Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s September at last: Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Will this month bring better news? Probably not, but one can hope. September is a multiple food month:

National Chicken Month
National Honey Month
National Mushroom Month
National Papaya Month
National Potato Month
National Rice Month

and today in particular is National Gyro Day, celebrating our cultural appropriation from Greece. In the UK, it’s National Tofu Day, in New Zealand it’s Random Acts of Kindness Day, while here in the US it’s National Cherry Popover Day, American Chess Day, and Ginger Cat Appreciation Day. (If you have an orange cat, give it a treat!)  Here’s reader Christopher’s ginger cat, with the caption: “Magellan the noisy, grumpy,  rude, sometimes bitey ginger cat…’Pay attention to me, now.’”

Finally, it’s Emma M. Nutt Day, celebrating the first female telephone operator in the world, who began her job on this day in 1878.

And if you know your history, today’s marks the beginning of hostilities in World War II, as the Germans invaded Poland after staging a fake “Polish attack” incident on the border (see below).

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot), a series of six sequential panels, pays homage to Jackie Ormes (1911-1985), the first black woman cartoonist in America. She was also a nearly lifelong resident of Chicago.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first publication of the comic strip , today’s Google Doodle honors the life of its creator, Jackie Ormes — through a comic, of course!


Wikipedia explains the strip:

. . . . a single-panel cartoon which ran for 11 years. It featured a big sister-little sister set-up, with the precocious, insightful and socially/politically-aware child as the only speaker and the beautiful adult woman as a sometime pin-up figure and fashion mannequin.  The strip ran from September 1, 1945 to September 22, 1956.

Here’s a strip from 1951; as you see, it often dealt with racial issues. Read more about Ormes and her work here.


News of the Day: In a speech in Pittsburgh, Joe Biden finally made the no-nonsense denunciation of violence that I was looking for. Of course he didn’t do it at my behest, but he knew he had to say something like this:

This was sent by cesar and scares me. Yes, it’s the betting odds from RealClear Politics, but below that is the poll average. What gives?

Biden leads below by only 6 points. Time for Uncle Joe to get busy!

Meanwhile, the Trumpenführer is visiting Kenosha Wisconsin today, despite the requests of local officials that he stay away. They’re right; his presence will only inflame the tensions there. Of course, that’s what he wants.

Northwestern University in Chicago has backed off its previous all-attendance policy for the fall, now saying that only third- and fourth-year students will be on campus for the all-virtual fall quarter. There are three mistakes here. First, if anybody should be on campus, it should be the newer rather than the older students. Second, nobody should be on campus if all classes are virtual. Given that you can’t socialize much with fellow students, what’s the point? Finally, and not noted above, Northwestern is reducing tuition by a measly 10%, which is a ridiculously low cut in a very high tuition (nearly $57,000/year).

Yesterday the total of covid-19 cases in the U.S. topped six million. But there’s some good news as well:

“As a nation, we are clearly doing better now on the last day of August than we were on the first day of August,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

“(Daily) cases have come down. Deaths are starting to decline. Hospitalizations are down. This is good news, and it’s largely because of smart policies in Texas and Arizona and Florida around masking and closing bars,” Jha said.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 183,475, an increase of about 500 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 849,779, an increase of about 3,900 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on September 1 includes:

  • 1173 – The widow Stamira sacrifices herself in order to raise the siege of Ancona by the forces of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
  • 1715 – At the age of five, Louis XV becomes king of France in succession to his great-grandfather, King Louis XIV.
  • 1878 – Emma Nutt becomes the world’s first female telephone operator when she is recruited by Alexander Graham Bell to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company.

