Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

August 23, 2020 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, August 23, 2020: National Cuban Sandwich Day. And a good sandwich it is too, with ham, cheese, pickles, roast pork, and mustard, grilled until hot and gooey. If you haven’t tried one, try to find one in your area (easy if it’s Miami). Here’s a nice specimen:

It’s also Buttered Corn Day (a simple but wonderful treat), National Sponge Cake Day, and, on the non-food front, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

Finally, it’s Valentino Day, celebrating the matinee idol who died on this day in 1926 at only 31 years old.  He was so handsome, in fact, that we named a drake hanging out at Botany Pond after him. Meet the gorgeous Rudolph:

. . . and Rudolph the human. Who do you think is handsomer?

News of the Day:  According to the Washington Post, student university newspapers are beginning to blame administrators for current and future infections. And who could blame them? It’s the administrators who have to make the hard decisions about whether and how to reopen campuses. If they guess wrong, they’re screwed. What I don’t understand is why the administrators can’t blame the students as well, as unsafe student gatherings, in violation of guidelines, have already caused some campus outbreaks and premature “closures”.

I don’t really understand why universities with basically the same data make very different decisions about whether to have residential students or live classes. My own view is that I can’t see how any regular college can open with resident students, even if all classes are virtual, and not have a substantial risk of a Covid-19 outbreak. Are the students supposed to stay away from each other for the whole semester? If so, why even set foot on campus, especially if you don’t get to go to class?

A WaPo editorial caught my eye because of its title: “Joe Biden’s overtly religious campaign.” What? I haven’t heard him say much about God, though he’s a pious Catholic It turns out, according to the author’s description, Biden’s campaign isn’t even covertly religious, it’s metaphorically religious:

Which is to say: Joe Biden is running the most overtly religious campaign since Jimmy Carter in 1976. It is as clear as a large-print Bible. He’s offering himself as Father Joe and Joe the father: a devout, humble man of decency who sees and hears, we are told, all of the people, from his own family to all of the souls in our country, which itself has a “soul” that he is pledging to save for us.

That op-ed is clickbait, and should have been spiked. The author needs to learn the meaning of “overt”.

Meanwhile, California is on fire, but if you’re an American you’ll already know that. It’s grim.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 176,248, an increase of about 1,000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 803,991, an increase of about 4,500 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on August 23 includes:

This was the prelude to the Big Blow that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, probably some time in October (dates are uncertain as we have only one eyewitness account). Here are some plaster casts of some of the victims in situ, made by pouring plaster into the hollows made when the ash-covered bodies decayed.

  • 1305 – Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield, London.
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: King George III delivers his Proclamation of Rebellion to the Court of St James’s stating that the American colonies have proceeded to a state of open and avowed rebellion.
  • 1831 – Nat Turner’s slave rebellion is suppressed.
  • 1927 – Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed after a lengthy, controversial trial.
  • 1942 – World War II: Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.
  • 1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

Here’s that photo:

Here’s a photograph of three of the four hostages, and the captor, Jan-Erik Olsson, taken by police through a hole drilled in the wall. Olsson served ten years in prison for the act.

Here’s Bullard in his uniform as a corporal (photo from U.S. Air Force):

  • 2007 – The skeletal remains of Russia’s last royal family members Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, and his sister Grand Duchess Anastasia are discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia.
  • 2011 – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown after the National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the Libyan Civil War.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1769 – Georges Cuvier, French biologist and academic (d. 1832)
  • 1852 – Arnold Toynbee, English economist and historian (d. 1883)
  • 1912 – Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1996)
  • 1940 – Galen Rowell, American mountaineer and photographer (d. 2002)

As I’ve said before, Rowell, who died young in a plane crash, is my favorite “mountain photographer”. Here’s one of his photos, “Split rock and cloud, Eastern Sierra (California, 1976)”

  • 1970 – River Phoenix, American actor (d. 1993)
  • 1977 – Jared Fogle, former spokesperson for chain restaurant Subway

Fogle’s now in prison for pederasty.

  • 1978 – Kobe Bryant, American basketball player and businessman (d. 2020)

Those who became ex persons on this day include:

  • 634 – Abu Bakr, Arabian caliph (b. 573)
  • 1305 – William Wallace, Scottish rebel commander (b. 1272)
  • 1926 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (b. 1895)
  • 1927 – Nicola Sacco, Italian anarchist convicted of murder (b. 1891)
  • 1927 – Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian anarchist convicted of murder (b. 1888)
  • 1960 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American director, producer, and composer (b. 1895)
  • 1982 – Stanford Moore, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913)
  • 1995 – Alfred Eisenstaedt, German-American photographer and journalist (b. 1898)

Here’s one of Eisenstaedt’s photos:

Actress Sophia Loren examining contents of bottle while on picnic during location filming of Madame Sans Gene. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
  • 2019 – David Koch, American engineer, businessman, and philanthropist (b. 1940)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has questions:

A: Days are shorter and shorter.
Hili: Interesting; how do flat earthers explain this?
In Polish:
Ja: Dni są coraz krótsze.
Hili: Ciekawe jak to tłumaczą płaskoziemcy?

In nearby Wloclawek, Kitten Mietek is all grown up, and shows that he’s an adult cat:

Mietek: Somewhere around here is my snack.

In Polish: Tu gdzieś jest moja przekąska.

From reader Beth:

From reader Charles. Protip: vet your skywriter if you want to declare your love before the world.

You’ll have to be of “a certain age” to get this, but I got it instantly:

From reader Barry. I distinctly remember posting this somewhere, but it could have been a repost on Twitter. At any rate, enjoy it again if you’ve seen it. The foxes are very, well, “fluffy”—certainly pets or domesticated canids:

From Simon. It’s truly pathetic that they put silhouettes or stuffed animals in the seats at baseball stadiums to make it look like there are spectators. At least they don’t get hurt when the ball hits them.

