Thursday: Hili dialogue

September 3, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, comrades, and those who don’t fit those categories: it’s Thursday, September 3, 2020, and it’s a good food holiday: National Baby Back Ribs Day. Now you’re talking! But, as a hardcore Chicagoan, I prefer rib tips. I haven’t had these since the pandemic started (I patronize only one joint, which certainly cannot permit social distancing as the “waiting corridor” is about three feet across), and it’s been a long, rib-less dry spell.

It’s also National Welsh Rarebit Day, immortalized in Winsor McCay’s wonderful comic, “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend“, in which people had weird, psychedelic dreams after consuming rarebit before bed. Google the images for the strip’s title to see some of the comics, amazing for their time. Below is a 1906 movie made of the cartoon, with the caption:

A short, silent film starring John P. Brawn as the titular fiend, who having gorged himself on Welsh Rarebit — melted cheese on toast — stumbles to bed via a rather hallucinatory encounter with a lamp post and falls into a troubled sleep. Inaugurated by a trio of pickaxe-wielding demons, his subsequent cheese-fuelled dream involves an inelegant flight through his window and over an urban nightscape, finally ending with a skewering by his pyjamas on a weather vane. The film features some pioneering special effects including a fully spinning sky and the aforementioned demons.

News of the day: The great pitcher and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver died yesterday at 75, reportedly from a combination of dementia and Covid-19.

From CNN:  Russian dissident Alexey Nvalny, who became ill last month when flying from Siberia to Moscow, was poisoned with a “Novichok” nerve agent, a group of chemicals developed by the Soviets in the Seventies. He’s recovering in a Berlin hospital, and should be okay, though they’ve put him in a coma. Despite condemnation from several world leaders, Trump has said virtually nothing about it, probably because of the Putin connection.

The UPI reports that a California judge has barred any use of the SAT and ACT standardized tests for admissions to the University of California. Previously it was up to the individual UC schools whether to require it, but now it’s prohibited to submit the scores or consider them.  You can read the decision here. Earlier this year, though, the UC Faculty Senate voted to keep the ACT and SAT as admissions requirements, though the University administration overruled its own report.

And it looks as if the Russians are meddling with the elections again, this time spreading disinformation about Biden’s physical and mental health. Trump, of course, echoes the Russian claims, probably spurred on by the interference.

Tempest in a Teapot Department: According to the Washington Post, Nancy Pelosi is facing criticism because on Monday she went into a hair salon in San Francisco (these are officially closed) and got her hair done by an independent stylist. It’s not clear whether this was legal or not .(Pelosi says it was, but it appears that what she did was legal in some places in California but not San Francisco. Now she says it was a “setup”). But she also seemed to be a bit slipshod about wearing a mask. Granted, it’s not a huge deal, but for the Speaker of the House it’s bad optics, and played into Trump’s hands. Here’s one of several things he tweeted about it, in this case a retweet:

“Crazy” Nancy Pelosi? How dignified of the President! And I wouldn’t bet on the GOP taking back the House. They may even lose the Senate.

I am not getting my hopes up, but the CDC is telling health officials to prepare for distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine by November. Apparently, even though no vaccine has passed Phase 3 trials, the vaccine may be rolled out for select groups without passing those trials if preliminary results are auspicious. Well, fingers crossed.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 185,638, an increase of about 1100 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 862,331, a very large jump of about 12,500 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on September 3 include:

  • 301 – San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, is founded by Saint Marinus.
  • 1189 – Richard I of England (a.k.a. Richard “the Lionheart”) is crowned at Westminster.
  • 1658 – The death of Oliver Cromwell; Richard Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England.
  • 1777 – American Revolutionary War: During the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the Flag of the United States is flown in battle for the first time.
  • 1838 – Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.
  • 1875 – The first official game of polo is played in Argentina after being introduced by British ranchers.
  • 1895 – John Brallier becomes the first openly professional American football player, when he was paid US$10 by David Berry, to play for the Latrobe Athletic Association in a 12–0 win over the Jeanette Athletic Association.
  • 1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.
  • 1941 – The Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experiments with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.

Fritzsch disappeared after the war and his fate is unknown, though the most credible reports are that he committed suicide.

  • 1944 – Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to the Auschwitz concentration camp, arriving three days later.
  • 1967 – Dagen H in Sweden: Traffic changes from driving on the left to driving on the right overnight.

