Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

We’re into the weekend, and fall is coming on strong, as: it’s Saturday, September 12, 2020, National Chocolate Milkshake Day. It’s also International Drive Your Studebaker Day (does anybody have one?), National Iguana Awareness Day, Aunt’s Day (which aunt?), Video Games Day, and National Day of Encouragement, whatever that’s for.

News of the Day: Don’t forget to vote for Clarence to pay off his vet bills. Vote here; it’s free. He’s in first place, and we must keep him there. There are 5.5 days left, and you can vote for free once every 24 hours. Do it for Ceiling Cat!

Clarence and staff.

Regular news: After the UAE voted to normalize relations with Israel, Bahrain just announced it is doing the same. I hope this is the beginning of a trend.

Reader Ken sent a link to a New Hampshire Union-Leader article reporting that a woman in Exeter voted topless:

The unidentified woman cast the bare-breasted ballot after showing up at the Talbot Gymnasium polls wearing a shirt with images of President Donald Trump and the late Sen. John McCain and the legend “McCain Hero/Trump Zero.”

Town Moderator Paul Scafidi told the woman, who appeared to be about 60, that she would have to remove the shirt or cover it up because of laws against electioneering inside polling places — though Trump’s name wasn’t on Tuesday’s state primary ballot.

When the woman, who was wearing a mask, pointed out someone wearing a shirt with an American flag, she was told that was different.

“She said, ‘You want me to take my shirt off? That’s what you want?’” Scafidi recalled.

He told the woman it was her choice, and before he could say anything more, the shirt was gone. She was not wearing a bra.

She was not arrested.

The Washington Post reports that a group of students at Miami University of Ohio were having an unmasked beer-drinking gathering on the front porch of a house. A police check revealed that several had Covid-19, but they apparently didn’t care. Six students were cited (a civil violation) and fined $500 each. But is that enough to deter others? As somebody said, a university rule that depends on 100% voluntary compliance will never be properly obeyed. I’m worried about my own school opening up in a couple of weeks (part virtual learning, part “real” learning).

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 192,853, an increase of about 1,200 deaths over yesterday’s report. We’ll soon hit the dreaded 200,000 mark that nobody thought possible. The world death toll now stands at 913,780, an increase of about 3,700 deaths from yesterday. And here we’re approaching a million deaths. 

Stuff that happened on September 12 includes:

  • 1609 – Henry Hudson begins his exploration of the Hudson River while aboard the Halve Maen.
  • 1846 – Elizabeth Barrett elopes with Robert Browning.
  • 1910 – Premiere performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich (with a chorus of 852 singers and an orchestra of 171 players. Mahler’s rehearsal assistant conductor was Bruno Walter).
  • 1933 – Leó Szilárd, waiting for a red light on Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, conceives the idea of the nuclear chain reaction.

Here’s Szilard (right) at the University of Chicago, where the first self-sustaining fission reaction took place in the gym, Stagg Field. That gym is no more, but there’s a Henry Moore sculpture on the site:

(From Wikipedia): Szilard and Norman Hilberry at the site of CP-1, at the University of Chicago, some years after the war. It was demolished in 1957.

Now this is a weird one. Three boys saw a UFO and a weird being that looked like this:

Explanation:

After investigating the case in 2000, Joe Nickell of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry concluded that the bright light in the sky reported by the witnesses on September 12 was most likely a meteor, that the pulsating red light was likely an aircraft navigation/hazard beacon, and that the creature described by witnesses closely resembled an owl. Nickell suggested that witnesses’ perceptions were distorted by their heightened state of anxiety. Nickell’s conclusions are shared by a number of other investigators, including those of the Air Force.

The night of the September 12 sighting, a meteor had been observed across three states—Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. According to Nickell, three flashing red aircraft beacons were also visible from the area of the sightings, which could account for descriptions of a pulsating red light and red tint on the face of the supposed monster.

How could they mistake an owl for a being twice as big as a human?

A photo of the wedding:

  • 1959 – Bonanza premieres, the first regularly scheduled TV program presented in color.

Hoss: Pass the potatoes, Little Joe.

Here’s Kennedy’s famous statement, and of course we were on the Moon in less than a decade. That’s remarkable!

  • 1984 – Dwight Gooden sets the baseball record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie with 276, previously set by Herb Score with 246 in 1954. Gooden’s 276 strikeouts that season, pitched in 218 innings, set the current record.
  • 2011 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City opens to the public.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1852 – H. H. Asquith, English lawyer and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1928)
  • 1880 – H. L. Mencken, American journalist and critic (d. 1956)

The great man:

  • 1888 – Maurice Chevalier, French actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1972)
  • 1898 – Ben Shahn, Lithuanian-American painter and photographer (d. 1969)
  • 1913 – Jesse Owens, American sprinter and long jumper (d. 1980)
  • 1931 – George Jones, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2013)
  • 1944 – Barry White, American singer-songwriter (d. 2003)

Here’s Barry White in a famous scene from the t.v. show Ally McBeal, in which a big fan of Barry gets a special birthday present:

