Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 16, 2020 • 6:30 am

Top of the morning and middle of the week to you: it’s Wednesday, September 16, 2020, and Peach Pie Day. You’ll be lucky if you get some this week!  It’s also National Guacamole Day, National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, World Play-Doh Day, National Collect Rocks Day, and Mexican Independence Day (“Cry of Dolores“; see below).

Don’t forget to vote for Clarence the Cat; you can vote once daily through Facebook. If Clarence wins, his vet bills will be paid off with the $5000 prize. There is a day and two-thirds left to bring this moggy over the top.

News of the day: For the first time in its 175-year history, Scientific American has endorsed a Presidential candidate. And you can bet it isn’t Trump. From the editorial (h/t Barry):

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

Here’s a misguided op-ed in the Washington Post by Danielle Pletka, senior fellow of the American Enterprise Institute: “I never considered voting for Trump in 2016. I may be forced to vote for him this year.” Forced? WHY? Her response:

I fear Trump’s erratic, personality-driven decision-making. His contempt for NATO is alarming, as is his delusion that he can manage rogue leaders. I don’t doubt that his eagerness to withdraw U.S. troops from their stability missions in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq will encourage conflict and terrorism. And I fret that his bizarrely isolationist attitude toward international trade will hurt the U.S. economy and splinter the global trading juggernaut that over the past half-century has brought the world amazing prosperity, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty.

But I fear the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party even more.

. . . With Donald Trump, I know what I am getting. He wears his sins on the outside. For good and ill, he runs his administration. I worry more about his incompetence and vacillation than I do about any dictatorial tendencies. On the other side, however, I am increasingly persuaded that what I see in Joe Biden — whom I first met in 1992, and whom I believe to be a decent person — would merely be the facade for an administration, fully backed by both houses of Congress, with an agenda that would seriously damage the nation.

And so it goes. But the Washington Post satirized that op-ed with another by Alexandra Petri, “I can’t believe you’re forcing me to vote for Trump, which I definitely didn’t already want to do.” What a burn! And some people thought this piece was serious.

Good news from reader Tom (click on screenshot to read more):

Below: a sad story about how a man intensely devoted to protecting Brazil’s reclusive indigenous tribes was mistakenly killed by a tribesman with a bamboo arrow:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 195,683, an increase of about 1300 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 934,444, an increase of about 6,500 deaths from yesterday. And we’re approaching a million deaths worldwide. 

Stuff that happened on September 16 includes:

The “cry” is the ringing of the same bell sounded in Dolores, but now in Mexico city, and run by Mexico’s president.

  • 1880 – The Cornell Daily Sun prints its first issue in Ithaca, New York. The Sun is the United States’ oldest, continuously-independent college daily.
  • 1959 – The first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.

I still remember the days before Xeroxing caught on, when we had to use mimeograph machines with their purple gel. Here’s the Xerox 914:

  • 1961 – Typhoon Nancy, with possibly the strongest winds ever measured in a tropical cyclone, makes landfall in Osaka, Japan, killing 173 people.
  • 1966 – The Metropolitan Opera House opens at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra.
  • 1976 – Armenian champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan saves 20 people from a trolleybus that had fallen into a Yerevan reservoir.

Here’s a 7-minute video of Karapetyan’s heroic effort, and he is a hero by any definition. Injuries sustained in the multiple rescue ended his swimming career:

  • 1992 – The trial of the deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ends in the United States with a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Noriega died in 2017 under house arrest, after he’d been released from prison.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1858 – Bonar Law, Canadian-Scottish banker and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1923)
  • 1925 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2015)
  • 1950 – Henry Louis Gates Jr., American historian, scholar, and journalist
  • 1952 – Mickey Rourke, American boxer and actor
  • 1971 – Amy Poehler, American actress, comedian, and producer
  • 1992 – Nick Jonas, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Those who perished from this Earth on September 16 include:

  • 1672 – Anne Bradstreet, English poet (b. 1612)
  • 1911 – Edward Whymper, English-French mountaineer, explorer, and author (b. 1840)

Whymper and his party were the first to ascend the Matterhorn (1865), but four of the party of seven died on the descent when the rope broke. Here’s the famous painting of that incident by Gustav Doré:


  • 1932 – Ronald Ross, Indian-English physician and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1857)
  • 1980 – Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist and philosopher (b. 1896)
  • 2009 – Mary Travers, American singer-songwriter (b. 1936)
  • 2013 – Patsy Swayze, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1927)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili repudiates kitten Kulka:

Hili: I hope she will not come closer to me.
A: Why do you think she won’t?
Hili: I hissed at her tellingly.

In Polish:

Hili: Mam nadzieję, że ona do mnie nie podejdzie.
Ja: Dalczego tak sądzisz?
Hili: Syczałam na nią wymownie.