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia with the caption: “This scene from “Bold Experiment – the Telephone Story”, depicts the first women operators, Emma and Stella Nutt, working alongside boy operators at the Edwin Holmes Telephone Despatch Co. Boston, Massachusetts in 1878.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1653 – Johann Pachelbel, German organist, composer, and educator (d. 1706)
  • 1854 – Engelbert Humperdinck, German playwright and composer (d. 1921)
  • 1875 – Edgar Rice Burroughs, American soldier and author (d. 1950)
  • 1925 – Art Pepper, American saxophonist, clarinet player, and composer (d. 1982)

Here’s one of my favorite jazz renditions, performed live at the Village Vanguard by Pepper. If ever a song could be said to wail and moan, telling of a hard life (Pepper had one: he was in and out of jail for heroin addiction), it’s this one. With George Cables on piano, George Mraz on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.

  • 1933 – Ann Richards, American educator and politician, 45th Governor of Texas (d. 2006)
  • 1946 – Barry Gibb, Manx-English singer-songwriter and producer
  • 1948 – Józef Życiński, Polish archbishop and philosopher (d. 2011)
  • 1948 – Russ Kunkel, American drummer and producer
  • 1970 – Padma Lakshmi, Indian-American actress and author

Those who croaked on September include:

  • 1557 – Jacques Cartier, French navigator and explorer (b. 1491)
  • 1967 – Siegfried Sassoon, English soldier and writer (b. 1886)
  • 1981 – Albert Speer, German architect and author (b. 1905)
  • 1988 – Luis Walter Alvarez, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1911)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata and Andrzej get back to work after a brief break on the veranda. As Malgorzata explained:

This is the continuation of yesterday’s dialogue. They are still on the steps, having a nice time, but Andrzej is anxious to return to his computer. Hili would like to stay there longer but she knows Andrzej.
A: And now we are going back to the computers.
Hili: I could have guessed that you would say so.

In Polish:

Ja: A teraz wracamy do komputerów.
Hili: Domyślałam się, że to powiesz.
Little Kulka is exploring the wardrobe downstairs:

From Bruce:

From Stash Krod, a Scott Hilburn cartoon:

From Nicole:

I tweeted! (h/t: Ken for the link)

This group of students, who want our campus cops to be defunded and then eliminated, are camping out in the street in front of the Provost’s house, itself a form of harassment. And then they painted their own racist slogan on the street in front of our her house. Although the Provost is of Asian descent, she’s American and speaks perfect English. See the story of these shameless protestors here.

Politics over, back to fun. First, a tweet from Simon about a tool-using heron. It’s unbelievable, but other birds have done the same thing. It’s tool use in any meaningful sense. I bet you can understand the French. (I’ve probably shown this before, but have a look again.)

A Twitter exchange sent by reader Barry:

Tweets from Matthew. This first one is a corker:

Donkeys are awesome. If I were to have an equine pet, it would be a cute little donkey:

Matthew may be serious, but I seriously doubt we’ll have any attempted coups.

Why does the Mexican army have eagle handlers???


  1. DrBrydon
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The betting odds are only part of the story. Here’s the latest poll from the Daily Express and the Democracy Institute.

    • Posted September 1, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      That’s only one poll and not a particularly reliable one at that. Fivethirtyeight’s poll tracker shows the lead narrowing – as you would expect following the RNC – but still has Biden at about +7.

      Having said that, we need to convince Trump supporters that there really is no danger of Biden winning because we don’t want them to be bothered to go out and vote.

  2. Posted September 1, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    The Mexican Army has eagle handlers because the Golden Eagle is the national bird of Mexico, and appears on the national coat of arms. The US Air Force Academy has falcon handlers, because falcons are the Air Force’s that service’s mascot bird. (Both eagle and falcon handlers are considered “falconers”.)


    • Bob
      Posted September 2, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      The airport in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, FRAPORT, has a falconer on staff. He goes out periodically with his falcon to chase the birds away from the runways. I used to see him work when I lived in Zeppelinheim across the Autobahn from the airport. He would release the falcon during periods of reduced takeoffs and landings and the birds disappeared for days.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    The SR-71 traveled at 0.8% the speed of light.