This always fascinates me; the switch was made between 1 and 6 a.m. on that day, and then everybody had to drive on the other side. How this was done is detailed (but not sufficiently) in the Wikipedia article on Dagen H. There were lots of things to consider, including changing the side of buses on which the doors were placed. Curiously, there was a reduction of accidents right after Dagen H, probably because people were being careful, but the rate soon returned to normal.

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia showing some apparent confusion, labeled, “Kungsgatan, Stockholm, on Dagen H., 3 September 1967, during the night Sweden had changed from left-side traffic to right-side traffic.”

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1856 – Louis Sullivan, American architect and educator, designed the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building (d. 1924)
  • 1869 – Fritz Pregl, Slovenian chemist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1930)
  • 1907 – Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist, philosopher, and author (d. 1977)
  • 1929 – Whitey Bulger, American organized crime boss (d. 2018)
  • 1942 – Al Jardine, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1963 – Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, essayist, and critic
  • 2010 – Tanitoluwa Adewumi, Nigerian-American chess player.

This is an amazing story. Wikipedia reports:  “Tanitoluwa Emmanuel Adewumi (born September 3, 2010) is a Nigerian-born chess player who lives in New York City. He won the 2019 K-3 New York State chess championship at the age of eight, after playing the game for only a year, while living with his refugee family in a homeless shelter in Manhattan.”

And here’s a picture of the prodigy with his dad:

Those whose pull date was September 3 include:

  • 1883 – Ivan Turgenev, Russian author and playwright (b. 1818)
  • 1962 – E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright (b. 1894)
  • 1986 – Beryl Markham, English-Kenyan pilot, horse trainer, and author (b. 1902)

Markham, author of the must-read book West With the Night, was the first person (not just woman) to fly solo across the Atlantic from Britain to North America. Unconventional and independent, Markham is the aerial version of Karen Blixen, both writing beautifully about Kenya in colonial British times (the two were friends).  Here’s a photo of Markham ca. 1930:

  • 1991 – Frank Capra, Italian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1897)
  • 2001 – Pauline Kael, American film critic and author (b. 1919)
  • 2012 – Sun Myung Moon, Korean religious leader and businessman, founded the Unification Church (b. 1920)
  • 2017 – Walter Becker, American musician, songwriter, and record producer (b. 1950)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t need her walkies:

Hili: Where are you going?
A: To the river.
Hili: I’ve already been there, let’s go home.
In Polish:
Hili: Gdzie idziecie?
Ja: Nad rzekę.
Hili: Ja już tam byłam, chodźmy do domu.

And here’s a photo of Kitten Kulka:

From Scott, a cartoon by Andrews McMeel:

A meme from Facebook:

From Doc Bill:

Someone sent me this Trumpian “Yo Semite” shirt from the National Museum of American Jewish History. There was no note inside, so if you’re the generous person who did this, email me so I can thank you.

Titania’s new book is out. A tweet from her alter ego:

Tweets from Matthew. Quokkas are among the world’s cutest animals, and there’s even a section in the Wikipedia article on them called “quokka selfies“:

In the mid-2010s, quokkas earned a reputation on the internet as “the world’s happiest animals” and symbols of positivity due to their beaming smiles. Many photos of smiling quokkas have since gone viral, and the “quokka selfie” has become a popular social media trend, with celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Shawn Mendes, Margot Robbie and Roger Federer participating. Tourist numbers to Rottnest Island have subsequently increased.

Noting the popularity of smiling quokkas, the fact-checking website Snopes confirmed in 2020 that the animal exists, saying it had received questions from readers who thought it “was simply too cute to be real”.

Here’s a good quokka selfie:

A vitally important culinary/political issue (“boneless chicken wings” are made from the breast meat)

More idiocy from our “President”:


Look at that octopus hang on for dear life. All ends well!

I may have posted this before. Mathophiles may be able to figure out how this works:


47 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. That changeover must be an expensive logistical nightmare – presumably you have to duplicate all of the road signs etc.

      1. Yes, I would guess a massive job. I drove on the left side in Okinawa for 5 years as did my wife. We had no problems however we drove cars with the steering on the right and that helps. I drove on the left in England as well but was driving a car set up for the states. That was a bit harder.

      2. Yes, in Sweden signs were duplicated and placed, covered up months in advance – the covers were pulled during the hours of no traffic.

