Sunday: Hili dialogue

April 12, 2020 • 6:45 am

We have a special Easter edition today, with holiday-themed posts. Or so I plan. Welcome to Sunday, April 12, 2020:  National Licorice Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day. (That’s a fine holiday for Passover! When I was a kid and we had ham for dinner, my father would always pronounce it “a good kosher ham.” He also called our Christmas tree “the Hanukkah bush.” Yes, we were truly secular Jews.)

It’s also Drop Everything and Read Day (I suspect most of us are doing this anyway), International Day for Street Children, and International Day of Human Space Flight, honoring Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human in space on April 12, 1961. Gagarin made one  108-minute orbit around the Earth. Here’s a short (2½ minute) NBC News film reporting on Gagarin’s orbital flight:

Gagarin died in 1968 in a plane crash; he was only 34.

It is of course Easter Sunday, and Passover is also underway until next Thursday evening. Let’s celebrate them both!:

Here’s something I published for Easter in 2017:

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before (and if you’ve read this site consitently, you have). I love a good Jewish joke, and this is an excellent one for Easter. It comes from the site Southern Jewish Humorwhich gets the story from Eli N. Evans, who wrote The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South. (I’m allowed to tell this because I’m Jewish.)

Evans said he searched for the best example he could find of Southern Jewish humor.  He told the story of a Jewish storekeeper in a small town who was approached by the Christian elders to show solidarity for their Easter holiday.

Mr. Goldberg was chagrined but when Easter came, after sunrise services on a nearby hilltop, the mayor, all the churchgoers, and the leading families in the city gathered in the town square in front of his store.  The store had a new sign but it was draped with a parachute.

After an introduction from the mayor, at the appointed hour, the owner pulled the rope and there it was revealed in all its wonder for all to see: “Christ Has Risen, but Goldberg’s prices remain the same.”

News of the Day: Need I say that it isn’t good? As of this morning, the death toll for coronavirus in the U.S. stands at 20,601; in the world it’s 108,994. All over the U.S., but especially in the South, the faith-ridden yokels are preparing to gather en masse in church, either considering themselves immune to the coronavirus because they’re “washed in the blood of Jesus”, or because to them the need to worship (and thereby gain eternal life) outweighs the chance of infection. I guess they think their God would send them to hell if they deigned to worship remotely.  Some God! In Florida, the (Republican) governor refuses to prevent church gatherings today (he did warn about social distancing).  More on the rest of the U.S. later.

A new multi-authored New York Times investigative piece details the missteps and waffling by Trump and the administration in handling the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.  Excerpt:

There were key turning points along the way, opportunities for Mr. Trump to get ahead of the virus rather than just chase it. There were internal debates that presented him with stark choices, and moments when he could have chosen to ask deeper questions and learn more. How he handled them may shape his re-election campaign. They will certainly shape his legacy.

And where the global sports calendar stands can be seen here. Major league baseball—our “national sport”—is merely postponed, but I predict the season will be canceled in toto. (Once again, I hope I’m wrong—if it can be played safely.)  Only Wimbledon and the British Open have been formally canceled.

Stuff that happened on April 12 includes:

  • 1204 – The Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade breach the walls of Constantinople and enter the city, which they completely occupy the following day.
  • 1606 – The Union Flag is adopted as the flag of English and Scottish ships.

Yes, we’re talking about the Union Jack here:

  • 1862 – American Civil War: The Andrews Raid (the Great Locomotive Chase) occurs, starting from Big Shanty, Georgia (now Kennesaw).

Have a read about this act of derring-do. It resulted in the award of America’s first Medal of Honor.

  • 1937 – Sir Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft, at Rugby, England.
  • 1945 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes President upon Roosevelt’s death.

And here’s an appropriate anniversary:

Let us note again that, unlike many modern researchers (and their greedy institutions) who develop innovative and useful medicines or techniques (e.g., CRISPR), Salk gave away his vaccine, refusing to patent it. It’s calculated that that patent would have been worth $7 billion in profits.  Here’s Salk affirming that to Edward Murrow:

Salk giving an injection. The man was a fricking hero, but the scientific community didn’t like him much. He never got a Nobel Prize, which he truly deserved, nor was he even elected to the National Academy of Sciences. See this video for some explanations.