Word has it that Hili rubbed up affectionately against Szaron yesterday—a real first. Apparently both Hili’s staff and Szaron were astonished, with Szaron standing in place for a long time afterwards. But today’s dialogue shows that Hili still doesn’t like kitten Kulka.

But Kulka and Szaron are still inseparable friends:

From Stash Krod:

From Facebook:

From Pyers, referring to the UK’s new social-gathering restrictions:

From Titania. Have a look at some of those tweets!

This ferret is OUT COLD!

A tweet from Steve Stewart-Williams (he gives good tweets), whose book I reviewed yesterday:

A tweet from Simon. Another army of runner ducks doing their work and getting food (they eat insects and snails that damage the crops). See here for more benefits of the ducks (h/t Grant).

From Luana. Berkeley jumps the shark (well, the jump happened a while back, so this is another shark.

Tweets from Matthew. Sound up so you can hear the adorable moo-let:

Here’s an eye-fooler. As Matthew explains, “The lines are black, the crosses are red (hence the pens – he’s just drawn this) but because of the way your retina is wired up you end up seeing a neon blur around the red cross. It isn’t there.”

I’m not sure if moths get this kind of romantic name compared to other insects, but perhaps entomologists can weigh in. Sound up:

42 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Danielle Pletka is off her bloody rocker! Forget C19, forget democracy & the rule of law, forget BLM & racism, forget your economy & unemployment, forget poisoned Russian politicians, forget the WHO, forget oil drilling in nature reserves, it is BLOODY CLIMATE CHANGE THAT MATTERS! And that is not restricted by US borders, doing something about that before we are all completely effed is reliant on US participation & leadership.


    1. I agree totally. This sums up why she may vote for Trump: “The corrosive left-wing extremism of 2020 would be ascendant, while a smiling President Biden assures the country that everything is fine. Trump, for all his flaws, could be all that stands between our imperfect democracy and the tyranny of the woke left.” She seems to actually think that Trump is a defender of “our imperfect democracy” with Bill Barr as his right hand man. For her, having an aspiring fascist in the White House is better than what the dead center Biden (a man despised by the real left) may do. I saw Pletka a few times on “Meet The Press Daily on MSNBC” with Chuck Todd. She seemed to be a reasonable conservative. She fooled a lot of people.

        1. Legates sounds like he was bought off by big oil to work their propaganda machine. I wonder if they funnel payments surreptitiously. A little effort might turn up purchases of a new home and car.

    2. I think one can disagree with Danielle Pletka, but if one isn’t prepared to accept her right to make her own decisions about what is important, then one should just admit that they no longer believe in democracy. Personally, even if I felt that climate change trumped all other issues, I wouldn’t trust the Democrats to handle it. It would be handled with the same ideological fervor and disregard for reality as they are handling race relations.

      1. Perhaps you can express your misgivings in a letter to Scientific American in the hope that they will reconsider their obviously wacko endorsement of Joe Biden.

        Your comment about Pletka is illogical. No one is denying her right to say what she wants. Her critics are simply saying that she couldn’t be more wrong. Apparently, your conception of democracy doesn’t include the right of free speech to criticize ideas that one opposes.

  2. On the eastern region of the United States, a reddish haze is observable in the sky when the observer is pointed towards the sun. 180 degrees from that position, the sky is blue. The reason for this is, if course, Rayleigh scattering and Mie scattering, but in this case, the particulates traveled in the atmosphere’s jet stream from the wildfires.

    The National Weather Service showed a map of it. I don’t think they make a point of the blue sky at 180 degrees away from the sun.

    1. If anyone cares about this-

      I just took a careful look – the “blue” sky is more like a pale hazy blue – not the intense clear blue of a conventional clear sky.

  3. After reading that op-ed yesterday by Danielle Pletka, the old saying came to mind – When those around you are wondering about your knowledge or ignorance, why open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    1. FWIW, I don’ think Danielle Pletka is dumb enough to believe the crap in that op-ed or actually to vote for Trump.

      I think she’s pretty sure Biden is going to win and thinks she can play Cassandra to keep the Dems from lurching to the left.

      All in all, though, it’s a pretty silly bit of work.

    1. Sorry, I posted the above comment before seeing that Jerry linked to the Petri piece himself. Shoulda read a bit further before commenting.

    2. Even some conservatives find Pletka’s op-ed repulsive. At the right-wing but anti-Trump site, The Bulwark, conservative Mona Charen slams Pletka noting “the one essential rock upon which this country depends is the rule of law. It’s more crucial than blocking Medicare for All, more essential even than preventing another Iran nuclear deal. If the rule of law is undermined as Trump is doing and threatens to accelerate, everything else— prosperity, civil cohesion, security—is in danger. Those are the stakes, not the filibuster, not hair styles, and not virtue signaling.”

