Friday: Hili dialogue

September 11, 2020 • 6:30 am

TCCIF: Thank Ceiling Cat it’s Friday! It’s September 11, 2020,a day of remembrance. It’s also National Hot Cross Buns Day. I could use one or two, as it’s 5:30 am and I am HUNGRY! (I almost never eat breakfast.)

It’s also National Emergency Responders Day, Make Your Bed Day (I always do; I think it’s the key to a good start to the day), Women’s Baseball Day, Emergency Number Day (9/11 written in American format), and, appropriately, No News is Good News Day. And we’ll all remember this date because it was on September 11, 2001 that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon took place, so it’s also National Day of Service and Remembrance and Patriot Day, honoring the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attack. It doesn’t seem like 19 years ago. . .

Another appeal: Perhaps thanks to the readers here, Clarence the fluffy rescue cat has finished first in the small group of five cats vying for the overall prize in America’s Favorite Pet.  The winner gets $5,000, and all of it will go to Clarence’s vet bills, as he’s old and has just had an expensive hospitalization, as well as ongoing treatment for inflammatory bowel disease  (His staff made my Darwin facemask.) If you go here, you can vote for Clarence for free via Facebook, and you can do so once per day for 6 more days. I would be pleased if readers who saw fit would vote for Clarence early and often (it’s legal!) so he can pay off his vet care. And who wouldn’t vote for a cat who looked like this and was wearing a Hawaiian shirt?

I don’t ever ask for dosh for this site, but I do ask that you help this lovely kitty:


You can see a description and more photos at the link. Put him over the top!

News of the Day:

Thinking of dining out in a real restaurant now that things are loosening up? Think again. According to NBC News, a new CDC report concludes that dining out poses a substantially greater risk than other activities like shopping or getting your hair done:

The CDC report included 314 people who had COVID-19 symptoms and were subsequently tested for the virus; about half tested positive.

Researchers then asked all participants about their social activities during the two weeks prior to their COVID-19 test. The participants lived in states with varying levels of reopening guidelines: California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

Both groups generally reported similar activities, such as going to church, gyms and stores, with one exception: going out to eat or having drinks at a bar or coffee shop.

Those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, “were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results,” the study authors wrote. And those who were diagnosed without any known exposure to the virus were more likely to report having visited a bar or coffee shop in the previous two weeks.

The sample size is not large, and I’m not sure that they controlled for all other factors (those who dine out may engage in other risky activities), but I’m not going to a restaurant any time soon.

Meanwhile, restaurants in Hong Kong are coping with the pandemic, but with mixed results; dining out is not the experience I enjoyed when i visited. Read about it at the New York Times.

For those who have joined the chorus of outrage after Bob Woodward’s report that Trump deliberately downplayed the threat of Covid-19, have a look at this op-ed by Bob Thiessen in the Washington Post: “If Trump lied, so did Fauci.” The final paragraph:

The suggestion that Trump knew how dangerous the virus was, but intentionally misled Americans and failed to take action, is demonstrably wrong. What is “beyond despicable” is for Biden to suggest that he did. Your mileage may vary.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 191,628, an increase of about 1,000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 909,023, an increase of about 5,700 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on September 11 includes:

  • 1297 – Battle of Stirling Bridge: Scots jointly led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeat the English.
  • 1609 – Henry Hudson discovers Manhattan Island and the indigenous people living there.
  • 1789 – Alexander Hamilton is appointed the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.
  • 1792 – The Hope Diamond is stolen along with other French crown jewels when six men break into the house where they are stored.

The diamond was recut, and then disappeared for a long time until it turned up in the UK. Now it resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. It’s now 45.5 karats and insured for $250 million:

  • 1857 – The Mountain Meadows massacre: Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacre 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.
  • 1941 – Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech accusing the British, Jews and FDR’s administration of pressing for war with Germany.

Here’s his speech. Given Lindbergh’s anti-Semitism and seeming approbation for Hitler’s regime, as well as his approbation of eugenics, it’s curious to me that he hasn’t been canceled.