        That is by the way what the photo shows AFAIK, during the traffic less hours the car owners had to get out and park on the other side of the road. The scenes were causing lots of bystanders looking on.

  1. I first heard of quokkas back in about 1980. My local at the time had a barmaid from Western Australia and she was fond of talking about them. We all thought she was taking the mickey cos she said that it was a common practice to go to Rottnest Island and play quokka soccer. According to her the animals were so friendly, if you kicked them away they would return.

    This was patently untrue, after all who would kick a lovely little animal like this. This being the case, no one believed in the existence of them.

    In about 1986/7 I travelled to Oz for the first time and visited Rottnest Island and there they were, just as described. They were very inquisitive and friendly with virtually no fear of humans. I spent a day on the island and had a great time with them.

    I’d just like to finish by saying that not only did I not play quokka soccer, I didn’t see anyone else trying to play it either and no one I know from that part of the world has ever heard of it, thank goodness.

  2. Speaking of words we hate, can we ban use of the term “optics” when used to mean “it looks bad”, and “problematic” as a wishy-washy way of implying something is wrong? Besides a problematic sounds like a machine for automatically creating problems, which no ones needs, except maybe an Algebra teacher.

  3. Re: Pelosi. It’s been legal to go to hair salons in the DC Metropolitan area now for a couple of months (you have to make an appointment, wear a mask, etc.). Given how much time Congresscritters spend in D.C., it’s possible she just didn’t think SF might operate under different rules.

    Though for sure, her aids should’ve been on top of this one, and she should’ve kept her mask on.

      1. Yes, in fact, you must (in the DC area). You sit in a chair, with you head tilted way back over those standard hair salon washing sinks. The mask doesn’t get in the way or alter the standard hair shampooing procedure at all. I know this, because both me and my kid got haircuts and shampoos this way last week.

        1. That sounds extreme to me. If you happen to be wearing the type mask with wrap around connection to the mask it would have to get in the way.

          I have had many hair cuts since the pandemic but I do not get the hair washed at the barber shop. If the type mask being worn gets in the way they will tell you to take it off. It is not going to kill everyone in the place. Of course if you have the mask police in the facility, as apparently was the case for Pelosi, anything is possible.

          1. I don’t see it as extreme, since as I said it doesn’t really alter the standard procedure at all. Sure, if you come in with a wraparound bandana type thing it might. So in that case pull the back of it down to your neck or don’t get the shampoo (I don’t always, it’s more a question of how much I think the loose hairs will itch. I did this time because my hair was so long it left a lot of ‘scraps’).

            I think it’s a very simple requirement, easily done, and the notion of it being so difficult or problematic that the shop is being unreasonable to require masks just doesn’t wash with me (heh). So I think Pelosi should wear a mask to the hair salon…at least, in districts and counties where barbershops and hair salons are legally allowed to be open.

            1. Okay, but it’s perfectly okay for Trump and his cult to go without, right. I’ll look forward to your report on the dentist visit.

              1. What are you talking about? I don’t think it was right for Pelosi to go without, and I don’t think it’s right for Trump supporters to go without. My only beef here is with YOU claiming it is “extreme” to put on a mask when going to a hair salon. It seems perfectly reasonable and easy to me, and I speak from experience of having done it.


                As for the dentist, I went there literally yesterday lol. I had to call from my car when I arrived, and they told me when to come into the office to prevent crowding. I wore a mask walking into the building and didn’t take it off until I was ‘in the chair.’ The hygenist wore a face shield (and gloves, though they’ve done the latter for years). Then, when they were done, I put my mask on again before leading the room with the chair.

                None of this is unreasonable, IMO. It’s not even difficult. It’s a minor inconvenience, and I think it’s pretty crazy when folks like you grump about having to do it. Get over it, and get on with your life…with a mask on.

      2. I’ve been to sport clips in Missouri. You hold the mask in your face while they go around the ears, but take it off for the shampoo, but they always wrap a hot towel over your face (excepting the nostrils) during this, although I refused the towel (seriously, hot towel on the face, in summer?!) and kept it on.

        As for her cavalier attitude towards the mask , Schumer is worse. He’s constantly without one during press conferences even when not speaking. I realize he’s usually near Pelosi and no one else, which is probably fine considering how much they must work together but it doesn’t look good in a live by example, we’re all in this together sort of way. But both do better than the majority of citizens I see when forced to go to the shops.

        1. which is probably fine considering how much they must work together but it doesn’t look good in a live by example, we’re all in this together sort of way.

