Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

I SAW A COYOTE (Canis latrans) ON MY WAY TO WORK! It ran along a sidewalk perpendicular to me, and it ran quickly and silently. It was not a dog: it was lean, shaped like a coyote (it was dark) and had a fluffy tail. It loped onto the lawn behind Rockefeller Chapel and disappeared.

There are estimated to be up to 4,000 coyotes in the Chicago area, but in my 34 years here, this is the first one I’ve seen.

It’s once again Tuesday, the cruelest day—August 25, 2020. You can mitigate some of the cruelty by celebrating National Whiskey Sour Day, as the drink is not to be sniffed at when made properly. It’s also National Banana Split Day, and, in France, Liberation Day, marking the day in 1944 when the German garrison in Paris surrendered (see below).

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot), honors British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, born on January 10 (1903) and died on May 20 (1975). Celebrating her on August 25 (“honoring her 117th birthday”, as the Evening Standard says) is thus weird. Can a reader explain?

Here’s Hepworth, and note her cat Nicholas, shown in this photo similar to the Doodle (the sculpture is called “Reclining Form”).

Update: Matthew found the significance of the date on Twitter:

News of the Day: I plan to get a haircut today; the first trim since about February. My hair is getting in the way, and I’ll see if I can get an appointment. I am told to ensure that the haircutter wears a mask and has no coronavirus symptoms, and I must also wear a mask. Here’s my hair today: it may never be this long again:

Once again we have a report, this time from the New York Post, that Kim Jong-un is seriously ill—this time in a coma. A similar report in April was apparently false, and this one might be too. Stay tuned. The report adds that his sister, Kim Yo-jung, has taken over some of her brother’s powers. Do not think for a minute that because she’s a woman, North Korea will become less authoritarian. She’s a nasty piece of work.

After yet another scandal, this time involving his wife’s lover, kinky sex, and blackmail, Jerry Falwell Jr. finally agreed to resign as President of Liberty University. His father, looking down from heaven, would surely be displeased. Oh, wait. . . .  Well, he’s still a disgrace to the name “Jerry”!  Here’s a photo that got him into trouble: posed with pants unzipped next to an unbuttoned woman identified as his wife’s assistant. He deleted this photo and then claimed that it was at a “costume party” and that there was no alcohol in the glass (drinking is forbidden at his school).

A Florida court has struck down the governor’s order that all secondary schools open for in-person education. The judge says that by abrogating student and teacher safety, the order violates the state constitution. For now, nearly education will be virtual.

Well, here’s some gloom and doom from CNN, which reports that a 33 year old man from Hong Kong caught coronavirus in two separate episodes 142 days apart. Although the man was asymptomatic during the second episode, genetic analysis suggests that these were two separate infection. This needs confirmation but, as I supposed, it suggests immunity to the coronavirus, like to influenza, does not last forever. Stay tuned, but we’re screwed anyway.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 177,197, an increase of about 500 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 812,180, an increase of about 4,000 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on August 25 includes:

  • 1543 – António Mota and a few companions become the first Europeans to visit Japan.
  • 1609 – Galileo Galilei demonstrates his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.
  • 1814 – War of 1812: On the second day of the Burning of Washington, British troops torch the Library of Congress, United States Treasury, Department of War, and other public buildings.
  • 1823 – American fur trapper Hugh Glass is mauled by a grizzly bear while on an expedition in South Dakota.

Glass was abandoned by his companions, and had a broken leg, infected wounds, and severe injuries. Nevertheless, he managed to hobble and crawl and float 200 miles to the nearest settlement. It took him six weeks. This was the basis for the largely fictionalized movie The Revenant (2015), in which Glass was played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Wikipedia notes this:

The “Great Moon Hoax” refers to a series of six articles that were published in The Sun, a New York newspaper, beginning on August 25, 1835, about the supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon. The discoveries were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, one of the best-known astronomers of that time.

The articles described animals on the Moon, including bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail-less beavers and bat-like winged humanoids (“Vespertilio-homo“) who built temples. There were trees, oceans and beaches. These discoveries were supposedly made with “an immense telescope of an entirely new principle”.

The author of the narrative was ostensibly Dr. Andrew Grant, the travelling companion and amanuensis of Sir John Herschel, but Grant was fictitious.

Eventually, the authors announced that the observations had been terminated by the destruction of the telescope, by means of the Sun causing the lens to act as a “burning glass”, setting fire to the observatory.

Here’s a published picture of what was on the moon in a place called the “Ruby Ampitheater”:

“Our plain was of course immediately covered with the ruby front of this mighty amphitheater, its tall figures, leaping cascades, and rugged caverns. As its almost interminable sweep was measured off on the canvass, we frequently saw long lines of some yellow metal hanging from the crevices of the horizontal strata in will net-work, or straight pendant branches. We of course concluded that this was virgin gold, and we had no assay-master to prove to the contrary.”

The author of the narrative was ostensibly Dr. Andrew Grant, the travelling companion and amanuensis of Sir John Herschel, but Grant was fictitious.