  • 1973 – A coup in Chile headed by General Augusto Pinochet topples the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Pinochet exercises dictatorial power until ousted in a referendum in 1988, staying in power until 1990.
  • 1997 – After a nationwide referendum, Scotland votes to establish a devolved parliament within the United Kingdom.
  • 2001 – The September 11 attacks, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks killing 2,977 people using four aircraft hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda. Two aircraft crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, a third crashes into The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I’m sure that, like when JFK was shot, we all remember where we were that day. We were in the lab, and turned on the black and white lab t.v. to watch. That’s when we saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

  • 2007 – Russia tests the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of All Bombs.
  • 2012 – The U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked, resulting in four deaths.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1816 – Carl Zeiss, German lens maker, created the Optical instrument (d. 1888)
  • 1862 – O. Henry, American short story writer (d. 1910)
  • 1885 – D. H. Lawrence, English novelist, poet, playwright, and critic (d. 1930)
  • 1917 – Jessica Mitford, English-American journalist and author (d. 1996)
  • 1945 – Leo Kottke, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1962 – Kristy McNichol, American actress
  • 1965 – Moby, American singer-songwriter, musician and DJ

Whatever happened to Moby? Here’s a young Leo Kottke doing the Byrds’ song “Eight Miles High”, a haunting rendition:

Those who went belly-up on September 11 include:

  • 1950 – Jan Smuts, South African field marshal and politician, 2nd Prime Minister of South Africa (b. 1870)
  • 1971 – Nikita Khrushchev, Russian general and politician (b. 1894)
  • 1973 – Salvador Allende, Chilean physician and politician, 29th President of Chile (b. 1908)

Allende committed suicide as the forces of the coup closed around the Presidential palace.

  • 1987 – Lorne Greene, Canadian actor (b. 1915)
  • 1987 – Peter Tosh, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1944)
  • 2001 – [Add 2,977 names here for those killed in the terrorists attacks on this day.]
  • 2002 – Johnny Unitas, American football player and sportscaster (b. 1933)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s worried about the end of summer, for soon she’ll have to stay inside. The “decadence” she refers to is the decadence that accompanies the end of a civilization.

Hili: Is it autumn already?
A: No, it’s the decadence of summer.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy to już jesień?
Ja: Nie, schyłkowy okres lata.

Here’s kitten Kulka on Andrzej and Malgorzata’s bedposts:

From Laurie Ann; romance with impediment:

From Bad Cat Clothing:

From Bruce:

Speaking of Jessica Krug, Godfrey Elfwick has a spoof article in The Spectator USA:

From Luana. The euphemisms are strong in this tweet from the University of Michigan at Dearborn. The translation of “a space for students that do not identify as persons of color” is “whites only.” I wonder if they have two drinking fountains as well . . .

Friday update: I just read that the University of Michigan has apologized for this segregation. More later.

From Barry. Sea lions!!

Tweets from Matthew. Notice that this first tweet was directed  at Matthew:

The angel misunderstood God, and the consequences were dire. Perhaps, as Gould suggested, this was the way humans came about. Sound up, please..

This is one of the best ambiguous photos I’ve seen. Goat or bird? A moment’s inspection should tell you. (I may have posted this before.)

I retweeted this one because it’s such a good example of mimicry via “false heads”:

Matthew said this was self explanatory, but I don’t quite get it. I conclude that I’m thick.

74 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

    1. Yup – same comment. They were only ever available very close to Easter – although that window seems to have expanded. It’s like rolling out Christmas pudding in June.

      1. At least one major British supermarket chain starts selling hot cross buns immediately after they tear down their Christmas displays.

        The best store-bought hot cross buns in the UK are (IMHO) Marks & Spencer’s luxury hot cross buns. They have just the right balance of spices and fruit, and they are delicious split, toasted and buttered.

        1. Yup – unfortunately I’m a nine hour flight from the nearest M&S. On the positive side I married a great baker. Although the six months of stress baking we’ve been going through has added inches to my waistline!