          Yes, I have to talk myself out of being aggravated by this too. Seeing tennis stars at the US open don a mask to talk into a microphone in an empty stadium when even the reporters are standing a good 10′ away is my latest pet peeve. The scientist in me wants to say “take it off, it’s not necessary for safety and you’re showboating”, but my more social side recognizes that it’s better that she does than that she doesn’t. Dollars to donuts, if she didn’t, some idiot would think Serena Williams not wearing a mask in an empty stadium means they don’t need to wear a mask walking down a crowded street.

  4. 1962 – E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright (b. 1894)

    Cummings was a novelist, too, having written a roman à clef, The Enormous Room, based on his experience as a prisoner in France during WWI. Cummings was one of several famous writers or future writers who drove ambulances during that war, including Hemingway and John Dos Passos and Somerset Maugham.

  5. 1939: Britain declares war on Germany.

    A bit late but there were those in government who would rather have been allied with Germany.

      1. Dang. How’d I miss that? Depending on my wifi usage I sometimes have phone set to not download images. Off to search for it.

    1. Yes – it was here the other day. I noted that the pattern also appears in

      1 / 998001998001
      And presumably further iterations of that. Now I’ll check this video… which was NOT here….

  6. Re Trump’s ludicrous “thugs on a plane” story: first time he told it, to Laura Ingraham on Fox News a couple nights ago, the plane was heading from a “certain city” to Washington, DC, for the Republican “convention.” When he retold it the next day, to a reporter at Andrews Air Force Base, he had the thugs boarding a plane leaving DC after the convention, heading for “wherever.”

    Plainly, not the first time the Donald hasn’t known whether things were coming or going, or shit from Shinola, or his ass from a hole in the ground.

    1. Well, at least the thugs didn’t leave this, that, and their gear(s) in D.C. 😉 Carry out what you carry in – it’s the thug motto!

  7. …or his personal tax records from his Deutsche Bank statements from his property tax records from his…I could go on but I’ve got a “living” to scrape for in this existence.👷

  8. Dagen H – How does this happen:

    “83 percent voted to keep driving on the left. Nevertheless, the Swedish Parliament approved Prime Minister Tage Erlander’s proposal”

    The metric system has had a terrible time being adopted in the US, probably because people would not allow the government to proceed without public support. The public doesn’t know what’s good for it.

    1. The metric system struggles to be properly accepted in the UK,despite being taught in schools since the 1960s when I was a kid. Part of the problem is that we use it in science classes, but in “the real world” the road signs give distances in miles etc. Maybe it will take the Woke generation to cancel our racist Imperial units?!

      1. Only way several generations of Yank kids learned the metric system was through their dope dealers — grams to ounces, kilos to pounds.

        1. In the 70s speed limits were in English and metric. Nobody looked at the metric. They got rid of the metric on signs. If the signs were JUST in metric, drivers would have a chance to make the shift. I think it ought to be done at one fell swoop.

  9. I’m not the person who sent you the t-shirt (wish I’d thought of it) but I have one (a blue one). If you stand in front of a mirror while wearing it, “Yo” becomes “Oy,” which I is perfectly apropos, and that’s probably what you said when you opened the package and saw what it was.

  10. Stayed on Rottnest and the cute little beasties visited for the evening. Thinking of a movie titled “Dances with Quokkas”

  11. Good on the octopus! I haven’t been much on eels of any sort since age 5 when my mother took me to Haines Point (on the Potomac in DC) and I caught an eel. Even tried smoked eel in Sweden and found it pretty tasteless.

    But then I got curious – what exactly is the molecular composition of octopus ink? Turns out, not surprisingly I guess, that it’s largely melanin. But going by the W’pedia page that was probably a cuttlefish and not an octopus.

    And speaking of melanin, a colleague has a setup that enables him to detect individual melanocytes in samples from melanoma patients, through the photoacoustic effect – pulse the capillary flow cell with laser flashes and detect acoustic waves emanating from the melanin that absorbed the laser flash.

  12. And it looks as if the Russians are meddling with the elections again, this time spreading disinformation about Biden’s physical and mental health. Trump, of course, echoes the Russian claims, probably spurred on by the interference.

    What a joke. Biden is cykling and making hour long speeches with or without gaffes; Trump can’t handle glasses with water, umbrellas or walking ramps and is making hour long gaffes with or without lucid parts.

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