  • 1875 – Captain Matthew Webb becomes the first person to swim across the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in 21 hours and 45 minutes.
  • 1916 – The United States National Park Service is created.
  • 1940 – World War II: The first Bombing of Berlin by the British Royal Air Force.
  • 1944 – World War II: Paris is liberated by the Allies.

Here’s the surrender order, kindly provided by Matthew. He has a profusely illustrated website supporting his book about the Liberation, Eleven Days in August.

  • 1967 – George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, is assassinated by a former member of his group.
  • 2012 – Voyager 1 spacecraft enters interstellar space becoming the first man-made object to do so.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1530 – Ivan the Terrible, Russian ruler (d. 1584)
  • 1836 – Bret Harte, American short story writer and poet (d. 1902)
  • 1845 – Ludwig II of Bavaria (d. 1886)

Here’s “mad King Ludwig’s” most famous castle: Neuschwanstein:

Photo by Florian Werner. Source.
  • 1913 – Walt Kelly, American illustrator and animator (d. 1973)
  • 1918 – Leonard Bernstein, American pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1990)
  • 1927 – Althea Gibson, American tennis player and golfer (d. 2003)
  • 1931 – Regis Philbin, American actor and television host (d. 2020)
  • 1946 – Rollie Fingers, American baseball player
  • 1949 – Gene Simmons, Israeli-American singer-songwriter, producer, and actor
  • 1954 – Elvis Costello, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
  • 1961 – Billy Ray Cyrus, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
  • 1987 – Blake Lively, American model and actress

Those who became bereft of life on August 25 include:

  • AD 79 – Pliny the Elder, Roman commander and philosopher (b. 23)
  • 1776 – David Hume, Scottish economist, historian, and philosopher (b. 1711)
  • 1822 – William Herschel, German-English astronomer and composer (b. 1738)
  • 1867 – Michael Faraday, English physicist and chemist (b. 1791)
  • 1900 – Friedrich Nietzsche, German philologist, philosopher, and critic (b. 1844)
  • 1908 – Henri Becquerel, French physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1852)
  • 1956 – Alfred Kinsey, American biologist and academic (b. 1894)
  • 1967 – George Lincoln Rockwell, American commander, politician, and activist, founded the American Nazi Party (b. 1918)
  • 1984 – Truman Capote, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (b. 1924)

In my view, which many share, Capote’s greatest work was In Cold Blood, but up there with it is a story that’s often neglected: “A Christmas Memory,” whose ending always brings me to tears. Here’s a television documentary of the masterpiece (this is the first of six parts, all on YouTube) narrated by Capote. (I once had a chance to buy Sook’s original handwritten cookbook, and I could kick myself for not doing so.)

  • 2009 – Ted Kennedy, American politician (b. 1932)
  • 2012 – Neil Armstrong, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1930)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili tries to avoid the paparazzi:

A: May I take your picture?
Hili: If you have to.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy mogę ci zrobić zdjęcie?
Hili: Jak musisz.

In nearby Wloclawek, Leon has an episode of Cat Intuition:

Leon: I have a feeling that guests are coming.

In Polish: Czuję,że goście jadą.

BFFs Szaron and kitten Kulka are schmoozing on my couch! I’m very sad I won’t be able to get to Poland while Kulka’s still a kitten. It’s been way too long since I’ve visited, but the pandemic forbids it:

From reader Charles:

From Phil Ferguson:

A great cartoon I found on Facebook:

Titania found a story. But though the demands for segregated student housing are true, NYU, to its credit, said through a spokesperson, “NYU does not have and will not create student housing that excludes any student based on race.”

From Simon. This is also me heading to the duck pond and having to return to my office:

From Barry. I don’t think this is an owl, but it does show the remarkable head stabilization of some birds, especially predators:

From cesar. Things are apparently rough in Portland.

From Barry. Check out the ninja cat.

Tweets from Matthew. The first is a lovely series of tweets detailing the birth of some cygnets. Check out the thread.

Amazing eyes on this dragonfly:

This bird has definite catlike tendencies:

31 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. Say, Mister Deejay, do we have a tune we can dedicate to our host’s having espied a coyote this morning?

    Why yes, yes we do:

    1. I regularly see coyotes. I am in the suburbs of Chicago near a slew of forest preserves. I also see the occasional fox. Being able to co-exist with humans is a wonderful strategy for animals. The number and variety of birds (many raptors) is astonishing. Not surprised to see the sandhill cranes in the backyard.

      Not sure if Chicago has more coyotes than other places or they are studied more. Stan Gehrt of Ohio State set up the Urban Coyote Project.
      https://urbancoyoteresearch.com/

      1. When my kids were young, I moved out to the Miami ‘burbs for a while, to a home near a wildlife refuge. I’d get foxes in the yard, and the occasional ‘gator in the swimming pool. Small ones, but it never failed to give me a start to walk out there and see ’em.

        1. Imagine the start Cain and Abel got when they came across their first Tyrranosaurus rex in the back-yard. But Eve reassured them when she yelled from the kitchen window “Don’t worry kids. They’re vegetarian”. That was before the Fall of course.

      2. Here in southern CA we have lots and lots of coyotes and they are becomming more bold. In my neighborhood watch notices I have seen posts from people whose dogs were attacked while being walked on leash, and I personally know someone who was bitten by a coyote in their own backyard.