    2. When I was a kid, I understood hot-cross buns, since they had just the two thin strips of icing, to qualify for a dispensation for people who had given up sweets for Lent.

      AS to whether that constituted official Church policy, or merely a convenient excuse for those who wanted to eat them, I cannot say. But I recall the neighborhood bakery moving a helluva lot of ’em between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. 🙂

  1. Last night was opening night for pro football and everyone here missed it. It is the place where concussions are made and people get paid for doing it. I had to take a look for a few minutes just to see someone play who is making $500 million dollars for throwing the football. That is right folks, half a billion for playing a game.

    1. I watched the US open. Two excellent women’s semifinals back to back, everyone appropriately socially distanced, and no higher risk of brain injury (unless you’re a line judge in a Djokovic match…)

  2. Re: kneecap video. It’s like wrapping a rope around a tree; creating a higher angle bend produces a mechanical advantage. Thus with a kneecap (or in the lego set, the extra block that produces a higher angle), the muscle in your upper leg can exert more pull on the lower leg without having to be bigger/stronger.

    Though I’m not really sure that the mechanical advantage drove it’s evolution. AIUI kneecaps also protect the joint, and it’s not clear (at least to me) which adaptive advantage, or neither, drove the evolution of kneecaps.

    1. Function first, protection second. But, there’s no reason to think they didn’t co evolve. I’d like to see what our simian ancestors gave us to start with.

    2. Actually I have to modify my answer, which is wrong as written. It’s probably more to do with keeping tension within some parameters or maintaining alignment of the various bits, as viewing the knee as a form of a pully would imply there is no mechanical advantage at all.

      1. (As a mechanical engineer …) the bending moment applied to the lower leg by the quadriceps is the force in the muscles X the moment arm about the pivot.

        Without the kneecap, the applied moment approaches zero because the moment arm approaches zero.

        With the kneecap, the moment arm is “big enough” to do the job (apply a large enough moment about the pivot of the knee joint.)

        (And I’m sure the kneecap has some other functions in the stability of the joint, protecting it from damage, etc.)

  3. “… almost never eat breakfast”

    [ * any personal remarks in this comment are accidental **]

    My own experience with managing diet suggests to me that the digestive system needs to be kept in motion – like a conveyor belt, and things might go awry when it stalls. As such, I’ve taken to eating light instead of nothing.

    One has to try it out of course and if it works then what can anyone say. But I’m glad not to embrace being grumpy in the morning now, trading it, as it were, for annoyance at sitting down for 20 minutes to eat.

    1. [bro science alert].

      A number of more recent studies have suggested that the “you need to eat breakfast” for weight loss/maintenance/health etc isn’t necessarily the case. Basically, it comes down to the individual.

      [/bro science alert]

      I usually eat breakfast and tend to snack lightly in between meals (and maintain a healthy BMI). I generally feel better, including mood, if I don’t let myself get too hungry.

      But I go through some periods when I just don’t feel hungry in the morning, so I don’t worry about eating breakfast. Or it may be a handful of nuts and dried fruit.

      Recently I tried not snacking in between meals for a little over a week. It was damn hard at times, almost felt like my body was shutting down. I’m sure my system would have gotten used to it, but for now I’m back to snacking. (Also, I often can use snacking to get some more good foods in to my diet, e.g. fruit as snack etc).

      I am curious why Dear Prof. CC does not eat breakfast, whether it’s not feeling hungry, being “put off” food in the morning like some people, or a deliberate diet choice. Maybe more of a brunch person?

        1. Understood Jerry. I’d think that a coffee might also contribute to killing appetite for a while. (It does for me, and many people I know).

          For me I could never take a coffee first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. My stomach rebels and sort of cramps up.

          As for eating at restaurants, I won’t dine in until we’ve got control of the pandemic, but I’ve been dipping my toes in to patio experiences which has been nice. Did some fine dining at a place that was in a very pretty herb garden back of the restaurant, guest tables very well spread out, so I was able to relax and enjoy the meal.