      1. Good for Mona Charen. She’s the one, IIRC, who got booed off the stage, and had to have armed guards escort her out of the venue, when she criticized Trump at the CPAC conference a couple years ago.

  4. I think you’re thinking spirit duplicator. Mimeograph is something else. My mother was a keypunch operator who handled data processing for our school district. Three noisy machines: keypunch, card sorter, tabulator. There was a mimeograph machine in the adjacent room. You, sir, would not have been allowed to operate it yourself. 😉

    1. I think Jerry refers to the hectograph or spirit duplicator. I published a newsletter using one while in high school.
      The mimeograph used metallic plates that the ink was forced through and certainly “civilians” would not be allowed to operate them.

      1. I’m pretty sure that’s right. I know in my elementary school (where my mother worked) they had so-called mimeograph machines, though everyone, even the teachers, just called it “the ditto machine”, which I’ve always liked.

              1. We either have really excellent or really screwed up eyesight. I remember my colorblind grandfather being so pleased when he could read one of the numbers on those charts, which turned out to be the one that only colorblind people could read.

  5. 1952 – Mickey Rourke, American boxer and actor

    I saw Mickey Rourke fight at War Memorial auditorium in Ft. Lauderdale in ’91. He went four rounds against some local palooka on the undercard of a bout for the world cruiserweight championship. It was a sloppy affair. I had good seats in the third row, as it turned out, right behind former heavyweight champ Leon Spinks.

    A few years later, and completely coincidentally, I represented Rourke on a motorcycle traffic beef on Miami Beach. Never met him, but I got a call from his LA lawyer asking me to handle the matter. It was a minor case, and traffic court wasn’t really my beat, but it wouldn’t have felt right turning it down. Plus, they were paying good, green money for something that took not much more than about 15 minutes and a drive across the MacArthur causeway to get dismissed.

  6. One small detail: The Whymper team in 1865 fell from the Matterhorn due to one of the team falling, dragging his roped teammates with him. The only reason Whymper and Peter Taugwalders (Sr. and Jr.) survived is that the rope broke before they were pulled off.

    This is the double-edge of roping up. If you plan well (proper belying and/or “protection” being used), you can usually stop the fall of a team member. If you don’t, you may all be pulled off.

    I myself witnessed two climbers sop the fall of another, to whom they were roped, despite the fact that the two were not anchored to the mountain (these climbers were from a different party, I hasten to add!)

    Pete Schoening’s impromptu boot-axe belay is another example.

      1. A college friend had me help her put a cake out in the rain on the front steps of a former bf who done her wrong. We still caterwaul that song whenever we speak on the phone.

        1. Always wondered who the “someone” was in that song who left the cake out in the rain.

          Remind me never to get on the wrong side of your college friend. 🙂

  7. I think Scientific American endorsing a political candidate is a very bad precedent. If they do it once, they will be pressured to do it again in four years. It will cause a divide within science and add to the mistrust of science. The tiny benefit is outweighed by the harm.

    Also too many people who are brilliant in one field are mistakenly sure they are brilliant in others (Shockley or Pauling about vitamin C).

    1. I think you’ll find near unanimity among scientists (I don’t mean dentists and chiropractors) , especially climate scientists, that tRump is a very dangerous, anti-science, guy. Many lists of researchers, Nobelists, psychologists, have already condemned the man. This is not such a strange endorsement.
      As to the likelihood they well be “pressured” to repeat, I think if tRump is still in office, they won’t need much pressure. Otherwise, extremely unlikely. You seem not to understand that tRump is a highly exceptional president.

      1. I am not questioning who they are endorsing but the endorsement in general. When scientists get into to politics, it is an invitation for politicians return the favor.

        Obviously some politicians do this already but this additional entangling of the two will be bad for both sides. Every thing Scientific American ever does will need to weighed with their association with their explicit endorsement party. Is this claim true or is to to get a Democrat elected?

        1. I can’t disagree that there are risks involved for a publication (based in science) taking a stand. But, it is an exceptional time, so SciAm thought it was worth the risk.

        2. Politicians don’t need an invitation; they’re up to their necks in science already. Both the US Senate and House have several science committees and subcommittees.

          And the the former chair (and current member) of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is none other than Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, the genius who brought a snowball onto the chamber floor to disprove climate change (and the author of a book titled — I shit you not — The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future).

          The denialism runs deep among the elephants roaming Capitol Hill.

          And as for the West Wing, fuhgettaboutit.

    1. I especially enjoyed reading the comments. They show graphically, through the insane views of his followers, how dangerous Trump really is.

Leave a Reply