Monday: Hili dialogue

Good morning! It’s Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2020 (a holiday in the U.S., and it’s National Beer Lover’s Day, again with an apostrophe implying that only one beer lover is being feted. It’s also National Salami Day (goes well with beer), National Acorn Squash Day (doesn’t go well with anything), and Grandma Moses Day, celebrating the “primitive painter” born on September 7, 1860, and who lived for 101 years. Imagine being born during the Civil War and living into the era of television!  Finally, if you’re in Australia, it’s National Threatened Species Day, and you have plenty to worry about.

As it’s Labor Day, I may labor a bit less, so posting may be light. You should all be outside anyway, enjoying the fresh air and social distancing.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates Labor Day and workers of the world:


News of the Day: Israel is having a resurgence of coronavirus, due in large part to the refusal of ultra-Orthodox Jews to stop congregating for study and celebrations. Religions poisons—in this case, infects—everything.

In the NYT, Frank Bruni (whose autobiography, Born Round, I’ve just read—don’t waste your time) discusses how colleges may change—forever—in light of the pandemic. For one thing, standardized tests will go away (this is already happening), and parents will become more leery of “elite” colleges with high tuitions. What all this means, which is a theory that is mine, is that the meritocratic hierarchy of colleges—indeed, the meritocracy of college admissions itself—may soon be largely gone.

In Omaha, Nebraska, as the NYT story below recounts, the 11-Worth Cafe has closed, for it had a dish on the menu called the “Robert E. Lee” (sausage biscuits and gravy). Protestors considered it racist and said they were hurt (this was compounded by some dubious social-media posts by the cafe’s owner). Protestors and the owner negotiated, and the owner agreed to ditch the name and give some dosh to the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation. But other protestors said the amount of money wasn’t sufficient, and so they shut down the cafe.

The NYT continues in the HuffPo tradition of dumbing down its article titles with subtitles like the one below. “Here’s what to watch for”.  “Here’s what you need to know.” How patronizing can you get!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 188,815, an increase of about 400 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 882,639, an increase of about 4,000 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on September 7 includes:

  • 1695 – Henry Every perpetrates one of the most profitable pirate raids in history with the capture of the Grand Mughal ship Ganj-i-Sawai. In response, Emperor Aurangzeb threatens to end all English trading in India.
  • 1776 – According to American colonial reports, Ezra Lee makes the world’s first submarine attack in the Turtle, attempting to attach a time bomb to the hull of HMS Eagle in New York Harbor (no British records of this attack exist).

The Turtle failed in this and its one other attempt to blow up a ship. Here’s a full-size replica (with a cutaway) of the world’s first combat submarine, on display at the Royal Submarine Museum.

  • 1822 – Dom Pedro I declares Brazil independent from Portugal on the shores of the Ipiranga Brook in São Paulo.
  • 1906 – Alberto Santos-Dumont flies his 14-bis aircraft at Bagatelle, France for the first time successfully.

Here’s that early aircraft (photographed n 1908), whose 1906 flight was the first manned powered flight publicly witnessed by a crowd (the Wright brothers’ flight, without a crowd, took place in 1903):

[Collection Jules Beau. Photographie sportive] : T. 33. Années 1906 et 1907 / Jules Beau : F. 15. [Les étapes de l’aviation. Nouveau triomphe de Santos-Dumont. 12 novembre 1906];
And on that note:

  • 1909 – Eugène Lefebvre crashes a new French-built Wright biplane during a test flight at Juvisy, south of Paris, becoming the first aviator in the world to lose his life in a powered heavier-than-air craft.

This photo of Lefebvre in his plane was taken just a few days before the crash, which took place from a height of 6 meters (20 feet):

  • 1911 – French poet Guillaume Apollinaire is arrested and put in jail on suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum.
  • 1921 – In Atlantic City, New Jersey, the first Miss America Pageant, a two-day event, is held.
  • 1936 – The last thylacine, a carnivorous marsupial named Benjamin, dies alone in its cage at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.