  • 1981 – Jennifer Hudson, American singer and actress
  • 1986 – Emmy Rossum, American singer and actress

Those who began pining for the fjords on September 12 include:

  • 1660 – Jacob Cats, Dutch poet, jurist, and politician (b. 1577)
  • 1977 – Steve Biko, South African activist (b. 1946)
  • 1992 – Anthony Perkins, American actor, singer, and director (b. 1932)
  • 1993 – Raymond Burr, Canadian-American actor and director (b. 1917)
  • 2003 – Johnny Cash, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (b. 1932)
  • 2008 – David Foster Wallace, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1962)
  • 2009 – Norman Borlaug, American agronomist and humanitarian, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)
  • 2014 – Ian Paisley, Northern Irish evangelical pastor (Free Presbyterian Church) and politician, 2nd First Minister of Northern Ireland (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili prepares to edit Listy:

Hili: We have to mobilize our whole strength to work.
A: How?
Hili: First, it’s best to take a nap.
In Polish:
Hili: Musimy zmobilizować wszystkie siły do pracy.
Ja: Jak?
Hili: Najlepiej najpierw się przespać.

And nearby, at the site of their future home, Leon and Mietek are juiced about the weekend:

Leon: The weekend has started, which means there are plenty of things to do.

In Polish: Weekend się zaczął,czyli mnóstwo spraw do załatwienia.

Two photos of kitten Kulka As Malgorzata said, “In a few months we will have trouble telling Kulka and Hili apart.”

From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe:

From Facebook:

From Jesus of the Day:

All tweets today are from Matthew, who fortunately is not on one of his sporadic holidays from Twitter.

First, chicken training. I’m not sure if this chicken is encountering the situation for the first time here, but even if not, it’s still a good example of “active learning”:

Boris Johnson has threatened to field “covid marshals” to enforce quarantine rules. This swan would be a great one, for it knows how a mask should be worn.

I yearn to be back on my Rollerblades again, but I can’t find ones with a stiff boot rather than a soft shoe. It was great exercise, and, importantly, fun exercise. But I never got to do this:

Okay, some enterprising reader needs to find out more about this:

This is a hydrozoan:

Back to politics and the banality of evil:

Matthew, knowing me, sent me this tweet with the note, “This will trigger you terribly BUT IT ALL TURNS OUT OK.”

As Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that.”

 

36 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. Could the sex coins have been used as tokens at brothels? In the old West, you paid your money to the Madam, who gave you a token to give to the girl upstairs. This way, she was the only one who handled the money.

    My father, who was a coin collector, had one of these tokens. It showed a couple of copulating chickens.

    1. According to some Italian web sites, they were indeed tokens showing the price and the positions required.

    1. My father had a mid-50s Studebaker (Commander???), and my mother had two Larks.

      I just found out that in the 1930s, Studebaker had a model called the Dictator!

      1. Yes, naming the car models was not their best work. I remember our 54 did not have any seat belts in those days. My folks had belts installed in the front. In 1957 we were in a bad wreck and those belts may have saved my folks.

    2. An uncle of mine had 2 Commanders, a ’51 and a ’56. Though the same model they were quite different. The ’51 had the (in)famous bullet nose while by ’56 they had changed the car quite a bit and the bullet nose was gone. They really looked like completely different cars.

      They were both nice, both were 3 on the tree, the ’51 had the 232 ci V8 while the ’56 had the stroked 289 ci V8 that was new that year.

      Though the ’56 was considerably more powerful I liked driving the ’51 more. It was just so unique looking while the ’56 looked pretty normal, much like a Chevy from the same era.

  2. Studebakers: A guy in California that I’ve become acquainted with has a big 1930 Lincoln Touring Car (open 4dr) that he uses to go camping with. But the Lincoln’s in the shop for a motor overhaul so he recently bought a 1921 Studebaker Big Six Touring Car, with what appears to be 28,000 original miles(!) Unrestored but carefully sheltered all these years. Once he’s done going thru it (pull the oil pan, clean the gunk, check bearing clearances etc.) he plans to drive it from CA to NY on the Lincoln Highway. I’m less than 2mi from the LH, and invited him to come camp out back here. I really hope that this happens.

    COVID: As I think I mentioned here a few wks ago, I was really worried that some of the people I like at my local bank branch had gotten COVID, incl a guy who has a hereditary immunocompromised condition that requires expensive therapy. Turns out he’s OK, but learned yesterday that my favorite and ~30y/o teller did come down with it. She was out for ~2wks, temp highest 101F/38.3C. She had anosmia for 11d, knew it was expected, and hoped to be able to enjoy a birthday cake before it hit. She was halfway thru the cake when it hit. But now she seems to be back to normal and will be able to donate blood toward replacement therapy in another week.

  3. That reference to Szilard (and the picture) reminds me of the story – possibly apocryphal, but not ruled out – that the term SCRAM, which refers to the emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor, comes from the first reactor at U of C under the stands at Stagg Field, where the control rod was suspended and lowered/raised by a rope on some form of pulley mechanism. In case of supercriticality, there was a man standing nearby with an axe, to cut the rope and drop the control rod quickly into the reactor if necessary. Thus, according to the story, Enrico Fermi coined the term SCRAM based on something along the lines of “Super-Critical Reactor Axe Man”, or “Safety Control Rod Axe Man.”