          I really worry about the fate of restaurants once we hit winter, though.

      1. I tend to crash without snacking which I haven’t been doing during the pandemic for some reason. Maybe I’m not as active so don’t need to. I think snacking keeps your insulin and sugar stable so you don’t suddenly need some when you burn it all out.

        1. Diana,

          The main reason I tried not snacking recently was that I was attracted to some of the positives reported by some who stopped snacking.

          I love food and think about it pretty often.
          But I also liked the idea of simplifying my meals to just a basic 3 a day, where there isn’t an additional “thinking about what to have for a snack” in between as well. The days when it “worked” were nice, where the commitment to not snacking meant I’d just eat breakfast, not even spend time thinking about food until lunch because I wasn’t going to snack, and same in between lunch and dinner.

          There was a nice clarity about that commitment. Which is why I might try it again despite not holding out long enough.

          Either way, I’ll be good whether it’s a snacking regime or not.

          Have you been getting out to eat at all? Or for pick up/delivery?

          1. No I had one delivery but not really eating out. I have IBS and have to avoid a lot of FODMAPS foods so restaurant foods are often a challenge because garlic and onions are in everything. I made the dire mistake two days ago of eating a muffin that had a lot of sugar and soy oil in it. I was in agony for hours after.

            1. Sorry to hear that Diana.

              I count myself fortunate not to have any (current) stomach problems. Though I once had very bad food poisoning from an Indian restaurant that left me lactose intolerant for months. I’m a big milk drinker, cheese eater etc and tried all the substitutes, which mostly led to despair. Thank ceiling cat that, for whatever reason, the problem went away on it’s own. But it gave me a hint of what it must be like to have health issues with foods.

              1. I have a theory about your lactose intolerance after the food poisoning was a sort of IBS and lactose is on the no-no list for IBS suffers given its disaccharides. I developed IBS after I had a “stomach flu”. So it seems if you traumatize your digestive system, you can suffer for a time after. It’s been 7 years now for me and some people recover but alas, I have not. Partly it’s a blessing as I don’t eat a lot of things that are bad for me but life would be much easier if I could eat garlic & onions.

    1. It’s a bird. Feathers face down toward the back/shoulder. This would be the “goat’s” nose. That wouldn’t work.

      1. Yeah, definitely looks like a bird to me too. I can pretty clearly see both but a couple of things are subtly wrong if it’s a goat and at least one thing really sticks out. What would be the goat’s mouth looks very much like it’s not really a mouth at all. Not even close.

  4. Jesus, that piece by Marc Thiessen in WaPo is lazy and awful — but, then, Thiessen has never encountered a record he wasn’t willing to flyspeck in a desperate effort to defend Donald Trump or to attack Democrats. That’s been Thiessen’s game going back to his days as a mouthpiece for Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on the use of torture in Iraq.

      1. The last line of defense for Trump apologists, after everything else has failed, is to wrench an old quote by an opponent from its context — Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the usual targets — and say, “See? They said something similar one time.”

        Thiessen’s pulling this cheap move on Dr. Fauci demonstrates the extent to which the hardcore Trumpists have come to see Fauci as the enemy and as some sort of deep-state Democrat.

    1. As long as Thiessen remains a columnist for the Washington Post, the paper cannot be accused of being Woke. He will defend Trump on everything.

      1. It’s hard to think of someone with a worse political pedigree. He came out of the Paul Manafort and Roger Stone firm that earned the moniker “the torturers’ lobby” for its work on behalf some of the world’s most repugnant dictators, such a Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. Then he was a spokesman and policy advisor for one of the last of the US senate’s overt racists, Jesse Helms, before defending the indefensible on behalf of Dubya’s twin pillars of neo-con nonsense and WMD fabulism, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    2. Marc Thiessen is a good example of a tRump follower who would remain faithful in the face of the proverbial 5th Avenue shooting.