From reader Ken, who calls it “Donald Trump, marine biologist”:

Tweets from Matthew. These disses of Trump by Republicans look powerful, but some of them are probably the usual dissing during political campaigns. Still . . . .

I nominate this for Tweet of the Year up to now. What lovely people to give their pool over to a duck family, and to feed them (note the mealworms!) and build them a duck ramp. Folks after my own heart!

Absolutely beautiful drone footage. Somebody knows how to fly this one!

Nature is both grim and wonderful, though I’m a bit unsure about why the wasp protects the eggs. Does the silk keep them from being eaten? And I didn’t know that wasps could even spin silk.

I knew what was going to happen here because I saw something just like this (with the addition of a gazillion surfacing seals) on a whale-watching trip with Bruce Lyon near Santa Cruz. Everybody hangs around hoping for a fish.

27 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. The duck pond lady does everything right! I wonder if she hangs out here. I loved watching her pool water get greener over time.

  2. Re “Joe Biden’s overtly religious campaign”: There was rather more talk about God and faith at the past week’s DNC than I was comfortable with (which would’ve been none). But I took that to be an effort to dispel the bogus bs Trump has been spreading publicly that Joe Biden “wants to hurt the bible, hurt God”:

    1. Whether or not you consider Biden’s campaign strategy religious or not, it is clear that the tone of the Democratic convention was to compare Biden’s character against Trump. This was emphasized much more than policy differences between the two. Biden was portrayed as caring, loving, and empathetic versus Trump the selfish lout. My guess is that the rationale behind Biden’s approach was two-fold. The first was the hope that Biden could peel off some Trump supporters concerned about the character issue. The second was that by de-emphasizing his policy positions the chances that the chasm would grow between Democratic progressives and moderates would be reduced. I suppose we’ll see if this approach works.

      At this point, it appears that Trump’s convention will be aimed at securing his base by emphasizing his familiar themes: false religiosity, guns, his laughable economic genius, the threat of socialism under Biden, and the rampaging of mobs in the streets. If, in fact, this is Trump’s approach at the convention then it is premised on the belief that a high turnout of his base will be enough to win the election. So, this election will be between hope and fear.

    1. Rudolph certainly is a drake; the males haven’t “greened up” yet this year, i.e., developed their iridescent green head feathers. The yellow-olive green bill is a pretty good clue,

      1. Well, blow me! (not a rude saying in the UK!) When I was a kid we kept mallards in the back garden. Maybe it was a climate thing, as the UK has no really cold winters (since 1948 and 1963) and Dickie, the drake, didn’t change his plumage according to the seasons. I know that immature drakes look like females, but once they have a green head, white collar, brown breast, grey underparts and a curly DA at the rear, I did not know they could change. Given when breeding season occurs, which is when we expect drakes to their most ‘drakey’, might I respectfully suggest Rudolph ought to have a green head etc by now?

        1. Done more research, but even the images I find of mallard drakes in ‘eclipse plumage’ still look like drakes, rather than like females. It would be grand to tag Rudolph and watch him over the next season. I understand the genetics of mallards are fantastically variable as they interbreed freely with other species in the Anas genus.

  3. 1960 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American director, producer, and composer (b. 1895)

    Pretty sure Hammerstein wrote the lyrics (and librettos); Richard Rodgers composed the music.

  4. Who is to stop Trump from highjacking this election other than collective action of people in the streets? He has locked up the judicial branch, the congress, the post office and nearly everything that would prevent the fraud. All he has left is to tell Putin when the party begins. Who thought disassembly of this democracy could happen so quickly.

    1. To be honest, I don’t think collective action in the streets would achieve anything either. Trump’s solid 43% is far too high a proportion of the populace to allow such action to achieve anything.

      1. So you are assuming Trump’s cult would go to the streets and stop the mass demonstrations? I do not see that happening as his cult generally fits into the coward like status, same as Trump. When and if the rubber meets the road, we will see. Much of his cult is old white men and they do not do well in the streets against the younger generations.

        1. No, I meant that protests would be ineffectual in calling for a new election, as the there wouldn’t be the kind of groundswell of public opinion that would be necessary. I don’t know of any case where public dissent or popular uprising has toppled a government that is supported by nearly half the population.

          1. And you have never seen an election stolen in America either. I am afraid you are living in the era of anything can happen.

  5. @PCC[E]: I think had you watched more of the convention you would probably have come to the same conclusion that the WaPo did. I certainly came to that conclusion. It annoyed me to no end.

    1. And the Donald’s sister was recorded saying he’s an unprincipled phoney. We had spotted that trait ourselves, of …

    1. I find that photo of people’s casts, including children, dying asphyxiated haunting, even after nearly 2000 years…

  6. The world death toll now stands at 803,991, an increase of about 4,500 deaths from yesterday.

    Closing in on 1 million after 9 months. I don’t think I’m an overly optimistic spreadsheet warrior if I say that we will likely undershoot the 1918 flu pandemic which lasted 3 times as long (26 months) with an estimated 17 – 50+ million dead [ ]. Especially if we can get some useful vaccines after year’s end!

    1. Let me try again:

      The world death toll now stands at 803,991, an increase of about 4,500 deaths from yesterday.

      Closing in on 1 million after 9 months. I don’t think I’m an overly optimistic spreadsheet warrior if I say that we will likely undershoot the 1918 flu pandemic which lasted 3 times as long (26 months) with an estimated 17 – 50+ million dead [ ]. Especially if we can get some useful vaccines after year’s end!

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