Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. It’s one of those grim days when life seems pointless, an endless repetition of the same useless tasks; if it were a computer program, it would read “N = N + 1”.  The smallest task seems onerous, even feeding the ducks. I have made a latte with four shots of espresso to wake me up, as I slept very little. Further, it’s National Creme Brulee Day, one of the world’s most overrated desserts.

Creme brulee, which I regard as vanilla pudding with a sugary top. It is not filling, which is the duty of a dessert if your meal hasn’t sated you.

It’s also National Junk Food Day, and National Legal Drinking Age Day. The minimum drinking age was 18 during my youth, but was raised to 21 in 1984.

News of the Day: In view of Trump’s loss before the Supreme Court, which rejected his attempt to undermine DACA, Trump’s minions may be trying to find ways to skirt the law by executive decree. Several source, including the Guardian, report that John Yoo, a government lawyer who wrote the 2002 memo that justified tortures such as waterboarding, is now advising the Trump administration on how to flout the Supreme Court and curb immigration. Stay tuned.

Two teacher’s unions have sued Florida governor Ron DeSantis over his order that secondary schools open for five days a week in August. The unions maintain this violates a Florida law requiring schools to be “safe and secure.”

In view of his declining ratings (38% approval, 60% disapproval), Trump has resurrected his daily pandemic briefings.   I will no longer watch them. I used to, but found them uninformative, rambling, full of Trumpian lies: all in all a disgusting display of the “President”‘s logorrhea.

The media is excited by the reports that three coronavaccines show promising preliminary results, which means they stimulate an antibody (and T-cell) response and have no obvious harmful side effects. The Oxford vaccine looks especially promising. Our question, of course, is whether the antibody response will actually reduce your chances of getting the disease, how long that antibody response will last, and whether any bad side effects from the vaccines will take longer to show up. Still, it’s a bright spot on the horizon in a dark time.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 140,903, an increase of about 540 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 609,408, an increase of about 3700 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on July 21 includes:

  • 1861 – American Civil War: First Battle of Bull Run: At Manassas Junction, Virginia, the first major battle of the war begins and ends in a victory for the Confederate army.
  • 1873 – At Adair, Iowa, Jesse James and the James–Younger Gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American Old West.
  • 1925 – Scopes Trial: In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100.

Here is the defense team with Scopes (second from right) and his lawyers, including Clarence Darrow (left):

I tweeted about the abysmal data on American acceptance of evolution:

  • 1944 – World War II: Claus von Stauffenberg and four fellow conspirators are executed for the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
  • 1959 – Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green becomes the first African-American to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last team to integrate. He came in as a pinch runner for Vic Wertz and stayed in as shortstop in a 2–1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
  • 1969– Apollo program: At 02:56 UTC, astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to walk on the Moon.

Here are Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin disporting themselves on the Moon:

If you’re of a certain age, you will remember Silverheels as Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s companion, a figure that surely would not be portrayed today because of “stereotyping”. Here’s an old scene:

  • 1983 – The world’s lowest temperature in an inhabited location is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F).
  • 2011 – NASA’s Space Shuttle program ends with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.[5]
  • 2012 – Erden Eruç completes the first solo human-powered circumnavigation of the world.

Eruç crossed the oceans in a fancy rowboat; here’s a photo:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1899 – Ernest Hemingway, American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1961)
  • 1920 – Isaac Stern, Polish violinist and conductor (d. 2001)
  • 1948 – Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), English singer-songwriter and guitarist

Here’s Cat Stevens (KIDDING, it’s me!):

The real Cat Stevens. (When I traveled in Greece, I was mistaken for him a few times, as Stevens, whose parents were Greek immigrants to the UK, used to be a hero in Greece.)

  • 1948 – Garry Trudeau, American cartoonist
  • 1951 – Robin Williams, American actor, singer, and producer (d. 2014)
  • 1968 – Brandi Chastain, American soccer player and sportscaster

Those who kicked off on July 21 include:

Here is The Great Agnostic—the Hitchens of the 19th century.

  • 1998 – Alan Shepard, American admiral, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1923)
  • 2015 – E. L. Doctorow, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1931)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili still doesn’t like Szaron:

A: And why are you looking at him with such animosity?
Hili: Such are the times. Everybody is looking at each other with animosity.
In Polish:
Ja: I czemu ty patrzysz na niego tak niechętnie?
Hili: Takie czasy. Wszyscy teraz patrzą na siebie niechętnie.
There are of course two new cats chez Andrzej and Malgorzata, both formally owned by the upstairs lodgers. Here’s a rare photo, described by Malgorzata: “A rare situation: Szaron is inside and Paulina went out with the kitten, showing the kitten to us through the window.”
The kitten, named Kulka, may well stay there though formally she’s being fostered.

From Jesus of the Day:

A cartoon from reader Charles:

From Gregory:

I tweeted yesterday!