    ( 2 310 353 m/s ) / ( 299 792 458 m / s ) = 0.007706508080333

    • Posted September 1, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I think you accidentally did 2,310,353 m/s when it’s m/h. It’s about 642 m/s. Still impressive, of course.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted September 1, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Let me do that again – I was using Google pull downs to convert… and I think I was too eager about the output …

        (2,310.353 km/h) = 641.764722 m / s

        (641.764722 m / s)/(299 792 458 m / s) = 0.000002140696688

        X 100=-> 0.000214069668824 % speed of light.

        So.. NOT impressive :^)

        • eric
          Posted September 1, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          Well, I guess that depends on what you consider impressive.

          IIRC, it’s either the only plane or one of the only planes in which you can watch the sun rise in the west (i.e outrun the Earth’s rotation). I call that impressive.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted September 1, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            The angle of my opinion of “NOT impressive” was in reference to light’s speed – an impressive speed. I’m not sure what word is used to describe that opinion, but “serious” is not one of them.

            • grasshopper
              Posted September 1, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

              There once was a lady named Bright
              Who travelled faster than light.
              She stepped out one day
              In a relative way,
              And came back the previous night.

        • Posted September 2, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          It’s still pretty darn fast for a plane. The X-Men use one in the comics! ^_^

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Won’t be long before we will be over 200,000 dead from the virus and Trump will still be doing a great job. When was the last time we had this many deaths in this country? Oh yeah, it started today in 1939. Back when we didn’t start wars, we finished them.

    • Posted September 1, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Running at about two 9/11s per week at the moment.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 1, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Trump’s top medical advisor, Scott Atlas, is pushing herd immunity. Experts say that based on the population that would lead to about 2.1 million dead. So, get out there and vote for Trump.

      • Posted September 1, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        It’s interesting how easily people are able to ignore the scope and scale of death when it’s spread out in time and space. The total global deaths from Covid would more than eliminate the current population of Detroit if they all happened there at once. US deaths alone would completely wipe out Tallahassee.

  5. Posted September 1, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Here’s a fun fact for you you’re usually the one giving me clues what are the voices in the Disney animated movie Home on the range was Ann Richards she played Annie the saloon keeper. cows are my favorite animal of all time and when Disney said in newsreels that they were releasing a comedy about three cows that saves our farm from Randy Quaid The yodeling cattle rustler I showed up opening day and cow print so I was super excited and then my mom’s like wait a minute she was a law person or something in Texas so I looked it up and it stayed with me so I have trivia for you today.

  6. W.T. Effingham
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t let tRump know about them Mexican Eagle Handlers. He’s bound to drop everything and head down there to show them how it’s done. As for the Creationists’ Dirt Genetics “proof” of ancestry, we heathens could always raise their bar by using Ken Ham’s mantra : “How do you know? Were you there?”

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 1, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I’d say, by all means show him. We know that eagles and Mr Trump get along like old buddies. 🙂

  7. Desnes Diev
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    “it’s Emma M. Nutt Day, celebrating the first female telephone operator in the world, who began her job on this day in 1878.”

    From the beginning, it was a nutt-job 😉

  8. flexilis
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Tucson dinosaur: Hilarious. My granddaughter lives in Tucson. She loved that dinosaur when she was small, always wanted her parents to drive by it. Don’t those anti fossil dohbohs realize that thousands of people from all over the country and the world visit the Tucson area every (normal) year to watch live dinosaurs? There are many birds that only reach the US in southern Arizona.

  9. rickflick
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    The tool-using heron is a green heron. It’s as careful at using it’s lure as a fly fisherman. Clever to rush the fish up onto the bank so it won’t slip back into the water.