  • 1961 – Cold War: Space Race: The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1. [See above]
  • 1983 – Harold Washington is elected as the first black mayor of Chicago.
  • 1999 – United States President Bill Clinton is cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in a civil lawsuit; he is later fined and disbarred.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1777 – Henry Clay, American lawyer and politician, 9th United States Secretary of State (d. 1852)
  • 1883 – Imogen Cunningham, American photographer and educator (d. 1976)

Cunningham, famous for her pictures of plants, of nudes, and for her portraits, was an extremely influential photographer throughout most of the 20th century. Here’s “Three Dancers, Mills College, 1930.”

  • 1916 – Benjamin Libet, American neuropsychologist and academic (d. 2007)
  • 1932 – Tiny Tim, American singer and ukulele player (d. 1996)
  • 1947 – David Letterman, American comedian and talk show host
  • 1950 – David Cassidy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2017)
  • 1981 – Tulsi Gabbard, American politician

Those who snuffed it on April 12 include:

  • 1945 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, American lawyer and politician, 32nd President of the United States (b. 1882)
  • 1981 – Joe Louis, American boxer and wrestler (b. 1914)
  • 1988 – Alan Paton, South African historian and author (b. 1903)
  • 1989 – Abbie Hoffman, American activist, co-founded Youth International Party (b. 1936)
  • 1989 – Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer (b. 1921)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili still isn’t comfortable with Szaron:

Hili: I will jump down in a moment.
A: Don’t do it—you will frighten Szaron.
Hili: That’s exactly my intention.
In Polish:
Hili: Zaraz zeskoczę.
Ja: Nie rób tego, bo wystraszysz Szarona.
Hili: Taki właśnie jest mój zamiar.

And nearby, at the site of his future home, Mietek is sad because, although Easter celebrations should be taking place in Poland, Elzbieta and Andrzej II have no guests because of the country’s lockdown.

Mietek: No guests can be seen.
In Polish: Gości żadnych nie widać.

From Merilee: an old-timey solution to a new problem.

From Moto, cartoon from Mr. Fish:

A cat meme from Heather Hastie:

Somebody made a video of one of Titania’s “poems”; this one’s about veganism:

From Muffy: what sports commentators do when there are no sports.

From Craig (and tweeted by CNN journalist Jake Tapper): a wonderful Ogden Nash poem about DUCKS:

A tweet for science geeks from Simon, also a science geek. If you’re not one, guess what the issue is here:

A tweet from Heather Hastie: cat magic!

Tweets from Matthew. Spot the stupidity in the first video:

A lamb is born (appropriate for Easter, no?):

Crikey, Trump chews on his metatarsals again!


27 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Very nice with the corn cobs Merilee. But how well do you know your cobs? The ones in the video appear to be from popcorn.

  2. For more details about the parties at work on the polio vaccine:

    Jane S. Smith
    Patenting the Sun

    I’d have to check a copy of Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland, but I think Salk is in there.

  3. Thank you for calling attention to dr jacobs and to her biography of dr salk….a biography of a scientist by a scientist. Looks to be an interesting quarantine read.

      1. Pipetters use disposable tips. The person in the video opens a case where each previous tip has been removed in sequence, and elects to take the next tip from the middle of the unused section. It’s like showing one person neatly rolling a tube of toothpaste from the end, followed by the next person just crushing the middle of the tube. That’s my take.

    1. Me too. I have a postdoc in the lab I won’t even send it to. She’d probably need extended therapy!

      Its thinking inside the box I suppose

  4. I was just 17 when the salk vaccine arrived. I lived in a very small village in upstate Michigan. There were a total of 13 children in the village in 53 & 54. My sibs & and I accounted for 5 of those children. The remaining 8, of 3 other families all had polio to some degree.
    When I was 18 (female you know couldn’t join at 17) I joined the Navy. It is usual to vaccinate the arms off recruits, I swear. I was also to be vaccinated for polio. I had read that those exposed to polio, when vaccinated, would end up in an iron lung. As I stood there waiting for my turn I was terrified and convinced they would be carrying me out of there to, if not in, an iron lung.
    18 was very young in 1956.
    I wonder today if what I had read then was part of the dissatisfaction regarding Dr Salk. A few years later while in nursing school we were all assembled and given the Sabin sugar cube. Much less traumatic for me. In fact, anticlimatic.

  5. One of the associates who Jonas Salk never acknowledged was my former dept chair Julius Youngner. His contributions to the effort were said to have enabled development of the vaccine two years sooner than would otherwise have been possible, through improved cell culture techniques (the special treatment of monkey kidney cells).