. . . and so did Titania:

A tweet from reader Simon:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a bizarre horror movie which Matthew titles, “Everything is cake.”

One of the many things that can go wrong in a Zoom meeting:

 

Now why might you want your eggs on a stalk?

. . and a close-up video:

Matthew is a severe critic of evolutionary psychology but tweeted this anyway!

Speaking of giving peas a chance, these ducks are wild for them! I wish my ducks would eat them. Sound up, please.

42 Comments

  1. Peter (Oz) Jones
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Hah

    Speaking of giving peas a chance

    I always thought it was “give Pete a chance”
    & had I looked as good as our host in his youth, maybe it would have been so?

  2. Jim batterson
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I thought that the issue in the scopes trial was the teaching of human evolution was forbidden, but that evolution of other life was ok? In the mid-70’s, when i was teaching physics in a virginia high school, our science department chair, a biology teacher, exclaimed to another biology teacher: “oh, you teach evolution? Thats so controversial!”

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    If you are in the 1 out of 5 group that believes in evolution, you are at least living in reality.

    Not too sure about that age for drinking. It depends on where you lived. It was 21 for many places in the Midwest when I was drinking although not legally. It was 21 in Iowa and Kansas. Although in Kansas you could drink 3.2 beer at 18. Later on they changed the age in some places down to 18. Argument being if you were old enough to get drafted and go to war you were old enough to drink. I know it was 21 in Texas back in 1968 when I was down there going through basic training and tech school.

    • Terry Sheldon
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Agree that the drinking age differed by state back in the day. The drinking age in NY was 18 back in the 70s, which led to such memorable occurrences as high school seniors drinking with their teachers at one of our local watering holes.

    • Graham Martin-Royle
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      The drinking age law in the USofA has always puzzled me (I’m from Scotland). If, as a country, you believe that anyone under the age of 21 is still too young to take alcohol, then you shouldn’t have any military under that age (effectively what you have are child soldiers by your own rules).

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Of course I should tell you, that argument was somewhat voided by the fact, if you were in the military at 18 years old you could drink anywhere on base or post. It was only when you left the post you were under state law. Frankly from the time I was 16 it was not that difficult finding something to drink. Illegal yes but difficult, no.

    • Jim batterson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I recall reading,maybe from jerry, that you believe IN religion, but you believe evolution.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    … Trump has resurrected his daily pandemic briefings.

    Good news! This can only mean that government pandemic experts have advised the president that massive doses of rambling incoherent bullshit administered to the US population via their television screens is the latest hydroxychloroquine-like SARS-CoV-2 cure!

    We’re saved!

    • Historian
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Trump’s campaign is taking a big risk — it is a sign of desperation. It is willing to risk him making a big blunder in the hope that his mini-rallies, pretending to be briefings, will excite his base. Also, of course, Trump can’t resist being in front of a camera.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Not too sure that risk is even in the vocabulary. A so-called republican putting federal troops on the streets of Portland to arrest civilians. And what are the republicans saying about it – crickets.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        It was invigorating to read Joe Biden’s unequivocal statement yesterday warning foreign powers against any attempts to interfere in this year’s US elections.

        Seems the least the American people should expect from any US presidential candidate. Wonder whether Biden’s statement will draw the bipartisan congressional endorsement it deserves — or whether congressional Republicans will pretend they’ve been too busy pretending not to have been reading Trump’s bat-shit crazy tweets and pretending not to have seen his blathering, blithering lying interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace last Sunday to have read Biden’s statement.

  5. Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    If there’s one thing that the last few months shows it is that the 2A argument “we need guns to defend ourselves against a rogue government” is fraudulent.

    Maybe the constitution should have had an amendment granting American gun nuts the right* to keep and bear a spine.

    *Or in the case of the Senate, a duty.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    1959 – Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green becomes the first African-American to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last team to integrate. He came in as a pinch runner for Vic Wertz and stayed in as shortstop in a 2–1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

    The Red Sox had a chance to sign Jackie Robinson 14 years earlier (in 1945, a year before Branch Rickey signed him to the Brooklyn Dodgers) but the tryout the Red Sox gave Robinson at Fenway Park turned out to be a sham, given that the Red Sox racist longtime owner, Tom Yawkey, had no interest in breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Trump has done what no Republican has managed to do in ninety years: Open the Left’s eyes about Russia. He may, yet, open their eyes on gun ownership.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Nice Kubrickian allusion, kicking off the moonwalk video with Strauss’s Thus Sprach Zarathustra.

  9. Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I could have sworn that was Cat Stevens. Wow.

    • pballabeni@bluewin.ch
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      It is the case of a cat lover mimicking somebody called Cat.

    • pballabeni@bluewin.ch
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      It is the case of a cat lover mimicking somebody called Cat.

      • pballabeni@bluewin.ch
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        Sorry for posting it twice. I do not know what happened.

  10. merilee
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I find crème brûlée very filling!