        1. I’m in So Cal too. Recently I thought saw a coyote in the evening prowling our neighborhood. Worried for our cats, I started walking towards it to chase it out of the area. But once I got closer I saw that it was someone dressed in black walking their coyote-looking dog. Got to get my eyes checked!

  2. “Next time you hear some particularly moralizing speech, set your watch. You won’t have to wait long before the man who made it is found, crouched awkwardly yet ecstatically while the cistern drips and the roar of the flush maddens him like wine.”

  3. In my view, which many share, Capote’s greatest work was In Cold Blood

    Count me among those who share that view. But there’s something to be said for Capote’s first novel, a bildungsroman in the Southern Gothic style, Other Voices, Other Rooms and, of course, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which gave the world the quintessential NY party girl of negotiable virtue, Holly Golightly.

    1. I’ve taken to calling one of our dog grandchildren Olie Golightly. Now, I suppose I should take the time to read the book.

  4. Some good news: Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay’s Cynical Theory is out. My kindle version was waiting for me this morning :o)

  5. A couple of reasons why you don’t see the coyotes more often. Because it is such an urban area they would rarely be out in daylight. Best chance would be early morning at first daylight. Also, even though there are many coyotes in the Chicago area, they maintain their own areas and other coyotes would not normally enter the territory of another coyote. Beside taking care of the rat/mouse population they will also get any cats and smaller dogs that are outside. Extremely unlikely that a coyote would go for a human. They will kill the cats and not necessarily to eat them.

    1. Hi Randall, see my reply to George in #1 above – coyotes are an increasing threat to humans here in CA, even during daylight hours.

      1. Yes, well I did not say it never happens but we know a lot more people are bitten and attacked by dogs than coyotes. When you have 40 million people living in California it is hard for the coyotes to find places to live without people. Coyotes are wild animals but have learned to adapt to living around people. In a fight for space the coyotes always lose. Now between people and fire, in California it seems the people lose.

  6. There is an enjoyable book on the Moon Hoax: Matthew Goodman, The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York. The Sun in this case refers to the newspaper.

    I should read Matthew’s book on the Liberation. I’ve always enjoyed the movie Is Paris Burning? It’s not a great movie, but it does feature the incomparable Gert Fröbe as Choltitz and Orson Welles as the Swedish consul, Nordling.

  7. “the man was asymptomatic during the second episode” – well that is surely good enough?! I’d only be concerned if he were ill. I have lost count of the number of times I thought I was getting a cold but then only had a blocked nose at night. I was probably a variety of corona positive person. So relax…

    1. I must be missing something because I don’t understand why you say that you’d only be concerned if he were ill, which, I take it means symptomatic. Being asymptomatic doesn’t mean he can’t pass the virus on to others. Wouldn’t you worry about that?

      1. Forget others for a moment… to clarify, I would not be worried for people who have had it, if, getting it again, they then were to show no symptoms. They at least would not then be ill. If indeed that is the case.

        Lots of things can be carried or spread by people unknowingly – common colds for example. They can be harmful to those with compromised immune systems. My feeling all along is that those who are vulnerable are the ones who should isolate themselves & be supported.

        I suppose I am a utilitarian in this respect. Or a fatalist. Others will no doubt feel we have to save everyone one whatever the cost. I do not see that as achievable.

  8. If you do get a haircut today, you might as well have your barber cut it shorter than usual. Just to buy you more time before the hair becomes unmanageable. I shaved my head a few weeks back, so don’t need to worry for a few months at least.

  9. Jerry Falwell Jr. finally agreed to resign as President of Liberty University …

    But does he retain the right to watch from the corner as someone else runs Liberty U?

  10. The “owl” looks like a broad-winged hawk, but I’m not sure. Pastor Alex claims to have an “advanced” Ph.D. in ornithology. Is there such a thing?

    1. It’s not a broad-winged. If it’s a North American buteo (soaring hawk) I’d say it’s a Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), which also occurs in Europe and is known as the Rough-legged Buzzard there. As far as I can tell, though, there’s no way of knowing that the hawk is a North American one, so all bets are off really, given how many buteos there are in the world (about 30) and how variable the plumages are of many of the species.

      I don’t know whether there’s such a thing as an advanced Ph.D. in ornithology but given that Pastor Alex can’t tell a hawk from an owl I suspect he doesn’t have one.

  11. The title of Matthew Cobb’s book, ‘Eleven Days In August’, brings to mind a book entitled ‘To Appomattox: Nine April Days 1865’, which I read recently online over at the wonderful http://www.archive.org.
    https://archive.org/details/toappomattoxnine012678mbp
    It is a great read about the events which forced the surrender of Robert E. Lee, seen from the view of common soldiers and civilians, as well as the more noted military leaders.

    Some advice if you do decide to download books to your device. Always get the PDF, which contains scanned JPEG images of the original book. The EPUB and Kindle versions are reconstructed from optical character recognition scans, and contain many errors and strange characters.

  12. Hold on, I seemed to notice that a certain talented 90-year old Scotsman hasn’t been mentioned in the birthday section.

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