Such a sad report! Here’s a photo of Benjamin, with the caption, “The last known thylacine photographed at Beaumaris Zoo in 1933. A scrotal sac is not visible in this or any other of the photos or film taken, leading to the supposition that ‘Benjamin’ was a female. However, photographic analysis in 2011 suggested that “Benjamin” was male.”

There are sporadic reports of thylacine sightings; indeed, it has the status of the yeti or Bigfoot, except that it was a real animal. No reports have been found credible.

  • 1977 – The Torrijos–Carter Treaties between Panama and the United States on the status of the Panama Canal are signed. The United States agrees to transfer control of the canal to Panama at the end of the 20th century.
  • 1996 – Rapper and hip hop artist Tupac Shakur is fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He succumbs to his injuries six days later.
  • 2017 – Equifax announce a cyber-crime identity theft event potentially impacting approximately 145​12 million U.S. consumers.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1533 – Elizabeth I of England (d. 1603)
  • 1707 – Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, French mathematician, cosmologist, and author (d. 1788)
  • 1860 – Grandma Moses, American painter (d. 1961)

I could find a Grandma Moses painting with a cat in it, so here’s the famous painter with a kitten:

  • 1885 – Elinor Wylie, American author and poet (d. 1928)
  • 1887 – Edith Sitwell, English poet and critic (d. 1964)
  • 1924 – Daniel Inouye, American captain and politician, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 2012)
  • 1930 – Sonny Rollins, American saxophonist and composer
  • 1936 – Buddy Holly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1959)
  • 1951 – Chrissie Hynde, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Here’s Hynde performing my favorite Pretenders song. I came to appreciate the group only after they’d long waned in popularity.

Those who carked it on September 7 include:

  • 1601 – John Shakespeare, father of William Shakespeare (b. 1529)
  • 1881 – Sidney Lanier, American poet and academic (b. 1842)
  • 1933 – Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon, English ornithologist and politician, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (b. 1862)
  • 1949 – José Clemente Orozco, Mexican painter and illustrator (b. 1883)
  • 1962 – Karen Blixen, Danish memoirist and short story writer (b. 1885)

Blixen, writing under the pseudonym of Isak DInisen, is one of my favorite writers, and that’s for her fantastic book Out of Africa, first written in English (not her native language; she was Danish). Here’s a photo of her with her great love, Denys Finch Hatton (Wikipedia says it’s her brother Thomas, so I’m not positive about the guy):


  • 1969 – Everett Dirksen, American lieutenant and politician (b. 1896)
  • 1978 – Keith Moon, English drummer (The Who) (b. 1946)
  • 1981 – Christy Brown, Irish author, poet, and painter (b. 1932)
  • 2003 – Warren Zevon, American singer-songwriter (b. 1947)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili continues her Lament for the Fall:

Hili: You can’t doubt it.
A: Doubt what?
Hili: The leaves are falling and it will be cold and wet again.
In Polish
Hili: Trudno o wątpliwości.
Ja: W jakiej sprawie?
Hili: Liście spadają i znów będzie zimno i deszcze.

Two pictures of Szaron and kitten Kulka enjoying the front yard:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Bad Cat Clothing:

Here’s a groaner from Annie:


A tweet Simon. No babies were harmed in the enactment of this sport:

From Barry. Yes, it sounds insane but, according to CNN, seems to be true.

Tweets from Matthew. I don’t know how they pulled this first one off. It appears to be in a real stream, not the lab, but how they got the camera in the right position with an osprey around. . . . well, we can only speculate:

Isn’t this lovely embroidery? I wish she’d do a Drosophila.

From the estimable Alice Dreger via Matthew. This is not really the total image of UC students now, as they’re getting more woke and less publicly nerdy:

Thank Ceiling Cat for doorcams, without which we couldn’t see stuff like this (or people stealing Amazon packages):

Capybaras are among the world’s chillest animals, and certainly the chillest rodent (also the world’s largest):

Nevertheless, she persisted:

36 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Not surprising, the Omaha, Nebraska story. I grew up next door in Iowa and Nebraska has become one of the most conservative states in the country, almost wishing themselves into the south. Robert E. Lee breakfast – Nebraska wasn’t even a state in the civil war.