  5. Jessica Krug suffers from the Caucasoid variant form of Schizoshvartziform Identity Disorder, which ia subtype of Post Traumatic Ethnic Appropriation Disorder.

    I’ve long contemplated writing a casebook titled Psychopathia Racialis. Now’s the time.

  6. “op-ed by Bob Thiessen in the Washington Post: “If Trump lied, so did Fauci.”
    I have thought this for some time as Fauci has weaseled out of directly criticizing tRump’s response to the coronavirus. tRump is solely responsible for this disaster. The latest episode when Fauci was presented with his quote to Woodward, he said he “didn’t remember”. I believe Woodward. If Fauci is actually putting public health first, he should say what he thinks about tRump. He is probably rightly afraid of the blow-back from crazy followers of the orange narcissist. There have already been death threats against his family, including his daughters. If he comes out of the closet, I would be happy to contribute money so he could hire some armed guards. Considering what’s at stake, it’s time to stop cowering.

    1. If Fauci is actually putting public health first, he should say what he thinks about tRump.

      Well, it’s the standard ‘bad hierarchy’ problem; do you compromise, stay in, and improve the good/reduce the harm it does? Or do you not compromise, leave, knowing your leaving could cause it to do even more harm/less good?

      There’s (IMO) not always an easy answer. I think Fauci has done a pretty good job of it though I also accept that reasonable people can disagree about that. As I see it, his administrative role during the pandemic has been to issue public health advice. He has shown he will publicly contradict Trump (which undermines him) on statements of public health advice such as the bleach thing. Now, he doesn’t contradict wrong things Trump says when it’s not public health advice. Which is an ethical compromise. But he’s not the Press Secretary whose administrative role is to explain why Trump said X to whom and when. That’s outside his purview. He could answer those questions forthrightly and undermine his boss, but his role of giving good advice on what health and safety measures the public should follow doesn’t require that.

  7. As Trump’s documented deliberate down-playing of the virus is costing the US an on-going 9/11/2001-sized death toll every four days, and in terms of the number of deaths of American people on American soil this century Trump is leading Islamic terrorism by 47:1, can we expect a team of Navy Seals – with or without a tape measure – to burst into the White House any time soon?

    1. Yeah, apparently Trump bragged about to Woodward. Comes as no surprise to anyone who watched Trump dance around swallowing whole the shifting garbage stories the Saudi royals tossed his way in the days and weeks following the Khashoggi assassination.

      This will go down as the enduring imagery of Donald Trump’s time in office:

  8. I rarely eat breakfast either. It makes me feel sick to force it & I’m often not hungry in the morning. I’ve been this way my whole life & forcing it on me makes me gain weight & feel sick. I took a lot of crap for this most of my life with that “most important meal of the day” bullshit.

    1. Same here, though occasionally I’ll eat a Trader Joe’s crumpet with my morning coffee. My theory is that what works best is whatever you get used to. If you don’t eat breakfast most days, you will feel bloated if you eat it. If you eat breakfast most days, you will be hungry if you skip it. The body adjusts to prevailing conditions.

        1. Same here, although I can be criticized for being extremely dull-witted regarding the menu… Nearly always oatmeal with a bit of fruit. Every now and then I’ll substitute Weetabix for excitement.

      1. Yeah and I think everyone’s metabolism is different or at least there are different types of metabolic systems in humans. Just like there are people who are morning people and people who are night owls. So forcing people to do one thing they are not suited to is cruel and uncomfortable for the person.

    2. I really enjoy breakfast and fully buy into the “eat like a king at breakfast and eat like a pauper at dinner” advice. Most importantly, eating like a pauper at dinner staves off night time reflux. I’ve never had reflux from a hearty breakfast.

              1. I have a bike. You can’t ride it where I live in the countryside. I try to do some HIIT training on the treadmill but I have to work around migraines.

              2. Oh my feet are way better now. I use the nerve lotion 3x/day & while they aren’t normal feet and I wear orthotics, they are more than adequate to almost be normal. I couldn’t entertain walking on a treadmill for years. Now I can do it when I’m not tired or migraine-y. And the propranolol I take for migraine preventions slows my heart to a normal level so exertion doesn’t feel like death anymore too.