    Other explanations are available.

    1. Need to be a bit of a pain in the butt here, but Stagg Field was not a gym (as Jerry referred to it). It was the football (and track and field) stadium. The experiment was done under the west stand (on Ellis Avenue) of the stadium. Regenstein Library is now on the site. The Max Palevsky Residential Commons was added to the north end of the site in 2001.

      Back then, UofC had two gymnasiums. The Henry Crown Field House – a huge limestone barn that pretty much every Big Ten school has. It is still in use. It was extensively remodeled in the 1970s. Bartlett Gymnasium was converted into a dining hall in 2002.

      1. Named after the famous football coach Alonzo Stagg, who coached the Maroons to undefeated, national-championship seasons in ‘ought-five and 1913.

  4. “In the 1870s, Belgian postal workers from the city of Liège attempted to train 37 cats to deliver the post. They were not successful” – they shoulda tried it with chickens.

  5. Ian Paisley was a nasty old bloke, until he decided he could get more kudos by being not quite so nasty.

    A couple of apocryphal Paisley stories. Fill in your own Ulster accents:

    1. Paisley is ranting away in his pulpit: ‘At the day of judgement, there will be wailing, and gnashing of teeth!’

    Little old lady in the front row: ‘Please, Dr Paisley, some of us haven’t got any teeth’.

    Paisley: ‘Teeth will be provided!’

    2. From a Catholic interviewer: ‘Dr Paisley, what is the difference between the Calvinist Presbyterians and your Free Presbyterians?’

    Paisley: ‘The Calvinist Presbyterians believe that you Catholics will be damned because you’re predestined to be damned; whereas we Free Presbyterians believe that you Catholics will be damned on your merits’.

  6. The man made global warming effect on the regional climate on the US west coast has upped the fires with a factor 2 from last year, AFAIU. Not a pandemic year discussion apparently – maybe the ruling party has been out and “raked the woods” as they want to do – but I wonder what will be the result next year (assuming there are still woods left)?

    https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Collage-2020-09-09-14_51_19-2.jpg
    Source: Universe Today

    In happier news, Iran [!] is claimed to be secularizing.
    https://scx2.b-cdn.net/gfx/news/2020/iranssecular.jpg
    GAMAAN Religion in Iran 2020 – identifications.

    [ https://phys.org/news/2020-09-iran-secular-shift-survey-reveals.html ]

    Reliable large-scale data on Iranians’ post-revolutionary religious beliefs, however, has always been lacking. Over the years, research and waves of protests and crackdowns indicated massive disappointment among Iranians with their political system. This steadily turned into a deeply felt disillusionment with institutional religion.

    In June 2020, our research institute, the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in IRAN (GAMAAN), conducted an online survey with the collaboration of Ladan Boroumand, co-founder of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran.

    The results verify Iranian society’s unprecedented secularization.

  7. The man made global warming effect on the regional climate on the US west coast has upped the fires with a factor 2 from last year, AFAIU. Not a pandemic year discussion apparently – maybe the ruling party has been out and “raked the woods” as they want to do – but I wonder what will be the result next year (assuming there are still woods left)?

    Source: Universe Today

    1. It’s disconcerting that one or two big current political issues can largely displace attention to the bigger, long term danger. However, the people closest to the issue, the scientists, engineers, and the business community have been working the issue behind the scenes.

  8. In happier news, Iran [!] is claimed to be secularizing.

    https://scx2.b-cdn.net/gfx/news/2020/iranssecular.jpg

    GAMAAN Religion in Iran 2020 – identifications.

    Reliable large-scale data on Iranians’ post-revolutionary religious beliefs, however, has always been lacking. Over the years, research and waves of protests and crackdowns indicated massive disappointment among Iranians with their political system. This steadily turned into a deeply felt disillusionment with institutional religion.

    In June 2020, our research institute, the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in IRAN (GAMAAN), conducted an online survey with the collaboration of Ladan Boroumand, co-founder of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran.

    The results verify Iranian society’s unprecedented secularization.

    1. Some interesting (I think) detail, and reference:

      These numbers demonstrate that a general process of secularization, known to encourage religious diversity, is taking place in Iran. An overwhelming majority, 90%, described themselves as hailing from believing or practicing religious families. Yet 47% reported losing their religion in their lifetime, and 6% said they changed from one religious orientation to another. Younger people reported higher levels of irreligiosity and conversion to Christianity than older respondents.

      We found that societal secularization was also linked to a critical view of the religious governance system: 68% agreed that religious prescriptions should be excluded from legislation, even if believers hold a parliamentary majority, and 72% opposed the law mandating all women wear the hijab, the Islamic veil.

      Other research on population growth, whose decline has been linked to higher levels of secularization, also suggests a decline in religiosity in Iran. In 2020, Iran recorded its lowest population growth, below 1%.

      [ https://phys.org/news/2020-09-iran-secular-shift-survey-reveals.html ]

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