  2. “2017 – Equifax announce a cyber-crime identity theft event potentially impacting approximately 145 ​1⁄2 million U.S. consumers.”

    Yay! One of my favorite things to complain about! Thanks for the opportunity.

    Though privacy data breaches aren’t at the very top of the Andy’s List of Modern Injustices, which is mine, they have affected me personally, so that gives them a special flavor. The Equifax one left me without a debit card for a couple of weeks while my credit union investigated to see whether I’d really bought a laptop in Washington and some fancy tennis shoes in Illinois on the same day.

    I went through the same sort of thing with the Home Depot and Target breaches, though with credit rather than debit cards, so at least my actual bank accounts were not at risk. The U.S. OPM breach means that all my identifying info is out there in the digital world, too, though at least not any financial stuff.

    The carelessness exhibited by corporations (and the government) could be easily remedied by Congress, but, well, you know. The spam phone calls to my cell phone would also be easy to put an end to, but, well, you know.

    I’m a retired Systems Administrator and my last job was with a retail company, so I know that network security can be difficult. I also know it can be done.

    1. I can count 3, maybe 4 times in the last couple of years I have had to kill a credit card and get a new one. Go through the long conversation on the phone wondering who the hell is using the card. So I guess we all know, do not use a debit card on line if you value your bank acount.

      1. The three I experienced were from in-person transactions at physical stores, but you’re definitely right– best to have one card set aside for online use exclusively.

      2. I had a recent experience of this… back in June or so… I got a call from my bank asking if I had made some charges in Minnesota (I hadn’t). They cancelled the card and set up a replacement account so I was only without a card for two days or so. We were able to figure out that the card info must have been stolen at a gas station where I made a purchase at the pump. I still get periodic emails saying that they continue to investigate the fraud.

    2. The riskiest place to get your credit card compromised in the US is a restaurant, where, inexplicably, we hand our credit card to a complete stranger, who takes it out of our view for up to five minutes.

      1. Not anymore! I haven’t been in a restaurant since early March and likely won’t be in one again for a very long time.

        But, of course, nearly every time you use your card to buy anything, you’re giving the information to a complete stranger. It is one of the benefits of paying touch-less with Apple Pay or some similar service.

  3. Re. Faux-Obama. Saddam Hussein brought more dignity to the gallows in his last seconds than this fatuous ass has ever brought to the Oval Office. (Remember that? Just before they dropped the door he was being heckled from below, and shouted out, “Is this dignified?”)

    1. It’s not often anything surprises me more re. Trump but that’s the first I’d heard of this story and I literally spat out my drink. Or spluttered it out.



      1. On closer inspection it’s not quite as extremely insane as it seemed.

        It’s still insane, obviously, it’s Trump. But it wasn’t some kind of private fetish video he’d set up for his own amusement. Or if it was, it wasn’t that private.

  4. Thought I’d look up who capybaras, and found this. (People magazine, 2011.) “Capybara are native to South America, where the meat is considered a delicacy. Salt-cured capybara is consumed during Lent in Venezuela, where the popularity of the dish prompted the Vatican to declare that capybara isn’t meat but fish.”

    1. The Vatican may have a properly trained official astronomer but their grasp of biology is on the level of Ken Ham and Ray Comfort.

      1. “If something goes wrong, offer silence and prayer for the brother or sister who made a mistake, but never gossip,” he said on Sunday.

        Perhaps he considers truthful reports of the church’s never-ending sex scandals as gossip?

  5. “…how they got the camera in the right position with an osprey around…”

    If I was shooting this, I’d find where the osprey liked to fish (they do have favorite spots), and set up my camera. Then fasten a fish on a lead from the bottom. And wait.

  6. Tyre rings Door Bell!
    When I was living in Waltham, Mass (there must be a corresponding Waltham in England, right?), in the 1980s, in the news a woman who had stopped on the freeway to change a tyre. A truck whizzing by lost a tyre which rolled, hit the woman, and killed her.