    1. My favorite:

      Jesus walks into a hotel
      Puts four nails on the counter and says
      “can you put me up for the night”

      I’ll be here all week, because I’m not allowed to go anywhere else

  6. China has only 5% of the number of cases of Covid-19 of the USA.

    Something s Fishy
    Wuhan to Shanghai = 839km 450 miles
    Wuhan to Beijing = 1,152km. 650 miles
    Wuhan to Milan = 15,000km
    Wuhan to NY = 15,000km
    The Coronavirus started in Wuhan yet there is no effect of Coronavirus in nearby Beijing or Shanghai but many deaths in Italy, Iran, European countries and USA. (less than 600 cases each in Beijing or Shanghai reported by 12 April, 2020)
    All business areas of China are now safe.
    *Something is fishy.*
    America is not just blaming China without a reason.
    Even today, India is locked down but all the cities of China are open. China has also announced the opening of Wuhan from April 08. Not a single leader in China has tested positive for the deadly Coronavirus.
    *Something is fishy.*
    The virus has ruined many economies around the world. Many have had to close their borders in an attempt to contain and control the spread of the Coronavirus. Thousands have lost their lives, millions have now got this disease, countless people have been locked in their homes and many countries have placed their citizens on lock down.
    *Something is fishy.*
    The Coronavirus originated from the city of Wuhan in China and has now reached every corner of the world, but the virus did not reach China’s capital Beijing and China’s Economic Capital Shanghai, located in close proximity to Wuhan itself.
    *Something is fishy*
    Today Paris is closed, New York is closed, Berlin is closed, Delhi is closed, Mumbai is closed, Tokyo is closed, the world’s major economic and political centers are closed, but Beijing and Shanghai are open. No Coronavirus effect is seen in either cities. There were only a few cases but the virus had no real effect on Beijing and Shanghai.
    *Something is fishy.*
    Beijing is the city where all the leaders of China live, including their military leaders. There is no lock down in Beijing.
    *Something is fishy*
    Shanghai is the city that runs China’s economy. It is the economic capital of China, where all the rich people of China live and run major industries. There is no lock down here, there is no effect of the Coronavirus there.
    *Something is fishy*
    Beijing and Shanghai are the areas adjoining Wuhan. The virus from Wuhan reached every corner of the world, but the virus did not affect Beijing and Shanghai.
    *Something is fishy*
    Another big thing is, that the worldwide share market has fallen by almost half. In India also the Nifty has gone from 12 thousand to 7 thousand, but the share market of China was at 3000 and just merely dropped to 2700.
    *Something is fishy*
    This leaves one to speculate that the Coronavirus is a bio-chemical weapon of China, which China used to carry out destruction in the world in order to gain economic supremacy.
    China has now put this virus under control, maybe they also have the antidote/ vaccine that they are not sharing with the world ever or will do when it is in their best interest to do so.
    *Something is fishy*
    Hollywood stars, Australia’s Home Minister, Britain’s Prime Minister and Health Minister, Spain’s Prime Minister’s wife, Canada’s Prime Minister’s wife, and Britain’s Prince Charles, among others, have contracted the Coronavirus, but NOT A SINGLE POLITICAL LEADER IN CHINA, NOT A SINGLE MILITARY COMMANDER in China have tested positive for Coronavirus.

    1. That we know. Do you know the names of lots of senior Chinese politicians in various states? Yes they probably concealed the numbers dead and are trying to control the story eg any academic cov-sat articles have to go past some official approval but you are going too far down the conspiracy nut road it seems to me. See Sundasy Times for the academic story by the way

    2. Unlike tRump the Chinese leaders took the threat from Coronavirus seriously from an early stage, as was noted in the US back in early February: Yes, their cowardly response was to hide themselves away and hope for the best, but at least they left the experts in charge in their absence.

      If tRump had acted at the start of February the US would be in a better place now. Especially if he had hidden in a (golf?) bunker and put some adults in control.

  7. The Union Jack shown is the 1801 version. The 1707 version does not include the Irish cross of St. Patrick (Red diagonal).

          1. Nope, apparently not. You need the .svg in the web address, but WordPress seems not to include it in the link for reasons I am too stupid to understand.

  8. Can’t find the OP but this comment from a Stanford friend, American but grew up in Paris where dad was a doc at the American Hospital. I had sent her the link about heavy legs..
    “Interesting! Never heard of heavy legs so it must have replaced “crise de foie “
    Which was the common complaint when I was living in Paris. At that time the French loved to take suppositories and liquid medicine in “ampules”.”

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