              3. Yeah and magnesium. I started taking it to see how well it worked with migraine prevention. So far it’s meh for migraines but helped my feet a lot and the science behind why it works is well studied and interesting and I can only partially grasp it because I had to read a bunch of journals talking about studies and it’s all brain chemistry stuff but it basically prevents a certain chemical signal in the neutrons from binding with others & causing pain.

  9. The COVID study suggests dining at restaurants is risky but, based on my skimming of it, it seems they did not differentiate inside dining from outside dining. Most restaurants in my area offer outside dining on their patio, if they have it at all. I’m guessing that is pretty safe but it would be nice to know.

  10. I’m responding to where were you when the planes hit the towers: We were touring the steeple of Salisbury Cathedral. We then returned to our B&B upstairs from a pub and eventually went down for dinner in the pub. A TV was showing reruns of the attack. We assumed it was a fictional movie until some kindly Brits, recognizing that we were American, filled us in. The show of support for America over the next few days was overwhelming. Too bad we managed to squander that goodwill.

      1. There was much squandered and many mistakes made as a result of 9/11. War on terrorism was and is a joke. Had we been smart enough to remove the cockpit from passengers as we should have been, it never would have happened.

        There was a bad airplane crash less than 2 months after 9/11 that probably few even remember. A big plane crashed in Queens killing all on board and 5 people on the ground. Of course many thought more terrorism but no, this was just a strange pilot mistake.

        1. Even at the time, I thought framing it as a war on terror was a bad idea. The main reason is that it casts the perpetrators as combatants instead of the criminal murderers they were.

          1. Absolutely. We should have treated them as international criminals that were no more organized than the Mafia. Elevating it to a war gave the terrorists exactly what they wanted.

  11. Sorry – this is a little long but you might enjoy it.

    Until about March 2001 I worked in WTC 2 & 7 as a proprietary equities trader. Outside, smoking, I often wondered what would happen if somebody blew up the building/s – would I finish my cigarette before I got squashed? This was, remember, 9 years after somebody tried to do just that (and where, genius that he is, Giuliani put the NYC emergency mgt. department). Jesus. (Well, now we ALL know what Rudi is…)

    Funnily enough, NOW part of the emergency department is next to my new apartment in Chelsea!

    On that September morning I had another financial exam back at 1 WTC (to work at the Mercantile Exchange) which I was studying for at 8am in my apartment on the Upper East Side.

    After it all happened (actually we went for lunch at an Italian restaurant – despite the masses of people walking North and West) restaurants and bars were still open, obviously my exam was cancelled. I ultimately took the exam several weeks later and JUST passed.

    At a bar that evening I thought that I bet the “Blowback” of all this would be worse than what happened that day.

    Now they have the Towers of Light memorial which is really beautiful as I can see downtown from where I read WEIT each morning.

    If it happens again, let’s wait until the flags are off the coffins before we start invading other countries, shall we?
    Trump is only our 2nd worst president and I believe if they could, half a million dead Iraqis would agree with me.

    David Anderson

  12. The suggestion that Trump knew how dangerous the virus was, but intentionally misled Americans and failed to take action, is demonstrably wrong.

    I’m late to this, but Trump is on record for knowing the danger and downplaying the virus. He has consistently downplayed and resisted action. From chucking out the takeover game play on pandemic crises. Over closing down travel from nations in a politically motivated list, withdrawing from WHO, and (as Thiessen’s own link showed) declaring an emergency first when his downplaying hit the economy which he at the time wanted to have as platform for reelection over. To lately having his administration trying to change CDC pandemic reports.

    That Fauci and others connected with his administration may have been cooperating with Trump is not obviating the observations (but may be strengthening them). I wondered why Mark [not Bob, a copy error] Thiessen would make such arguments and I see from Wikipedia that he has defended the criminal use of torture – ha may defend anything.

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