  11. John Reynolds
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Favorite Jay Silverheels story. Jay was a member of the Mohawk nation in Canada. When the
    director of The Lone Ranger heard he could speak Mohawk he told Jay to throw in some Mohawk words every now and then. Jay told him that the show was set in the American Southwest not Ontario, Canada. The director told him “Who cares, nobody will understand a word you say”

    Tonto would often show his anger by walking out of a room while muttering in the Mohawk language. The Lone Ranger would say something like ‘Tonto where are you going?’

    To which Tonto would say something in Mohawk like “I need to go to the bathroom” or “I’m gonna check out the new waitress in the cafeteria.”

  12. BJ
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Creme brulee is my favorite dessert, followed by pecan pie and coconut custard pie, followed by pumpkin by. An excellent day!

    Kitten update: Milo is still having trouble breathing, but seems to be a bit better after his first two doses of antibiotics. I’m not worried, as he certainly has all the energy and playfulness of a kitten! Considering he was a stray cat less than two days ago, its amazing how affectionate he is. He climbed into my lamp this morning and follows me around the room, constantly purring. He’s current sleeping on top of a pillow.

    My older cat has shown some interest and tried to get into the quarantine room a couple of times last night, but, other than those few minutes, he seems unfazed. I hope Milo’s nasal infection will have cleared up by Thursday so I can let him into the palace proper and become friends with the Lord of the Manor.

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Appreciate update. 😺

  13. rickflick
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    “When I traveled in Greece, I was mistaken for him…”
    If you’d carried a guitar, you might have gotten some free beer.

  14. Hempenstein
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The failure of the Valkyrie plot is one of the great tragedies of the 20th Century. von Stauffenberg and his fellow conspirators were true patriots, and Angela Merkel called them exactly that at the memorial ceremony last year on Bendlerstrasse.

    Anyone who died in WWII after 7/20/44 might well not have died. There would have been no Battle of the Bulge, for starts. The conspirators might well have had significant roles in the postwar reconstruction of Germany. Concentration camp inmates in the millions would have survived. Many of the commentariat’s parents or grandparents might well not have met, including mine. A divided Germany might not have happened. And so forth.

  15. jezgrove
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    PCC(E)’s resemblance to Cat Stevens is uncanny, but despite the dude’s name, his first single was called I Love my Dog! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_My_Dog

  16. Nobody Special
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    My favourite Lone Ranger joke:
    Did you hear? Tonto’s dead.
    Really? What happened?
    The Lone Ranger found out what Kimo Sabi really means.

    • merilee
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Horse’s rear end?

    • Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      And there is the old standby. The Lone Ranger and Tonto are being chased by a tribe of Indians. They are chased into a box canyon. The Lone Ranger says “We’re done for now, Tonto. The Indians have us trapped.” Tonto says “What do you mean ‘we’, Kimosabe?”

      • merilee
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        😂

  17. Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I love creme brulee even more, ever since I learned to make it in my Instant Pot. I can have more than a single serving, as it’s inexpensive to make at home.

    Kulka the kitten is very sweet. A keeper!

    • merilee
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      What’s the trick with IP crème brûlée?

      • Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        There’s no trick… just follow any good online recipe. And enjoy with the family. You don’t even have to bother to torch a crust.

        • merilee
          Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. Will probably just try it with flan/crème caramel to avoid the torching.

        • ritaprangle
          Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          Or, get Dr. Oetker’s Creme Brule mix, add a pint of 1/2 & 1/2, and it’s even easier. The mix includes the sugar topping I just put the individual servings in the toaster oven broiler for a few minutes. I’m gonna go make some right now!

          • merilee
            Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for reminding me about my toaster oven for brûléeing! I will make the custard from scratch, though. It’s very easy. When I make crème caramel I do the caramel in the microwave in a pyrex measuring cup. Twice as much sugar as water and then keep an eye on it as it goes dark all of a sudden. I think I will try “baking” in the IP, though, because it makes for a simpler water bath,

            • Posted July 22, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

              The IP makes it fast and it comes out so silken and to die for! I usually use the broiler too for caramelizing the sugar or in my case, the sugar substitute (Monk fruit/erythritol blend).

          • Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            Never had that! I need to control the sugar content, so I’m not sure this would be good for me. I will check the box if I ever see Dr. Oetker’s CB mix.

          • Posted July 22, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            I need to swap out sugar for Monk Fruit sweetener, as it has zero calories, zero glycemic index.

  18. Raskos
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I missed Matthew Cobb’s heading of “Sexual selection in action” on that video and only saw the headliner thatsaid “A day in the life of a Nature editor”. Which seemed to me to be a lot ritzier than the days of most editors, going by what the video showed us.

  19. merilee
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Just an aside on N=N+1…After taking quite a few programming classes, I decided to enter my students’ grades into the precursor of Excel which came on my first desktop. I can’t remember how many times I had to reenter everything before I realized that the math of spreadsheets did not work the same way as in the old n=n+1…


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