – have turned out to be in mausoleums. Unfortunately, I don’t have links to any of them, and none of those I have in mind turned up from searching stained glass window mausoleum.

  9. Who, of the Chicago 7, is still living? I know Hayden, Ruben, Delinger and Hoffman are dead but I’m not sure about the others.

  10. You must be a very poor snake oil salesman if you have to fan out from the Great Attractor of Snake Oil that is religion.

    In other news, Jerry reminds me of the boy who cried “PLANET!” 😀 Of course it looks odd. (People in general accept new science – or sometimes not – and move on.)

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