    1. I was almost killed by a flying tire once. Driving on I-80 over the pass by Donner lake in California. I was going about 70 in a pick-up truck when a tire from the other side of the road jumped the median and was headed straight at me. I swerved into the right lane (without looking) and the tire smashed into my left rear wheel. Blew out my tire and made a huge dent in the wheel well. I thought I was going to roll the truck. Then, as I stopped, a lug nut smashed into the windshield and shattered the safety glass. I had glass in my face and everywhere else, but the window held and the lug nut didn’t hit me. It would have hit me in the neck/face area. And the strange thing is I never saw the car that the wheel came off of. After I fixed the flat, I drove off and thought I’d see an accident. Nada. And I had to drive the rest of the way hunched down so I could see through the splintered windshield. It was crazy I tells ya!

      1. I had a flying tire experience too though not as bad as yours. I was visiting St. Louis for work and had gone to lunch with a large group. After lunch, we were waiting in the parking lot for a ride back to the plant. (I will leave out why we couldn’t just drive back ourselves.) While we were standing in a circle talking, a car on the highway lost its wheel which came bouncing across the parking lot at, say, 30 mph. I was on the far side of the circle and happened to see it coming. Luckily it just missed us and slammed into a nearby chain-link fence. I probably could have dodged it but I couldn’t have saved anyone else as there was no time. Very scary.

        1. So it seems cars losing wheels is more common than I thought. Yes, very scary indeed. The one coming at me was probably going upwards of 50…didn’t even have time to think once I spotted it. Lucky there wasn’t a car in the right lane, because I would have crashed into it. At 70mph, that would not have been cool.

          1. Yes, quite common. I have witnessed the aftermath of several such incidents though they didn’t involve danger to me. I saw a small sports car in the lane next to me that had lost its right-front wheel and was generating a stream of sparks as it quickly came to a halt. I’ve also seen many like this at the side of the road. I imagine that most of them occur because someone forgets to put the lug nuts back on after a tire repair. I really can’t see how else it would happen. I suppose they could hit a really big pothole and have all bolts shear off at once.

    2. Waltham Cross where Harold II founded an abbey, to the north east of London. William Morris the artist, writer & socialist, lived there…

      On the way to Berlin in a mini bus well overloaded with 12 or so young people we had a tire burst, but my friend driving managed to keep control. No flying tyre though!

      1. Waltham Cross where Harold II founded an abbey – See. I knew it. Most towns in Massachusetts are English names, and I think I know why.

    3. Uncanny timing with that for me, too. My relatively new welder and iron-caster neighbor (at the Carrie Furnaces Steel Mill site was nearly killed when a motorcyclist lost control on a curve at high speed in the opposite direction and plowed into the rear wheel of her ~8y/o full-size GMC pickup. The tire exploded with such force that it blew the whole wheel, brake drum and axle out of the axle housing. Her truck’s totaled, and a few feet sooner and she might have been kaput too. As it was, she was welding the next day, and the motorcyclist somehow managed to survive, too.

      Per another friend, turns out that the only thing really holding those axles in is a little wire C-clip, and if racing something with one of those sorts of rear axles, they have to be retrofitted with a retaining flange.

  7. “1909 – Eugène Lefebvre crashes a new French-built Wright biplane during a test flight at Juvisy, south of Paris, becoming the first aviator in the world to lose his life in a powered heavier-than-air craft.”

    Surely others lost their lives before this trying to fly a powered heavier-than-air craft? Is it perhaps the first death in a plane that has performed at least one successful flight?

    1. They probably should say first customer who purchased an aircraft and died flying it. I think it was also over in Europe when the first passenger died riding with one of the Wright brothers.

  8. If you are old enough, you may remember that Carter’s “giveaway” of the Panama Canal was one of the big issues in the 1980 Presidential election. Anyone care at all today?

  9. “A scrotal sac is not visible in this or any other of the photos or film taken, leading to the supposition that ‘Benjamin’ was a female. However, photographic analysis in 2011 suggested that “Benjamin” was male.”

    The scrotum in marsupials is cranial to or in front of the penis. So it would not be expected to be visible from behind, thus the confusion, methinks.

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