  10. nay
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Hate to disagree w/PCC(E), but “if anybody should be on campus, it should be the newer rather than the older students” – no. Covid spread at reopened schools is usually because younger students, newly freed from parental oversight, do dumb things; so the older more focused seniors should be allowed to use campus now and wait for a vaccine for the youngsters. “[N]obody should be on campus if all classes are virtual” – how well do you teach without your books, materials and lab? Allow access for faculty, administration and senior students who take the virus seriously and can be trusted to wash, clean, mask and social distance without supervision. “Finally, … Northwestern is reducing tuition by a measly 10%, which is a ridiculously low cut in a very high tuition” – true. All high salary administrators and faculty should take at least 25% cut in pay (no cuts to wage earners) to offset a 25% cut to tuition for all students. Remember that tuition pays for both the cost of running the campus and the value of the degree from a top university. (Leaving for another day the argument against high cost of any college degree – I got my B.A. from state university, paid for by living at home and paying my own tuition and books with my student job. Graduate school might be worth more, but it makes no economic sense to choose years of debt for any lower degree.)

  11. Jenny Haniver
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    This past Sunday, on the eve of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the NYT reviewed “Hitler: Downfall, 1939-1945,” the second volume of Volker Ulrich’s biography of Hitler https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/26/books/review-hitler-downfall-volker-ullrich.html.

    I realize that it’s dangerous to compare Trump to Hitler, at least at this point, because there are significant differences, and superficial knee-jerk comparisons vitiate the horrors that Hitler visited on humanity, but this review makes certain similarities inescapable.

    “’Downfall’ begins just after Hitler’s 50th birthday, with the Führer entertaining thoughts of invading Poland as if it were a present to himself. ‘I have overcome the chaos in Germany, restored order and hugely increased productivity in all areas of our national economy…’” Sounds like Trump.

    “At first, Hitler’s standard approach — lying, blaming others and launching surprise attacks — made for a successful wartime strategy. Nobody seemed willing to believe that he would be so greedy and foolish as to start an expansionist conflagration until he did. His propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels instructed journalists to avoid the word “war” and make the invasion sound as if Germany were repulsing a Polish attack, while Hitler was telling his minions that “the Poles need to get socked in the face.” Sounds like Trump.

    “To read “Downfall” is to see up close how Hitler lashed out — compulsively, destructively — whenever he felt boxed in. He had the instinct of a crude social-Darwinist who also liked to gamble, experiencing the world only in terms of winning and losing. As he told one of his skittish field marshals, “I have gone for broke all my life.” Sounds like Trump.

    Sounds like something to read right now.

  12. Posted September 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Although Matthew Cobb talks about the coup failing, it probably means that it will never get started. Although this poll covered all military personnel, I suspect the anti-Trump attitude is even higher among the military leadership, making a coup even less likely.

  13. grasshopper
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden, prior to the Year of the Apple (Annus Malum Horribilis?), were vegetarian. The overnight transformation of the vegetarian T. rex to a carnivore is a great example of micro-evolution in action.

  14. Filippo
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    “The group thinks that dinosaurs are a scam perpetrated by scientists.”

    I wonder if the group thinks dinosaurs a “social construct.”

  15. Posted September 2, 2020 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    That’s a great tweet about the bombed/rebuilt German cities.
    I was amazed when I visited Beirut during a war there, in 2006, that a city which, 16 years earlier looked like Homs, Syria today – all shot through and ruined, could barely be recognized in 2006 – all rebuilt. There were just a few buildings in their original smashed condition, one hotel left as memorial to the crazy “War of the Hotels” in the 1980s.

    During my visit Hezbollah and Israel were doing their joint best to wreck Beirut again but it was nothing like the 80s.

    As Pink Floyd said, I had “a walk on part in a war” being bombed and straifed by an American ally in American planes with American bombs. A strange experience.

    But they re-built all that damage also. And just recently they got blown up AGAIN. Its like another average Tuesday in Lebanon.
    D.A. NYC

    • rickflick
      Posted September 2, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Sheesh. Groundhog Day.

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